fbpx

TEAM

Our team is dedicated to designing for what humans need for growth and flourishing.

Andrew Collins

Founding School Director

I believe there is no better way to spend one’s life than to support the joyful flourishing of others. In addition to School Director for Phoenix Modern, I serve as the President & CEO of New Learning Ventures, our operating nonprofit corporation. In the last two decades, I have supported the design and launch of schools and learning experiences all over Arizona as a classroom teacher, educational entrepreneur, director, and guide. My greatest passions in life are to love others, imagine new opportunities, and inspire people to be their best selves. Under New Learning Ventures, I also support Acton Academy Phoenix, a micro-independent school and the Arizona Children’s Business Fair, a one-day event for aspiring young entrepreneurs in K-8th grade. I love living in Central Phoenix with my wife Alicia and our two daughters, Alina and Adeline.

Email Andrew

Jessica Taylor

Lead Guide/Middle School Guide

I often say that I began my career in education while running birthday parties at an ice cream shop in my college town. I discovered that kids are funny and creative- they are eternally optimistic- they have an endless supply of energy and enthusiasm. And so, in between games of Hot Potato and Simon Says and over mountains of sprinkles and whipped cream, I committed myself to working with children for the rest of my career. Since 2005, I have worked with children of all ages, ranging from preschoolers to undergrads, and have supported hundreds of new and aspiring educators across the Valley. I have completed advanced coursework in Developmental Psychology and have a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. I am an avid reader and researcher and believe that the learning environment can be as magical and joyful as a birthday party at an ice cream parlor (hopefully a little less sticky).

Email Jessica

Charlie Kaplan

Founding Operations Director

I am from Chicago and I like to build things. From electric go-carts in my dorm room to hyper-targeted local advertising campaigns and scalable school systems. My journey in education started five years ago when moved out to Arizona to help build the highest performing high school in Maryvale. With a double major in Economics and Business Management along with a focus in Entrepreneurship from Purdue University, I am excited to be reimagining school with our Phoenix Modern team! I love the challenge of trying new things and exploring new places. When I am not checking items off of a checklist you can find me on a basketball court or out for a bike ride. If you see me riding my bike to work go ahead and honk as you pass by.

Email Charlie

Linda Brake

Special Education Director

Throughout my career in special education, I have found the greatest joy is watching students learn that they can accomplish hard things. Learning isn’t always easy, but through working on it together and having fun, you can accomplish great things. I have taught school in West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and with the Department of Defense. I am certified and licensed to teach both regular education and special education. I have taught every age from infants to adults. I have obtained a Doctorate Degree in Instructional Design and love hiking all the trails around the valley.

Email Linda

Allison Wear

Primary Guide

Working in the school system in some capacity has been my experience for the past 17 years. I started in public schools as an Early Childhood Special Educator after completing my post-baccalaureate in Early Childhood Education at Arizona State University in 2005. Wanting to weave my B.F.A. in Photography into my career, I took a pause from teaching in 2008 to pursue my graduate degree in Clinical Art Therapy at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. As a licensed family therapist, I worked in several settings in the LA area including outpatient psychiatric programs and therapeutic schools that contracted with LAUSD. Our family found ourselves in Arizona in 2018 and I resumed work in the public school setting; this time with a solid foundation in therapeutic and social emotional practices. Having seen my own child flourish in Phoenix Modern, I knew that this was exactly the type of school I wanted to become a part of. In the classroom, I enjoy weaving art, creativity, play and hands-on learning experiences into the learning process. Outside of the classroom you will find me reading, exploring fun and quirky places, working on my antique mall booth, seeking out vintage clothing, thrift shopping, grabbing coffee and most of all hanging out with my wonderful husband, daughter and our chihuahua, Frito.

Email Allison

Lola Colón Vargas

Elementary Guide

I am originally from Caguas, Puerto Rico but have been fortunate enough to travel and live all over Europe and the United States. This constant movement has shaped my perspective on education and what the path to a well-rounded education looks like, a path that has led me to join the Phoenix Modern team. I received my bachelor’s from Portland State University in Oregon and recently completed my Masters in Elementary Education. As a lifelong learner, I aspire to travel to every corner of the world and learn from as many people as possible. When I am not in the classroom you can find me enjoying time with my English Bull Terrier named Zeus, traveling, or at a concert. I also enjoy going to art museums and trying new restaurants.

