Meet the 2024 GeoCivics Cohort! Congratulations Everyone!
Click on each pin to met
David Sweeny, Horizon School - Arizona
4th Grade Teacher
Hello, my name is David Sweeney. I live in the great city of Glendale. I am from a military family, so I have lived in many places such as Illinois, California, Washington, Alabama, and Wiesbaden, Germany. I was born in Tucson, Arizona and have three brothers and one sister. I am a father of 2 children, Dale and Ashley. My son is making me a grandfather in July of 2024. I attended the University of Phoenix, Arizona State University, and Grand Canyon University. I have a Master’s in education. I teach 4th grade students in Phoenix and have been teaching since 2015. I am a lifelong learner and try to help my students understand that every day you can learn something new. I am always looking to extend my understanding of all students.
Joyce Tsinijinnie, Ganado Intermediate School - Arizona
K-3 Grade Teacher
My name is Joyce Tsinijinnie. I am Ashihii, born for the Ma’ii deshgiizhnii, maternal grandparent are the Naakai Dine’e Ta’baahaa, paternal grandparent are the Ta’neezaahnii. I am from a small community call Burnside Jct. right outside of Ganado, Arizona. My husband and I have 4 sons, 4 daughters, and 6 grandchildren. I have been teaching on the Navajo Reservation for the last 28 years. Our schools consist of 98% Navajo children and 2% of Philippines, Anglos, Hispanic, or Anglo children. I enjoy reading all sorts of novels, a big fan of Nora Roberts, trying my best every year to make a difference in my own children, grandchildren, and students’ live towards their education. I am fluent in Navajo, so that gives me a chance to speak to the children in Navajo at school and help them learn some words or phrases in all subject areas.
Anna Naranjo, Truman Elementary - Utah
3-4 Grade Teacher
My name is Anna Naranjo and I am orgullosamente Xicana & Mexicana, daughter of immigrant parents, first-generation student and first higher-ed graduate in my family, and maestra. For my second year of teaching, I am in a 3rd grade classroom in a public school on the west side of Salt Lake City, Utah, a neighboring city to where I was born and raised. My first year of teaching (4th grade) was described as an internship through my University, and an alternative route to the traditional student-teaching semesters. I definitely struggled, and I don't know if I would do it again, but I am grateful for my mentor and grade-level teammate for keeping me afloat. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Utah in Elementary Education, and I plan to work towards achieving a certification for Dual Immersion in Spanish. I am always seeking an opportunity to better myself and to continue to be a role model for all my little brown kids that look up to me and see themselves in my success."
Candice Ward Peery, Holly Springs Intermediate School - Mississippi
5th Grade Social Studies Teacher
My place of origin is Vaiden, Mississippi. At this time, I am a social studies instructor for fifth grade at Holly Springs Intermediate School. With my spouse, I have three children. Family football is a favorite of mine. We are huge fans of college football. Support the Rebs! I obtained my undergraduate degree in human resource management from the University of Mississippi and my Master of Business Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management. At present, I am engaged in the pursuit of a specialist degree in educational leadership, specializing in the field of administration. I obtained my teaching certification from the University of Mississippi via TMI.
Jazmin Molina, Horizon Elementary - Arizona
My name is Jazmin Molina, I graduated with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education.My dream was always to become a teacher and I’m happy I’m one now! I really believe educators can make a difference if we are always in the learning process. I’m currently a kindergarten teacher in the Glendale district at Horizon Elementary where I am in the dual language program. I also enjoy learning about the different cultures. I also teach folklorico dance at my school site. I have a beautiful family and I love animals and nature. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family and when possible, I take walks in the Phoenix zoo! I really think kindness and empathy is something we always need to practice.
Noel McClure, Camelview Elementary - Arizona
Grade 3 Teacher
My name is Noel McClure. I graduated from Prescott College and taught in Tucson before joining the Peace Corps and volunteering in Elementary Education in Uganda, East Africa. From the equator, I moved very far north; I earned my MA in Intercultural Management from the School of International Training in Vermont. Afterwards, I taught 1st and 2nd graders at the bottom of the Grand Canyon for the Havasupai Tribe. While working in Title 1 inner-city public schools and in a private school, I taught grades 4-8 in all subject areas, but focusing mostly on Math and Social Studies. In the meantime, I completed my EdD from Jones International University. Now, I am teaching 3rd grade close to Uptown Phoenix, Arizona and am enjoying a variety of cultures and languages in my classroom.
Jake Wager, Johnston Middle School - Iowa
8th Grade Teacher
My name is Jake Wager and I currently teach at Johnston Middle School; an 8-9 building in Johnston, Iowa. Johnston is a suburb of Des Moines. I currently teach 8th grade U.S. History and Financial Literacy. This is my 19th year of teaching and I taught several years in Des Moines Public Schools before teaching here in Johnston. I have also taught Language Arts and Science in the past. I was originally born in Central Illinois before moving to Iowa after graduation. I attended Illinois State University in Normal, IL where I graduated with a degree in Geography Education and a Minor in The Travelers World. I am always looking for opportunities like this to help me become a better teacher for all of my students. I am a proud husband to my wife Stefanie and proud father to my son Lincoln (11) and Grace (8).
