Stacey Cochran - Principal
Mrs. Cochran founded Center for Educational Excellence in 1997 and continues to demonstrate her passion for kids in her many hands-on roles. In addition to being the owner, she also serves as the principal and director of both Center for Educational Excellence and our private pre-school, Fit N’ Fun. She holds a B.S. in both physical education and special education from the University of Arizona. Prior to opening the doors of Center for Educational Excellence, Mrs. Cochran owned and operated a competitive gymnastics facility in Scottsdale for five years. She brings a special combination of experience and qualifications specifically targeted to serving the needs of children. Her devoted spirit and tireless dedication have helped to make Center for Educational Excellence a special place for countless children to learn and grow.
Over the past several years, Mrs. Cochran has been the recipient of numerous individual and school awards, all of which are a testament to her tremendous leadership and vision.
AZ LEADS Circle of Honor (2007) This distinguished group of Arizona administrators is made up of the top 2% principals in our state. Mrs.Cochran has been recognized by State Superintendent,Tom Horne, for her outstanding leadership with her teachers and exemplary achievement of her students.
Arizona Woman Million Dollar Club (2002- present) Awarded to business owners and philanthropists who have excelled in their respective fields, this honor is presented annually by Arizona Woman magazine.
Arizona Charter Schools Association School of Merit Certificate (2008) Center for Educational Excellence continues to be recognized by the charter association for our “excelling” or “A” status. An “excelling” status is the highest distinction a school can earn and is only given to those who meet the Arizona Department of Education’s stringent academic requirements.
Mrs. Kinneman - Kindergarten
Mrs. Kinneman has been a Kindergarten teacher at CEE since 2006. Born and raised in Minnesota, she received her Education degree from Ottawa University. She is very passionate about delivering creative lessons in hopes of instilling the same love of creativity in each of her students. Her hobbies include running and traveling with family.
Mrs. Hesse - Kindergarten
Mrs. Hesse joins the CEE staff for the 2023-2024 school year, and has been teaching for 14 years. She was born and raised in a small town outside
of Columbus, Ohio. She has always wanted to be a teacher, and has many teachers in her family. Mrs. Hesse has taught pre- kindergarten
and first grade, but kindergarten is her favorite.She tries to instill the love of learning in every student and strives to teach with passion, creativity, enthusiasm, compassion and lots of energy. Outside of school Mrs. Hesse enjoys spending time with family, biking, hiking, reading, yoga and kick boxing.
Ms. Tiger - First Grade
Ms. Tiger joined the CEE family for the 2022-2023 school year as a first grade teacher. She has previously taught kindergarten for 8 years. Ms. Tiger has dreamed of being a teacher since she was 16 years old while working with preschoolers. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in 2013. She loves engaging with students while pushing them to reach their goals. She also enjoys being a mommy to her amazing daughter Ryann.
Ms. Simerman - First Grade
Bio Coming Soon!
Ms. Hauck - Second Grade
Ms. Hauck joined the CEE staff for the 2020-2021 school year! She was born in Rochester, New York, and moved to Arizona when she was 7, spending most of her time in Chandler. She also lived in Flagstaff for three years while she was studying at Northern Arizona University. Ms. Hauck graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in December of 2019. This is her first year as a teacher and she is very excited to begin that journey here at CEE! She strives to create a positive classroom environment where each student is able to reach their fullest potential. When she’s not at school, Ms. Hauck enjoys being outdoors and loves spending time with her friends and family.
Mrs. Hampton - Second Grade
Mrs. Hampton joined the CEE family as a 2nd/3rd grade paraprofessional in 2020, while working on her Bachelor’s of Science in Early Childhood Education with The University of Phoenix. She has 10+ years of experience in the early childhood classroom setting. She grew up in Chandler where she met her husband who she shares three children with. In her spare time she enjoys coaching track & field, cooking, and crocheting. She strives to create an effective and engaging learning environment for her students.
