Glendale Union High School District

Open houses set for August
Each school in the Glendale Union High School District offers an Open House to welcome new and returning students and their families to the start of a new school year. The event is unique to each campus, with many schools sharing information about extracurricular programs and sports, offering campus tours and encouraging parents to meet and interact with teachers and faculty.

Open House events have been scheduled for 6-8 p.m. at the following schools: Aug. 14, Sunnyslope High School; Aug. 22, Thunderbird High School; and Aug. 28, Washington High School. Visit and select your child’s school for more details.

Teacher seeks help for student project
Sunnyslope High School teacher Kim Celaya wants to start a coffee cart service for teachers and staff, operated by her special-needs students.

The students in grades 9-12 have intellectual and social challenges and are in a community-based classroom to meet their educational needs. They need specialized instruction and practice to learn everyday skills that come easily to their same age peers without disabilities.

Celaya and her students want to start a weekly coffee cart service this school year for the teachers and staff at Sunnyslope. This program will the students out among their peers and adults on campus, as well as provide them vocational skills practice, including money handling, order taking and social interaction.

Celaya has launched a crowd-funding page to raise the money to purchase two Keurig machines, insulated disposable cups, coffee pods, creamers, sweeteners, sorting bins with lids, and other supplies. Visit and search for Sunnyslope High School. For more information, contact Kim Celaya at

Madison Elementary School District

Madison ranks in top half of finishers
The Madison Simis Elementary/ Madison Heights Elementary fourth-grade Odyssey of the Mind team earned a ranking of 13th in the 38th Annual World Finals, competing against 71 teams in their division. Two additional Madison school teams—a fifth grade team and a combined seventh-eighth grade team from Madison Meadows Middle School—also finished 20th and 22nd, respectively, in the world in their division.

The competition, held at Michigan State University in May, is a creative team problem-solving competition for kids in kindergarten through college. World Finals brings together over 850 teams from approximately 25 countries.

Teams of no more than seven members compete in four different age groups in one of five “long-term problems.” The Madison fourth-grade team competed in the Division I competition (second-fifth grade), “To Be Continued: A Superhero Cliffhanger,” in which students were asked to create and present a humorous performance about an unlikely superhero and a clumsy sidekick. Madison students set the play during the Renaissance with Michele, Michelangelo’s daughter, aided by her statue/sidekick, David. The story was narrated by playwright Billy Shakespeare.

Teams work all year on their play, but also compete in a “spontaneous” competition where they are given less than 10 minutes to work as a team to solve a problem on the spot. These spontaneous problems may be verbal, hands-on, or a combination of both.

Madison team coach Julie Morrison noted that this was the last competition for these team members who have been together for four years, as they will be moving on to middle school.

20-year time capsule opened at Camelview
Madison Camelview Elementary opened a 20-year-old time capsule on May 22, and Jane Scott, one of the original faculty members who was at Camelview 20 years ago, plus Superintendent Quinn Kellis were on hand for the opening event.

A school assembly was held that morning, and alumni and staff who have been part of the Camelview family the past 20 years were invited to a reception that afternoon to go through the pieces in the time capsule, share memories, and exchange “where are they now” stories.

Among the items that came out of the time capsule were letters from students, a class photo, a garden trowel signed by students, a Stanford Achievement Test booklet, a music cassette tape, and a floppy disk.

Madison Camelview was established 20 years ago and its first class of students wanted to commemorate the birth of their elementary school in the heart of Phoenix. At the event, a new time capsule was created—to be opened in another 30 years, during Camelview’s 50th anniversary. Items place in the 2017 time capsule included a newspaper article from North Central News about Hilary O’Brien winning the Rodel Principal award, as well as a school T-shirt, smelly pens, a fidget spinner and candy and snacks that students likes to eat.

Osborn Elementary School District

Osborn District wins Governor’s Arts Award
The Osborn School District earlier this year was honored as the winner of the 2017 Governor’s Arts Award in the category of Arts Education Organization. Superintendent Patty Tate joined other 2017 Governor’s Arts Awards nominees, sponsors and guests at the Phoenician Resort to celebrate the winners and finalists.

Osborn School District is a high-achieving, urban public school district serving 3,000 students in Central Phoenix. The district is enriched by students, parents and staff who are culturally and linguistically diverse, representing 49 countries and 38 languages. Nearly 90 percent of Osborn students qualify for free and reduced lunch.

According to the judges, “the district’s art programs reflect a deep commitment to student access and achievement.” Every child receives 50 minutes of music and 50 minutes of visual arts instruction every week. All children have access to free music lessons after school, including participation in the district’s legendary trash can band.

The judges noted that the district is a leader in exploring the intersection between the arts and the environment through its “recycled instrument” and “recycled art” programs.

The nomination was submitted by Childsplay, a longtime partner with the Osborn School District.

Longview launches free lending library
During her 21 years in Osborn, Longview Elementary first grade teacher Tara La O Garcia has seen too many families deal with challenges that limit their children’s access to books. Her solution? Install a Little Free Library—a place children and parents could access easily “by foot” (since many of her families do not have transportation) to find and trade books.

The Little Free Library is now open. Now, you can help with her long-term plan: to purchase an outdoor all-weather bench and enough almost-new books or inexpensive books to make sure that every child who visits finds a book to take home. If you’d like to help, go to

Phoenix Union High School District

North High sets 50th class reunion
The North High School Class of 1967 will hold its 50th Reunion Sept. 22-23 at The Embassy Suites Phoenix-Scottsdale, near Tatum and Cactus in Phoenix. Sponsors, as well as donations for a silent auction and raffle, are being sought. To register and for more information, visit, or e-mail Dale Tarkington at

Teacher honored with WBEA award
Chris Liebelt-Garcia of Metro Tech High School received the Distinguished Service Award at the Western Business Education Association (WBEA) Conference in Bozeman, Mt. The conference included high school and college business teachers from the western United States.

