Samantha Adam is very excited to return as the Teacher Assistant for Kindergarten at Maryvale Preparatory Academy. She had the wonderful opportunity to join the Maryvale family during the second semester last school year and her experience in the classroom has confirmed that this is exactly where she wants to be. With that said, she would love to further her education and become an Elementary School Teacher for the Great Heart Network and impact the young minds of our future leaders. Ms. Adam has had previous experience in the classroom, serving as a Preschool Assistant Teacher and later a Preschool Teacher for one-year olds. She has also served at her church in Early Childhood Ministry. She graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Digital Design, with the hope of creating art that will speak more on the matter of instilling morals and values our society needs, especially in the lives the younger generation. In the same way, she hopes to instill those same morals and values in the classroom setting. Ms. Adam loves spending time with family and friends and believes that love and laughter are the greatest medicines to life. She loves every opportunity she gets to work with kids and hopes to make a difference in their lives by giving hope and encouragement to a bright future.
Rebecca Anderson is delighted and honored to become part of the 2016-17 faculty team at Maryvale Preparatory Academy. She is ready to embark on this challenging journey and is excited to start a new chapter in her life. Rebecca was born and raised in in South Texas, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature and Language and minor in Reading Specialization (K-8th) from Texas A&M International University. During her undergrad career at A&M, she fostered her love for literature and learning by assisting elementary students (K-5th) and English Language Learners as a Reading Specialist for part of her student teaching classes. She is extremely honored to embark on this new and exciting journey as a first-year Spanish Immersion Teacher at Maryvale Prep. Her goal is to help all of her students reach their full potential academically by fostering the love of foreign languages and cultures and by sharing her love of learning with the students. Rebecca is thrilled for the opportunity to share her knowledge and passion for education with the students of Maryvale Prep, but most importantly, for supporting their growth as individuals as they pursue their goals and life aspirations. Rebecca loves spending time with her husband and dogs. Some of her hobbies include traveling, discovering new music, reading, painting, and yoga.
Christina Blake is very excited to begin her fifth year at Maryvale Prep. This year Ms. Blake is very excited to be teaching third grade for the first time. She will also continue serving as the Curriculum Specialist. She previously served as a first grade teacher for three years and our Structured English Immersion teacher for one year. She was very pleased with how many of her students were promoted to Full English Proficiency status. She grew up in California and before moving to Arizona to work at Maryvale Prep, she spent several months living in East Los Angeles where she served the local community by working alongside several elementary schools and high schools through tutoring and mentoring students. Ms. Blake graduated from Biola University in Los Angeles and received her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies and Teaching Credential as well as two minors in Intercultural Studies and Biblical Studies. She recently received her Masters Degree in Educational Administration from Concordia University. She is passionate about serving children and helping them to develop a love of learning and a life that displays virtue.
Tony Cruz is delighted to be returning to the Maryvale Preparatory Academy family as the Dean of Students to continue to partner with parents, teachers, and students in pursuing intellectual and moral virtue. After moving to Phoenix from Texas, Mr. Cruz went on to complete his undergraduate degree at Arizona State University in Theatre Performance. After graduating from ASU, Mr. Cruz moved to San Jose, CA, earned his Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies), and began his work in churches as a community life and operations pastor for the past several years. Mr. Cruz thrives in identifying, empowering, and unleashing people for service as a response to their unique gifts. He is passionate about building legacies, calling people to live their fullest potential, and instilling in the hearts of people a deep sense of hope. For those reasons, Mr. Cruz is thrilled to be serving the Maryvale community by guiding these children to passionately pursue a life of virtue as the future leaders of this community, this city, and this country.
