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.
Dr. Avery received his doctorate at the University of Dallas in 2006 and thereafter worked as an English professor for eleven years at universities in Florida and Texas. In addition to his role at North Phoenix Preparatory, he is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Humanities with the University of Dallas. His research interests lie chiefly in Renaissance British Literature, especially Shakespeare and Thomas More. He has published a number of articles on those topics and also serves as a reader for Moreana, a journal specializing in Thomas More Studies. He is also currently in the early stages of a book project on Shakespeare. Being a lover of the Great Books, he especially appreciates teaching the Great Hearts classical curriculum. Dr. Avery is married with three children. Outside of education and research, he enjoys reading, Ultimate Frisbee, strategic board games, and spending time with his family.
Dr. Bahbah earned her first bachelor’s degree in Biology and her master’s degree in Botany in Science while living in Turkey, where she was born and raised. When she was a teacher in Turkey, she was awarded a highly competitive scholarship by the Turkish government to pursue her graduate studies in the United States. She successfully completed her master’s degree in science education at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2002. She studied the impact of the 5E science model (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate) on elementary and middle school students’ learning and attitudes. After completing her master’s degree, she began her doctoral studies in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at ASU’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She graduated and received her PhD degree in 2008 (go Sun Devils!) She has taught Math and Science in different grade levels, including college level courses. She is a proud mom to one fantastic, nine-year-old daughter who is a student in Archway North Phoenix. She has one dog, Cotton Ball. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, taking road-trips, exercising, playing with her dog and learning new languages. Dr. Bahbah is teaching 8th grade Earth Science and 10th grade Chemistry at North Phoenix Prep this year.
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.
Mr. Black teaches high school art and is the Dean of Student Leadership. He proudly joined North Phoenix Preparatory Academy in 2015. Having grown up in Phoenix, Mr. Black attended the University of Arizona for his undergraduate degree. Following which, he attended the University of Delaware for a master’s degree in fine art. After graduate school, Mr. Black moved to Oregon and 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 artist. He is married to Marla Black and has a son named, Liam.
Ms. Bruch is in her third year of teaching Studio Art here at North Phoenix Prep. She enjoys helping scholars find their creative voice in the visual arts through experimentation, replication, and practice. Ms. Bruch is also an Adjunct Professor of Art History at Paradise Valley Community College. In her free time, Ms. Bruch loves to travel and has visited world class museums and archeological sites across Europe. She has also lived and worked abroad in Scandinavia, taking the opportunity to learn Finnish weaving and felt-making techniques. 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 10th grade daughter, and enjoys hiking in her free time.
Mr. Nathaniel Calahan grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, before moving to Phoenix, Arizona as a teenager. He received a degree in Linguistics and Cognitive Science from Pomona College, before returning to Arizona to teach and coach at his high school alma mater, Tempe Preparatory Academy. Mr. Calahan has taught Latin, English, and Humane Letters for eleven years, and he will be teaching Medieval History and Humane Letters at North Phoenix Prep this year. He is excited to become part of the community at NPX. Outside of school, Mr. Calahan spends most of his time with his family, with time set aside for watching movies, reading books, and complaining about rule changes in baseball.
Ms. Isabel Coffey graduated from Valparaiso University with a B.A. in Classics and Creative Writing. During her time at Valpo, which is situated in the Northwest corner of Indiana, she also studied Humanities, with a focus in English, Greek and Latin literatures. She grew up in Phoenix, but greatly enjoyed her time in the Midwest, and hopes to venture back someday. Ms. Coffey cultivates an array of interests and hobbies in her spare time, from collecting typewriters to sewing clothing. As her name suggests, she loves coffee, and sometimes misses her days as a barista. Ms. Coffey is excited to be returning to NPX for a second year, to be adding Greek I to her teaching slate, and to continue her time with the Great Hearts family after previously graduating from Veritas Prep.
Ms. Conner comes to us with a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature from the School of Film and Media Studies at ASU and is pursuing her Masters (MFA) in writing for film & television. She previously worked as a screenwriter and has participated in many volunteer activities with children throughout her life. Ms. Conner was first a parent of the North Phoenix Prep community and is excited to transition to the role of teacher. Ms. Conner is excited to infuse her love for film and cinema into the drama program at North Phoenix Prep.
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. Faust is an Arizona native with a Bachelor of Arts with honors in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. She spent nearly ten years as a writer, editor and content director for marketing firms before taking time off when her first child was born. As a descendant of many teachers, she swore she would never become one herself, but often wondered if the clichés about teaching might be true. In August of 2020, she answered the call to take on a 6th grade English Language Arts and Social Studies position in the Washington Elementary School District (the same year her oldest son started kindergarten at Archway North Phoenix). While she does not recommend beginning a teaching career during a pandemic, she discovered that teaching really is the most rewarded and unrivaled job in the world. Mrs. Faust is overjoyed to be sharing her fervent love of classical literature, figurative language, and the Oxford comma with the scholars at North Phoenix Preparatory as the ELA interventionist and the newest member of the 7th grade Lit/Comp team.
