Meet our Teachers

Kristin Chaydez Grades K-1

Grade/Subject: K-1 Combo

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. Bachelors in Education Finance from the University of Tennessee
  2. Masters in Elementary Education from Arizona State University

# of years in Education: 4 years

# of years at Emerson: 1 year

What brought you to teaching children:

I was greatly impacted by my second-grade teacher. Her teaching allowed me to grow and flourish that year academically, and I wanted to see the same growth in other students.

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

Pride and Prejudice. I read this book in high school and enjoyed formal English and well-written text. The book is a classic.

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

For kindergarten students, I believe in a strong foundation of phonics. I am pushing all students to know all phonograms to build reading fluency. This is an adaptation from the curriculum to push reading growth.

Students are also learning to count to 100. We will end the year with an ice cream sundae party. Every 10 students can count is a scoop of ice cream, a topping etc.

Tiffany Rainey Grade 1

Grade/Subject: 1st grade

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. BA at Arizona State University
  2. MA at Walden University

# of years in Education: 14 years

# of years at Emerson: 14 years

What brought you to teaching children:

I came from a family of teachers feels like a natural fit! 🙂

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

Tops and Bottoms: Becuase it makes me laugh.

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

I love teaching kids to read and seeing their growth!

Stephanie Fuentes Grade 1

Grade/Subject: 1st grade

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. BA in Early Childhood from Arizona State University
  2. MA in Curriculum & Instruction from Grand Canyon University

# of years in Education: 12 years

# of years at Emerson: 12 years

What brought you to teaching children:

My love of children. I didn’t have many teachers I connected to in elementary school. I wanted to be the teacher that makes a difference.

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

The Giver by Lois Lowry is the first book I remember being fascinated by and reading ahead of schedule.

 

Michelle Vallowe Grade 2

Grade/Subject: 2nd Grade

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. BA from Arizona State University
  2. MA from Grand Canyon University

# of years in Education: 14 years

# of years at Emerson: 14 years

What brought you to teaching children:

I had nothing but wonderful memories of being in school and it really had so much to do with my teachers. I really wanted to give that back!

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

I didn’t know how heartfelt The Giving tree was until I shared it with my class. That moment and lesson have stayed with me.

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

At the end of the year, we study sea life. My class then makes a sea life tee with stamps and then we label them. It’s something I’m known for now and previous classes have told me that they still have things from many years ago.

Lucie Sparks Grade 3

Grade/Subject: 3rd grade

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree from Arizona State
  2. Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University

# of years in Education: 5 years

# of years at Emerson: 5 years

What brought you to teaching children:

I had a real desire to do what I could to foster a sense of continual learning in kids. To share that learning experience together with my students is what has kept me in education. The relationships and community that we build together in our classroom is hugely rewarding. The learning that we produce and the growth that we achieve together is the reason that I love to teach. It truly is not a job, but a calling and a privilege.

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

For me, being a lifelong reader has brought many ideas and much knowledge that has enriched my life. My favorite books are by J.R.R. Tolkien. The adventures and the characters that you go with on thejoumeyfrom The Hobbit to The Return of the Kinq have enthralled me since I was in middle school and will continue to do so for the rest of my life!

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

Each year during the last few weeks of school in winter, we become our own screenwriters. We take stories that are familiar to us and rewrite them with a twist as a script. We rehearse them, build our own props and costumes, and then perform them for an audience in our classroom. This teaches students the standard 5.RL.5Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem. It also pushes them to go beyond explaining how scenes fit together into actually creating them!

Joey Acedo Grade 3

Grade/Subject: 3rd grade

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. AA at Arapahoe Community College
  2. BA at University of Arizona
  3. MEd at Arizona State University

# of years in Education: 28 years

# of years at Emerson: 5 years

What brought you to teaching children:

My rapport with children!

