About Nusbaum...
Position: Principal
Room: Front Office
Phone: 480-812-6608
Email: Nusbaum

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Welcome!

Since stepping foot into my first classroom in 1998, I’ve never dreaded a Monday. I am an educator on purpose and by choice, and am honored to be the principal of Weinberg Gifted Academy. I am truly fortunate to be a part of an innovative, supportive and inclusive district that provides unmatched opportunities and choice for all learners and their families. When not learning with gifted students and their profoundly dedicated teachers, I can be found reading, writing, creating, questioning, and exploring life's wonders with my husband and our four inspiring and sometimes-baffling gifted boys, all of whom have flourished in CUSD schools.

My Education and Professional Background

I constantly seek ways to grow and connect. I hold a BA in Elementary Education with a minor in music performance from UArizona, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction, and an MA in Educational Leadership from NAU as well as PhD coursework in Language, Reading, and Culture through UArizona. In addition to my educator and principal certificates, I hold endorsements in Gifted PreK-12, Middle Grades Mathematics 7-8, Middle Grades 5-9, and Reading Specialist K-12. I’ve been a classroom teacher and an administrator in CUSD since 2007, most recently as teacher and then the Dean of Students at Knox Gifted Academy. I am so excited about all the ways KGA and WGA will collaborate with the community to continue to serve gifted learners.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe children come to us energetic, expressive, curious, concerned, creative, and intense. It is our job to meet them where they are and provide them an environment that challenges and cherishes them. Exceptional and twice-exceptional learners deserve a support system that endeavors to understand asynchronous development and social/emotional needs and deliver academic instruction that is both rigorous and vigorous. I strive to foster a collective culture at WGA that honors diverse ways of knowing, allows for the love of learning, and develops a sense of pride and purpose. Our parents are our partners, and our students have a voice.
 

 | Email Jennifer Nusbaum
About Tuttle...
Position: Dean of Students
Room: Student Services
Phone: 480-812-6606
Email: Tuttle

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Welcome!

Hello, my name is Bill Tuttle and I am extremely excited and motivated to join this wonderful community as the Dean of Students at Weinberg Gifted Academy. I am looking forward to a year of learning and growing for all of the students at WGA and honored to have the opportunity to be a part of our students success. I will do my absolute best to help the students succeed intellectually and socially at school in order to become successful adolescents and adults.

My Education and Professional Background

I have been in CUSD since 2008 where I have been teaching elementary physical education and also spent two years as the Dean and Athletic Director at Andersen Junior High. From 2004 to 2008 I taught health and Physical Education at St. Joseph's School in Fort Collins, CO to 3rd through 9th grade. My passion is working with students of all ages in order to make sure they can be successful in school as well as outside of school. I grew up in Carson City Nevada and moved to Tempe in 1999 to go to Arizona State after a year at Southern Oregon University. I have a Bachelors of Arts in Education degree From ASU and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University.

My Educational Philosophy

My philosophy is that all students deserve the opportunity to learn and have equal opportunity for success in school. Teachers should be able to establish a connection with all students and give 100% effort all of the time. A school should be a positive learning environment in which students feel safe and be a place they enjoy going to each day.
 

 | Email Bill Tuttle
About King...
Position: Gifted Kindergarten
Room: 5
Phone: 480-812-6635
Email: King

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Welcome!

I am beyond excited to be part of the WGA maiden voyage as your kindergarten teacher. I have been married for 25 years and have 5 fantastic children who are 22, 21, 19, 17 and 8. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my family, reading LOTS of books, playing the piano, and creating. This year will be filled with many opportunities to build on both academic and social and emotional growth that will inspire motivation, curiosity, creativity and a love of learning that will last. I look forward to working together to make WGA an amazing place to learn and grow.

My Education and Professional Background

Teaching is quite simply what I love. I have been teaching for over 20 years and it rarely seems like work. I have degrees in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and will be graduating with my Masters Degree in Gifted Education in July. I began teaching in first grade in Utah, taught Kindergarten for 5 years in Bellevue, Nebraska, first grade math and reading at New Vistas Academy in Chandler, Pre-k for 5 years in CUSD and Kindergarten at KGA for 2 years prior to coming to WGA. I never give up the chance to learn something new. I take every class I can get my hands on and love to learn from those around me. I enjoy writing curriculum and most recently have written a summer school program for an educational consulting company.

