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 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.
Ms. Fleeton is joining the CEE staff for the 2020-2021 school year!
Mrs. Marquis has been teaching at Center for Educational Excellence since 2003. She spent her first seven years teaching second grade and then made the move to teaching first grade. Jody has a dual Bachelor Degree from Arizona State University in Early Childhood Education and Psychology. She also has a Masters Degree from Northern Arizona University, focusing on Reading Curriculum. She lives with her husband, daughter, and son in Chandler. In her free time she loves to run, read, and remodel furniture.
Miss O’Nan has been a part of the CEE family since she attended school here. She started out in the baby room and graduated from CEE in 8th grade, and began her teaching career in 2019 in the same room where she attended first grade! Over the last year and a half, she was a substitute teacher in almost every class at the school. Miss O’Nan attended college at Northern Arizona University studying special and elementary education. Advocating for people of diverse abilities is something you will always find her doing. She strives to create a positive classroom environment where each student feels important. During her time away from school, you can find her traveling with family, working with individuals with disabilities, and watching the newest Disney movie.
Ms. Hauck is joining the CEE staff for the 2020-2021 school year!
Mrs. Kelly joined the CEE staff in 2014 as a second grade teacher. Prior to coming to CEE, she taught preschool through Junior High, along with substituting in local private, public and charter schools. Having lived in Arizona for almost twenty years, Mrs. Kelly graduated from Ottawa University with her Elementary Education degree. She is excited to be part of a staff and school that creates such a strong and close knit community. She will endeavor to make sure that her own classroom reflects the strong community feeling of the school. When not at school, Mrs . Kelly is busy with her husband, an Army officer, and their three children!
Ms. Bomberry joined the CEE staff in 2017 after previously teaching third grade. Ms. Bomberry is originally from a small town near Chicago, and earned her degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Illinois University. In her classroom, every student is an explorer and will have the opportunity to complete many creative projects and set individual goals. In addition, students will work in a team-oriented classroom and celebrate accomplishments together. When not at CEE, Ms. Bomberry enjoys watching all things science fiction including Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, and so much more!
Ms. Howalt is joining the CEE staff for the 2020-2021 school year!
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 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!
Mrs. Smolenski has been teaching since 2001 and joined our CEE family in 2012. She has taught everything from kindergarten to fifth grade. She graduated from Ottawa University in Tempe with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She has earned an Early Childhood Development endorsement, as well as an E.S.L endorsement. She is firm believer in the quote by John Wooden “Be observing constantly. Stay open minded. Be eager to learn and improve.” This philosophy is true of her own learning as well as those of her students. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters.
Mrs. Sproat joined the CEE staff for the 2019-2020 school year, and is excited to be teaching at the same place she attended elementary school! Mrs. Sproat has taught fifth grade previously, and especially loves teaching Math. She received her B.A. in Family and Human Development and Masters in Elementary Education. A few things Mrs. Sproat loves are roller skating, Nutella, and traveling with her family.
Ms. Kirksey is joining the CEE staff for the 2020-2021 school year!
Ms. Matsch is a 22-year veteran teacher who began her career teaching third grade at Hamilton Elementary School in 1997. More recently, she taught infant brain development for a non-profit organization and middle school English at ASU Preparatory Academy. Ms. Matsch is committed to educating students and has dedicated herself to becoming a life long educator and learner and strives to instill a similar desire in all of her students. She holds a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and a Bachelors in Elementary Education from Arizona State University. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her two teenage sons, hiking, reading, and practicing yoga.
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!
Miss 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 and the Curriculum Support Coordinator. Miss Nelson received her undergrad in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and also has a Masters in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. When she is not at CEE, Miss Nelson enjoys cooking, traveling, reading, and hanging out with her nephew.
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.
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 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. O’Hanlon joined our team in 2002 and has been our librarian extraordinaire ever since. During her time at CEE, our library has amassed over 17,000 books and the list continues to grow. When meeting with our students, her lessons include not only fundamental library skills, but also serve to enhance the classroom objectives for the particular teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and playing with her granddaughter.
Ms. Wingo has been working at CEE since 2014. In 2015, she began teaching Spanish at CEE for our seventh and eighth graders, and in 2016 extended her classes to 4-8 graders. Prior to joining our staff, she taught at a Dual Immersion Charter School in California. She is a graduate of California State University Long Beach with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies and dual emphases in Spanish and Chicano/Latino Studies. Ms. Wingo also has a Masters Degree from Claremont Graduate University in Bilingual Education. She lives in Tempe with her mom, two sons, and a daughter. In her free time, she loves reading, photography, cooking and travel.
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.