Meet the Arizona K12 Center Staff

A staff of experienced educators.
The Arizona K12 Center staff consists primarily of former educators. From kindergarten through high school, we have worked in some of the most culturally diverse and educationally challenging environments in Arizona. This gives us an intimate understanding of the difficulties today's educators face. We've been there ourselves, and are committed to helping make the teaching experience as successful and satisfying as possible.

  • Kathy Wiebke

    Executive Director

    In 2005, Kathy Wiebke was brought on as the executive director to create a new vision and direction for the Arizona K12 Center. Prior to joining...

    In 2005, Kathy Wiebke was brought on as the executive director to create a new vision and direction for the Arizona K12 Center. Prior to joining the Center, she was the deputy associate superintendent for highly qualified professionals at the Arizona Department of Education, a principal, and a classroom teacher.

    Kathy earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Arizona State University and a master's degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University. She earned her doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Arizona State University, focusing on quality teaching and teacher leadership in urban schools.

    Kathy was Arizona’s first National Board Certified Teacher with a Middle Childhood Generalist Certificate. For seven years, she served on the Board of Directors of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She was a member of the NEA’s Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching and NCATE’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning.

    Kathy was a recipient of the Christa McAuliffe Fellowship and focused on project-based learning through the creation of a native habitat on her elementary school campus. Kathy was recognized as an Ambassador for Excellence in Arizona’s Teacher of the Year Program and received the Disney American Teacher Award in the elementary category. Her classroom practices were featured in a learning series produced by Disney.

    Most recently, Kathy served as the Executive Producer of The Mitchell 20, a documentary focused on 20 teachers seeking National Board Certification or its single entry alternative, Take One. The documentary highlights teaching in America and the struggle for teacher quality.

    As a native Arizonan, Kathy has spent almost her entire life in Arizona’s public schools as either a learner or a teacher, and sometimes both. She cares passionately about this state and wants its children to have the same great education she received at all levels. That is why she does this work.

    Favorite Book Growing Up: Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

    Favorite Teacher & Why: This is a tie! I can’t separate the two of them, as they were both remarkable and inspiring teachers. Mrs. Mack, my second grade teacher, had a piano in her classroom. We would always sing in her classroom. I remember how much she cared and the smile that was always on her face. Mrs. Timbrooks, my fourth grade teacher, challenged me to really think and create. In her classroom, learning was an adventure. In both these teachers I knew I mattered.

    The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is… the opportunity to support the learning of Arizona’s teachers. I have long held the belief that when we help teachers be their best, we are helping kids be their best. When I was in school, I had great teachers! I want the same for all the children in this great state!

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  • Cheryl Bokowski

    Director of Operations

    Cheryl is the director of operations and has been a part of the Arizona K12 Center since 2005. Cheryl is an Arizona native who grew up in Sierra...

    Cheryl is the director of operations and has been a part of the Arizona K12 Center since 2005. Cheryl is an Arizona native who grew up in Sierra Vista and has lived in many cities across the state. She is currently living in Tucson. Cheryl graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in business administration with a specialization in computer information systems. Prior to joining the Arizona K12 Center team, she worked at the Boulders Resort in Scottsdale where she discovered her love for planning events. Cheryl has more than 10 years of experience in event management and has a passion for creating learning opportunities that enable teachers to be their best for their students.

    Favorite Book Growing Up: Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

    Favorite Teacher & Why: Mr. Plumb, my fifth- and sixth-grade teacher, created an environment where learning was creative, collaborative, fun, and competitive. You could see that he really cared about each of his students and wanted us to realize and reach our true potential.

    The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is… getting to work with teachers! It doesn’t get better than hearing the stories of how our work is impacting teachers and their students. I’m fortunate to be a part of an organization that cares as passionately about helping teachers improve the quality of teaching and education in Arizona as much as I do.

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  • Danielle Brown

    Professional Learning Director

    Danielle Brown joined the Arizona K12 Center as a professional learning director in May 2017. Before doing so, she spent eight years in the Fort...

    Danielle Brown joined the Arizona K12 Center as a professional learning director in May 2017. Before doing so, she spent eight years in the Fort Huachuca Accommodation School District teaching kindergarten and serving as an arts integration specialist. Danielle received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Arizona and became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2014.