My Educational Philosophy

One thing that stands true through the course of my life and career is, respect. From my very first day in the classroom I have understood the importance of respecting the people that I work with no matter their age or background. I embrace a classroom environment where all are comfortable trying new things, expressing new ideas and even making mistakes. We all have strengths and weaknesses, the beauty in learning comes when we learn together. We are a team. And it is only together that we can ask the questions, find the answers and achieve our greatest personal success.
 

 | Email Lisa King
About Murphy...
Position: Gifted 1st Grade
Room: 4
Phone: 480-812-6634
Email: Murphy

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Welcome!

Welcome to first grade at Weinberg Gifted Academy! I am so pleased to be on this amazing learning journey with you and your child! Families are a very important part in this process and I look forward to working with all of you. This year will be an adventure into a world of the unknown including creativity, collaboration, growth, and curiosity.

My Education and Professional Background

I am a third-generation educator. I am originally from Ohio. My teaching career began in 2001. I have taught kindergarten, first, and third grade. I am a proud parent of four wonderful children. I received a Master of Education degree from The Ohio State University with a certification in elementary education (K-8) and also my Bachelor of Fine Arts cum laude in Dance Performance from The Ohio State University. In addition to my classroom teaching experiences, I am a classically trained dancer and choreographer. During undergrad I performed as a member of The Ohio State University Dance Company. I have a special interest in working with students in such extracurricular activities as school musicals and other dance and choreographed movement opportunities including being a ballet mistress for a youth company, and a teacher of pre-ballet, ballet, and modern dance.

My Educational Philosophy

A teacher is blessed with an opportunity to interact with a student for an entire year. I am involved in the development of a human mind; I witness along with the family the stages the child processes through life. I feel the greatest reward of teaching is when I see a breakthrough with a student who has been struggling with an aspect of their learning. This is exciting because we accomplished something together. Also, I enjoy the challenge of teaching. Enriching the learning environment for a highly motivated student watching him or her move to the next level or unlocking a puzzle for a child who is struggling is hard work but very rewarding. Finally, I decided to become a teacher because I like learning. The process of acquiring education is an adventure into the unknown. I would like to be a part of a student’s adventure and to encourage him or her to take risks and develop his or her own ideas.
 

 | Email Susan Murphy
About Delci...
Position: Gifted 2nd Grade
Room: 16
Phone: 480-812-6646
Email: Delci

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Welcome!

My name is Marisa Delci and I am a product of CUSD. I grew up in Chandler on 5 acres right behind Weinberg! My husband, 3 kids and I are building a new home on one of those acres and I will soon be able to walk to work. I have been teaching since 1993 and I am so thrilled to continue my teaching adventure as a part of the WGA family.I love reading, traveling, baking & cooking. I especially love exploring foods from other cultures. I am excited to meet my new second grade class and I look forward to meeting not only my students’ families, but all of the WGA families. I know that all together we are going to make WGA a place of learning, friendships, and family. I am also excited to learn from the experience and skills of my new peers and my hope is that with my experiences I will be a positive addition to the team.

My Education and Professional Background

Graduating in 1993 from the University of Arizona earning my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary eEducation with a Bilingual Endorsement. I taught for 3 years in the bilingual (Spanish) classroom in both 3rd and 6th grades before moving to DC to work for Oklahoma State University, from 1996 - 2000. OSU had a long-running education contract with NASA. As an Aerospace Education Specialist I traveled around the country helping schools & teachers implement NASA Science, Math and Technology lessons. I have attended and presented at many education conventions including NSTA, NCTM, and ITEA. While working for OSU, I earned my Master of Science in 1999. Since 2000 I have been a proud member of the CUSD family, beginning at Knox teaching 5th, 3rd, and 2nd grades as well as intermediate ELL. In 2008 I earned a Reading Endorsement from NAU. Most recently I have been the Media/Reading Specialist at Bologna Elementary. I am looking forward to pursuing my Gifted Endorsement.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe that all children can learn when provided with a challenging and supportive learning environment. An environment where they can be engaged in their learning, take risks, and even fail, but get up and try again. A teacher’s role is to recognize their strengths and potential, guide with support and encouragement so that the potential is reached and so the students can feel accomplished in their success. My commitment is that I will treat all of my students fairly and with respect. Our classroom will be a safe, encouraging and inviting environment where students are able to make mistakes and learn from them, and where families connect themselves too, to their child’s learning experiences.
 

 | Email Marisa Delci
About Debing...
Position: Gifted 2nd Grade
Room: 15
Phone: 480-812-6645
Email: Debing

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Welcome!

