- Antonio Hernandez
- Kris Ange
- Kenya Hernandez
- Krista Cowgill
- Jill Barteau
- Andrea Camacho
- Cecilia Olmedo
- Amber Ramirez
- Melissa Douglas
- Patti Mooney
- Jylian Beery
- Lisa Timpani
- Katherine Holden
- Alexis Workman
- Michele Richardson
- Jackie Kirkham
- Anthony Fredette
- Robert Burgett
- Dolores Yorba
- Mary Ogburn
- Tina Picknally
- Debbie Strange
- Lu Anne Behrle
- Gail Basham
- Sean Bench
- Jacueline Bedolla
- Carol Copp
- Elaine Vail
- Christopher Picknally
My name is Antonio Hernandez, and I was born in San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico. I was fortunate to have a father and mother who modeled a strong work ethic for my family. Both of my parents worked in the citrus orchards picking lemons, oranges, or grapefruits to provide for the family. We spent most of our time in the Yuma County area while we usually migrated to California in the Summer for the tomato season. I began school in the US at the age of 6 years old in Somerton Arizona, a town that was made up of primarily agriculture workers. It was a great experience that laid the foundation to my journey as an educator.
I have been in education for 17 years, making my teaching debut as a preschool teacher for almost 3 years. In my journey I have been blessed to teach high school, middle school, and elementary classes and now I find myself in administration. I came to Cottonwood after receiving an offer to teach at a boarding school and the good Lord called me to ICCS in 2013. My wife, Kenya, and I fell in love with the Verde Valley and decided to start our family here. We have two incredible children, Tony, and Ali who give us more reasons than ever to strive to be and do, better.
My life as a student and as a member of God’s family has had a tremendous impact on my life as an educator. I believe that success starts with the right environment where students experience the joy there is in learning something new. In order for school to be a place for children to grow and learn,a place to respect and be respected, a place to experience the excitement of learning, it is important that the students, parent sand school staff form a tri-partnership.Working together there is no limit to what we and our children can actualize. Building trust and respect in our campus is a priority. We want our school community to experience the love of our Lord daily. I believe that extending grace and mercy to each other while holding each other accountable will enable us to walk closer with Jesus. The school should be a supportive environment that is conducive to learning for all stakeholders. Both, students and staff should feel comfortable and safe at the school so that we can achieve a high level of academics.
I believe that students are the most important members of a school community. Under the appropriate conditions and with the appropriate strategies, all students can and will learn. The nature and quality of learning experiences must be exemplary. Creative thinking and analyzing skills are important in today’s technological society. Students must gain critical thinking skills along with knowledge. They must be taught how to learn and how to apply what they learn.
My name is Kenya Duron Hernandez, and I was born and raised in from Yuma, AZ. A proud child of migrant farm workers. I have a bachelor in Sociology from NAU. My background is in social work and behavioral health from the Department of Child Safety. I am very passionate about my field but, when I had my children I decided to leave it so that I can be more available for them. Being a mom is the true calling I feel I was born to do. I am also a yoga instructor which has really helped improve my physical health and I enjoy gardening with my family.
I have been a part of ICCS for at least 7 years as a parent, volunteer and currently as an employee. I am married with 2 children. I am lucky to have every member of my family involved with the school either as a student or employee. I am bilingual, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to help many in our community in both English and Spanish. The ICCS community is very important to me and every year I am excited to get to know every family a little better. I truly enjoy assisting families to find funds for their children's Christ centered education and help kick start that strong foundation in their faith and love for God that ICCS offers.
I am fortunate to have lived in the beautiful state of Arizona for most of my life. I graduated from ASU and after teaching in the local school district for a few years I was given the opportunity to become a Catholic Educator at ICCS (previously St. Joseph's) in 2006. It was an amazing experience to be able to teach and to share my faith! As we grew as a school, I grew both in my faith and as an educator.
I have spent the past 6 years as the ICCS Preschool Director. It has been such a gift to be in this position as Early Childhood is my true passion. I believe that a strong developmental and spiritual foundation is the key to a healthy future which enables children to follow the will of God in their lives and to contribute positively and powerfully to our world. By adopting developmentally appropriate curriculum and methodologies we are blessed to help provide this foundation for our students, one which all children deserve.
