Audra Damron is heading into her eighth year of teaching and currently starting her sixth year as a preschool teacher at a Quality First 5-Star rated program at Desert Oasis Elementary School in Tolleson Elementary School District in Phoenix, Arizona. She attended the Baltimore Teach to Lead Summit and received the Teacher Impact Grant in 2016 for working toward meaningful home school collaborations. She received the Rodel Exemplary Teacher of Early Childhood Award in 2014 and is a National Board Certified Teacher candidate. Audra earned her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from Bowling Green State University in Ohio in 2010.
Joy Hallett completed her first year as a first grade ELD teacher at David Crockett Elementary School within the Balsz School District in June of 2017. Joy is genuinely passionate and dedicated to her students that she teaches in an urban environment. Joy recently participated as a new teacher on a panel at Northern Arizona University’s education conference, There’s A Reason I’m A Teacher (TARIAT). Joy earned her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education with a certification in Early Childhood from Northern Arizona University. She is currently exploring opportunities to earn her master’s degree.
Misti Andrews earned her Master’s in Education Administration from the University of Scranton and is now an instructional coach at Paradise Honors High School in Surprise, AZ. In the classroom, Misti has primarily taught middle school mathematics. She started her teaching career in Morenci, AZ. During her time in education, Misti has been a new teacher induction and mentor coordinator, a grade level lead, a CST coordinator, an interim administrator, a member of an NCA accreditation committee, a varsity volleyball and track coach, as well as a trainer for AZDOE for several years. She hopes that the support given to teachers will allow them to be the most effective versions of themselves. This will then trickle down to our students, whose achievements, are the priority.
Amy earned an M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University, B.S. Marketing, B.S. Business Process Management and an M.Ed. in Gifted Education from Arizona State University. Amy Casaldi has spent the past ten years working in public education, K-12 and higher education, with eight of those years spent in the Gilbert Public Schools district. As a 5thgrade teacher at Islands Elementary, she is passionate about student relationships and engagement. She shows that passion by bringing the outside world into the classroom. Amy is a member of the Arizona State Science Standards Committee and serves on district math and science curriculum committees. She was awarded the Teacher of the Year Award from her school and a scholarship from Engineering is Elementary.
Joshua Meibos has a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from Arizona State University and has been teaching physical education at Crockett Elementary in the Balsz School District for six years. Throughout those years, he has advocated for better health and wellness for his students and their communities by teaming up with colleagues and local leaders. Together they received the 2015-2016 Alliance for Healthier Generation Bronze Award and recognition from First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Active Schools National Award in 2015. Josh was chosen as Arizona Cardinals MVP in the Classroom in 2012, as well as the 2016 Balsz District Champion. Josh is a member of the 2016-2017 Arizona K12 Teacher Solution Team, Skate After School Board Member. He has also participated in programs and events alongside the NFL Play 60, Phoenix Children’s Hospital Kid Rock Star, American Heart Association, UNICEF Kid Power, PGA First Tee, Skate After School and Athletes for Hope.
Bradley R. Jamison, Ed. D. works at Castro Middle School in the Cartwright Elementary School District teaching 7/8th Grade Language Arts. Dr. Jamison has been in education for the past 19 years and has had various roles such as: teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal, principal and university adjunct professor. He has earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, a Master’s degree from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He has earned teaching awards at the University of Phoenix and is a current member of Phi Gamma Sigma, a research fraternity.
Dr. Jess Ledbetter is a National Board Certified Teacher with twelve years teaching experience in Arizona. She is proud to teach Developmental Preschool at Mountain Shadows Elementary in Deer Valley School District. Additionally, she enjoys blogging on Stories from School AZ and LeadfromINtheClassroom.com. Dr. Ledbetter attended Arizona State University, earning a B.A.E. in Special Education, a B.M. in Music Therapy, a Masters in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Innovation. She was named as the Matt O’Hanhila Inspirational Educator in 2011 and Teacher of the Year in 2011 at Melvin E. Sine Elementary in Glendale, Arizona.
Cheryl has spent her career in the Dysart Unified School District. She currently teaches English at Willow Canyon High School. Previously, she spent 16 years teaching general and special education at West Point Elementary. She is also an educational technology mentor. Furthermore, Cheryl is the President of the Doctoral Community Cohort and an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University. Additionally, she produces a monthly podcast for the NEA. She was named a National Dream Team Teacher in 2014 and 2015. Cheryl is a National Board Certified Teacher, an Arizona teacher of the year nominee and was named Dysart Hero in 2015.
