Dr. Avery received his doctorate at the University of Dallas in 2006 and thereafter worked as an English professor for roughly eleven years at universities in Florida and Texas. His research interests lie chiefly in Renaissance British Literature, especially Shakespeare and Thomas More. Being a lover of the Great Books, he is most excited about the opportunity to teach in North Phoenix Preparatory Academy’s classical curriculum. Dr. Avery is married with three children. Outside of education and research, he enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee, strategic board games, and spending time with his family.
Dr. Stephen Bain has lived much of his life in or around Atlanta, Georgia, but his family is primarily from Columbus, Ohio.He received a BA in Biblical Studies and Humanities from Point University, a Master’s degree in Philosophy and the Humanities from the University of Dallas, and in 2017 he completed his Ph.D. in Humanities from Faulkner University.He has long been a loving student of the Great Books of the Western World, having a particular interest in the Virtue Ethics tradition and the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.Dr. Bain has several years of teaching experience, from middle and high school Literature and History to Philosophy and Humane Letters at such colleges as West Georgia College and University and Auburn University at Montgomery.Dr. Bain is an avid fan of the Atlanta Braves, and also enjoys reading and games of all kinds, including board games, strategy games, and collectible card games.
Inspired by her own high school English teacher to become an educator, Sarah Baker received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Wheaton College in 2014. While finishing her Master of Arts in Teaching from the same university, she worked as a preschool aid and substitute teacher at Clapham School, a private Classical school in Wheaton, Illinois. After receiving her Master of Arts in Teaching and Illinois teaching certification in Secondary Education with an endorsement in English language arts in 2016, Ms. Baker moved to Arizona to join the Great Hearts family at Lincoln Preparatory Academy in Chandler. She has taught 7th Grade Literature and Composition, 9th Grade Poetry, and 11th Grade Drama. She is excited to be joining the North Phoenix faculty this year for 8th Grade Literature and Composition and 9th Grade Poetry. Ms. Baker will also be leading the North Phoenix Prep Drama club this school year. In addition to teaching, she enjoys swimming, traveling, and reading Victorian novels and poetry.
Mr. Baumann received his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Arizona State University. He has worked in global electronics distribution as a Material and Inventory Specialist, in financial planning as an Executive Assistant/Sales and Customer Service Specialist, and in education as a General Instructor. He has taught Algebra II/Trig., Calculus I, and Earth Science within Great Hearts. He has lived in Phoenix, AZ for his whole life. He and his wife, Krystal, have been married for over 8 years, and his son, Peter, is 3 years old. Mr. Baumann enjoys studying philosophy, theology, mathematics, and the natural sciences. He also enjoys hiking, tennis, ping pong, epic fantasy literature, strategic board games, and time with his family.
David Belcheff is very excited to work with our seventh grade Gladiators and to learn about Ancient History with them. Mr. Belcheff earned a Master’s degree from the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at ASU. He has twelve years of classroom teaching experience, including three years teaching English in Japan, two years teaching World Religions at Glendale Community College, and is now starting his third year teaching Ancient History at NPX.
Mr. Black proudly joined North Phoenix Preparatory Academy in 2015. His teaching career began in 1996 in graduate school. Following which, Mr. Black moved to Oregon where he worked as an art professor at Willamette University, dividing his time between teaching and acting as the exhibition designer for the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. In 2005 he returned to his home state of Arizona and accepted a position as one of the founding teachers at Chandler Preparatory Academy. In addition to teaching, Mr. Black is also a respected professional watercolor artist whose work is collected on a national level. Mr. Black is happily married and also enjoys hiking, tennis, and golf.
After taking a writing class at Paradise Valley Community College, Paul Boyer decided to pursue and earn a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Arizona State in 2001. He followed up with a Masters of Communication Studies from Arizona State in 2013. Paul was born and raised in Arizona and has taught at Veritas Preparatory Academy for four years – three years in 10th grade Humane Letters and one year of 12th grade Humane Letters. He’s now in his second year of teaching 11th grade Humane Letters at North Phoenix Prep. In addition to teaching, he enjoys reading and speaking Latin, reading historical fiction, slogging through Ancient Greek, and hiking the Grand Canyon.
