Faculty and Staff
In 1985, Helen Riddle and her husband moved to Mesa, Az where she started teaching Biology at Mountain View High School. In 1989 she transferred to Red Mountain High School where she served as teacher, science department chair, Team Leader and Instructional Specialist. In 1992 she completed a Master's Degree in Educational Counseling at Arizona State University. In 1999 Helen transferred to Skyline High School and served as the Team Leader and Director of Activities before accepting the Assistant Principal position at Mesa High School. Most recently she completed 10 years as the Principal of Westwood High School in Mesa, Az. In 2012, she became the Executive Director of the Mesa Distance Learning Program.
Mrs. Riddle graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree and received a Master's degree in Educational Counseling from Arizona State University in 1992. She has been with Mesa Public Schools since 1985.
Ms. Elliott began her career in the mental health field working as a case manager and counselor. Additionally, she has taught and case managed a vast and varied array of students who required individualized programming in regards to their education.
Ms. Elliott graduated summa cum laude from Kansas Wesleyan University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in psychological services. She continued her education in the Phoenix area with masters' degrees in counseling and special education, followed by a certificate of advanced graduate studies in educational administration.
Dr. Scott Nelson was born and raised in Michigan. He has worked 26 years as the psychologist at Powell Junior High School and also served as psychologist at Kino Junior High School in the Mesa school district. Dr. Nelson is currently the psychologist at Rhodes Junior High, along with his responsibilities at MDLP.
Dr. Nelson's educational experience includes a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Master of Counseling, and Doctorate in School Psychology through Arizona State University
Mr. Chris Palacios has been with the school district for about 5 years working with students ages 5 and up. He has worked as an ALC Instructor for Crismon Elementary and has been an instructor for the BEEPS Preschool program for Holmes Elementary. He is currently the Outreach Mentor for Mesa Distance Learning as of January 2013. He works closely with students in the program who are struggling with grades, attendance, and hours put in school. With the help from the specialists in the program, he is making sure students are getting the support and guidance that will help them get back on track.
Mr. Palacios has received an Associate in Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Everest College. His love for his 3 kids and education has him currently pursuing a career in Elementary Education.
Ms. Patti Roose is a registrar for the Mesa Distance Learning Program. She came to MDLP in July 2012 from Red Mountain where she worked as a registrar. Prior to that she worked in Audiology for MPS until 2001. Ms. Roose has been with Mesa Public Schools since 1993. As an MDLP registrar, Ms. Roose registers students and answers questions about graduation requirements and district enrollment policies for our full-time students.
Veronica Schneider started as the MDLP Secretary in 2015. She started with Mesa Public Schools in 2012 in Audit Services and over the past year in Facility Rentals. Mrs. Schneider earned a B.A. degree in Psychology with a minor in Family Studies and Child Development from Arizona State University. Prior to working with the District she spent 16 years in the insurance industry. She grew up in AZ and has been a Mesa resident since 2001.
Ms. Susan Schuller is a registrar for the Mesa Distance Learning Program. She came to MDLP in June 2010 from the Mesa School District EVA program where she worked as a registrar. She has been with Mesa Public Schools since 1999. Ms. Schuller registers students and answers questions about graduation requirements and district enrollment policies for our full-time students.
Janet Wendel has been the Office Specialist with MDLP since 2007. She started with Mesa Public Schools in 2004 at Curriculum Services. Ms. Wendel earned a B.S. degree in Psychology with a minor in English from Truman University in Kirksville, Missouri. Her primary work experiences have been in higher education offices. She worked at Truman University for 9 years, spending 5 years as secretary to the Dean of Students. She spent 10 years at Chaffey College in Alta Loma, California as Human Resources Assistant and 3 years in Chico, California as the administrative secretary to the Chancellor of Western University of Health Sciences, Chico campus.
As the Office Specialist, Ms. Wendel enrolls students, monitors student registrations and course approval activity, coordinates IGA contracts with nearly 40 districts, and assists with student testing.
Ms. Marissa Boomgaard, our MDLP Science specialist, has been with Mesa Public Schools since 1999. Prior to joining MDLP Ms. Boomgaard taught AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, and Biology for seven years and is currently teaching Biology for Chandler-Gilbert Community College . During her tenure with Mesa Public Schools she has served on various committees, such as AVID site team, North Central Accreditation, and district wide curriculum and test writing committees.