Welcome to Second Grade at Weinberg Gifted Academy! I am so excited to be on this journey with you all! I look forward to a fun and exciting year, filled with collaboration, creativity, curiosity, and growth.

My Education and Professional Background

I am originally from Washington State. My love of reading led to a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. From there, my love of teaching and education led to a Master of Education from ASU. I was able to combine these two when I further earned my Reading Specialist Endorsement from NAU. I also have an Early Childhood Certificate, and a Structured English Immersion Endorsement. I am also currently working on my Gifted Endorsement. Beyond the credentials, teaching is my heart and soul. It is what I am, and what I love to do. I have been lucky enough to be teaching in Chandler since 1994. I have taught first, second, and third grades, and have loved them all, but second grade has always been my favorite! I have a passion for gifted learners, and I am so excited to continue this amazing adventure in second grade at WGA!

My Educational Philosophy

I believe first in building relationships with students in the classroom, and collectively with parents outside of the classroom. I like to get to know and meet each child where they are, and find out what excites them, motivates them, and encourages them to keep questioning, learning and creating in a risk-free environment. I believe in challenging each student at their own level, so they can keep growing and progressing in all emotional, social, and academic areas. I will create an environment where everyone feels safe, respected, valued, and excited to come to school each day to learn.
 

 | Email Angie Debing
About Coplan...
Position: Gifted 3rd Grade
Room: 12
Phone: 480-812-6642
Email: Coplan

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Welcome!

Ever since I stepped into my Kindergarten classroom, I knew teaching was my calling. My favorite pastime was to “play school.” I am fortunate enough to have my childhood dream become my reality. After relocating to Arizona from San Diego, I have found my home with the Chandler Unified School District. The greatest lesson that teaching has bestowed upon me is to never stop learning. I love new experiences; especially the ones I get to share with my husband and two daughters. I am looking forward to a year filled with collaboration, creativity, and growth that will inspire my students to become life-long learners who never stop asking questions!

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University in 2004. In 2010, I received my Master's degree from NAU in Elementary Education in conjunction with a Reading Specialist Endorsement. I earned my Gifted Endorsement as of 2015. In 2018, I fulfilled a lifelong goal by becoming a National Board Certified Teacher.

My Educational Philosophy

I strive to inspire my students to become independent thinkers and doers; people who are unafraid to be themselves and follow their dreams, whatever they may be. I want my students to delve into their interests and take that passion to inspire others or enact change. I hope the classroom and school culture inspires them to take risks, knowing their potential has no limits, and encourage their peers to take risks too. I hope to foster a sense of belonging to my students so they know they are valued and celebrated members of our community.
 

 | Email Rebecca Coplan
About Leigh...
Position: Gifted 3rd Grade
Room: 13
Phone: 480-812-6643
Email: Leigh

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Welcome!

My goal is to empower my students by fueling their curiosity and creativity so they may develop a passion for learning. I hope that you will find my classroom a place where you can join me on a journey of exploration and wonderment of the world. As a mother of two gifted sons I enjoyed watching them learn about the world in which they live and making those gifted connections. I have a fascination with the animal kingdom and its uniqueness and in my spare time I love to read, watch documentaries, and try out new recipes. In 2000, I immigrated to Orange County, California where I found a home at Chapman Hills Elementary School as their Resource Specialist.

My Education and Professional Background

I am originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and taught a range of elementary and junior high students. I went back to college to earn a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a specific interest in bridging the educational and developmental gap between third and fifth grades along with a second major in Special Ed. I earned a master’s degree in Special Education from Chapman University. It was my honor to be chosen as an Orange County 2006 Teacher of the Year at the district and county level, and as a Semifinalist for California State Teacher of the Year. Upon moving to Arizona in 2008, I worked at Ryan as Student Service Coordinator/Counselor over Special Ed. I moved back into the classroom and pursued a gifted endorsement. Most recently I have taught 3rd and 4th self-contained gifted.

