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Elementary Teachers

Jennifer Weston, Kindergarten Teacher


14522080_10211041416016018_1644510503_o Jennifer Weston was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She has a strong background in musical theater and still loves to perform in the community. She brings her energy and love of music and the arts to her classroom daily. Jennifer was a former Disney employee of both Walt Disney World,Florida and Disneyland, CA and after 5 years with the Disney Corporation. She began her field experience her at Caurus Academy and continued to request placement because she found it to be an environment of endless possibilities and heart.

Taylor Bandelier, Kindergarten Teacher



Taylor Bandelier was born and raised in Arizona and actually grew up in Anthem. She moved here in 1st grade. Fun Fact, Ms. Bandelier went to Caurus when she was in 8th Grade! She graduated from Grand Canyon University in 2015 with her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education. While in college, she was a Teacher Assistant at Brighter Beginnings Preschool, where her love for early childhood education began. During her student teaching, she was able to experience and learn more about early childhood students at Terramar in their Developmental Preschool and Anthem Elementary in Kindergarten. Along with teaching, she is the Children’s Ministry Director at her church, Cross of Christ where she has been working with the children there for the past 6 years. During her free time, she loves to go hiking, spend time with her friends and family and get her nails done. One of her other passions is posting on our Social Media accounts, making videos for the school and learning about new technology for education.

Cynthia Rowland, Kindergarten Assistant


Cynthia Rowland is a paraprofessional and has been an Assistant Educator at Caurus Academy since 2004. She started as a parent volunteer in 2001, at AMCS in Glendale. In 2003, she became a staff member. Ms. Rowland has worked with children in early education facilities since 1996. She loves children and loves to teach and experience learning with the children. She has three children and three grandchildren whom she loves spending time with. Her eldest daughter soon to be Married. Her son who attended Westwind Prepatory Academy in Phoenix and is now in the Military, and her youngest daughter is in High School.

Jona Cruz, 1st Grade Teacher



Jona Cruz is from the beautiful Island of Guam. She relocated to Arizona in the summer of 2015. She earned her bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education at University of Guam in 2009. Mrs. Cruz has been working with children for the past 7 years and her journey has been amazing thus far. She finds it intrinsically rewarding to witness children grow and learn in their own unique way. Mrs. Cruz believe children are in-nately curious about the world around them so it is our job as teachers to nurture and guide their curiosity. She enjoy arts and crafts, reading, baking, but most of all; I enjoy seeking adventures with her wonderful husband and two boys.

Ariel Volpe, 1st Grade Teacher


14466367_10211041418896090_182344219_oAriel Volpe was born and raised in a rural area of the Garden State. This is where she learned how to garden and her love of being outside. She moved to Arizona with her husband after she received her undergraduate degree. Now, they live in Black Canyon City with their two little boys where the raise chickens and grow their own food. She started her college career off studying studio and fine arts at the local community college. From there she transferred to Philadelphia University and earned hrt Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design. Her focus there was designing educational products for children. In 2009, she went to Grand Canyon University and got her Masters in Elementary Education. She is excited to be able to bring her creativity and passion into designing engaging experiences for young children.

Rhonda Bartoski, 1st Grade Assistant


14453862_10211041419176097_562214931_oRhonda is a teaching assistant with experience educating preschool and elementary aged school children utilizing the Montessori philosophy since the year 2000. She has a passion for working with children and hopes to enrich their young lives by providing a safe, nurturing environment in which to learn and grow. Prior to moving to Arizona, Rhonda lived in New Jersey where she earned an Associates in Arts Degree. Rhonda and her husband have lived in Anthem since 2002. They have a son who attends Caurus Academy. In their free time her family enjoys traveling and a variety of outdoor activities.

Lauren Brown, 2nd Grade Teacher

14456635_10211041409975867_963026257_oLauren Brown was born on Vandenberg AFB in California and moved to Arizona shortly
after. She first realized her passion for teaching and kids at a young age. Her biggest influence was the caring heart of her mom. For a while, her mom had an at home daycare. She watched her mom influence these children’s lives and
always admired it. Ms. Brown’s passion for teaching continued to grow in high school where she became involved with Future Educators of America and started coaching gymnastics. She also became a nanny for different families in
college. Being around kids so often solidified her decision to become a teacher.  She received her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education from Grand Canyon University. Aside from teaching and coaching, she loves photography, health, fitness and travel.

