Middle School Teachers Alan Perkel
Intermediate/Middle School Core Team
Elizabeth Westerfield, MS, Ed.D.Math & Science
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 over 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.
Rachel Pretory, BS, M.Ed.Middle School Science
Rachel attended Syracuse University, where she briefly studied International Relations, Advertising, and Business before finding her calling in Geology and Science Teaching. During her time at Syracuse, she was recognized as a NOYCE scholarship recipient which allowed her to pursue her master’s degree in Education immediately following her undergraduate work. Before joining us at JGS, Rachel taught for two years at Legacy Traditional Charter school. Her philosophy on science education is based on the spirit of inquiry — Rachel believes that every science classroom should foster curiosity and kindle enthusiasm for experimentation. Her passion is teaching students the power of critical thinking and problem solving through trial and experience to prepare them to be well-rounded citizens of the future!
Amy Rasmussen, BSHumanities
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 before joining JGS as a middle school Humanities teacher. Amy “graduated” with her JGS middle school students in the spring of 2018; she now also teaches high school English!
Terrie Rust, MA, M.Ed., Ed.S.Director of STEM Education and Project Based Learning
Internationally recognized for her STEM expertise, Terrie has a wealth of experience and knowledge that could fill several pages! Her teaching experience spans over 25 years and includes classroom teaching; educator mentoring; and curriculum development for grades K-12, at the college level, and for adults. After working as an esteemed Technology educator in the Peoria Unified School District, Terrie was selected as a 2010–2011 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow. She served her fellowship at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC, where she brought on-the-ground STEM classroom experience to help inform education policy. Terrie was also awarded the Distinguished Technology Educator (DTE) citation from the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association in recognition of her contributions to the field of technology and engineering education. After her fellowship, Terrie served for two years as the Director of Academics for Creya Learning in Hyderabad, India, introducing STEM and 21st-century skills to students and educators, and has since worked directly with educators in China, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and with Department of Defense schools worldwide. Having taught 5th-9th graders for more than 20 years of her career, Terrie is excited to join the middle school team as she returns to her home state of AZ. Additionally, she is providing JGS high school students with college and career counseling.
Lorraine Schoen, BA, M.Ed.Humanities
Lorraine graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and worked in the print media field for five years before returning to school to earn a Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She trained & volunteered with the Milieu Therapists at Children’s Memorial Hospital Therapeutic Day School (Chicago) for five years and taught Special Education for 22 years for the 4th ranked district in Illinois. After moving to AZ in 2016, Lorraine taught Special Education in the Kyrene School District. She is passionate about Special Education and making every student successful! Lorraine’s many trainings include PBIS (positive behavioral interventions and supports), Wilson Reading, LLI, F&P, TouchMath, and Hands-on-Equations as well as certification from the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education (Orton-Gillingham). In addition, she is an “Ed Tech” enthusiast currently working toward Google Educator Certification who uses social media as a platform to encourage others to learn more about individuals with special needs. Lorraine has also been a Special Olympics coach for Illinois and Arizona, a long-term volunteer for Southwest Human Development, and was a Minitown Advisor Kyrene. Her enthusiasm, dedication, and positivity complete the middle school team!