Joy Karn, a teacher at Civano Community School in Vail, smiles after being presented a Tucson Values Teachers Teacher Excellence Award. 

Tucson Values Teachers honored five local educators last week with Teacher Excellence Awards to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week.

Civano Community School’s Joy Karn, Hollinger K-8’s Maritza Mazon, Canyon View Elementary’s Brittany Weeks, Empire High’s Christine In-Albon and Tortolita Middle’s Megan Hawkes won $100 gift cards to OfficeMax/Office Depot, $250 in cash, a mini bell from Ben’s Bells and a class pizza party as part of the award.

Students nominated the winning teachers through video submissions, according to a news release.

Karn, a second- and third-grade teacher at Civano, has been an educator since 1991. Karn’s student Ian Cooksey nominated her with a stop-motion video he created featuring students from her class.

Mazon has been in TUSD for 17 years. She graduated from Pueblo High School and has advocated for bilingual education and English-language development at Hollinger.

Weeks has taught first grade at Canyon View for eight years. Her students described her as “nice and funny, creative and funny” in the song parody video they submitted to Tucson Values Teachers.

Empire’s In-Albon has taught in the Vail School District for 23 years and at Empire for the last 12. Her AP seminar students nominated her because she is an “admirable advocate for environmental conservation, both inside of school and out.”

Hawkes, a seventh-grade social studies teacher, has taught at Tortolita for the last seven years. Her student Greta Zimmerman nominated her because “she’s very understanding and takes the time to know each and every child.”

5 Tucson students awarded National Merit Scholarships

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. has awarded five Tucson high school seniors one-time $2,500 scholarships.

University High’s Ashley Chen, Walker Kroulbalkian and Talia Tax are among the newly announced National Merit scholars. Basis Oro Valley’s Carley Noll and Basis Tucson North’s Tripp Rosenfelt also won scholarships.

The students competed against 15,000 students across the United States for the scholarships. They won them because they have “the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies,” according to a news release.

Flowing Wells serving free breakfast, lunch this summer

Richardson Elementary, Flowing Wells High and Sentinel Peak High will serve free breakfast and lunch to children 18 and younger for select periods this summer.

Richardson will offer breakfast every Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. until 8 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. until 12 p.m. May 28 through July 31.

Flowing Wells will serve breakfast every Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. until 8:15 a.m. and lunch from 10:50 a.m. until 12 p.m. June 3 through July 11.

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Sentinel Peak will serve breakfast every Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. and lunch from 12 p.m. until 12:30 p.m. June 3 through July 11.

Call Flowing Wells at 520-696-8622 with any questions.

Local charter to open fifth Southern Ariz. campus in 4 years

The Leman Academy of Excellence plans to open a fifth K-6 campus in Southern Arizona by school year 2020.

The school will be in the Grace to the Nations church plaza near North Wilmot Road and East Pima Street, according to Leman head of schools Dennis O’Reilly. It will serve between 400 and 500 students and could feature a preschool.

Like the other campuses, it will incorporate the philosophies of psychologist Kevin Leman into a “classical” education, O’Reilly said. A classical education prepares students for success by teaching students in three phases: grammar, logic and rhetoric.

“That’s what resonates with parents and families,” O’Reilly said. “That’s why they’re attracted to us.”

Leman is still in purchasing negotiations for the property, O’Reilly said. There are wait lists at every Leman campus in Tucson, he added.

There are three Leman campuses operating in the Tucson area and a fourth in Sierra Vista.

Contact reporter Brenna Bailey at or 520-573-4279. On Twitter: @brennanonymous


Brenna explains how national, state and local K-12 education issues impact Tucson schools. She's a proud product of Arizona public schools. Send her news tips, story ideas and existential life questions at