    Danielle has served as the president of her local education association, a Candidate Support Provider for National Board candidates, and was a 2015-2017 Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow. Danielle has been recognized as an Emerging Leader with ASCD, as well as an Influence Leader. Danielle believes in the power of engaging others to build capacity.

    Danielle grew up all over, to include Panama, Germany, Texas, Colorado, and California, as she traveled with her family as a military dependent. 

    Favorite Book Growing Up: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli 

    Favorite Teacher & Why: My favorite teacher was Mrs. Banks, my seventh-grade math teacher. She made middle school math engaging and fun. Mrs. Banks set an example of what great teaching looked like in practice, and worked to ensure all students felt confident in the content they were learning, while challenging us.

    The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center… supporting teachers in a way that empowers them. I look forward to working with educators from all over the state. I am excited about the impact empowered teachers have on Arizona’s students and school systems.

     

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  • Donnie Dicus

    Professional Learning Director

    Donnie Dicus completed his undergraduate work at the University of Arizona and received his master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. Before...

    Donnie Dicus completed his undergraduate work at the University of Arizona and received his master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. Before joining the Arizona K12 Center as a professional learning director in May 2017, he taught second grade in Tucson for eight years and third grade in Phoenix for four years. In 2012, he received his National Board Certificate as a middle childhood generalist. Donnie was named as a semi-finalist for Rodel’s Exemplary Teacher and a semi-finalist for Arizona’s 2017 Teacher of the Year. He has written blogs which have been published by Medium Daily Digest and Stories From School.

    Faovirite Book Growing Up: Superfudge by Judy Blume

    Favorite Teacher & Why: My favorite teacher was my seventh- and eight-grade humanities teacher, Ms. Caroline Sue Bowman at Ross Middle School in El Paso, Texas. Ms. Bowman helped me understand that I could be more than I realized. She created assignments that caused me to expand my thinking. She held me accountable when I did not reach my potential. Above all else, she taught me that I, alone, was responsible for my choices, future, and how far I could go. Ms. Bowman made me believe in myself.

    The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is… the ability to deliver flawless and high-quality professional development to a multitude of teachers. I loved making an impact on 25-30 students every year, but I am thrilled to be able to impact thousands of students through their teachers. 

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  • Angelia Ebner

    Professional Learning Director

    Angelia Ebner joined the Arizona K12 Center staff in June 2016 after teaching in Arizona for the last 11 years. Angelia has taught kindergarten...

    Angelia Ebner joined the Arizona K12 Center staff in June 2016 after teaching in Arizona for the last 11 years. Angelia has taught kindergarten through fifth grade, and multi-grade classes. She became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2012 and an Arizona Master Teacher in 2013. Angelia received her bachelor's degree in education from Western Oregon University and earned her master's degree from Grand Canyon University.  

    Angelia has served as the vice president of her local education association, a Candidate Support Provider for National Board Candidates, and was a 2016 Arizona Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year Ambassador for Excellence. As an ambassador and educator, her goal is to inspire lifelong learning in her students, facilitate leadership and efficacy among her peers, and be an advocate for excellence in education.

    Favorite Book Growing Up: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

    Favorite Teacher & Why: My favorite teacher was Mrs. White, my kindergarten teacher. She taught me the importance of books and how all of their parts work together to create stories you can get lost in. She fostered a love of reading that stays with me today.

    The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center… is the exponential impact I hope to have on students and educators while serving as a Professional Learning Director. I am excited to be a part of growing the number of National Board certified educators working in classrooms around our state. 

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  • Liana Favela

    Executive Assistant

    Liana Favela grew up in Tempe, Arizona. She graduated from Arizona State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in communications and a minor...

    Liana Favela grew up in Tempe, Arizona. She graduated from Arizona State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in communications and a minor in Spanish. Liana has always had a passion for working with people and has worked in customer relations for almost 10 years. She joined the Arizona K12 Center in March of 2013 as an administrative ssociate and has since been promoted to the role of executive assistant.

    Favorite Book Growing Up: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

    Favorite Teacher & Why: Mr. Hashem, my seventh-grade history teacher, made learning about history fun and involved all of his students in class discussions. He had a passion for helping his students succeed.