Ms. Boomgaard's educational experience includes a B. A. in Secondary Education and Biology from Ottawa University, M. Ed. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.
Mrs. Julie Davis, our MDLP English specialist, has been an English instructor for Mesa Public Schools since 1998. She has taught numerous English and reading courses at both the junior high and high school levels, served as an English Department Chair, and participated in a variety of committees, such as SIAC, Public Relations, Curriculum Review and Revision, Textbook Adoption, and CRT Revision. Mrs. Davis has been with our program since 2004 as an instructor, teaching EN09 Ninth Grade English and EN56 Multicultural Literature.Mrs. Davis's educational experience includes a B.A. in English Literature from Concordia College, a M.A. in Secondary Education from Northern Arizona University, and an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Lacrosse University. She also holds endorsements in Reading and English as a Second Language.
Ms. Jennifer Echols has served as the Social Studies Content Specialist and instructor for the Mesa Distance Learning Program since 2003. Prior to joining the MDLP faculty, Ms. Echols taught social studies and computer and technical education classes in the Mesa Public Schools for ten years. During her tenure with Mesa Schools, Ms. Echols has served on a variety of committees, including North Central Accreditation, SIAC, School Improvement Management Team, and district-wide curriculum and textbook adoption committees.
Ms. Echols' educational experience includes a B.A. in Secondary Education and History from Arizona State University, a M.Ed. from Northern Arizona University in Educational Technology, and a M.Ed. from Northern Arizona University in Educational Leadership.
Mrs. Brenda Griego, our MDLP electives specialist, has been a teacher with Mesa Public Schools since 2000. She taught junior high social studies, served as summer school coordinator, mentor teacher, and correlate team leader. Prior to joining the MDLP faculty, she was a district specialist for 6 years in Career Ladder focusing on student achievement and professional development. During her tenure with MPS, she has participated on numerous committees, including School Continuous Improvement, School Improvement Advisory Council, and AEA Government Relations. She has also developed materials and trainings for district AZCCRS courses, including Argument Literacy (ELA & social studies), Writing from Sources, and Blended Learning.
Mrs. Griego's educational experience includes a B.A. in Secondary Education and Psychology, and a M.Ed. in Educational Counseling from Ottawa University. She also holds an English as a Second Language endorsement and a school guidance counselor endorsement.
Mr. Charles Harty has been part of the Mesa Distance Learning Program since 2010. He started as a Flash programmer and designer, making interactive applications for use in the online courses. He now works as the Graphics Media Developer, maintaining and updating the MDLP website.
Mr. Harty has a Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Multimedia Design from Collins College.
Mr. Terry Hutchins has been a science instructor with Mesa Public Schools since 1983. During his tenure as a science instructor, he served on several science curriculum and textbook adoption committees and created interactive units for the jr. high science program. He has conducted workshops for the Mesa School District and the Arizona and National Science Teacher Association regional conventions. Mr. Hutchins has been the multimedia specialist and jr. high science specialist for the Mesa Distance Learning Program since June of 2001, teaching SC09 Essential Elements of Science and SC33 Earth Science.
Mr. Hutchins' educational experience includes a Bachelor's degree in Earth Science from Northern Arizona University and a M.Ed. in Secondary Education in 1989 from Arizona State University. In 2000, Mr. Hutchins graduated from Arizona State University with a M.Ed. in Educational Media and Computers.
Mr. Christopher Lee has been a teacher in Mesa since 1997. He has designed and taught curriculum for various computer applications and web design courses, and also taught high school math courses for several years. He has served on school goal setting committees and SIAC, served as a technology liaison, and was an Intel Teach to the Future Instructor. He has several years of web design experience and has designed web sites for various schools and departments in the Mesa District. Mr. Lee was selected as a Class Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars. He joined the MDLP staff as Math Specialist in 2010.
Mr. Lee's educational background includes a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maine, and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. Mr. Lee is recognized as a Highly Qualified Mathematics Teacher and has always emphasized technology in education.
Mr. Aaron Anderson has been teaching social studies at the junior high level in Mesa Schools for five years and has been a member of the Teaching American History grant II since the 2009/10 school year. He teaches high school American history with MDLP.
Mr. Anderson has a B.A.E. in Secondary Education: History (2005) from Arizona State University, and a M.Ed in Educational Leadership (2008) from Northern Arizona University.
