Meet Our Staff!
Adrian Bedoy was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona College in May of 2014 with Medical Assistant’s degree and has worked in many medical fields such as family practices, pain management clinics and arthritis centers. Mr. Bedoy has also completed three child care classes at Glendale Community College and is currently studying American Sign Language. Mr. Bedoy is very happy to working at Casa Academy and with its incredible team.
First Grade Teacher
Kathryn Brittain is a recent graduate of Grand Canyon University’s College of Education. Ms. Brittain is the daughter of two educators, who instilled in her a passion for life-long learning from an early age. She has worked with children of various ages in Sweden and Mexico and firmly believes all children can learn. Ms. Brittain deeply desires to build a strong foundation of learning in each of her students’ lives this year. When not in the classroom, you can find Ms. Brittain hiking, running or writing!
Vanessa Cedillo was born in California and was raised in beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. While living in Mexico, Ms. Cedillo taught English to children in the Puerto Vallarta public schools. Through her travels, Ms. Cedillo has gained admiration and respect for different cultures. Ms. Cedillo developed her professional career within the hospitality industry as the Front Desk and Rooms Division Manager of a four diamond boutique hotel, where she developed a high standard of customer service and a sense of teamwork and sales. As an Office Assistant at Casa Academy, Ms. Cedillo looks forward to working alongside parents and teachers, while putting her acquired knowledge and experience to use!
Co-Founder and Co-CEO
After graduating from Bucknell University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, Tacey Clayton served as a Teach For America corps member in Phoenix. Following her corps commitment, Ms. Clayton remained in the classroom teaching second and third graders in Phoenix and Glendale. Always eager to improve her practice, Ms. Clayton earned her master’s in Elementary Education and Reading Endorsement at Arizona State University and continued her education by earning a second master’s in Administration and School Leadership through a scholarship from Teach For America and the University of Phoenix. During the past several summers, Ms. Clayton furthered her leadership capacity as a Literacy Specialist and Academic Dean on the Teach For America Phoenix Institute team. In this role, she delivered core content to incoming corps members to help them effectively plan for and execute rigorous instruction. Ms. Clayton was an Aspiring Leaders fellow and Charter Starter fellow through the Arizona Charter Schools Association. In the past year, she has visited over 50 of the top performing charter schools in the country and attended a variety of leadership courses through organizations including the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and Building Excellent Schools.
Second Grade Teacher
Alexandra Cruz attended Arizona State University to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. During her time at ASU, she became passionate about education and decided to educate and mentor other students, from all grade levels in this community, about the importance of obtaining a college degree and the tools that they needed to be successful. Struggling herself to get to college, she decided to use her own experience to show that with hard work, dedication, and supportive educators, you can graduate from college and get where you want to be. During college, Alex was selected to intern for Congress in Washington, D.C where she was able to work on education policy directly. Ms. Cruz is passionate about educating students and believes that every student can achieve their dreams. She has worked at CASA for two years and is excited to continue working with the scholars and their families to help them pursue their dreams, while she pursues her dream, which is to help students be successful.
Mayra Duarte was born in Sonora Mexico and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Mayra grew up in the community CASA Academy is currently severing and is well aware of the academic challenges students face as she herself came across many of these challenges growing up. Mayra strives professionally, dedicating her time on giving back to her community by committing herself to help educate both children and adults. Prior to working as a paraprofessional at CASA Academy, Mayra worked as a Spanish interpreter for a health company not only interpreting for patients, but also educating them as well on health prevention tactics. Her passion and commitment to serve this community is inspiring; Mayra is eager to work with CASA’s scholars and their families this upcoming year.
Kyndra Ford graduated from Arizona State University with her Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Prior to coming to CASA, Ms. Ford worked as a teaching assistant for four years in a kindergarten classroom. Ms. Ford is very excited to work as a kindergarten teacher at CASA. She also looks forward to creating an interesting and challenging learning environment, where her scholars can grow academically!
Frania Hernandez was born in Jalisco, Mexico and is fluent in both Spanish and English. In 2007, Ms. Hernandez received a certificate in nursing from Gateway Community College. From 2013 to 2015, Ms. Hernandez worked as a lead coordinator and sales associate at Macy’s. As an avid volunteer with both the elderly and the homeless, Ms. Hernandez strongly believes that her experience and commitment to society will be beneficial to the scholars at CASA academy!