    The best part of working at the Arizona K12 Center is... working with and learning from all of the great staff and seeing first hand the great opportunity the Arizona K12 Center provides in helping teachers and students of Arizona succeed.

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  • Mary Field

    Professional Learning Director

    Mary Field grew up in Portland, Oregon and received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s in teaching and learning from the...

    Mary Field grew up in Portland, Oregon and received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s in teaching and learning from the University of Oregon. She moved to Phoenix in 2006 to begin her teaching career. She’s taught in a variety of settings and grade levels. Before joining the Arizona K12 Center, she supported teachers as a K-8, site-level instructional coach. Mary became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2014 and went on to receive a second master’s degree in administration and supervision in 2016. She’s had the opportunity to engage with teachers and instructional leaders from across the country in the area of technology integration and specifically in utilizing the flipped model of instruction to maximize in-class learning time. Mary’s been the recipient of Arizona Forward’s Full-Tuition Scholarship, Creighton School District’s Governing Board Award for Innovation, and the Arcadia News’ “Teacher We Love” award.

    Mary is passionate about and dedicated to ensuring every child in Arizona has highly effective teachers throughout their education. Empowering teachers to become leaders and advocates for advancing the teaching profession is what she believes will make a difference for Arizona’s children. It's through the National Board process and becoming a Candidate Support Provider for future Board-certified teachers that she developed a strong commitment to the mission and work of the Arizona K12 Center.

    Favorite Book Growing Up: The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

    Favorite Teacher & Why: Mrs. Evans, my third- and fourth-grade teacher, has had a strong impact on my teaching career. My time in her classroom was exciting, challenging, and adventurous. I vividly remember attempting to replicate Monet’s use of watercolors, building miniature covered wagons while studying the Oregon Trail, memorizing the names and locations of all Portland bridges before driving across each of them as a class, engaging in science inquiry projects around mealworms and playing with our class hamster, Dr. Suess. It’s teachers like Mrs. Evans who inspired me to make my classroom a place where students loved learning through exploration, real-world projects, and hands-on activities.

    The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is… collaborating with an optimistic, driven and diverse group of professionals to ensure Arizona's teachers are provided high-quality professional development opportunities. I believe supportive and engaging professional development, as well as pathways for teachers to have a voice in educational change, is foundational to retaining and developing educators who truly make a difference in the lives’ of Arizona’s children. 

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  • Valerie Lombardi

    Fiscal Operations Manager

    Valerie Lombardi is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, attended San Francisco State University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in...

    Valerie Lombardi is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, attended San Francisco State University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies in 1981. Valerie began her career in higher education at the University of California Berkeley, initially working as a payroll specialist and later as a contract and grants aAdministrator in the Department of Electronics Research and Computer Science.

    In 1991, Valerie left Berkeley to manage Marathon Company, a family business focused on educational fundraising for public and private schools throughout Northern California. In 1996, Valerie and her family relocated to Phoenix and oversaw the expansion of the family business throughout the state of Arizona.

    Valerie has a strong presence in the non-profit community of Arizona, most notably serving as executive director of The Branden Lombardi Foundation, a Phoenix based 501 ( c ) 3 nonprofit organization. Along with her son, Branden, Valerie founded the organization in 2000, and has been responsible for overseeing the day to day activities of the Foundation and its numerous programs serving the cancer community of Arizona as it pursues its mission of “Improving the Quality of Life for Cancer Patients Today”.

    Favorite Book: Charlotte’s Web by EB White

    Favorite Teacher & Why:  My third-grade teacher, Mrs. Garrett, made us feel that we were important and had something to contribute.

    The best part of working at the Arizona K12 Center is... being a part of a wonderful team that is there for the benefit of others!

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  • Kristin Moon

    Professional Learning Designer

    Kristin Moon is a proud native of Arizona and graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor's...

    Kristin Moon is a proud native of Arizona and graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor's degree in art history. Upon graduation, Kristin spent time traveling abroad in Italy, Switzerland, France, and Greece where she was able to see firsthand all of the beautiful works of art and architecture that she had studied in her degree program.

    Kristin spent the next couple of years exploring various industries and eventually discovered her passion for event planning. Prior to joining the Arizona K12 Center, Kristin worked for seven years with Junior Achievement of Arizona, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. As the Senior Manager of Special Events, Kristin was responsible for coordinating high-end fundraising functions including golf tournaments, bowl-a-thons, auctions and student programs.