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.
Ms. Flood is looking forward to her third year at North Phoenix Prep where she will teach Medieval History and Humane Letters II. She finds it so exciting to be able to share her passion for History and Literature. Ms. Flood is originally from Nebraska and has come to love the lack of winter in Arizona. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a double major in English and History and a minor in Philosophy. Ms. Flood received a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Her teaching career has spanned over twenty years affording her the opportunity to teach 5th grade through college. Ms. Flood spent many years as a Lecturer at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, teaching Composition, Literature, and Holocaust Studies. Not surprisingly, Ms. Flood loves to read. Her idea of a perfect day is a good book, a comfortable chair, and an endless supply of tea. She is also very interested in Astronomy (alas, Phoenix is not very good for dark night skies), Geology (she loves collecting rocks), and, strangely enough, Hockey (go Coyotes). When she can, she likes to travel, especially to the old mining towns here in Arizona. Her family consists of 7 cats and a dog.
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. Hall is dedicated to the idea of personal power and supporting students in developing it. He graduated magna cum laude from Utah Valley University in 2006 and graduated with an MFA from New York University in 2008. He has spent the bulk of his career teaching English and Humanities at Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College. He has also spent time working with troubled adolescents. He loves guiding students in the pursuit of the ideas that gleam from within the great works of human history. Watching the way these ideas can excite and inspire young students is what draws him to teaching.
Mr. Hansen is a recent graduate of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA. There he received his BA in the Liberal Arts. It was while at Thomas Aquinas College that Mr. Hansen discerned teaching was his calling in life. He fell in love with the classical curriculum and the idea of learning simply for the sake of knowing. He is deeply committed to sharing a classical education with others. In his free time, Mr. Hansen likes to read books on philosophy, watch football, and spend quality time with friends and family.
Dr. Elizabeth Leyva is excited to join the North Phoenix Prep community! Originally from California, she moved to Arizona to pursue graduate studies. Dr. Leyva holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal arts from The University of Southern California, a Master of Music, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in voice performance from Arizona State University. Highlights of her teaching credits include California State University Bakersfield, Bakersfield College, the Herberger Community School at Arizona State University, and a one-year appointment as a Faculty Associate in the School of Music at ASU. In addition to her work
in academic institutions and as a private music instructor, Dr. Leyva also directs the children’s music program at First United Methodist Church of Phoenix and performs with the Arizona Opera Chorus.
Mr. Jameson was born and raised in Pittsburg, Kansas, a small college town of approximately 20,000 people located in the southeast corner of the state. He is proud to be from the Midwest, and he holds firm to the values that were instilled in him from his youth: faith, family, and community. As an alumnus of the University of Dallas, Mr. Jameson is excited to teach Pre-Algebra for his second year at North Phoenix Prep. Although he was grateful for the opportunity to teach high school Spanish last year, he is excited to teach 7th graders about the beauty of mathematics.
Mr. Jameson enjoys promoting extracurricular life at NPX, especially by serving as an assistant coach for track and field. He also enjoys hiking the Arizona landscape, running marathons, and traveling all over the world. Since moving to Arizona to serve as a teacher at NPX, Mr. Jameson has loved every moment of living in Arizona, and he doesn’t plan to leave anytime soon.
Ms. Lentz grew up in Phoenix and studied at Tulane University in New Orleans. After graduating, she earned her teaching certification through the University of New Orleans and went on to begin her teaching career 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 several years at home with her young family while also starting a small business. Ms. Lentz joined the faculty at North Phoenix Prep in 2018 and was delighted to again be working with middle school students. With four children at Archway North Phoenix, Ms. Lentz is a devoted member of the Great Hearts community.
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 from Taylor & Francis. 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. Clemson University Press published Dr. Mann’s first scholarly book, Printed Musical Propaganda in Early Modern England, in 2020.
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. At NPX, Dr. Mann currently teaches Humane Letters and serves as the Chair of the Liberal Arts Council.
Rocky Márquez is a native Arizonan. He grew up in the Valley and graduated from Greenway High School. After high school, he studied mathematics at Paradise Valley Community College and then at Arizona State University. While at ASU, Rocky was volunteering in the evening with children, and it was during that time that he discovered a passion for helping young people succeed. His newfound passion led him to transfer to Franciscan University of Steubenville, a liberal arts university outside of Pittsburgh, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. After graduating from FUS, Rocky decided to fulfill his passion by teaching and joined the Great Hearts team. In his free time he volunteers in his local community, hikes around Arizona, and travels with friends to countries around the world to enjoy as much delicious food as he can.
