About Mathew...
Position: Principal
Room: School Office
Phone: (480) 424-8508
Email: Mathew

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Welcome!

I am delighted to be the principal of Chandler Unified School District's 32nd elementary school, Robert J.C. Rice Elementary - Home of the Rhinos! Our school provides options for families by offering both the Classic and CTA (Chandler Traditional Academy) education models. Rice will deliver strong instruction, aligned to the Arizona standards, and a wide variety of extra-curricular opportunities for our students. At Rice, students are our priority.

My Education and Professional Background

M.Ed. Educational Leadership, Northern Arizona University M.Ed. Special Education, Arizona State University M.A. Applied Psychology, Women’s Christian College, India I began my career with Chandler Unified School District in 1995 as a special education teacher at the junior high level. After 13 amazing years in the classroom I became the Student Services Coordinator at Conley Elementary. I then pursued my dream of becoming a school administrator, serving as dean at Conley and Weinberg, principal of Weinberg Elementary, and now the founding principal of Rice Elementary!

My Educational Philosophy

Over my many years in the field of education I have never wavered on three beliefs. First, as educators we are shaping tomorrow’s society. This is a responsibility I take very seriously. Second, every child is capable of learning. The skilled teacher encourages and motivates a child to persevere in his/her learning. Third, the success of every child lies in the partnership between the home and school. At Rice, we have excellent staff who work closely with families to ensure all students are making progress. They care deeply for each student and identify creative ways to make learning personalized, fun, and stimulating. We are very fortunate to have a community that is incredibly supportive of our students, staff, and school.
 

 | Email Shirley Mathew
About Young...
Position: Dean of Students
Room: Front Office
Phone: 480-424-8506
Email: Young

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Welcome!

Welcome to Rice Elementary! It is my honor to be the Dean of Students at this beautiful new campus. I am excited to be on the founding team for this innovative and future-thinking school.

My Education and Professional Background

Education and learning have been my sole professional focus. I have been an educator since 1994, serving in administration, teaching at taught various grade levels, spent time as a Title I School Improvement Specialist, and have worked as a national education consultant. I obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and a Master's Degree in Education Administration and Supervision. I am a Highly Qualified educator,and hold Arizona Early Childhood, Elementary,and Principal's Certificate.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe that everyone has the capacity to learn and meet even the highest of expectations. The challenge is to build a nurturing an environment that allows all learners to make connections that are key for them. Operating with mutual respect and sharing of ideas creates a learning environment that allows everyone to thrive and succeed. Each of us has special gifts and talents, and by sharing these with each other we can collaborate for the best learning opportunities.
 

 | Email Jennifer Young
About Nelson...
Position: Psychologist
Room: Office
Phone: (480) 424-8510
Email: Nelson

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Welcome!



My Education and Professional Background



My Educational Philosophy

 

 | Email Laura Nelson
About Koury...
Position: Music Specialist
Room: D1
Phone: (480) 424-8581
Email: Koury

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Welcome!

Welcome to the General Music Classroom! I LOVE teaching elementary music and believe that every child needs and enjoys creative music making. It is my passion to educate and help students become successful.

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education from THE Ohio State University and have gone on to receive my Masters in Music Education from Arizona State University. I have an Arizona Music Endorsement, am Tribes trained, and have served as President of the Arizona Orff Association: a non-profit organization that provides professional development workshops for music teachers in the Orff Process. I have been teaching elementary music since 2006 and am proud to be a Chandler teacher.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe that all children are musical and it is my goal and passion to explore that characteristic and lead students to be creative, and purposeful thinkers; and have tons of fun doing it!
 

 | Email Michelle Koury
About Hormiere...
Position: 5th/6th Grade Orchestra
Room: D2
Phone: (480) 424-8582
Email: Hormiere

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Welcome!

Welcome to Orchestra! Music is a subject that allows for development in many other areas, such as social skills, math, determination, as well as teaching patience and organization skills. I cannot wait to make music with the students and embark on a wonderful musical journey together!

My Education and Professional Background

I am a violinist and music educator with nearly 18 years of performing experiences and 9 years of teaching music lessons. I have played with the Butler University Symphony Orchestra, the Wheaton Pops Orchestra, and have been concert mistress of the OPUS and the Glenbard West Orchestras.I was also the concertmaster of the Civic Theatre Orchestra and Ohio University Symphony Orchestra, as well as a member of the Klinder Graduate Quartet. I have toured Italy and Slovenia with the International Music Festival of the Adriatic. An avid teacher, I have taught at Stacey De School of Performing Arts, Butler Community Arts School, Christel House, Shortridge High School, OPUS Chamber Music Camp, Athens Community Arts School, and B Amazing Music. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Violin Performance from Butler University and a master's degree in Violin Performance at Ohio University, studying with a full scholarship and assistantship in the Graduate Quartet.

My Educational Philosophy

I enjoy sharing my love of music with others and believes that music and the arts are key to a well-rounded education. Music can teach students empathy and can serve as a creative outlet that can stick with them for the rest of their lives. I believe every child has the right to experience music as part of their education and that anyone can learn to play an instrument if they put their mind to it.
 

 | Email Shauna Hormiere
About Pitts...
Position: Music
Room: D1
Phone: (480) 424-8581
Email: Pitts

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Welcome!