My purpose is to support and serve our preschool staff, students, and families and to develop and maintain a high quality Catholic Preschool. My goal each year is to help to create a safe, loving environment in which the developmental and spiritual needs of each child is met to help them become the person that God created them to be. Along with academic, physical, and social growth, I strive to see that our program provides children with daily opportunities to develop a loving relationship with God through His Son Jesus and to learn the beauty of our Catholic Faith in meaningful ways.
Hi, my name is Melissa Douglas and I live in Cottonwood. I have lived here my whole life -35 years. I am happily married, and we have 2 boys, Konnor is 14 and Kolton is 11. They keep us busy with school activities, football and baseball.
I am excited to join the Preschool Team at Immaculate Conception Catholic School. I was a Teacher Assistant for 5 years at the Hilltop Christian PreSchool, I loved it there. I loved seeing the students eyes light up when they see and learn something new each day, and to be a part of their learning is so rewarding. I have completed many hours of Professional Development classes, and I am continuing my education and adding more child development courses when they are available. One of my many goals is to achieve my Early Childhood Education Certificate. I enjoy the classroom atmosphere and look forward to it each day, I can't wait to start a New school year!
I am a native of Massachusetts. I received my undergraduate teaching degree from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, and my masters in reading education from California State University San Bernardino.
I am blessed to have the opportunity to teach at Immaculate Conception Catholic School and couple my Catholic faith with my professional skills. Within my classroom, I utilize a combination of whole group activities, small like ability groupings, and individualized activities geared at each student’s current ability level. Each year the students go to Red Rock State Park on a field trip, where they learn about the environment and native animals tying into our classroom curriculum, depending on the years tour topic.
These are some of year-end goals I have established for my students to prepare them for the first grade:
- To be successful beginner readers.
- To have the capability to add and subtract using numbers up to 10.
- To have the ability to write simple sentences using both their knowledge of phonetics, and correct writing mechanics.
- To have a solid beginning understanding of our Catholic faith - to include basic prayers, the ability to participate actively in praying the rosary with a good grasp on the events and meaning within these parts, know the seven days of creation, and the different parts of our liturgical calendar.
For as long as I can remember, I have been dreaming about having my own classroom. Equally as long, my family was teaching me about our faith. It has been a beautiful journey of learning how to combine and balance my two passions: teaching and our faith.
I attended Northern Arizona University to further my education, and grew tremendously in my faith while attending the Holy Trinity Newman Center. It has been a blessing to call the Verde Valley my home for the last five years; and I am grateful for every moment that I get to spend on the numerous trails throughout God's beautiful creation.
I teach elementary school because I believe in a firm foundation. Proverbs 22:6 says, 'Teach a child in the way they should go, and even when they grow, they will not stray from the path.' Likewise, Aristotle is attributed to state, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act but a habit."
As we learn and grow in these primary years, our children are developing study habits as well as foundational skills that will help them prosper in the future. My high expectations mirror Mathew Kelly when he promotes, "Become the best version of yourself."
Students are encouraged to grow academically as well as an individual through the continual incorporation of our School-wide Learning Expectations: Learn the Catholic Faith, Exhibit Effective Respectful Communication, Achieve Academic and Intellectual Excellence, Demonstrate Morally Responsible Leadership.
As a second grade class, together we study all core subjects. We build foundations in Religion, Math, Reading, Writing, Science, and Social Studies. For each of the subjects that have a school provided curriculum (Math and Religion) I utilize those text books. For the other subjects, (Language Arts, Science and Social Studies) we have the opportunity to extrapolate knowledge and lessons from the standards of not only federal and state requirements, but standards specific to the Diocese of Phoenix as well.
Here at Immaculate Conception, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to teach in cohorts. This means that as every group passes through second grade, I have the opportunity to get to know each student, not only in their academics, but as a child of God. In doing so, I get to watch them grow in virtue; I watch them develop into independent learners and helpers. I love being able to have the opportunity to focus on each child, and teach them by incorporating our faith and various lessons into different subject matter: integrating lessons from each subject throughout the school day.