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

Bible: Life lessons and guidance

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

Interesting/creative bulletin boards and maintaining raised flower beds

Bernice Villa Grade 4

Grade/Subject: 4th Grade Teacher

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University
  2. Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University

# of years in Education: 26 years

# of years at Emerson: 26 years

What brought you to teaching children:

I was compelled to teach children because of their natural curiosity for learning.

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

One of my favorite books is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I enjoyed the deep description of characters and their relationships.

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

To personalize curriculum, I give students different options to research, to create their own pictures, their own questions to pursue, and choices that help them to share their personality in final products.

Rebecca Glenn Grade 4

Grade/Subject: 4th Grade General Education

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. B.A. ASU

# of years in Education: 3

# of years at Emerson: 3

What brought you to teaching children:

I come from a long line of educators and so I was originally determined to make my own way in a new and different field and started work as payroll accountant. After working in finance for only a couple of years, it became clear to me that I needed to make a different kind of impact in the world, one that I felt held more meaning and touched more lives. I began to see how the values I was raised on had shaped me into a naturat educator. I have an affinity for constant exploration and invention and children are natural explorers and inventors so when I started teaching I was so excited to realize I had found the work I was meant to do. I feel grateful to have found my place in the world and lucky that I get to help a new generation develop their own set of values based on exploration and invention.

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

I really love Barbara Kingsolver’s work. t picked up her book Beans Trees a few years back while in the mountains in Colorado and was transported. She is able to capture the most profound of our human frailties in a way that is both relatable and touching and I always feel as though my own understanding of humanity evolves after each read.

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

The 4th grade takes an overnight camping trip into the woods in Payson to explore the natural environment and see what our grade level science standards look like in real life. It is an amazing opportunity for students to get out of the city apply their classroom learning in new and meaningful ways.

Richard Rumaldo Perez Grade 5

Grade/Subject: 5th grade all subjects

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. Bachelor of Arts in Education from ASU
  2. Masters degree from NAU in Educational Leadership

# of years in Education: 21 years

# of years at Emerson: 15 years

What brought you to teaching children:

I volunteered in a classroom and new that I was supposed to be a teacher.

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

Glass Castle, It reminded me of my dad.

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

I make a game out of the grammar instruction that is our Daily Oral Language. The students really enjoy grammar that way.

Katherine Calderon Grade 6

Grade/Subject: 6th Grade Math & Science

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. BA in Spanish from ASU
  2. MEd in Elementary Education from NAU

# of years in Education: 11

# of years at Emerson: 11

What brought you to teaching children:

When I was growing up, my favorite thing to do was play school. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 5. There is nothing I would rather do.

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

Tough question! The best book I’ve read recently was “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak. I’ve never read a book that so eloquently and creatively conveyed emotions.

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

At Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the end of the year, I have students write one another letters sharing what they appreciate about their classmates.

Caity Clausen Grade 6

Grade/Subject: 6th ELA/Writing/Social Studies

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Aurora University
  2. Masters Degree at Grand Canyon University

# of years in Education: 4 years

# of years at Emerson: 2 years

What brought you to teaching children:

I am passionate about fostering the natural curiosity in students. My goal is to create a love of learning and exploring the world for my students.

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

The Harry Potter series fostered my love of reading and I still love them today. As an adult, some of my favorites are: The Kite Runner and One Thousand Splendid Suns

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

I love to make Social Studies (ancient civilizations) curriculum creative for students by allowing students to create projects to demonstrate their understanding of the content.

Adam Lovelady Grade 3-8 Autism

Grade/Subject: Autism 3-8

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. Bachelors of Inter-disciplinary studies at ASU
  2. Masters of Special Education at ASU

# of years in Education: 9 years

# of years at Emerson: 9 years

What brought you to teaching children:

I became a teacher because I love to learn. There is nothing like the spark of new knowledge and the ability to share that with others.

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

The Light in the Attic — Shel Silverstein. I appreciate how this book makes you think about something differently. It is full of creativity and humor.

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…): I work to provide a structured environment for the success ofstudents with autism. We individualize to support academic and social skills to prepare for all aspects of life.

