Main Campus Teachers & Paraprofessionals
Mrs. Shannon Weilenmann is one of our 4th-grade teachers. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. She has been in the educational field for 17 years, 7 years as a paraprofessional, and 10 as a lead teacher at Acorn. Mrs. Weilenmann has completed the SEI training amongst many others. Her favorite part of teaching is seeing students grow and master new skills. When Mrs. Weilenmann is not in the classroom; you can find her camping (usually by a lake).
Ms. Amanda Wallace is one of our 4th grade teachers. She received her Associates of Arts in Elementary Education from Arizona Western College and a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. Ms. Wallace has been teaching for 5 years and this year will be her second year with Acorn. Her favorite part of teaching is witnessing the “light bulb moment” when a student achieves a goal or grasps a concept they have been struggling with.
Ms. Felicia Cummins is one of our talented paraprofessionals. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Early Childhood Development from Purdue University Global. She has been with Acorn for 3 years and has worked with students from preschool to 4th grade. Ms. Felicia is excited to continue working with kids and watching them learn and grow. In her free time she enjoys many hobbies including camping, reading, and spending time with family.
Ms. Shannon Benton is one of our 5th grade teachers. She has been with Acorn for 12 years. She worked with several grade levels as a paraprofessional. After finishing her Bachelors in Speech-Language Sciences at NAU she completed her Highly Qualified Teaching certificate. Ms. Benton is always looking to expand her skills as an educator by completing different training opportunities such as Love & Logic and Youth Mental Health First Aid. Her passion for building bright futures is evident when you step into her classroom.
Miss Jessie Parra is a paraprofessional at Acorn. She has an associates degree from Yavapai College. Miss Jessie has worked in the educational field for 5 years, 3 of which have been with Acorn. Miss Jessie continues to expand her knowledge through trainings such as Youth Mental Health First Aid and other professional developments. She loves working with students and seeing their growth.
Ms. Cassy Chenoweth is excited to start a new chapter here at Acorn Montessori as lead teacher in the 5th grade classroom. Ms. Chenoweth comes to us after teaching in Cottonwood for the last two years. Ms. Chenoweth graduated from NAU in 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. In her free time Ms. Chenoweth likes to do all sorts of crafts and draw. She is looking forward to becoming a part of the school and local community.
Mr. Ilario Dera is a paraprofessional at Acorn. He has been in the educational field for 5 years, 3 of which have been with Acorn. Mr. Ilario is currently working to complete his degree at Yavapai College. He has a strong background in working with young people who have autism. His favorite thing about working at Acorn is watching students grow and use the knowledge and skills they have gained.
Mrs. Jamie Radford is new to Acorn this year! She will be teaching one of our 6th grade classrooms. After serving 4 years in the Navy Mrs. Radford started teaching. This will be Mrs. Radford’s 19th year teaching! She earned her bachelor’s degree in Science of Education from NAU and then a Master’s of Education and Curriculum from University of Phoenix. Mrs. Radford has four children and 10 grandchildren. In her free time, she loves to travel. Fun fact: She has been to every continent other than Antarctica and 42 states!
Mr. Tom Flores is one of our middle school paraprofessionals. He is currently working towards his Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development. He has been in the educational field for 5 years, 2 of which have been with Acorn. His work in the behavioral health field provided him with skills he has been able to translate to the classroom. He strives to connect with students and build their educational foundation. In his free time, Mr. Flores enjoys basketball, video games, and raising his children.
Mrs. Jill Jimison is joining Acorn for her first year this year! She is a recent graduate of Hope International University. This will be her second year working in education as a lead teacher. Previously, she has worked as a tutor for students with disabilities and most recently taught middle school Latin. Her favorite part of working with students is learning from them. She is recently married, and they enjoy their pet cat. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, knitting, reading, and art. We are so excited for Mrs. Jimison to join the Acorn family!
Ms. Karrissa Kee rejoined the Acorn family last year to assist as a paraprofessional in the 6th grade classroom. Ms. Karrissa has a natural connection with middle school students and can’t wait to start with them again this year. She loves getting to know each individual and watching them grow as they make new friends, come out of their shells, and have fun while in school. In her free time, she likes to decorate her house, play with her dogs, and craft at home.
Middle School Math
Mrs. Kati Young is our middle school Math teacher. She received her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from NAU. Mrs. Young also has her Middle School ELA and SEI endorsements. She is going into her 5th year with Acorn. Prior to teaching she gained many skills through her work with developmentally disabled adults in group home settings. She loves working with students and “getting a front seat to watching their growth”!