Amy Francis, 2nd Grade Teacher

Amy Francis graduated from Concordia University, Chicago
in 2000, but her love for children has been there her whole life. This is her 3rd year teaching 2nd grade, but her 16th year teaching. She loves that she can connect with children and seeing them reach goals they never thought they could. Caurus is a great school for her because it truly connects with her philosophy of meeting a child where they are at and challenging them individually. At Caurus, she also loves using the data from Galileo to drive her teaching at a class level and individual level. She also enjoys helping teachers get the resources they need to be the best teachers they can be. She is originally from Illinois, but moved to Arizona in 2005. She loves the weather and outdoor life here. When she is not at school she loves spending time with her family. She is married and have two wonderful children. Her son is fifteen and a sophomore in highschool, while her daughter is ten and in 5th grade. She also loves hiking, running, and finding bargains when shopping!

Kim Curcio, 3rd Grade Teacher

Kimberly Curcio is joining the Caurus team as our new 3rd Grade teacher! She is originally from New York City where she taught for eleven years. Kim holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in reading. She also holds a Supervision and Administrative Degree. Kim’s vast experience includes teaching in almost every grade from K-8.

Kim has attended many professional development courses on enhancing creative teaching practices, differentiating instruction, (tailoring teaching to each child’s abilities), and embedding test prep skills into everyday lessons. Kim’s experience also includes being on the school data team where she interpreted classroom assessment data in order to plan lessons targeting student needs. Prior to the implementation of the Common Core Curriculum, Kim was involved in Curriculum writing for grades 3, 4 and 5.

“My personal teaching goal is to provide a comfortable, positive learning environment where children feel confident and empowered. Children should be provided with challenging opportunities for learning so they may reach their full potential. I am excited to be a part of the Caurus Academy team. I am a strong believer in the Responsive Classroom Model and I look forward to creating meaningful relationships with my students and their families.”

Ayrial Riggs, 3rd Grade Teacher

Ayrial Riggs will be joining Caurus Academy this upcoming 2017-2018 school year as a 3rd grade teacher. After graduating from Arizona State University, she spent 7 years of teaching in the Pendergast and Peoria Districts, and is incredibly excited to join the Caurus Team.

Prior to joining the Caurus team, Ayrial has taught 2nd grade and 5th grade, specializing in building community in her classrooms and incorporating project- based learning into her lessons as much as she can.

When Ayrial is not teaching, she likes to spend time with her husband, Elijah. They spend most of their weekends going hiking, camping, fishing, or just exploring the beautiful Arizona desert with their two German Shepherds and Chihuahua. They both love living in Anthem and being a part of their community.

Ayrial cannot wait for this upcoming school year. “I am beyond excited to be a part of such a great culture and community such as Caurus where I can teach students to their full potential and work with other teachers that share the same passion as I do about teaching and learning.”

Erin Regan, 4th Grade Teacher


Erin was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina where she attended Elementary School and her first year of Middle School. In 2001 she moved to Cave Creek, Arizona where she finished Middle School and graduated High School. Erin received a full ride soccer scholarship to Scottsdale Community College where she received an Associates Degree and earned Academic All American status for NCAA Student Athletes. Her final two years of college were spent at Northern Arizona University. She graduated from NAU in December of 2011 with a duel major in Special Education and Elementary Education. Erin did her student teaching in Cave Creek at Horseshoe Trails Elementary; she was hired right away by Cave Creek Unified School District at Black Mountain Elementary School teaching sixth grade Math, Science, and Social Studies.
Erin has a pet desert tortoise named Turtle whom she loves deeply. In Erin’s free time she likes to workout, travel, read and coach soccer. Last year she helped lead the Cave Creek Cactus Shadows high school team to the state finals.

Tina Broncati, 4th Grade Teacher



Mrs. Broncati graduated from the College of Mount Saint Vincent with a BS in Psychology and also received her masters in teaching from there. She is a NJ native but have lived here in Anthem for the past two years. Throughout her teaching experience she has taught 2nd, 4th, and 5th grade. 4th is her absolute favorite.  Her and her husband have two very active boys. They spend most of their free time at the pools and parks. Her family has also been busy exploring and learning all we can about Arizona.

