Katy Ferrell-Cardenas


Jason Silva


Luke Young


Jo Anne Craig


Barbara DeGruccio


Jane Dowell


Martha Pena


Kyllan Maney


Amy Abbruscato


Jean Rusen




On Faculty Since: 2003

Office Hours: By appointment

Katy Ferrell-Cárdenas graduated in Health Education in 1993 from U of A, and joined the Peace Corp for a tour to Sana'a, Yemen. Upon returning, she worked as a community educator for the County Health Dept. In 1996, Mrs. Cárdenas moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where she also worked for five years in private instruction. Mrs. Cárdenas earned three Master's Degrees; Curriculum and Instruction, Education Leadership and Applied Behavior Analysis from ASU and holds Principal Certificate and has passed the State Superintendent exam. Dean Cárdenas has written charters and been a consultant on curriculum development for many Arizona public charter schools and is a passionate supporter of Charter Schools. In 2003, Mrs. Cardenas joined the NSAA organization as Principal for the Middle School, and a full time teaching position. Dean Cárdenas accepted the position of Executive Dean for NSAA in 2006, upon the retirement of its Founder, Dean Caya.


AMY ABBRUSCATO - Performing Arts Coordinator | BFA


On Faculty Since: 2014

Office Hours: Monday & Thursday 9:00am- 3:00pm

Amy graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatrical Production with an emphasis in Acting. While attending the U of A she completed the rigorous Actor’s Training Program where she focused on American Realism, Chekhov, Shakespeare, Commedia Dell’Arte, Moliere and Restoration acting styles. She is also a certified actor-combatant in rapier and dagger, broadsword, and unarmed by The Society of American Fight Directors. As the Musical Theatre & Acting teacher at NSAA, Amy has directed over 15 productions including Hair, Moon Over Buffalo, A Chorus Line, The Crucible, Chicago, Rumors, Sense & Sensibility, Legally Blonde and many more!

Amy has had over 20 years of dance training in styles such as Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop and more! She performed for several years with the Tucson Regional Ballet Company as a member of their Senior Company. Amy has also trained in voice for over 17 years both privately and as a member of numerous vocal ensembles. As a vocalist, she has more than 20 musicals under her belt and has played such roles as Velma in Chicago, Marta in Company, Cassie in A Chorus Line and Nancy in Oliver

In addition serving as Performing Arts Coordinator, Amy teaches to teaching Musical Theatre and Acting at NSAA. She currently lives in Tempe with her husband, young son, & adorable pug, Lucy, and loves every minute of her crazy, busy, wonderful life.


JO ANNE CRAIG - Faculty & Instructional Director | JD, MEd, BA


On Faculty Since: 2005

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

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.


BARBARA DEGRUCCIO - Business Manager


On Faculty Since: 1995

Barbara DeGruccio, Business Manager, has over 20 years experience in budgeting and accounting. She majored in business at Queens College in New York. Ms. DeGruccio's responsibilities include overseeing NSAA's annual budget, teacher & classroom supplies, and building maintenance. Barbara is a parent of an NSAA graduate.


JANE DOWELL - Middle School Parent/Teacher Liaison | BS

On Faculty Since: 2003

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

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 all 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.


KYLLAN MANEY - Visual Arts Director | BFA


On Faculty Since: 2002

Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 12:05-12:35 pm, By appointment

Kyllan Maney has been the Chair of the Visual Arts Department for the past eleven years. In this time she has developed a program working with the students with college, career readiness and portfolio development. Along with this she networks and coordinates with the surrounding arts communities in organizing student outreach projects. A few examples of these projects include Community Art Night, NEDCO Apache Boulevard Beautification Project, Play Me Again with Mesa Arts Center and a City of Tempe grant for two murals on campus. Kyllan, also coordinates the Honors SMoCA Visions program, students attend monthly workshops with professional artists at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts and then create a work of art to be exhibited by the end of the year at Scottsdale Center for the Arts.

Kyllan Maney’s educational background is a BFA and Post Baccalaureate classes in the specialization in Painting and Drawing. She has passed the Arizona Department of Education APEA Exam in General Education and Art. Kyllan also continues to work and develop her artistic career in community engagement projects, painting murals and exhibiting her work. She has worked with Scottsdale Public Art, Phoenix Art Museum, Tempe Center for the Arts, City of Tempe, Tempe Festival for the Arts, Mesa Arts Center, Downtown Phoenix, MonOrchid, City of Chandler and Art One Gallery.


MARTHA PENA - High School Registrar | BA


On Faculty Since: 2007

Office Hours: Daily 12:00-12:30 pm & 2:15-3:00 pm

Martha Pena teaches Fashion Design I-III. She recently graduated from the Art Institute of Phoenix with a BA of Arts in Fashion Marketing. Before attending the Art Institute of Phoenix, she attended Phoenix Community College. Her interests are art, photography, shopping, researching trends, sewing, and designing. Some of her work experiences include visual merchandising, photography, and fashion design.


JEAN “QUEEN JEAN” RUSEN - Middle School Registrar & Front Desk Manager | BA


On Faculty Since: 2013

Office Hours: Daily 8:00am-4:00pm

Jean Rusen-Keyser received a B.A. in Social Science from Maryland’s Salisbury University in 1992. In addition to her various  administrative duties at NSAA (Middle School Registrar, Middle & High School Attendance Clerk, Prom Committee Sponsor, Human Bell System, & self-proclaimed "Queen of the Front Desk"), Jean also lets her “artist flag” fly through her professional skateboarding career and her involvement in the local valley music scene. She serves as a lead & backing vocalist with some of Tempe rockabilly legend Kevin Daly's projects. In the skateboarding world, Jean made history as the first woman to compete in a World Cup Skateboarding men’s event back in 2009 (grandmasters/40+) & still competes with "the old guys" at select events. She was also the oldest active competitor in the WCS Women’s Pro Bowl division for several years, before stepping into her current role of judge at many of the major women's events. She takes great pride in the fact that two of her sponsors, Silly Girl Skateboards (La Habra, CA) & Sidewalk Surfer (Scottsdale, AZ), have partnered with her to benefit NSAA & the students (through fundraising opportunities & art/design/business experience).  Both of Jean’s daughters (aka: Spawn 1 & Spawn 2) attended NSAA & her saint-of-a-husband has played a massive (100% volunteer) role in Prom Committee, & keeping Jean (somewhat) sane.


JASON SILVA - Exceptional Student Services Director | MEd (Special Education), MEd (Educational Administration)


On Faculty Since: 2017

Office Hours: Daily 10:30-11:30 am

Mr. Silva works in administration as the school Exceptional Student Services Director. Mr. Silva holds a Master’s degree from Arizona State University in Special Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University. In addition to his administrative duties, Mr. Silva also teaches the film workshop class studying great films in the history of cinema, filmmaking techniques, and film analysis. Mr. Silva lives in Tempe with his family and in his free time works as a freelance photographer.


LUKE YOUNG - Academic Director | MEd, BFA


On Faculty Since: 2012

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

Luke Young earned his BFA in Theatre Production from the University of Arizona, and his MEd in Instructional leadership from Northcentral University. He completed Rio Salado College's Teacher Preparation Program in 2013 and he is currently finishing a certificate in creative writing from Phoenix College. He has worked for NSAA since 2012. His duties as Academic Director include class schedules, credit evaluation, report cards, Familylink and college and career planning.