Ms. Fleeton - Third Grade
Ms. Fleeton joined the CEE staff for the 2020-2021 school year! She was born in California and moved to Arizona at a young age, spending most of her life in Chandler. She relocated to North Carolina to attend college and recently returned home to begin her teaching career. She graduated from Drexel University with her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has experience working with grades PreK-1, as well as teaching online as an English Consultant. She enjoys being a new mom and spending time with her family and friends. She strives to create an open and safe classroom environment as a great community for her students.
Ms. Howalt - Third Grade
Ms. Howalt is an Arizona native who grew up in the Mesa/Gilbert area. She received her undergrad degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and her graduate degree from Northern Arizona University with a concentration in reading instruction. In the 23 years that she's been an educator, she's taught kindergarten, first, second, and third grade. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, camping, and watching movies.
Mrs. Cornejo - Fourth Grade
Mrs. Cornejo joined the CEE staff for the 2019-2020 school year! She was born and raised in Chicago, IL. She received her B.A. in Education from Arizona State University. Mrs. Cornejo has had experience teaching students in grades K-8 and loves to find creative ways for students to express what they have learned, but more importantly, to make them feel loved and important. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Cornejo enjoys spending time with her family and friends, planning parties, baking, and traveling. Some of her favorite places that she has visited are London and Lima, Peru.
Mrs. Wolfgramm - Fourth Grade
Mrs. Wolfgramm joined the CEE staff for the 2018-2019 school year, and comes to us with over 20 years of experience. Mrs. Wolfgramm has found her passion teaching fourth grade. Mrs. Wolfgramm has her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from ASU, and graduate degrees in Special Education, Sciences, and Educational Technology. In addition to building her classroom community, Mrs. Wolfgramm enjoys bringing technology and STEM based concepts into her daily classroom routines. When she is not at CEE, Mrs. Wolfgramm enjoys spending time with her husband, seven children, and many grandchildren!
Ms. Vanderpool - Fifth Grade
Ms. Vanderpool is joining the CEE family for the 2023-2024 school year as a fifth-grade teacher! She was born in Orange County, California, and moved out to Arizona in 2018 to study Elementary Education at NAU in Flagstaff. Previously, she taught for 1.5 years as a third-grade teacher and is excited to make the jump to fifth grade. Ms. V loves making cheesy jokes and having fun in her classroom while providing her students with challenges and lifelong lessons. You can spot Ms. V with her dog Honeybee, at the gym, or at car events. If she does not have coffee in her hand, she is on her way to fix that problem!
Ms. McNeill - Fifth Grade
Ms. McNeill joined the CEE staff in 2023 as a fifth grade teacher. Ms. McNeill has wanted to be a teacher since 4th grade and went to Eastern Illinois University to fulfill that dream. After teaching high school and junior high for ten years, she earned her Master’s in Educational Leadership at the American College of Education. Ms. McNeill has three kids Mary, Bella, and Patrick. She was also recently promoted to Grandma! She has two Jack Russel dogs, Peaches and Bagels. Her favorite quote is, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller. She appreciates this quote because it is her goal for her classroom to be a community of students empowering and caring for each other. And as you will find out, she LOVES tacos!
Ms. Ditta - Middle School
Ms. Ditta joined the CEE family for the 2021-2022 school year as a fifth grade teacher. Ms. Ditta started her career as a preschool teacher for 2- and 3-year-olds, which sparked her love for teaching. Ms. Ditta attended Ashford University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science with Education Concentration and Master’s in Education. Over the past 12 years, she has taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. When I am not at school, I love to spend time with my family. I have two children, Jennifer and Ethan, two beautiful grandchildren, Izabella and Jax, a pug named Sox and a cat, Milo. In her spare time, Ms. Ditta loves to cook, work in her garden, read, journal, and hike.