Sian Harriman, 5th Grade Teacher


Sian Harriman is new to Caurus Academy this year as a teacher in 5th grade. Not only new to the academy, she is new to the country, after moving from the United Kingdom.

After achieving a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from one of the UKs top teacher training institutions, she has worked in a range of schools, with the last six years experience being focused on 5th and 6th grade. She has experience of sharing good practice with colleagues, mentoring new teachers, plus a creative background – having experienced of teaching middle/high school Design and Technology.

“I have a passion for making learning as creative as possible and accessible for all children. I like to make the learning process exciting for children, so they are eager to learn and keen to take responsibility for their own learning.  Caurus is a fantastic place, with a strong focus on collaboration. I am bursting with ideas for the new year and look forward to working with staff, students and parents.”

Amber Vincent, 5th Grade Teacher

Coming Soon

Middle School Teachers

Larry Balog, Math Teacher


14455890_10211041420816138_427044341_oMr. Balog has over 20 years of teaching experience. Most of his teaching experience have been teaching math at the high school and middle school level. He has also taught media productions and computer technology classes. He is originally from the Detroit area and he moved to Kingman when his brother got a job there. After five years, he moved his family back to Michigan to be near relatives but Mr. Balog stayed. He started teaching in Kingman and won a “Teacher of the Year” award while there. Next, he moved to Mohave Valley and taught at River Valley High School. He was runner-up for the “Teacher of the Year” district award one year. His next stop was Mohave Accelerated Learning Center in Bullhead City. There, he taught media productions and computers. He moved to New River where he currently resides to be near his nephew and his family. Prior to coming to Caurus Academy, he taught at Foothills Academy in Scottsdale. While there, he also won a “Teacher of the Year” award.

Leah Jenks, Science Teacher



This is my first year at Caurus Academy teaching middle school science. I’m starting my 12th year in public education and my 9th year teaching middle school science. I am an Arizona native who graduated from ASU with a bachelors in Early Childhood Education and Masters from GCU in Educational Administration.

I love science! I always tell my students, “Even if you learn nothing in my class, I want you to walk away saying, ‘I love science’!” I believe science is experienced, not read about. We live in a physical world and I want kids to feel, hear, see, and experience science in everything they do. For that reason, we keep things real in my class. After all, “success if not the result of spontaneous combustion, you must set yourself on fire.” – Reggie Leach

Nathania Vanderham, English Language Arts Teacher



My name is Nathania Vanderham, I will be teaching middle school language arts for the 2017-2018 school year at Caurus Academy. Language arts has always been a passion of mine since high school. It was my language arts high school teacher that taught me how healing writing could be. I eventually followed that passion and went on to teach language arts as well. During that time, I enrolled at Grand Canyon University, where I received my Master’s degree in Reading. After about 10 years of teaching and my last child was born, we decided it was best for me to stay home. During this time, I was not only able to care for my daughter, but also four beautiful foster children. They’ve since gone with adoptive families and I’m so happy for them. Now, after four years, I’m ready to get back to teaching. I’m married and have three amazing children ages 4, 8 and 17. Both of my youngest will be attending Caurus with me. I can’t tell you how excited I am for this next journey in my life. I know it’s going to be an incredible one.


Katie Madison, Elementary Art Teacher


Katie Madison, vegetarian food lover, gardener, and art educator, in that order… Katie moved to Arizona in 2002, from Orange County, California. She studied studio art at California State University, Fullerton, and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art. Furthering her education, Katie studied interior design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, California, and began her design career. Passionate about art and design, she began a career in model home design and interior design sales, which brought her to Arizona. The change in the housing market gave rise to a new career in art education. Katie received her Master’s Degree in Secondary Art Education from the University of Phoenix, with a special interest in K-12 art education.
Prior to Caurus Academy, Katie taught K-8 art for six years in the DVUSD, Gavilan Peak School. In her free time, Katie loves to cook and garden with her boyfriend Joe, a local locksmith in town. They grow as much of their own food as they can; maybe a small farm in their future! Katie has two kids, Zachary – 21, and Madison – 17, two dogs, two cats, and one parrot. Grateful for the opportunity to teach and inspire the students at Caurus Academy!