Email Lola

Kiara Johansen

Primary Guide

I am a desert girl with a cosmopolitan heart. With a Greek grandfather, a Panamanian mother, and a Danish last name, you could say my passion for global cultures is in my DNA. I am born and raised in the Valley and currently live in Phoenix with my wonderful parents, sister, and senior cat Stratus. I recently graduated from Arizona State University in 2021 as the Mary Lou Fulton’s Teacher’s College Outstanding Undergraduate with a degree in Special and Elementary education. Education has been my passion since childhood and I decided to become an educator at nine years old! I love to study international educational approaches and had an incredible opportunity in 2018 to study abroad in Reggio Emilia, Italy to study the Montessori and Reggio Emilia approaches. The authentic learning experiences I witnessed there and the learners I met truly changed my life and teaching philosophy forever. I just concluded my first-year teaching experience as a K-5 special education teacher and work to promote the values inclusion, diversity and creativity in the classroom community. Outside of the studio, you can find me perusing the aisles at Barnes and Noble, picking up succulents at the Home Depot, or purchasing some crafting supplies at Michaels. I am so excited to start this journey with Phoenix Modern this school year!

Email Kiara

Meliza Brillantes

Art Specialist

I’m a certified and licensed teacher, a Star Wars fan, an artist of many sorts and an advocate for social justice issues including accessibility to the arts and quality education. I have built much of my skills and work with diverse populations and marginalized communities. From working in a preschool for homeless children to serving as a doula to refugee families to helping a community build a multi-age one room schoolhouse, I love to share my insight and experience with the people I work with. I have taught, volunteered and organized in various education, social service and arts collaborations in Hawaii, Charlottesville, Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Washington DC communities for over 25 years . I have worked in classrooms and programs from pre-school through high school and also as a trainer of teachers, a court advocate for children, a coop school facilitator, an organizer of arts events in the cities I’ve lived in and as a homeschooling parent. I have always known my purpose in life would be deeply connected with supporting families and amplifying children’s voices in the classroom, in the studio, on paper or in the streets. A mother of three and an avid traveler, I can squeeze in time to create with my family in my home studio and can still bring good energy and passion to my work with children and families. I’m excited that the Phoenix Modern community will be part of my purpose!

Email Meliza

Jameg Campbell

Movement, Health & Wellness Specialist

I’m originally from New York City (the big apple) a place where the winters are cold and the summer are pretty hot and humid. I have always had a love for coaching and mentoring the youth. Playing team sports as a youth taught me discipline, structure, and accountability on and off the court, which enhanced my passionate to teach. While in NYC, I had the opportunity to work with the Harlem Children’s Zone for over 15 years. This organization helped members of the community with after-school studies, free dinners, teams sports and above all a healthy environment. I recently moved to Phoenix in search of hot blistering summers, scorpions, and mild winters (HA, HA, HA,). My quirkiness might be a little corny but I hope to bring a sense of energy, excitement, and awareness of the health world. 

Email Jameg

Stephanie Jo Stratton

Elementary Guide

If the passion for teaching can be inherited, then teaching is definitely in my genes. My mother and grandmother taught collectively for 90 years and my dad is a retired professor. I grew up taking summer camping trips and vacations benefitting from the family having extended summer breaks. I have visited 45 states and lived in five, including the gorgeous and wild Alaska.

I am originally from Greenville, South Carolina and went to The USC (University of South Carolina – Go Gamecocks!). I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in art studio and graphic arts and found my way to Washington DC immediately after graduation. During the Clinton administration, I worked as a marketing, graphic designer for Price Waterhouse and had a truly amazing and fulfilling first career. But with teaching in my blood, graduate school was the natural next step which brought me to Arizona. I earned a Masters in Education at ASU with a focus on early child development through play. I am not an Arizona native but have lived here for 25 years and raised my son here, so I now call Scottsdale my home.

I have been teaching for over 20 years with an SEI endorsement. Educating children from multicultural backgrounds has gifted me with unusual and awarding experiences. Regardless of background, all children are deserving of the same securities and respect to encompass their own identity and strengths. Believing in and supporting relationships with students allows them to open up their hearts and minds, take risks to reach their potential and thrive in their environment. For my entire academic journey, my parents and my teachers believed in me. It’s my turn to give back and inspire young learners.