Hi there Rhinos! My name is Mr. Pitts and I'm super stoked to be working with you this year as your music teacher. I know that by working with me, you'll find success and a love for music.

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated from West Virginia University in 2014 with my Bachelor's in Music. I continued to teach and serve as the Performing Arts Director in a title 1 K-8 district since 2014 which led me into teaching at CUSD and here at Rice.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe whole-heartedly that music is for everyone. The differences between all of us is what makes it special and I like to focus on how to make learning music something that students can identify with personally. I take the Orff Schulwerk (a focus on combining singing, moving, playing, and creating music) process as a means to bring music class to life.
 

 | Email Matt Pitts
About Riggs...
Position: Special Education/ multi-grades
Room: B19
Phone: (480) 424-8549
Email: Riggs

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Welcome!

Hello Rice Family! My name is Laura Riggs and I teach students in 4th through 6th grade in the special education classroom. I am happy to have joined such a wonderful school and I am excited to be working with your students. I am a native of Arizona, I was raised in the Phoenix area but I have lived in Chandler for the last 22 years. My three child graduated from Chandler schools, so I know first hand what a great school district it is. I enjoy being active and spending time with my family.

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Special Education in December of 2012. I have worked as a special education teacher in grades K-6 including Resource, para-professional, and self-contained teacher since 2009.

My Educational Philosophy

I enjoy working with all students, however, my passion is working with students in Special Education. It is my goal to educate, inspire, and motivate students to become lifelong learners. I understand that children learn at different paces and have different strengths. It is my goal to meet the needs of each and every student. I look forward to working with students and families.
 

 | Email Laura Riggs
About Perkes...
Position: Special Education/ multi-grades
Room: C13
Phone: (480) 424-8563
Email: Perkes

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Welcome!

Hello! My name is Miss Perkes. I am very excited to be a part of the Rice family. I grew up in Payson, a small town in northern Arizona. I moved to Phoenix to pursue my teaching dream at Arizona State University. I fell in love with American Sign Language and have worked to teach myself the language. I love doing art projects and hanging out with my French bulldog, Houston!

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education in May 2019. I am very excited to continue my teaching career at Rice Elementary School!

My Educational Philosophy

I believe that learning should be fun and exciting. I have always loved to learn and it is my goal to encourage my students to not only enjoy learning but to seek out different opportunities to grow. Every individual has their own style and the uniqueness of each student should be incorporated into their learning. It is my hope that my students will learn as much from me as I learn from them.
 

 | Email Rylie Perkes
About Fink...
Position: Special Education/ multi-grades
Room: C23
Phone: (480) 424-8573
Email: Fink

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Welcome!

Hello! My name is Mrs. Lisa Fink. I am thrilled to be a part of the Rice Elementary family. My family and I moved from Virginia in 2016 where we resided for 7 years. I spent the beginning of my life and career in Pennsylvania where I went to school, started a family and enjoyed Penn State Football games, LOL. We absolutely love it here in Arizona, and now my entire family lives here! We love being outdoors hiking, paddle boarding, and skiing.

My Education and Professional Background

I have taught Special Education for my entire career. I feel very privileged to have experienced education at all levels of schooling. It gives me the unique perspective of where students start their educational careers and what it takes as they continue to move to their last years’ in school. I earned my Elementary Education degree from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and continued to earn my Special Education degree from Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania. Social/Emotional learning is my passion. I enjoy strengthening a child’s social/emotional learning because it directly impacts their academic learning. Building relationships is a powerful technique that creates a strong bond for learning. I believe each child can learn and grow, but needs a structured, nurturing environment with emotional connections to flourish.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe that each child learns by being provided a safe, nurturing and structured environment. I, also, believe each child learns through different modalities. As a teacher, I believe teaching using different modalities (hands-on, auditory, interpersonal, visual, etc.) is a way I can reach more students. Keeping my students engaged and excited about learning is one of the priorities I love about my job. If they are engaged and excited, they are open to learning and growing. I am passionate about my job, my students and our academic and social/emotional growth.
 

 | Email Lisa Fink
About Contreras...
Position: Special Education
Room: C12
Phone: 480-424-8562
Email: Contreras

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Welcome!

Hi there! My name is Karina Contreras and I look forward to teaching your child this year at Rice Elementary. I am a native Arizonian and have grown up in the beautiful city of Chandler. When I am not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family, baking cookies, and going to the movies.

My Education and Professional Background

I have a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with a SEI (Sheltered English Immersion) Endorsement from Grand Canyon University. I previously taught at Weinberg Elementary,and excited to be here at Rice Elementary.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe that every child can be successful and should be given the chance to do so.
 

 | Email Karina Contreras
About Henderson...
Position: Special Education
Room: C12
Phone: (480) 424-8562
Email: Henderson

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Welcome!

Hello! My name is Jill Henderson and I am thrilled to be a part of the Rice Elementary community! I teach resource as part of the special education team.

My Education and Professional Background

I received my undergraduate degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education from Northern Arizona University. I have been fortunate to teach in both California and Arizona. I absolutely love teaching and have spent my career working with elementary students with exceptional needs and with English Language Learners.