Dr. Crystal Cruz is enthusiastically returning to Maryvale Preparatory Academy as she is certain that this school and those we serve will be her long-time career home. Dr. Cruz will take continue serving teachers in curriculum and instruction as the Dean of Academics. Originally from New Mexico, Dr. Cruz went on to pursue her undergraduate degree in Economics and International Political Science at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO. She moved to Phoenix in 2005 to teach in the Isaac School District where she taught second and third grades and was also an Instructional Coach. While teaching she attended Arizona State University and obtained a Masters in Educational Administration and Supervision and her principal certification. In 2010 she began working at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University as the Director of Recruitment and also taught several courses. In 2013, Dr. Cruz earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Innovation and superintendent certification. Dr. Cruz looks forward to continue her pursuit towards lifelong learning with such a passionate group of people. She has a strong belief in the impact that a teacher has on his or her students and looks forward to helping the teachers as they selflessly serve our children. Outside of school, Dr. Cruz enjoys spending time with her husband, Henri, and her two daughters, Chloe and Abigail.
Allison Cumberworth is ecstatic to be returning to Maryvale Prep for her second year as a fourth grade teacher. She has a passion for impacting children with truth and empowering them to be who they were made to be. Previously, she worked for 3 years at Griffith Elementary in a Special Education classroom where she enjoyed helping children gain confidence with her classroom motto, “There is always hope, because you are loved.” This inspired both Allison and the students to pursue goals which others did not think they could reach, and learn that the impossible can be done through them. Before making her home in Arizona, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She then worked overseas in Asia and Eastern Europe with a college ministry, studying the cultures and leading Bible Studies. She is truly grateful to continue being a part of the Maryvale family.
Jessica DeVries is excited to be returning to Maryvale Prep to teach second grade. She grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and graduated from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. While attending there, she taught classes for a local ESL program and also volunteered with an after-school program that provided tutoring and fun activities for children from the community. Ms. DeVries has a passion for learning the Spanish language and would like to continue developing this skill. During her free time, Ms. DeVries enjoys reading, traveling to new places, and playing the piano. She is looking forward to working with the students in 2nd grade and growing alongside of them in knowledge and character this year.
Mac Esau is returning as the Headmaster of Maryvale Preparatory Academy. Prior to Maryvale Prep’s opening, he spent the previous ten years teaching physical education, fourth grade core classes, and middle and high school mathematics and serving in various school leadership positions. After his third year in the fourth grade classroom, he became the Director of Personnel & Education at West Valley Christian School in Los Angeles, CA. After moving his family to Phoenix, he served as the founding Assistant Headmaster of Glendale Preparatory Academy and then the Interim Headmaster of Teleos Preparatory Academy, leading these schools effectively in all areas including hiring, financial planning, school operation, and teacher mentorship. He received his Bachelor of Arts in both Psychology and Communication Studies from UCLA and his Master of Arts in Education and Teaching Credential from Biola University. In addition to his great love for the Maryvale community, Mr. Esau plays basketball weekly and cherishes spending time with his lovely wife, Pearl, and his three young children, Kaiya, Zeke, and Niko.
Lucy Everett is thrilled to be joining the Maryvale Prep team as a fourth grade teacher this year. She graduated from Grove City College with her Bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Classical Education. She also found a love for people and their stories while working as a resident assistant in the freshman dorms for two years. Through this position, Lucy had the opportunity to mentor freshman woman – to love them, help them see their potential, and develop their gifts and talents. Having worked with kids in a variety of capacities, summer camps and volunteering in classrooms, she is inspired by the joy with which they embrace life and is excited to journey alongside them this year in pursing truth and being captivated by the beauty found in the world around us. Lucy grew up in the Pacific Northwest and just moved to Phoenix this month, but so far loves the unique beauty of the dessert and is truly blessed to be joining the wonderful Maryvale family.
Anna Gagnet is honored to join Maryvale Prep’s team and is very excited to teach 5th grade this coming year. She is a native of Ohio and recently relocated to Phoenix after graduating from college. She is growing in fondness of Arizona’s raw beauty and triple digit temperatures. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and a second Licensure in Special Education K-12 from Franciscan University of Steubenville. While attending Franciscan she also passed her EdTPA, tutored, and taught all subjects in a variety of classrooms & grades in her four years at an inner city school. She was also blessed with the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Gaming, Austria. While in Austria she was an aid in a bilingual Dutch and English first grade classroom. In her free time Miss Gagnet enjoys hiking, kayaking and traveling. She is extremely excited to engage and learn from her students this coming semester. She is truly honored to be able to empower her students’ learning through the Great Hearts curriculum this year.