Co-Founder and Co-CEO
Jenna Leahy graduated from Scripps College in 2010 with a degree in International Relations and French. During college, Ms. Leahy spent time living and teaching in Tijuana, Mexico, Dakar, Senegal, and Paris, France. Ms. Leahy moved to Phoenix with the Teach for America program in 2010, where she taught kindergarten for three years at a Title I school in central Phoenix. There, she was leader of her five-person kindergarten team, where she repeatedly led her team to obtain the highest learning gains in the region and won multiple awards for her students’ yearly academic gains. In 2012, Ms. Leahy was nominated for the Paula Jennings Hardison Community Leadership Award through Teach for America. Ms. Leahy holds a certificate in Elementary and Early Childhood instruction and a Masters in Educational Administration and Supervision through a Teach For America scholarship at the University of Phoenix. Ms. Leahy was an Aspiring Leaders fellow and a Charter Starter fellow through the Arizona Charter Schools Association.
Ashley Lowry joined Teach For America as a corps member in 2012 after graduating from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. During her two years with the corps, Ms. Ashley taught preschool in the Mesa school district. In May she will earn her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University. This upcoming summer she will have the opportunity to coach incoming teachers as a Corps Member Advisor on Teach For America’s Institute team. Ms. Ashley is thrilled to be part of CASA and is looking forward to getting to know families and students this upcoming school year.
Liliana Martinez was born in Mexico and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2014, Ms. Martinez graduated from Grand Canyon University, where she obtained over $60,000 in academic scholarships and a degree in Healthcare Administration. As a result of her dedication and personal leadership skills, Liliana was elected as Council Member for DLA Leadership Ambassadors Academy, which provides free leadership workshops to high school and college students. Prior to working as the CASA Office Manager, Ms. Martinez was the Director of Student Recruitment for CASA Academy. Ms. Martinez is deeply connected to CASA’s mission and is excited to work with families in the upcoming year.
Second Grade Teacher
Edgar Rivera was born and raised in Durango Mexico, the fourth youngest of a family of five, and the first one to immigrate to the United States at the age of fifteen. His main purpose in life has been to pursue a better quality of life for his loved ones and himself through self-development and education. Mr. Rivera graduated from high school and finished his first two years of college in the state of Illinois before moving to Arizona. In Arizona, he finished his undergraduate education with a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Grand Canyon University. While studying at Grand Canyon University, Mr. Rivera worked at CASA Academy as a paraprofessional and administrative assistant for two years. Mr. Rivera believes that hard work, commitment and discipline are imperative in someone’s life to achieve their goals. Mr. Rivera has a passion to teach others and to help them materialize on their capabilities and virtues. Coming from a family of teachers, educating those who need it and to be part of the personal growth of others gives meaning and purpose to teaching at CASA. Mr. Rivera is thrilled to return to CASA as a second grade teacher!
Sergio Ruiz was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and graduated from Washington High School in May of 2016. He is thrilled to join the CASA Academy team for the 2016-2017 school year. Throughout his life, Mr. Ruiz always had the dream of working at a school and giving back to his community. Outside of CASA, Mr. Ruiz runs study groups for his church and also enjoys running and weight-lifting. Mr. Ruiz looks forward to making a difference in the lives of CASA scholars this year!
First Grade Teacher
Chelsea Stinson graduated from Anderson University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education. While attending Anderson University, Ms. Stinson had the opportunity to student teach at a missionary school for children in Ethiopia for three months. After graduation, Ms. Stinson was a private pre-kindergarten teacher for three years. In 2016, she and her husband moved to Phoenix and she accepted a position at CASA Academy. She is eager to teach the scholars and is very grateful to be a part of the CASA team!
Karen Thavincher was born and raised in Southern California. She graduated with her bachelors in liberal studies with an emphasis on child development from Cal State San Bernardino in 2003. As a child she attended elementary, Jr., and Senior High in the rialto school district. As an adult, Mrs. Thavincher was given the opportunity to teach first grade in the very same district. After almost ten years in the Rialto District she moved to a new adventure teaching kindergarten at VCA, a private school in Moreno Valley, CA. After four years at VCA she has begun a new adventure in Arizona with her new husband and has become the newest member of CASA Academy. No matter where life has taken her one thing has remained, she is passionate about giving her students a love of learning.
Ruth Vences was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from Apollo High School in 2013. Ms. Vences always dreamed of working with children and hopes to further her education to become a teacher in the future. In her free time, Ms. Vences is active in her church and loves spending time with her newborn daughter. Ms. Vences is very excited to be working for CASA Academy and hopes to make a significant difference in the lives of its scholars.