Thirteen Northern Arizona University graduates are among the state’s 25 teachers recently noted as outstanding by the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona.

Jennifer Mageary, a special education teacher at Killip Elementary School, is among this year’s winners. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degree at NAU’s College of Education and currently helps to identify learning disabilities in children in kindergarten through second grade.The Rodel Exemplary Teacher Initiative recognizes teachers in high-need schools in Coconino, Maricopa and Pima counties each year. Thirteen of the 25 finalists were selected to receive a $10,000 savings bond and appointment to supervise and mentor six Rodel Promising Student Teachers for the next three years. The remaining 12 finalists will receive a $1,000 savings bond.

“NAU prepared me to be the teacher I am today,” Mageary said. “It is a great honor to receive the Rodel Exemplary Teacher award. I am proud to be part of Killip and love every minute of teaching.”

Eight of the 13 finalists earned degrees from NAU with one additional winner currently working toward a master’s degree at the university.

“It’s not surprising that so many of our graduates are being recognized by the Rodel Foundation,” said Gypsy Denzine, dean of NAU’s College of Education. “We are extremely proud to be a partner with Rodel in our collective efforts to have a positive impact in Arizona schools.”

The College of Education places one student with each of Flagstaff’s six Rodel teachers per semester, with next fall marking the fourth consecutive year of the university’s partnership with Rodel.

Because the university has 25 to 30 applicants each semester, the Rodel Foundation currently allows NAU students to apply for placement in Maricopa County. Nine students from NAU have been selected for the Maricopa County program in the past amid competition with students from Arizona State University, University of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University and Scottsdale Community College.

“Northern Arizona University’s preparation of teachers is an exceptional asset to this state,” said NAU President John Haeger. “Our graduates are leaders in the classroom who teach and mentor students to become the next generation of leaders.”

Ten NAU students have been named Rodel Promising Teachers for the spring, bringing the total number of students trained and mentored by Rodel Exemplary Teachers to 57.

The Rodel Foundation also recognized leaders in high-need schools this year. Seven of 12 finalists of the Rodel Exemplary Principal award in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties hold degrees from NAU.

Rodel Exemplary Teachers

Winners Degree from NAU Current City
Joe Caslin Master’s in progress Flagstaff
Crystal Estrella Bachelor’s Tucson
Linda Knoblock Master’s Mesa
Jennifer Mageary Bachelor’s and master’s Flagstaff
Tina Merlina Master’s Phoenix
Nicole Nipros Master’s Phoenix
Linda Omer Master’s Tempe
Patricia Perkins Master’s Phoenix
Sakeenah Smith Master’s Phoenix


Finalists Degree from NAU Current City
Danielle Brady Bachelor’s Phoenix
Carmen Cons Master’s Phoenix
Linda Hart Bachelor’s, master’s in progress Flagstaff
Joelle McCord Master’s Phoenix
Jamie Yoder Master’s Flagstaff

Rodel Exemplary Principals

Winners Degree from NAU Current City
Robin Dahlman Bachelor’s Anthem
Jeff Lavender Master’s Casa Grande
Elizabeth Redondo Master’s Tucson
Melissa Wisner Bachelor’s Goodyear


Finalists Degree from NAU Current City
Rosanna Hidalgo Master’s Phoenix
Cheri LaRochelle Master’s Tucson
Robert Miranda Master’s Tucson