We are excited to spotlight a few amazing educators across our agency. Thanks to the directors and principals for sharing this wonderful information!
Teacher Spotlight March 2023
Amanda Pruett is an Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the Region 3 Yuma office. She is an exceptional teacher and has taken on an intern from the U of A this semester. She has agreed to be an ambassador for the agency and it is a pleasure to spotlight her for the agency.
Amber Saeli is a birth to 3 provider in ELP’s Region 2. Amber recently passed her Listening and Spoken Language exam and she is working toward completing her required hours for certification. Amber is also an Emerging Leader within the agency and is serving as an excellent role model in her areas of expertise. Congratulations, Amber, and thank you for all of your hard work!
Christina Heyer is an Arizona native who has been an Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf/HH for the past five years. She went to the University of Arizona for both her Bachelor’s and her Master’s, graduating from their Educational Sign Language program and getting her Master’s in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education. She also teaches yoga on the weekends and has two little dogs. She enjoys painting, running on the canal, and going on roadtrips. Wildcat for life!
Lisa Novak’s professionalism stands out in all that she does. Lisa is a highly skilled teacher who works hard to know and understand students’ needs. She is always working to ensure that she has the knowledge and expertise needed to ensure her students succeed. Thank you for all of the hard work that you put in every day!
Sheryl Katzen goes above and beyond her daily work as a Teacher for the Visually Impaired. She is currently an ambassador for ASDB and has taken on an U of A intern for this entire school year. She is always willing to support new learners and her fellow Teachers of the Visually Impaired. She is an outstanding advocate for her students as well as the learners she takes on. It is a great pleasure to spotlight her for the agency.
Shirlee Wadlow has been with ASDB for many years and goes above and beyond to not only support her students and districts but her colleagues. She demonstrates Pillar 2 of the Strategic Plan, outstanding student development, through her commitment to ensure access for her students. She has been partnering with a variety of colleagues and departments to ensure that students have access to learning and instructional materials, which leads to success. She goes above and beyond to support her colleagues in times of need, demonstrating a commitment to excellent staff relationships. We are grateful for her hard work and dedication to student and staff success.
Valeria Campos is so amazing with her students in the classroom. She has welcomed new students with open arms. She has made accommodations in her classroom that go above and beyond! She has positive energy that lights up any room!
Teacher Spotlight February 2023
Karisa is always seeking opportunities to learn. She regularly connects with colleagues, agency VI staff and districts to find the best way to support her students. She asks hard questions and seeks to understand the “why” of various topics, while continuing to expand her knowledge and skill set. Thank you Karisa for all you do!
Yaju is an amazing Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Orientation and Mobility Specialist. She has gone above and beyond the call of duty to provide supports to a student, family, and district. She has provided a variety of virtual and in-person supports to a student with significant medical needs that do not always allow her to attend school in person. Yaju prepares materials for the student to utilize at home. She then has the same materials with her when giving the lesson to the student and family so that the student has the appropriate visual access to the materials being used. The level of time and effort Yaju puts into planning for this student is phenomenal.
Arianne Sevillano is a skilled orientation and mobility specialist who works in Region 2. She has been with the agency since January of 2019. She is ACVREP certified as an orientation and mobility specialist, as well as an AT specialist. Arianne is always looking for new ideas and resources. She was a huge help to the Region 2 team as we transitioned to electronic files and Google products. She is always willing to support her colleagues and supervisor with any “silly” tech questions or create new documents. She has been part of our Kindness Committee and helps with office potlucks. Arianne is a newlywed approaching her one-year anniversary. She is family oriented and originally from California. Arianne is very crafty and likes to play video games. She loves to travel with her husband, Azar, and comes home with beautiful photos and videos. She has a blind dog named Nala. Arianne is a dedicated professional who is a fun and energetic person to have around the office. We are happy she is a part of our team!
Maria has gone above and beyond! She has excellent communication skills in working with districts and colleagues within ASDB. Maria is always mindful of how she represents ASDB, and she represents well when working collaboratively in the districts we partner with. Maria goes above and beyond to document and utilize the data that supports student development across her caseload. Maria has superior organizational skills and is always ready, eager, and willing to share and teach others. Lastly, Maria is always mindful of the time and manages it in such a way that allows her to be the most effective teacher for her students.
LeAnna Perez is one of our Itinerant Teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing in Region 2. She is a native of Florida and moved from Louisiana to Arizona in February of 2022. She has served as a church interpreter for over 15 years, in both Florida and Louisiana, and also served as a Support Service Provider for deafblind clients with the Affiliated Blind of Louisiana-Lafayette Chapter. LeAnna began her teaching career in 2017, serving as the self-contained classroom teacher for Deaf+ students, grades 1st through 3rd, in Florida. She moved to Louisiana in 2019 and served as an itinerant teacher for a small school district before accepting a classroom teacher position at the Louisiana School for the Deaf (LSD) from 2020 to 2022. While at LSD, she taught 2nd/3rd grade, as well 6th-8th English Language Arts. She is most passionate about closing the language deprivation gap for deaf and hard of hearing children, providing equal access to language at the earliest possible age. LeAnna holds a BA in Business Administration and an MA in Special Education from the University of Arizona Global Campus (formerly Ashford University) and hopes to attend the MA in Deaf Education program at the University of Arizona this summer.
Rob Buzzetti & David Funckes
Rob Buzzetti and David Funckes both took on a huge responsibility this year. They both have stepped up to be the sponsors of our Student Body Government organization. Rob and David have been coordinating several meetings and worked with several class sponsors to ensure each high school class has the opportunity to voice their opinions and make recommendations. The students are learning how to use their voice and work collaboratively. This skill was lost during the years of COVID. They are regaining their skills, which is exciting to see! Their recent huge task was planning for Homecoming. Rob and David worked with our students to set up a committee for the pep rally and the dance. Both of them are clearly passionate about student-led opportunities and organizations. Homecoming and School Body Government would not be up and running without their dedication and efforts with our high school students.
Bryan Newton & Tree Windsong
Bryan and Tree have been ongoing advocates for early student leadership opportunities. Bryan took a huge responsibility of being Middle School Student Body Council (MSSBC) sponsor. Tree has been supporting Bryan by encouraging and sending her students from the Blind school to be part of the organization and continue the collaboration between the Deaf and Blind schools. MSSBC successfully hosted a fundraising event where they sold eegee’s slushes. The treat was sold out immediately. MSSBC also hosted a food drive and donated the canned and dry food to a food drive center. In addition to donating the items, they volunteered to help with food sorting at the food drive center. The students are motivated to be part of the community and continue working on their leadership skills. Without them and our Middle School team, our students would not have this type of leadership opportunity.
Stephanie Voss & Libby Brauss
Stephanie and Libby are both exceptional teachers and teacher leaders. They have both stepped up to lead PDSD Preschool in the absence of a supervising teacher this year. They truly go above and beyond every day!
Jill Brace has put a tremendous amount of time and effort into getting the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework together for PDSD. She has taken the role of facilitator and leads our team in implementing ideas. She is amazing and we are lucky to have her lead our team!
Abby Malone led the 3rd-5th grade students in learning about hot air balloons. The students created and launched balloons off of the PDSD football field! Her passion for learning and relationships with students are stellar! Thank you Abby for all that you do!
Ruth is a phenomenal teacher and advocate for her students. Recently she brought together two students who have hearing loss and attend the same school. Both boys were able to learn something new about each other. She nominated the older of the two students for school-wide recognition as a student who helped a younger student feel accepted and understand he’s not alone in a big school. Thanks for all you do for your students Ruth!!