Meet Our Teachers
Cindy Avelar - Kindergarten
Cindy was born and raised in Southern California and is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelors Degree in Finance. She worked in the banking industry for 10 years before moving to Arizona in 2006 with her family. Cindy has been involved at GEA in many capacities including classroom parent volunteer, substitute teacher, PE instructor, and kindergarten teacher. This will be Cindy's 6th year working at GEA.
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Cassandra Cordts - Kindergarten
This is Cassie’s first year teaching kindergarten. She recently moved to Tucson from New York where she grew up and taught pre-kindergarten. She graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo with a Bachelors in Childhood Education. She plans on beginning a master’s program in literacy next year. In her spare time Cassie loves cooking, reading and completing arts and crafts projects.
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Jennifer Hall - 1st Grade
Jennifer grew up in Ohio & has lived in many communities in the 13 years she has been in Arizona, but she has come to love Sahuarita, where she lives with her husband and their dog, Harvey. Jennifer earned an Associate's in Early Education from Pima Community College and a Bachelor's in Elementary Education from Prescott College. She has over 10 years' experience teaching Preschool, Kinder & First Grade. She is very excited to begin her 3rd year teaching First Grade at GEA. In her spare time she enjoys exercise, church events and crafts.
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Dana Schultz - First Grade
Dana is very excited to be teaching at GEA in such a wonderful and caring learning environment. She has taught many grades at various charter schools in Arizona in the past 8 years but especially enjoys teaching 1st graders. She grew up in Northern California and earned a B.S. Degree in Education/Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Fine Art from Texas Tech University. One of her favorite methods of teaching is through hands-on activities, and she also enjoys using technology to engage students. Dana’s passion is teaching phonic based reading and she looks forward to working with her students and their parents this year.
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Dona has been teaching for sixteen years, including six years as Principal at an elementary school. She is a native Arizonan and served in the US Army as a Medic. Dona is a certified USA Track and Field Coach, and coaches high school and youth club track and field teams. She has four children and one granddaughter, and loves to travel and see different areas in the United States.
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A native Arizonan, Stacie grew up only two hours away in the small town of Ajo. When she married her husband, Jason, she moved to Tucson and attended the University of Arizona. After graduation she worked as a substitute teacher before teaching second grade in the Sunnyside School District. Stacie then had the opportunity to move to Vancouver, Canada, but recently returned to Arizona and made Sahuarita her home. She has three children attending GEA and when not being "Mom" or "Teacher" she enjoys reading, camping, traveling, crafting and writing children's books.
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Ronda Wolf - 3rd Grade
Ronda was born in Michigan, but moved to Arizona at 10 and is a true desert girl at heart. She was a "stay-at-home mom" while her 3 sons were growing up and was always involved in their schools, sports and Scouting (two of her sons are Eagle Scouts). She is now a proud Marine Mom and a proud grandma of two. When her youngest son was a senior in high school, she became a teacher after earning her Bachelor's in Elementary Education from the U of A. She has taught 3rd grade in Rio Rico and Kindergarten in Safford, and enjoys reading, quilting, and cooking, as well as collecting cookbooks from authors of children's books. This is her second year at GEA.
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Rachel was born and raised in Arizona. She married her high school sweetheart and they have three boys. She has been working in & around schools for many years and is excited to have earned her ParaProfessional certification last summer. Rachel enjoys spending time with her family, reading, animals and gardening. She is looking forward to a great year at GEA.
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Sandra Hunt - 4th Grade
Sandra is originally from Phoenix but moved to Arkansas when she was in middle school. Before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Arizona, she worked with Head Start and was a substitute teacher. Sandra is very excited about her eighth year of teaching at Great Expectations. She loves being around and working with children and seeing the smiles on their faces when they learn or accomplish something new. Sandra is married and has four children. She and her husband have lived in Green Valley for fourteen years.
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Sandra is originally from Houston but has visited and lived in many places including Germany, Holland, Iceland, England, California, and South Carolina. She has taught Fifth through Eighth Grades in addition to coaching boys’ and girls’ basketball and girls’ volleyball and serving as Student Council Sponsor for 3 years. This is Sandra’s ninth year teaching at Great Expectations.
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Heather Brannock - 5th Grade
Heather was born and raised in Tucson. She earned her Bachelor's in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona in 2006. She has taught in Rio Rico for the past six years in both 3rd and 5th grades. Heather and her husband, Billy, have one daughter, Ryleigh, who is two. Heather enjoys reading, playing the violin, and volunteering in her church's youth ministry program. She is very excited for her second year at Great Expectations.
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Rebecca Moore - 5th Grade
Rebecca is a native Tucsonan with roots going back to her great-grandmother. She now lives in Sahuarita and recently completed her Elementary Education degree from the University of Arizona. After serving as GEA's Physical Education instructor for six years, Rebecca enjoyed her first year in the classroom and is looking forward to her second. In her spare time, she enjoys exercising, working on her family scrapbook and spending time with her husband and two children.
