2017 Flinn Scholars recognize Distinguished Educators from Arizona schools

May 9, 2017

By Matt Ellsworth

The 2017 Flinn Scholars honored their selected Distinguished Educators during the program’s annual Recognition Dinner at the Arizona Biltmore on May 6.

Each year, the incoming class of Flinn Scholars selects teachers, counselors, and advisors who had influential roles in their academic and personal development. Each of the 2017 Flinn Scholars, which include 20 Arizona high-school seniors from 17 high schools plus one home-schooled student, introduced an educator and welcomed him or her to the stage during Saturday’s event.

The 2017 educators teach a wide range of subjects, including English, mathematics, Latin, biology, Spanish, U.S. History, chemistry, geography, and world history. They also include tennis and basketball coaches as well as student-government and Academic Decathlon advisors. Two of the 20 educators were Scholars’ elementary-school teachers.

Flinn Scholar Brittany Duran of Santa Cruz Valley Union High School in Eloy spoke highly of her English teacher, Sommer Meza.

“Mrs. Meza has the gift of transformation. She turns average students into campus leaders, passionate workers, and driven individuals. Her strong-willed and steadfast spirit never hesitates to assist students in reaching their highest potential,” Duran said.

Daniel Paul Bonner, a Flinn Scholar from Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, honored his AP U.S. History teacher and basketball coach, Matthew Hooten.

“Mr. Hooten’s personable instruction has helped me develop a passion for a subject that I historically disliked. His synthesized life lessons in both the classroom and on the basketball court have helped prepare me to be the man I am today,” Bonner said.

Also during the Recognition Dinner, 17 outgoing Flinn Scholars were honored for their achievements at an Arizona university.

The Flinn Scholarship, supported by the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation and Arizona’s public universities, covers the cost of tuition and room and board at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, or University of Arizona; provides funding for at least two study-abroad experiences and an off-campus internship; and offers other benefits.

The highly competitive, merit-based scholarship is valued at more than $115,000.

The 2017 Distinguished Educators are:

David Anderson
Mathematics, Paradise Valley High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Paxton Tomooka

Maria Collea-Anderson
Counselor, Hamilton High School, Chandler
Scholar: Ashley Dussault

Rae Dewberry
Language Arts, Madison Park Middle School, Phoenix
Scholar: Jake Dean

Teresa Driver
AP English Literature, Desert View High School, Tucson
Scholar: Zcheecid Aguirre

Jacqueline Fernandez
Mathematics, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix
Scholar: Mark Anthony Macluskie

Gabrielle Giltner
World History and Academic Decathlon, Benson High School
Scholar: Maria Galloway-Sprietsma

Kevin Greene
English, Mohave High School, Bullhead City
Scholar: Anthony Nayef Rusk

Linda Hayes
Spanish, Hamilton High School, Chandler
Scholar: Anitha Ramadoss

Matthew Hooten
AP U.S. History, Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix
Scholar: Daniel Paul Bonner

Cord Ivanyi
Latin, BASIS Chandler
Scholar: Shivam Sadachar

Lynn Jensen
AP Biology, Liberty High School, Peoria
Scholar: Daniel Nguyen

Jennifer Liebhaber
Gifted Mathematics/Language Arts, Kiva Elementary School, Paradise Valley
Scholar: Cameron Whyte

Andrea Meyer
English and Tennis, Mingus Union High School, Cottonwood
Scholar: Phoebe Chilton

Sommer Meza
English, Santa Cruz Valley Union High School, Eloy
Scholar: Brittany Michelle Duran

Kathleen Mezeske
Mathematics, Tri-City College Prep High School, Prescott
Scholar: Amanda Bertsch

Kevin Mooney
Social Studies, Arcadia High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Camryn Rae Lizik

Jane Sparr Morgan
Geography, Corona del Sol High School, Tempe
Scholar: Andrea Lara-Garcia

Shannon Paloma
Student Government, Arcadia High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Keaton McDonald

Sarah Wilson
English, Ganado High School
Scholar: Nizhonabah R. Davis

Gene Woon
AP Chemistry, University High School, Tucson
Scholar: Stanley Wong

For more information:

Flinn Foundation selects 32nd class of Flinn Scholars from Arizona’s top students

2017 Flinn Scholars

Outgoing Flinn Scholars pursuing advanced degrees, work, and service