Heidi Garcia grew up in Puerto Rico and taught high school there. She comes from a long family line of teachers beginning with her grandmother. Garcia came to Arizona in 1995, and taught Spanish and Literature at ASU and other universities and colleges in the valley. She has been at Phoenix Union for five years. She teaches Spanish for Spanish Speakers, Advanced Placement Spanish, and regular Spanish. The certification has made her a more conscientious teacher, more responsible for the lesson she prepares, and she is looking for many different ways of reaching students and family.Mary McDowell teaches World History, International Baccalaureate (IB) Anthropology and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) seniors at North. A history major from ASU, with one master’s degree and working on another, McDowell has been with Phoenix Union for seven years, but teaching has always felt natural. As a little girl, she would force her three-year old sister to sit and do schoolwork, and McDowell would grade it. She wanted to become proactive instead of reactive in her teaching and students’ learning, and work on her career to become the best she can be for her students. The best part of teaching for Ms. McDowell: “When my students get accepted into their college of choice and do a victory dance.Julie Peters has been teaching drawing, painting and advanced art for IB for seven years. A graduate of Camelback High School, Peters has taught in Las Vegas, Colorado, and Peoria before coming home to Phoenix Union. She says since her Certification, she is incorporating more discussion about art with her students so that they learn how to describe, analyze, interpret and judge artworks. She is teaching art with a more well-rounded approach. Ms. Peters’ inspiration for teaching came at a fishing pond. She and her 4-year old and friends caught a fish, and made fish prints with ink and paper. It was so much fun, three years later she had her teaching certification.
Stephanie Grijalva has taught art at Bioscience since it opened in 2006. She was contemplating pursuing a Ph.D. when the National Board Certification caught her eye. She realized the rigorous path was the perfect opportunity to strengthen her teaching practice. She says the art standards set by the National Board are standards she upholds and celebrates. While a student at the Univ. of New Mexico studying journalism, Ms. Grijalva took an art education class and taught at an event called “Saturday Arts for Kids.” It was then she realized she loved teaching art as much as she loved making art.W. Andrew White teaches French, Spanish and coaches Bioscience’s Academic Decathlon team. White has degrees from Abilene Christian in Texas and ASU. After teaching at Garfield in the Phoenix Elementary District for a couple years, he joined Phoenix Union in 2007. His accomplishment means consistently emulating the high standards and expectations of National Certification. White says he was looking for professional development that would be relevant to him, his teaching context and content area and have an impact on his students.Susan Reibman Groff is Phoenix Union’s first Read 180 teacher to become Nationally Board Certified. She says the Certification validates that teachers of remedial students can set high, worthwhile, and achievable goals to achieve the Certification in English Language Arts. In fact, she is now mentoring a current National Certification candidate. Ms. Groff taught elementary school for 29 years, before moving to Phoenix Union where she has taught Read 180 Fundamentals and Strategic Reading. She grew up in a diverse Chicago neighborhood, which inspired her interest in languages and cultures. She earned her B.A. in Spanish, has taught ELL, and is fluent in the language. She is also active hosting Central’s Global Studies guests from China, Japan, Costa Rica and Mexico.
Suzanne Vogt teaches Advanced Placement U.S. History, Arizona History, World History and Geography at Trevor Browne. Only in her sixth year of teaching, she has accomplished much- she is a board member for the Arizona Council for the Social Studies, a Teacher Consultant for the Arizona Geographic Alliance, and is a member of the Phoenix Union Teaching American History Grant. She says this honor proves she is continuing to grow and develop as a teacher. It has improved her lessons by incorporating 21st Century skills, as well as improving the depth of content. She says she loves being a student every day, because of her students. She is challenged by their inquisitiveness and desire to know more about history or life.