Meet 20 of Arizona’s most impactful teachers

May 8, 2019

By Matt Ellsworth

Flinn Scholar Liam Wilson with his Distinguished Educator, Rebecca Patrick, of Westwood High School.

As the 20 Flinn Scholars from the Class of 2019 walked onto the stage during the program’s annual Recognition Luncheon, they spoke not of themselves but rather the one person from high school—or earlier—who had the greatest impact on their academic and personal development.  

The Distinguished Educators honored during the May 4 event at the Paradise Valley Country Club included classroom instructors, counselors, advisers, an assistant principal and even a second-grade teacher. 
The 2019 Flinn Scholars selected educators who taught them subjects such as Comparative Government, Psychology, Chemistry, Orchestra and Mariachi, Agriscience, Logic, Literature, and Computer Science. 

Liam Wilson, a senior at Westwood High School in Mesa, recognized Rebecca Patrick, his Academic Decathlon adviser. 

“Mrs. Patrick’s most prevalent influences have been through encouraging pure intellectual curiosity, emphasizing the value of perseverance in the face of adversity, and promoting a cognizance of everyone around me,” Wilson said.  

Flinn Scholar Katie Pascavis with her Distinguished Educator, Michael McKelvy, of Basha High School.

Katie Pascavis of Basha High School in Chandler honored Michael McKelvy, who taught her AP Chemistry, Honors Science Research, and a course he created called Science is Fun.
“Dr. McKelvy has shown me how I can empower the next generation to pursue STEM and make a difference by solving world problems through science,” Pascavis said.  

Wilson and Pascavis were two students selected from nearly 900 applicants for the 34th class of Flinn Scholars, comprised of 20 Arizona high-school seniors representing 19 high schools from the Phoenix metropolitan area, Tucson, Prescott, and Pinal County. There are now nearly 650 current and alumni Flinn Scholars. 

The Flinn Scholarship, valued at more than $120,000, covers the cost of tuition, fees, housing and meals at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, or the University of Arizona; provides funding for at least two study-abroad experiences; and offers other benefits. 

During the Recognition Luncheon, 20 outgoing Flinn Scholars were also recognized for their achievements both in the classroom and beyond at Arizona’s public universities. 

The 2019 Distinguished Educators are: 
Amy Andelora  
AP English Language and Composition, Mesa High School 
Scholar: Nathaniel Ross 
Laurie Barden  
Counselor, Glendale High School 
Scholar: Andrea Ramirez 
Ricki Cassutt 
Counselor, Mountain Pointe High School, Phoenix 
Scholar: Emma Mason 
Ian Curtis 
IB English and Literature, Ironwood High School, Glendale 
Scholar: Joe Thomas 
Jeff Davis 
Comparative Government, Mountain View High School, Mesa 
Scholar: Jordan Harb 
Alex Dodt 
AP U.S. History, Logic, and Philosophy, Gilbert Classical Academy High School 
Scholar: Amanda Schuerman 
Miles Hansen 
Biology, BASIS Prescott 
Scholar: Griffin Sherwood 
Theoden Humphrey 
English, Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson 
Scholar: Finlay Parsons 
Danielle Jurgens 
Assistant Principal, Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center-Estrella Mountain, Avondale 
Scholar: Sarah Wilson 
Courtney Kemp 
IB Psychology, Chandler High School 
Scholar: Anna Lee Iverson 
Janet Lottman 
Second grade, Sequoya Elementary School, Scottsdale 
Scholar: Kyle Polen 
Theodore Manno, Ph.D. 
AP Biology, Biotechnology, and AP Capstone Research, Catalina Foothills High School, Tucson 
Scholar: Zoe Benson 
Michael McKelvy, Ph.D. 
AP Chemistry, Honors Science Research, and Science is Fun, Basha High School, Chandler 
Scholar: Katie Pascavis 
Jennifer Morgan 
Counselor, Corona del Sol High School, Tempe 
Scholar: Amanda Abdelsamad 
Jill Osborne 
Orchestra and Mariachi, Tempe High School 
Scholar: Jason Bautista Pejay 
Rebecca Patrick 
Academic Decathlon, Westwood High School, Mesa 
Scholar: Liam Wilson 
Bernadette Russoniello 
Counselor, Maricopa High School 
Scholar: Chandler Chang 
Cheryl Sawyer 
Agriscience and CTE internship, Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center-Estrella Mountain, Avondale 
Scholar: Cameron Decker 
Catherine Wyman 
Computer Science, Xavier College Preparatory, Phoenix 
Scholar: Caroline Hyland 

Chris Yetman 
Academic Decathlon and Calculus, Canyon del Oro High School, Oro Valley 
Scholar: Kailee Savage 

For more information: 
Arizona excellence: The 2019 Flinn Scholars have been named