Nikki Georgia is excited to be part of the team at Maryvale Preparatory Academy for a third year. This year, she will be the Regional Coordinator. During her senior year of high school, Ms. Georgia volunteered at an integrated private school. She quickly developed a passion for working with students with exceptional needs. Ms. Georgia became a Special Education Teacher, and was employed where she originally volunteered for 14 years. Ms. Georgia received her BA in Sociology from CSUSB and Special Education Certification and Master’s degree in Special Education from National University. Upon moving to Phoenix in 2012, Ms. Georgia worked as a Program Director for a K-12 private school for students with exceptional needs. She conducted a monthly parent support group meeting, developed the curriculum, including tools and techniques to modify it for individual needs, and helped implement positive character building and social success for students, community service projects, and teacher training in positive behavior interventions and interpreting and analyzing assessment data. Ms. Georgia is looking forward to another year with the Maryvale Prep Team and helping students achieve their goals and conduct evaluations. Ms. Georgia’s own daughter will also return to Maryvale Prep as a second grader and her son will join the Maryvale Prep family as a Kindergartener this coming year.
Linda Gill is delighted to join the greater Great Hearts community, and particularly, the Maryvale Preparatory Academy family. She is a native of Pennsylvania, born and raised in the Pittsburgh area. Hailing from a family of dedicated educators, she is very eager to meet her students and share her love, appreciation and admiration for the Latin language and culture. Linda completed her undergraduate studies at Chatham College and her graduate degree in the Classics and History Department of Duquesne University. Subsequently, Linda enrolled in Catholic University in Washington, D.C. to pursue post-graduate programming in Medieval Studies. As a career educator, she has served in multiple classroom teaching positions spanning Kindergarten through twelfth grade. These positions include teaching in three academic disciplines: History, English and Classical Languages, specifically Latin. As an administrator, Linda’s duties and responsibilities have ranged from Department Chair, Division Head, Academic Dean, Dean of Students and College Counselor. On a personal note, she is an avid swimmer, enjoys gardening, travel and all types and styles of music. Since childhood, Scottish Terriers have always been loved and trusted companions.
Sophia Grado is extremely excited to return for her fourth year at Maryvale Preparatory Academy. She spent her first three years serving as a Teacher Apprentice in first grade. This year Ms. Grado is enthusiastic to be co-teaching with her lead teacher, Mr. Hall. Her time with the Maryvale family has been remarkable and she desires to continue serving and loving our children. Ms. Grado holds an immense passion working with children. Prior to her employment at Maryvale Prep, she was employed with Litchfield School District. There she worked as an instructional aide for special education, specifically trained to work with autistic students. She gained much pride through seeing the successful academic growth from her students. Her goal at Maryvale Prep is to help students reach their full potential academically and to become compassionate individuals. She currently is studying at the University of Phoenix to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She is a mother of two young children and devotes all her time to them when she is not working. Ms. Grado is from El Paso, Texas where she was taught the importance of family values and gained a strong moral foundation. She is extremely excited and honored to be returning to Maryvale Preparatory Academy.
Christian Hall is ecstatic to be joining Maryvale Prep as a Kindergarten Teacher Apprentice! He is a Phoenix native and loves this city and the people who live here. He has been working with students of all ages since graduating from Manhattan Christian College in Manhattan, Kansas with a B.S. in Bible and Leadership. He loves music and has led music in church for all ages. One of his favorite experiences in life so far is working as a camp counselor in Prescott during the summer of 2014. Maintaining high energy while engaging students in fun activities week after week was some of the hardest, yet most fulfilling tasks he’s ever had. Mr. Hall has a passion to see students grow their minds and hearts and he looks forward to an amazing rest of the year.
