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Synergy Public School
Leading the Way

Administration & Teachers

The number-one priority of every administrator, teacher, and staff member at Synergy is to facilitate the success and growth of every student who enters our hallways. Our highly qualified teachers and staff take advantage of the latest curriculum guidelines and work together to provide our students with an educational experience that will prepare them for success in the 21st century.

We encourage good communication among parents and teachers, so if you have any questions or concerns, please call or email. We’d love to hear from you!

Co-Founders and Executive Director

Melissa McKinsey
Co-Founder/Executive Director of Academics
Biography

About Melissa McKinsey

Melissa McKinsey began her educational career 19 years ago in the Alhambra Elementary School District. Ms. McKinsey earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education with an early childhood emphasis from Arizona State University in 2002 and a master's degree in educational leadership with her Administrative Leadership Certification from Northern Arizona University in 2008. Ms. McKinsey's work experience includes first-grade teacher, academic coach, reading specialist, assistant principal, and principal at Westwood Primary School (a low socioeconomic and ethnically diverse school in Phoenix). Under her leadership, Westwood Primary was named an Excelling School by the Arizona Department of Education. In addition, earned the honor of STEM principal by Grand Canyon University in 2016. In 2015, Ms. Mckinsey was selected to be a member of the New Schools for Phoenix Fellowship in preparation for opening a successful public school dedicated to improving the education for children in low-income communities. In 2017, Ms. McKinsey co-founded Synergy Public School and became the Executive Director of Academics.

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Lori Weiss
Co-Founder/Executive Director of Business and Operations
Biography

About Lori Weiss

Lori Weiss spent 26 years in the Alhambra Elementary School District, where she taught kindergarten through third grade, served as a reading facilitator, assistant principal, principal, and executive director of leadership development. Ms. Weiss has a proven record of success in working with educationally disadvantaged students. During her 10 years as principal at Westwood Primary, the school earned two A+ School of Excellence awards and an Excelling School label from the Arizona Department of Education (2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010). In 2011, the Arizona Business and Education Association named Westwood an Arizona Higher Performing School. In 2010, Ms. Weiss was named a RODEL exemplary principal, an honor that recognizes proven leadership in high-needs schools. Over the past seven years, she has worked with ASU's Beat the Odds, an initiative of the Center for the Future of Arizona, mentoring principals across Maricopa County. In 2015, she was selected to be a member of the New Schools for Phoenix Fellowship in preparation for opening a successful public school dedicated to improving the education for children in low-income communities. In 2017, Ms. Weiss co-founded Synergy Public School and was named the Executive Director of Business and Operations.

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Our Administrative Team

Melanie Delvechio
Campus Director
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Biography

About Melanie Delvechio

Born and raised in California, Melanie Delvechio has a passion for teaching and learning. In 1998, she graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She began her teaching career in a Title 1 school in central Phoenix. In 2003, Ms. Delvechio became a collaborative peer teacher and Success For All reading facilitator. She continued to pursue her love of education by earning certificates and endorsements in early childhood, reading, and SEI. She spent 11 years coaching and supporting teachers in all academic areas to improve classroom instruction and developed curriculum and resources that led to an "Excelling A-grade" school. She received her master's of education in principalship from Northern Arizona University and became an assistant principal in 2015. Ms. Delvechio received honors, including the Excellence in Education Award and Employee of the Month. In 2017, Ms. Delvechio became the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Synergy Public School and served in this capacity for four years. In 2021, she was named the Synergy Public School Campus Director.

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Sarah Jankunas
Campus Operations Director
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Biography

About Sarah Jankunas

Sarah Jankunas was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2010, she graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Later, in 2018, she received her master’s degree in Administration. She started teaching 8 years ago in the Alhambra Elementary School District, where she taught second grade for three years. In 2017, Mrs. Jankunas made the change and followed Ms. Weiss, Mrs. McKinsey, and Ms. Delvechio to teach at Synergy. For two years, she taught at Synergy until she was named an Instructional Specialist. She served in this capacity for two years until 2021. In 2021, she was named the Synergy Public School Campus Operations Director.

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Mara Wayland
Director of Initiatives, Operations, and Leadership Development
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Biography

About Mara Wayland

Mara Wayland served within the Alhambra School District for 30 years. She began her career as a teacher within the district. After five years in the classroom, Mrs. Wayland became an assistant principal at Barcelona Elementary, and she was then hired to serve as the principal at Westwood Primary School. The site became one of the highest-performing schools under her leadership. Mara was honored with earning a First-Place Golden Bell for the site intervention program, earned A+ Exemplary Program Recognition, wrote and secured funding for the Comprehensive School Reform and Reading First grant that brought several million dollars in literacy resources for the school, and was also a Crystal Apple Outstanding Principal Finalist during her eight years at Westwood.

In 2005, Mrs. Wayland moved to a district-level position in the role of Director of Curriculum and Instruction. After spearheading district adoptions of math and science and overseeing numerous curriculum revisions, she was ready to step to the next level. In 2007, she was hired into her role of assistant superintendent and served in a variety of departments that include: Academic Services, District Initiatives/School Support, and Business Operations until her retirement in 2020. These roles allowed her the opportunity to supervise the development and implementation of district-wide curriculum and instructional programs, develop leadership by working with and supporting district and school leaders, plan and execute highly effective operational plans to meet the goals of the district strategic plan in order to maximize resources and impact student achievement of the approximately 12,000 district students. She continues to remain active in public education, currently working in curriculum development as well as providing leadership development training/consulting in order prepare effective leaders who can positively influence student success. She is thrilled to join the team at Synergy Public school in the role of director of initiatives, operations, and leadership development in order to assist and support growth and expansion.

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Sara Kikes
Instructional Specialist
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Biography

About Sara Kikes

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Alina Little
Instructional Specialist
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Biography

About Alina Little

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Teachers

Jazmin Gutierrez
Kindergarten
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Makayla Martinez
Kindergarten
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Vanessa Martinez
Kindergarten
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Cecelia Quintero
Kindergarten
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Gloria Chase
First Grade
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Mikaela Flewelling
First Grade
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Sarah Steffan
First Grade
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Tamara Khalaf
Second Grade
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Sarah Perrone
Second Grade
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McKenzie Ringor
Second Grade
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Kara Witten
Second Grade
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Aaliyah Chavez
Third Grade
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Mariah Cooper
Third Grade
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Sierra Newcomer
Third Grade
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Melissa Stroud
Third Grade
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Blanca Cortez
Fourth Grade
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Colleen Gardella
Fourth Grade
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Kristina Lopez
Fourth Grade
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Jennifer Burns
Fifth Grade
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Shanti Mattox
Fifth Grade
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Taylor Brinton
Sixth/Seventh Grade - Social Studies
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Blake Heiner
Sixth/Seventh Grade - Math
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Jennifer Langdeau
Sixth/Seventh Grade Science
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Paul Haag
Sixth/Seventh Grade - ELA
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Erica Smith
Art
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Isabella Roessle
Music
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Angel Lugo
Physical Education
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Dominique Shibley
Theater Arts
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Katie Heekin
Special Education Services
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Leah Smigiel
Special Education Services
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Ruben Vasquez
Interventionist
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