Room: 2B & 3B | On Faculty Since: 2017

Office Hours: Tuesday & Friday before school (in 3B)

Courses: French 1-2, French 3-4, World Literature

Kimberly Allen is continuing with NSAA as the French and Comparative Literature teacher. Prior to NSAA, she attended Arizona State University where she earned her Bachelor's degrees in French and Japanese with a Minor in English Linguistics. Later, she earned her Master's in French Linguistics while teaching French at the University. Her interests include traveling, cultures, languages, linguistics, the piano, animals, and movies.




Room: 2A | On Faculty Since: 2005

Office Hours: Monday & Thursday 3:15-4:00 pm, Lunch by appointment

Courses: Humanities in the Modern World, English Literature & Composition

The 2019-20 school year will marks Jo Anne Craig's fourteenth year with NSAA, teaching both Social Studies and English Language Arts at both the High School and Middle School. This year, she will teach Humanities (Honors) and English Composition & Literature as well as work as the Rio Salado instructor for Dual Enrollment Government. In addition to teaching, she serves as the NSAA Director of Faculty and Instruction. She received her J.D. degree from Wayne State University Law School and a secondary education post-baccalaureate teacher certification from Arizona State University. She graduated in December 2016 with a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Arizona State University. Mrs. Craig's philosophy for teaching is that every student can learn and reach successful learning outcomes. She provides numerous opportunities for students to succeed through discussion, collaborative group work, Socratic seminars, critical reading and writing exercises, and art integration. She is also a big proponent of experienced-based learning. Mrs. Craig loves to have her students think critically and challenge existing viewpoints. Her favorite Historian is Howard Zinn, who wrote the celebrated book, A People's History of the United States. Outside of school, she spends time with her husband, children and three adorable dogs.



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Room: 3A | On Faculty Since: 2004

Office Hours: Daily at Lunch

Courses: AP Language & Composition, American Literature

Eric Day has taught Creative Writing and Literature at NSAA since 2004. He grew up in rural Oregon and moved to Arizona in 2001 to earn his MFA in Creative Writing at Arizona State University. His fiction and non-fiction appears regularly in literary journals throughout the country. He is currently working on a memoir about growing up in the northwest entitled Raised By Trees. He lives in Tempe.



Room: 5A | On Faculty Since: 2003

Office Hours: Monday & Thursday 3:45-4:30 pm, By appointment

Courses: MS Science Exploration & Inquiry, MS Science Investigations, MS Science Analysis & Survey

Jane Dowell has been with the middle school since 2003. However, she has been teaching for longer than that. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences and a teaching certificate. She has taken the examination required to make her "Highly Qualified" to teach middle school science. She is a daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mother and grandmother; all roles in which she is proud to claim, but being a teacher, especially a teacher of science, explains the core of her being. Ever inquisitive, she searches to find the unknown and make it known to her students. She is a lover of learning, penguins and space, especially planet Neptune.



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Room: 6B & Green Room | On Faculty Since: 2015

Office Hours: Thursdays 3:40-4:30pm (in 6B)

Courses: MS Social Studies, MS Drama

Maddie Faigel teaches History and Drama at New School for the Arts & Academics where she also co-manages Thespians. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington where she majored in Theatre Arts and History. She primarily trained as both a production and new play development dramaturg and is a registered member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. Maddie has presented research at their 30th annual conference in front of theatre artists from around the world. She has been published in a number of academic journals for her historical research--primarily in 20th century American Theatre. Maddie has been on faculty since 2015





Room: 2A | On Faculty Since: 2018

Office Hours: HS Lunch, After school by appointment

Course: US History

Mark Freedman and his work have been contributing phrases to his story of the in-between since he completed his Hunter College Master’s thesis two weeks before the end of the 20th century.  Freedman draws from a journey that began floating wide-eyed in the suburban pools of color-soaked Los Angeles and shifted to the sands of the emerging American desert, where he unearthed vital found-object lessons. Freedman spent his creative energies out West establishing the Arizona based art group The TRA25 Capsule (2000 – 2006). The group represented the burgeoning downtown Phoenix art community with numerous gallery happenings, public art projects, lectures and private commissions all culminated in “Fresh Paint,” an exhibition celebrating the new voices of the West at the Phoenix Art Museum. He wandered head-up in New York’s steel canyons, beaches and forests of his artistic ancestors and continued to examine the shift from analog to digital.  During his time in New York, Freedman showed at the Woodstock Biennial, the Katonah Museum of Art, New York Studio Gallery, executed several private commissions, consulted on interiors and was an instructor at the Silvermine Art Center.