    Kristin currently lives in Phoenix and enjoys travel, photography, arts and crafts, and coordinating an occasional wedding in her spare time.

    Favorite Book Growing Up: Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene

    Favorite Teacher & Why: My favorite teacher is one that I technically never had in the classroom. My dad was a teacher at Mesa Junior High at the same time that I was in junior high at Brimhall. It never failed that when we were out and about, he would run into a student or a parent who went out of their way to thank him for being such an impactful influence in their lives. When I got to high school, I met many of his students who echoed the same sentiments. My dad only taught in the classroom for seven years and has since gone on to work at the district level and is currently a junior high counselor. To this day, over 20 years later, I still run into former students of his who are excited to tell me how much he meant to them. How lucky am I that I have been able to learn from him for my entire life?

    The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is… being able to work with accomplished and fascinating people – from the educators who participate in professional learning events to the Arizona K12 Center staff.
     

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  • Shannon Olinski

    Professional Learning Writer

    Shannon Olinski is an Arizona native whose self-proclaimed motto is “live with passion.” After earning her bachelor's degree in journalism and...

    Shannon Olinski is an Arizona native whose self-proclaimed motto is “live with passion.” After earning her bachelor's degree in journalism and Spanish minor from the University in Arizona in 2012, she completed her master's degree in higher and postsecondary education at Arizona State University. 

    Prior to joining the Arizona K12 Center, she was a communications specialist at Grand Canyon University, where she worked to create content and marketing campaigns that were circulated throughout many educational arenas. Also, Shannon has experience with event planning, student organizations, public relations and communications, as she was a management intern for the Memorial Union at ASU and an information specialist at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.

    Shannon joined the Arizona K12 Center in May 2014. She does the writing, editing, and publishing for the Center, and also coordinates the organization's technology events. 

    Favorite Book Growing Up: Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sacahar

    Favorite Teacher & Why: Ms. Marsh, my high school English teacher, will always remain close to my heart. I was fortunate to have her for AP Language and AP Literature. Ms. Marsh always pushed me to new limits and required me to think critically. Whether it was creating a passionate narrative, or analyzing a thought-provoking novel, she inspired me to write from the heart with a sharp mind.

    The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is… Working with educators who are cultivating the future. There is something incredible about helping others become better at their craft, knowing it will impact the lives of so many others. When teachers put passion into their profession it encourages their students to do the same.  

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  • Michelle Pyde

    National Board Coordinator

    Michelle grew up in Washington State, but moved to Tucson in fifth grade. She graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2011 with a bachelor's...

    Michelle grew up in Washington State, but moved to Tucson in fifth grade. She graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in hospitality. Michelle brings her guest service background from Walt Disney World and Fox Restaurant Concepts to the Arizona K12 Center team. Working with people is incredibly important to her, and being with an organization that gives back in this way, really resonates with her.

    Favorite Book Growing Up: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

    Favorite Teacher & Why: Mr. Huff was one of my math teachers at Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson. He made math fun, if you can believe that. He is such a funny and energetic man that helped me look at math completely differently moving forward in my education.

    The best part of working at the Arizona K12 Center is... helping those that contribute to and lead the education of our children in Arizona.
     

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  • Kendall Waite

    Professional Learning Coordinator

    Kendall Waite is an event coordinator for the Arizona K12 Center. She is a Colorado native and enjoys reading, traveling and rock climbing. She...

    Kendall Waite is an event coordinator for the Arizona K12 Center. She is a Colorado native and enjoys reading, traveling and rock climbing. She graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation management with an emphasis in experience industry management and she also studied for a semester in Jerusalem. She is passionate about creating events and making them memorable learning experiences for guests. Prior to working at the Arizona K12 Center, she worked with events on Utah Lake and with the BYU Marriott School of Management.

    Favorite Book Growing Up: East of Eden by John Steinbeck

    Favorite Teacher & Why: Mr. Martin from Chaparral High School was a teacher who had a passion for reading and for inspiring his students. He sparked my love of reading and for that I am forever grateful.

    The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is…. The extraordinary staff and devoted teachers. It is a pleasure to come to work when everyone you see is smiling and passionate about what they do.
     

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