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Inspire every student to care, think, achieve, and learn.

Meet the Teachers & Staff

Highly Qualified Faculty and Staff - Dedicated to Students

One of our goals here at Desert Mountain Elementary is to keep the lines of communication open between home and school. Working together with parents is a great service we can provide to our students. We hope if you have a problem, question, or concern, you don’t hesitate to contact us. You are welcome to send our teachers an e-mail or leave a message for them in the front office. We will make sure each teacher gets any messages as soon as possible, and he or she will return your call at his or her first opportunity.

administration

James Richardson
Principal
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James Richardson - Professional Biography

I have been in education for 23 years. I have a bachelors degree in education from the University of Arizona and a masters degree in leadership from Northern Arizona University. I am currently beginning my third year as principal at Desert Mountain Elementary School.


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Cindy Randal
Administrative Assistant
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Cindy Randal - Professional Biography

This is my third year at Desert Mountain Elementary and my ninth year working in the elementary school setting. I received my bachelor's degree from San Jose State University.

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Vicki Conley
Attendance/Registrar
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Vicki Conley - Professional Biography

I have been the registrar for Desert Mountain Elementary for almost 14 years now. Before coming here, I worked for Kyrene School District for many years.

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Cherri Massender
Office/ELL Clerk
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Cherri Massender - Professional Biography

This is my first year at Desert Mountain Elementary.

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Teachers

Heather Hilland
Kindergarten
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Heather Hilland - Professional Biography

I received my BA in early childhood education from Arizona State University. I obtained a master's degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University. I have been teaching in the Queen Creek School District for 23 years.

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Carrie Lalama
Kindergarten
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Carrie Lalama - Professional Biography

I received my bachelor’s degree from Ottawa University. I received my master’s degree with my reading specialist endorsement, ELL endorsement, and endorsement through Northern Arizona University. This is my 20th year teaching at Desert Mountain Elementary. I am part of DME's AVID site team.

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Deidre Roberts
Kindergarten
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Deidre Roberts - Professional Biography

I graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in elementary education. I also have an endorsement in early childhood education. I've spent seven years teaching 3rd grade, 1st grade, and many years in preschool and pre-kindergarten programs. Go Sun Devils!

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Rebecca Sanders
Kindergarten
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Rebecca Sanders - Professional Biography

I received my bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, majoring in early childhood education with a minor in studio art. This is my third year teaching kindergarten here at DMES!

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Kim Sangalis
Kindergarten
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Kim Sangalis - Professional Biography

I have a master's degree in early childhood education from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and I have been teaching in Arizona for the past four years. I love creating experiences that instill knowledge, challenge limitations, and inspire greatness.

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Katti Johnson
First Grade
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Katti Johnson - Professional Biography

I graduated from Utah State University, which is my AVID college. Go, Aggies! This my 10th year teaching: seven years in 3rd grade, two years in 2nd grade, and this will be my first year in 1st grade.

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Jennifer Merkel
First Grade
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Jennifer Merkel - Professional Biography

This is my second year teaching at Desert Mountain Elementary.

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Michele Olson
First Grade
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Michele Olson - Professional Biography

This is my 13th year teaching and my third year at Desert Mountain. I received my bachelor's degree in education from the University of North Dakota. My AVID college is the University of North Dakota.

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Connie (Ojeda) Verduzco
First Grade
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Connie (Ojeda) Verduzco - Professional Biography

I received my bachelor of arts in education from ASU and my masters in elementary education focusing on bilingual and multicultural education. I have been teaching for 15 years and 14 here at DME. My AVID college is USC.

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Pam Watkins
First Grade
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Pam Watkins - Professional Biography

Undergraduate degree from ASU in elementary ed and masters from NAU with an emphasis in bilingual ed. Eighteen years at DME and thirteenth year in 1st grade.

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Kristen Dawson
Second Grade
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Kristen Dawson - Professional Biography

I have a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University and a master's degree from Arizona State University in curriculum and instruction. This is my fourth year teaching at Desert Mountain Elementary. Our classroom AVID college is BYU - Go Cougars!

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Hayden Hansen
Second Grade
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Hayden Hansen - Professional Biography

I am a Queen Creek Bulldog who also graduated from Arizona State University. This is my second year at Desert Mountain Elementary.

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Seneca Johnson
Second Grade
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Seneca Johnson - Professional Biography

I currently teach second grade at Desert Mountain Elementary, and it was my honor to have recently received the You Make a Difference Award from the Queen Creek Unified School District. I earned a bachelor of arts in education from Arizona State University in 2004 and master of arts in education with a reading endorsement from Northern Arizona University in 2009.

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Darlene Meza
Second Grade
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Darlene Meza - Professional Biography

This is my 14th year teaching. I earned my bachelor of science degree in special education from Western New Mexico University. I also earned my master of arts degree in educational leadership from Western New Mexico University.

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Deborah Viramontes
Second Grade
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Deborah Viramontes - Professional Biography

This is my third year teaching at Desert Mountain Elementary.