Dr. Gary Cort has enjoyed a long career as a professional physicist working with organizations including NASA, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Intel, and Blackberry. In this role he has had the opportunity to design Space Shuttle missions, perform basic research on the properties of superconducting materials, develop control systems for nuclear accelerators, simulate the behavior of geological formations, work on advanced defense systems, and help birth the Information Age. He has previously taught undergraduate Engineering Physics at Texas A&M University and graduate Software Engineering at the University of New Mexico. He is a former Chairman of the International Standards Organization’s largest technical committee representing 97 countries on six continents. Dr. Cort holds a Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics from Texas A&M University.
James Crowley is originally from the small town of Temple City, California (a suburb of Los Angeles), where he first got involved in theatre and music as a child. After moving to Arizona, he became more serious about his fine arts studies. Mr. Crowley spent several years apprenticing with the late prominent Valley music professor, Dr. Daniel Hooper, from whom he learned piano, sight singing, composition, and conducting. Mr. Crowley then began formal vocal studies at the age of eighteen, and first sang with the Arizona Opera chorus, where he discovered he was a tenor.
From this first professional opportunity began a wide and varied opera career that took him across the United States, from San Francisco to New York City, and finally, to the Metropolitan Opera Company. Mr. Crowley’s other love is creative writing, and has resulted in two children’s novels as well as several fiction and non-fiction short stories. Mr. Crowley holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Grand Canyon University.
Ms. Elbert was born in California, but has spent the last 20+ years in Arizona. Before her educational career began, she worked as a paramedical examiner for 10 years. She then went back to school and graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Education, earned a Specialization in Mathematics Endorsement, then continued on to earn an MA in Education/Curriculum and Instruction. She homeschooled for a year and a half adopting a classical education curriculum, and for seven years following taught middle and high school math at a private school. Algebra is her all-time favorite math to teach, so she is truly excited for the opportunity to be teaching Pre-Algebra with North Phoenix Preparatory Academy’s classical curriculum. Ms. Elbert has one daughter and ‘brand new’ grandchild. She is an avid animal and critter lover. Outside of teaching, she enjoys cooking, hiking, spending time in the mountains, and spending time with family and friends.
Ryan M. Fleming is from the small town of New Castle, Delaware. He completed his undergraduate studies at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. There he studied the Liberal Arts in a rigorous Great Books program which includes works from the great minds of Aristotle, Plato, Descartes, Cervantes, Euclid, Einstein, Newton, Galileo and several others. During his studies he was involved not only in the academic culture but volunteer and leadership organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Hugh O’ Brian Youth Leadership Foundation. During his education he has also participated in an array of athletic activities such as Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track, Cross-Fit, Swimming, Ultimate Frisbee, and many others. He wishes to bring the excellence of the Western Tradition to the everyday habits of the students and make the Liberal Arts a way of life for these young individuals, rather than leave it a strange and unapproachable name.
I’m so looking forward to my first year at North Phoenix Prep. It is so exciting to be able to share my passion for History and Literature.I’m originally from Nebraska and have come to love the lack of winter in Arizona.I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a double major in English and History and a minor in Philosophy.I received my Master’s Degree in English from the University of Nebraska-Kearney.My teaching career has spanned over twenty years.I have had the opportunity to teach 5th grade through college.I began my career teaching 7th grade and spent many years as a Lecturer at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, teaching Composition, Literature, and Holocaust Studies.This last year I had the privilege of teaching 5th Grade Composition, Literature and History at Archway Scottsdale.Not surprisingly, I love to read.My idea of a perfect day is a good book, a comfortable chair, and an endless supply of tea.I also am very interested in Astronomy (alas, Phoenix is not very good for dark night skies), Geology ( I love collecting rocks), and, strangely enough, Hockey (go Coyotes). When I can, I like to travel, especially to the old mining towns here in Arizona.My family consists of 5 cats, a dog, and a rabbit.
