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Staff

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Meet Our Staff!


Teachers



Katelyn Stall – First Grade Teacher
Katelyn Stall – First Grade Teacher

Katelyn Stall graduated in the spring of 2021 from Minnesota State University Moorhead, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Stall lived in Fargo, North Dakota and worked at The Goddard School of Early Childhood Development for three years as a lead teacher in a three-year-old classroom. She is passionate about working with children and guiding them to construct and form their own knowledge and experiences to help them think, grow, and succeed in their academic and everyday lives. In her spare time, Ms. Stall enjoys spending time with family and friends, and exploring Arizona with her fiancé.

Pamela Prieto – Second Grade Teacher
Pamela Prieto – Second Grade Teacher

Pamela Prieto was born and raised in Southern California. She graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy. She spent two years in Taiwan, teaching kindergarten through middle school. She then moved to China where she taught another five years and helped develop English curriculum. Throughout her experiences abroad Ms. Prieto has learned the value of adaptability, patience, respect, and the power of a smile. Ms. Prieto believes that scholars should be encouraged and empowered to be the best version of themselves. She recently relocated back to the United States with her husband, and is excited to teach in Arizona, her new home. Ms. Prieto is enthused to join CASA Academy and hopes to teach young scholars that “education is the ultimate seed of freedom”.

Cymber Clay – Second Grade Teacher
Cymber Clay – Second Grade Teacher

Cymber Clay graduated from Savannah State University where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a minor in Behavior Analysis. While attending college, Mrs. Clay became a Resident Assistant to new incoming freshmen as well as a Behavior Therapist to children with autism. Upon graduating, she relocated to Guam and pursued a career as a Community Outreach Specialist for a group home. While working with local youth groups and organizations, Mrs. Clay’s passion, working with the community, helped her progress in the education field. She began working as a full-term Substitute Teacher for the Department of Defense Education Activity, in Guam and Japan, where she facilitated the needs of education and life’s lessons to a diverse set of students associated with the military. Mrs. Clay is excited to be a new addition to the CASA team and aspires to empower, inspire, and enlighten our future leader’s minds.

Amy Curtiss – Third Grade Teacher
Amy Curtiss – Third Grade Teacher

Amy Curtiss was born and raised in Washington State, 20 miles north of Seattle. Ms. Curtiss attended Seattle Pacific University for 2 years, majoring in English Literature. Then, life happened! Ms. Curtiss spent many years as a stay-at-home mom of 3 children, including one with high-functioning Aspergers. Ms. Curtiss homeschooled her oldest child and volunteered, substituted, and was a teacher assistant at the nearby elementary school. Ms. Curtiss re-entered the workforce when her children were older and worked in various positions in Finance Departments. Ms. Curtiss returned to school in 2013, student taught in 2018, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in K-8 Interdisciplinary Studies from WGU, passing her certification exams shortly thereafter. Ms. Curtiss loves staying fit, eating healthy, singing, dancing, and spending time with her adult children.

Liesl Wise – Fourth Grade Teacher
Liesl Wise – Fourth Grade Teacher

Liesl Wise grew up in several different states such as Idaho, Tennessee, and Connecticut, but claims the east coast as home. She graduated from BYU-Idaho in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication, with an emphasis in video production. After college, Ms. Wise worked in marketing and advertising, but desired to find more fulfillment in her profession. In 2018, she began working as a reading intervention aide at a charter school, where she fell in love with the field of education. Ms. Wise is so excited to have an opportunity to empower CASA Academy students through literacy and learning.

Ken Stevenson – Fourth Grade Teacher
Ken Stevenson – Fourth Grade Teacher

Ken Stevenson graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s degree in history and a commission, as a second lieutenant, in the US Army. He attended the Defense Language Institute, in Monterey, CA, studying both the Czech and Slovak languages. He has deployed twice to Iraq. On his last deployment he supported the US Army Center of Military History. As a Military History Detachment Commander, he traveled extensively in the northern part of Iraq. Traveling to Tikrit, Mosul, Kirkuk and Irbil. It was a great opportunity to interact with several Iraqi military, police and civilian leaders learning a lot about the Iraqi people, their culture and the rich history of the country. After retiring in 2017 he has been looking for an opportunity to give back to the community. Teaching has always been something he has wanted to do and he is now realizing this goal. He is looking forward to helping his scholars meet their educational goals.

Daniel Willett – Reading Interventionist
Daniel Willett – Reading Interventionist

Daniel Willett was born and raised on Long Island, New York. Daniel holds an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Suffolk County Community College and has over five years of experience working with preschool students. In 2017, Mr. Willett graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, New York with a Bachelor’s degree in Child Studies. During his student teaching program, he taught students in grades one through six, including spending a year with special needs students in highly restrictive environments. Inspired by the teachers he had as a student in elementary school, Mr. Willett’s goal is to make the impact on his students that his teachers had on him. Mr. Willett is extremely happy to be part of the team at CASA!


Paraprofessionals


Zulema Cruz – Paraprofessional

Zulema O. Cruz was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from Phoenix College in 2019 with an Associates Degree of Arts. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and will be graduating next year. She is passionate about working with children and strives to push them to their fullest potential. In her free time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her boyfriend and dogs.