As second graders at Immaculate Conception, students will grow both academically and in virtue. We work on striving for the highest in all that we do, and work to continually take action to become the best versions of ourselves.
In second grade, we learn to be disciples of Jesus Christ. In doing so, we take time to learn more about the best example and primary disciple, Mary. As a class, we take leadership roles in whole school presentations of the Holy Rosary: in the Fall for the World Day of Prayer and Feast of the Holy Rosary, and in the Spring for the Living Rosary and May Crowning.
As part of the Primary Team, our annual field trip includes taking time in God's beautiful creation on a visit to Red Rock State Park where we learn about the various habitats of desert and riparian plants and animals.
I am Katherine “Kathy” Holden, and I am a disciple of Jesus Christ who is my Savior. I am a seasoned educator and have taught in elementary and middle school classrooms both in public schools and in parochial schools. I have also been a school administrator and teacher educator. I love children and am passionate about Christian education.
I believe that all children can learn and do so in a variety of ways. I also believe that all children deserve to know Jesus. My goal is to educate the whole child both academic and spiritual, addressing many aspects in their development. I have high expectations of my students and provide the support necessary to meet those expectations. I think that self-confidence is built when successfully meeting any of life’s challenges.
Third grade is a self-contained classroom, so all course content is provided by me. I particularly like to teach math and literature. I use a variety of teaching styles and curriculum support materials.
Approved Curriculum includes: Wonders ELA, Easy Grammar, with daily oral language (DOL) drills, and monthly book reports; enVision Math, with MadDog daily basic math skill drills; Scholastic Social Studies and Science, with project assignments; and Catholic Bible use, with weekly memory verses and Sister Bernadette religious instruction; cursive writing and personal responsibility assignments.
Mastery of basic academic skills should be evident at the completion of the third-grade year which allows synthesis in all educational endeavors to come. This includes mastery of math facts and basic concepts, fluency and comprehension in reading, the ability to effectively communicate in oral and written forms and an ability to negotiate and read the Holy Bible.
Field trips and guest speakers that supplement and support curriculum and grade level standards are scheduled.
Hello! My name is Mrs. Workman and this is my second year teaching at ICCS. I feel honored to serve in this community and felt it was my calling to switch from public schools to a place I could be open about my faith. This 2020 / 2021 school year I will have taught fourth grade for eight years. I have also been a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade teacher; some at private American International schools in both Venezuela and Colombia where I instructed in English to bilingual students. My Colombian husband and I have three beautiful children who also attend ICCS. We feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this community.
First and foremost, it is a priority to build a strong relationship with my students and a safe learning environment. It is also a priority that they build a strong relationship with each other as a class and as a family. We accomplish this throughout the year through prayer, team building games, class jobs and daily time together. My expectations are always clear, fair, and rigorous. Parent communication is a must and key to our success. Homework is posted daily on Class Dojo along with pictures and updates. This christ-centered setting allows the true opportunity to educate the whole-child through daily activities, lessons, and curriculum and help form well-rounded citizens who know, choose, and apply truth, wisdom, and knowledge into their own daily lives.
Math is instructed with resources such as Pearson workbooks, Math Antics, Khan Academy, and further supported by small group, partner and group work. We break up some routine with math parties, relay math races or playing card races. In reading, we do several novel studies, book clubs, and reading centers. Student progress is monitored in both math and reading through the STAR program. We often integrate science and social studies into our Language Arts time. Students love watching their peers present creative book reports and are expected to share their writing with peers, parents, other classes, and the community giving them purpose and an audience. By the end of the year, they develop some amazing narratives, as well as structured five-paragraph persuasive, informational, and literary essays. Social Studies we learn all about Arizona from our textbooks, field trips and Studies Weekly. Students make shareable google slides, or dress up and present characters in history as we learn research skills. In Science, we like to do hands-on as much as possible as we learn about Energy, Magnets, Earth, Human and Plant systems, and Engineering and Design. If it is not integrated into our language arts, we use Pearson workbooks or hands-on Mystery Science. ***During school closures students continued partner and group work through breakout rooms in zoom, conducted numerous presentations on flipgrid and completed assignments all through Google Classroom. Communication remained constant and mandatory.