Karla has been a teacher for 20 years. She taught in the Glendale School District and Mesa Public Schools. In 2004, she was the recipient of the Chicanos Por La Causa Esperanza Award. Karla has worked for Chandler Unified School District for ten years. She is a member of the Chandler Education Association and was part of the Super Q Committee which is comprised of administrators, certified and classified personnel as a part of the bargaining process for contracts and benefits. Karla earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Arizona State University and a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix.
Anthony is a Phoenix native and has spent his last four of seven-year career at Sunset Elementary in the Cartwright School District. His passion for students receiving a high-quality education in urban settings drives the work that he does, both in and out of the classroom. He is a member of the Grand Canyon University College of Education Advisory Consortium, Arizona Science Teachers Association, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity. Anthony was awarded the Rookie Teacher of the Year award in 2012. In 2016, he was awarded national scholarships by the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute and Engineering is Elementary, as well as the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence. Mr. Pérez earned a bachelor’s from Arizona State University in 2004 and a Master’s from Grand Canyon University in 2011. He is currently pursuing his Early Childhood Generalist certificate from The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Kristin Roberts is passionate about empowering all students to grow their potential and providing them with opportunities to excel in public schools. She currently teaches 9th grade English at Carl Hayden Community High School in the Phoenix Union High School District and she spent the previous eight years teaching middle school language arts at Mountain View School in the Washington Elementary School District. Kristin is a National Board Certified Teacher with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cedarville University (Cedarville, Ohio) and teaching credentials in secondary English education from Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan).
Dr. Petra Schmid-Riggins has taught at the high school level for the past 13 years. She has worked as a reading specialist, inclusion teacher, AVID and AIMS teacher and advocates for and teaching a diverse student population. Previously, she taught K-8 for three years. She is a member of Phi Delta Kappa and Phi Lambda Theta honor society, CEC, ASCD, and NEA and the author of The Impact in Secondary Education: Student and Teacher Perspectives about Intentional Collaboration. An advocate of public education and teacher leadership with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Petra acknowledges the inherent difficulties that arise when decisions on education are made by individuals with minimal knowledge or experience in the field. She completed the NEA Teacher Leadership Institute and collaboratively composed a report influencing education policy which was shared with the NEA Accountability Task Force and disseminated at NEA-RA. As a panelist, she promoted teacher voice at the Network for Public Education (NPE) Conference in Chicago. She has worked on several projects with NEA to assure that decisions are made by educators for educators and to support teachers new to the profession. She serves on the AEA Social Justice Task Force, AZ ASCD Advocacy Committee and as CTA Secretary. Through AEA and NPE, she works on campaigns to thwart any attempts to privatize schools and to adequately fund and democratically-govern public schools. As English Second Language speaker, she represents a vast number of students and she believes empowering educators leads to empowering students.
Sarah has been teaching for nine years in the Balsz School District. She has taught kindergarten, 1st and 3rd grade. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in Special Education from Grand Canyon University. Currently, she is a mentor coach in her district and works with new teachers to develop their craft. She is pursuing National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist and is President of her local association, as well as a member of NEA’s Teacher Leadership Institute Cohort. While being a teacher leader is an important goal for her, her true passion lies with being an accomplished teacher who can provide a quality education for her students.
Sarah has been teaching for the past five years at Landmark School in the Glendale Elementary School District. During her time at Landmark, she has taught as a middle school special education teacher in the self-contained social emotional classroom. However, this upcoming year she will teach 7th and 8th grade reading. Sarah participates on the school’s Culture of Achievement Committee as well as the district’s Teacher Evaluation Committee. Most recently, Sarah graduated with her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership through the iLeadAZ program through Arizona State University. Sarah, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Hope College in Holland, MI.
Yolanda has taught for the past 7 years in the Phoenix Elementary School District. Her passion for developing and supporting the human potential is evident in the cross-curricular work done in her classroom. She is a member of the Association Montessori International and is a RODEL Scholar. Yolanda earned a bachelor’s in Psychology from The Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.), a master’s in Social Work and a master’s in Education (Special Education) from Arizona State University and a diploma in Lower Elementary Education for ages 6-12 from the Montessori Institute of North Texas.
Nicole has spent her 16 year career working with diverse K-8 students, as well as instructing at the University level. Her dedication to teacher advocacy and support led her to become an Instructional Coach in 2013. She has called Avondale Elementary School District home for three years. She has spent her career actively involved in instructional improvement, chairing many committees including Response to Intervention, Academic Accountability and Professional Development Committees. Nicole was named Dysart Hero (teacher of the year) in 2012. Nicole earned a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Education/ESL from Ottawa University. She is also endorsed as an Early Childhood Specialist, Reading Specialist and Gifted Specialist.