Maria Hernandez who also goes by the name of Monse will be a Teacher Apprentice in fifth grade. Monse enjoys playing and watching soccer, volleyball, and basketball. She has coached first through twelfth grades in her church’s basketball league. She enjoys the arts and has a hobby of photography. She used to be a nanny for ten years. She has four siblings; an older sister and three younger brothers. Before coming to Maryvale Preparatory Academy was at Christian Challenge where she mainly worked with college students. She is looking forward to assisting with the education of the students at Maryvale Preparatory Academy.
Megan Jacobs is thrilled be returning for her 4th year at Maryvale Prep. Mrs. Jacobs has served in numerous roles while at Maryvale Prep and this year is very excited to teach her passion for history. She has previously taught at Camp Verde Middle School and Madison #1 Middle School. She heard of Great Hearts Academies when she took a position as a private tutor to three Great Hearts students and fell in love with the curriculum. She graduated from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a degree in Education and History. Mrs. Jacobs was also a collegiate athlete and understands the importance of discipline and hard work. Mrs. Jacobs’ passion for teaching started when she taught Vacation Bible School and Sunday school as a high school student. From there, she has been an Odyssey of the Mind judge, a tutor working with students to aid in reading and writing achievement, a teaching assistant for first-year college students, and a panelist discussing at-risk students in the inner city classroom. When not teaching, Mrs. Jacobs enjoys spending time with her husband, Brad, and their two young children Kate and Grant. She also enjoys reading, volleyball, and playing the piano.
Matt Levy is looking forward to his third year at Maryvale Prep. He is from a small town outside of New York City called Rockaway Beach. He has Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from Adelphi University. He has taught tennis for 12 years and coached varsity boys tennis for five years at Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, NY. He has also coached middle school soccer. In his third year at Maryvale Prep, Mr. Levy looks forward to using those skills and experiences to help all of his students succeed and have fun in PE, regardless of the sport or activity. During Mr. Levy’s free time, he enjoys playing tennis, gardening and doing DIY projects.
Ms. Lopez is excited to join Maryvale Preparatory Academy as an Exceptional Student Services Coordinator and Special Education teacher this school year. She graduated from Arizona State’s renowned iTeach program with a dual degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. She is an Arizona native and has worked in the Arizona Public School System for the past 12 years. She has served as a Reading Interventionist, Math Instructor, 1st grade teacher, and Special Education teacher in both the Glendale and Pendergast Elementary School Districts. She has also served as a K-8 Physical Education teacher at St. John Vianney Catholic School in Goodyear, Arizona. This year, she will be collaborating with teachers, parents, students and school personnel to enhance student academic development and achievement. Her goal is to guide her students to attain for independent levels of success with common core differentiated instruction and strategic multi-sensory lessons that enable students to acquire grade level concepts in reading, writing, and math. She has a profound adoration for the arts, and is highly trained in musical theater. She has a devoted heart for service, and believes that all children are capable of success, no exceptions.
Eden Lugo is returning to Maryvale Preparatory Academy for her fourth school year as the Medical Assistant. She is from a small town in the Yuma County known as Somerton, AZ and attended Apollo College where she received her Diploma/Certification as a Medical Assistant. She worked in Mesa and Tempe as a Medical Assistant before relocating back to her hometown. For the next two years in Somerton, she served both internal and pediatric patients at the Sunset Community Health Center. She also helped the clinic in reaching out to people with no medical insurance by volunteering at community health fairs. During her spare time, Eden enjoys reading, cooking and motivating and inspiring people with their fitness goals. She is excited to continue helping the children of Maryvale Prep not only with their health needs but also by supporting their growth as individuals as they pursue their goals and life aspirations.
Alexandra Medina is enthusiastic to be part of the team at Maryvale Prep Academy for another school year. This year she will be returning for her second year as a part of Maryvale as one of the Exceptional Student Services Coordinators on campus. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary and Special Education and is Highly Qualified in English Language Arts in the state of Arizona. She has worked with students with exceptional needs ranging from Kindergarten to 8th grade, as well as being a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher. She was born and raised in the valley of the sun and is delighted to continue to share her passion and dedication for educating children this coming school year.