Mrs. Karen Appel was a high school math instructor with Mesa Public Schools for 17 years, and is currently teaching mathematics at Mesa Community College. Mrs. Appel served on a variety of committees in the Mesa District. Her awards include Who's Who Among America's Teachers, Disney's American Teacher Award Nominee, MPS Joining Hands Award, Outstanding Teacher Award and Master Teacher Award. While at MCC she has twice received the Phi Theta Kappa teacher mentor award. She has also received the following grants: Tutorial (Mesa), Educational Excellence (Mesa) and Teacher Venture Arizona, and has continued her grant writing while at the college level. In addition to her teaching duties, Ms. Appel has worked for Community Education as a Distance Learning Television Instructor and a Mathematics Curriculum writer for correspondence courses. Mrs. Appel has been with the Mesa Distance Learning Program since was founded in 1999. She teaches a variety of our mathematics courses.
Mrs. Appel's educational experience includes a B.A. in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Mathematics from Arizona State University, a Masters degree in Computer Applications from Nova Southeastern University, and an Administrative Certification from Northern Arizona University. She is a life-long learner and still continues to take courses and stay active in various community and mathematical committee work.
Mr. Martin Appel has been teaching for Mesa Public Schools since 1994. He currently serves as a transitional facilitator helping young adults establish career pathways. He is an adviser for the Youth Transition Club at one of the local high schools as well as the coach for the Red Mountain High School Girl's basketball team. In the fall of 2009 he joined the MDLP staff and is currently teaching Bowling.
Mr. Appel earned a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education at Arizona State University and has a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership, certified to be an administrator at the college level.
Mrs. Ginny Bartes currently teaches Computer Foundations (Keyboarding) and Computer Applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access) at a junior high in the Mesa School District. She has been a certified teacher since 1980, joining Mesa Schools in 2003. Mrs. Bartes currently serves on her school's School Improvement Management Team and is the Technology Liaison. She joined the Mesa Distance Learning Program in the summer of 2005. She currently teaches Computer Applications I, Business and Personal Financial Success, and Introduction to Digital Photography for MDLP.
Mrs. Bartes holds three Arizona teaching certificates: Elementary (K-8), Secondary-Business (7-12) and a Vocational (CTE) certificate. Mrs. Bartes completed her Masters Degree at NAU in Career and Technical Education (CTE) in 2006.
Mrs. Valerie Best has been an English teacher with Mesa Public Schools since 1998. She currently teaches Principles of English II and Classical Mythology. She has been involved in curriculum development and textbook adoptions for a variety of English courses and serves as a member of her School Improvement Plan Committee. Her current online courses include EN34 Principles of English II and EN 54 Paperback Literature.
Mr. Biggs has a Bachelor's Degree in biology from Ottawa University and a Master's Degree in education from Northern Arizona University. He is currently taking courses towards a second master's in ecology/environmental science.
Mr. Biggs began teaching in 2000. He has taught Biology, 8th grade science, 9th grade science, Environmental Science, and AP Environmental Science. He has also coached football, basketball, and softball, at all levels, over the years.
Mr. Trevor Brimhall has been enjoying his profession as an educator in Mesa for five years and within that time, has taught Sophomore English, World Literature, Yearbook Publications, American Government, AP European History, and AP Comparative Government. He advises the Model United Nations Club and holds membership in the Professional Development and Technology Committees at a Mesa High School. Currently, he teaches American Government with MDLP.
Mr. Brimhall earned a Bachelor's of Science in Political Science from Arizona State University, with minors in Psychology and Women's Studies, and an MA in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix. He is certified to teach American Government, English, and History.
Mrs. Adrienne Cantrell began teaching Social Studies in the Fall of 2006 and has taught in the Mesa School district since the Spring of 2007. She currently teaches American History and Economics. Mrs. Cantrell is also the sponsor of National Honor Society as well as assistant coach for the Varsity Spiritline. She began teaching Economics for MDLP in 2010.
Mrs. Cantrell graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Education with an emphasis in Social Studies.
Mr. Carmichael has been teaching in Mesa Public Schools since 2006, and for the last 4 years at Skyline H.S. Mr. Carmichael currently teaches World History and Economics, but has also taught AP World History and American History. His educational background includes a bachelor's degree with a double major in history and anthropology from the University of Wisconsin and a master's degree in secondary education from the University of Phoenix. Mr. Carmichael was a winner of the Mesa Public Schools teacher of the month award and is a member of the National Council for History Education.