Philip Adiyia, Brunson-Lee Elementary School - Arizona
Grade 3 Teacher
My name is Philip Adiyia and I currently teach at Brunson-Lee Elementary School in the Balsz School District, Phoenix Arizona. It is a public-school serving student from Kindergarten to 5th grade. I have been teaching 3 rd Grade for the past two years. I was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa. One of my career goals is to actively seek for additional information to develop and enhance my practice and knowledge as a teacher. I am an active member of my school community and have been coaching various after school sports activities such as soccer, basketball and athletics. I have enjoyed every moment of my work and always look for new experience and ways to engage students in order to maximize time usage in the classroom. I am confident that this new experience will help deepen my understanding on teaching of American History, Geography, and civics.
Edgar Ochoa, Ed & Verma Pastor Middle School - Arizona
7th Grade Social Tudies Teacher
Edgar Ochoa is born-and-raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He attended ASU and has been teaching junior high social studies at Ed & Verma Pastor in South Phoenix’s Roosevelt School District for 18 years. As a committed member of his community, he coaches volleyball, soccer, and Esports, as well as leading the school’s Volunteer Club, Comic Book Club, and Rock Band Club. He currently serves as the district’s Social Studies Content Lead, leading professional development for other social studies teachers and mentoring new teachers entering the district. Edgar tries to be a constant advocate for civic education at every age level
Ursula Hampton M.Ed, Mojave High School - Nevada
STEM/AP Computer Science/Social Studies High School teacher
My name is Ursula Hampton and I'm a teacher in North Las Vegas, NV. I currently hold certifications in several different subjects and I work in a school that's diverse with a large population of ESL/ELL students. I've been teaching for 13 years and it all started in Hamtramck, MI. One of my goals is to help diversify and provide equality to students who want access to STEM Programs. I provide differentiated instruction using technology to help bring together different styles, cultures, civics, geography, and world events. I moved to Vegas from Detroit, MI in 2017 to get away from the snow and extreme cold because I have Lupus. But I found out the Desert gets COLDDD in the winter time!!! I enjoy family time, watching old series I've never seen on Netflix, and trying different restaurants (just some of the things). I'm trying to decide if I'm going back to school for my Ph.D in Adolescent Counseling, mentoring and promoting self-care for our young adults is my passion.
Neisha Rosado, Secaucus High School - New Jersey
ESL & U.S. History, High School teacher
This is my first year teaching at Secaucus High School, but my 11th year as an ESL/History teacher. I previously taught in the second largest school district in New Jersey, where I was awarded ESL Teacher of the Year (2021). I am currently completing my final semester at New Jersey City University, where I will be graduating with a Masters in Educational Leadership and Administration. My goal as ELL advocate, teacher and future administrator is to work with teachers across New Jersey and the United States to strengthen their knowledge and skill set for serving students who are learning English as an additional language, while promoting civic engagement and history.
Tre Johnson, Brooklyn Prep High School - New York
High School history teacher
My name is Mr. Johnson. I’m an Afro-NuyoRican Soldier, Overactive Father, Loyal Husband and my Brother’s & Sister’s Keeper. I Lead, I Inspire. I Overcome, I Nurture, and I TEACH young people. I have a Bachelor's degree in Adolescent Education in History from Brooklyn College and and Master's degree in TESOL - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Queens College. This is my 13th year of having the most fulfilling responsibility of my life. I’m honored and grateful to have a job that allows me to work with young people and their families every day, and to find fun and engaging ways to help students explore their understanding of themselves and the world.
Ruth-Terry Walden, Westhill High School - Conneticut
High School teacher
Ruth-Terry Walden is a teacher of many passions and pursuits. A lawyer by trade, she has honed her passion for antiracism and social justice her entire life. After serving as the director of the South Bronx community organization Neighborhood Youth and Family Services, she worked with the Yale School of Medicine, serving as the Assistant Director of Clinical Trials, Grant and Contract Administration. Now, her passions have led her to becoming an educator in Stamford, having taught literature at Westhill High
School for twenty years. With the right texts and sources, kindness and respect, and more than an ounce of fearlessness, Walden has built her classroom into a safe space for dangerous ideas. Ruth-Terry Walden is a teacher of many passions and pursuits. A lawyer by trade, she has honed her passion for antiracism and social justice her entire life. After serving as the director of the South Bronx community organization Neighborhood Youth and Family Services, she worked with the Yale School of Medicine, serving as the Assistant Director of Clinical Trials, Grant and Contract Administration. Now, her passions have led her to becoming an educator in Stamford, having taught literature at Westhill High School for twenty years. With the right texts and sources, kindness and respect, and more than an ounce of fearlessness, Walden has built her classroom into a safe space for dangerous ideas.