Daniela Oliverio-Lauderdale is excited to be joining Maryvale Prep this year as a 3rd grade teaching apprentice. Daniela grew up in Arizona and attended Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University before moving to Vancouver, Canada to earn her graduate degree from the University of British Columbia. Daniela attended Tempe Preparatory Academy in high school and knew she would love the atmosphere and philosophy of Maryvale Prep. Before Maryvale Prep, Daniela worked with students in Italy teaching English and has worked in many other capacities with young children such as coaching volleyball and soccer. When she is not at school, Daniela loves hiking with her dog, cooking new recipes, traveling abroad and spending time with her family.
Gabriel Proano will lead our students in Physical Education for the Fifth straight year. Additionally, he will lead our boys as the Head Football Coach! Gabriel joined Maryvale Prep as part of the founding team of teachers in 2012. This will be his ninth year in teaching since he received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona Christian University. During his time as a counselor to foster children at Royal Family Kids Camp, Coach Proano became convinced that he wanted to teach children. He previously coached sports for five years at The Little Gym and has enthusiastically used that experience in building a Physical Education department at Maryvale Prep that centers on character, healthy habits, sportsmanship, fitness and sports skills/strategies.
Viridiana Ramirez is excited to be joining the Maryvale Prep team as a 2nd grade Teacher Apprentice. She grew up in Douglas, Arizona a small town with a big heart. While living in her hometown Ms. Ramirez worked as a care provider for children with disabilities and also worked helping troubled teens. She is the mother to five children, with four of them attending our very own Maryvale Prep. Ms. Ramirez has a passion for helping others and enjoys DIY projects that include building or fixing furniture.
Coach Rea-Clark has loved physical education and sports her entire life. She started playing organized sports at the age of five and knew she wanted to become a physical education teacher when she graduated from high school. Coach Rea-Clark received a full basketball scholarship to Fresno Pacific University where she earned All-American honors in athletics and academics. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education from Fresno Pacific University and completed her Master’s Degree in Athletic Administration and Coaching from Concordia University Irvine. Coach Rea-Clark is extremely excited for her fourth year at Maryvale Prep. She is looking forward to the second season of middle school athletics as well as teaching middle school Physical Education & Poetry.
Melanie Seitz is honored to be joining the Maryvale Prep team as a fourth grade Teacher Apprentice. Ms. Seitz recently moved from Ohio where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Mental Health and Human Services, as well as her Masters in Education from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Originally from Panama CIty, Panama, but having lived in Germany and the Netherlands for a number of years, Ms. Seitz is excited to call Arizona, and Maryvale Prep specifically, her new American home. Ms. Seitz has been passionate about serving and helping others since childhood. In her last position, working at a university Bookstore, she found walking with students on their journey to self-discovery to be one of her favorite joys. Ms. Seitz is thrilled to walk alongside the students in 4th grade; to discover, find joy, and to grow in wonder with them as the year unfolds.
Samantha Sidoti is thrilled to be returning to Maryvale Preparatory Academy this year in her role as a 5th grade lead teacher. This will be Ms. Sidoti’s second year teaching at Maryvale Prep and she is excited to return to the community of students, parents, and faculty who have made this school feel like home. Ms. Sidoti graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University with concurrent degrees in Women & Gender Studies and Communication. During her time at ASU, Ms. Sidoti developed a passion for working with students through her time as a Community Mentor in the freshmen residence halls and as a First Year Success Coach, providing one-on-one academic coaching services to students. Building powerful relationships with her students and helping them reach their full academic and personal potential inspired Ms. Sidoti to pursue teaching. She is very excited to witness the development of her students as they grow in their academics and in virtue this school year.
Patty Slider happily returns for her third year as a First Grade Teacher Apprentice. As a long time supporter and founding family of the first Great Hearts Academy, she has seen first hand the beauty of this education and especially the loving, supportive leadership from both administration and faculty. Patty has a long history of inspiring and leading kids. She has taught at the preschool level, supervised elementary after school programs, coordinated the Masterpiece Art Program through the Madison School District, and served as a Children’s Pastor, Girl Scout Leader and a High School Softball coach. She most recently has served as an Executive Administrative Assistant for the past 10 years and she enjoys using these same skills to both assist her lead teacher and her students. She is delighted to bring these diverse experiences into the classroom and to encourage our future graduates and college-ready students.
