A staff of experienced educators.
The Arizona K12 Center staff consists primarily of former educators. From kindergarten through high school, we have worked in some of the most culturally diverse and educationally challenging environments in Arizona. This gives us an intimate understanding of the difficulties today's educators face. We've been there ourselves, and are committed to helping make the teaching experience as successful and satisfying as possible.
Executive DirectorRead More
In 2005, Kathy Wiebke was brought on as the Executive Director to create a new vision and direction for the Center. Prior to joining the Center, she was the Deputy Associate Superintendent for Highly Qualified Professionals at the Arizona Department of Education, principal and classroom teacher.
Kathy Wiebke earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Arizona State University and a Master of Arts degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership and policy studies from Arizona State University, focusing on quality teaching and teacher leadership in urban schools.
Kathy was Arizona’s first National Board Certified Teacher with a Middle Childhood Generalist Certificate. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She was a member of the NEA’s Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching and NCATE’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning.
Kathy was a recipient of the Christa McAuliffe Fellowship and focused on project-based learning through the creation of a native habitat on her elementary school campus. Kathy was recognized as an Ambassador for Excellence in Arizona’s Teacher of the Year Program and received the Disney American Teacher Award in the elementary category. Her classroom practices were featured in a learning series produced by Disney.
Most recently, Kathy served as the Executive Producer of The Mitchell 20, a documentary focused on 20 teachers seeking National Board Certification or its single entry alternative, Take One. The documentary highlights teaching in America and the struggle for teacher quality.
As a native Arizonan, Kathy has spent almost her entire life in Arizona’s public schools as either a learner or a teacher, and sometimes both. She cares passionately about this state and wants its children to have the same great education she received at all levels. That is why she does this work.
Favorite Book Growing Up: Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Favorite Teacher & Why: This is a tie! I can’t separate them. Mrs. Mack, my second grade teacher. She had a piano in her classroom and we would always sing. Mrs. Timbrooks, my fourth grade teacher. She challenged us all to think and create. In both these teachers I knew I mattered.
The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is…the opportunity to support the learning of Arizona’s teachers. I have long held the belief that when we help teachers be their best, we are helping kids be their best. When I was in school, I had great teachers! I want the same for all the children in this great state!
Professional Learning ManagerRead More
Cheryl is the Professional Learning Manager and has been a part of the Arizona K12 Center since 2005. Cheryl is an Arizona native who grew up in Sierra Vista and has lived in many cities across the state. She is currently living in Tucson. Cheryl graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration with a specialization in computer information systems. Prior to joining the Arizona K12 Center team she worked at the Boulders Resort in Scottsdale where she discovered her love for planning events. Cheryl has more than 10 years of experience in event management and has a passion for creating learning opportunities that enable teachers to be their best for their students.
Favorite Book Growing Up: Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Favorite Teacher & Why: Mr. Plumb, fifth and sixth grade teacher. He created an environment where learning was creative, collaborative, fun, and competitive. You could see that he really cared about each of his students and wanted us to realize and reach our true potential.
The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is…getting to work with teachers! It doesn’t get better than hearing the stories of how our work is impacting teachers and their students. I’m fortunate to be a part of an organization that cares as passionately about helping teachers improve the quality of teaching and education in Arizona as much as I do.
National Board DirectorRead More
Alaina Adams was a public educator in the Phoenix-Metropolitan area for 9 years. During that time, she taught on-level and inclusion 9th through 12th grade English classes, AP Language and Composition, English 101 and 102 at the community college level, and was an English Department Chair. Alaina has a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education from Arizona State University West and has a Master of Arts degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix. Alaina is a National Board Certified Teacher with a certificate in Adolescent through Young Adulthood English Language Arts. She has worked with adult learners as a Professional Development Facilitator, Virtual Mentor, and Cognitive Coach. Currently, she is the National Board Director for the Arizona K12 Center, where she works with educators across Arizona as they work towards earning National Board Certification. She also works with schools and districts as they incorporate National Board programs into their professional development pathways.
Favorite Book Growing Up: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Favorite Teacher & Why: Annette McCool, 11th grade English teacher at Alhambra High School. Ms. McCool was my favorite because she had a sense of humor and called us her "babies." She made it abundantly clear, in between brilliant lessons on The Scarlet Letter and A Streetcar Named Desire, that she loved each and every one of us.
The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is…being able to help Arizona's teachers find their voice as they move through the hallmarks of the National Board Certification process. Getting paid to do this type of meaningful work is truly a gift.
Administrative AssociateRead More
Liana Favela grew up in Tempe, Arizona. She graduated from Arizona State University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and a minor in Spanish. Liana has always had a passion for working with people and has worked in customer relations for almost 10 years. She joined the Arizona K12 Center in March of 2013 as an Administrative Associate.
Favorite Book Growing Up: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Favorite Teacher & Why: Mr. Hashem, seventh grade history teacher. He made learning about history fun and involved all of his students in class discussions. He had a passion for helping his students succeed.
The best part of working at the Arizona K12 Center is...working with and learning from all of the great staff and seeing first hand the great opportunity the Arizona K12 Center provides in helping teachers and students of Arizona succeed.
Professional Learning DirectorRead More
Kristi Fredrickson has lived in Arizona all her life. She grew up in Phoenix and attended Madison Meadows and Central High School. She graduated from NAU in Flagstaff with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. She returned to Phoenix to become a mechanical engineer working with gas turbine engines at what is now Honeywell. She then returned to northern Arizona to teach high school Algebra 1 and 2 and Physics in Williams. Kristi coached girls’ basketball and volleyball, advised student council, and planned many proms. She also received her Masters degree in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University. She then moved to NAU as a professional development associate at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at the mountain campus in Flagstaff where she provided professional learning opportunities in math and science for teachers from all parts of Arizona. Currently, Kristi is the Professional Learning Director for the Arizona K12 Center. She works with the Lesson2Life program, problem based learning, evaluation, and grant writing.