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Kristen Barber
Third Grade
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Kristen Barber - Professional Biography

I graduated from Radford University (originally the women’s state teaching college for Virginia Tech) in 1989 with a BS in early childhood education. Over the years, I have taught first, second, and third grade in Virginia and Arizona. My class represents Virginia Tech - Go Hokies!

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Tracy Guilmette
Third/Fourth Grade
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Tracy Guilmette - Professional Biography

I received my bachelors of education degree from University of Saskatchewan in Canada. I worked for 11 years in Alberta Canada, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. I started working at DME in 2016 as a substitute and then took the long-term sub position as the reading teacher to finish out the 16/17 school year.

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Jaime Hunt
Third Grade
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Jaime Hunt - Professional Biography

I graduated with my bachelors of science in child and adolescent studies from California State University of Fullerton. This will be my second year teaching at Desert Mountain and my 9th year in education. Our third grade class will be representing the University of Oregon...Go Ducks!

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Rachelle Spletstoser
Third Grade
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Rachelle Spletstoser - Professional Biography

I have been teaching for six years, and this is my third year at Desert Mountain Elementary. I received my bachelor's degree in elementary education from ASU and a master's degree in social work from ASU. My AVID college is Harvard University.

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Jason VanWormer
Third Grade
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Jason VanWormer - Professional Biography

I have been teaching for four years and this is my third year at DME. I received my BA from Grand Canyon University and master's degree in educational leadership from Concordia University - Portland. My AVID college is the University of Nebraska. Go Huskers!

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Tiffany Cooney
Fourth Grade
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Tiffany Cooney - Professional Biography

I'm a graduate from the University of North Texas and completed the teaching program at San Diego State University (also my classroom AVID College). I taught third grade for five years in Los Angeles and I began teaching at DME in 2008. 

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Lisa Lowery
Fourth Grade
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Lisa Lowery - Professional Biography

I attended Hope College in Holland Michigan the home of the Flying Dutchman. Then for my final two years of college, I became a Valparaiso University Crusader. My graduate work began at Purdue as a Boilermaker! 

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Carla Quintero
Fourth Grade
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Carla Quintero - Professional Biography

I have been teaching for 19 years and this is my eighth year at Desert Mountain. I received my BA and master's degree in elementary education from ASU. My AVID college is Grand Canyon University.

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Maria Swane
Fourth Grade
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Maria Swane - Professional Biography

I graduated from Northern Michigan University and University of Phoenix. Teaching is my true passion and look forward to guiding students on this important journey through fourth grade!

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Amanda Franck
Fifth Grade
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Amanda Franck - Professional Biography

I am a graduate of California State University, Fresno. As a proud Bulldog, I have chosen Fresno State as our class college for AVID. This will be my 15th year as a classroom teacher and my fourth year teaching fifth grade.

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Ashley Johnson
Fifth Grade
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Ashley Johnson - Professional Biography

This is my third year of teaching fifth grade. I earned a bachelor of science in elementary education from Northern Arizona University, which is also our class AVID college.

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Janice Skalsky
Fifth Grade
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Janice Skalsky - Professional Biography

I graduated with a bachelor of science in education from Northern Arizona University - Go Lumberjacks! This is my fourth year teaching fifth grade.

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Christine Sullivan
Fifth Grade
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Christine Sullivan - Professional Biography

I have been working in education for ten years, and this is my third year teaching fifth grade at DME. I earned my BA in psychology from UCSB, my MA in school counseling from SJSU, and my M.Ed. in elementary education from GCU. My AVID school is UCSB.

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Cindy Thompson
Fifth Grade
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Cindy Thompson - Professional Biography

I have been teaching for 28 years, and this is my first year at Desert Mountain. I received my BA in elementary education from Harding University. My AVID college is the University of Arkansas.

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Paul Buday
Physical Education
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Paul Buday - Professional Biography

My name is Paul Buday, and I am the physical education teacher at Desert Mountain Elementary. I graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s of science in kinesiology. I have thirteen years experience as a physical education teacher. This is my second year at DME, and my AVID college is ASU.

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Lara Krogmann
Physical Education
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Lara Krogmann - Professional Biography

This is my eleventh year teaching physical education in Arizona, but my first year in the Queen Creek School District. I was born and raised in Wisconsin, (Go Packers!), and attended college at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

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Emily Asay
Orchestra
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Emily Asay - Professional Biography

My name is Emily Asay and this is my second year teaching elementary orchestra. I received my BA in music education from the University of Arizona. My AVID college is Juilliard.

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Richard Greer
Music
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Richard Greer - Professional Biography

I received a bachelor's degree from California State University Dominguez Hills and I completed certification coursework at Rio Salado College. This is my third year teaching general music at Desert Mountain Elementary. I previously taught at Florence Unified School District and American Leadership Academy.

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Steve Kirchoff
Band
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Steve Kirchoff - Professional Biography

I have been teaching band for the last 18 years. I hold a bachelor of music degree as well as a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, both from Arizona State University. Go Sun Devils!

