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> About Us > Teachers

Meet Our Staff

If you need more information regarding our teaching staff please contact us at info@sonoranschools.org.


Dr. Kaitlin Lira

Dr. Lira has worked in education since 2007 as a teacher, assistant principal, and now principal of Sonoran Virtual Academy. She has her Masters in Education from Claremont Graduate University, and Doctorate of Education from University of Southern California. She has worked in schools in California and Arizona, and is a Tucson native. In her free time, she loves watching her son play tball, and spending time outdoors hiking, camping, traveling, and visiting National Parks. She is also an avid reader and a huge fan of audiobooks. She firmly believes that schools cannot be successful without strong relationships between all stakeholders, and thus, is passionate about creating an engaging, and safe school environment for all SVA students.


Brent Garner
K-8 ESS Teacher

Mr. Garner has years of experience teaching special education online, both at SVA at a virtual school in his home state of Utah. Prior to working online, he worked at several Montessori schools as a special education teacher, both in Utah and Idaho. He has a Masters in Teaching in Special Education from Boise State University. Mr. Garner gets a kick out of helping students learn! He is married and has six children and seven grandchildren. He enjoys reading, playing chess, and talking to people.


Abby Beezhold 
Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. B teaches kindergarten and reading intervention at Sonoran Virtual Academy. She has taught with Sonoran schools for two years and in the classroom for 9 years prior to coming to Sonoran. She earned her Bachelor’s of Early Childhood Education and her Master’s in Educational Technology. She combines the two to strive for excellence in both online education and early education. She is also certified in Dyslexia intervention, Handwriting Without Tears, and is currently working towards becoming a Google Educator. She has a strong passion for meeting the needs of each student and building strong, respectful relationships with each student. She lives in Mesa, Arizona with her husband and two kids. She loves to read, create digital teaching materials, and of course, hang out with her family.


Lisa Church
1st Grade Teacher

Ms. Church teaches 1st grade at Sonoran Virtual Academy. She has over 15 years of experience in education and has taught 1st grade since 2017. She has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education, a Master’s from Grand Canyon University, and is trained in Dyslexia intervention and the Science of Reading. She loves to help students reach their potential by ensuring they know they are accepted and cared for at school. Ms. Church enjoys long rides with her two adult children, spending time with her two dogs, and dreams of taking trips to Disneyland.


Megan Alley
2nd Grade Teacher

Ms. Alley teaches 2nd grade at Sonoran Virtual Academy. Prior to joining the Sonoran Science team. Ms. Alley taught at the Math and Science Success Academy for two years prior to joining SVA. Ms. Alley earned her Bachelors in Sports Management and Sociology, at the University of Arizona. She is continuing her education at Grand Canyon University with a Masters in Communications with an emphasis in Education. Ms. Alley has one daughter, and loves anything sports related and spending time outdoors with family and friends.


Tammy Moffatt
3rd Grade Teacher

Ms. Tammy has taught with Sonoran Schools for 4 years and currently lives in Surprise, Arizona. She earned her Alternative Teaching Certificate from Teachers of Tomorrow and has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management as well. Ms. Tammy loves teaching online and focuses on the success of each child. She has three kids of her own and looks at every child as if they are her own. In her spare time she breeds dogs as a hobby and gaming with her kids.


Breena Suchsland
4th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Suchsland received her Masters in Elementary Education from National Louis University. Since graduating, Mrs. Suchsland has gained experience in both in-person and online instruction at the upper elementary level. She has also obtained several teaching certifications in secondary education. She previously lived in Arizona, and currently resides in Illinois with her husband to be closer to family and friends. In her free time, she enjoys cozying up on the couch reading a book or watching documentaries and reality television.


Marinela Nicolescu
5th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Marinela Nicolescu has lived, worked and raised her two sons on three continents: Europe (Romania and Sweden), Africa (South Africa) and North America (USA). Her life experience and professional skills are therefore very diverse. She appreciates the diversity of the student body at Sonoran Schools and embraces close communication and cultural exchange with all families. She earned a teaching degree and certification from her home country Romania and a Bachelors of Law from Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania. Ms. Marinela has taught at the Elementary level at Sonoran Schools in Tucson since 2008. Ms. Marinela is currently living in Branford, CT with her family. When not teaching, she enjoys walks on the beach and gardening.


Claudia Cordon
Math Interventionist

Mrs. Cordon has been teaching mathematics at the elementary and middle school levels since 2015 and holds her teacher certification from the state of Texas. She graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Applied Arts and Science in Legal Studies from The University of Texas at Brownsville. Mrs. Cordon is a Rio Grande Valley native who enjoys going to the beach with her family, reading a good book and watching Marvel movies. She loves math because it is a universal language that can be shared and understood across the world.


Tifarah Dial
Middle School Teacher

Dr. Dial teaches middle school Math and Computer Science at SVA. She graduated from Grambling State University with a B.S. in Computer Science. Furthering her education, she obtained Masters in Special Education and Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She is an educational leader with 18 years of experience in education. She has served as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, administrator, and university instructor throughout her career. Dr. Dial firmly believes that all students deserve a world-class education. She has dedicated her life to achieving this goal.


Christen Smith
6th, 7th and 8th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Smith teaches middle school science at Sonoran Virtual Academy. She has over 15 years of teaching experience, teaching middle school, elementary and high school. Mrs. Smith is from and lives in West Virginia. She attended West Virginia University, where she obtained her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in education. She enjoys spending time with her family and sitting on any beach with a book.


Alison Whitfield
6th, 7th and 8th grade Teacher

Mrs. Alison Whitfiled is beginning her 18th year in education. She teaches 6th, 7th and 8th grade history and 6th grade AVID for Sonoran Virtual Academy. After graduating Cum Laude with a B.A. in History from Southern Methodist University, Mrs. Whitfield worked as the Education and Tour Director for the Women’s Museum of Dallas before beginning her 16-year career as a middle-school history teacher in North Texas public schools. In addition, Mrs. Whitfield served as a curriculum and assessment writer for North Texas school districts and as well as an educational consultant for the Dallas Museum of Art. She co-founded the organization, Texas History Teachers for Collaborative Planning, and currently writes U.S. History narratives for various online organizations. In her free time, Mrs. Whitfield enjoys spending time with her husband and their four children and playing with her two rescue chihuahuas, “Charlie” and “Bruno.”

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