RISE educates students to become successful learners, friends and citizens by building genuine and strong relationships with each student while empowering them to be their best self.
RISE Learning Academy was founded for students with special needs in grades k-12 who desire a school they can call home. Today many students with special needs struggle in the public education system because they feel overwhelmed or misunderstood. In an environment where everyone must conform to one style of learning, it can sometimes be hard to succeed. RISE strives to provide a safe and comfortable learning environment where students feel empowered to be themselves. Using an innovative approach that includes on-line curriculum, small groups, direct instruction and "real-life" activities students have the opportunity to learn in a "home-school" environment. RISE offers students with special needs the grace and understanding they deserve as they learn new concepts and determine how to function in the real world.
James has been involved in education for eighteen years. In this time, he has worked with students of all ages and in a variety of academic roles. Most of his teaching years were focused on intermediate elementary students in 5th and 6th grade for both Gilbert and Mesa Public Schools. During these years he pushed students to succeed in their academics and in character development. James has also worked as a gifted teacher, as an Individualized Behavior Intervention Program (IBIP) Specialist, an assistant principal and has a been the director of several private schools in the East Valley. In 2010, James won the Special Education Teacher of the Year Award from Gilbert Public Schools. Through these experiences James has learned a lot about himself, the most important being that he loves helping students succeed.
Academically, James received his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona Christian University in 2002 with an emphasis in Psychology. He later attended the University of Phoenix and began working towards his master’s degree in School Leadership. In 2018, James received his MBA from U of P where he graduated with honors.
James and his beautiful wife, Kim, have been married for twelve years. Their five children, who range from ages 4 to 12, keep them very busy after school and on weekends while James coaches baseball and basketball and cheers for his volleyball, dancing, and soccer stars! In his spare-time James enjoys watching movies with Kim, hanging out by the pool and playing softball and basketball in city leagues with his buddies. His dream has always been to own his own business and make the lives of those he serves better.
Heather has been involved in education, more specifically in Special Education for over thirteen years. During this time, she has worked with many different disabilities with Autism as one of the primary disabilities. She has had experience working in Chandler Unified as well as with charter and private schools. Heather has had several roles as a lead and director within special education. She has a thorough understanding of the special education process along with the expectations within special education.
Academically, Heather received her bachelor's degree in Business Management with a minor in mathematics from the University of California, Riverside. She later attended Rio Salado for her teaching certification and then went on to receive her Masters in Special Education from Plymouth State University.
Heather and her husband, Rob, have been married eighteen years. They have four children between the ages of 6 and 14 that keep the both of them very busy. In Heather's free time, she enjoys traveling with her family, watching her oldest play golf, trying new restaurants with her husband, baking with her younger kids and just enjoying life in general.
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