My Educational Philosophy

As an educator I encourage my students to rise to their full potential in terms of their intellect, work ethic, confidence, creativity, and character. Working with parents and the broader school community, I strive to provide a learning environment that is relevant, rewarding, challenging and most of all, FUN!
 

 | Email Ashleigh Leigh
About Civalier...
Position: Gifted 3rd Grade
Room: 14
Phone: 480-812-6644
Email: Civalier

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Welcome!

Welcome to third grade at Weinberg Gifted Academy! Are you as excited as me for what’s to come? I’m not sure! But, I hope so! I am delighted to be here, working towards better tomorrow’s alongside our students. I look forward to all of the experiences we are about to have, all of the exploration that is about to occur, and all of the moments we are all about to share.

My Education and Professional Background

As a high schooler in New York, I loved my English teacher. She was eclectic and inspirational and I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up the minute I met her. After high school, I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University. The ever-present urge to continue my learning, led me to earn a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix. I am currently working on realizing my dream of being endorsed for Gifted Education.

My Educational Philosophy

My philosophy of education stems from exploration. Where and when are we most willing to explore? In a supportive environment where mistakes are okay, questions are welcome, it’s okay to take risks, and working with others is an asset. As the mom of gifted children, and a former gifted child myself, I understand the trials and tribulations gifted learners go through. I am here to facilitate their learning and to be the someone our kids can lean on for support and encouragement. They are going to fail at things, but from that failure, will blossom the ability to overcome and succeed in their endeavors. I can’t wait to see where this year will take us all!
 

 | Email Jenifer Civalier
About Doutrich...
Position: Gifted 4th Grade
Room: 17
Phone: 480-812-6647
Email: Doutrich

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Welcome!

Welcome to Weinberg Gifted academy! I am looking forward to having the privilege to get to know all of the students that I will have the honor to teach this year. We will delve into many areas of study this year from the traditional subjects to 3D design and printing. Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have. We are all looking forward to building new and exciting traditions at Weinberg this year and far into the future.

My Education and Professional Background

I am a graduate of Slippery Rock University of PA with a B.S. in Elementary Education. I have been teaching in elementary schools for 14 years. I started on my journey in PA where I was born and raised. I spent the first 9 years of teaching in Gilbert Public Schools, where I had the privilege of opening a new school and helping to build the traditions for 8 years. I then decided to move into the gifted field and moved to CUSD where I have been teaching in the CATS program for the past five years. I have a lovely wife that is an accelerated kindergarten teacher, a beautiful daughter, and a very active son.

My Educational Philosophy

My philosophy on education is that every child has a great mind and it is my responsibility and duty to get the best out of that mind. Not only is it my duty to get the best out of each child, but it is also to learn from these great minds as well. I have learned more from actually teaching these diverse students than any classroom can teach. I enjoy the daily challenges that come with working with these very special kids day in and day out.
 

 | Email Michael Doutrich
About Foy...
Position: Gifted 4th Grade
Room: 18
Phone: 480-812-6648
Email: Foy

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Welcome!

Welcome to our classroom! My name is Jaron Foy. I am thrilled to be your teacher for this school year. I am looking forward to getting to know your student in order to work hard together to create a positive learning environment for all.

My Education and Professional Background

I am originally from a small town in northern Utah where I grew up on a dairy farm. I also lived in Japan and Oregon before settling in Arizona in 2008. I graduated in 2010 from University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration in 2013. I worked in the corporate sector designing customer training and technology education. In 2015, I made a career change to teaching. I received my Masters in Elementary Education from Arizona State University in 2016. I was able to complete my student teaching at Knox Gifted Academy and teach gifted 4th & 5th grade at Jacobson Elementary. I am excited to be a part of Weinberg Gifted Academy! I enjoy spending as much time as I can with my wife (married in 2009), son (born in 2012), and daughter (born in 2015).

My Educational Philosophy

My educational philosophy stems from my desire to be the type of teacher I would have loved to have. We should never stop learning in any aspect of life! Learning happens naturally when we feel we can take risks and travel into unexplored territory. I have found that students are motivated best through high expectations, clear objectives, and a sense of community. I try to incorporate various strategies and unique methods to help reach each of my student's individual way of processing and retaining information.
 

 | Email Jaron Foy
About Durham...
Position: Gifted 5th Grade
Room: 7-8-9
Phone: 480-812-6638
Email: Durham

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Welcome!

