Kellie Burns is the District Executive Officer at the Yavapai Accommodation School District. Prior to becoming DEO, she was the Dean of Students at YASD from July 2014 to February 2016. She was born and raised in Sturgis, South Dakota and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD in 2000. Shortly after college graduation, she moved with her family to Holbrook, Arizona, where she taught 4th grade for five years. In 2005, she and her family moved to Seligman, Arizona, where she taught a variety of grade levels and subject areas for nine years. She earned her ELL Certification in 2005 and Master’s in Administrative Leadership and Supervision in 2009 from the University of Phoenix. She serves on three professional boards: the Forest Fees Management Association, the Arizona Correctional Educators Board and the Arizona Alternative Education Consortium.. She is a proud wife, mother of three and grandmother of three. She currently resides in Paulden with her family and brood of animals on the family hobby farm.
Allison Fontana came to Arizona by way of Utah then by California. A lover of sun and surf at heart, she finally adapted to life in the mountains where she always wonders if it is about to snow. As a lover of numbers and purchase orders, she honed her business acumen working directly with the Yavapai County Education Service Agency for a decade. Fortunately for the district, we have Allison now in the position of Business Manager. Serving with multiple organizations which begin with the letter “A” – the Arizona School Boards Association and the Arizona Association of School Business officials – she brings her effervescent joy and business skill to those entities. While not saving the school from financial disaster, she occupies herself raising two daughters and has a home in Paulden.
Karen McClellan is the Registrar Specialist at the Yavapai Accommodation School District where she is responsible for state reporting and student information systems district wide. She was born in Crown King, Arizona and has lived in Prescott most of her life. She graduated from Prescott High School and later Southwest Institute of Trichology. She married her high school sweetheart, had three children and eventually moved on to education where she has remained for the last sixteen years. She is a current AASBO member and Arizona Correctional Educators member, earning their prestigious 2017 award of Outstanding Correctional Professional of the Year. She has also served as Vice President of the Arizona Association of Special Education Providers and Arizona Certified Surrogate Parent for disadvantaged students. Karen is adept at communicating with adolescents. She has also served on NCA Steering committees at two different schools. Tim Carter, Yavapai County Superintendent, recently gave her the honorary award “Director of First Impressions” because of her friendly and approachable demeanor.
Cherri Redd is the science teacher at Yavapai Accommodation School District. She has worked here since the fall of 2016, and when asked, she states, “I love it here!”. She graduated from Tarleton State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education and received a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University in 2011. She has taught in Arizona since 2003. She also taught for three years in Hawaii. She feels that commitment at YASD to her students is her highest priority. She, along with the rest of the staff, believe that all students will succeed in their career choices and she aims to help them achieve those goals.
Michael Costanzo is the Special Education Teacher at the Yavapai Accommodation School District. He was born in Canoga Park, California, the home of Mission Tortillas. Both of his parents were teachers so his focus of study in high school and college was teaching. After graduating from his K-8th one room school, he attended a college preparatory school where he worked off his tuition grooming the football field and track. Post high school, he attended the University of San Diego with 5 minor courses of study (the basic 4 academic areas and special education). He played football for the University as a running back. He graduated in 1977 and completed 2 additional years of graduate school so he would qualify in 5 certification areas and earn his Master’s Degree. Since no district was hiring new teachers with Master’s Degrees at the time, he created non-profit, on-school site child care programs for the elementary schools named “Klassic Kids”. It is still located in Mira Mesa (on the outskirts of San Diego) California. When his wife and he decided to move to Arizona, he retired from his daycare programs. The city of Mira Mesa threw a parade and a roast for “Uncle Mikey” and the city of San Diego proclaimed May 26th as Mike Costanzo Day.
Once situated in Chino Valley, Arizona, he worked in special education classrooms at Chino Valley High School, Glassford Hill Middle School and Bradshaw Mountain High School. He coached football and track at both high schools. He says that the Yavapai Accommodation School District is a great place to work, a great place to learn and the students are amazing.
He loves to cook anything from Italian food to Sushi and just about anything in between. He is quite skilled in the art of balloon animals (he has always been a clown of sorts). He also loves gardening and fishing. He and his wife have been married 36 years and have four children, eleven grandchildren and a mess of animals that call their house home.