My Educational Philosophy

As part of the resource program, your child will receive specialized instruction to meet his/her Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals. We will use multi-sensory and hands-on activities to preview, reteach and reinforce skills and concepts in the general education classroom. Collaboration and communication is a key element to help our students be successful. I am excited to work with you and the classroom teachers this year to make this one an amazing experience filled with student growth.
 

 | Email Jill Henderson
About Bonin...
Position: 6th
Room: B16
Phone: (480) 424-8546
Email: Bonin

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Welcome!

I have been teaching since 2012, and have taught 6th grade since 2016. I look forward to building relationships and having tons of fun, while continuing to further my skills and experience as a teacher. My hope is for students to be responsible, safe, kind and enjoy learning!!

My Education and Professional Background

Bachelor degree in K-8 Elementary Education from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN.Masters in Literacy K-12 from St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN. My experience includes; K-5 Reading Specialist, 7th and 8th grade Communication Arts, and 6th grade Reading.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe all students can all learn, however we all take different paths to get to the destination. My recent professional development with Sharroky Hollie’s Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching, has helped shape my teaching style and philosophy. Now when planning and teaching, I have more skills and strategies to meet all students with what they need, and desire as learners.
 

 | Email Megan Bonin
About Barrera...
Position: 6th
Room: B16
Phone: (480) 424-8546
Email: Barrera

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Welcome!

I am excited to be a sixth grade teacher at Rice! Welcome to my class!

My Education and Professional Background

I have a BS in Elementary Education along with my Gifted and ESL Endorsements. I have been teaching since 1997.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe that all students can learn. I have high expectations and constantly challenge my students to be the best they can be.
 

 | Email Kati Barrera
About Muller...
Position: 5th
Room: B8
Phone: (480) 424-8538
Email: Muller

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Welcome!

I am so excited to begin my journey with you this year at Rice Elementary! I have been teaching since 2014. My goal is that every day you leave my room with a smile on your face, new skills in your brain, and excitement for tomorrow. In my class, you will explore the 5th grade curriculum through many tools such as iPads, textbooks, journals, and collaborative projects!

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelors in Elementary Education. I have taught 4th grade, 5th grade Classic, and 6th grade Science. I have taken several sustainability education courses through ASU, and coached the Robotics team with Mrs. Wahid the last two years. I was also a Testing Specialist. I have experience as Community Service Coordinator, Science Fair Handbook Co-creator and Site Coordinator, and Coding Club Co-creator and Facilitator.

My Educational Philosophy

I aim to assist students in seeing education through the lens of real-world application. My primary goal is to make learning approachable and meaningful to all students! I feel that it is critical to instill traits that promote good citizenship in students to ensure a productive future. To achieve the high goals I expect from my students, I have a strong foundation of respect and responsibility for both myself and my 5th graders! It takes an incredible effort from both sides of the classroom to have a successful outcome each and every day, and I know that with support surrounding these kids that absolutely any expectation is within reach. I look forward to a phenomenal year full of growth and knowledge!
 

 | Email Christina Muller
About Jan...
Position: 5th
Room: B5
Phone: (480) 424-8535
Email: Jan

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Welcome!

Welcome to 5th grade! I’m so excited to be a part of this learning community!

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated from the University of Arizona in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education. I taught kindergarten for 5 years (and loved it), then moved to upper elementary where I taught a multiage 5/6 class for 8 years before spending the last four years in a 6th grade ELA/SS classroom.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe that all students have the capacity to learn great things. Our greatest success as educators is to find the best way for them to do that in the short time that we spend with them.
 

 | Email Kimberley Jan
About Garibay...
Position: 5th
Room: B10
Phone: (480) 424-8540
Email: Garibay

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Welcome!

Hello! My name is Mrs. Garibay and I am excited to be a fifth grade teacher at Rice Elementary. I am originally from California and moved here in 2000. I am happily married with four amazing children. I enjoy spending time with my family and we love to explore new places. I am here to teach and support your child as well as develop a partnership with you to meet your values and expectations. Together we can accomplish great things!

My Education and Professional Background

I have a Bachelors in Elementary Education with a concentration in Science from Northern Arizona University. My professional background includes working in healthcare and customer service. I have always valued education and after having my own family decided that I would take my passion of learning and teach others.

My Educational Philosophy

As a mother of four children, I understand what it means to want the best for our children. I take this concept and apply it to teaching. I recognize that we are all individuals and learn in many different ways. I believe to be a great educator, one must first have a self-awareness of their learning capacity as well as others and the ability to present formal instruction that is both meaningful and engaging. I want every student to know they are valued and feel welcome when they are in my classroom. To create a productive society, I believe we must all work together and empower our youth with the passion to learn and desire to make positive changes in our world. I will guide students through their academic journey to become adept problem solvers and flexible thinkers by providing cooperative learning opportunities.
 

 | Email Kristen Garibay
About Pjura...
Position: 4th
Room: B4
Phone: (480) 424-8534
Email: Pjura

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Welcome!

elcome to 4th grade! I am so excited that I get to be a part of your year here at Rice Elementary. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

My Education and Professional Background

I am originally from New Jersey and attended the College of New Jersey. There I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Psychology. I taught kindergarten for a year in New Jersey and then moved to California. In California I taught kindergarten for another year. I moved to Arizona and taught second grade for two years. Since 2014 I have been teaching fourth grade.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe the most essential duty of teaching is to instill a desire to be lifelong learners. I want my students to leave class everyday excited to come back tomorrow. My personal goal, and my desire for my students, is to continually learn, grow, and develop into the best possible version of ourselves we can be.
 

 | Email Christina Pjura
About Garner...
Position: 4th
Room: B6
Phone: (480) 424-8356
Email: Garner

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Welcome!

