• Faculty & Leadership

Dedicated Staff

Senior Leadership

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Dr. Damon Twist
Senior Director of Talent

Dr. Damon Twist is a Midwestern transplant to Phoenix having grown up in Illinois. He is a proud UCLA graduate where he was a political science major. After being accepted to Teach For America he was placed in Washington DC and subsequently spent eight years as a classroom teacher. He relocated to Phoenix and soon after received his principal’s certification. He spent ten years in school leadership including eight years as principal at Excelencia Elementary School, working alongside the staff and families to help the school attain recognition as an “A+ School of Excellence”. He then earned his doctorate and served on staff with Teach For America as Vice President of Teacher Leadership Development, leading their teacher training and support. He currently serves as Director of Talent at PCA and is passionate about recruiting and retaining the most exceptional staff to serve our students and families.

Akshai Patel
CEO

Mr. Patel earned a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Political Science, from Arizona State University, and a MBA from Columbia University. He joined Teach For America to make an impact on students from his hometown and give back to the Phoenix community. While teaching 5th grade in the Laveen School District, he earned his Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from ASU and served on the Teach For America Phoenix Regional Board. He studied and taught in Southern Chile, as part of a Fulbright study. While teaching in the Roosevelt School District, he organized his 1st grade students to lead a voter registration drive before the 2008 elections.

Rachel Bennett Yanof
Director of External Affairs

Rachel Yanof was the Lead Founder and now serves as the Director of External Affairs for Phoenix Collegiate Academy. She completed a year-long Fellowship with Building Excellent Schools which included a residency at Excel Academy, recognized by The Center of Education Reform as one of the top charter schools of 2007. A graduate of Georgetown University, Mrs. Yanof received a B.A. in Economics before she joined Teach For America, a nationally acclaimed and highly selective teaching program. While a member of Teach For America, Mrs. Yanof earned her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. Before PCA, she taught 8th grade Social Studies in the community, where she developed an annual Washington, D.C travel program with her students.

Dr. Matthew Gehrman
Senior Director of Academic Program

As a proud dad and a career educator, kids play a central role in Matt’s life.  A product of Arizona schools, Matt earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and began teaching junior and senior high school English.  While earning his masters and doctorate at Arizona State University, Matt served eight years as a high school assistant principal and seven as a high school principal.

Creative at heart, his leadership not only spurred the implementation of AVID, Professional Learning Communities, and a school within a school, it also resulted in hosting a visit from President Obama.  Matt’s passion for learning and leadership eventually led him to serve as the Director of Instructional Services in the Tempe Union High School District, serving teachers and administrators by designing and delivering professional development, developing a process for implementing Arizona’s College and Career Readiness Standards, and building the capacity of site leadership to implement curricular and instructional improvements.

Dr. Paul Kremer
Senior Director of Finance and Operations

Dr. Paul Kremer holds a B.A. in Psychology from Wisconsin Lutheran College. He also holds a M.A. in Educational Psychology as well as a Ph.D. in Lifespan Developmental Psychology both from Arizona State University.

Dr. Kremer became immersed in the field of education when he became the Founder and Executive Director of a highly performing charter school in South Phoenix called EAGLE College Prep. After several years, he started an additional charter school (EAGLE) as well as a pre-school program. Prior to this venture, Dr. Kremer conducted research on bullying in schools and taught educational psychology classes as a graduate student at Arizona State University.  From 2011-2015, Dr. Kremer served at Arizona Christian University in a variety of administrative roles including Chair of the Education Department, Dean of Academic Affairs, Provost and Executive Vice President.

Married since 1995 to Leslie, Dr. Kremer has four children (Jack, Madelyn, Owen, and Harrison) and they keep him both busy and young.

Jessica Ward
Director of Operations

Jessica Ward earned a B.A. in Political Science from Oregon State University. Upon graduation she joined Teach For America and moved across the country to Jacksonville, Florida. While in Florida she taught 6th and 8th grade science for three years. She moved on from teaching and started her graduate work at the University of Central Florida. She continued to work in education, but shifted to a nonprofit that helped adults with their literacy skills, earn GEDs, or pass citizenship exams. After graduating with her MPA, she decided to relocate to Phoenix in order to be closer to her West Coast family. She currently serves at the Director of Operations for the elementary and middle school.

Dedicated Staff

Senior Advisors

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Ernie Hostetler, AIA
Facilities Consultant

Ernie Hostetler has a long and broad history in virtually every type and aspect of facilities development. Experience includes projects for commercial, industrial, healthcare, residential and institutional uses and involvement in market and space analysis through site selection, design, construction, financing and sales. Since starting his career in 1970 he has founded six different companies in the Midwest and Arizona. Ernie served for eight years on the Phoenix regional board of Teach For America and more recently has provided oversight on four projects for Phoenix Collegiate Academy. In his spare time he enjoys traveling and organizing fishing trips worldwide. He is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology with an undergraduate degree in Architecture and a master’s degree in city and regional planning.

Elementary School Administrative Team

Amanda Jacobs
Principal

Georgina Garcia
Receptionist

Yeimi Candelaria
Receptionist


School Instructional Team

Savanna Eaton
Kindergarten

Maria Amezquita
Kindergarten

Amber Ybarra
1st grade

Anahis Bazua Oros
1st grade

Maia Martynova
2nd grade

Jessica Watson
3rd Grade

Gabrielle Schiffer
3rd Grade

Carrie Larson
4th Grade

Joanna Simone
Special Education

Teaching Fellow
Deborah Shanahan

Middle School Administrative Team

Thai Nguyen
Principal

Jonathan Deremiah
Dean of Students

Laura Dosten
Receptionist

Angelica Gutierrez 
Receptionist

Ofelia Amaya 
Lead Custodian

Robert Acosta
Crossing Guard


Middle School Instructional Team

Karina Arroyo
5th Grade English Language Arts/Social Studies

Sangay Sirleaf
5th Grade Mathematics/Science

Amanda Armstrong
6th Grade Mathematics/Science

Crystal Mason
7th Grade English Language Arts

Avelina Nicholas
7th/8th Grade Social Studies

Alyssa Perez
8th Grade Mathematics

Hailey Alcaraz
8th Grade English Language Arts

Suzanne Schrewe
6/7/8 Science Teacher

Patsy Wallace 
Special Education

Jennifer Taylor
Academic Support Specialist

High School Administrative Team

Dr. Chantelle Frazee
Principal

Samantha Davis
Dean of Students

Maria Bustillos
Office Manager

Andrea Glenn
Counselor


High School Instructional Team

Logan Allen
Science

Jill Loveall
English Language Arts

Kathryn Hart
English Language Arts

Sharah Nieto
Art

Aracely Wolfchief
Spanish

Forrest Radarian
Science

William Robb
Social Studies

Khaleb Straight
Social Studies

Jake Winfield
Mathematics

Mallory Stermon
Mathematics

Chani Clark
21st Century Grant Coordinator

Mahogney Turner

Teaching Fellow

Support Staff

 

Maeghyn Koehler
Executive Assistant

Patricia Freeman
Registrar

Contact Our Staff

Elementary School Staff

602.492.1722
pcaes@phxca.org


Middle School Staff

602.551.6594
pca@phxca.org


High School Staff

602.842.1722
pcahs@phxca.org

 

Should you wish to review the qualifications of your child’s teacher at any one of our three campuses you may request to review them in person with our receptionist on that respective campus.