Paul Rogers is the social studies teacher at YASD. He was born and raised in Gilbert, Arizona. He has been married for 41 year and has seven children and sixteen grandchildren. Paul owned and operated a truck until he was about 30 years old, and then moved on to work for an asphalt supply company for seven years. At the age of 37, he decided to go back to school and graduated at the age of 40 with a teaching certificate. At the age of 58, he received his Master’s degree in administration. He lived and taught in Alaska for four years, and still has a home there. Before coming to the Yavapai Accommodation School District, he taught for three years on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Fun fact: Paul has driven the Alcan Highway four times.
Born in Mexico, but Ash Fork, Arizona raised – Evelina Acosta, an otherwise mild mannered child, escaped all of the pitfalls of growing up in a small town. With the ever present spectra of succumbing to peer pressure or playing sports, she hit the field – conquering team sports such as volleyball and softball. To prepare for her role teaching, she also mastered powerlifting.
You’d like to think those active days of youth are behind her, but she has trained horses, had two children, and earned an associates degree in criminal justice. Evelina decided go into teaching, another relatively difficult sport. She finished her degree at GCU, certifying in elementary education and special education. A former power lifter, accelerated by the weight of her studies, she emerged as a super teacher – simply known as Acosta.
Ms. Acosta worked at Tolleson Elementary for two years before her transition to YASD. There she honed her Spanish speaking skills to accelerate student learning in English and she developed her calm superhero demeanor that our students have come to know as the ‘Mama Acosta”. She knows her way around paper work and moves mounds of it in a single bound – rightly so after being the executive assistant at Ash Fork schools for about 4745 days. Being an educational power lifting superhero, she moves students towards academic goals with a single bound. Walking into a classroom, she instantly calms the masses with her teacher stare.
Able to fix things around her house just by staring at them, she spends her non teaching time being mild mannered Evelina just hanging out with family in the country listening to the silence in her superhero crystal palace (which has crickets, bugs, snakes, rodents, and dirt) – There she says, “. .. Is where I work my magic. . .”
Jessica Marks earned a B.A. in Journalism from California State University Northridge and worked as an award-winning professional newspaper reporter in California before she went back to school to become a teacher. After getting an M.A. in English Education from Northern Arizona University, she taught English and Language Arts all over the Prescott Valley area, teaching in charter schools and public schools, middle schools and high schools. She’s worked in co-taught classrooms, honors and AP classrooms, and everything in between. She’s coached archery, run the yearbook, organized out-of-state and international field trips, all while making sure that students are learning and having fun. She was titled 2017’s Yavapai County Overall Teacher of the Year when she worked at Glassford Hill Middle School where she designed a community service organization, started a peer-tutoring program, ran the student newspaper, and headed the honor society in addition to having her students achieve the top AZ Merit test scores in the school.
Jessica loves kayaking, yoga, eating at In-N-Out Burger, writing (she’s hoping to publish a book soon!), and taking naps in hammocks – especially by the beach.
Born and raised in Arizona, Chad Grendell started his career early as a young diamond buyer for one of the world’s largest retail jewelers, earning certificates diamontology and gemology through the Gemological Institute of America. He then moved to Austin, TX to further his career. With years in the field under his belt, he felt it was time for a change. On a whim, he moved to Southern California and began his new venture as a sales and finance manager with Harley-Davidson, a life long passion. Years of riding and racing motorcycles and dirtbikes had taken a toll on his body so he decided he was ready to move back to the state he had called home for so many years and take a break. Shortly after moving back to AZ he met his wife and they moved to their small ranch in Williamson Valley where they have way too many large dogs and enjoy their Clydesdale horses. Together, they have owned a handful of small businesses around the Prescott area and continue to support their children in their own business ventures.
Chad enjoys spending time with his 3 grandchildren which makes him sound and feel older than he really is. He can be found most weekends at various hockey arenas around the US and Arizona taking in the game he enjoys so much.
Almost three years ago, he was asked by his friend to consider a job with YASD. She knew he would be a perfect person to help start a new transition program working with Yavapai County youth on probation developed to help them not only get caught up with their high school credits, but to also provide mentorship and understanding along the way. His dedication to his job and students has been a tremendous asset and invaluable gift to the youth in our community.