Teachers


This is my 17th year teaching here in the Vail School District and my 3rd here at Civano. During this time, I have taught Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, 6th/7th grade and served as a Reading Specialist for 6 years. I have a bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Language, Reading, and Culture, both from the U of A. I also have a reading specialist certification and a special education endorsement. I am married and have 3 young boys and we live right here in the Civano neighborhood. In my spare time (ha!) I enjoy reading, singing, watching movies, riding my bike and I’m learning how to play the guitar!  

My passion for teaching and learning began as a child and is still the guiding factor in my life. I was raised here in Tucson and just love the desert. I’m an Arizona Wildcat, completing two degrees at the University of Arizona. My first degree is in Anthropology because I have always been curious about human societies, their cultures and development. While studying Anthropology, I was an intern at the Arizona State Museum and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. My experience in those two museums inspired me toward my second degree, Elementary Education. I absolutely loved teaching children in these two amazing museums. My quest for a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction is ongoing through Grand Canyon University, I expected to graduate at the end of August 2017!

For eleven years, I lived and taught on a small island in the Western Pacific called Saipan (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). Teaching in this culturally diverse population of people was the experience of a lifetime. My time there allowed me to travel to many different countries and gave me a unique perspective on the world. What better way to combine my passion for teaching, learning, and curiosity about other cultures!

I have two wonderful children, my son just began his college career at the U of A, and my daughter is a Junior in high school.  I just got engaged at Thanksgiving, we are planning a spring wedding. My family and I enjoy hiking, camping, watching movies, traveling and just being silly together. In my free time I love reading, drawing, and doing just about anything outside.

After a career as a software product manager, I started volunteering at my daughter’s school in the Vail School District, while helping start Civano Community School as one of the first residents. After a year volunteering in the math classes, I became a parapro and then a teacher, earning my post baccalaureate degree in Elementary Education.  It’s been almost over 15 years!  During that time I also earned my MA in Curriculum and Learning. I love teaching math and science through real-life application and exploration, so I am constantly seeking new ideas to incorporate into my evolving curriculum.

Joanna K. Norman is the middle school science and math teacher.  Joanna was originally part of our Civano Community as a parent and volunteer. Both of her daughters attended Civano for K-8th grade and she volunteered at the school teaching electives and as a lunch lady.  She joined our staff as a teacher in 2014.  Joanna holds a BA in Biology from Pomona College and a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Irvine.  Her passions have always been nature and teaching.  She came to Civano after taking time off from full-time work to raise her daughters.  She joined Civano with 10 years of teaching and teacher professional development experience at the university level.  In her spare time, Joanna is a quilter and hiker.  She also volunteers as a Guide Dog Puppy raiser and you will often see her at school and around the neighborhood with a puppy in training.

Civano is a community school that is unlike the rest. Students are encouraged to use their imagination when they play; creating their own “potions” and “shops”. Our students learn to be part of a community, build independence, practice problem solving skills, and collaborate with one another.

Civano is our home away from home. We work together for a common good. Welcome!

Gianni Wanaka- Administrative Assistant
If you have a question call me or come by any time!