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Cambria Quinn
Music
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Cambria Quinn - Professional Biography

This will be my sixth year teaching, and my first year at Desert Mountain. I recently moved here from Prescott, AZ, where I taught elementary music, band, choir, and third grade general education. I attended Yavapai College and NAU, where I received a bachelor’s in elementary education with a minor in music.

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Seth Kaesler
ELP
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Seth Kaesler - Professional Biography

This is my seventeenth year teaching, and my second year as the gifted specialist for Desert Mountain. During my career, I taught grades two through five. In 2015, I received my educational doctorate from Grand Canyon University.

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Bernida Fullard-Pierce
Resource
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Bernida Fullard-Pierce - Professional Biography

I received my BA and MA from Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!). I am presently recruiting all of my students to become future Sun Devils.

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Heidi Phelps
Resource
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Heidi Phelps - Professional Biography

This is my 17th year teaching (preschool-high school). I've taught as both a general education teacher and a resource teacher. My first teaching position was in Virginia where I taught for three years, and then I taught one year in Hawaii and have taught the remaining 14 years in Arizona. 

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Jessica Riebolt
Reading Specialist
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Jessica Riebolt - Professional Biography

I graduated from NAU with my master's degree in elementary education with a reading endorsement. I began my career as a 3rd grade teacher for six years and then have been a reading specialist for the past four years. 

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Dene Buxton
Speech
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Dene Buxton - Professional Biography

Dene' Buxton, M.Ed., CCC-SLP graduated with a bachelor's degree in speech pathology from Brigham Young University (BYU) and received a master's degree from Utah State University in speech pathology. She has been working in this professional career for 24 years. Her AVID college is BYU! 

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Jackie Troglia
Data Specialist
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Jackie Troglia - Professional Biography

This is my second year at Desert Mountain Elementary. I have ten years experience in education as a teacher, academic coach, and data specialist. I received my bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and my master's degree from NAU.

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Support Staff

Kim Villella
Library
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Kim Villella - Professional Biography

I have experience teaching everything from German, math, computers, career exploration, social studies, remedial reading, honors and on-level English/language arts over the last 33 years! I have a masters from the University of Dayton (Ohio) in reading education. Recently, I earned my school librarian endorsement.

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Carrie Ford
Instructional Aide
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Carrie Ford - Professional Biography

Mrs. Ford graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She taught sixth grade for three years prior to joining the reading team at Desert Mountain.

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Monica Lee
Instructional Aide
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Monica Lee - Professional Biography

Mrs. Lee is a former social worker who has been teaching second and third grade for seven years. Degrees held are a BS in justice studies, BA in elementary education, and MA in early childhood with an endorsement in reading. Universities attended were ASU and NAU. She is currently working as a reading assistant at DME.

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Allen Barger
Site Custodian
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Allen Barger - Professional Biography

I am a Vietnam veteran with ten years maintenance/custodial experience. I attended Trinity College and Capella University.

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Teresa Banhart
Playground Aide
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Teresa Banhart - Professional Biography

I have an associates degree in child development from Mohave Community College and I spent four years teaching in day care. I was also a juvenile detention officer for over three years for Mohave County Probation Department. I am a Certified Nursing Assistant and have 14 years of experience working in long term care facilities and private care. This is my third year at Desert Mountain as a volunteer/playground aide.

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Michelle Burton
Playground Aide
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Michelle Burton - Professional Biography

I attended ASU where I graduated in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in business management. I worked 10 years in the financial industry. I now volunteer at DME on the PTO and work as a playground aide.

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Rebekah Campa
Playground Aide
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Rebekah Campa - Professional Biography

I have been at DME since 2012. I began working at DME during the 2016/2017 school year.

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Jennifer Corcoran
Playground Aide
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Jennifer Corcoran - Professional Biography

This is my second year at DME. Since moving to the valley, I have been volunteering and serving as a member of the PTO at Desert Mountain.

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Regina Farrell
Playground Aide
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Regina Farrell - Professional Biography

I started working for Desert Mountain Elementary nine years ago. 

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Carmina White
Cafeteria Aide
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Carmina White - Professional Biography

I worked as a caregiver for the last eight years, a Zumba instructor for four years, and I regularly volunteer at Desert Mountain Elementary.

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Terry Fetner
Nurse
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Terry Fetner - Professional Biography

Nurse and health aide at Desert Mountain Elementary School.

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Corie Incorvaia
Counselor
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Corie Incorvaia - Professional Biography

I graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor's in psychology and a master’s in education in the specialty of school counseling. I have been a school counselor for four years, and I am entering my 5th year. This is my second year at Desert Mountain Elementary!

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Cindy Siems
IT Specialist
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Cindy Siems - Professional Biography

IT specialist at Desert Mountain Elementary.

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Desert Mountain Elementary
22301 South Hawes Road
Queen Creek, AZ 85142
Phone: (480) 987.5912
Fax: (480) 987.5914
Inspire every student to care, think, achieve and learn!