Kyra Kalageorgi, MS Art & Life Skills Teacher



Kyra Kalageorgi joined the Caurus Family in the fall of 2017, taking the position of Middle School Art and Life Skills teacher. A native of Michigan, Kyra had a unique experience while growing up. At age 1 she moved to Russia with her mother and father, living there for 9 years. During that time, Kyra was afforded the opportunity to travel the world with her parents which led to her to fall in love with the ocean, all of the earth’s animals and various cultures around the globe.

She attended Michigan State University and obtained her Bachelors Degrees in both Russian and Studio Art, graduating in May 2013. In 2014 she became and intern in Mozambique for Fiona Ayerst’s Underwater Photography Program. Scuba diving and photography became a passion and Kyra was invited by Fiona the following year to become a field specialist for Africa Media in South Africa, writing blogs, training other interns about photography techniques, equipment and websites. Upon her arrival back to the United States, she was commissioned by a private Montessori school in Cave Creek in 2015 to create a mosaic, which was based on Maria Montessori’s ‘Timeline Of Life’.
Word of Kyra’s artwork spread through the artist community of Cave Creek and she was then asked to join the Sonoran Arts League. In 2016 she was again asked by the Montessori school to create and design a mural project called ‘Art In The Heart’ for the town of Cave Creek, to be completed with the help of the students. The following year in early 2017 she was commissioned to create a one-of-a-kind mosaic/mural for Desert Willow Elementary.

Kyra is very excited to be part of the Caurus Family and share her talents and dedication to world conservation, Love The Oceans and other non-profit organizations. She is passionate about teaching the students of Caurus that there is a BIG world out there and it is ours to explore, as well as ours to care for.

Kyle Klein , P.E. Teacher



Kyle Klein is extremely thankful to be a part of such a wonderful community and culture here at Caurus! Before coming to this school, he spent a year teaching in Scottsdale, where prior to that, he received his bachelors degree from ASU! He enjoya all sports and lifetime activities. If he had to chose a favorite, it would be hockey! he looks forward to coaching, teaching and enhancing each of his students to the best of their ability!

Flora Sustar, Spanish Teacher


Ms. Florencia Sustar grew up in the tip of Texas in a bicultural and bilingual environment. She discovered at an early age that teaching was her calling partly because she comes from a family of educators. Upon graduating from high school, Ms. Sustar began working on a bachelor’s degree in Spanish which she obtained with honors from the University of Texas. In addition, Ms. Sustar became a certified bilingual teacher and has over fifteen years experience teaching in a bilingual setting. After Ms. Sustar’s first year of teaching, she began working on a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction which she also obtained from the University of Texas. Three years later, Ms. Sustar returned to her university and obtained a master’s degree in school administration. These new credentials have allowed Ms. Sustar to work in district level positions for several school districts but when she became the mother to two gorgeous twin boys, Ms. Sustar decided to go back to the classroom. Currently, Ms. Sustar is very happy to be Caurus Academy’s Spanish teacher and to continue her education as she has started working on a doctoral degree. It is her goal that she can instill in her students a love for learning and an appreciation for the Spanish language and the culture.

Sarah Watts, Special Education Teacher


teacher-200f Sarah was born in Spain and raised in southern California. She has lived in Anthem for the past 11 years and attended Boulder Creek High School. Sarah attended Northern Arizona University where she attained her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with an Emphasis in Speech-Language Sciences and Technology in 2014. Since then, she has been at Caurus Academy and provides services as a Speech and Language Pathology Assistant and as a supplemental service provider for special education. She has had a passion for education and working with disabilities from a young age. Sarah is married and has two young children. When she is not working, she enjoys going to the farmer’s market, spending time at the pocket park by her home with her children, learning new crafts, reading about science, and participating as a committee member of the National Brain Tumor Society’s Phoenix Brain Tumor Walk.


Dameon Blair, Principal



As principal and director of Caurus Academy, Dameon Blair brings to his role a diverse set of experience and a forward-thinking educational philosophy.   Dameon earned a B.S. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis on environmental science and master’s degree in Innovative School Leadership from National University in La Jolla, CA.
Dameon integrates his unprecedented commitment to lifelong learning into a passion for empowering youth in experiential education.

Dameon has served in numerous educational roles in both California and Arizona, including as an athletic director at the Caepe School and an assistant coach for the Boulder Creek High School basketball team.   With a solid background in science and math, Dameon’s qualifications include his leadership as a teacher at an outdoor science school in California.

