At ASU Preparatory Academy, we recognize excellence in teaching, and want to thank all teachers for their skill, knowledge, and dedication to the profession. We are thrilled to announce the nominees selected for ASU Preparatory Academy’s 2023 Teacher of the Year. Meet our exemplary educators:
ASU Prep Phoenix, K-6
Guadalupe Diaz is currently a Dual Language teacher who was instrumental in the development of ASU Preparatory Academy Downtown Phoenix’s Dual Language Spanish Immersion Program. She has demonstrated highly effective pedagogical skills and an understanding of language pedagogy. Guadalupe places high importance on fostering positive relationships with diverse populations of students while maintaining high standards in her classroom. She meets students at their cognitive level to provide comprehensible input and ensures that students master each standard. Her passion for student success, knowledge of quality instruction, and eagerness to continue learning, are just a few qualities that make her a wonderful teacher.
ASU Prep Phoenix, 7-12
For the past five years, Eira Rodriguez has taught Geometry, Algebra II with Trigonometry and College Algebra at ASU Prep Downtown Phoenix. She is also the campus’ National Honor Society advisor. Eira is dedicated to her students and wants them to become successful leaders. Under her guidance, the After school Tutoring Club not only helps younger students with their academics, but the fourth and fifth grade students learn mentoring skills. She believes the younger students will want to do well in their classes and will want to become leaders as well. Prior to ASU Prep, she taught at Carl Hayden High School for 24 years.
ASU Prep South Phoenix, K-6
With 18+ years of experience in early childhood education, Patricia Arrellanes teaches second grade at ASU Prep South Phoenix. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in literacy education to further enhance her teaching skills to better serve her students. One of Patricia’s core beliefs is that every child has the ability to learn and grow, and it is her responsibility to provide them with the tools and opportunities to do so. Patricia has had the opportunity to also participate on the Design Team where she has been able to create a positive and engaging classroom environment that fosters student choice and independence.
ASU Prep South Phoenix, 7-12
Prior to teaching at ASU Prep, Lisa Mills taught both middle school and high school math for 10 years. For the past two years, she has taught high school math at ASU Prep South Phoenix High School. Lisa studied chemical engineering at ASU, and in addition to her love of math, also brings a love of science to her classroom. This year she received a STEM fellowship and has thoroughly enjoyed building rockets for an upcoming launch.
ASU Prep Polytechnic, K-6
Elementary STEM teacher Danielle Houseman impacts her students through interactive scientific and mathematical application, and introductions into engineering and computer science fields. This year, she was accepted to the ASU STEM Fellowship program which provides STEM-specific professional development opportunities that she uses to enhance her curriculum and acquire new resources for the students at our ASU Prep STEM Academy. Danielle was a classroom teacher and reading specialist in the Apache Junction Unified School District for more than 24 years. Her experiences have given her the understanding of how effective instruction contains multiple academic disciplines, which she is mindful of when developing her STEM lessons.
ASU Prep Polytechnic, 7-12
Seventh grade math teacher Hector Herrera brings his knowledge from the Poly Design and Innovation team to the ASU Prep Polytechnic campus. Hector completed his final year of student teaching and 200+ hours of volunteering/interning throughout his time at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. He challenges his students to think critically and stretch outside their comfort zone through various project-based learning units. With three years under his belt at ASU Prep, Hector is piloting the start of a Student Council club for middle school.
ASU Prep Casa Grande, 7-12
For the past seven years, Jeff Whipple has taught World History, American History, Economics, American Government, Entrepreneurship, and Senior Seminar at ASU Prep Casa Grande, along with co-sponsoring Student Government. He has Highly Qualified endorsements for History, Government, Business, and Criminal Justice. Jeff is also College Board approved to teach Advanced Placement courses in Government and Politics, U.S. History, and World History. Prior to ASU Prep, he taught middle and high school social studies in Coolidge. Jeff was also a member of the ASU Prep Casa Grande delegation that presented at the Blended and Personalized Learning Conference in Rhode Island, sponsored by the Highlander Institute. He continues to explore different tech tools to build fun, engaging, and active learning experiences.
ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest, K-6
Over the past 15 years, Katherine “Kat” Coleman has served the Phoenix metropolitan area as a veteran teacher, coach, mentor, and is a founding teacher at ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest. Her pedagogy is around designing and modeling strategies to advance teachers to shift their instructional style to best serve scholars under a personalized and student-centered learning environment. Kat thrives in classroom management while ensuring her students know that they are loved and belong, and have a safe environment for learning. From her elaborately decorated classrooms, willingness to try new approaches, and her bright persona, she is passionate about helping her students reach and exceed their goals through creating out-of-the-box lessons. Kat is currently completing her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
ASU Prep Digital, K-5
With more than 15 years of teaching experience, nine of those in digital learning, Laura Young believes that all children are capable of achieving their dreams, goals, and experiencing academic success. Laura is a certified special education and general education teacher with a Bachelor’s degree in General Education and a Master’s in Special Education. She is passionate about helping children—specifically those with special needs—reach their goals and help parents successfully navigate the process and advocate for their children. Laura is dedicated to maintaining a safe, loving, and engaging learning environment for all her students, while also utilizing research-based methods to ensure their success.
ASU Prep Digital, 6-8
Eric Roth is a middle school math teacher at ASU Prep Digital. Prior to coming to ASU Prep, he taught math for more than 10 years at Coconino High School in Flagstaff, Arizona. During this time, Eric was also a special education teacher who worked with pre-kindergarten through second grade during the summer and high school during the school year. He aptly points out the strengths in each of his students, and supports them in attaining their academic and personal goals. Eric’s keen attention to detail, his communication with students and families, and his ability to make each student feel special enable him to create a welcoming classroom.
ASU Prep Digital, 9-12
Carli Stiller currently teaches Social Studies and Electives to high school students at ASU Prep Digital. She is a highly qualified educator with extensive credentials in various subject areas, including certifications in Math, Science, English, and Social Studies (grades 4-8); Technology Education and Technology Applications (K-12); and Social Studies (grades 8-12). Additionally, she is certified in 10 different states, allowing her to teach in multiple areas. One of her most notable career achievements has been assisting with data tracking and facilitating discussions among fellow educators to identify and support students. Throughout her 15-year career, Carli has shown an unwavering dedication to education, opening doors, and supporting students.