Now he and his family returns to the desert where his heart has always remained. Be it by brush, scissor, pen, hammer or keyboard, Freedman aspires to produce work that can blind from the flash that birthed the 1980’s age of information, embrace the do-it-yourself aesthetic from the West Coast 1970’s and humanizes the technological flood that has ensued.




Room: 2B & Digital Arts Lab | On Faculty Since: 2011

Office Hours: Daily 12:10-2:10 pm & 3:20-4:00 pm, Wednesday & Thursday 3:20-4:30 pm

Courses: Geometry, Digital Mixed Media, Publication Design

Hank Fries joined the team at New School for the Arts and Academics in 2012. Hank has a background as a professional sculptor, cabinet maker and designer that stretches back to the late eighties. He has lived in the Tempe area off and on for over 35 years. Hank's interests reflect his history as a teacher and include many civic, scientific, and fitness - related topics. He sculpts, hikes, bikes, kayaks, shoots, plays with his pets, photographs, works out, and engages in art-related research in his home studio in Tempe.




Room: 4B | On Faculty Since: 2013

Office Hours: Ms. Kennedy basically ”lives here” so visit when you need!

Courses: Physics, Precalculus, Algebra 3-4

Jill Kennedy has taught math and physics at NSAA since 2013. She holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in physics from Arizona State University. She taught at the collegiate level for four years before coming to NSAA. She is a proponent of student-centered learning, is a Physics Modeler, and continuously seeks to expand her constructivist teaching practices to all courses she facilitates. Ms. Kennedy enjoys reading, cycling, learning, and trying new foods. Her husband teaches at EVIT. Her two wonderful children are graduates of Arizona State Schools.




Room: 4A | On Faculty Since: 2019

Office Hours: By appointment

Courses: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science

Mr. Mutsaers is a graduate of Kalamazoo College and holds degrees in chemistry and biochemistry. After graduating he spent two years of working in quality assurance laboratories as a laboratory technician before going back to school to attain his teaching degree. He has seven years of experience in physical and life sciences in high school.

Aside from work, is also an avid musician, playing saxophone and clarinet in several groups through college and beyond. He also enjoys hiking and playing tennis (when the temperature is below 105 degrees).




Room: 3B | On Faculty Since: 2000

Office Hours: Monday & Thursday 12:05-12:30 pm, Wednesday 8:00-8:30 am, By appointment

Courses: Spanish 1-2, Spanish 3-4

Ms. Ratliff has been New School for the Arts and Academics' Spanish teacher since 2000. She has a friendly and enthusiastic personality. She was born and raised in Mexico.

In 1998, she worked for EMG the Educational Management Group Division of Prentice-Hall, in live-TV-quality distance teaching (i.e. giving the lesson in Arizona and at the same time viewed and interactive in Hawaii). She also taught for six years conversational Spanish for the City of Phoenix, and two years for BERLITZ. Ms. Ratliff holds a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) in Communications with a minor in Humanities from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. Ms. Ratliff’s passion is teaching and inspiring her students to always keep learning.

Ms. Ratliff has been an active member of our community and received awards from the Mexican Cultural Center, MUJER Inc., AZ Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Alma de la Gente, and the National Association of Bank Women. As a journalist she has written articles for CAMBIO Hispanic Bilingual Magazine, Hola Latinoamerica Magazine, Nuestro Milenio Bilingual Magazine, and Ave Phoenix newspaper. Ms. Ratliff served on the board of directors of the Agri-business Council of Arizona, Alma de la Gente, Arizona Theatre Company, Arizona Economic Council, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Ariztlán, City of Phoenix Women's Commission, Friends of the Orphans, Self-Employment Loan Fund, and Western International University.




