Meet the Arizona TeacherSolutions Team

  • Danielle Brown

    Fort Huachuca Accommodation School District

    Danielle Brown graduated from the University of Arizona in 2009. She teaches kindergarten in the Fort Huachuca Accommodation School District and...

    Danielle Brown graduated from the University of Arizona in 2009. She teaches kindergarten in the Fort Huachuca Accommodation School District and spent one year teaching arts integration for the district. She serves on her district's instructional leadership team.  She achieved National Board Certification in Early Childhood Generalist in 2014. Danielle writes for Stories From School AZ connecting her practice to policy both nationally & in Arizona.

    Danielle has been recognized as an ASCD Emerging Leader, advocates for high standards as a Core Advocate and is a Hope Street Group National Fellow.  Danielle is also a candidate support provider for teachers pursuing National Board Certification in Southeastern Arizona.  

    The leader that inspires Danielle is… Maya Angelou, who was articulate and stood for empowerment. Danielle strives to empower her students in the classroom through ownership of their learning. As well as empower educators & education supporters as we work to ensure Arizona’s children are receiving the best educational opportunities.

     

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  • Donnie Dicus

    Cartwright Elementary School District

    Donnie Dicus graduated from the University of Arizona in 2003. He taught 2nd grade in Tucson in the Amphitheater School District for 8 years. He...

    Donnie Dicus graduated from the University of Arizona in 2003. He taught 2nd grade in Tucson in the Amphitheater School District for 8 years. He served as a district coach for curriculum mapping and also as a technology coach. He was nominated as a Rodel Exemplary Teacher Semi-finalist. He achieved National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 2012. Currently, he teaches third grade in the Cartwright Elementary School District located in Phoenix. He completed a Master's program in Teaching and Leadership at Grand Canyon University in October of 2015. He also writes for the educational policy blog, storiesfromschoolaz.org. In addition to other responsibilities, he coaches National Board candidates within his district. 

    The leader that inspires Donnie is… Alaina Adams. Alaina Adams is a high school teacher who left the classroom to increase the professionalism of Arizona educators by becoming a National Board Project Director. For years, she worked to improve the quality of teachers available to the students in Arizona. She is also working on her Doctoral program while she works on her life's mission of raising a "teacher army." Soon to be Dr. Adams is truly a leader and educator who understands the big picture and how to make a change in the culture of teaching. She is back in the classroom with students who will thrive with her but she is still working on raising that army. Dr. Adams inspires me to keep my vision on the bigger picture but to keep my focus where it belongs…on the students.

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  • Jaime Festa-Daigle

    Lake Havasu Unified School District

    Jaime has 15 years experience educating students in Lake Havasu Unified School District. She is currently an assistant principal at Lake Havasu...

    Jaime has 15 years experience educating students in Lake Havasu Unified School District. She is currently an assistant principal at Lake Havasu High School.  She has taught civics, economics, American History, English, and been an advisor for student council. Jaime has her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, Social Studies and English as a Second Language from Grand Canyon University. She received her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and holds K-12 endorsements in English as a Second Language, Career and Technical Education and Speech.

    Jaime is a National Board Certified Teacher, an AZ Master Teacher, a past Teacher of the Year/Ambassador and has achieved many awards including the American Civic Educator of the Year Award, Lake Havasu Most Influential Teacher Award and the Arizona We the People Scholarship Teacher of the Year. A personal highlight for Jaime was the year she was invited to the Street Law Supreme Court Institute and had the opportunity to meet personally with Sandra Day O’Connor. Jaime has led accreditation efforts at her school for the past decade, sat on standards committees for the National Board for Professional Teacher Standards and Educators Rising, and has worked as part of the AZ Teacher Solutions Team since 2011.

    The leader Jaime most identifies with is… James Madison. Not only did he see citizenship as a primary role of public schools, but he was also the type of leader who ensured tasks were accomplished while recognizing the need for compromise and the value in the views of others. James Madison came to the Philadelphia Convention early and crafted the Virginia Plan; when he was met with disagreement, he still worked to fight for ratification. Educational leaders are faced with decisions that require us to work together to develop strategies that will move our schools forward.

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  • Misha Freeman

    Avondale School District

    Misha Freeman is a Professional Development Coordinator for the Avondale Elementary School District. She carries her National Board Certification...

    Misha Freeman is a Professional Development Coordinator for the Avondale Elementary School District. She carries her National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Mathematics and is Arizona Master Teacher. 

    In 2007, Misha received a M.Ed. in Educational Administration with an Emphasis in School Leadership from Grand Canyon University, and in 2010 received her M.Ed. in Secondary Education. In 2012, she became the Christa McAuliffe, “I teach, I touch the future” recipient, and in 2013 I was named the California Casualties Teacher of Excellence for Arizona.

