Teaching and Learning

The Department of Teaching and Learning is committed to improving academic achievement for all students by ensuring a rigorous and relevant curriculum. We support teachers and administrators in their work with students by offering high quality professional development courses throughout the year. We also support teacher leaders at each campus by offering monthly professional development in First Best Instruction.

Textbook Adoption Committee Website Information

Patricia Lopez
Director of Teaching and Learning
Patricia Lopez has more than 33 years of experience as a teacher and administrator. She has taught special education, regular education and ELL. She was an assistant principal, principal of an elementary and middle school and currently is the Director of Teaching and Learning in a large, urban, K-8 school district. Patricia has done extensive work in professional development with teachers and school administrators. She has also worked as a facilitator with governing board members. Her passion is to improve learning for all and improve Tier I instruction for all learners. Patricia has studied the work of John Hattie and believes in the philosophy that we are "Evaluators of our Own Impact."

Patricia Acosta
Administrative Specialist

Cathy Garza
Assistant Director of Reading and Writing (Grades 4-8)
Cathy has worked in the Cartwright School District since 2003. Justine Spitalny Elementary was the school where she began her teaching career.  She was then an instructional coach at C. W. Harris and Desert Sands. This was a rewarding experience as she was able to support teachers in improving their craft. Her current role is the Assistant Director of Reading and Writing. She thoroughly enjoys her job and working in the Cartwright School District. We continue to support teachers in improving their efficacy, and work to support learners in making at least one years growth each year.

Christine Ramirez
Assistant Director of Reading and Writing (Grades K-3)
Ms. Christine Ramirez is the Assistant Director of Reading and Writing for grades K-3. Her educational experience includes seven years in the classroom and twelve years in the capacity of instructional leader and administrator. Ms. Ramirez earned her Bachelor's of Arts in Elementary Education from Arizona State University; a Masters of Education in Counseling-Human Relations from Northern Arizona University; and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Ms. Ramirez is a strong believer in the collective impact that teachers, school leaders and district leaders can make on the educational experiences of every student by staying focused on actions that will educate every child, every day, in every given opportunity
margaret santacruz
Dr. Margaret SantaCruz
Assistant Director of Fine Arts, Health and Wellness, Social Studies and Teacher Induction Retention and Mentoring

Dr. Margaret Santa Cruz joins Cartwright with 20 years of educational experience. She earned a  Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies, a Postbaccalaureate degree in Elementary Education, and a doctor of education degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University. In addition she earned a Master's degree in Bilingual and Multicultural Education, and certification in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Dr. Santa Cruz was a third grade classroom teacher for five years, and an instructional coach who supported 5th-8th teachers focused on English Language Learner strategies for three years. She has 12 years of experience as an administrator. She has served as an assistant principal, a principal, and as a director at the district office who supported the district's school counselor team and the district's classroom and student management systems. Dr. Santa Cruz believes in fully supporting all students with their academic, behavioral, and social/emotional development. One of her many goals is to work with the Teacher Induction & Mentoring teams to develop, support, and retain highly effective teachers for the benefit of our students' achievement.
Susan Connell
Sue Connell
Language Arts Content Specialist
Sue Connell came to the Cartwright District in August 2015 as a Move on When Reading Specialist. She then became a Mentor and is currently the district Move on When Reading Specialist. Sue is in her 17th year of Education with experience in various grade levels K-8. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Minor in Early Childhood from Jamestown College, North Dakota and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Sue has both a Reading and SEI endorsement as well as an Administrative License.
Windy Mariscal
Windy Mariscal
Language Arts Content Specialist
Windy Mariscal began teaching in the Cartwright School District in 2003. She taught in grades K-3 at John F. Long for 14 years. She is currently the K-3 Language Arts Content Specialist. She holds a master's degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Arizona State University and is nationally board certified in Literacy: Reading Language Arts. Her professional goals include supporting teachers in first best instruction and through the process of national board certification.
Shawna Dunsmore
Shawna Dunsmore
Language Arts Content Specialist
This is Shawna's 16th year with the Cartwright School District. She has taught both sixth and fourth grades. Currently, her position is English Language Arts Content Specialist 4th-8th grades. She received her Bachelor's degree from Eastern Michigan University and her Master's degree from Arizona State University. She believes all children deserve a great education. Her goal is to help our students reach their fullest potential. When she's not teaching, she loves exploring the outdoors. Hiking, camping, riding... anything that gets her out enjoying the wonderful Arizona weather!
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