Since I started teaching gifted learners in 2013 I can't imagine not being a gifted teacher. There is something indescribable and special about a gifted classroom that makes me feel so lucky to be able to spend every day with your children. When I am not in the classroom I can be found chasing my wild and sweet toddler boys with my amazing husband! We love to be creative, artistic, curious, and makers in my home and go into each day excited to see where this adventure takes us.

My Education and Professional Background

I started my career as an interior designer in Chicago, Illinois when I was offered an amazing teaching position in Italy after a few years of working in the design field. That first teaching experience in Milan was for a kindergarten thru second grade combo classroom, and I also developed the art program for kindergarten thru sixth grade levels. That opportunity made me realize my passion for teaching, and when I traveled back home, I decided to pursue a Masters Degree in Elementary Education, as well as my gifted endorsement. I have had many experiences that shaped the teacher I am today. In total, I have worked with kindergarten thru sixth grade levels in suburban, foreign, and Native American school districts. From 2013-2020 I was a classroom teacher at Knox Gifted Academy and I am excited for this next chapter of my journey at WGA!

My Educational Philosophy

I believe in empowering students with the knowledge to become self-motivated, exemplary citizens, and lifelong learners through a student-centered active learning environment. It is our job to challenge students, allow choice, individualize instruction, and encourage passions. Higher achievement comes when students are intrinsically motivated and excited about learning. This learning happens through experimenting, experiencing, and creating meaning through reflections of their new knowledge. Schools are a place children want to bring their families and communities into to share their ideas and be proud of the problems they have solved with their peers. Just like my students I am also a lifelong learner; my teaching philosophy is always developing and changes through the experiences I have with students. I look forward to taking this journey with your children!
 

 | Email Pamela Durham
About Notley...
Position: Gifted 5th Grade
Room: 7-8-9
Phone: 480-812-6639
Email: Notley

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Welcome!

I am excited to again have the opportunity to help build a gifted academy here in Chandler Unified School District. Through connecting and collaborating with the community both at a local and global level I feel that we can create a unique and long lasting identity for Weinberg Gifted Academy. When I am not totally immersed in cogitating with our gifted students, I can be found hanging out with my 7 year old daughter and wife by our swimming pool or near our fire pit (season dependent).

My Education and Professional Background

I hold two education degrees from Northern Arizona University. In 2001 I earned a BA in Elementary Education, and in 2009 I acquired my MA in Educational Leadership. I have endorsements in Middle School Mathematics and Gifted Education. I have been a teacher for close to twenty years. In those years I have taught everything from kindergarten to 8th grade. My past eight years I have been at Knox Gifted Academy, and for seven of those years I was part of the 5th grade team.

My Educational Philosophy

Last year I was having a conversation with our 6th graders about which middle school they should attend, a student gave a heartfelt and honest answer. “Everyday, I come to school excited about what we will be doing in school and not necessarily what we will be learning, but how we will be learning. I want that feeling to last with me as long as possible.” That response helped me simplify my educational philosophy. I have created three foundations that I can base that philosophy around. Safety → Having Fun → Student Driven Learning.
 

 | Email Albert Notley
About Yamashita...
Position: Visual Arts Media Specialist
Room: 23
Phone: 480-812-6653
Email: Yamashita

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Welcome!

The Arts and Gifted Education are two things that I am truly passionate about. What an opportunity to work at Weinberg Gifted Academy and be able to teach the two things I love! I am so excited to be at the beginning of an exciting journey for all of us. My hope is that with my background in gifted education and fine arts, that we can create a unique integrated program meeting the needs of the whole child. With the arts, we can go anywhere in the world and beyond at any given time! On a personal note, I am married to a retired police officer and live in Chandler with him and my four fur kids-three cats and a 65-pound lap dog (all of whom were rescues). My two daughters are grown with families and have blessed me with seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. I love to read, create works of art, attend concerts and plays, go for walks and visit state capitols. (I know, I am kind of a nerd!) I am a football fanatic during the season. Go Vikings!

My Education and Professional Background

In 1984, I received my bachelor’s degree from Jamestown University in North Dakota. I first majored in Fine Arts, with a concentration in Art. Jamestown University is a liberal arts college, so within that framework, I was able to experience theater and music. I also enjoyed education and wanted to teach, so I began an elementary and secondary education degree. In 1985, I was hired as a part time Kindergarten teacher, and part time art teacher for grades 1-12 near the Canadian Border. After moving to Arizona in 1986, I earned a master’s degree in Gifted Education through NAU while teaching art in Yuma, Arizona. I incorporated my skills in art working with gifted students during summer academies at Arizona Western College along with developing enrichment programs for the gifted. In 2008 I moved Chandler and have had the privilege of teaching for the CATS (gifted) program at CUSD teaching all subjects. I have taught every grade level, K-6 and mixed media for all ages.