Welcome parents and students to Fourth grade! My name is Courtney Garner and I am so excited to join you as we become Rice Rhinos. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns!

My Education and Professional Background

I received a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education at Northern Arizona University.

My Educational Philosophy

My philosophy stems from the belief that students will succeed if they are engaged and entertained in what they are learning. I believe a classroom community is strengthened when students, parents, and teachers collaborate together in the learning environment. In addition, students should have the ability to communicate their opinions, while maintaining a positive atmosphere. My motivation comes when students have the “a-ha light bulb moment” showing that they understand a concept that they have been trying to figure out for days.
 

 | Email Courtney Garner
About Romero...
Position: 4th
Room: B2
Phone: (480) 424-8532
Email: Romero

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Welcome!

Welcome! My name is Lisa Romero. I am so excited to be part of the Rhino Team as well as your child's 4th grade teacher! I look forward to a prosperous year, and please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have!

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated from NAU with my Bachelors in Elementary Education.

My Educational Philosophy

My philosophy of education goes beyond the content and knowledge gained from my classroom and will also flow into characteristics these young students will develop with the use of me leading them by example. Picking up trash, opening doors for others, assisting elders and younger kids, offering kind words to one another are all hidden gems us as teachers have to keep in mind that children see and follow that will help them become well rounded individuals.
 

 | Email Lisa Romero
About Ream...
Position: 4th
Room: B7
Phone: (480) 424-8537
Email: Ream

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Welcome!

Hello! My name is Cynthia Ream and I am thrilled to be your teacher this year! I am eager to get to know each and every one of you, as we venture through the journey of 4th grade together. I grew up in State College, PA and went to The Pennsylvania State University. I have lived in Arizona since 2001. I am married and we have three funny chihuahuas Lyla, Tucker and Blue.

My Education and Professional Background

I have been teaching since 2004. Throughout my teaching career I have taught Kindergarten, first, second and fourth grades. I have a Masters of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor’s degree in Art and Art History from The Pennsylvania State University .

My Educational Philosophy

In my classroom, I believe that all students can learn. I strive each day to teach my students new and exciting skills. I love working with children and enjoy seeing that light shine in their eyes once they realize they grasped a new skill. My goal is to create a safe, caring, and motivating environment in the classroom. I believe that education is not only about academics, but also about teaching my students to be respectful, responsible, and caring citizens.
 

 | Email Cynthia Ream
About Millidge...
Position: 3rd
Room: C22
Phone: (480) 424-8572
Email: Millidge

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Welcome!

Hello! My name is Jordan Millidge and I am excited to be your child's 3rd Grade Teacher! I look forward to a fun and successful school year, I can't wait to work with you all!

My Education and Professional Background

B.A. in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University Class of 2017

My Educational Philosophy

I aim for my classroom to be a welcoming, inclusive, and safe environment for everyone who walks in. I want my students to not only grow academically, but in their confidence and determination as well. I have a strong passion for teaching and look to be a great role model for all my students.
 

 | Email Jordan Millidge
About Sarpy...
Position: 3rd
Room: C15
Phone: (480) 424-8565
Email: Sarpy

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Welcome!

Welcome to third grade! My name is Jennifer Sarpy, and I’m thrilled to be your teacher this year! My goal is for all of us to work together in order to make this a very successful year for your student. Parents/Guardians, you are the most important people in your student’s life, and your support will greatly impact their success throughout the school year. I look forward to all that we get to accomplish together. :-)

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated from Mayville State University in 2004 with a bachelors degree in Elementary Education. I have taught in Arizona schools for 6 years with experience in fifth, sixth and seventh grade.

My Educational Philosophy

My philosophy is to create a fun, safe, learning environment where each child develops a love for learning by feeling comfortable asking questions, taking risks, not afraid of making mistakes and feeding their curiosity. As an educator my goal is to make a difference in each child's life and prepare them for their future as they could one day change the world.
 

 | Email Jennifer Sarpy
About Smith...
Position: 2nd
Room: C16
Phone: (480) 424-8566
Email: Smith

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Welcome!

Welcome to 2nd grade. I am so excited to be your teacher for the next year! There are so many fantastic and exciting things to learn and I cannot wait to get started!

My Education and Professional Background

Teaching and Nursing seem to run in my family so becoming a teacher was just a matter of time. Teaching is a second career for me. Originally, I earned a BA in Business Administration and Psychology. My first job was with American Express as a conversion specialist. I left that job to marry my husband and together we successfully ran a business for the next 12 years. We sold our business and moved to Arizona where I took a job teaching preschool. I loved it! So I went back to school and earned my BA in Elementary Education as well as my MA in Instruction and Curriculum from ASU. Since my son had a severe reading disability, my career eventually focused on the science of teaching reading. I have been a Reading Specialist and Instructional Coach for 7 of my 15 years of teaching. I have also taught Kindergarten, first, second and third grade.