    The leader Misha most identifies with is… Steve Jobs. Throughout his career, he pushed the limits to create better and more effective products. He took something he was passionate about and made a career out of it, changing the world forever. Math is my passion. I am always looking for ways to make math accessible and meaningful for all of our students. I have a long way to go if I want to help all students to love math as much as I do, but I am ready for the journey.

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  • Beth Maloney

    Dysart Unified School District

    Beth Maloney is currently in her seventeenth year of teaching and enjoys every minute of her time in the classroom.  She’s taught kindergarten,...

    Beth Maloney is currently in her seventeenth year of teaching and enjoys every minute of her time in the classroom.  She’s taught kindergarten, third grade, and is currently teaching fifth grade. Beth is a National Board Certified Teacher as an Early Childhood Generalist and is a Candidate Support Provider for the Arizona K12 Center. 

    Beth has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s degree in Leadership and Supervision, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Northern Arizona University. She is currently a doctoral student. Beth was recently appointed to the Governor’s Classrooms First Council. Beth organizes and presents at various conferences and events around the state.

    Beth is honored to be the Arizona Educational Foundation’s 2014 Teacher of the Year and appreciates having the opportunity to represent the teachers of Arizona. 

    The leader Beth most identifies with is… Nelson Mandela because of his tireless fight against injustice and his ability to be a true leader in the face of difficult circumstances.

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  • Kristie Martorelli

    Dysart Unified School District

    Kristie Martorelli obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Education with an ELL endorsement through Arizona State University and began a career she...

    Kristie Martorelli obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Education with an ELL endorsement through Arizona State University and began a career she adores. Since then, she has obtained Master’s degrees in Educational Administration and Supervision with a Reading Specialist endorsement, as well as in Curriculum and Instruction which she now uses as a Professional Learning Coordinator in the Dysart Unified School District where she began her teaching career over 15 years ago. In 2012 Kristie was named the Arizona Teacher of the Year and since has served as a state and national trainer and advocate for education and the teaching profession.

    The leader Kristie most identifies with is… Her father. As the oldest son in a family of three boys, my father was expected by my grandparents to lead from the time his first brother was born. However, it was my father’s decision to lead through example and encouragement. Although his family had obstacles too numerous to list, my father did not allow these obstacles to become excuses. At the age of 13 my father began working in construction. Although it was hot weather and hard work, my father knew that the additional money could mean everything to his family. He also knew that the job would keep him from running with the wrong crowd of friends. This work ethic and determination not only allowed my father to set an amazing example for his little brothers, but also afforded him opportunities he eventually nurtured into his own construction company where he is now the leader of crews of men, many just like he was as a young man starting out. Not only does my father seek out those in most need of the kind of opportunities he was given, but he treats them as he did his little brothers. He guides them in the right direction while protecting and teaching them as if they are members of his own family. He is fair, generous and compassionate as a leader. But more than anything, he leads with the understanding that every day is an opportunity to not only make himself a better person, but to support the betterment of all of those around him. As an educational leader, I strive to do the same each and every day.

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  • Josh Meibos

    Balsz School District

    Josh Meibos is a Physical Education teacher at Crockett Elementary in the Balsz School District. He is currently pursuing his Board Certification...

    Josh Meibos is a Physical Education teacher at Crockett Elementary in the Balsz School District. He is currently pursuing his Board Certification in Early and Middle Childhood Physical Education.

    Josh received a B.A. in communications from Utah State University in 2004 and in 2010 received a Master’s degree in Physical Education from Arizona State University. Throughout Josh’s 6 years of teaching he has enjoyed the challenge of building physically active lifelong learners by promoting health and wellness at his school and his community. Josh has been instrumental in bridging relationships with programs like The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, NFL Play 60, UNICEF Kid Power, Skate After School, America Heart Association, Athletes for Hope and Arizona State University.

    The leader Josh most identifies with is... Michelle Obama. He admires how she fulfilled the influential role as First Lady fighting the child obesity epidemic by becoming a walking example to all humans on how to live a healthy life. She challenges kids, parents, and families to rethink their lifestyle choices and give schools leaders across the globe tools and a platform for real policy change to better generations ahead.

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  • Sandy Merz

    Tucson Unified School District

    Sandy Merz has taught algebra, engineering, and other courses for 28 years at Safford K8, IB World School in the Tucson Unified School District....

    Sandy Merz has taught algebra, engineering, and other courses for 28 years at Safford K8, IB World School in the Tucson Unified School District. For 21 years he facilitated Safford's Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Program. He is a professional consultant with the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ) with whom he helps facilitate the Teacher Leadership Initiative. Sandy writes the Digressive Discourse blog for CTQ and contributes to Arizona Stories from School. This year he’ll be writing a column for Educators Rising called, “Anatomy of a Great Lesson.”

    Sandy is National Board Certified in Career and Technical Education. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of New Mexico and a Master’s degree in Hydrogeology from the University of Arizona. He has a secondary teaching certificate with endorsements in science, math and structured English immersion.