My Educational Philosophy

Learning is a lifelong experience. It is a journey that we have a privilege and an obligation to undertake. What we learn and experience today, no matter what age, affects us for the rest of our lives: no matter what age, affects us and who we meet for the rest of our lives. Our influence in our communities and the world is invaluable. We are IMPORTANT and we can make a difference. You may not always end up where you thought you were going, but you will always end up where you are meant to be.
 

 | Email Kierstin Yamashita
About Ragatz...
Position: Music and Performing Arts Specialist
Room: Music
Phone: 480-812-6629
Email: Ragatz

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Welcome!

Welcome to Performing Arts! This has been my passion since beginning dance at age 5! My family has always participated in the arts and several work in the field professionally. My two sons were part of the CATS program in CUSD, graduated from ASU, and are currently working in the television industry in Los Angeles. Along with theater, I love to travel, read, and do crafts. I live in Chandler with my husband and two dogs.

My Education and Professional Background

I started teaching in 1987 in California and transferred to the Gifted program in Chandler USD in 2000.I have taught 2nd through 6th grade, at many different schools. Besides classroom teaching, I have taught at two universities, supervised student teachers, mentored beginning teachers, given workshops for teachers and parents in neighboring districts and at conferences, and served as a District Gifted Program Coordinator. I have a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction/Gifted Education, (from ASU) and BA and MA in Education, Gifted and ELL Endorsements. I currently work with the Board of Directors for Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented.

My Educational Philosophy

My goal is to provide meaningful learning experiences for my students. I strive to challenge my students to think and create in different ways. In my regular education and gifted classrooms, I have always infused the arts in all subject areas; encouraging students to stretch themselves in new ways and to strive towards excellence. I look forward to working with the classroom and specials teachers, collaborating the use of performing arts with all students. I am excited to work with students, parents, and the community to develop an appreciation for the arts, whether performers, supporters, or audience members.
 

 | Email Carolyn Ragatz

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About Garry...
Position: Gifted 1st Grade
Room: 3
Phone: 480-812-6633
Email: Garry

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Welcome!

Hello WGA families! I am honored to be part of this wonderful community. I will be teaching 1st grade this year. I was born and raised in Arizona and wouldn’t have it any other way! Most of my family lives here and I am very close with them! I love being active both indoors and outdoors, reading, taking day trips, and spending time with family and friends!

My Education and Professional Background

I have been teaching since 2010. However, I have had a love and appreciation for children long before then! I have experience teaching first, second, and fourth grade. I spent most of my years teaching in first grade and that is where I find myself again! I graduated with my Masters in Elementary Education from Arizona State University (go Sun Devils!).

My Educational Philosophy

I wholeheartedly believe education is one of the most important and precious aspects of growth and development for a child. Not only is it to teach student’s knowledge, but it is equally as important to teach children life skills. As a teacher I help children develop social skills, self-esteem, integrity, responsibility, and problem-solving skills. I believe ALL students can learn and are capable of learning. Teachers should create a classroom community where every child feels safe, respected, and able to be independent thinkers. Watching a child take risks and be an active part in their learning is one of the greatest rewards as a teacher! I plan to encourage the passion of being a lifelong learner in every child!
 

 | Email Amanda Garry
About McCarrell...
Position: Gifted 4th Grade
Room: 19
Phone: 480-812-6649
Email: McCarrell

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Welcome!

Words fall short in expressing how pleased I am that you and your student are about to become part of my classroom community. The part of teaching that I like best is developing amazing relationships with my students and their families. We all know first-hand that life is often full of uncertainty, but my classroom is not just a place of learning, but also of fun, safety and consistency. I can’t wait for the 2020-21 journey to begin!

