Middle School Teachers Alan Perkel
Middle School Core Team
Elizabeth Westerfield, BA, MS, Ed.D.Math, Science, Music & Theater; and Middle School Director
Liz earned her doctorate in Special Ed. (her dissertation investigated the impact of theatre-based reading interventions on reading comprehension at the middle school level—wow!); MS in Environmental Science from Johns Hopkins; & BA in Theater from Ohio Wesleyan. She takes pride in her eclectic background & finds it serves her well in her interdisciplinary approach to education. A certified special education teacher, Liz previously worked with students on the autism spectrum at the Temple Grandin School in CO, & has taught just about every subject in her 20+ years as an educator.
Sandee Levine, BS, MAMath & Humanities
After obtaining a bachelor’s in marketing, Sandee worked in commercial real estate. Five years later, she realized that she wanted to work with children & help them to be as impassioned about learning as she is. She went on to earn her post-baccalaureate and master’s degrees in Curriculum & Instruction. Sandee has now been an educator for 20 years. Prior to joining JGS in 2015, as a public school math specialist Sandee helped improve the skills of students labeled “at-risk.” She has also created & conducted seminars for teachers to help them discover new and innovative ways to reach all students.
After graduating with two bachelor’s degrees—a BS in Biology & a B.Ed. in Secondary Education—Amber began teaching middle & high school science. Since then, Amber has earned her MS in Biology, M.Ed. in Elementary Ed., & Ph.D. in Education (Curriculum Instruction & Assessment). Amber additionally holds a certificate in gifted instruction. She’s had a fascination with science from a young age, with a particular interest in paleontology. (Amber is a published scientist for her work in determining dinosaur body size …how cool is that?!). Experienced in working with learners of all abilities, Amber joined JGS in 2013.
Karen Turner, BSMath & Humanities
Karen has been credited as having developed a love for reading in students who previously refused to read. We can’t imagine a better endorsement! Karen pursued her teaching degree after working for a nonprofit agency that supported children and adults with varying special needs (ADHD, learning and intellectual disabilities, speech/language impairments). After graduating, Karen moved to AZ to teach 4th & 5th grade students with learning differences. A certified Special Education teacher, Karen loves “using ordinary objects to teach extraordinary lessons.”
Amy Rasmussen, BAHumanities
Amy graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in English. An Arizona native, she most recently worked as a public high school English teacher. We are excited to have her join us this year!