Mrs. Chen has been a teacher in both Phoenix and Mesa for 11 years. She served on the textbook adoption committee for the MPS World Language Department and became a curriculum developer for MDLP in 2007. She has been with MDLP since 2007 as a Chinese instructor.
Mrs. Chen's educational experience includes a B.A. in Chinese Literature from Tamkang University in Taiwan and Master's degrees in Educational Psychology and Special Education from Arizona State University. She also holds an ESL endorsement.
Mrs. Michelle Broberg has been a teacher with Mesa Public Schools since January 1994. During her tenure with Mesa Public Schools, she has held a variety of positions. She has taught in a variety of settings; a self-contained setting, an alternative setting, and a resource setting.
Mrs. Broberg's current teaching position for Mesa Public Schools has allowed her to teach College Prep. Writing, ELL classes, Sophomore English, and Essentials of English. She currently teaches Sophomore English and Reading for students who have not passed the AIMS test. She joined the Mesa Distance Learning Program as an English instructor in March 2010.
Mrs. Broberg received her B.A. from Arizona State University, M. Ed. from Northern Arizona University and certification of Principalship from Northern Arizona University. Additionally, she holds endorsements in reading, sheltered English immersion, elementary education, special education in the areas of mental retardation, learning disabilities, and emotional disabilities.
Mr. Jacob Davis has been a mathematics teacher since the late 90's. Courses taught range from 7th grade mathematics to Algebra and Geometry. He has coached the National Academic League for over 5 years, including two National runner-up teams. He has also served as an International Baccalaureate program coordinator and administrative team leader. He has been with MDLP since 2005 and has taught both 7th and 8th grade mathematics. He is now a Geometry instructor with the program.
Mr. Davis earned his Bachelor's degree from Arizona State University in Secondary Mathematics. He has also earned his Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis in mathematics, as well as completed a doctoral program in curriculum and instruction. He has completed the English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement and received teacher evaluation certification.
Mr. Aaron Done has been with Mesa Public Schools since 2010. His regular classes include teaching 8th grade integrated science and middle school mathematics during summer school. In addition to teaching, Mr. Done also works with his colleagues in running a science club, where his students compete in various science competitions during the school year. Mr. Done was recognized as the New Arizona Science Teacher of the Year for 2011 by the Arizona Science Teachers Association.
Mr. Done's educational experience includes a Bachelor's of Science degree in Exercise Physiology from Arizona State University, and a M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education. He also worked in clinical research, studying the effect of exercise on oxidative stress in aging populations.
Ms. MaryLynne Fillmon has been a social studies teacher for Mesa Public Schools since 2003. She currently teaches 12th grade American Government and became a high school social studies instructor for MDLP in the fall of 2012.
Ms. Fillmon earned her Master's degree in Secondary Education from Vanderbilt University, her Master's in International Management from Thunderbird, and her Bachelor's degree in Government and International Studies from the University of Notre Dame.
Mr. Francis has been an English teacher in Mesa Public Schools since 1998. He currently teaches Honors Junior English and Sophomore English.
Mr. Francis graduated from Arizona State University in 1996 with a BA in Secondary Education. He has also earned Master's degrees from the University of Phoenix and Arizona State University in the field of education.
Mrs. Galas has been teaching for Mesa Public Schools since 1997. She has taught 7th and 8th grade math, Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Honors Algebra 2, Trigonometry, IB Math Studies, IB Mathematics, as well as 7th and 8th grade Science. She is currently teaching Algebra 2, Honors Algebra 2, and IB Mathematics.
Mrs. Galas holds a B.S. in Industrial Technology from Arizona State University and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. She is certified in Secondary Mathematics and General Science and holds an endorsement for English as a Second Language.
Dr. Diane Gillen has taught Physical Education since 1981. Her teaching experience includes teaching at schools in New York, Phoenix, and currently at Mesa Public Schools. She is a high school varsity coach and Physical Education Department Chair. Dr. Gillen began teaching Physical Education courses for MDLP in spring 2010.
Dr. Gillen received a BS Ed degree in Physical Education from State University College at Cortland, New York, an MEd from Arizona State University in Educational leadership, and a Doctorate from Lacrosse University.