An accomplished singer and actress, Ms. Foglesong has performed primarily in musical theatre, opera and jazz. She toured and performed with various professional singing groups and has performed as soloist with regional symphonies. Her awards include Winner Metropolitan Opera Auditions in California, Regional Finalist in the Bel Canto Foundation National Auditions in Boston and winner of the National Endowment Fund for the Arts Scholarship and the Director’s Award Recipient both at Boston University, where she received her Master of Music in Vocal Performance. Karin Foglesong’s voice and theater students have gained admittance to next year’s season of American Idol, perform in motion pictures, attend the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, perform with Goode Time Carolers (Disney), perform solo roles and professional chorus work with Arizona Opera, gained admittance to the American Singer’s Opera Project at the Wake Forest University, have won the jazz Idol in the Skye Vocal Competition in Arizona, and perform with Phoenix Theater Company. Karin’s passion is seeing her students fulfill their vocal and dramatic potential.
Mrs. Alexis Fulton is a native Texan. She attended Sul Ross State University in Alpine, TX where she earned a B.S. in Biology with a minor in English. She then attended Wayland Baptist University in San Antonio, TX in pursuit of an M.Ed. She taught every level of both high school English and science over the course of seven years in Texas before moving to Arizona in 2011. Since moving to Phoenix, Mrs. Fulton has taught high school English and various high school and community college level science classes for both public and charter schools in the city. A love of learning about and exploring the natural world, and humanity’s interaction with it, fuels Mrs. Fulton’s enthusiasm in the classroom. When she is not busy teaching or taking classes of her own, she loves to spend time with her husband, children, and friends. She also enjoys reading, hiking, cooking, music, and yoga.
Mr. Gray has had a love of history since middle school.He began his studies in history at Colorado State University, completing his BA in Biblical Studies at Dallas Baptist University.He taught American History at the University of Northern Colorado while doing graduate work and completed his M.Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary focusing on church history in 2017.While completing his M.Div., he developed a love for the life of the mind which drew him to Philosophy and Ethics.He has taught Ethics and Historical Theology at Grand Canyon University since 2017.His daughter has attended North Phoenix Prep since 2016.Mr. Gray joined North Phoenix Prep in 2018.When not teaching, Mr. Gray enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, strength training and competing in the Scottish Highland Games.
Mr. Herrera is originally from Los Angeles, California, but has called Arizona home for the past 16 years. He holds both a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice from California State University, Northridge. His decision to continue his musical training brought him to Arizona to pursue a Master of Music degree in Voice. Professionally, he has been a featured soloist with The Phoenix Symphony, Phoenix Opera, and Arizona Opera. Mr. Herrera has been a member of the internationally acclaimed Phoenix Chorale for five years, winning a Grammy award with them in 2016 for their recording of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil. Before arriving at North Phoenix Prep, he taught at several local colleges such as Phoenix College, Glendale Community College, Arizona Christian University and Grand Canyon University. Whether or not they decide to pursue music as a life-long vocation, he has enjoyed introducing students to the rewarding rigors involved in studying the vocal arts.
Ms. Lentz grew up in Phoenix and studied at Tulane University in New Orleans, where she earned her BA in Political Science with a minor in Business. After graduating she earned her teaching certification through the University of New Orleans and went on to begin her career teaching middle school math in the New Orleans Public Schools. Ms. Lentz continued her work at St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana, where she received the J. Gordon and Lou Ann Reishe Outstanding Teacher Award and had the opportunity to pursue further education in Teacher Leadership.Ms. Lentz returned to Phoenix in 2012 and spent seven years at home with her young family while also starting a small business. With two of her children already attending Archway North Phoenix, Ms. Lentz returned to the classroom in the fall of 2018 and was delighted to again be working with middle school students. In addition to teaching, Ms. Lentz enjoys volunteering, baking, reading, and traveling with her husband and four children. Ms. Lentz is a devoted member of the Great Hearts community and is honored to be part of the outstanding faculty at North Phoenix Prep.
Joseph A. Mann received his B.M. in Piano Pedagogy from Longwood University, summa cum laude, his M.M. in Piano Performance from James Madison University, and his Ph.D. with distinction in Historical Musicology with a Ph.D. minor in English Literature from The Catholic University of America.
As a musicologist, Dr. Mann’s scholarly articles are published in Musica Disciplina and The Musical Times. A new article, “Virtuous Music by Virtuous Musicians: The Political Functions of Praising Music, ca. 1560-1640,” is forthcoming in the essay collection, Elizabethan and Jacobean Praises of Music. Dr. Mann regularly presents papers on early modern English music, politics, and literature at local and regional conferences such as the North American British Music Studies Association, the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, and the Renaissance society of America. His first scholarly book, Printed Musical Propaganda in Early Modern England is currently under contract with Clemson University Press.