Students do a lot of their own goal setting, but three goals in which I like to incorporate are; knowledge of what a solid five paragraph essay should look like, how to be a critical thinker, how to work well with anyone, and most importantly have a personal relationship with Christ.
This is a list of field trips our class takes annually that are fits into our classroom curriculum:
Red Rock State Park
Pizza Fraction Party
Build Tiny Houses (Area and Perimeter Unit)
History Dinner Party
My name is Jackie Kirkham and I have been married to my husband Greg for 27 years and have 3 children: Kirk (who lives in Flagstaff and has given us 3 grandchildren with his wife Dawn), Jessica (who graduated U of A this May, married in June, and has applied to medical school), and Cody (who finished his first year of college and is studying to becoming a firefighter). I am fortunate to be married to someone who shares the same passions with me: our faith and the education of children.I really enjoy teaching the middle school grades. Middle school students are at a pivotal time in their lives. It is important to draw connections to faith, learning, and compassion toward one another. It is a challenge that I love and I feel blessed to have this opportunity.
I believe all students can learn and be successful. Faith is essential part of this. It shapes our lives, values, and priorities. Having a successful faith formation and education begins in the home. The school is an extension of this and it is imperative that parents and teachers work together to accomplish this goal. The most successful students have a mutual respect of families and the educational setting. It allows them to understand that their parents and teachers are working together for their best interest.
Currently, I teach 5th through 8th grade math which includes standards such as number operations, measurement, algebra, geometry, ratios & proportions and statistics. A successful math program uses a rigorous program which combines different strategies. I reinforce basic skills, provide drills for essential concepts and allow students to remediate when necessary and accelerate when grade level competencies have been met. Students in my class are taught a strong work ethic of showing all work to build a solid foundation for higher level math. I incorporate total physical response and visual cues for long term memory and use an online program that has a direct alignment with our textbook. I believe a hybrid program must include strong student/parent/teacher communication component. When classes were online, I made weekly efforts to communicate with students and parents. Devices were offered to families who needed them and creative forms of teacher-student interaction were used. Every student had my personal cell phone number. Tutoring was offered to any student who asked, and these sessions were done through Facetime or over the phone with pic messages. Google Classroom and components such as Google Meeting were done by some teachers.
Students should continue academic learning during the summer months. While summer affords additional and different learning opportunities, it is important to maintain, remediate, and enrich skills. With students spending extended periods of time at home, it is even more critical that math and reading be reinforced so your child is prepared for the demands of the next grade level. IXL accounts are available for all students entering 6th through 9th grade. I will be setting up accounts for all incoming 5th graders, so they can also work on math skills this summer. Again, 30 minutes of reading and math skills this summer (including multiplication tables through 12’s) will maintain skills and help your child test well in August.
Last year, I introduced Survivor Math to all students in grades 4th through 8th. It included 2 days of math competition and challenges that exercised the mind, as well as, the body. Because of student interest, I plan on making this a yearly tradition at ICCS. Another popular activity was after school tutoring and homework sessions for 3rd through 8th graders. This helped students who were struggling in several academic areas, and allowed other students a quiet place to get a snack and finish homework before going home or attending a sports program.
I am the Language Arts teacher for grades five through eight. The bulk of my teaching career has been in Language Arts. It's a job that I thoroughly enjoy and stems from my love of books. I earned my bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and completed my master's degree at the University of Notre Dame. This will be my third year at ICCS (after a dozen years of teaching at a Catholic school in California), and I look forward to many more years of working with the wonderful students at this gem in the Verde Valley.
The heart of my teaching philosophy is reflected in the mantra, "Repetition is the key to mastery." It is through thoughtful repetition that students move from struggling with new concepts and techniques to mastery. The extent to which students develop in the interpretation and proper use of language is a reflection of the care they have applied to their work. To paraphrase music professor Harold Craxton from the Royal Academy of Music, students shouldn't do something until they get it right; they should practice it until they can't get it wrong.
