A-B-C-Learning written out in colorful chalk

Our Staff

As educators, we are in it for the kids. At Tuscano Elementary, we are fortunate to have a team of professionals who are truly passionate about teaching and helping children to grow and flourish. Please contact your child’s teacher to discuss any questions or concerns. 

Administration

Christina Anaya
Principal
P: (623) 707-2303
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Biography

About Christina Anaya

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Teresa Gomez
Assistant Principal
Biography

About Teresa Gomez

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Darren Diehl
T.O.S.A
P: (623) 707-2349
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Biography

About Darren Diehl

Education

BA Elementary Education - Kings College

Experience

Substitute teacher - three years; personal care assistant for high school student - one year; K–2 ED aid - one year; seventh-grade learning support inclusion - one year; fifth-grade Tuscano Elementary teacher - seven years

Why I Teach

The reason I teach is because I truly want to make a difference in children's lives. I feel that every student is capable of being successful, and I find great joy in teaching students how to bring that greatness out of themselves. Teaching for me is helping to change the world one student at a time.

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Preschool

Paola Covarrubias
Preschool Teacher
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Biography

About Paola Covarrubias

Education

BA in accounting

Experience

I began my preschool career as a parent volunteer in 2014 when my oldest son was a Head Start student. I began working as an assistant in a few daycare centers and as instructional assistant in preschool here at Tuscano. This is my first year as a lead teacher.

Why I Teach

I teach because it is my passion to share knowledge and inspire others, and I'm also learning something every day. I like to help children learn new things every day.

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Daniela Felix
Preschool Assistant
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Biography

About Daniela Felix

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Ana Rivas
Preschool Lead Teacher
P: (623) 707-2345
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Biography

About Ana Rivas

Education

I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in family and human development from Arizona State University.

Experience

I have taught preschool for seven years now at Tuscano.

Why I Teach

I love working with the little ones and seeing their progress day by day. Every day is a new adventure with them! I truly believe that every child can succeed and that teaching is one of my passions.

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Kindergarten

Doreen Babalcon
Biography

About Doreen Babalcon

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Elizabeth Diehl
P: (623) 707-2348
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Biography

About Elizabeth Diehl

Education

I have my bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from SUNY Cortland in New York state.

Experience

This will be my tenth year at Tuscano and also my tenth year teaching kindergarten!

Why I Teach

Teaching is not just a job for me; it is a passion. I truly love teaching my students and seeing them grow. The progress, not only academically but also socially and emotionally, that they make from August to May is incredible. Our students make every day in the classroom a special one. I am married to Mr. Diehl who also works here at Tuscano. We have two adorable puppies named Olaf and Yardley.

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Kendall Ewing
Biography

About Kendall Ewing

Education

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin—La Crosse with a bachelor's degree.

Experience

This is my second year at Tuscano.

Why I Teach

Teaching has always been a passion of mine since the fifth grade. Watching it become a reality has been truly amazing! I look forward to educating, serving, and leading your children through yet another great school year!

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Mary Cathy Hernandez
Biography

About Mary Cathy Hernandez

Education

I have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

Experience

Ten years of experience in the education field. This is my third year teaching kindergarten at Tuscano Elementary School.

Why I Teach

I love teaching here because I love to see all my students learn and grow. I am always excited and ready to welcome all my students to a positive learning environment to facilitate the academic, personal, social, and intellectual development of each student. I love working with this age group, and I like to encourage all my students to become life-long learners.

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Karen Wagner
P: (623) 707-2347
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Biography

About Karen Wagner

Education

BS - Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota

Experience

While this is my first year in third grade, I have taught for many years. I started out teaching Head Start and later moved up to kindergarten. I have also taught first and second grades.

Why I Teach

I so much admired my own kindergarten teacher (yes, I remember her!) that I decided I would also become a kindergarten teacher! As I went through school, it became harder for me—I struggled. But I always had teachers who were willing to take the time to help me out. This stayed with me; what a great influence they had on me. I still love learning! And it brings me joy to pass that kind of positive influence on to the young students who I'm lucky to meet.