Dr. Steven Nemes has a BA in Philosophy from Arizona State University (2013), an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary (2016), and a PhD in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary (2021), where he studied under Profs. Oliver D. Crisp and Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen. His dissertation was titled: “A Constructive-Theological Phenomenology of Scripture.” He has published a number of articles on matters of philosophy and theology in journals such as Journal of Analytic Theology, Journal for Continental Philosophy of Religion, Heythrop Journal, and Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie. He is the author of “Orthodoxy and Heresy in Christian Theology,” forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in the Cambridge Elements series.
Miss O’Sullivan is a Phoenix native, growing up in the area around North Phoenix Prep. She received her BA in History for Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University. Her most recent teaching experience was at an international school in Japan teaching world history and U.S. humanities. Her passions include Cold War American history and political science. The last few years have given her an opportunity to explore some of the historical sites in Arizona. In her free time she enjoys travel, reading, frisbee, any lively discussion, and good coffee.
Mr Pagani has been teaching with Great Hearts since 2008 as a teacher of languages and Senior Humane Letters. He obtained his first BA from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, and holds a second BA in Classical Philology (Ancient Greek & Latin language and literature) 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. Mr Pagani loves and continues to cultivate his knowledge of classical philology, literature, languages, and linguistics. He has created and led student & faculty clubs for Old English, Old Norse, Old Irish, Classical Hebrew, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Linguistic Creations, conversational Latin, Classical Latin verse composition, and German. Mr. Pagani also teaches Spanish, his native language. Mr Pagani enjoys spending time with friends and family playing Old School D&D and table-top boardgames.
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.
Mrs. Pagnone originally hails from Venezuela. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics, a post-baccalaureate degree in Tax Policy from her home country, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Arizona State University, where she also worked as a Teacher Assistant. She recently returned to school to earn an academic certificate in Language Studies (focusing on Latin) from Rio Salado Community College. Before becoming a teacher, she worked as Business Consultant for several years, collaborating on multiple software-related financial projects in the US, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. Mrs. Pagnone has worked at North Phoenix Preparatory Academy since 2015; she has taught Honors Economics and Spanish (I through IV) here. Outside school, she enjoys learning new things, spending time with her family and friends, traveling, taking pictures, going on long walks while listening to audiobooks or podcasts, reading, cooking, and dancing.
Dane Poulson is a recent graduate from Arizona State University with an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts. Prior to beginning with Great Hearts, he tutored students in math and science as well as mentored junior high and high school students in his local community. While doing this, he discovered a love for teaching and walking alongside students to help them grow.
Dane is an Arizona native and loves camping, fishing, and hiking when the weather is right. He and his wife have been married for 6 years and have three young boys and a dog to show for it. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing with his kids, and playing table-top role playing games with his friends
Sarah Schripsema has served the North Phoenix Prep community for many years in many capacities. She received a bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a master’s degree in Teaching and Teacher Education from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. She has taught Chemistry, Biology, Life Science, and Humane Letters. She has served as our Dean of Students, working with students and teachers to solve disciplinary issues in the classroom and on campus. This year she is teaching 10th grade Humane Letters and acting as support and coach to several of our teachers. She teaches leadership skills to 9th and 10th grade Lanistae, who collectively manage our Gladiator Familia Program. Ms. Schripsema is always excited to help students learn through experiences and mistakes in a safe, supporting, and loving environment.
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.
Ms. Srinivasan earned her Bachelor’s degree in Engineering in India, focusing on Electronics and Instrumentation. After many years in the software industry, she found that her calling was for teaching. She obtained a Bachelor’s in Education which afforded her to teach Math, Science and English. Since moving to Arizona, she has obtained an Arizona Teaching Certificate in Secondary Education with Math and English as approved areas of expertise.
Ms. Srinivasan is a proud mom to two fantastic kids who attend Archway North Phoenix. She loves to play, swim, and craft with them, and watch them grow! She spends time with her husband and friends during weekends. In her spare time, Ms. Srinivasan also loves to draw, sketch, paint and solve Math and logic puzzles.
Ms. Catherine Stevenson was born in Paris, France and grew up on the French Riviera. She continued her studies in France where she earned a Master’s degree in translation and terminology at ISIT (Institut Supérieur d’Interprétation et de Traduction) and an English Degree at the Sorbonne (Paris IV). After teaching all levels of French in Flagstaff for three years, she joined NPX in 2021. She is excited to embark on her second year at NPX.
Mrs. Ashley Vietor graduated from St. John’s College, Annapolis in 1995 and started teaching middle school Latin at a small private school in New Haven, CT in 1996. Two years later, she moved to a boarding school for girls (Chatham Hall School) in southern Virginia where she taught high school Latin I and II and her Pembroke Welsh Corgi ruled the campus. Four years later she stopped teaching to raise her growing family. In 2005, she moved to Phoenix and in 2017 began teaching Latin again at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School. Throughout the years she has homeschooled several of her six children. She enjoys long walks with her husband and children, reading a wide variety of literature and biography, and when time permits, needlepointing pillows for her children! Favorite authors include Willa Cather, Mark Twain, and Sigrid Undset. “Laete cognoscam et laete docebo”
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.