To help students reach mastery, I use a combination of lecture, drill, discussion, and practice in my classes. All are important in order to help students reach their potential. My students are given latitude in selecting books, and I encourage students to read, read, read. Grammar lessons are more focused and centered on mastering the construction of a variety of sentence types. That mastery lends itself to a clearer and more concise expression of ideas in their writing.
Students complete exercises and writing assignments using both writing utensils applied to paper, and computers. In addition, they will be expected to make periodic presentations to the class. These exercises reflect the need for students to be able to express themselves using various media.
Written and visual communication are at the heart of man as a social being, and it is my hope that students will graduate from ICCS with a solid foundation for developing those talents in themselves. In addition, I hope that they develop a deep appreciation for the gifts that God has bestowed on them, and that they look back on their years at our school fondly, with a desire to continue their academic and spiritual development.
My name is Robert Burgett. I am originally from Mobile, Alabama. I got my start to teaching overseas in northeast China. I decided to move back to the U.S. to get my masters in elementary education and have stayed here to continue my path as an educator. I have been teaching at the school now for 5 years going into my sixth year in August. My wife teaches first grade at ICCS, and my 4-year-old son is in preschool. In my spare time, I enjoy being outdoors and I have a passion for running. I am driven to do the best I can for the students in the Verde Valley, and to bring laughter and fun into the classroom.
“Professional passion is an absolute treasure chest filled with everything we need to steadfastly refuse to enter the classroom with anything less than a burning hot passion for the awesome job and responsibility that lies before us.”
― Dave Burgess
“Is this best for these students at this time” is a question I ask myself daily. My classroom is fluid and ever-changing to meet the needs of the students that walk in and out of the door daily. I hope to have the students experience the content and mentally wrestle with the information. Mistakes will happen, but through building a report with the students, I hope to create a safe space for them to have natural ups and downs while feeling cared for at all times.
I am the middle school Science teacher and the 8th grade Religion leader. Asking questions and creating solutions is how I structure my Science classroom. This is a more inquiry-based way of teaching. This allows the student to not only run into roadblocks in the learning process but to bust through them to get to a new solution.
I enjoy incorporating technology in the classroom and Chromebooks are the main tool used by our young learners to begin building technology skills for the future.
CK-12 is an editable online textbook that I pair with Mosa Mack. Mosa is an online resource that features a young scientist that uses the evidence to solve problems related to the scientific subject we are studying. Most Mosa Mack units set up the problem, give students a deeper content knowledge, then has them engineer an original solution to the problem presented. This has increased engagement in the classroom and has allowed students to collaborate and succeed with each other.
My hope is that after each student completes the 8th grade at ICCS, they will be fully prepared to embrace the high school social scene knowing that our God has given each of them power, love, and self-discipline. I hope that each student is inspired to ask questions that are tough and through perseverance, research, and fun, find ways to confidently solve anything put in front of them.
Some of science-based field trips that my students and I enjoy are:
Grand Canyon for Geology
Laser Tag for Light and Sound
Lowell Observatory for Space
My name is Dolores Yorba and I was born in the big city of Los Angeles but grew up in San Juan Capistrano, CA starting at the age of 8. I attended classes at the historic Old Mission Catholic School where my passion for religion grew. I dedicated my school studies to business, bookkeeping, office and financial management including shorthand that awarded me a scholarship at the time of graduation but due to financial hardship, I elected to enter the work force to help support my mother and brother. I took the position as Office Manager at the Ford Motor Co. dealership in San Juan Capistrano and it was there that I met and worked alongside with the love of my life for several years.
In 1967, we moved to Cottonwood, AZ. which allowed me 15 years to stay at home and lovingly raise and oversee our family of eight children. When our youngest twin girls were of school age, I began to pursue my love of helping children learn and grow. I started with the only position available at the Cottonwood School District as a dishwasher in 1982 to get my foot in the door. Time and dedication paid off when in 1985, a position in the special education department opened and my dream of being a teacher’s aide became a reality for three rewarding years. The following year the opportunity arose and I moved into the administration office and spent the rest of my career as the Attendance Secretary and Registrar working under 12 different Principals. After 26 years of serving for the Cottonwood Oak-Creek School District, I retired to care for my husband whom I dedicated 50 years of marriage to.