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First Grade

Christine Aguilar
Biography

About Christine Aguilar

Education

I have a bachelor’s of arts in liberal studies from California State University—Long Beach.

Experience

I have 18 years of experience teaching kindergarten, kinder/first grade combo, second grade, third grade, and fourth grade.

Why I Teach

I have loved school throughout my whole life as a student. Two things have motivated me to work with children: a love of reading and learning. I loved reading Clifford the Big Red Dog books and R. L. Stine as a child. I want to show my students all the things you can learn though reading. I also always want to motivate my students to be lifelong learners. Every day is a great day to learn something new.

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Dulce Andrade
Biography

About Dulce Andrade

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Jazmin Castillo
Biography

About Jazmin Castillo

Education

BA in elementary education, endorsement early childhood education

Experience

I taught half a year in kindergarten and this will be my first year teaching first grade.

Why I Teach

Being around children is my pride and joy. All children are bright with their unique selves. Being allowed to be part of a student life that will prepare them for the future is a blessing. One of my goals of being their teacher is to be the teacher that they look back at and remember as they are older. It is an amazing experience to be allowed to watch each student grow physically, academically, and emotionally!

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Elvera Castro
P: (623) 707-2344
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Biography

About Elvera Castro

Education

University of Phoenix

Experience

Ten years as an educator, despite the five years it took, but I was able to work full time, raise my son, and attend school!

Why I Teach

I often am graced with visits from some of my first-year students who miraculously are taller than me and graciously extend a smile and a hug! That to me is a job well done! Go Jaguars! 

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Hannah Piatek
Biography

About Hannah Piatek

Education

BS in middle childhood-early adolescence education. TESOL certified.

Experience

I am a first-year teacher at Tuscano. I have two years educational experience in Pre-K through eighth grade classrooms.

Why I Teach

Teaching is the greatest blessing and biggest passion I have in life. Being able to watch children slowly learn and expand their knowledge and minds is the most rewarding career I can imagine. Every day is an exciting, new adventure that we all get to go on together. I am so happy to be starting this adventure here at Tuscano with all of the amazing students, staff, and families.

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Second Grade

Yorlin Abarca
Biography

About Yorlin Abarca

Education

Bachelor's of arts in education with a major in teaching English, and a bachelor's of science in teaching.

Experience

21 years

Why I Teach

Teaching, bringing knowledge to people, and supporting students to achieve their goals. I want to help them progress according to their own capability and I want to show them how much value and potential they have to succeed. We could also share and exchange culture and experience.

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Adriana Duran
Biography

About Adriana Duran

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Brianna Quintero
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Biography

About Brianna Quintero

Education

I have a bachelor's in elementary education from Grand Canyon University.

Experience

I was a student teacher at Tuscano and I began my teaching career in 2020. This is my fourth year teaching.

Why I Teach

I love Tuscano because of the people around me, the students, and the staff. My colleagues make me feel so welcomed, and they are always willing to lend a helping hand, or an ear. For my students past and present, it is amazing to watch them grow academically and as individuals. Being a part of their learning experience and lives is wonderful. My overall goal as an educator is to guide students and make them want to continue their academic journey.

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Teresa Zimmerman
Biography

About Teresa Zimmerman

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Third Grade

Laumary Duarte
Biography

About Laumary Duarte

Education

BA in elementary education

Experience

I have been in education for three years. I was a teacher's assistant and substitute for two years. This is my first year as a classroom teacher. 

Why I Teach

While I was working at the Boys and Girls Club, I had the opportunity to take a student aside to help her with a difficult math concept that she was having trouble understanding. When I was able to show her a different way to approach the problem, she “got it.” The excitement that came with her “got it” made me feel like I can do so much more than just helping our students during their homework time. I teach because kids deserve a safe place to learn and grow and make mistakes. Kids are natural learners who are just waiting for someone to realize their potential. I am so happy to spend each day with my students!

