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National Board Certified Kyrene Teachers Honored

Posted March 2022


Three Kyrene School District teachers have earned the highest credential available to American educators by becoming a National Board Certified Teacher through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) this year. Two Kyrene teachers achieved a renewal of their National Board Certification.


National Board Certification is achieved through a rigorous, performance-based assessment of a teacher's pedagogical skills and content knowledge. The certification takes one to three years to complete.


“Going through National Board Certification is like getting a teaching makeover,” said Kyrene educator Katie Anderson. “As an experienced teacher, I have been immersed in my day-to-day responsibilities and school routines for a long time. This journey helped me freshen my priorities as an educator and renewed my understanding of the power I have to impact students.”


While state licensing systems set the basic requirements to teach in each state, National Board Certified Teachers have demonstrated advanced teaching knowledge, skills, and practices. NBPTS certification identifies qualified teachers as leaders in their field, much like the certifications earned by experts in law and medicine. Completion of NBPTS's National Board Certification process signifies that the certificated teachers have developed and demonstrated the skills required of a true education professional. 


This year, three teachers who have earned this credential and two who have renewed the credential include:

Katie Anderson, English Language Development (ELD) teacher & Academic Interventionist at Sierra Elementary. Katie Anderson began her teaching career in Arizona after graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in Elementary Education. She received a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University in 2005. She has taught various grade levels at several Kyrene schools, including Lomas, Monte Vista, Esperanza, and Sierra. She and her family have enjoyed living in the Ahwatukee area for the past 15 years. Katie has 2 children ages 10 and 13 who attend Kyrene schools. Outside of teaching, you can find her hiking, working on home improvement projects with her husband, or driving her children to their various activities. She is committed to staying up to date with the best teaching practices and building her professional knowledge. Her goal is to provide students with a superior educational experience to help them reach their full academic potential while simultaneously nurturing their special talents and interests.


Tiffani Montelione, 5th-grade teacher at Kyrene Digital Academy

Tiffani Montelione moved to Arizona from New York in 2010, pursuing her dream of being an educator. She has always been a dedicated teacher who is committed to the growth and success of her students. Tiffani achieved her National Board Certification in December 2021. She earned a master's degree in Instructional Technology from the New York Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree in Childhood Education from the State University of New York, College at Oneonta. This year marks Tiffani’s 12th year teaching and 7th year in the Kyrene School District. She has traveled to several different countries and has had the opportunity to immerse herself in a variety of cultures. Tiffani also completed a teaching internship in Australia which broadened her knowledge and appreciation of diversity in education. Tiffani’s well-rounded experiences have made her the exceptional teacher she is today. 


Julio Contreras, Orchestra & Mariachi teacher at Kyrene Middle School

Julio Contreras was born in Sonora, México. He moved to the United States to attend college in 2012. Julio earned his undergraduate degree in music education from Arizona State University. This year he is pursuing a master’s degree in music learning and teaching at Arizona State University after achieving National Board Certification. He has over 10 years of teaching experience working with students of different ages. This year marks his 6th year in Kyrene School District. Prior to teaching orchestra and mariachi classes, Julio frequently performed with different groups in the US and Mexico. He participated in multiple international music festivals in the US and Mexico and worked with several organizations that promote positive social change through music, such as Esperanza Azteca in Mexico, and Harmony Project Phoenix in the US. He has been the recipient of the State Fund for Culture and the Arts of the State of Sonora grant twice, which allowed the implementation of different initiatives, such as music training for teachers, free cello workshops, recitals for the community, and educational presentations for public schools, among others. He is very passionate about teaching and his early musical and mentoring experiences molded his commitment to music as an engine for social change.


Certification Renewal: Amy Dean, Middle Childhood (MC) Generalist, Mirada

Amy Dean has been passionately teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders for 20 years, all within the Kyrene School District. She currently teaches 5th-grade gifted learners in a self-contained classroom. Being raised in Arizona, Amy wanted to stay near her family and continue her education, so she ended up attending all three state universities. Amy has a bachelor's degree in marketing and a master’s degree in education. With Mirada being a Leader in Me Lighthouse School, Amy is involved in many facets of the program. Wanting to empower children, she helps facilitate many leadership clubs, including the student-run daily news show, celebratory ceremonies, and Lighthouse Student Council. In addition, she produces full productions for the annual Leadership Day program. Her competitive spirit has also helped her coach the Mirada Monarchs to several intramural championship banners through the years. A walk into her classroom, one can usually find Amy’s students learning through projects and games as she specializes in creating engaging and purposeful lessons; her education-based Minecraft projects are known to be quite popular among her students! Most important to Ms. Dean is providing her students with the tools to have a growth mindset. She was named Kyrene Teacher of the Year in 2017 and was nominated as a Tempe Diablo Teacher of the Year in 2019. She has been a Nationally Board Certified teacher since 2011, renewing recently in 2021. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking the beautiful landscapes of Arizona and spending time with her two dogs she rescued from a shelter.


Certification Renewal: Amy Ordonez, Middle Childhood (MC) Generalist, Paloma & Mariposa

Amy Ordonez has been in Kyrene for all her 19 years in education. During this time, she has served as a classroom teacher, math coach, academic interventionist, and now, assistant principal. Amy and her husband are both native Arizonans and have been married for 17 years. Amy received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University in Exercise Science and Physical Education in 1997 and spent a few years as an Athletic Trainer. In 2001, she went back to school and received her post-baccalaureate degree in Elementary Education.  While working as an academic interventionist, she received her master’s degree in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University in 2019. As an administrator, her goal is to help motivate and support teachers in developing their knowledge of the best teaching practices and ways to engage all students.



More information on National Board Certification.

More information on Kyrene School District.