In April 2013, I felt a strong desire to return to be around children in a school setting. As fate would have it, Father David introduced me to Merrily Pychinka, the Business Manager at that time for St. Joseph’s Catholic School, who would also become and is still my very dearest friend. I began to volunteer with her in the office and as a committee member for the annual Wings & Dreams School Fundraiser. In 2014 I was offered a position as a teacher’s aide for preschool. I am currently now the teacher’s aide for our Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Mooney.
My faith keeps me moving forward and I thank “Our Lord” for the gift he gave me of helping children. If I can make a difference in one child at a time, I will smile knowing my Lord listened and answered all my prayers.
Blessings to All
Hello, my name is Mary Ogburn, and I am the PE Teacher here at ICCS. I truly love working with a team of Christ centered educators and students at such an amazing school. I have been teaching for 8 years, PE for 5 years., and this will be my 2nd year at ICCS. I hold a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Exercise and Sport Science, Wellness Program Management Concentration, with a minor in Dance. I am CPR certified and am also a certified Exercise Physiologist through the American Council on Sports Medicine. When not busy teaching, I enjoy spending time with my beautiful family, Alex-husband, and my 2 kids (Emma, 16, and Dylan, 18). We live in Sedona and enjoy hiking, kayaking, fishing, and all that nature has to offer.
My philosophy on teaching PE involves getting all the students involved in every game or sport we play. I love introducing the components of Fitness and how they can start living a healthy lifestyle. From exercise to proper nutrition, there is so much to explore and implement on learning how to be healthy!
In my PE classes, I love to cover most sports unique to all kids. The sports I teach include volleyball, basketball, soccer, hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, dodgeball, and track and field. Games include Sharks and Minnows, etc. for the younger ages. In addition, I use the Presidential Physical Fitness Youth Challenge for middle school kids during mid year. This activity involves 5 fitness tests allowing each individual to compete against themselves and kids from across the nation in their same age group. The tests include: sit-ups in a minute, flexibility, push-ups/ pull-ups/ flexed arm hang, agility (shuttle run), and a 1 mile distance timed run.
For year end goals, I hope that each student is encouraged to push themselves in a way past their comfort zone to try new things, play new positions, and try new sports. I see their confidence grow through the year as we “conquer” a new sport or game together and it is so exciting to see that happen!
During the school year, we team up with the American Heart Association to discuss and implement a healthy program called the “Kids Heart Challenge” (used to be called Jump Rope for Heart). Kids and families are encouraged to help raise funds for the AHA and individuals that need financial help with disabilities and heart concerns. The kids learn through integrative programming and ongoing lessons during the 2 weeks, why contributing to such a great cause is an incredible thing. There are incentives along the way to invite them to help raise funds and have fun exercising too!
Mrs. Picknally grew up in Lapeer, MI, and received her Visual Communications Degree from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Tina is an artist, nowadays working mostly with Acrylics and Collage. She Is married to Christopher and together they have two children.
I like to inspire and empower my students, giving them opportunities to create and solve artistic problems. In a safe, constructive, and fun environment. I encourage students and challenge them to achieve what they thought wasn't possible!
I teach Art! I use the "Monart Method "By Mona Brookes, Drawing With Children. She has a unique approach to teaching drawing. I am also a "Sparkler", I belong to an online art program, Deep Space Sparkle. Where I get and use several Art lessons and techniques
At the end of the year, the students and I put together their portfolios. Comparing were they started to how far they've come on their Art journey. They get so excited to be able to show their parents!
I'm a father of two, happily married to Tina Picknally, our Art Teacher at ICCS. I have been a part-time school bus driver for 12 years, I enjoy working with young people as they have a way of keeping one young at heart. I believe as the first staff member my students see as they start their school day, I have a great responsibility to set the tone of the day. Besides getting students safely to school, I make a point to make them feel welcomed and appreciated as the unique and wonderful individuals they are. I always lend an ear and do my best to make everyone feel safe and comfortable while on bus. Just as the school practices, I have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying or teasing, instead I encourage positive interactions and foster friendships between students. I'm also a firm believer that an infusion of freshly baked glazed donuts once a month cultivates good relations among all.