My Educational Philosophy

Learning should be a wonderful experience. I believe in making learning fun and engaging. I believe that we all learn differently and I look forward to the opportunity to get to know your child. The classroom environment should be a safe place where ideas are shared, where everyone works hard and respects one another, and where students can reach their full potential! I am dedicated to giving my best and I look forward to working together as a team to help your child succeed!
 

 | Email Camellia Smith
About Murray...
Position: 2nd
Room: C20
Phone: (480) 424-8570
Email: Murray

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Welcome!

Welcome to Second Grade! I am happy and excited to be back in Arizona and thrilled to be a Rice Rhino. I am looking forward to a rewarding and successful year.

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated with honors from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and also with honors from Northern Arizona University with a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration. My first teaching position was with Mesa Public Schools followed by assignments in southern Arizona, Texas and Virginia. I have taught all elementary grade levels with the exception of kindergarten and sixth grade and also served as a principal for a private school. I feel my experience at various grades levels and in different districts (and states) has allowed me to grow and develop in my career and to utilize the most effective aspects from each of these settings to enable your child to succeed in his/her educational career.

My Educational Philosophy

I believe that each child is unique and capable of learning and that in order for children to grow and mature intellectually, emotionally and physically a safe and orderly environment is needed. When a classroom environment supports idea sharing, hard work and respect, students are better able to meet their full potential. It is my goal to provide this learning environment for your child. It is my honor to teach your child this year.
 

 | Email Jolene Murray
About Frye...
Position: 2nd
Room: C24
Phone: (480) 424-8574
Email: Frye

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Welcome!

Welcome to second grade! My name is Kayla Frye and I am thrilled to be your child’s teacher! This will be a fun year filled with lots of learning. I look forward to getting to know your family this year.

My Education and Professional Background

I am originally from Southern California where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in 2010 from CSUF. I have also obtained a SLPA certificate from NAU and enjoy helping children with their speech. I started my teaching career here in Arizona. I have taught second grade for 5 years and first grade for 3 years. I am now back in second grade and excited to be teaching here at Rice Elementary!

My Educational Philosophy

I believe ALL children can learn and succeed given high expectations. Students gain a passion for learning through fun and engaging lessons. It is important students are in a safe, respectful, and caring environment where they feel comfortable to make mistakes and grow as a learner.
 

 | Email Kayla Frye
About Trejo...
Position: 1st
Room: C10
Phone: (480) 424-8560
Email: Trejo

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Welcome!

Hello and welcome to First Grade! I cannot tell you how excited I am to begin this journey with you and your students. I'm looking forward to a wonderful year of growth!

My Education and Professional Background

I got my degree in Elementary and Special Education as well as my Early Childhood Education Certificate from Northern Arizona University. Throughout my time in Flagstaff I worked with children age 3- 13 in over six different schools of varying demographics. I completed my student teaching placements in both a 1st grade classroom and a 12th grade resource room. I was then hired into the Chandler Unified School District as a resource teacher at Ira A. Fulton Elementary for one year where I taught kids K-6 and then one year at Weinberg. I could not be more excited to teach at Rice!

My Educational Philosophy

I am a huge advocate for individualized education. Every child is different in their specific needs and strengths. Students need to feel that they are important, their strengths and needs are important, and that their individual progress is something worth monitoring and celebrating. I will always allow my students the opportunity to take part in their own goals. Creating a classroom environment that is comforting and safe for all of my students, while allowing them the freedom to discover things about themselves and the world around them is my main priority!
 

 | Email Madison Trejo
About Cook...
Position: 1st
Room: C6
Phone: 480-424-8556
Email: Cook

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Welcome!

Welcome to first grade! I am looking forward to an exciting year! We are going to have so much fun learning and exploring the world around us.

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated from the University of Arizona with a double bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and Psychology. I began teaching in 2014 and taught kindergarten in Tucson for two years before moving to the Chandler Unified School District.

My Educational Philosophy

I strive to create a caring classroom community where students feel comfortable sharing their ideas and asking questions. Through engaging, hands-on lessons I try to foster a love of learning in every student. I look forward to building relationships with your families throughout the year!
 

 | Email Courtney Cook
About Burrell...
Position: Kindergarten
Room: C3
Phone: (480) 424-8553
Email: Burrell

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Welcome!

Hello! I am Kristian Burrell and I am thrilled to be a Rice Rhino! This year is going to be a fun filled year with a lot of learning and growing along with many fun activities mixed in. I look forward to getting to know your family. Rice Elementary is the place to be!

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated from Arizona State-Polytechnic with my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education in 2007. I began my teaching career soon after in August 2007. I am grateful I’ve been able to teach kindergarten all these years. In 2010 I received my Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with an endorsement in Early Childhood. I am also endorsed in Structured English Immersion and trained in Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and Wilson Fundations.

My Educational Philosophy

Kindergarten is a once in a lifetime experience in a child’s life. It is not only the beginning of their formal education, but it is the first step toward lifelong learning and social participation. I believe it is my role as a teacher to foster a safe and nurturing environment for my students as they make the transition to a formal school setting. It is important to form a positive and open partnership with the parents, principal, and support staff in order to support the learning and developmental needs of my students. Like the famous proverb says, “it takes a village to raise a child”, but it also takes a village to educate a child. To end, I believe Magda Gerber sums up my educational philosophy well, “Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write and count. Childhood is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace which is right for each individual child.” Kindergarten is a journey, not a race and I look forward to starting this journey.
 

 | Email Kristian Burrell
About Hermreck...
Position: PE
Room: MPR
Phone: (480) 424-8585
Email: Hermreck

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Welcome!

