Tricia (Mercado) Shields

A Pensar Academy Founding Board Member, is a proud resident of Glendale who received her accounting degree from Arizona State University. Ms. Mercado has a strong background in finance including experience as a charter school auditor. As an Accounting Manager for 6 years with Kelcka, Wilklins, and Klecka, Ms. Mercado specialized in auditing and grants management. At present, Ms. Mercado is a financial controller for the non-profit, Desert Botanical Gardens. Ms. Mercado brings a keen understanding of financial compliance regarding non-profit organizations to the Board at Pensar Academy.

Sandra Zupetz

Board Member, Co-Founder. In 2014, two local school teachers, Sandra Zupetz and Patricia Paddock, applied for and were accepted into the Arizona Charter School Association’s Fellowship, a program that incorporated research and charter development, visitations of highly performing charter schools around the country, and guidance and mentoring via successful school leaders from across the Valley. One of these founders, Ms. Zupetz, continues to serve on the Pensar Academy Board. She brings a proven track record of high achievement in the classroom, a strong background in program design and implementation, and, as an author of Pensar Academy’s charter, perspective on the vision and mission for this school since its inception.

Jason Klonoski

is the President of Morgan Realty Partners. His responsibilities include overseeing property acquisitions, development, and portfolio management in the Southwest. Mr. Klonoski began his career at Cushman & Wakefield in 1994 following a career in professional baseball. During his career he has established himself as a knowledgeable market leader, advising development clients on the underwriting, financing, construction and disposition of over 7 million square feet with a value in excess of $250 million. Mr. Klonoski currently sits on the board of The University of Arizona’s school of Finance, TeamCFA, and Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix Executive Council.

Gerry Garcia

Founding Board Member, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Consumer and Environmental Sciences from Point Loma Nazarene University as well as a Master’s degree in Special Education from Arizona State University. Gerry maintains a gifted endorsement and has been in the education world for over 10 years as a general education teacher, a gifted teacher, and a special education teacher. Prior to Gerry’s current role as Director of Operations at Pensar Academy, she worked in various positions within a local school district, engaged in site director positions, was specially selected for committees for professional enhancement, and served as a consultant within the special education world. In addition, Gerry has a background in business where she has owned and operated various small businesses, has worked with a myriad of non-profit groups, and currently holds a position on the Advisory Board for a local public company. Gerry has also served as a board member for multiple non-profit organizations that provide specific support to kids.

Barb Sanderson

Barb Sanderson is Pensar’s newest board member.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from ASU and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from NAU.  She has been in education for more than 37 years and brings a strong literacy perspective to the board. During her years in the classroom she taught 2, 3, 4, and 5th grades and then became an literacy specialist and an instructional leader coaching teachers and teaching classes to adults in both the Peoria and Glendale School Districts. While a instructional and literacy specialist, she was involved in designing programs and curriculum that focused student’s learning goals on quality and high expectations. Barb has consulted with teachers on literacy throughout the US and even Australia. Currently, she is using her experience and her reading endorsement to work with students in Deer Valley to improve their reading skills.