Board Members

B

Member-At-Large

Technology Integration Facilitator
Apache Junction Unified Schools
Co-chair Membership Committee

Bethany's first experience with technology in the classroom was way, way back in 1985 playing Oregon Trail as a fifth grader. Fast forward to present day to where her experiences with technology in the classroom bring her daily opportunities to support teachers to make learning engaging and rigorous. A good day is when she can work with a teacher to use technology to do something that they have never done before. A GREAT day is when she can work with a teacher to use technology to get a student to do something that they’ve never done before. With a BS and M.Ed, both from Northern Arizona University; 18 years of classroom experience; and now as a TIF, Bethany aims to serve the teachers in her circle of influence with excellence and enthusiasm.

Bethany spends as much time as possible with her husband and immediate family. Together they enjoy watching sports or HGTV, attending local theatrical performances, and traveling to new places and acting like a complete tourists. She also works with her local church youth group as well as functions as one of the directors for a national youth church camp.

C

Executive Director

Cathy Poplin is currently the Executive Director of AzTEA.  She retired from the Arizona State Department of Education as the Deputy Associate Superintendent for Educational Technology.   She oversaw several large technology initiatives:  e-Learning Task Force, IDEAL Education Portal, Statewide Instructional Technology Project, Intel(r) Teach Affiliate, and the EETT program. Her section implemented a new Long-range Strategic Educational Technology Plan and revised the Educational Technology Standard, aligned with ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards for Students.  Before coming to ADE, she held educational technology roles in 3 local districts (Alhambra, Washington and Creighton), and taught in the College of Education at Grand Canyon University. Ms. Poplin held several positions on the SETDA (State Educational Technology Directors Association) Board of Directors from 2008 - 2014 and she was also a board member of the Arizona Technology in Education Association (AzTEA, an ISTE affiliate) for more than 15 years.  She has a BS in Training and Development and a M.Ed. in Learning and Instructional Technology.  Cathy is a frequent presenter at local, state and national technology conferences.

Member-At-Large

Cheri LaRochelle is a learner and a leader. She started her education career in 1992 and has taught grades 1 through 6. She has been a district administrator for 14 years. She is a member of ASCD, ISTE and the National Association of Elementary Principals. She is a trainer in Danielson Framework and Understanding by Design. In 2010, Cheri was a recognized as a Rodel Exemplary Principal Finalist based on student achievement data in a high needs school. Her career can also be traced through technology from the introduction of Apple2Es with email to tablets, surfaces, google drive and blogs.

D

Member-At-Large

Debra White is an Arts Educator and Consultant whose passion is helping teachers and students bring together the Visual & Performing Arts and Technology. She has 33 years of classroom experience teaching theatre, visual art and technology. She currently serves as The Education Committee Chair for Prescott Center for the Arts, and directs productions and teaches classes for PCA. Debra is also actively involved with the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She teaches Video Production at Tech Trek UC Irvine, a STEM Camp for girls each summer. She was co- chair of Prescott’s AAUW Tech Savvy Event in spring of 2016 and has served as Public Policy Chair for the Prescott Branch for 4 years. Debra came to AZTEA from California where she is a 30-year member of CUE, a sister ISTE Affiliate, and has served 2 terms as a member of their Board of Directors and continues to serve as Awards Committee Chair. Debra is a frequent conference presenter at National CUE. She was a technology trainer for her county office of education, SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), TCAP (The California Arts Project) and the Project Manager for the Visual & Performing Arts Review Site for CLRN (California Learning Resource Network) Debra is excited to be joining the AZTEA Board where she can support educators in Arizona and continue to learn from technology leaders and innovators in her new home state.

Member-At-Large

Deena started her career in education as a Kindergarten teacher in Cibecue on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. After 2 years and her certification in hand, she found her niche as a 4th grade teacher with the Blue Ridge Unified School District in Pinetop-Lakeside. For the past 11 years, Deena has been specializing her instruction as a Math Interventionist for students in grades 4-6. When the Arizona Career and College Ready Standards rolled out, she provided the Level 1 training for her staff. She has been an active member of AZTEA for the past 15 years and is currently working with the PD committee.

Deena earned her B. S. in Psychology from Wells College in New York. In May of 2005 she completed her Masters Degree in Educational Technology from Northern Arizona University. Although most of her instruction is in the subject of mathematics, she is passionate about edtech and engages her struggling math students in coding, using Code.org coursework, scavenger hunts using QR codes, as well as a variety of STEM projects to help build their problem-solving and collaborative skills.

J

Past President

Jon Castelhano is currently the President of AzTEA and the Executive Director of Technology for Gilbert Public Schools. Jon is a seasoned educator with 16 years in educational technology and 20 years in public education. He oversees all technology needs in GPS including a 7-10 grade 1:1 initiative, and a tech staff dedicated to the students and staff of the district. He believes in providing a reliable, 21st century environment to support K-12 staff and students in a relevant and meaningful learning community.