Welcome to PHYSICAL EDUCATION! I’m so excited to be teaching P.E. this school year! I look forward to working with the entire Rice Rhino family!

My Education and Professional Background

I have been teaching since 1995. I received my B.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and my M.S. from Northern Arizona University in Curriculum and Instruction. I recently obtained my Physical Education Endorsement. I have taught Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade as well as having been a Reading Specialist.

My Educational Philosophy

To build rich, meaningful, active lessons that include ALL students. We will explore, problem solve, use critical thinking skills, build cognitive social skills, and be active. I aspire to strengthen character, increase self-esteem and confidence, and encourage a life-long love of being active to support a healthy mind and body. We can do this through a respectful environment where the school community becomes a family of peers who want the best for their classmates and ALL students, staff, families, and friends on campus.
 

 | Email Tania Hermreck

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About Douglas...
Position: 1st
Room: C5
Phone: (480) 424-8555
Email: Douglas

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Welcome!

Welcome! My name is Tammy Douglas. I am so excited to be your child's first grade teacher! I am a native of Iowa. I am married to my wonderful husband, Dean. I have two children, Zach and Delaney.

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelors degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Development. I received my Master's Degree in Education from River Forest College in Illinois. My first 14 years of teaching were spent in the state of Illinois. I moved to Arizona in the summer of 2000 and started teaching in the Chandler School District in 2001. I have managed to teach every grade in an elementary school except for 2nd grade.

My Educational Philosophy

Teaching is a passion for me and I want to inspire, educate, and motivate students to become lifelong learners. In order to accomplish my goal I will help your child feel loved, valued, empowered, and capable of success. I am looking forward to not only working with your child, but also working with you as a parent so that we create a team to do what is best for your child. I value each relationship that I build with your child and will work hard each day to help your child exceed expectation
 

 | Email Tammy Douglas
About Van De Beuken...
Position: 1st
Room: C9
Phone: (480) 424-8559
Email: Van De Beuken

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Welcome!

Welcome! My name is Shannon Van De Beuken and I am very excited to be your child's first grade CTA teacher. I am originally from Ohio but have lived in Arizona since 1995. I have two amazing children, Tyler and Maddie, that both attended CUSD all through elementary school.

My Education and Professional Background

I earned a bachelors degree in broadcast journalism from Arizona State University and went on to earn my Masters degree in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix.

My Educational Philosophy

I absolutely love teaching, especially first graders! I believe that the best classrooms are those with an informed and loving teacher, curious students, supportive parents and administrators, and a safe learning environment.
 

 | Email Shannon Van De Beuken
About McBlane...
Position: 2nd
Room: C17
Phone: (480) 424-8567
Email: McBlane

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Welcome!

Welcome to Second Grade with Ms. McBlane!

My Education and Professional Background

Welcome, my name is Christina McBlane and I have taught second grade since 2002. I received my bachelors at Arizona State University in 2000, and have also taken many professional growth classes through the Chandler district. I began by subbing in all grades K-12th and was hired at Weinberg in 2002 as a second grade teacher. I have been at Weinberg ever since and really enjoy the school and community. I feel a dedication to this community as I grew up just south of the school in the Queen Creek area. I have a beautiful daughter who also attends Rice Elmentary as well.

My Educational Philosophy

I love teaching and watching students light bulbs turn on with every I got it moment ! I believe that children need a positive learning environment where they can love learning and find success. In addition I am dedicated to giving me best and adjusting my teaching so that every child can learn. In addition, I also believe that my students need to know that I believe in them and that they are capable. I'm so excited to start a new year full of new memories and adventures.
 

 | Email Christina McBlane
About Murphy...
Position: Kindergarten
Room: C8
Phone: (480) 424-8558
Email: Murphy

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Welcome!

Welcome to Kindergarten! This year you will see tremendous progress in all areas. Children will become fluent readers, published authors and skilled mathematicians with a repertoire of strategies.

My Education and Professional Background

I began teaching in 2002. I spent my first three years at Madison Heights Elementary, an Excelling school nestled at the base of Piestewa Peak. Heights was fortunate to be part of the Milken Family Foundation, which provided weekly teacher leader support, monthly evaluations and extensive professional development. Heights received the Federal Blue Ribbon Award, and I was interviewed by Rod Paige, the Secretary of Education at the time. A marriage and a new home brought me to Gilbert, where I taught second grade for one year at Greenfield Elementary. I have been with the Chandler School District since 2006; I love our school community!

My Educational Philosophy

Every child has a different learning style and pace. Each child is unique, not only capable of learning, but also capable of succeeding.
 

 | Email Jessica Murphy
About Willey...
Position: Kindergarten
Room: C7
Phone: (480) 424-8557
Email: Willey

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Welcome!

Welcome to my website!

My Education and Professional Background

I was born and raised in a small town in Washington State. I graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Education, in May 2002. I moved to Arizona that summer and started my first teaching job that July. I taught for the Madison School District for 8 years, teaching Kindergarten for six years, first grade for one year and an ELL Kindergarten and First grade combination class for one year. I started working at Chandler Unified School District the summer of 2011. I spent my first three years teaching Kindergarten and started teaching Second Grade in 2014. In 2017, I switched back to Kindergarten. I have loved the change in grade levels and it has really challenged me as a teacher.