Middle School Social Studies
Mr.Don Gagnon is our middle school Social Studies teacher. Mr. Gagnon received his Masters in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix. He has been in the educational field for 12 years 2 of which have been with Acorn. He has also completed his SEI training. Mr. Gagnon loves helping students learn and experience new things. He enjoys fishing, hiking, camping, and spending time with his family.
Mrs. Karen Morrison is a middle school paraprofessional. This will be her second school year with Acorn. Mrs. Morrison has a Bachelors in Health and Exercise Science with a Teacher Certification from Rowan University. She has been in the educational field for 7 years, previously as a P.E. teacher. She enjoys helping students prepare for their futures.
Miss. Lucy Larrondo is a paraprofessional that recently began working with Acorn. She is currently going to Yavapai College to get her Associates of Art degree. After completing her Associate’s, she will be attending Arizona State University to get her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. Miss. Larrondo has learned so much working with Acorn and loves seeing the middle schoolers be the best they can be. Miss. Larrondo enjoys taking her dog on hikes, spending time with her family and reading books.
Middle School Science
Ms. Shauna McKay is our middle school Science teacher. She has been with Acorn for 9 years. Ms. McKay earned her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona and is certified in middle grades science. Seeing students grow into young adults is her favorite part of being a teacher.
Middle School ELA
Ms. Emily Krieger is joining Acorn this year as our 7th and 8th grade ELA teacher. Ms. Krieger is coming to us from Michigan and is excited to explore all Arizona has to offer while settling down as a middle school teacher. Ms. Krieger’s teaching experience includes two years teaching in Japan! She went to Kent State University for her B.A. in teaching English and then attended Grand Canyon University and received her Master’s in Secondary Education. Ms. Krieger also has her certification in teaching English as a second language. She is really looking forward to getting to know her new community and hopefully experiencing some amazing adventures. Ms. Krieger absolutely loves to sew, read, watch tv, learn to cook new things, cross stitch, and learn new skills. She is very excited for this new year!
Mr. Adam is one of our well-rounded paraprofessionals. This will be his second year with Acorn. However, he has been a paraprofessional for 9 years! He earned his bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Phoenix. He enjoys working in a school setting because it is a new experience every day. When he is not at work, he enjoys playing video games and driving.
Honors & Gifted Education
Ms. Gretchen Whittaker is the Gifted Education teacher at our Main Campus. This will be her 6th year at Acorn, and has had experience teaching in many grades with Middle School History being her focus the last three years. Ms. Whittaker earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from University of Phoenix, and is currently completing her gifted education endorsement from Estrella Mountain College. Ms. Whittaker is the master of project based learning and loves seeing students figure out things on their own with the tools and skills she has helped them build. In her free time, she loves to be outdoors camping, hiking, and kayaking with her family. She also loves volunteering as a scout leader and hunting down antiques to buy and sell.
Miss Jamie King is our Behavioral Interventionist in the Wellness Center. Miss Jamie is a veteran of the United States Airforce. She has earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Behaviors from Northern Arizona University and is currently working towards a Master’s in School Counseling from Grand Canyon University. She has been with Acorn for 2 years. Miss Jamie enjoys lifting and camping in her freetime.
Mr. Matt Rice is our Wellness Paraprofessional and Athletic Director. Prior to joining the Acorn team he worked in law enforcement. Mr. Rice has been in the school setting for 10 years as a School Resource Officer and a coach for athletics up to the varsity level. After retiring from law enforcement, he came to Acorn and has been with us for 4 years. Working with children and watching them accomplish their goals and overcome adversity along the way is Mr. Rice’s favorite part of being an educator.
Ms. Ashley Storm is a paraprofessional here at Acorn. She has been with Acorn for 5 years. Throughout her time with Acorn she has participated in and completed many professional developments. Ms. Storm has worked with children for many years in different capacities. When she has free time she enjoys crocheting, camping, and spending time with her kids.
Mrs. Julie Stephenson is one of our full time substitutes as well as a member of our transportation department. This is her second year with Acorn. Prior to being in the educational field, she had experience within the medical field. She has experience working with children of all ages in a variety of capacities. She has previously operated an in-home daycare and serves as a foster parent. She loves watching students grow and learn. In her free time, she enjoys riding her Harley and spending time with her family.
Mrs. Lesa Gosney is an exceptional member of our paraprofessional team. She has been with Acorn for 7 years. She has her associates degree and many hours towards her bachelors degree geared towards K-8 education. Her passion for teaching started when she tutored others during college. Mrs. Lesa’s excitement to engage students through meaningful learning is evident in her daily work. In her free time she enjoys doing anything outside with her family.