The award is given to an individual who has served and contributed to WBEA and business education through professional activities that include leadership, service, honors and awards. The write-up stated that “Chris Liebelt-Garcia has been working at the same school, Metro Tech High School, for 25 years where she is a strong supporter for the business department. Chris puts in a tremendous amount of time, expertise, and dedication to the success of Arizona Business Education Association (ABEA) and WBEA.”

Liebelt-Garcia had held positions, presented, and chaired conferences in these organizations and was nominated for the WBEA presidency in 2019. She has been an adviser for Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) for 25 years where she has taken students to regional, state, and national competitions.

Peters accepted into art leadership program
North High Art teacher Julie Peters was accepted into the School for Art Leaders 2017 class, sponsored by the National Art Education Association and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The program runs from June 2017 through January 2018 and includes a week at the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Ark., in July.

Peters is a past Arizona Secondary Art Teacher of the Year, a National Board Certified Teacher and the instructional leader for the North High Art Department.

Washington Elementary School District

Zuelich honored as crossing guard
The job of a crossing guard often goes unnoticed. That’s why AAA recognizes the unsung heroes of Arizona’s school communities with the 2017 AAA Crossing Guard of the Year award.

For 2017, Ruthie Zuelich of Washington Elementary School earned the title for Maricopa County. Recipients of AAA’s Crossing Guard of the Year award demonstrate the highest level of commitment, friendliness, professionalism and safety.

More than 30 nominations were submitted on Zuelich’s behalf, some of them noting that even after she had been hit by a car and was out of work for several weeks from her injuries, she came back to her post as soon as she was well enough because of her love of and commitment to the children at the school.

Washington Elementary School honored Zuelich on April 28 with a surprise schoolwide assembly. She received a plaque and $500 Visa gift card, courtesy of AAA Arizona. AAA also presented a $500 Visa gift card to the school.

Administrative changes at schools
A few members of the Washington Elementary School District family have received new administrative roles this school year.

Jill Sarraino is the new principal at Mountain View School. She comes from Palo Verde Middle School where she has been the principal for the last two years. She joined the WESD in 2011 as the assistant principal at Palo Verde Middle School. Sarraino has a master’s in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.

William Ambos takes the helm at Royal Palm Middle School, as former principal, Heidi Keefer, moves to the WESD Administrative Center as the new administrator for Special Services. Ambos received his master’s in educational leadership from Ottawa University. He worked in the Deer Valley Unified School District from 2002-2015.

At Maryland School, DD Carr replaces Jaclyn Farrer as the assistant principal. Carr comes to Maryland from Shaw Butte Elementary where she has educated children for the last 15 years as a classroom teacher and, most recently, the student services specialist. Carr holds a master’s in educational administration from Arizona State University. She has worked for WESD since 1999.

Private and Charter Schools

Getting hands-on with a special microscope
A combination of youth, a passion for science, and an incredible microscope sparked a week of exploration and discovery by the seventh- and eighth-grade students at Brophy’s Loyola Academy, 4701 N. Central Ave.
When eighth-grader Bryan Figeroa heard about a rare opportunity to use a scanning electron microscope (SEM) by Hitachi, he contacted the company and before long the students were experimenting with the $70,000 microscope usually reserved for graduate students, scientists and engineers.

For a week the Loyola Academy students used the microscope to take images of everything from baking soda to shark skin, with several companies donating items for the students to use, including the Phoenix Zoo and Agave Farms.
The SEM could magnify an object or substance by 30,000 times, and the students quickly became adept at its use. The SEM program is part of Hitachi’s effort to get students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) at a young age.

Chris Leedle, an employee of Hitachi and Intel, was instrumental in providing this opportunity to Loyola Academy. The students and their teacher, Julia Pierre, created a website to showcase many of the incredible images that resulted from their work, and continue to be intrigued by the discoveries they made and inspired to explore the world of science and math.

Grant will help buy 3-D printer
Xavier College Preparatory making and robotics instructor Nathan Ward was presented with a 2016-2017 CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation’s Teachers and Technology Grant Program award.

Ward’s grant application, entitled “Young Women in STEM—Applying 3-D Printing and Prototyping Technology to Medical Engineering,” was one of 310 winners chosen nationwide from the more than 2,300 applications submitted. Ward was one of only 29 winners from Arizona.

The grant funds of just under $5,000 will be used to purchase an advanced 3-D printer capable of medical engineering applications as well as filament and other tools.

CenturyLink’s program awards grants of up to $5,000 to Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers who outline plans to innovatively implement technology in their classrooms. Applications were reviewed anonymously, and grants were awarded based on the overall innovation of the proposed project and the impact that it will have on students in the classroom.

Scholarship honors former teacher
Xavier College Preparatory has established the Glenda Rauscher Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of the school’s beloved teacher, who passed away on March 18 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
Rauscher, a graduate of Swarthmore College with master’s degrees from both Harvard University and the University of New Mexico, served Xavier for more than two decades as an AP English and American literature teacher. She retired in 2016.

Rauscher’s scholarship was introduced at the Xavier Scholarship Fashion Show April 1, where several of her former students offered tributes to her outstanding legacy as a teacher and a person. Proceeds will assist the nearly 40 percent of Xavier students with financial need.


Hello, North Central neighbor — thank you for visiting!

Sign up to receive our digital issue in your inbox each month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.