My Educational Philosophy

My educational philosophy is simple. I am teaching the whole child. I, of course, am concerned about teaching the state standards and grade level curriculum, but I am also teaching social skills, how to motivate students to do their best and teaching them about self worth, confidence and empathy towards others.
 

 | Email Jean Willey
About Bills...
Position: 3rd
Room: C14
Phone: (480) 424-8564
Email: Bills

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Welcome!

Welcome to third grade! My name is Robyn Bills and I am excited to get to know your family. Third grade at Rice is a great place to be so please join us, learn a lot and have some fun!!

My Education and Professional Background

I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and my Master's Degree in Educational Leadership through Northern Arizona University. I also have my SEI and Early Childhood endorsements. I have taught first grade, second grade, been the English Language Learner Pull Out Teacher and developed a reading program to help struggling readers gain proficiency. This has all been at Weinberg Elementary.

My Educational Philosophy

My philosophy of education is that every child should have the right to learn and get a quality education. Every child that enters into the classroom should feel safe and comfortable. A quality education is a two part process. This includes not only the academic understanding and knowledge but also the ability to believe in one's self and then because of that belief go on to have a positive self esteem. A child deserves to have an understanding of who they are, and where they are going in life. Helping to shape this understanding is part of my role as a teacher
 

 | Email Robyn Bills
About Budgett...
Position: 2nd
Room: C21
Phone: (480) 424-8571
Email: Budgett

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Welcome!

Welcome Second Graders! You have just joined Ms. Budgett's class and we're excited to dive into an ocean of learning! I am very excited to be sharing this wonderful year of learning opportunities with you and your child!

My Education and Professional Background

have my bachelors degree in Elementary Education from NAU. My focus for my degree was in culture and language. I student taught in Germany and had many unique experiences that will help your child grow this year! I taught third grade prior to teaching second grade.

My Educational Philosophy

My goal for this year is to give your child the confidence to set high academic goals and achieve them by working hard with a positive attitude. I hope to make your child feel comfortable and safe while learning in my class. I want them to be able to take responsibility for their actions and to learn from their classmates. I know we will have a great school year with high goals in mind!
 

 | Email Brittany Budgett
About Cox...
Position: 3rd
Room: C18
Phone: (480) 424-8568
Email: Cox

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Welcome!

Welcome to Rice Elementary-I really appreciate you taking the time to visit.

My Education and Professional Background

I have been teaching since 2006. I coached little league baseball for about 5 years, soccer for 2 years, and children's basketball for 3 years.

My Educational Philosophy

It often requires lots of practice to become good at something new.
 

 | Email David Cox
About Harpole...
Position: 3rd
Room: C19
Phone: (480) 424-8569
Email: Harpole

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Welcome!

Kids are creative, thoughtful, silly, contemplative, shy, hard-working, and sponges that soak up learning everywhere they go and in everything they do. I'm excited to be a small part of their learning. My goal is to make learning fun using creative activities and integrating technology AND to teach manners, respect, and encourage kindness.

My Education and Professional Background

I graduated many years ago with a BS in Psychology from the University of Utah because once upon a time I wanted to be a Psychologist. But like all good fairy tales, I found a more enticing path and fell into and in love with teaching. We moved across the country and I pursued a BA degree in Education. I worked as a classroom teacher, then a reading interventionist while getting my Masters in Reading & Literacy. We came to Arizona to escape tornadoes and ice storms and have loved living here. It feels so good to finally put down roots in such a wonderful school as Rice!

My Educational Philosophy

My philosophy of education is simple: kids learn what they like, kids practice when motivated, kids perform when rewarded, and kids gain confidence through careful mentoring and thoughtful encouragement.
 

 | Email Juli Harpole

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About Zylstra...
Position: 5th
Room: B15
Phone: (480) 424-8545
Email: Zylstra

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Welcome!

Welcome to 5th grade CTA! My name is Lorie Zylstra and I am very excited to be a part of the fifth grade team at Rice. My husband and I moved to Chandler in 2004 and we have two teenage daughters.

My Education and Professional Background

I was born and raised in the Los Angeles area. After spending twenty years in Southern California, I have moved around and lived in Las Vegas, Seattle, and now finally here in Chandler. Yes, people really do live in Las Vegas. I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel Administration from UNLV. I spent fifteen years working in Human Resources for very large corporations, such as MGM Grand Hotel, Microsoft, and Intel. I spent three precious years at home when my girls were babies. I finally pursued my passion for teaching in 2006. I received my Master of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from ASU in 2007. I've taught both 2nd and 3rd grades previously at another CUSD school in a classic classroom, moved to Weinberg teaching 4th grade CTA in 2014 and now teach 5th grade CTA at Rice.

My Educational Philosophy

Every child brings their own strength and uniqueness to the classroom. I uphold high expectations for students, and I believe in every child and know they can be what their heart desires. My passion is to guide students to help them learn for themselves, and to teach kids not only academics, but to become problem solvers and critical thinkers. It's my job to be their leader and role model. I love my job and I can't imagine being anywhere else.
 

 | Email Lorie Zylstra
About Traube...
Position: 4th
Room: B3
Phone: (480) 424-8533
Email: Traube

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Welcome!

