Sandra Zupetz


Ms. Zupetz, grew up in Virginia, Minnesota, a small Iron Range town whose social calendar often revolved around school activities. Ms. Zupetz brings this “small town ambiance” combined with a top-notch curriculum to the students at Pensar. With a B.A. in Sociology from the College of St. Rose (Albany, NY) and a M.A. in Educational Leadership through Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ), Ms. Zupetz has served as a classroom teacher, a program architect, and an educational administrator in Glendale, Arizona for over a decade.  On her personal note, Ms. Zupetz enjoys attending local sports and performing arts venues around metropolitan Phoenix with her twins.

Gerry Garcia

Director of Operations

Gerry Garcia, the Director of Operations, 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.  Working in various positions within a local school district, she engaged in site director positions, specially selected committees for professional enhancement, and 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.

Samuel Frances-Vazquez

STEM Director

STEM Director, born and raised in Guayama, Puerto Rico. Mr. Francés Vázquez earned his Bachelor of Science in Microbiology with minors in Chemistry and Social Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao. In 2007, Mr. Francés-Vázquez graduated Cum Laude and was awarded the Aguedo Mojica Award for his leadership and academic excellence. Mr. Francés Vázquez received the National Science Foundation’s Bridge to Teaching fellowship to pursue his Master in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. Currently, Mr. Francés Vázquez is pursuing his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Grand Canyon University. As an educator he has served as teacher, induction coach for first and second year Math and Science teachers, grant facilitator, instructional coach, and program manager. Mr. Francés Vázquez enjoys activities that involve nature, sporting events, and performing arts performances. Regardless of his role/title Mr. Francés Vázquez is a teacher at heart and nothing fulfills him more than aiding in the academic achievement of all students.

Daniela Medina

Director of Student Services

Miss Medina grew up in the Maryvale neighborhood located in Phoenix, Arizona.  She received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and her Masters in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University. This is her 10th year in education, where she has held various roles such as Teacher, ELD Coach, and Achievement Advisor. During her years in education, Miss Medina has received numerous accolades:  Rodel Student Teacher, Rookie of the Year, Teacher of the Year, and she was recently accepted into the MCESSA Aspiring Principal program. Her personal goal is to try to provide equity in education and to encourage students, at a young age, to start thinking about college.


Brizeida Espinoza

Office Manager

Mrs. Espinoza brings to Pensar Academy over 15 years of front and back office experience.  With a specialty in community outreach, Mrs. Espinoza loves connecting with our families and building solid relationships with all members of the Pensar Academy family.  A proud mom, Mrs. Espinoza is an avid soccer parent who often speaks of her ” two handsome boys” aged 8 and 18!

Aaryk Drake

Science Teacher

Mr. Aaryk Drake has three Bachelor Degrees from different universities around the United States.  Mr. Drake graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, from the American Military University with a Bachelor Degree in English, and from the University of California Santa Barbara with a Bachelor Degree in History.   At Pensar Academy, Mr. Drake is one of our resident Math and Science Teachers.  On a personal note, Mr. Drake is a retired Army Sergeant who served in the 82nd Airborne.  Mr. Drake’s hobbies include carpentry, football watching, and hiking.  Mr. Drake keeps up on his Physical Training nearly every day.  The motorcycle in the parking lot is Mr. Drake’s.  He has ridden a Motorcycle as his primary transportation for most of his life.

Nathan Brussow

Fifth Grade Teacher

Mr. Brussow was born and raised in Southern California. He attended Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, CA and went on to attend California State University Fullerton where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with honors.  He has recently received a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in research.  Mr. Brussow is a huge Disney fan and states, “I own over 60 Disney movies and have more than 200 collectible Disney Pins from Disneyland.” He also claims to have been to Disney parks over 150 times in his life. He is also hockey fanatic. Mr. Brussow attended all 12 Home Playoff games for the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 and saw them win the Stanley Cup. He is also passionate about music and has attended concerts of various genres including rock, pop, hip hop, reggae and metal.  A returning Pensar Academy teacher, Mr. Brussow will teach 5th grade this school year. Prior to becoming a teacher, he was a Corrections Officer and Sheriff’s Deputy in Nebraska.

Katie Thomson

Fourth Grade Teacher

Mrs. Katie Thomson graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.  Prior to being the Pensar Academy Fourth Grade Teacher, Mrs. Thomson has almost a decade of teaching experience at St. Louis the King Catholic School in Phoenix, AZ.  On a personal note, Mrs. Thomson’s husband, Paul, serves as a Firefighter with the City of Glendale.  She has two kids, Rylee and Alex.  Her family loves to travel and explore new places together, such as San Diego and Flagstaff.  An avid reader, Mrs. Thomson could spend hours in a book store looking at all the new books!

Mary Medina

PBL Teacher Social Studies

In Mrs. Medina’s own words: “The one desire that I possess is to teach.”  Mrs. Medina has been teaching for 18 years in all grades, except Kindergarten and Fourth Grade. She possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Arizona State University, a Master’s Degree is in Bilingual Elementary Education from Arizona State University, and a 2nd Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University in Administration. Mrs. Medina was awarded “Teacher of the Year” for Sunset Vista Elementary School and was also runner-up “Teacher of the Year” for the entire Glendale Elementary School District. Mrs. Medina is looking forward to this year is very excited to show the students of Pensar Academy how to become 21stcentury thinkers!

Jean Sullivan

Art Teacher

Mrs. Sullivan graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Art Education and from Arizona State University with a Master of Education in Public School Administration. Mrs. Sullivan is a college instructor at Estrella Mountain Community College.  She is an art business owner and a docent at the Phoenix Art Museum.


Samuel Moya

Middle School ELA Teacher


Mayra Duarte

Instructional Assistant

Miss Duarte was born in Sonora, Mexico and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She grew up in our local community and is aware of the academic challenges students face, as she herself came across many of these challenges growing up. Miss Duarte strives professionally through dedicating her time on giving back to our community through her commitment to education, both with children and adults. Prior to working as an Instructional assistant at Pensar Academy, Miss Duarte worked as a paraprofessional for 3 school years, pulling small groups of scholars for reading interventions. She was also the district AZELLA Test Coordinator. Her passion and commitment to serve this community is inspiring.

Amy Goering

Instructional Assistant

Miss Goerring studied Early Childhood Education at College of Dupage in Illinois. She is currently attending Northern Arizona University where she is studying Elementary Education. She has 5 year of teaching experience in preschool and Pre-k.  On a personal note, Amy is an art and music enthusiast who thoroughly enjoys working with children. She is looking forward to the 2017-18 school year and working with the students toward achieving continued academic success!


Ruth Vences

Instructional Assistant

Miss Vences was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from Apollo High School in 2014. Miss Vences served as a Paraprofessional and Substitute Teacher in local schools. Her dream is to continue to work with children while furthering her education to become a teacher in the future. In her free time, Miss Vences is active in her church and loves spending time with her one-year-old daughter. Miss Vences is very excited to be working for Pensar Academy as a Instructional Assistant and hopes to make a significant difference in the lives of its scholars.


Tiffany Torres

Instructional Assistant

Miss Torres was born and raised in Glendale, Arizona. She attended Phoenix Community College with a focus on Criminal Justice Studies. She went back to the neighborhood she grew up in and became a Director at the Glendale Community Center. She aspires to give back to her community and give students with similar backgrounds to her the opportunity to have a role model that believes in them. She now mentors youth outside of school with various organizations. She has now become part of the Pensar Academy Team and is ready to share her knowledge and passion with the students and staff at our school!