Room: 7A | On Faculty Since: 2018

Office Hours: 7:45-8:25 am, Lunch Tuesday & Friday

Courses: MS Math A, MS Math B, MS Math BC, MS Math C

Derek Reading is an alumni of NSAA (class of 2012) who just couldn't get enough of NSAA so he came back as a teacher! He now teaches Middle School Math. He graduated from Arizona State University with a BAE in Elementary Education. Before his time at ASU, he attended Scottsdale Community College where he had the opportunity to be a researcher for Arizona Mathematics Partnership (AMP), an NSF funded project where Maricopa Community College math and education faculty provided professional development for middle school math teachers. Mr. Reading’s philosophy on teaching math stems heavily from AMP’s philosophy that math is not about remembering tricks and algorithms; it is about understanding where mathematical processes come from and exploring reasoning through communication. This will be Mr. Reading’s second year teaching at NSAA, and fourth year teaching overall. In his spare time, he loves to jam on his guitar and listen to music (Taylor Swift, Delta Rae, Lorde, and Sara Bareilles are his favorites), scrapbook and do other crafts, read and watch Game of Thrones, and travel around Arizona.



Room: 6A | On Faculty Since: 2019

Office Hours: By appointment

Courses: MS Language Arts

Karly Stapleton is an alumna of NSAA and is excited to be back to teach English at the Middle School. As a student, she focused on painting and photography and was part of the first group of students to attend the Visions program. Post-NSAA, she went on to University of California Santa Barbara, where she wrote a senior thesis on the U.S.' involvement in the Suez Canal Crisis and graduated with a B.A. in History of Public Policy. Additionally, she has been a lifelong reader and particularly enjoys British & Irish authors like Evelyn Waugh, John Keats, and James Joyce. She is also a certified SCUBA diver and considers it her favorite hobby, even if she doesn't get to go very often. On the weekends, you can find her knitting and spending time with her pet cockatiel.



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2A, Music Room | On Faculty Since: 2017

Office Hours: Daily at Lunch or by appointment

Courses: Humanities, Music Theory, Guitar, Contemporary Ensemble

Matt Ventre has been a professional musician around the southwest for the last ten years. When not teaching, he currently is working and touring as a session guitarist for TAD management and can be found as a regular around the Phoenix country music scene. Mr. Ventre holds a degree in Art History and is excited to be joining the academic program at NSAA this year teaching Humanities. Mr. Ventre is also the former principal guitarist for Arizona Broadway Theater and will be the musical director for this year’s production.




Room: 2A, Digital Arts Lab, Photo Room | On Faculty Since: 2017

Office Hours: Daily 8:30-8:50am, Lunch & After school by appointment

Courses: Introduction to Photo (Photo I), Advanced Photography (Photo I-IV), Digital Photography, World History

Claire A. Warden (b. Montreal, Quebec) is an artist working in Phoenix, Arizona. She received her BFA in Photography and BA in Art History from Arizona State University.

Claire’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States and abroad. She has been named LensCulture's Top 50 Emerging Talents, Photo Boite’s 30 Under 30 Women Photographers, and a Critical Mass finalist. In 2017, she received an Artist Research and Development Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center exhibition award and the Ed Friedman Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography. Her work has been featured in various publications, including Real Simple magazine, Der Greif Magazine, Strange Fire Collective, Common Ground Journal, Prism Magazine, and Diffusion Magazine. Claire was awarded artist residencies through the Alfred and Trafford Klots International Program for Artists, Art Intersection in Arizona, the Center for Photography at Woodstock and LATITUDE in Chicago.




Room: 2A, 2B, Theater | On Faculty Since: 2016

Office Hours: By appointment

Courses: Government & Economics, Theatrical Design & Production, World Literature

Mr. Winship received his BA in Theatre Arts at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, where he also studied history, politics and government. This year he is teaching Government & Economics, and Theatrical Production. He is co-sponsoring the Thespian’s club with Ms. Faigel. Mr. Winship is excited to engage students in cross-curricular study in all of his classes, and help students practice good academic, social, and civic skills.




Room: 2A, Green Room, Theater | On Faculty Since: 2012

Office Hours: Tuesday 3:15 - 4:00pm, Wednesday 12:10 - 12:45pm

Courses: Creative Writing, Beg/Int Acting

Luke Young graduated from the University of Arizona (UofA) with a BFA in Theatre. While at the University of Arizona, he completed the rigorous Actor’s Training Program, where he focused on American Realism, Chekhov, Shakespeare, Commedia Dell’Arte, Moliere, and Restoration acting styles. Luke also completed Rio Salado College’s Teacher Preparation Program and has received his Secondary Teaching Certificate in English, Structured English Immersion and Dramatic Arts. He has also completed his Master’s in Education Degree with a focus in Instructional Leadership at Northcentral University. He worked previously for Arizona Theatre Company managing their Education Department and outreach, and in his spare time directs theatre productions and writes screenplays.