Welcome to 4th grade at Weinberg! I am Lisa Traube, a proud member of Rice's 4th grade team.

My Education and Professional Background

I received my BS in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona and my MA from Northern Arizona University. My teaching career began in 1991 teaching 3rd grade and continues now teaching 4th grade.

My Educational Philosophy

Every child has the ability to learn and achieve academic success with the support of educators and parents. It is important to watch each kid grow academically and socially, while maintaining their individuality and by learning at their level. Students learn how to become better at study skills in 4th grade that hopefully will carry on throughout their education.
 

 | Email Lisa Traube
About Rader...
Position: 5th
Room: B12
Phone: (480) 424-8542
Email: Rader

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Welcome!

Welcome new 5th Grade Rhinos. I am Mrs. Cari Rader. I am so excited to be your teacher this year and lead our "crash". My family is originally from southern California. My husband and I moved to Gilbert in 2005. We have two teenaged boys. Jackson and Cash both attend Casteel High school. I love being part of the community where I teach.

My Education and Professional Background

I attended college in Las Vegas. While earning my degree in Psychology from UNLV I really reflected on all the great teachers I had in my own life. My passion for learning drove me to want to teach elementary school. I wanted to make an impact and make a difference the way my second-grade teacher and my 10th grade English teacher had done for me. After moving back to California I began an intense intern program and obtained my teaching credential! I have taught 3-5th grades. I still love learning and teaching after all these years.

My Educational Philosophy

My goal is to encourage your children to be life-long learners. I want them to establish a love for reading and be successful problem solvers. More importantly, I want them to grow as individuals with integrity. I hope they come home happy and excited to share each day.
 

 | Email Cari Rader

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About Wahid...
Position: Technology
Room: Tech Lab
Phone: (480) 424-8529 Lab A (480) 424-8530 Lab B
Email: Wahid

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Welcome!

Welcome! I am Ms. Wahid. My husband and I live in Gilbert with our dog and cats. In my free time I enjoying spending time with friends and family. I'm looking forward to a fun and successful year!

My Education and Professional Background

I LOVE being a Rice Rhino. I taught at Chandler Unified School District since 2006 and before taking the technology teacher position I taught 5th and 6th grade. We have a strong community at Rice and strive to include teachers, students, and parents in deciding what is best for each child. I received my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from ASU in 2003 and my Master's Degree in Educational Technology through NAU in 2010. I love teaching technology and helping teachers incorporate tech into their lessons.

My Educational Philosophy

Teaching is my passion; I cannot imagine doing anything else. One of my many goals is for school to be a safe, nurturing, and happy place for students. Building positive relationships students is important to creating a strong community of learners here at Rice. I want each child to feel valued, loved, and empowered. I work to design learning activities that allow students to create, problem solve, and take risks. There is nothing sweeter than seeing the light-bulbs turn on and students becoming independent thinkers. I’m so thrilled that CUSD decided to add technology teachers at the elementary level because it is absolutely necessary to teach these 21st Century Skills starting in Kindergarten, plus – it’s my dream job!
 

 | Email Nasreen Wahid

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About DaRugna...
Position: 6th
Room: B13
Phone: (480) 424-8543
Email: DaRugna

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Welcome!

Welcome to our 6th grade webpage.....come on in!

My Education and Professional Background

Masters from NAU; Bachelors from ASU; 24 years of educating young minds

My Educational Philosophy

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.
 

 | Email Monica DaRugna

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About Evenhus...
Position: School Counselor
Room: Office
Phone: (480) 424-8509
Email: Evenhus

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Welcome!

The sky is the limit!

My Education and Professional Background

I have worked as a special education teacher in grades K-8 since 2002. I hold a bachelors degree in both Elementary Education and Special Education and I have my masters degree in School Counseling.

My Educational Philosophy

Elementary school years set the tone for developing the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary for children to become healthy, competent and confident learners. I work with the school staff, parents and the community to create a caring climate and atmosphere. By providing education, prevention, early identification and intervention, all children can achieve academic success. What exactly do I do? Along with providing school based counseling services to students in either a group, individual or classroom setting, I am also the case manager for students who are identified under IDEA (Individuals With Disabilities Education Act) as well as students who qualify under Section 504 here at Rice.
 

 | Email Sarah Evenhus
About Aaker...
Position: Special Education
Room: B1
Phone: (480) 424-8531
Email: Aaker

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Welcome!

Hello, my name is Brianne Aaker and I teach Sped resource here at Rice Elementary. My caseload is kindergarten, first, and second grade. I grew up in Washington State and moved to Arizona four years ago.

My Education and Professional Background

I got my Undergraduate Degree from The University of Washington in Social Welfare. I then moved to Arizona and got my Masters from Arizona State University in Special and Elementary Education.

My Educational Philosophy

In the resource program, your child will be receiving specialized instruction to meet his/her IEP goals. We will be using various multi-sensory and hands-on activities to review, re-teach, and/or reinforce concepts taught in the general education classroom. In addition, we will be using direct instruction to provide intensive intervention as appropriate to help maximize your child's success. Behavioral support will be provided through direct services and/or consultation with the classroom tea
 

 | Email Brianne Aaker