Guadalupe Gutierrez – Paraprofessional

Guadalupe Gutierrez was born in Michoacan, Mexico but has lived in Phoenix since 2001. Mrs. Gutierrez is very passionate about education. In 2010, she graduated from Central High School in the top 10 percent of her class with honors and a scholarship to attend Phoenix College. She graduated from Phoenix College in 2017 with an Associate’s Degree in Arts. Mrs. Gutierrez has worked as a child care provider for the past 5 years. Working with kids has allowed Mrs. Gutierrez to be a loving, caring and nurturing child educator. She enjoys working with the scholars at CASA Academy and helping them to reach their full potential and dream big!

Patricia Vincent – Paraprofessional

Patricia Vincent was born in Orange, California but was raised in Winooski, Vermont. She graduated from Milton Jr./Sr. High School in 1988. She is a proud mother and grandmother. She has been a paraeducator for 21 years. She moved to Phoenix 9 years ago. She enjoys watching scholars learn and teaching them to become better readers. She loves animals and has three cats and a dog. She is very excited to be at CASA Academy.

Sergio Ruiz – Paraprofessional

Sergio Ruiz was born and raised in Central Phoenix and graduated from Washington High School. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications at Northern Arizona University and will be graduating next year. Sergio admires being able to give back to the same community he grew up in and ensuring each scholar recognizes how special they are to the people around them and wherever their future endeavors take them! In his free time, Sergio loves to volunteer at his church, go to the library, and go on trips with his friends.


Operations Staff


Marina Iturrios – Office Assistant

Marina Iturrios grew up in Sinaloa, Mexico and moved to Arizona in 2005. She graduated from Central High School, then earned a scholarship and attended Phoenix College. Ms. Iturrios has ten years of experience working as a restaurant manager and waitress and has also has worked in marketing for a local cleaning company. She has a daughter named Mareena who is currently enrolled at CASA. Ms. Iturrios loves going on vacation with her daughter to places like San Diego, Santa Monica, and Newport Beach.

Jesus Picon – Marketing Manager
Jesus Picon – Marketing Manager

Jesus Picon was born in Sonora, Mexico and raised in Avondale, Arizona. He attended Grand Canyon University, and graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a minor in Digital Design. Mr. Picon has been a volunteer at CASA since 2014 and is a firm believer in CASA’s mission. He hopes to grow with CASA and have a positive impact on each scholar. In his free time, Mr. Picon enjoys playing soccer and one day hopes to manage a soccer academy in Europe.

Regina Villalobos – School Operations Associate/Paraprofessional
Regina Villalobos – School Operations Associate/Paraprofessional

Regina Villalobos was born and raised in California, then moved to Texas. She has extensive operational management experience. She has been in management for over 10 years with a concentration in staffing, operations and human resources. The hustle and bustle of the corporate world left her longing for a more fulfilling career. This led to her work with refugees in Texas and to her love of CASA’s mission.


Leadership


Tacey Clayton Cundy – CEO
Tacey Clayton Cundy – CEO

Tacey Clayton Cundy graduated from Bucknell University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She went on to serve as a Teach for America corps member in Phoenix. Following her corps commitment, Mrs. Clayton Cundy remained in the classroom teaching Title I second and third graders in Phoenix and Glendale. Always eager to improve her practice, Mrs. Clayton Cundy earned her master’s degree in Elementary Education and Reading Endorsement at Arizona State University and continued her education by earning a second master’s degree in Administration and Supervision through a scholarship from Teach for America and the University of Phoenix. Mrs. Clayton Cundy served multiple summers on Teach for America’s summer institute staff as a Literacy Specialist and Academic Dean. Prior to co-founding CASA Academy, Mrs. Clayton Cundy was an Aspiring Leaders fellow and Charter Starter fellow through the Arizona Charter Schools Association. Outside of work, you can find Mrs. Clayton Cundy teaching Jazzercise fitness classes, hiking in National Parks, and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Ashley Lowry – Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Title I Coordinator
Ashley Lowry – Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Title I Coordinator

Ashley Lowry graduated from Arizona State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. The following year she joined Teach for America and served as a preschool teacher in the Mesa School District. During this time Ms. Lowry obtained a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University. Ms. Lowry was a founding kindergarten teacher at CASA Academy and is now the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. In her free time Ashley enjoys spending time with her son and husband, going to the library, and taking walks around her neighborhood.

Liliana Villasenor – Director of Students and Operations
Liliana Villasenor – Director of Students and Operations

Liliana Villasenor is a founding CASA staff member and began working at CASA in 2014, CASA’s inaugural school year. Mrs. Villasenor was born in Mexico and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2014, Mrs. Villasenor 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 leadership at CASA Academy, Mrs. Villasenor was awarded a scholarship worth over $50,000 to obtain her Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Phoenix. Mrs. Villasenor is deeply connected to CASA’s mission and is excited to continue supporting CASA’s scholars and families!

Alexandra Cruz– Instructional Coach/Dean of Students
Alexandra Cruz – Instructional Coach/Dean of Students

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 his or her dreams. She has worked at CASA since CASA’s founding year 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.