Email Stephanie

Jennifer Scaggs

Primary Guide

When I think of school, it gives me such joy to know that there will always be more to learn! My 10 years in education have been filled with opportunities to guide young learners toward their highest potential. I earned my Media Arts degree from Hampton Institute, with a strong focus in journalism. Upon moving to Phoenix in the early 90’s, I published a magazine written for children by children, as a means for young people to better understand diversity in their community. It was that adventure which led me to teaching, allowing me to work with elementary schools to promote language skills, the art of communication, and the value of equity and inclusion. After I began teaching, I was also honored to be one of 25 selected from a national roster of applicants to participate in the Phoenix Teaching Fellows program. My years of teaching include K-8, and I have taught 2nd grade for the past 7 years. I’ve raised 2 sons, 2 daughters, …and one bouncy Bichon. I am also privileged to have 7 wonderful grands – so, little learners continue to bring me joy, both, inside and outside of school. In my spare time, I enjoy being creative, learning new things, snacking on potato chips or spoonfuls of peanut butter, and finding time for travel whenever I can. It is my privilege to be a Phoenix Modern team member.

Email Jennifer

Alison Stevenson

Campus Manager

I am originally from Oregon but New Orleans is my happy place. I started my educational career in New Orleans and worked there for seven years. I then spent a year working in Los Angeles before moving here to Phoenix, where I have been the last three years. I believe that all students deserve high quality education and educators. I have held many roles over my career including classroom teacher, mentor teacher, reading specialist, EL coordinator, and dean. I think having such a variety of different roles has helped me see how important it is that students are invested in their education. I am very excited to be working here at Phoenix Modern, where students are valued, and have choice throughout their school day. I am very honored and excited to get to be a part of the Phoenix Modern community.

Email Alison

Andrew Collins

Founding School Director

I believe there is no better way to spend one’s life than to support the joyful flourishing of others. In addition to School Director for Phoenix Modern, I serve as the President & CEO of New Learning Ventures, our operating nonprofit corporation. In the last two decades, I have supported the design and launch of schools and learning experiences all over Arizona as a classroom teacher, educational entrepreneur, director, and guide. My greatest passions in life are to love others, imagine new opportunities, and inspire people to be their best selves. Under New Learning Ventures, I also support Acton Academy Phoenix, a micro-independent school and the Arizona Children’s Business Fair, a one-day event for aspiring young entrepreneurs in K-8th grade. I love living in Central Phoenix with my wife Alicia and our two daughters, Alina and Adeline.

Email

Jessica Taylor

Lead Guide/Middle School Guide

I often say that I began my career in education while running birthday parties at an ice cream shop in my college town. I discovered that kids are funny and creative- they are eternally optimistic- they have an endless supply of energy and enthusiasm. And so, in between games of Hot Potato and Simon Says and over mountains of sprinkles and whipped cream, I committed myself to working with children for the rest of my career. Since 2005, I have worked with children of all ages, ranging from preschoolers to undergrads, and have supported hundreds of new and aspiring educators across the Valley. I have completed advanced coursework in Developmental Psychology and have a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. I am an avid reader and researcher and believe that the learning environment can be as magical and joyful as a birthday party at an ice cream parlor (hopefully a little less sticky).

Email

Charlie Kaplan

Founding Operations Director

I am from Chicago and I like to build things. From electric go-carts in my dorm room to hyper-targeted local advertising campaigns and scalable school systems. My journey in education started five years ago when moved out to Arizona to help build the highest performing high school in Maryvale. With a double major in Economics and Business Management along with a focus in Entrepreneurship from Purdue University, I am excited to reimagine school with the Phoenix Modern team! I love the challenge of trying new things and exploring new places. When I am not checking items off of a checklist you can find me on a basketball court or out for a bike ride. If you see me riding my bike to work go ahead and honk as you pass by.

Email

Linda Brake

Special Education Director

Throughout my career in special education, I have found the greatest joy is watching students learn that they can accomplish hard things. Learning isn’t always easy, but through working on it together and having fun, you can accomplish great things. I have taught school in West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and with the Department of Defense. I am certified and licensed to teach both regular education and special education. I have taught every age from infants to adults. I have obtained a Doctorate Degree in Instructional Design and love hiking all the trails around the valley.

Email

Allison Wear

Primary Guide

Working in the school system in some capacity has been my experience for the past 17 years. I started in public schools as an Early Childhood Special Educator after completing my post-baccalaureate in Early Childhood Education at Arizona State University in 2005. Wanting to weave my B.F.A. in Photography into my career, I took a pause from teaching in 2008 to pursue my graduate degree in Clinical Art Therapy at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. As a licensed family therapist, I worked in several settings in the LA area including outpatient psychiatric programs and therapeutic schools that contracted with LAUSD. Our family found ourselves in Arizona in 2018 and I resumed work in the public school setting; this time with a solid foundation in therapeutic and social emotional practices. Having seen my own child flourish in Phoenix Modern, I knew that this was exactly the type of school I wanted to become a part of. In the classroom, I enjoy weaving art, creativity, play and hands-on learning experiences into the learning process. Outside of the classroom you will find me reading, exploring fun and quirky places, working on my antique mall booth, seeking out vintage clothing, thrift shopping, grabbing coffee and most of all hanging out with my wonderful husband, daughter and our chihuahua, Frito. 