Favorite Book Growing Up: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Favorite Teacher & Why: Mr. Hart, high school Physics teacher. He made me believe that physics and math are not that hard. He made me the sun when we studied the solar system and how the earth and planets move.
The best part of working at the Arizona K12 Center is... working with the many talented individuals that make up the center. Their hard work and dedication make it fun and exciting to come to work every day.
Director of Teacher LeadershipRead More
Taryl Hansen is the Director of Teacher Leadership at the Arizona K12 Center. Taryl received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Grand Canyon University in elementary education, a Master of Arts degree in professional development from Heritage College in Toppenish, Washington, and a Doctor of Education degree in teacher leadership and innovation from Arizona State University. Coming from a family of educators, she began her teaching career in Lahaina, Maui as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher. After 10 years, she returned to her native Arizona and home district, Paradise Valley Unified School District. In 2004, she earned National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist, which enticed her to a full-time position at the Arizona K12 Center in 2006. Taryl has worked to provide support for the Arizona K12 Center's Master Teacher Program, National Board Certification Program, and is now mobilizing the efforts of teacher leaders across Arizona. She is a qualified and highly trained provider of the New Teacher Center and Center for Cognitive Coaching℠, but finds her greatest pleasure in creating and refining Arizona K12 Center publications and products that spread the expertise, skills and knowledge of accomplished Arizona educators.
Favorite Book Growing Up: Ferdinand the Bull by Munro Leaf
Favorite Teacher & Why: Mr. Hunter, sixth grade, because he pushed and challenged me to rise from “the middle.”
The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is… the ability to think creatively, work collaboratively, and influence educators to make positive change for Arizona students.
Lisa La Rock
Professional Learning CoordinatorRead More
Lisa La Rock moved from the California Bay Area to Arizona to attend Arizona State University in 2007. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Grand Canyon University. Upon graduating, Lisa joined the Arizona K12 Center part time as an Administrative Associate and through her time here has moved her way to Professional Learning Coordinator.
Favorite Book Growing Up: Junie B Jones by Barbara Park
Favorite Teacher & Why: Ms. Lozano, third grade math and science teacher. She took time to get to know each of her students on an individual level and made learning relevant, applicable, and entertaining.
The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is… the great people we get to work with. When so many differing perspectives come together with passion to grow, it is infectious. Being able to support so many educators, and in turn their students, through our professional learning opportunities provides a sense of connectedness to the community.
Business ManagerRead More
Valerie Lombardi is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, attended San Francisco State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies in 1981. Valerie began her career in higher education at the University of California Berkeley, initially working as a Payroll Specialist and later as a Contract and Grants Administrator in the Department of Electronics Research and Computer Science.
In 1991 Valerie left Berkeley to manage Marathon Company, a family business focused on educational fundraising for public and private schools throughout Northern California. In 1996 Valerie and her family relocated to Phoenix and oversaw the expansion of the family business throughout the state of Arizona.
Valerie has a strong presence in the non-profit community of Arizona, most notably serving as Executive Director of The Branden Lombardi Foundation, a Phoenix based 501 ( c ) 3 nonprofit organization. Along with her son, Branden, Valerie founded the organization in 2000, and has been responsible for overseeing the day to day activities of the Foundation and its numerous programs serving the cancer community of Arizona as it pursues its mission of “Improving the Quality of Life for Cancer Patients Today”.
Favorite Book: Charlotte’s Web by EB White
Favorite Teacher and Why: Mrs. Garrett, 3rd Grade. She made us feel that we were important and had something to contribute.
The best part of working at the Arizona K12 Center is: Being a part of a wonderful team that is there for the benefit of others!
National Board CoordinatorRead More
Jessica Ress is an Arizona native and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from the University of Arizona. Upon graduating, Jessica taught elementary and junior high music in the Chandler Unified School District for two years. Jessica first began working for the Arizona K12 Center during her summer breaks in high school, and continued throughout her college and teaching career. In June of 2011, Jessica officially joined the Arizona K12 Center as an Administrative Associate and now currently serves as the National Board Coordinator. Jessica works with National Board Candidates, managing the scholarship program and coordinating all National Board support events.
Favorite Book Growing Up: Little House on the Praire (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Favorite Teacher & Why: Mrs. Evans, high school choir teacher, for sharing her contagious passion for music and love of her students, and inspiring me to be a better choral educator.
The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is… spending each day with my talented, creative, and hilarious AzK12 family!
Master Teacher DirectorRead More
Andrew graduated from Arizona State University West with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Andrew Ward was an educator in the heart of Phoenix for 8 years. During that time, his focus was to set students on the path of accomplishing their dreams. He taught mathematics, was grade level chair, coached a variety of sports, and was the athletic director. Currently, Andrew is the Director of Master Teacher Project for the Arizona K12 Center. He believes the State of Arizona’s educators and students are making a difference in the world.
Favorite Book Growing Up: The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble
Favorite Teacher & Why: Mrs. Pope, 5th grade Social Studies teacher. She made me believe that history can come to life when we embrace the stories of the past. She made me understand today’s freedoms are yesterday’s struggles.
The best part about working at the Arizona K12 Center is… working with the many talented individuals that make up the center. Their knowledge and dedication to improving education make it exciting to come to work every day.