In addition to his relevant experience, Dameon’s accomplishments have been recognized through a number of awards and distinctions, including The Kendall Hall Award for Service and Dedication Beyond the Classroom and the 2010 Disney Planet Challenge Runner-up for Being a Super Eco-Hero.   Due to his passion for the environment, Dameon continues to push forward with improvements to Caurus Academy’s campus which will position it to be the “Greenest School” in the North Valley.

Dameon is a notable role model in the community when it comes to athletics and has extensive experience with coaching.  He was the Westwind Prep International Basketball Program Head Coach, in which players advanced to numerous division 1 schools and into the NBA under his tenure.   He won the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission Award as an Outstanding Coach in Arizona Sports and took on the role as one of the assistants on the 2010 Boulder Creek State Championship Coach.

As a driving force behind Caurus Academy’s remarkable growth and reputation, Dameon encourages academic rigor and relevance in every aspect of educational approach.   While holding professional skills and qualifications in high regard, Dameon also believes that soft skills such as self-motivation, conflict resolution, and problem-solving are just as powerful in the educational realm.  Dameon takes pride in his ability to build engaging relationships with students, families, and community stakeholders.  He focuses on this mission by ensuring Caurus Academy is:

  • Academically rigorous
  • Competitive and purposeful in all areas
  • Home to the most engaging school climate and culture for families
  • Encouraging great community stewards and global citizens
  • Helping students to find their passions and work toward fulfilling them through Perseverance and GRIT.

In his personal time, Dameon seeks meaningful time in the great outdoors snowboarding, surfing, wakeboarding, and camping with his lovely wife and their two children.

Heather Campbell, Assistant Principal


Ms. Heather Campbell is an Arizona native who has been in education since 2002. Ms. Campbell began her career in education as a para professional for grades 6-12 while attending Arizona State University. After completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education with a History emphasis, Ms. Campbell began teaching History at Westwind Preparatory Academy; a charter school in Phoenix where she then became the Academic Advisor and Assistant Principal. During this time Ms. Campbell completed two Master’s Degrees from Northern Arizona University; M.ED Secondary Education (2010) and Master’s in Educational Leadership (2015). Westwind closed its doors in 2015 and Ms. Campbell went back into the classroom as a History teacher at Raymond S. Kellis High School in the Peoria Unified School District where she taught AP US History and coached Freshman Girls Volleyball. Ms. Campbell met Mr. Blair while both working for Westwind Community Schools and she has remained up to date with the flourishing Caurus community. Ms. Campbell has worked alongside the Caurus staff and administration in various ways throughout her tenure in education and is excited to become a full time member of the growing Caurus community!

Lori Everson, Curriculum & Academic Achievement Coordinator



Lori Everson is the Curriculum and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Caurus Academy.  Her double major in Early Childhood and Elementary education has served her well in teaching all grades from Kindergarten up through 8th grade over her 20 years of experience.


In addition to Curriculum Coordinator, Lori also serves on the board for the Arizona Association for Teachers and Mathematics (AATM) and has been featured in a mathematics book, Every Math Learner.


Prior to Common Core, Lori wrote complete curriculum for two separate school districts in Iowa and has experience training other teachers in professional development at multiple schools.  “I have a passion for curriculum and children, and I’m eager to be an integral part in providing education with relevance for eacher child.  From the moment students and parents step foot on campus, you can feel the excitement that Caurus Academy holds?  Our dedicated staff have extraordinary ideas for the upcoming year, and I am honored to be a part of this Caurus pride.  I look forward to a great year.

Business Office

Kelly Gonzales, Administrative Assistant


Kelly Gonzalez recently joined our staff after moving from Southern California to Anthem. She has served in public education for over 10 years, holding positions from Clerical Assistant to Career Center Specialist and more recently Administrative Secretary. In addition Kelly assisted with the administration of student and adult work programs, partnering with local businesses to help participants prepare for part-time or full-time work force through on-the-job training. Over the years Kelly has worn many hats besides what is on the job description, taking on many challenges along the way, all in the spirit of providing a supportive, learning environment for students to overcome their challenges in their quest for success.

In Kelly’s quest for life balance, she enjoys cooking, sporting, and family events…..especially when her husband, daughter, and two sons (still in Cali) come together to share the day.

Michelle Boozer, Front Office

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Rie Nakamura, Business Office

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Joan Miller, Business Office

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