My Education and Professional Background

I have taught gifted and talented learners in 4th or 5th grade since the 2017-18 school year. I received my Master’s Degree in elementary education in 2016 from ASU. I earned my undergraduate degree in journalism in 1995, and worked in print journalism and a reporter and editor for about 10 years. Additionally, I have been a successful entrepreneur, and spent about 11 years traveling the world in the U.S. Air Force as a fighter jet repair technician. I have always loved story-telling and reading. I like hiking and playing golf. I also love spending time with Mrs. McCarrell, my five adult children and five grandchildren.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe that to be a great educator one must first be a great learner, and that learning is not something you finish upon graduation. This is my fourth career, but the thing each of those careers had in common was the need to both learn and teach to be successful. ot a day goes by in the classroom that I don’t learn something new, especially during my time educating gifted learners. The cliches of the corporate world such as “thinking outside the box,” “thinking creatively,” and creative problem-solving” come naturally to these students. I have seen a lot in my professional career, but I see these kids in action and know that I have definitely not seen everything.
 

 | Email Patrick McCarrell
About Peña...
Position: Physical Education Specialist
Room: 24
Phone: 480-812-6654
Email: Peña

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Welcome!

Let’s be active, healthy and happy together! Throughout my years at Arizona State University, I have learned many different ways to educate students’ in Physical Education from some of the top people in this field of education. I believe that health habits start as young as the Elementary aged children, so my job as a Physical Education teacher is extremely important. The Physical Education teacher is a role model for physical, social, emotional and nutritional health at school. I plan to be a role model for the importance of living a healthy lifestyle to our WGA students. Our Gifted K-3 students will learn through the Dynamic Physical Education and Fitness for Life curriculums. This will help teach them important age-appropriate physical skills and cooperative activities. The Gifted 4-5th grade students will learn through the Sport Education and Fitness for Life curriculums, to gain more experience in positive social interactions and collaborative learning.

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Business Marketing from Augsburg University, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was a college golfer, body builder, youth sports coach and group fitness instructor at this time. When I graduated I realized that health and physical activity made me feel the most fulfilled, and teaching children is my absolute passion. So, I moved to Arizona and everything has led me here at Weinberg Gifted Academy, which I am extremely grateful for! I recently graduated with my Master’s in Physical Education from Arizona State University. During that time I won the Outstanding Resident and Distinguished Graduate Awards. I also became the Co-Marketing Chair for Arizona Health and Physical Education, which is an organization run by teachers here in our state. We work towards continually educating the Health and Physical education teachers in Arizona, so that we can be the best for our students!

My Educational Philosophy

I understand that our Gifted students place a high importance in academics, as do I. Physical activity and healthy eating is proven to increase brain activity, thus making a student even more capable of learning. Every quarter we will have Wellness and Fitness Weeks, where I teach students age appropriate fitness and wellness activities that they will be able to use throughout their healthy and active life. To do this, working with the parents, faculty and community will be essential. There will be numerous Parent Nights throughout the year, Running and Yoga Club opportunities, Intramural Sports and physical activity breaks in your child’s classroom. I believe that a proper Physical Education program can work as preventative care for the future, and I care deeply about the health and happiness of my students. I will never stop working to make WGA an active, healthy and fun learning environment for our gifted students!
 

 | Email Taylor Peña
About Wodarcyk...
Position: Media Assistant & Orchestra Teacher
Room: 6
Phone: 480-812-6601
Email: Wodarcyk

Connect With Us

Welcome!

Welcome! I am excited to be a part of Weinberg Gifted Academy! I am looking forward to our journey in learning about playing an instrument and working with others to produce some special musical moments. Together, we will learn to appreciate all that music has to offer. Besides playing music, I also love reading and I will also be the Media Assistant at WGA. There are so many good books out there and I'm sure that you all have your favorites. So keep reading and you might find a new favorite! When I'm not playing or reading, I enjoy spending time with my family. I have lived in Chandler for about 10 years with my husband, our 3 daughters and 3 dogs.

My Education and Professional Background

I have a Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Engineering and worked as an engineer for a while. When my own children started attending school, I volunteered in their classrooms and discovered a passion for teaching. I went on to get my teaching certificate in Mathematics. For the past several years, I taught math and engineering at Basha High School/Advanced Middle School. I have been playing piano and flute since I was a small child and I have been playing cello for a few years. I have several years experience in teaching privately and I love seeing the students' progress! Currently, I play with the Arizona Wind Symphony and I volunteer for Metropolitan Youth Symphony.

My Educational Philosophy

Each student learns differently and as I teacher, I recognize the need to provide support depending on their intellectual, emotional, social and physical capacity. Together, we will work to develop individual and team building skills.
 

 | Email Rae Wodarcyk