Mrs. Jodi Gilletti has been with Mesa Public Schools for over twelve years. In addition to teaching science for MDLP, Jodi has taught Biology, and 7-9th grade science. She is currently teaching 9th grade science students at Westwood High School and was previously teaching at Powell Jr. High. During her tenure with Mesa Public Schools she has served on various committees, including the following: AVID site team, North Central Accreditation, school wide improvement programs, and district wide curriculum review and revision, and test writing committees including CRT revision.
Mrs. Gilletti's educational experience includes a B. S. in Wildlife Conservation Management from Arizona State University, and M. Ed. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. She also holds endorsements in Biology and English as a Second Language.
Mrs. Sherri Gold-Foreman has been a history teacher for 20 years and has been a junior high guidance counselor for the past 12 years. She has worked in Mesa Public Schools since 1980. While in the classroom she taught Arizona History, World History, 8th grade Social Studies, American History and Pre-Algebra. She has served as Social Studies department chairperson and has been a member of a variety of MPS committees, including World History curriculum planning/text book adoption, the Guidance Advisory Council and Taking Charge. Mrs. Gold-Foreman has also been the AVID counselor, a National Junior Honor Society advisor, an Assistant Track coach, the Freshman Photo Album coordinator, a SIAC member and a Student Mentor. She has been nominated for Who's Who Among America's Teachers three times. Mrs. Gold-Foreman joined MDLP in January 2008 teaching 8th Grade Social Studies and World History/Geography.
She earned her BA in History with a minor in Mathematics from CUNY at Brooklyn College and her MA in Counseling Psychology from ASU. Her educational training extends many hours beyond her masters degree.
Ms. Leslie Granneman has been teaching since 1997, joining Mesa Public Schools in 2007. She currently teaches AP English Language and Composition, Holocaust Literature, and Classical Mythology. She has been involved in curriculum development on the Mesa district Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards for English, and serves as a member of her School Improvement Plan Committee. Her current online courses include EN34 Principles of English II and EN52 Classical Mythology.
Ms. Granneman graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Secondary Theatre Education and a minor in English. She holds a M.A. in English Literature from Northern Illinois University.
Mrs. Janeal Hale has been a counselor with Mesa Public Schools since 2000. Prior to working for MPS she taught Business Education with the Amphitheater School District in Tucson, Arizona for eight years.
Mrs. Hale's educational experience includes an undergraduate degree in Vocational Education with an emphasis in Business from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Arts degree in School Counseling from Northern Arizona University.
Mrs. Angela Hartwell has been a social studies teacher for Mesa Public Schools since 1991. She currently teaches 7th grade American Studies and became a junior high social studies instructor for MDLP in the summer of 2011.
Mrs. Hartwell earned her Master's degree in Secondary Education from Northern Arizona University and a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Political Science from Arizona State University.
Mr. Darren Hiebel has been teaching history to high school students since 2007. Mr. Hiebel grew up in New England and earned a B.A. in history from Central Connecticut State University. He then moved west to Arizona for graduate school, where he attended Northern Arizona University and earned a M.Ed. in Secondary Education.
Mr. Hiebel has taught internationally in a variety of settings, including working in Uganda with former childhood soldiers, teaching English in Japan, and conducting professional development to secondary teachers in China. Mr. Hiebel loves to travel and loves to teach, and hopes to continue to combine both of those passions.
Mrs. Denise Hutchins has been a CTE instructor for the Mesa Distance Learning Program since 2012. Prior to that, she was the Graphics/Media Specialist for MDLP.
Mrs. Hutchins' educational experience includes a M.Ed. in Educational Media and Computers from Arizona State University and is CTE certified in Emerging Technologies and Education and Training. She also trained with David Luna and Rock Leonard in Mesa Public School's award winning Educational Television Department.
Jessica Inglish has taught 8th grade American Studies, 9th grade World History, and AA World History classes in Mesa Public Schools over the past nine years. In addition to teaching in the classroom, Mrs. Inglish has spent time on campus as the site Intramural Sports Director, Freshman softball coach, and Close-Up Washington DC coordinator. She also supervises student teachers for Rio Salado College. Mrs. Inglish began teaching World History/Geography and 7th grade Social Studies for MDLP in spring 2009.
Mrs. Inglish obtained her Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education - History from Arizona State University and her Master's degree in Secondary Education from Northern Arizona University.