In his free time, Jon enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, who is also a career educator and currently a middle school principal, and two children ages 12 and 15. If there is any time left over, you will find Jon on his mountain bike or on the motocross track enjoying his life long passion for two wheeled sports.

ISTE Affiliate Representative

Born: Arlington Heights, IL
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ & Flagstaff, AZ and currently reside in the Village of
Oak Creek, AZ
Schooling: Arizona State University, BA in Education with teaching minors in Physical Education, English, Math and Lab Sciences K-12; MS in Exercise Physiology. Northern AZ University, Educ. Specialist with an emphasis in Public School Administration with Certification through District Superintendent.

Career: Taught in every Flagstaff Unified School over a 41 year period and was an administrator in athletics and special education and closed my career in Flagstaff as a Technology Specialist. Worked for Learning.com for 4 years as the AZ Technology Integration and Testing Coordinator through the AZ Dept. of Education Grants Program. Retired in 2009. Currently I am on the Boards of Az Technology Education Assoc., AzTEA/ISTE Representative, University Women of Sedona and Connections Equine Therapy Program. I also serve as a poll worker for Yavapai County.

Hobbies: Photography, working with animal rescue and therapy, family projects and adventures and various local service groups. I am currently a Barn Captain (I train caregivers for the horses) at Connections Equine Therapy, Cornville, AZ.

Husband Info: Dr. Manny Romero, NAU retired (31 years) after teaching photography, journalism, public relations and advertising and now develops training materials and instructs USCG personnel in public affairs, photography and journalism.

Children:  Annemari Kate Romero, USFS Ranger for the Red Rock District, Coconino National Forest. BA/MS, Northern AZ University

M

Treasurer

Mark Breen is currently the Director of Technology in the Vail Unified School District where he helps to oversee functional technologies and the Data Center in the District. He assures proper performance, implementation, and disaster recovery of those technologies. Mark keeps the “engine room” for all of Vail running efficiently so educators have all the tech tools available when they need them. He further oversees the technical side of the District’s Beyond Textbooks program — an online curriculum program where educators across Arizona, Alaska, California, Idaho, Kentucky, and Wyoming are coming together “digitally” to improve education. He created Vail’s online teacher evaluation system, the Education Enrichment Plan system where teachers submit enrichment clubs and programs for students, and the Vail tax credit collection website. He also works closely with the Curriculum team all the technical aspects of online state testing for Vail. Mark has served as an IT Consultant for the American International School of Kingston in Jamaica, has presented at numerous conferences around the country, and has performed several education technology audits across Arizona. Prior to his current position, Mark served as Vail’s Business Services IT Coordinator, Rincon Vista Middle School’s Site Technology Coordinator, and as a Technology and Band teacher in Vail and Willcox, AZ. In his spare time, he can be found co-directing the Vail Youth Symphony with his wife Jessica. Mark has a Bachelor of Music Education from ASU and a Master of Music Performance and Pedagogy from Northern Illinois University. Mark was awarded the AzTEA “Director of Technology” of the year award in 2015.

N

Member-At-Large

Director of Instructional Technology
Cave Creek USD
Membership Committee Co-chair

Nancy Pratt’s passion is preparing teachers for today’s necessary pedagogical shifts. She is a National Board Certified Teacher currently serving as the Director of Instructional Technology in Cave Creek Unified School District in Arizona. She coaches, mentors, trains and supports teachers in best practices in innovative teaching and learning. Focused on a student-centered approach, Nancy is passionate about serving teachers in any way that grows their creativity and self-efficacy in their profession. Nancy has a BA in English, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from ASU, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Grand Canyon University. She is an adjunct faculty member at GCU and also conducts training and facilitation for the Arizona K 12 Center, and is proud to have been on the team that developed the Arizona Technology Integration Matrix in 2011.

President

Ed Tech Specialist - Florence Unified School District

Always on the leading edge of technology integration, Nick Trakas has been inspiring the teachers, students, and staff of the Florence School District with top level professional development and lesson improvement strategies since 2007.  Nick has been an AzTEA board member since 2013 and Treasurer since 2014.  He is also very active in high school golf, where he coaches Poston Butte High in the Fall and Florence High in the Spring.  He serves as the chairman of the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s (AIA) golf advisory committee where he is also the Tournament Director for the high school state golf championships (DII & DIII).  In his free time he coaches his two boys in flag football.  Not only do they play football, but they are also very active in other sports including soccer, karate, basketball, baseball, hockey, and of-course, golf!  Nicholas is ten and Caden just turned nine. They both attend Copper Basin K-8 School in San Tan Valley, AZ, where his wife Deanna has taught Kindergarten since 2005.

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