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Marta Gontarz
P: (623) 707-2331
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Biography

About Marta Gontarz

Education

BA Elementary Education, MA Administration, endorsements ESL, Early Childhood

Experience

In 2001, I began teaching in the Fowler District. I started at Fowler Elementary then switched to Sunridge Elementary where I worked for three years. When Tuscano Elementary opened up in 2005, I decided to transfer here and have been here ever since. I have taught the second and third grades.

Why I Teach

My story of teaching began when I was 13. My sister-in-law, who taught first grade, invited me to come and help in her classroom. I absolutely enjoyed the experience. One of my goals in teaching is to make a positive impact on students and share their successes. Helping students prepare for their future and letting students know they can achieve anything they want is important to me. Being with students in school allows me to inspire my students.

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Josie Guillen
P: (623) 707-2336
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Biography

About Josie Guillen

Education

BA Elementary Education and Early Childhood

Experience

I have worked in the Fowler School District for 25 years. I started as a teaching assistant (SFA tutor) at Sunridge. I also worked as an ESL tester for a few years at Sunridge, Tuscano, and Suncayon. I taught third grade for half a year at Sunridge. Now I'm teaching third grade at Tuscano Elementary School.

Why I Teach

I teach because there is excitement and joy and suspense in the journey. The one and only compensation is to make a permanent difference in the life of a child. I have found that my students also teach me about different cultures, abilities, and perspectives. I have discovered that they are actually my teachers, and I'm the student. There is nothing better than having one of my students realize they are stronger and more resilient than they ever thought possible. For those reasons, and many more, I teach.

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Abigail Steib
Biography

About Abigail Steib

Education

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin—La Crosse with a bachelor's degree in early to middle childhood education.

Experience

This is my second year here at Tuscano.

Why I Teach

Growing up with educators in my family, teaching has been something I have wanted to do since I was a child. I love seeing children build relationships and learn new ideas daily. I am so excited for this upcoming school year.

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Fourth Grade

Nanette Allen
Biography

About Nanette Allen

Education

Experience

I have had the opportunity to teach from kindergarten to eighth grade. Each grade is exciting to teach. This is my second year teaching fourth grade here at Tuscano.

Why I Teach

I love the opportunity to be in the classroom with so many future leaders of the world. I hope to inspire and empower these young students to be lifelong learners and to always try to do their best. I appreciate the vision that Tuscano School has for these students and this community. It is a joy to come to work with the creative challenge to touch the future.

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Rey Castillo
Biography

About Rey Castillo

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Laura Chaidez
Biography

About Laura Chaidez

Education

I am currently working on a master's degree in education.

Experience

I have been working in the education system for ten years. I was a reading interventionist; I was an emergency teacher substitute for kindergarten through fifth grade; I was a long-term teacher substitute for kindergarten through fifth grade; and for the past two years I have been teaching fourth grade.

Why I Teach

Why do I teach or love what I do? First of all, I love to give to my community. I love to serve where I live. I enjoy working with kids; shaping their minds, helping them to grow in knowledge, helping children become better citizens, helping children with any type of struggles emotional, social, or educational. I love to teach because I am a firm believer that children need someone who cares, someone who supports them in any way possible.

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Sabrina Kracke
P: (623) 707-2324
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Biography

About Sabrina Kracke

Education

Bachelor's of science in nutrition. Elementary education certificate.

Experience

I am in my fifth year of teaching fourth grade.

Why I Teach

My favorite part of teaching is seeing my students' faces brighten when they learn something new or challenging. I look forward to a wonderful new school year!

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Fifth Grade

Michael Kubasko
Biography

About Michael Kubasko

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Daniela Morales
Biography

About Daniela Morales

Education

I have a bachelor's degree in teaching at Autonomous University of Baja California.

Experience

I am currently teaching fifth grade at Tuscano Elementary.

Why I Teach

I absolutely enjoy teaching, interacting with students, trying to make an impact in their lives, and most importantly, learning from each and every one of them. My main goal is to help them believe they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.

