Governing board honors Achievement Above All recipients
In the final Achievement Above All event of the 2018-19 school year, the Glendale Union High School District governing board celebrated one teacher, one student and one support staff member from specialty programs Next S.T.E.P., GUHSD Online Learning Academy and Northern Academy. In addition, one support staff member from the District Office was honored on the May 15 regular meeting. These individuals were recognized for their outstanding contributions to their program and the district.
Next S.T.E.P. teacher recipient
Nicole Montry accepted the honor of being named the 2018-19 Teacher of the Year at Next S.T.E.P.. Prior to teaching at Next S.T.E.P., Montry worked at Cortez High School’s life skills department. Before that, she taught community-based classes at Tolleson High School for two years. Her years of experience provided her with the foundation of success in her current position.
“In the three years Ms. Montry has been at Next S.T.E.P., she has worked in three different areas of our program and has taken on that challenge every year with a determination to make sure students are successful,” said Stephanie Slover, Next S.T.E.P. facilitator.
Montry has tackled several different subject areas including independent living skills classes, where she taught students about recipes, grocery shopping and leisure activities in the community. She has experience in teaching students how to write impressive resumes, complete job applications and give successful interviews. Her latest challenge is supervising the off-campus worksites with Next S.T.E.P. interns in the community.
“She also helped implement our Next S.T.E.P. economy system, which provides students the opportunity to learn how to pay monthly bills including rent, electricity, bus pass, cell phone and insurance, save for a large purchase and use their leftover money for a monthly auction,” Slover said.
Slover also mentioned that Montry is a positive, hardworking teacher who is dedicated to helping students achieve success.
“Through all the challenges I have thrown at Ms. Montry, she has taken them on with a smile and works to make sure students get the best opportunities they can get in order to become employed in the future,” Slover said.
Online Learning Academy
The GUHSD Online Learning Academy 2018-19 Student of the Year award went to Moises Soto. After dropping out of high school and moving from Minnesota in 2018, Soto enrolled in the Online Learning Academy, where he has made a name for himself and an everlasting impact in the program as he became the first peer tutor and achieved other accomplishments.
“Speaking to Moises Soto, one would never think he had a difficult last couple of years,” said Christine Lord, Online Learning Academy administrator. “However, he has worked hard and will finish 8.5 credits this school year, and has already started summer school.”
In addition, he quickly won the hearts of the teachers and staff at the Online Learning Academy, Lord said.
Some of Soto’s teachers described him as an outstanding student and person, acknowledging him for his strict dedication to his studies. They also appreciate his uplifting spirit, particularly when he is assisting his peers with assignments and providing them with words of encouragement, Lord said.
Soto aspires to be a lifelong learner. His interests include cognitive sciences, artificial intelligence and machine learning and neuroscience. For his future, he plans to earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience and software engineering.
“Moises is a dedicated, conscientious young man,” Lord said. “He exemplifies the meaning of perseverance and is a self-directed learner.”
Northern Academy support staff recipient
Andrew Dersch was awarded with 2018-19 Support Staff of the Year at Northern Academy. As a 2003 Greenway High School graduate, Dersch has a long history with the Glendale Union High School District, including 15 years of coaching sports and the past eight years at Northern Academy. He spent four years as an instructional assistant before moving on to his current position as Northern Academy’s Behavior Coach. Around campus, Dersch is known only by “Mr. D.”
“Mr. D is an affable, extremely patient and kind man who works tirelessly on behalf of students every single day,” said Denise Scafone, Northern Academy administrator. “He comes to the aide of students and staff in distress, as well as working to preemptively address concerns that might lead to conflict. He never shirks from a task and diligently addresses students’ emotional needs so they may better learn and staff can better support other students.”
One of the most important aspects of Dersch’s career is to help students who suffer from emotional disabilities, which can interfere with one’s learning.
“Mr. D accepts students where they are emotionally, and works with them to develop the skills they need that will allow for learning,” Scafone said. “His patience and empathic listening contribute to his highly effective de-escalation skills, allowing him to successfully move students back to rationality.”
In addition to all Dersch contributes to at Northern Academy, he has solely created a yearly competition called “Game of Pods,” which sets up incentives for all students based upon positive behavior changes.
Scafone also acknowledged Dersch’s personal nature that makes Northern Academy a better place.
“His growth in leadership and overall skills make me proud each day to work alongside him,” Scafone said. “He truly is a right hand, go-to man that I, students and staff would all be lost without.”
District office support staff
The district office 2018-19 Support Staff of the Year was awarded to three-time Achievement Above All recipient Tess Dellisanti. After entering the workforce in the banking industry, Dellisanti left banking to become a stay-at-home mom. It was only after that when she entered the field of education with the Glendale Union High School District at Thunderbird High School. She now has more than 20 years of experience within the district.
Dellisanti has held several positions within the district including an instructional assistant, clerical aide, counseling program assistant and a receptionist. In her current position as the administrative assistant to the assistant superintendent of operations and resources, Dellisanti plays a vital role in managing CPR training and security alarms, helping human resources hire new coaches, supporting the work of all nine GUHSD assistant principals of operations and resources and much more.
“Each of these are time intensive and she excels at all of them,” said Matt Belden, assistant superintendent of operations and resources. “Her work ethic and quality of work is of the highest standards.”
A couple of Dellisanti’s coworkers cared to share some fine remarks about her character, work ethic and contributions.
“Mrs. Dellisanti not only reminds each of us every day the need to have a balance of professionalism and fun; she also exhibits both of those highly valuable traits in the best possible way,” said Allison Mattingly, assistant superintendent of human resources and professional development. “She genuinely cares about people and it comes through in everything she says and does for our organization.”
Administrative Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer Tina Charette said, “Tess is like the office mom to everyone. She’s a great listener, and no matter how she’s feeling she cares about what’s going on with those around her. I love being her workmate.”
GUHSD schools make America’s
top high schools list
All of Glendale Union High School District’s nine high schools have once again been ranked among America’s best high school by U.S. News and World Report. To learn more GUHSD news, visit the district’s Facebook page @GUHSDAZ.
Apollo High School DECA earns $2,000 grant
The DECA Chapter from Apollo High School, a proud member of the Glendale Union High School District, has been awarded with a $2,000 grant from the Arizona DECA Foundation. The team was selected due to its future plans, student leadership success and positive influence in the community. All funds will be used to benefit the club and to further expand future opportunities.
To learn more Apollo High School news, visit their Facebook page @ApolloHighSchoolAZ.
Independence dance students inducted into National Honor Society
Fourteen dance students from Independence High School, a proud member of the Glendale Union High School District, were recently inducted into the National Honor Society of Dance Arts. These students worked diligently for the past four years to receive this honorable achievement. Each student achieved the required 30 points needed to be inducted into the program. Students earned these points by participating in not only their school’s dance chapter but by being involved in several other dance events throughout the state.
Benefits of being inducted into the National Honor Society of Dance Arts for students include recognition for their artistic merit, certificates at each level of induction, mentorship from chapter sponsors and leadership opportunities within their chapter.
To learn more Independence High School news, visit their Facebook page @IndependenceHighSchoolAZ.