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Zeke is from Texas... but did not live there long enough to become a 'Texan' (only one year), moving to Florida for ten years and then to Prescott, Arizona. Zeke moved to Tucson in 2005 to attend the University of Arizona, majoring in Biology Education with a focus in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Zeke really likes drawing, hiking, dinosaurs, cooking interesting foods, science-ing, dinosaurs, Doctor Who, traveling, teaching, and dinosaurs. Zeke's full name is Zeke Zee Zager and while he had little to do with the name acquisition process, he is quite proud of it. Zeke previously taught at the High School level for three years in the Tucson area, teaching Biology, Chemistry, and General Science. This is Zeke's first year at GEA.
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Aaron Szabo - 6th Grade
Aaron moved to Green Valley in 2006 from Santa Cruz, California. He attended San Jose State University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with minors in Music and Spanish. Aaron spent many years working for Santa Clara County Probation Department and has recently started a new career in education. He enjoys working with adolescent students. Aaron also enjoys playing music and performs in several salsa bands in Tucson. This is his third year at Great Expectations Academy.
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Charity Moss - 7th Grade
Charity moved to Sahuarita in 2010 from South Carolina. She attended Maranatha Baptist Bible College, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics in 2004. She received her Master's Degree in Divergent Learning in 2009 from Columbia College in South Carolina. Charity has taught high school math for 7 years. During that time, she also coached basketball and volleyball at the middle school and high school levels. Charity has been married for 11 years and has 3 dogs. She and her husband like to visit Madera Canyon, Mt. Lemmon, and the other beautiful parts of Arizona. This is her first year at Great Expectations Academy.
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Christopher DeWildt - 8th Grade
Chris grew up in Michigan. After college he moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky for graduate school. His educational philosophy is that learning is a lifelong process and that every student is capable of great things with positive reinforcement. In his spare time, Mr. DeWildt enjoys reading all kinds of fiction, writing stories, playing video games, and spending time with his family. He has a wife, two kids, and a dog. Chris lives in Tucson and doesn’t mind the commute to Sahuarita. This is his second year at GEA.
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Cassandra Sparrold - 8th Grade
Cassandra is a native Tucsonan and alumna of the University of Arizona with her Bachelor's in English Literature and a Master's in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix. She transitioned from the banking industry into teaching to enjoy building relationships within the classroom. This is her third year at Great Expectations. She has four cats and two dogs and spends her spare time reading, knitting and hanging out with her critters.
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Tara Rayan - Science & Computer Lab
This will be Tara's 2nd as technology instructor at GEA. For the last 11 years her dedication has been to education; she loves learning, especially with kids. Tara was born in Wichita, Kansas and relocated to Phoenix at an early age. After touring other parts of the country she decided to come home to Arizona. She lived in Tucson for 7 years and has lived in Sahuarita for 7 years. She is currently working toward her Master's in Clinical Psychology at Grand Canyon University and plans to continue her own education and learning for as long as she is able. Tara is very excited to work and learn with GEA's children & parents this year.
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Ms. Sophie grew up in Duluth, MN where her family owns and operates Karakatsoulis Pottery. She went to the University of Minnesota, Duluth for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education, and minored in Art History. Her favorite medium to teach is clay and she hopes to further develop the clay program at GEA. Sophie loves to travel and was fortunate to have the opportunity to teach art at an international school in Vietnam. She is inspired by music, art and culture from all over the world and loves to share this with her students. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, practicing yoga, and going hiking with her husband and son. Picture & bio coming soon!
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Lisa was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and moved to Santa Cruz, California in her early twenties. After exploring Northern California, she settled in the Bay Area where she met her husband while country dancing. They moved to Arizona in 2003 and are raising a son who is 15 and a GEA graduate, now attending Walden Grove High School, and a daughter, 13, currently in 8th Grade at GEA. Lisa loves the beach, Arizona weather, dining out (especially Mexican food) and the outdoors as well as family time. She also loves being the librarian at GEA, spending time with the students and working with books - her "dream" job.
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Donna was born in Alaska but spent most of her childhood in Missouri. She was given a piano at the age of 4 and grew up playing piano, hand bells, and singing in church. She moved to Sahuarita 12 years ago and attended Pima Community College, earning her EMT, and also attended the U of A to continue her education in Emergency Medicine. After the birth of her second son, she began teaching EMT classes for Pima until the birth of her daughter. When her oldest son enrolled in kindergarten at GEA in 2011, Donna began volunteering and last year she began teaching music. She is passionate about teaching and looks forward to this new career change! She enjoys gardening, riding in her husband’s 1950 fire truck, and being involved in the youth & music programs at her church.
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Leonor is originally from Southern California and has a degree in Psychology with a minor in Child Development and a credential in Early Childhood Education. After college, Leonor moved to Arizona with her family and began working and volunteering at GEA in 2006 when her sons Alex and Jordan began kindergarten. After volunteering for three years, Leonor was hired as a lunch monitor and then became the physical education instructor. In her spare time, Leonor enjoys sports and doing Boy Scout activities with her sons.
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