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Ann Marie Schilling
P: (623) 707-2335
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Biography

About Ann Marie Schilling

Education

BA K–8th Education (Early Childhood) - ASU, MA Curriculum and Instruction - Grand Canyon College

Experience

23 years teaching: kindergarten, PE, music, second grade, third grade, third/fourth/fifth combo class

Why I Teach

I teach because it's my passion in life. I teach because being a teacher is a major part of who I am. I teach to mold the minds of children so they will know how to become anyone they want to be. I teach so children can achieve their dreams. I teach because I want each child to know they are special and important. I teach because learning to read and write will change a child's life. I teach because I'm changing the world.

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Leslie Stewart
Biography

About Leslie Stewart

Education

I graduated from Ottawa University of Surprise with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Experience

I have been a part of the Fowler family since I was about nine years old so I knew from a very young age this was going to be a place where I wanted to build my own life.

Why I Teach

The first time I knew I wanted to be a teacher was when I was in first grade. I can’t wait to get to know so many more students. I know this is going to be an amazing journey and I am so thankful and so honored to be able to experience it with all of you. I hope you have a wonderful year and if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or just need to chat, my door is always open!

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Special Area Teachers

Erika Fierros
Counselor
P: (623) 707-2322
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Biography

About Erika Fierros

Education

BA and MA - Arizona State University, state licensed counselor and therapist

Experience

I was a school counselor for three years. Before I began my counseling journey, I was a kindergarten teacher!

Why I Teach

I love having the opportunity to guide students on their social and emotional learning process. Tuscano has been my home for many years, and I enjoy watching the students learn and achieve important life skills that will allow them to be successful throughout their lives.

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Edel Herrera
PE
Biography

About Edel Herrera

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Monica Jordan
Art
P: (623) 707-2338
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Biography

About Monica Jordan

Education

I graduated from Arizona State University with cum laude honors, along with a bachelor's degree in fine arts.

Experience

I have been working for five-and-a-half years now as an elementary art teacher. I have also worked with individuals with special needs and mental illness, as well as senior citizens.

Why I Teach

I was raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Through the years, I am known for being a humanitarian. I enjoy working with students to find their talents through the arts.

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Elizabeth Sanchez
Technology
Biography

About Elizabeth Sanchez

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Elizabeth Scott
Library Clerk
P: (623) 707-2323
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Biography

About Elizabeth Scott

Education

BS Psychology emphasis Education

Experience

20+ Years, Reading Recovery training

Why I Teach

I teach because I love being a part of a student's development as a learner and a human. I teach because children deserve a good teacher. I teach because I love to learn and share my skills and knowledge with others. I teach because there is nothing else I would rather do. I teach because it connects me to something larger than myself. I teach because it is a calling.

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Nanette Swanson
Reading Interventionist
P: (623) 707-2342
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Biography

About Nanette Swanson

Education

BS Education - Chadron State College, MAE Curriculum and Education - Chapman University, Endorsements ESL, Early Childhood, Reading - University of Phoenix and Chapman University

Experience

This is my 21st year in AZ public schools. I have also taught in the private school setting.

Why I Teach

When I was a little girl one my favorite things to do was play school. All of my dolls and stuffed toys were my students. When it came time for college, it was a no-brainer for me. As graduation approached, some teachers changed their minds and regretted picking education. I have never regretted anything about teaching. Children are a blessing and teaching them is my passion!

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Rick Thomas
Music
P: (623) 707-2351
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Biography

About Rick Thomas

Education

Graduated from ASU, NAU, and Bible College in Seattle.

Experience

30+ years as a music teacher in Arizona and the northwest. I am going on ten years at Tuscano!

Why I Teach

I enjoy working with a great staff, and I love the kids like they are my own!

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Special Education

Patty Caloca
Instructional Assistant
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Biography

About Patty Caloca

Education

I am a SPED assistant in Ms. Perry's class.

Experience

This is my first year at Tuscano Elementary School.