Ms. Elizabeth Jauregui has been a certified high school Spanish teacher in the Mesa School District for 16 years. Her teaching experience includes teaching Spanish 1 -5 and AP Spanish for the Mesa School District and preparing students for the AP Spanish exam. She has written several Spanish language instruction books. They include: Spanish Language Primer, Conversational Spanish, and After School Elementary Spanish. She began teaching Spanish I for MDLP in spring 2011.
Ms. Jauregui's educational experience includes a B.A. in Spanish from University of Texas at El Paso, and a M.A. in Education/Curriculum and Instruction from University of Phoenix.
Mr. Bruce Joshu has been with Mesa Public Schools since 1981, teaching science classes including 9th Grade Science, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Biology. He joined MDLP in 2007 as a Biology instructor.
Mr. Joshu's educational background includes a B.A. in secondary education from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and M.A. in secondary education from Arizona State University.
Mrs. Yvonne Long began her teaching career with Mesa Public Schools in 1999. She taught 6th grade at an elementary school for 6 years before becoming a junior high school teacher. She has been teaching English as a Second Language, English, and Reading at the 7th and 8th grade levels for the past 6 years. In addition to teaching, Mrs. Long has also served on several committees, including Curriculum Writing, Curriculum Review and Revision, Textbook Adoption, and CRT Development. She joined the MDLP faculty in January 2011 and is teaching 7th grade and 8th grade English.
Mrs. Long holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and an endorsement in English as a Second Language. She plans to begin a master's degree program this summer.
Mrs. Karen Martin became an instructor in the Mesa Public School District in 2007. Her teaching experience includes teaching Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, and Athletic Training. She joined the Mesa Distance Learning staff in April of 2012 and teaches 9th Grade Science.
Mrs. Martin received a B.S in Exercise Science from Brigham Young University and a M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Arizona State University.
Mr. Jim McDonald currently teaches World History, Current Events in World History and Video Journalism at a jr. high school in the Mesa School District. He has been a certified K-12 instructor since 1985, joining Mesa Schools in 1988. While in Mesa, he served on the World History Curriculum/Textbook Adoption committee in 2003-2004. Other accomplishments include Who's Who in American Teachers in 2002 and 2004 and the State History Task Force. Mr. McDonald began teaching SS57 Economics for the Mesa Distance Learning Program in 2002.
Mr. McDonald's educational experience includes a B.S. in Agribusiness. He majored in General Sciences, Business, Agriculture and History with a minor in Mathematics. He also has a M.S. in Agribusiness from Arizona State University.
Mr. Russell McElhaney has been with the Mesa School District since 1999. In the classroom, Mr. McElhaney has taught social studies at each junior high grade level, with 7 years teaching World History/Geography. He has worked on several district committees, including the World History curriculum writing, assessment writing, and text book adoption committees. Out of the classroom, Mr. McElhaney coaches cross country and track at his junior high. He joined the Mesa Distance Learning Program in 2007, teaching both semesters of World History/Geography.
Mr. McElhaney graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Arizona State University, where he also earned a Post-baccalaureate certification and Master of Education degree.
Jeffrey Medlock is a product of Mesa Public Schools, graduating from Dobson High School; and a two time graduate of Arizona State University, holding degrees in Choral Music Education and Musical Theater Performance. He began teaching in 1994, and has been at Skyline High School since 2004.
During his teaching career his choirs have received hundreds of superior ratings at music festivals, have performed the world premiere of several new works and have twice performed at Carnegie Hall in New York. Mr. Medlock has won numerous accolades for his work including four nominations for the Disney American Teacher Awards, acknowledged as a "Choir Director of Note" in Choral Director magazine and he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to participate in Mozart's Worlds, a month long symposium in Vienna, Austria.
Ms. Elaine Helton has been a science instructor with Mesa Public Schools since 1992. She taught 8th and 9th grade general science and Biology during her 15 year tenure at Hendrix Jr. High. She is currently teaching Biology at Dobson High School. While teaching in Mesa, she has served as a science department chair and a member on science curriculum and textbook adoption committees. Ms. Helton joined MDLP in 2009 teaching Essential Elements of Science and Personal Development.
Ms. Helton's educational experience includes a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Health Science Education and Biology from Northern Arizona University and a M.Ed. in Administration from Northern Arizona University.