Email

Jameg Campbell

Movement, Health & Wellness Specialist

I’m originally from New York City (the big apple) a place where the winters are cold and the summer are pretty hot and humid. I have always had a love for coaching and mentoring the youth. Playing team sports as a youth taught me discipline, structure, and accountability on and off the court, which enhanced my passionate to teach. While in NYC, I had the opportunity to work with the Harlem Children’s Zone for over 15 years. This organization helped members of the community with after-school studies, free dinners, teams sports and above all a healthy environment. I recently moved to Phoenix in search of hot blistering summers, scorpions, and mild winters (HA, HA, HA,). My quirkiness might be a little corny but I hope to bring a sense of energy, excitement, and awareness of the health world. 

Email Jameg

Lola COLÓN Vargas

Elementary Guide

I am originally from Caguas, Puerto Rico but have been fortunate enough to travel and live all over Europe and the United States. This constant movement has shaped my perspective on education and what the path to a well-rounded education looks like, a path that has led me to join the Phoenix Modern team. I received my bachelor’s from Portland State University in Oregon and recently completed my Masters in Elementary Education. As a lifelong learner, I aspire to travel to every corner of the world and learn from as many people as possible. When I am not in the classroom you can find me enjoying time with my English Bull Terrier named Zeus, traveling, or at a concert. I also enjoy going to art museums and trying new restaurants.

Email

Kiara Johansen

Primary Guide

I am a desert girl with a cosmopolitan heart. With a Greek grandfather, a Panamanian mother, and a Danish last name, you could say my passion for global cultures is in my DNA. I am born and raised in the Valley and currently live in Phoenix with my wonderful parents, sister, and senior cat Stratus. I recently graduated from Arizona State University in 2021 as the Mary Lou Fulton’s Teacher’s College Outstanding Undergraduate with a degree in Special and Elementary education. Education has been my passion since childhood and I decided to become an educator at nine years old! I love to study international educational approaches and had an incredible opportunity in 2018 to study abroad in Reggio Emilia, Italy to study the Montessori and Reggio Emilia approaches. The authentic learning experiences I witnessed there and the learners I met truly changed my life and teaching philosophy forever. I just concluded my first-year teaching experience as a K-5 special education teacher and work to promote the values inclusion, diversity and creativity in the classroom community. Outside of the studio, you can find me perusing the aisles at Barnes and Noble, picking up succulents at the Home Depot, or purchasing some crafting supplies at Michaels. I am so excited to start this journey with Phoenix Modern this school year!

Email

Meliza Brillantes

Art Specialist

I’m a certified and licensed teacher, a Star Wars fan, an artist of many sorts and an advocate for social justice issues including accessibility to the arts and quality education. I have built much of my skills and work with diverse populations and marginalized communities. From working in a preschool for homeless children to serving as a doula to refugee families to helping a community build a multi-age one room schoolhouse, I love to share my insight and experience with the people I work with. I have taught, volunteered and organized in various education, social service and arts collaborations in Hawaii, Charlottesville, Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Washington DC communities for over 25 years . I have worked in classrooms and programs from pre-school through high school and also as a trainer of teachers, a court advocate for children, a coop school facilitator, an organizer of arts events in the cities I’ve lived in and as a homeschooling parent. I have always known my purpose in life would be deeply connected with supporting families and amplifying children’s voices in the classroom, in the studio, on paper or in the streets. A mother of three and an avid traveler, I can squeeze in time to create with my family in my home studio and can still bring good energy and passion to my work with children and families. I’m excited that the Phoenix Modern community will be part of my purpose!

Email

Alison Stevenson

Campus Manager

I am originally from Oregon but New Orleans is my happy place. I started my educational career in New Orleans and worked there for seven years. I then spent a year working in Los Angeles before moving here to Phoenix, where I have been the last three years. I believe that all students deserve high quality education and educators. I have held many roles over my career including classroom teacher, mentor teacher, reading specialist, EL coordinator, and dean. I think having such a variety of different roles has helped me see how important it is that students are invested in their education. I am very excited to be working here at Phoenix Modern, where students are valued, and have choice throughout their school day. I am very honored and excited to get to be a part of the Phoenix Modern community.

