2018 Flinn Scholars honor Distinguished Educators for their impact on education, lives

May 8, 2018

By Matt Ellsworth

Flinn Scholar Waris Anderson with her Distinguished Educator, Linda Braun, of the Tucson Waldorf School.

They have taught some of Arizona’s highest-performing students the secrets of physics, chemistry, and calculus, as well as history and literature, theatre and band. One taught every subject at a Waldorf school. Another offered instruction in Navajo language and government.

Each year, the incoming class of Flinn Scholars honors K-12 teachers, counselors, and advisors who have had influential roles in their academic and personal development.

During the annual Flinn Scholars Recognition Luncheon May 5 at the Arizona Biltmore, the 2018 Flinn Scholars—22 Arizona high-school seniors from 19 high schools—introduced their Distinguished Educators and welcomed them to the stage.

The 2018 educators being honored include teachers and counselors from across Arizona, including two educators who taught Scholars prior to high school.

Evangeline Taylor-Hermes spoke highly of her Distinguished Educator, Dalyn Waldo, an English teacher at Parker High School.

“Ms. Waldo was responsible for inspiring me to be the best that I could be and to be true to myself. She allowed creative and academic freedoms that allowed me to express and explore new topics that excited me and encouraged me to learn about the world around me.”

Troy Gilchrist praised his symphonic band teacher, Sheryl Kitamura, at Arizona College Prep-Erie Campus in Chandler.

“Mrs. Kitamura filled my entire world with the power and passion of music, while directing me on how to accomplish difficult tasks through hard work and appreciate every beautiful moment that I live.”

Also during the Recognition Luncheon, 19 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 $120,000.

The 2018 Distinguished Educators are:

Nathan Brady
Navajo Language and Navajo Government, Winslow High School
Scholar: Nicolette Barton

Linda Braun
All core subjects, Tucson Waldorf School
Scholar: Waris Anderson

Luke Calhoun
AP Literature, Honors Literature, and World Religion and Philosophy, BASIS Flagstaff
Scholar: Finley Dutton-Reid

Bryan Campo
Pre-Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, Multivariable Calculus, BASIS Chandler
Scholar: Rahul Jayaraman

Eric Clapeck, J.D.
AP U.S. Government and AP U.S. History, BASIS Phoenix
Scholar: Ana Gabriella Grajales

Heidi Cocco
Spanish, Greenway Middle School, Phoenix
Scholar: Lauren Paxton

Teresa Davis
Counselor, Cibola High School, Yuma
Scholar: Edgar Melendrez

Maureen Dias
Theatre, Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix
Scholar: Griffin Fletcher

Joseph Giles, J.D.
U.S. History, Veritas Preparatory Academy, Phoenix
Scholar: Hale Anna Espinoza

Teresa Haggerty
Counselor, Bioscience High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Nancy Twishime

Janine Helton
Mathematics, Coronado High School, Scottsdale
Scholar: Christopher Hernandez Salinas

Kevin Jagiello
Honors and AP Chemistry, Arizona College Prep- Erie Campus, Chandler
Scholar: Erin Broas

Audra Johnson
AP Language and Composition, AP Seminar, Hamilton High School, Chandler
Scholar: Lakshmi Laasya Vallabhaneni

Milton Johnson
Physics, Bioscience High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Elizabeth Lee Chiffelle

Sheryl Kitamura
Symphonic band, Arizona College Prep-Erie Campus, Chandler
Scholar: Troy Gilchrist

Marni Landry
Bioscience, Paradise Valley High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Kyle Kline

Stella Ollarsaba
Mathematics, Dobson High School, Mesa
Scholar: Kelli Brown

Darryl Orletsky, Ph.D.
Honors Physics 1, Chandler Preparatory Academy
Scholar: Elena Boyd

Ann Shaheen
AP Literature and Composition Honors, Horizon Honors High School, Phoenix
Scholar: Nikhil Dave

Andrew Sterbenz
English Literature, BASIS Chandler
Scholar: Tissiana Vallecillo

Dalyn Waldo

English, Parker High School
Scholar: Evangeline Taylor-Hermes

Monique Winfield
English, Millennium High School, Goodyear
Scholar: Natasha Loving

For more information:

Flinn Foundation selects 22 top Arizona students as Flinn Scholars

2018 Flinn Scholars