Mrs. Cory Miller has been teaching in Mesa Public Schools since 1995. As a teacher in Mesa she has served on several committees, including Textbook Adoption, Professional Development, Site Improvement, Curriculum Review and Revision, CRT Revision, and Writing Across the Curriculum. She has also coordinated and taught the A.V.I.D. program and Video Journalism. Currently she teaches English at the seventh and ninth grade levels at a junior high school in Mesa. She joined the MDLP faculty in May of 2009 teaching Literary Explorations and American Literature.
Mrs. Miller holds a B.S. in Journalism with an emphasis in English from Northern Arizona University, and is currently working on her M. Ed. in Secondary Education with a reading endorsement.
Mr. Mitchell has taught in both rural and urban schools during his career as a teacher of (7-12) Language Arts, as a Counselor, and as a (K-12) Principal. He has been teaching in Mesa since 2000 and currently teaches at a focus school as the Language Arts teacher for grades 8 and 9. He is married and the father/stepfather of four educators.
He has earned two bachelor's degrees: one from Black Hills State University; three Master's degrees: one from University of Nebraska at Kearney, among others.
Mr. Joe Myers taught English in the Mesa Public Schools from 1999-2013. He has been an Instructor with MDLP since 2005 and currently teaches EN081/82, EN33/34, EN092, EN52 mythology, and EN56 multicultural literature.
In addition to undergraduate and master's degrees in theology, he completed Ottawa University's Post-baccalaureate program and received a master's degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Arizona teaching certificate endorsements include secondary English and social studies.
Mrs. Stella Ollarsaba has been a Math instructor with Mesa Public Schools since 1976. She is a teacher at a Mesa high school where she has taught all secondary math courses including AP Calculus AB and BC. She has been a facilitator and instructor for ASU's CRESMET research center which provides educators the rigorous education needed to be better math and science teachers.Mrs. Ollarsaba earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees from Arizona State University in Secondary Mathematics. She has been named a Presidential Scholar Distinguished Teacher(1994), Flinn Distinguished Teacher (2003, 2007), and Rio Salado Dual Enrollment Outstanding Teacher(2002).
Mrs. Judy Pikosz has been teaching business courses for Mesa Public Schools for the past 19 years. She has taught at two junior high schools in Mesa during her tenure serving on several committees at each school. She is highly qualified in business and is certified to teach AVID.Mrs. Pikosz received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education from Governors State University in Illinois. She received her M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Northern Arizona University. She holds a vocational certificate and an SEI endorsement. She has also owned/operated two businesses.
Mr. Gregory Pott has been a Traffic Safety and Sports Medicine instructor for Mesa Public Schools since 1983. During his tenure with Mesa Schools he has worked as the Athletic Trainers for all sports at the high school level. He joined the Mesa Distance Learning Program in the summer of 2008, teaching Driver Education.
Mr. Pott's educational experience includes a B.A. in Secondary education and Health/PE from Arizona State University and M.Ed from Northern Arizona University in Secondary Education. He also earned a Master's degree from the University of Phoenix in Administration. Mr. Pott earned a Certified Athletic Trainer certificate from Arizona State University.
Mrs. Sally Powers, a Career and Technical Education Program Specialist, has been with Mesa Public Schools since 1986. She is currently serving as Treasurer of the Arizona Association for Career and Technical Education. From 1993-2004 she was the business/computer teacher at Brimhall Junior High and the Team Up For Success Site Coordinator (2003 and 2004) and teacher (2003). During that time she served on several committees including Community Curriculum Advisory Committee, Business/Computer Strategic Curriculum Review, and the SIACs at Brimhall, Shepherd Junior High, and Red Mountain High. Her awards include Arizona Business Education Association Middle/Junior High School Teacher of the Year and three Who's Who Among America's Teachers.
Mrs. Powers' educational experience includes a B.S. from the University of New Orleans and a M.Ed. from Northern Arizona University.
Ms. Mary Ruegge has been a Math Instructor with Mesa Public Schools since 1989. She is currently a teacher at a Mesa high school where she has taught a variety of subjects including Geometry, Finance, Trigonometry and PreCalculus. She is also a Dual Enrollment Instructor for Mesa Community College. Ms. Ruegge has also taught AVID for 6 years. AVID is a program that assists first generation college prospects to a 4 year university achievement. Ms. Ruegge joined MDLP in August 2012 as an instructor of Mathematics.