    Sandy has training in Cognitive Coaching, STEM, Technology, and teacher leadership. He has published articles on teacher practice and teacher leadership for GOOD, Education Week, Kappan, and Ed Horizons. Sandy authored Education Week Teacher’s #1 Article for the Year in 2012 on seating challenges for students.

    The leader Sandy most identifies with is… Dave Brubeck, who created beautiful music for six decades. Sandy seeks to emulate his style and creativity in my teaching and leading.

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  • Karl Ochsner

    Saint John XXIII

    Karl is a 7th and 8th grade STEM/STEAM teacher and K-8 Technology Teacher Coach at Saint John XXIII in Scottsdale and leads the school’s 1:1...

    Karl is a 7th and 8th grade STEM/STEAM teacher and K-8 Technology Teacher Coach at Saint John XXIII in Scottsdale and leads the school’s 1:1 paperless classroom Initiative. He has 15 years of teaching experience and serves as adjunct faculty in Educational Technology at Arizona State University. Karl was a member of the Paradise Valley School District Parent Curriculum Board. He has held positions as an animation/special effects cameraman/director and has worked on creative projects with VTech Educational Toys, Joy Berry’s Human Race Club, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and Disney, to name a few.

    Karl holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Columbia College in Chicago; a Master’s degree in Elementary Education with a Middle School Endorsement; and an Educational Doctorate in Teacher Leadership and Innovation from Arizona State University with a focus on movie making in the classroom and its effect on students’ 21st century learning skills and science content in middle school classrooms. Karl earned the Copperwing Award for best educational film at the Phoenix Film Festival, the AzTEA/Qwest award for technology, Best Buy Teacher Award and the 2014 Most Distinguished Catholic School Teacher from the National Catholic Education Association.

    The leader Karl most identifies with is… Walt Disney. His innovation and leadership changed how we learn through story and experiences.  He created educational content that told a story that captivated people, yet taught them through high interest and motivation. With short films such as Donald Duck in Mathemagic Land, Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, he was able to motivate students to learn subject matter without using a text book.

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  • Christie Olsen

    Lake Havasu Unified School District

    Christie is a K-6 Academic/Instructional Coach in the Lake Havasu Unified School District with 24 years...

    Christie is a K-6 Academic/Instructional Coach in the Lake Havasu Unified School District with 24 years of teaching experience. She has taught grades 4-6 and has served as a teacher on assignment in charge of professional development in her district. Christie is an Arizona Master Teacher and a Middle Childhood Generalist National Board Certified Teacher.

     

    Christie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wyoming and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University.

     

    The leader Christie most identifies with is… Coach Herb Brooks, 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team Coach. He was an inspirational leader who helped others realize the greatness within.    Coach Brooks’ final words before his players took the ice were, “…you are meant to be here, this moment is yours…” Coach Brooks was a leader who gave his players permission to be powerful beyond expectation. “This cannot be a team of common men, because common men go nowhere. You must be uncommon.”-Coach Brooks.

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  • Robbie Ramirez

    Tucson Unified School District

    Robbie is currently working as a Curriculum Service Provider at Maldonado Elementary in Tucson Unified School District. Over seventeen years in...

    Robbie is currently working as a Curriculum Service Provider at Maldonado Elementary in Tucson Unified School District. Over seventeen years in education she has taught first and second grades and served as a Teacher Mentor for grades PreK-12. Robbie holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University and is currently working on her Master’s in Educational Administration through Grand Canyon University. She is an Arizona Master Teacher and a National Board Certified Teacher in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy: Reading and Language Arts.

    The leader Robbie most identifies is… While there isn’t a single leader with whom she identifies, her life has been blessed with strong women who embody characteristics necessary for successful leadership. Lupe Seward, her kindergarten teacher, introduced her to the belief that everyone has special talents and the importance of cultivating and supporting those talents.  Mary Judge, her Big Sister, instilled the importance of embracing new experiences and encouraging others to do their personal best. Kathy Abel, her mother, embodies what it means to be a pillar of strength, to overcome hardships and face adversity with grace, and the importance of advocating for others who can’t. These women inspire and remind Robbie of the characteristics she strives to embody.

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  • Jennifer Robinson

    Maricopa Unified School District

    Jen has served in many educational positions in both Arizona and New York. She has been a classroom teacher of pre-school and kindergarten, an...

    Jen has served in many educational positions in both Arizona and New York. She has been a classroom teacher of pre-school and kindergarten, an elementary special education teacher, an instructional coach and is now an elementary school principal in Maricopa Unified School District. She is Nationally Board Certified as an Early Childhood Generalist. Supporting teacher leaders through the National Board certification process helps ground her in what is most important, teaching and learning.

    Jen holds a Master’s Degree in Exceptional Needs/Special Education from Buffalo State in New York and an Educational Doctorate in Teacher Leadership and Innovation from Arizona State University.

    The leader Jen most identifies with is… Eleanor Roosevelt. She admires how she spoke out for human rights, children’s causes and women’s rights. She tries to follow and lead by her words, “It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.”

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