Email Alison

Jennifer Scaggs

Primary Guide

When I think of school, it gives me such joy to know that there will always be more to learn! My 10 years in education have been filled with opportunities to guide young learners toward their highest potential. I earned my Media Arts degree from Hampton Institute, with a strong focus in journalism. Upon moving to Phoenix in the early 90’s, I published a magazine written for children by children, as a means for young people to better understand diversity in their community. It was that adventure which led me to teaching, allowing me to work with elementary schools to promote language skills, the art of communication, and the value of equity and inclusion. After I began teaching, I was also honored to be one of 25 selected from a national roster of applicants to participate in the Phoenix Teaching Fellows program. My years of teaching include K-8, and I have taught 2nd grade for the past 7 years. I’ve raised 2 sons, 2 daughters, …and one bouncy Bichon. I am also privileged to have 7 wonderful grands – so, little learners continue to bring me joy, both, inside and outside of school. In my spare time, I enjoy being creative, learning new things, snacking on potato chips or spoonfuls of peanut butter, and finding time for travel whenever I can. It is my privilege to be a Phoenix Modern team member.

Email Jennifer

Stephanie Jo Stratton

Elementary Guide

If the passion for teaching can be inherited, then teaching is definitely in my genes. My mother and grandmother taught collectively for 90 years and my dad is a retired professor. I grew up taking summer camping trips and vacations benefitting from the family having extended summer breaks. I have visited 45 states and lived in five, including the gorgeous and wild Alaska.

I am originally from Greenville, South Carolina and went to The USC (University of South Carolina – Go Gamecocks!). I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in art studio and graphic arts and found my way to Washington DC immediately after graduation. During the Clinton administration, I worked as a marketing, graphic designer for Price Waterhouse and had a truly amazing and fulfilling first career. But with teaching in my blood, graduate school was the natural next step which brought me to Arizona. I earned a Masters in Education at ASU with a focus on early child development through play. I am not an Arizona native but have lived here for 25 years and raised my son here, so I now call Scottsdale my home.

I have been teaching for over 20 years with an SEI endorsement. Educating children from multicultural backgrounds has gifted me with unusual and awarding experiences. Regardless of background, all children are deserving of the same securities and respect to encompass their own identity and strengths. Believing in and supporting relationships with students allows them to open up their hearts and minds, take risks to reach their potential and thrive in their environment. For my entire academic journey, my parents and my teachers believed in me. It’s my turn to give back and inspire young learners.

JOIN OUR TEAM

Do you believe school should be much more than memorization and following directions? Do you find joy in turning a simple question into an engaging quest of discovery? Do you appreciate working in a dynamic, start-up environment and designing a space for children to flourish?.

We’re seeking talented individuals who are ready to eagerly support children on their journey.

WHAT IS A GUIDE?

At Phoenix Modern, the role of the Guide (teacher) is significantly different than in a typical classroom. They act as game makers, facilitators, coaches, and mentors. They inspire, ask probing questions, present challenges, help students reflect, and hold them accountable for upholding the community’s standards of excellence. Guides are responsible for supporting a studio of learners as they build a foundation and love for learning.

BENEFITS

– Competitive Salary
– Health Insurance
– Central Location
– Flexible Schedule + Time Off

CURRENT OPEN POSITIONS

PHOENIX MODERN’S BOARD MEMBERS

  • Andrew Collins, Co-Founder/CEO, New Learning Ventures, Inc; Founding Director, Phoenix Modern
  • Eva Shivers, Founder/Director, Indigo Cultural Center, Inc.; Director, Institute for Child Development Research & Social Change
  • Kevin Kemper, CEO/Co-Owner of Bird Dog Produce and Fresh Produce Logistics
  • Hope Parker; Founder, Giving Hope
  • Tina Sweis, Founder, Overachieving Women Association; Consultant, Social Impact Investing Consultant

 

Governing Board Meetings

Notices for the meetings are posted on the front office door of the school (200 E. Mitchell Dr., Phoenix, AZ 85012) as well as on our website homepage at least 24 hours prior to each meeting.

Contact Us

Email Us

 

(480) 779-3117

fax: (623) 444-5926

Our Campus

200 E. Mitchell Dr.
Phoenix, AZ 85012

Phoenix Modern is a free, public charter school in Phoenix, Arizona