Name: Stevi Bax
Grades: 3rd & 4th
B.S. Biology (NAU)
Montessori Cert. (NAMC)
I moved to Flagstaff in 1998 to attend Northern Arizona University and immediately fell in love with the high desert canyons and tight-knit community. I now consider Flagstaff my home. Throughout my years at Flagstaff Junior Academy I have been lucky enough to work with students in every grade, from the three year olds in the Children’s House to the teenagers at the middle school. I absolutely love our school community and sincerely believe in FJA’s commitment to the whole child.
My diverse range of life and teaching experience has allowed me to develop into a comprehensive and understanding educator. From the extremely rural mountains of Alaska to the Phoenix inner city, I have taught science, dance, music, outdoor education and Montessori. Incorporating all of these experiences, I create a well-rounded, productive and peaceful classroom where my students can meaningfully learn, teach, experiment and embark upon the life-long quest for knowledge.
Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my husband and daughter, playing music, dancing, reading, hiking and playing with our chickens.
Name: Jenn Cernohous
Grades: 1st & 2nd
It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to be part of the local education community. I believe there is no greater contribution one can make to society than to teach and support young people in achieving their goals.
My teaching philosophy has always been to empower students, to teach them the skills to be self-regulated and self-aware learners. The primary grades, where I have spent my last 16 years of teaching, is the perfect age to achieve this.
I feel honored to be teaching at FJA and living in Flagstaff. There is no other place that loves and fosters a well-rounded education like we do here!
Name: Jen Conway
Grades: 1st & 2nd
B.A. in Elementary Education (NAU)
Montessori Cert. (NAMC)
In previous years I have taught multi-age 1st/2nd grade classes at a Title I school here in Flagstaff.
I have been a member of the FJA family since 2006. I plan to continue on building positive relationships with my students and am excited to be a part of such a productive learning community. I look forward to a year full of unforgettable experiences!
Name: Marie Crook
Grades: 1st & 2nd
Montessori Diploma – Primary
My name is Marie Crook and I have been married for 42 years to my husband Dwight. We have 2 sons and 5 beautiful granddaughters, two of whom we are raising. We enjoy living in peaceful Munds Park where we have lived for the past 20 years.
Our two granddaughters that live with us attended FJA, starting in the Children’s House preschool program and all the way through middle school. The educational experience that our granddaughters received at FJA was challenging, fun and rewarding.
Working at FJA for the past 12 years has been a gratifying and fulfilling experience. Being part of the FJA staff is like being part of a family. We are all working towards a common goal; providing a safe, challenging and universal education for each and every student at FJA. I prefer to use a student-orientated teaching style while using diversity to allow each student to learn and achieve success. I am always looking for new and fun ideas to incorporate while teaching the core curriculum.
When I am not in the classroom I love to hike with my husband, our granddaughters and our two Australian Healers, Mollie Mack and Pumpkin Pie. I also enjoy traveling, reading, cooking, gardening, sewing and crafting.
Name: Barbara Dornan
Grade: Children’s House
AMS Montessori Cert. CMTE/NY
I am the lead teacher in the Children’s House with the 3-6 year olds. I have been with Flagstaff Jr. Academy since May of 2001.
I truly love teaching the “Montessori Method” and believe that a good Montessori foundation will stay with your child throughout his/her school years.
I will work to create a beautiful, safe, and stimulating environment for your child and with your help we will form a community of caring, curious learners…and we’ll have fun!
Outside of school, I enjoy the outdoors (biking and gardening).
Name: Cole Habay-Heinsius (Ms. Cole)
3rd and 4th
B.A. Art and Anthropology
AMS Montessori Elementary Teaching Credential
Now in my 12th year of teaching, I feel so fortunate to be part of the FJA community. I joined FJA after 8 years teaching at the Montessori Charter School of Flagstaff in both upper and lower elementary. My position at FJA allows me a more dynamic and diverse outreach to the amazing students here, and I am having a wonderful time connecting the children to arts and humanities with curricula that relate academics, creativity and each other to our amazing little mountain town of Flagstaff, AZ where I have lived for more than a decade.
