Dr. Cruz is thrilled to continue her journey with her Maryvale Prep family as the Archway Headmaster. Originally from New Mexico, Dr. Cruz went on to pursue her undergraduate degree in Economics and International Political Science at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO. She moved to Phoenix in 2005 and served in the Teach For America corps where she taught second and third grades for a few years and also served as a K-8 Instructional Coach for her school district. While teaching she attended Arizona State University and obtained a Masters in Educational Administration and Supervision and her principal certification. In 2010 she began working at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University as the Director of Recruitment and also taught several college courses. In 2013, Dr. Cruz earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Innovation and superintendent certification. She has a strong belief in the impact that a teacher has on his or her students and looks forward to serving our teachers as they selflessly serve our children and our parents as they partner with us in the moral and academic growth of their children. Outside of school, Dr. Cruz enjoys spending time with her husband, Henri, and her two daughters, Chloe and Abigail.
Christina Coley is very excited to begin her eighth year at Maryvale Prep. This year Mrs. Coley is enthusiastically taking on a new role as the Archway Assistant Headmaster. Throughout her time at Maryvale Prep she has served in many different roles. She served as Archway Dean, Dean of Lower School, Curriculum Specialist, First-grade teacher, Third-grade teacher, and Structured English Immersion teacher. Mrs. Coley graduated from Biola University with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies and a Teaching Credential. In addition, she also received two minors in Intercultural Studies and Biblical Studies. In 2012, she moved to Phoenix to begin a career working at Maryvale Prep and it is since become much more than a job, but truly a home. A few years later, Mrs. Coley continued her education at Concordia University and received her Master of Arts Degree in Educational Administration and her received her Principal Certificate. Mrs. Coley is a lifelong learner and is always looking for ways to continue developing as an educator and leader. She is passionate about guiding and equipping teachers to effectively lead their students in intellect and virtue. Mrs. Coley is eager to work alongside such a passionate group of teachers and leaders as they serve the students of Maryvale Prep. Outside of school, Mrs. Coley enjoys spending time with her husband, Andy, as well as hiking, cooking, reading, and exploring new places.
Alexandra Castro is excited to be beginning her 6th year at Maryvale Prep and her 2nd year as Dean of Students; where she has the opportunity to assist in the guidance of students through moral formation and the development of leadership skills. In her time at Maryvale Prep, she has served the role as an Exceptional Student Services Coordinator supporting the academic growth of her students in various grades. Throughout her time teaching, she has taught children with exceptional needs ranging from Kindergarten to 8th grade; as well as being a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher. Ms. Castro earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from Arizona State University. This is where she discovered her passion with helping students strengthen their abilities to succeed in the classroom. Ms. Castro was born and raised in Phoenix where her parents migrated to from Mexico and is a first-generation college graduate. Outside of school, Ms. Castro enjoys spending time with her son (a fellow Matador), her family, and traveling. She is delighted to continue to share her passion and dedication for educating children this coming school year.
Nikki Georgia is excited to be part of the team at Maryvale Preparatory Academy for a seventh year. During her senior year of high school, Ms. Georgia volunteered at an integrated private school. She quickly developed a passion for working with students with exceptional needs. Ms. Georgia became a Special Education Teacher, and was employed where she originally volunteered for 14 years. Ms. Georgia received her BA in Sociology from CSUSB and Special Education Certification and Master’s degree in Special Education from National University. Upon moving to Phoenix in 2012, Ms. Georgia worked as a Program Director for a K-12 private school for students with exceptional needs. She conducted a monthly parent support group meeting, developed the curriculum, including tools and techniques to modify it for individual needs, and helped implement positive character building and social success for students, community service projects, and teacher training in positive behavior interventions and interpreting and analyzing assessment data. Ms. Georgia is looking forward to another year with the Maryvale Prep Team and helping students achieve their goals and conduct evaluations. Ms. Georgia’s own daughter will also return to Maryvale Prep as a sixth grader and her son as a third grader.
Patty Slider is happy to return as our Director of Operations; working with Prep & Archway faculty on daily campus operations and logistics. Employing a wide range of work experiences including education, insurance and church management, Patty brings thoughtful, detailed processes and programing to our Academy. Her association with Great Hearts Academies began in 2002 when her two children enrolled in our first academy, Veritas. “Our family saw firsthand the beauty of the classical liberal arts education combined with the strong support from both the administration & teachers – we think Great Hearts is truly unique!” Besides traveling with her husband Tim, Patty loves thrifting with friends, reading Jane Austin & watching Guardians of the Galaxy while cleaning.
Viridiana Ramirez is very excited to be returning as the School Registrar for the 2020-21 school year at Maryvale Preparatory Academy. Her children have been Maryvale Prep scholars since 2014 and now she joins them each day on campus. Prior to Maryvale Prep, Ms. Ramirez worked several years in office management. Ms. Ramirez began 2017 mid-year as a teacher apprentice for Ms. DeVries before moving into this role and she fell in love with our families and the work we do here. She then knew this was just the right fit for her and her family. Some people search all their lives for what makes their lives complete for what makes their lives full and happy and this is it for her. Growing with her kids and being so close to them, not missing their important moments in life is what counts most for her. This year, she will be working closely with Mrs. Welintukonis to provide excellent service to our parents and students.
Mrs. Melinda Pridgen is grateful to return to the Maryvale Prep family as the Office Assistant for the third school year. She has over 20 years of School Administration Experience and is excited to share what she has learned with our community. Mrs. Pridgen looks forward to serving our Staff, Scholars and Families with the attention and warmth they have come to expect. In her spare time Mrs. Pridgen enjoys spending time with her family, cheering on her children on from the sidelines of the many sports they participate in, crafting and serving at her church.
Rocio is very excited to join the Maryvale Prep family for her first year as our Office Assistant. She has a long history working in social work and customer service, and she is delighted to start a new journey working with children. Rocio understands the importance of our children’s growth and development. She is looking forward to providing a warm and welcoming environment for our current and future families. On her free time, Rocio likes to spend as much time as possible with her three children. Their favorite activities include cooking and baking, movies, and spending a day in the great outdoors. She is grateful for the opportunity she has been given to serve our families and is excited to see what the new school year brings.
We are happy to announce a new addition to our Matador family, Mr. Richard Galewski, who will serve as the Athletic Director of Maryvale Prep. Mr. Richard Galewski hails from Milwaukee Wisconsin. Prior to his arrival, Rich taught in Mineral Point, Wisconsin and was an assistant baseball coach at the University of Wisconsin Platteville. While at Platteville, Rich perused to earn his Master’s degree in Adult Education. As a former college athlete, his competitiveness of sports allowed him to play professionally in Shanghai, China upon receiving his Liberal Arts degree from Cardinal Stritch University (2009). As a Physical Education teacher, Rich has been influenced throughout the sports world and likes helping kids of all ages extend their comfort zone and to guide students to reflect gratitude in their attitude. He has taught for 9 years at the high school and elementary level and has been a coach for nearly 12 years where he has worked with young inspiring competitors and college student athletes. His style and charismatic delivery engages his students to help strengthen their character.