In addition to teaching music history at The George Washington University, American University, and at The Catholic University of America, Dr. Mann has also taught music theory, aural skills, and Great Book (HL) at The Catholic University of America and St. Gregory’s University, where he was a visiting assistant professor until the university abruptly suspended operations and closed due to financial difficulties. At NPX, Dr. Mann teaches music and humane letters, runs the Jazz Ensemble, the Chamber Orchestra, Co-advises the Key Club, and runs the Scholars’ Forum.
This is Ms. Humphrey’s fourth year teaching at NPX. Ms. Humphrey received a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona as well as a Master of Teaching and Teacher Education at the University of Arizona. During college she participated in an exchange with the University of Hawaii Hilo, where she earned a Scientific Diving Certification and participated in sea turtle research and the banding of honeycreepers. After graduating, Ms. Humphrey began work with the University of Arizona studying scorpions, pocket gophers, burrowing owls, and finally Gila monsters in Saguaro National Park. During her research projects, Ms. Humphrey found she enjoyed educating the public more about ecology than writing grants and entering data. Wanting to inspire people to think about the living world around them, she went back to school and completed a Masters of Education in Teaching and Teacher Education. Since then, she has taught Integrated Science, Life Science, Biology, and Medical Science. She also spent a year teaching English in Japan. In her free time Ms. Humphrey enjoys hiking, Japanese gardening, bicycle mechanics, exploring state and national parks with her family, and playing with her ‘zoo’ which includes two poodles, a guinea pig, a bearded dragon, a turtle, two desert tortoises, a snake, a flock of chickens, several African cichlids, and a large population of Madagascar hissing cockroaches.
Andrew Olsen wants to live in a world where students happily annotate great works of literature and beginning chess players never move their knights to the edge of the board. He is a graduate of St. John’s College (Annapolis) where he studied mathematics, science, philosophy, and literature. As a teacher of five years, he has taught subjects ranging from ninth grade Humane Letters to fifth grade bathroom break. He spends his free time discussing great books with his wife and friends and lamenting the results of the recent NBA off-season by himself.
Mr. Pagani has been teaching with Great Hearts since 2008. He obtained his first BA from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, and holds a second BA in Classical Philology from the University of Cincinnati, where he took multiple graduate level courses, and was welcomed directly into the PhD programme in Classics at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to Ancient Greek and Latin, Mr. Pagani also taught Spanish and English before joining Great Hearts. Mr Pagani loves and continues to cultivate his knowledge of classical philology, literature, languages, and linguistics. He has created and led student & faculty clubs in Old English, Old Norse, Old Irish, Classical Hebrew, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Linguistic Creations, conversational Latin, Classical Latin verse composition, and German. He is particularly fascinated by ancient languages, literatures, and music, and he enjoys serving as the editor of the English Club Newsletter.
Mrs. Pagnone hails from Venezuela. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Post-Baccalaureate degree in Tax Policy from her home country. More recently, she attended Arizona State University, earning a Master’s degree in Business Administration; during this time, she also worked at ASU as Teacher Assistant. Mrs. Pagnone worked as a business consultant for twelve years, collaborating in several software-related projects in the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean. She joined our NPX family in 2015 and has taught Honors Economics and Honors Spanish (I through IV). Mrs. Pagnone enjoys learning new things, spending time with her family and friends, traveling, taking pictures, working out, cooking, and dancing.
Ms. Kimberly Poduska hails from the windy city of Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 2004, with a BA in English and a minor in Secondary Education, as well as endorsements in the other core subject areas, she began her career as a sixth-grade common core teacher. Following this role, she continued as high school English teacher, as well as a seventh and eighth-grade honors English teacher. As science is Ms. Poduska’s most passionate interest and hobby, she is honored and excited to meet and work with her students. Some of her other interests include painting, singing, reading, writing, and playing with her pet rabbit, Thumpkins Rumplestein.