Olivia Yuen K-8 Art

Grade/Subject: K-8 Art

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. BSEd in Art Education, Art History, and Spanish Minor from NAU

# of years in Education: 1 year

# of years at Emerson: 1 year

What brought you to teaching children:

My love for creating art led me to teaching, where I am able to share this passion with children of all ages.

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

My favorite book, both as a child and now as an adult, has been the harry potter series. Reading these books at various times in my life give me a new and unique interpretation of the stories & characters each time.

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

I enjoy sharing bits of art history to students, so they become more aware of the role of art both in the past & present. I’m also able to further students own personal interests in art through the afterschool Emerson Art Club.

Dianne Anderson-Nickel General Music

Grade/Subject: General Music, Choir, World Drumming

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. B.S. Secondary Education music concentration at Tennessee Temple University
  2. M.A. Music Education choral  concentration at Georgia State University
  3. M. Ed. Education Administration & Supervision at Arizona State University
  4. D.M.A General Music at Arizona State University

# of years in Education: 42

# of years at Emerson: 3

What brought you to teaching children:

I have the heart for learning and a passion to teach others how to learn how to persevere and how to realize ?. The positive impact music had for my childhood until now causes me to teach music to others.

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

The Bible: It is a guidebook for my life principles and relationships.

The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck: This book is centered around building a life and community that practices true tolerance and respect for all relationships.

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

Performances: AZ State Fair, AZ State Capitol, ? Art Exhibit, Greater Phoenix Choral Festival

“Compose Yourself”: Student Composition Projects, School Celebrations & Events

Bernadette Duguay Social Worker

Grade/Subject: Social Worker

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

  1. U.N. Y Oswego/B.S. in Marketing
  2. University of Buffalo/B.A. in Psychology
  3. Fordham University/M.S. W

# of years in Education: 16th year

# of years at Emerson: 5th year

What brought you to teaching children:

Several previous opportunities that lent me the experience to work with children and their families stirred up the passion I didn’t know I had within me! (My parents are both retired teachers and I didn’t think it was what I wanted to do, but I found my niche!) The energy, wonder and innocence of children is inspiring and motivating. I learn so much every single day!

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This novel is told by the main character and it spans his life, includes history and art. It involves the complexities of life, relationships and the broad range of emotions that are involved. It’s a long novel that isn’t always easy to read, but makes you think and wonder ‘what happens next?’.

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…):

I’m trying to incorporate mindfulness; bringing awareness to the present moment to improve focus and best efforts on the task at hand, as that is all we have control of. i aim to honor each individual; their unique talents, gifts, needs and goals.

Andrew Pucci Psychologist

Grade Level: School Psychologist

Education Degrees: BA in Psychology from Villanova University

M.Ed. & CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania

# of Years in Education: 6

# of Years at Emerson: 4

What brought you to teaching children: I found the field of school Psychology because I thought that working with children and trying to find solutions early in life would be one of the most helpful things I could do with my life.

Favorite book as an adult: 1) Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski is one of the most stylistically beautiful novels I’ve read.  2) 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is a modern dystopian novel. I love when creative writers become dystopian.

 

 

Leanne Abushar K-4 Autism

Grade/Subject: K-4 Autism

Education/Degrees/lnstitutions:

1.    Bachelor of Arts in Special Education – Learning Disabilities from Michigan State University

2.    Master of Arts in Special Education from Michigan State University

3.    Master of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis from University of Cincinnati

# of years in Education: 4 years

# of years at Emerson: 1 year

What brought you to teaching children:

I became a teacher because I love working with kids and helping children gain a love for learning. I find it so rewarding to see a child learn something new for the first time.

Favorite book, as an adult, and why:

I love Anne of Green Gables. Anne is so spunky and lively and has overcome so much to get where she is. She reminds me a lot of our students and is such an inspirational character.

Creative curriculum (something you do to personalize curriculum, annual project…): I like to find out what interests and inspires my students and I work to include those interests in lessons. This helps them to get excited about what they are learning and makes school feel more fun!