Jacqueline Soto has been proudly serving as the Office Manager of Maryvale Preparatory Academy since March of 2012. She graduated from Mount St. Mary’s College (MSMC) in Los Angeles, California with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and an emphasis in Management. During her academic years she worked with a group of MSMC colleagues and a non-profit organization to provide underprivileged women in Latin America with the means to build livelihoods for themselves and their families through microfinance, business training, and healthcare support. After graduation, she immediately began a Management Internship Program with one of the largest drug retailing chains in the United States. Shortly after completion, Mrs. Soto transitioned to the world of banking where she acquired hands-on experience managing branch operations, compliance, financials, communications, product development and customer service. As a fitness enthusiast, she is CPR and First Aid certified and is a Zumba Fitness instructor on her spare time in the West Valley. Mrs. Soto is also a parent of a 4th grader at Maryvale Prep. Her daughter has been attending Maryvale Prep since the school first opened its doors in August of 2012!
Alice Stevens is excited to join the Maryvale team as a Spanish immersion K-5 teacher. Ms. Stevens developed a passion for foreign languages at a young age. When she was finally able to study a foreign language in seventh grade, she tried French and loved it! It was like learning a secret code that unlocked another world of ideas, expressions, and possibilities. Of course she had to learn more! While continuing her study of French, she also added Chinese and Spanish. Ms. Stevens studied Spanish in Mexico City, Mexico, then spent a year and a half volunteering in Arkansas and Mississippi, where she taught lessons in Spanish and spoke with native Spanish speakers every day. She also worked with fellow volunteers to develop their Spanish language skills. Ms. Stevens recently graduated from St. Olaf College with a bachelor of arts in history and Asian studies. While at college, she worked as a teacher’s assistant and a Chinese tutor. She has also taught Sunday school to children of various ages. In addition to studying languages and teaching, Ms. Stevens enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, writing, and visiting gardens, parks, libraries, and museums. She grew up in Iowa and is the oldest of 5 children. She looks forward to pleasant winters and sharing the wonder of language learning with the Maryvale community.
Josué Valenzuela is ecstatic to be joining the Maryvale Prep team as a 4th grade Teacher Apprentice. He was born in Phoenix, AZ but grew up in Napa Valley, CA. He recently studied abroad in Florence, Italy where he learned how to speak Italian and had the opportunity to learn about the beautiful art of the renaissance period. He obtained an Italian minor, took and passed a national language test. He would one day enjoy teaching students how to speak the beautiful Italian language and teach them about the wonderful culture of Italy. He is looking forward to spending quality time with the students and helping them grow in a positive direction to help them become active and productive members of society.
Lauren Valenzuela is thrilled to be joining the Maryvale Prep family as a new teacher apprentice for Kindergarten. She is an Arizona native, however she has lived in California, Texas, and most recently Florence, Italy. Ms. Valenzuela spent the last year studying abroad to obtain her foreign language certification in Italian. Ms. Valenzuela has a nurturing, loving, and patient character that has always brought her to work with young children. She is currently working towards obtaining her degree in medical sciences. During her free time, Ms. Valenzuela, travels around the world on mission trips helping rural communities receive medical assistance and access to resources.
Anaïs Wolpert is thrilled to join the Maryvale Preparatory Academy community this fall as the art teacher. A lifelong Phoenician, Ms. Wolpert graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Arizona State University. As a young student, Ms. Wolpert had the fortune of attending a charter school in the Valley which valued art highly; her love of the fine arts and their history has flourished since. Ms. Wolpert holds dual citizenship; being a citizen of France she is able to visit Dijon frequently to enjoy family, French cuisine, and medieval art. An avid enthusiast of Northern Renaissance art, French art from the medieval period to Impressionism, and the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Ms. Wolpert is excited to instill her love of the fine arts in her students for many years to come at Maryvale Prep.