Mr. Shisler came to the North Phoenix family in 2017 after teaching mathematics and coaching cross country and track at Scottsdale Preparatory Academy for 7 years.Before coming to Great Hearts, Mr. Shisler also taught high school mathematics and coached for 19 years at private schools in Phoenix and the San Gabriel Valley in California.He is proud to be from Eugene, Oregon, where he acquired his love for both running and mathematics.Mr. Shisler received his BA from Azusa Pacific University.He has been married to his amazing wife for 34 years and has a daughter and a son.Mr. Shisler enjoys table games, hiking, biking all over Phoenix, and inspiring young minds and hearts.
Mrs. Woelzlein is originally from Lima, Peru where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Law and Political Science. Mrs. Woelzlein has lived in Phoenix since 2008 and has pursued her passion of teaching the Spanish language here at North Phoenix Preparatory Academy since 2017. Her satisfaction is to help strengthen the academic development of students through the teaching of the language .In her free time, Mrs. Woelzlein enjoys dancing, working out, photography, travel, movies and spending time with her family.
Ms Washburn has been teaching with Great Hearts since 2014.She is originally from New England where she earned a BA in Journalism and Marketing, followed by a Masters in Education with certification to teach French, avidly pursuing study in Avignon, France and Laval University in Québec, Canada. A devoted, passionate linguist and lover of different cultures, she has also studied German, Russian, Mandarin, Spanish, and Latin.She taught at the Holderness School in New Hampshire for 17 years where she coached girls’ lacrosse and co-ed golf while raising two sons.She then taught and tutored in the private sector for several years at Plymouth State University.A lover of baking and fine cuisine, she ran a bakery for a couple of years and over the last nine years has become a devotee and teacher of yoga and meditation.Ms Washburn still loves and continues to cultivate her interest and passion for the French language and film, literature, linguistics and over time has been teaching herselfItalian.Her other interests include modern dance, somatic movement, Ayurveda, travel, hiking, connecting with nature and healthy cuisine.Her overall love in life is to help people realize their unique gifts and help them to cultivate the beauty that life offers on a daily basis.
Ms. McCrory has been a part of the Great Hearts family since 2009, when she started as a student at Veritas Prep. She originally hails from New Orleans, but spent her teenage years in Phoenix. She then moved very far away to get her Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Trinity College Dublin, where she developed a love of science communication by writing for the college newspaper and creating a science podcast with some classmates. Ms. McCrory is incredibly passionate about math and science, and dedicates much of her time to sharing that love with the world. She loves finding new ways to look at the world and uses this love to find how best to communicate complex topics to her students. Her high school education instilled in her a love of the classics that she carries into her daily life and her classroom. In her spare time, she can be found reading classic novels, reading nonfiction science books, knitting, or writing.
Ms. Bruch is new to NPX this year but has taught art in Metro Phoenix for more than six years at Paradise Valley Community College. Additional teaching experience includes a year of international teaching (English and Art) in Finland, and a year teaching Art History at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City, Iowa. She holds two Master’s Degrees – an MA in Art History from the University of Iowa and an MLIS in Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. Ms. Bruch is a ceramic artist, an avid photographer, and likes to participate in local art shows. She is married, has a 7th grade daughter, and keeps a backyard full of happy, free-range chickens. In her free time, she enjoys camping, yoga, baking, and attending art festivals.
Justin Aquila grew up in Southwest Florida, deciding near the end of High School to join the Marine Corps, where he served as a Security Force Marine. Afterwards, having decided to return to school, and having discovered it is possible to major in Latin and Greek, he attended the University of South Florida and pursued the degree in Classics, which he received in 2009. His interest not only in Latin, but in other Ancient and modern Languages, as well as in Ancient and Medieval History, Mythology, and Archaeology, stems from early exposure to encyclopedic entries on these topics, and also to some degree, no doubt, from the Indiana Jones movies. After graduation, he worked variously in sign making, delivery driving, as a Grocery clerk, and in Auto Insurance Customer Service. He is most grateful and excited to open a new chapter with Great Hearts and North Phoenix Prep. In his free time, Mr. Aquila catches up on reading, of which his greatest interest lies in J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard. He also continues to plod through the writing of his second fantasy novel. Other interests include Hockey and Traditional Archery.