My other academic pursuits include a dual focus in teaching math creatively and integrating hands-on environmental cultural and science curriculum. I also work for the Arizona Trail Association where I am helping to get more children in state, regional and area schools outside to learn in our incredible backyard here in Arizona.
In addition to teaching, I make jewelry and am an artist painting in bold, bright colors. My personal pursuits add to my art and inventive outlook such as listening to live music, backcountry skiing, whitewater kayaking, climbing glaciers and riding sweet singletrack on a bike. Before teaching, I traveled the U.S. and Mexico while racing both road and mountain bikes for many years. After multitudes of miles on trail, pavement, rock, snow and ice, I’ve found that life really is about the journey and not the destination. I hope to continue to enjoy this creative journey with the FJA community!
I moved to Flagstaff in 2005 to attend Northern Arizona University and just couldn’t leave. I began down the path of education while working for Camp Colton in Hart Prairie, leading small group lessons in the field focusing on local wildlife, botany, and pond life. I’m very thankful that my experiences at Camp Colton lead me to FJA, where I’ve been since 2014.
While not at school I enjoy spending time with my family and dog, trail-running, hiking, skiing, and mountain biking.
Name: Kristen Franceschini
Grades: Elementary Aide
Name: Jocelyn James
Grades: K-6 Art, K-4 Special Education Aide
BA Liberal Arts
I grew up near New York City and had the opportunity to see a great deal of art, music and dance as a child and to witness the transformational nature of the arts first hand. It is my goal as an artist and art teacher to encourage and support students to gain a lifelong interest in art and confidence in making art. I believe Arts Education is as important to students as math, science, English or Social Studies. Arts Education supports creative and critical thinking and helps students to consider issues of social justice in their world.
It is my goal as a special education teacher is to provide an inclusive and differentiated environment with a focus on student strengths. Prior to teaching I worked for the National Park Service and later as a disability advocate for children and adults. In my spare time I love to go hiking and climbing with my family. I look forward to working with the awesome students, teachers and administrators at FJA.
Name: Kristin Patterson
Grades: 3rd & 4th
M.A. Elem. Ed. (NAU)
B.S. Human Dev. (U.C. Davis)
I am extremely fortunate to be a part of a wonderful FJA community and I am looking forward to a fantastic year! My educational philosophy stems from the idea that we are all unique individuals with different strengths, interests, and learning styles. I strive to recognize my students’ individual characteristics and create a learning environment that challenges them to think critically. My goal is to foster a love of learning and encourage students to exceed their own expectations.
I moved to Flagstaff to pursue my education but it is really the abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities that made this location such an attractive choice. I love spending time outside running, hiking, skiing, and climbing. The past six summers I’ve worked for the Forest Service on a wildland fire engine crew, which has provided an opportunity to see some amazing places around Flagstaff and the Southwest and learn more about the effects of fire on our forests and community.
Name: Caitlin Peterson
Grades: Pre-K through 6th & 7th/8th
B.A. Spanish (NAU)
I was born and raised in Flagstaff, and attended NAU. After graduating, I went to Santiago, Chile to take a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course, then taught English to teenagers and adults in San Jose, Costa Rica from 2012-2014. I returned to Flagstaff after receiving a job offer at a local non-profit, where I worked with English language learners from around the world. Through these experiences, I’ve realized how important it is to be bilingual in today’s economy. My greatest reward is sharing my passion of the Spanish language, as well as the various cultures and people of Spain & Latin America as well as seeing students progress and truly love the language learning experience.
When I’m not teaching, I enjoy learning Portuguese, spending time with family & friends, traveling, & figure skating.
Name: Eileen Swartz
Grades: Children’s House Aide
Name: Robyn Zacharias
Grades: Pre-K through 4th General Music
Degree(s): B.M. Music Education (ASU)
I was born and raised in Tempe, Arizona. I taught music in the Valley until 2006, when my family relocated to Flagstaff. I’ve worked at various schools throughout Flagstaff and joined the FJA staff in 2015. I love to share my passion for music and dancing with the students here at FJA. My greatest reward is seeing the students discover their individual talents and express their personalities through singing, instruments and movement.