Dr. Kirksey - Middle School
Dr. Kirksey joined the CEE staff for the 2020-2021 school year. She has been working with children for the past 16 years, only to take a little detour into the legal world after law school. Her passion still remained with children as she focused on criminal child abuse and family law in Massachusetts. When she moved back to Arizona, she went back to helping and teaching children on an academic level. She has taught grades ranging from second through middle school with a focus in math, science, law, and forensics. She currently has her Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University, Masters in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University, and Undergraduate Degree in Marketing from Bentley University. In her spare time she loves cooking, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Ms. Dodd - Middle School
Ms. Dodd joined the CEE staff for the 2019-2020 school year. She is an Alaska native who moved to Arizona to attend Xavier High School. She received her B.A. from the University of Dallas, and moved back to Arizona to began her teaching career. She has taught everything from kindergarten enrichment to high school Medieval History, and everything in between. However, her love and passion for literature, grammar, history, and writing has remained consistent. Outside of CEE, Ms. Dodd spends her time with her three daughters, and is a proud grandmother!
Ms. Pine - Resource
Ms. Pine joined CEE for the 2023-2024 school year and has been a special education teacher since 2004 . Ms. Pine received her K-12 Special Education degree from Grand Canyon University and is committed to creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all of her students. She works closely with parents, teachers, to develop individualized education plans (IEPs) that address the specific needs of each student. Her aim is to cultivate a favorable atmosphere in the classroom that empowers each student to realize their maximum capability. Ms Pine's hobbies include hiking and traveling.
Ms Nelson originally joined the CEE staff for the 2010-2011 school year and has taught fourth and fifth grades. After working with rural schools in Southern Africa for three years to provide training, support, and resources to teachers and students, she has rejoined the CEE family as both the seventh & eighth grade Science Teacher, the Curriculum Support Coordinator and most recently the Special Education Director. Miss Nelson received her undergrad in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and also has a Masters in Educational Leadership and Special Education Endorsement from Northern Arizona University. When she is not at CEE, Miss Nelson enjoys puzzles, cooking, traveling, reading, and hanging out with her nephew.
Mrs. Aurora - K-3 Spanish
Mrs. Aurora joined our Preschool and CEE Staff in 2006. She has been teaching for sixteen years and holds degrees in Graphic Design and Industrial Design and has extensive training in early childhood development. Her childhood was spent in Mexico City, where she became bilingual. Mrs. Aurora instructs our K-3 Spanish program. She loves interacting with the students and presenting unique Spanish lessons. In her spare time she loves bike riding with her family.
Señora Wingo - 4-8 Spanish
Mr. Cruz - Music
Mr. Cruz is excited to share the music experience with all students and staff at CEE. Traveling often as a child, Mr. Cruz grounded himself in music. “If it wasn’t for music, a good 85% of my life wouldn’t have happened and I wouldn’t be the person I am today here in front of my students”.
Mr. Cruz has been playing the piano since he was 6 years old and gave his first public performance when he was 8 years old. Mr. Cruz also plays the accordion, saxophone, violin, percussion, and anything that looks like a piano keyboard. He attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for High School and received his degree in Piano Performance from Eastern Michigan University. Music led Mr. Cruz to attend other programs and performances in Italy, The Netherlands, London, and New York. Mr. Cruz has choir directed, vocal and instrumentally collaborated, music directed, and worked with all different age groups for the past 9 years in churches, music camps, theater groups, and schools.
Coach Kelton - PE
Coach Kelton joined CEE in 2016 as our Physical Education teacher and intramural sports coach. Outside of CEE, Coach Kelton is an accomplished, certified tennis and pickleball pro. He has coached club soccer, Little League baseball and helped engineer a youth program for the City of Tempe. His favorite hobbies are snowboarding, surfing and computer design. He graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in English. Coach Kelton has been working with children in athletics for nearly 20 years and claims to enjoy the work more and more every day. “I am incredibly honored to be a part of such an excellent school and to have the opportunity to make athletics FUN for so many good kids. I will do my best to guide CEE students up the path to the top of their fitness goals! I will also be focused on bringing more after school sports and activities to CEE.”
Mrs. Youkers - Art
Mrs. Youkers is very proud to hold the distinction of being an original CEE staff member. An Art teacher since 1997, her love of all mediums is clearly evident in the creative projects her students consistently produce. Her fundamental goal is to instill an appreciation of art within each and every one of her students. Mrs. Youkers obtained her Master’s degree in Psychology.