Ms. Ruegge earned her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska (1984). She then earned her M.Ed in Secondary Education (Math) in 1995. Ms. Ruegge was nominated for Best New Teacher of the Year (1990) and was selected as Teacher of the Month (Nov 2013) for Mesa Public Schools. She was also selected as a Rodel Distinguished Teacher (2013).
Mr. Jeff Taylor has been an educator in the Mesa School District since the late 1980's, teaching a range of grade levels, from fourth through ninth grades. He joined MDLP in 2008 as an instructor for MA07 7th Grade Math and MA08 Pre-Algebra.
Mr. Taylor's educational background includes a B.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University.
Ms. Tozzi attended ASU and received a BA in Education in Secondary Education chemistry. She taught 7th, 8th and 9th grade science at Kino Junior High in Mesa for 17 years. While at Kino she also taught a few specializes classes on Microbiology, Earth and Space science and Biochemistry.
Ms. Tozzi received a MA in Secondary Education in General Science from NAU. She is currently teaching Chemistry at a Mesa High School and has been teaching high school chemistry for 10 years. She also serves as the chairperson of the science department. She worked on designing and writing curriculum for several science courses in Mesa including Chemistry, and junior high science classes. In addition she helped to write the district tests for those courses.
Ms. Keri Turley has been teaching science for the Mesa Public School district since 1994. The first 8 years were spent teaching 7th, 8th, and 9th grade science at Brimhall Jr. High and Mesa Jr. She is currently teaching College Prep Chemistry and International Baccalaureate Chemistry for Mesa Public Schools. During her teaching career she has been Committee Chair for a North Central Accreditation Committee, involved in the Project Pathways program through CRESMET at ASU, Department Chair, on the Chemistry Test Writing committee for the district, and on book adoption committees and various other positions.
Ms. Turley's educational experience includes a B.A. in Secondary Education from Brigham Young University and a Masters in the Art of Teaching Physical Science from Northern Arizona University as well as various other courses taken at a variety of institutions.
Mrs. Elisa Valli has taught English for 25 years and for Mesa Public Schools since 2001. She has taught a wide variety of courses at the junior high, high school and community college level including ELP, AP, IB, ELD. She has served as English Department Chair, Gifted Advocate, Staff Development Presenter, School Improvement Team Member, North Central Accreditation Steering Committee Member and District Assessment Committee Member. She has taught in Arizona, New York and Milan, Italy. Presently she teaches English 7 for MDLP.
Mrs. Valli's educational experience includes a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a M.S.ED. in Secondary English Education from Elmira College. She also holds endorsements in Gifted K-12 Education and English as a Second Language.
Mrs. Judith Wallace recently retired from teaching full-time in the Mesa School District after twenty years of service, but now teaches with MDLP. She received an Outstanding Arizona Educator award from the Phoenix Suns and America West Airlines in 1997. Mrs. Wallace joined the Mesa Distance Learning Program in September of 2004, teaching EN33 Principles of English I, EN46 Principles of English III, and EN57 American Literature.
Mrs. Wallace's educational experience includes a B.S. in both English and Theatre Arts from Eastern Michigan University.
Michele Wessel is a veteran social studies teacher with experience teaching at the middle and high school levels. She began teaching in the Washington School District in Phoenix, and has been teaching in Mesa for over ten years. In addition to a secondary certificate in History and Social Studies, Ms. Wessel has a degree in special education with an emphasis on learning disabilities and a gifted endorsement. Ms. Wessel enjoys working in the Mesa Public Schools and plans to continue teaching youth in the classroom and online for many years to come.
Ms. Wieland studied at Arizona State University to earn a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature and minors in Spanish and Math. After moving to London for an internship with a publishing company, she came back to Arizona State University to get a Master's Degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Mathematics.
For two years she worked at Dobson High School in Mesa, Arizona teaching Pre Calculus and Algebra 1. She now teaches math for MDLP.
Mr. George Woods has been teaching science and math for the Mesa Public School district since 1992. His educational experience includes a B.A. in Physics from the State University of New York, his teacher certification through Arizona State University and a Masters in the Secondary Education in Mathematics from Northern Arizona University. He is currently teaching Physics, Advanced Placement Physics and Higher Level International Baccalaureate Physics for Mesa Public Schools.