We provide support through scholarships and recognition programs that support students, parents, and staff members of the Avondale Elementary School District. We coordinate community partnerships and collaborations that support our mission.

In March 2014, a group of Avondale-Goodyear community members gathered to create a vision for a non-profit foundation to support the Avondale Elementary School District.  This group included parents, business owners, former and current employees, government officials, and graduates of the District.  They held a common desire to empower the students and staff of the District by providing opportunities for scholarships and honoring the excellent work of the staff in preparing students for the future. The vision came to life as “Creating Opportunities, Celebrating Excellence.”  They saw the possibility of a non-profit foundation to be a catalyst for post-secondary learning by fostering student aspirations, leveraging partnerships throughout the community and providing support for the staff who directly impact the students everyday. This vision and mission provided the framework for the development of the Avondale-Goodyear Education Foundation. The Foundation became a reality with its first Board of Directors meeting on April 16, 2015.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Dr. Janet Beason  President

Dr. Beason is an educator with degrees from Ohio State and Arizona State Universities. During her 50 years as an educator, she has taught in Caribou, ME; Izmir, Turkey; Omaha, NB; Evanston, IL; and Marysville, CA. Dr. Beason worked in the Avondale School District for 30 years as a teacher, computer coordinator, principal and assistant superintendent. Currently in her retirement, she supervises student teachers for Rio Salado College.

“I am excited to be part of the Avondale-Goodyear Education Foundation. The school district feels like family and home to me. It is a privilege to be part of this board and work as a catalyst for post-secondary learning for our graduates and to honor our hard-working and dedicated teachers.”

Carrie Chopra  President Elect

Carrie Chopra is the Business/Office Manager of A plus Dental. She manages the operations and visits K-8 classrooms to teach children the importance of dental hygiene. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Southwest Texas State University and a Masters in Library Science from University of Houston/Clear Lake, Previously, she taught in Texas, Missouri, and Arizona. Her career in Arizona was with the Avondale Elementary School District as a librarian and computer science teacher. She has lived in Goodyear for 22 years and has three children.

“Believing in the importance of education and the opportunities it can provide, serving on the Avondale-Goodyear Education Board has allowed me to stay connected with the students and staff of the Avondale District to create positive, lasting change in their lives.”

Quay Bolton-Lattari  Treasurer

Quay Bolton-Lattari is the Executive Director of Business Services for Agua Fria Union High School District. She has a Bachelor of Science Accountancy degree. She has much experience in the field of school finance, business management, human resources, and all aspects of school business. She is an active part of the West Valley communities personally and professionally.   

“As a Board member of the Foundation, it provides me the opportunity to help students attain a higher level of education and open the possibilities for them to have a career they may not have thought possible.”

Dr. Cathy Stafford  Secretary

Dr. Stafford is the recently retired Avondale Elementary School District Superintendent with over 34 years experience as an Arizona educator. She has deep roots in the West Valley, residing in Goodyear, Arizona. She is Co-Founder of 2Wisdom’s Way, LLC, providing professional consulting and development as well as educational and personal coaching. She is also the Director of Wisdom’s Way School. She holds B.A, M.A. and Ed.D degrees from Arizona State University.

“I am dedicated to helping students achieve their post-secondary dreams and honoring the excellent work of the Avondale Elementary School District staff. Serving on the Avondale-Goodyear Education Foundation Board gives me the opportunity to create partnerships providing support for AESD students and staff. Come join me in our Foundation’s good work for the AESD learning community.”

Dr. Michelle Rojas  Board Member

Dr. Michelle Rojas is a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Rojas attended elementary and high school in the West Valley, and spent nearly a decade as a teacher and school administrator in the Avondale Elementary School District. She earned a B.A. in Elementary Education with an English as a Second Language endorsement, an M.A. in Educational Leadership, and an Ed.D. in Education Policy and Innovation from Arizona State University.

“While I was a teacher in the Avondale Elementary School District, I witnessed the deep commitment that staff, teachers, and administrators had to the students and families of Avondale and Goodyear. I want to recognize that commitment and support the work being done on behalf of kids. Serving on the Avondale-Goodyear Education Board gives me an opportunity to do that.”

Sydney Cyrus  Board Member

Sydney Cyrus is the Marketing Director at CHASSE Building Team. With over 10 years of marketing experience, Cyrus graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in Visual Communication. As the prior Creative Director for 1MISSION, an International Nonprofit, Cyrus brings a wealth of knowledge surrounding graphic design, web design, and marketing. As an Arizona Native, giving back to Arizona schools is super important to her and loves putting her extra time and effort in the education system that got her to where she is today!

“I feel very lucky to work alongside the Avondale-Goodyear Education Foundation board members to create opportunities for students and celebrate the AESD staff. Being a community partner, I get to see the dedication from everyone I’ve met from the District and the Foundation and the time and effort they put forth for AESD students!”

Dr. Giovanna Grijalva  Board Member

Dr. Giovanna Grijalva has over 25 years of experience teaching and facilitating school partnerships. She is currently the Client Relations Director for ADM Group. She has a unique leadership perspective and has focused on diverse educational needs to advance programs to sustain accessibility to first-generation Latinos with academic scholarships and service to the community. As a previous school administrator and the Executive Curriculum Director for the largest school district in Southern Arizona, she recognized the critical value of implementing students’ cultural references in all learning experiences. Dr. Grijalva previously held a faculty appointment at Arizona State University as a Lecturer in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and taught Bilingual/ESL Methods and Structured English Immersion for pre-service teachers.

Ilana Dawson  Board Member

Ilana Dawson has been serving the Avondale Elementary School District for 12 years as a teacher, mentor, and administrator. During her time in the district, she has spearheaded initiatives that advance student achievement, responsibility, citizenship, and education beyond the classroom. She has earned a B.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University, an M.A. in Educational Technology from Northern Arizona University, and an M.A. in Education Leadership from Western Governor’s University. She is currently working as the Assistant Principal at Copper Trails School within the Avondale Elementary School District.

“Becoming a member of the Avondale-Goodyear Education Foundation has provided me with an amazing  opportunity to serve my community in a way I have never before. I am extremely grateful to be able to work with the foundation to honor the dedicated staff members within the district, as well as, help our students achieve their pursuit of becoming lifelong learners.”

Dr. Jarod Raithel  Board Member

Dr. Jarod Raithel is residential Biology faculty at Estrella Mountain Community College, where he manages the Animal Ambassadors Community Outreach Program and Community Teaching Garden.  A wildlife biologist by training, he earned his Ph.D. from Utah State University modeling urban black bear population dynamics, and his M.S. from the University of Montana quantifying elk calf mortality following wolf recolonization.  Prior to his current role, he spent seven years teaching science in public schools from 7th grade to AP Biology. 

“My wife and I purposefully choose the Avondale Elementary School District in buying our home seven years ago, so that our two children could participate in their Dual Language Immersion Program.  Since that time, I have been continually awestruck by the commitment of AESD teachers, staff, and administration in building a nurturing school atmosphere that allows all of its students to thrive.  The Avondale-Goodyear Education Foundation represents a means by which I can express my immense gratitude to those shaping our students.”

Wayne Deffenbaugh  Board Member

Wayne Deffenbaugh worked for the Avondale Elementary School District for 18 years serving as the Principal and Assistant Principal of Desert Thunder School. He recently retired after 30 years in education as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.  He is currently the Safety and Wellness Administrator for the Avondale Elementary School District. Wayne is a third generation Arizonan and has called Goodyear and Avondale home for the last 23 years.