Why I Teach

I love having the opportunity to work with amazing students and staff. I enjoy watching the students grow and achieve their goals every day. I also love being able to help them with their daily struggles.

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Nallely Cortez
Instructional Assistant
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Biography

About Nallely Cortez

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Andrea Czoka
Special Education Self-Contained K-2
P: (623) 707-2350
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Biography

About Andrea Czoka

Education

BS Special Education, MA Special Education

Experience

16 Years

Why I Teach

I love to watch students grow academically and socially. It truly is amazing to see their development throughout the school year—not just in their academics, but with social interaction with their peers. One of my passions in teaching is advocating for students as well as teaching them to advocate for themselves. I believe this a very important skill needed to become a successful, functioning member of society.

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Denise Mejia
Instructional Assistant
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Biography

About Denise Mejia

Education

High school graduate/college 

Experience

I worked in the retail business for four year; I was a full-time mom for 15 years; I have two months experience as a SPED assistant.

Why I Teach

I enjoy working with kids and at the same time I love learning more about them. I also love teaching because I see myself learning more about different ways to handle all kinds of opportunities with special kids, and at the same time, grow as a professional.

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Stephanie Perry
Special Education Self-Contained 3-5
P: (623) 707-2337
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Biography

About Stephanie Perry

Education

BA Special Education K–12, BA Elementary Education K–6

Experience

I went back to school after my older son started school. I was not sure what I wanted to do. I tried a class for elementary education and I loved it. I started at Estrella Mountain Community College, and after I received my associate's degree, I transferred to ASU in the I-Teach program. It was an accelerated program. I was supposed to finish in a year and a half. I ended up pregnant with my younger son. I changed to the regular program and was able to finish in two years.

Why I Teach

This my third year teaching in special education. I like working with students in a small group. I enjoy working with a team to help a student overcome a struggle. My favorite groups are my social groups. We practice how to recognize our feelings and how to calm down when we are upset. We also practice how to accept the word "no" and to get along with others.

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Cori Stewart
Instructional Assistant
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Biography

About Cori Stewart

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Shanessa Tovar
Instructional Assistant
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Biography

About Shanessa Tovar

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Natalie Zavala
Special Education Resource
Biography

About Natalie Zavala

Education

I went to college at ASU and then went to GCU for my master’s degree in special education.

Experience

I have been teaching for eight years.

Why I Teach

I chose to teach because I enjoy working with children and seeing smiles on their faces when they realize they can achieve new knowledge if they try hard. The Tuscano family is new to me, and I hope to make many new relationships here.

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Support Staff

Martha Alvarado
Lunch Monitor/Crossing Guard
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Biography

About Martha Alvarado

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Itzel Avelino
Headstart Assistant
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Biography

About Itzel Avelino

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Sandy Blake
Health Clerk
Biography

About Sandy Blake

Education

Graduate of Johnston Community College where I majored in nursing.

Experience

I have been a nurse for more than 13 years. I was the RN care navigator at Providence Medical Group in Spokane, WA.

Why I Teach

I love what I do because it allows me to care for others, which is something I am passionate about.

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Mary Bowman
Secretary
P: (623) 707-2301
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Biography

About Mary Bowman

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Wendy Castanon
Attendance Clerk
P: (623) 707-2302
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Biography

About Wendy Castanon

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Bertha Mendoza
Cafeteria Manager
P: (623) 707-2353
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Biography

About Bertha Mendoza

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Gabriella Rocha
ELL Coordinator
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Biography

About Gabriella Rocha

Education

Graduated high school and partial college

Experience

English language development instructor (ELD) since 2015. As an ELD instructor, I help advance English learners' knowledge and use of English in increasingly sophisticated ways.

Why I Teach

I love watching the students grow.

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Esmeralda Salgado
Lunch Monitor/Crossing Guard
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Biography

About Esmeralda Salgado

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Raymundo Sandoval
Custodian
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Biography

About Raymundo Sandoval

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Rosa Solis
Custodian
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Biography

About Rosa Solis

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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