Welcome to Middle Years & High School! We are so excited to see you!
TEACHER ZOOM ROOMS
Mr. John, M. Ed.
Mr. Mark, M.S
Ms. Patti, M. Ed
Ms. Adele Bovis is joining the MYHS team for 2022-2023 and is delighted to get started! Although she has spent the past three years teaching in northern New Mexico, she’s now ready to embrace the enduring sunny days of the low desert. This year she’s excited to advance her students’ knowledge in math and Spanish while also helping to develop their college and career readiness. A Marylander originally, Ms. Adele has also lived in Peru and England; consequently, she believes that education should foster critical thinking, independence, and global awareness in students. She is a certified AVID educator who holds a Master’s in Cross-Cultural Communication and Education as well as dual Bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and Philosophy. Ms. Adele is a lifelong learner: when she’s not enthusiastically talking about triangles she can be found studying Farsi and practicing new dance steps.
Mr. John Dunegan, M. Ed., is very excited to be joining the MYHS team for 2022-2023. He and his family are relocating from Georgia to Phoenix this summer. This is completely new territory for them, and they are looking forward to life in the desert! Mr. John is a veteran educator with over 17 years in the profession. His passion is writing, and his hope every year is to not only share that passion, but to ignite a passion for writing in his students. In the past, he has led Family Writing Nights, had students complete the NaNoWriMo novel writing challenge, and participated in writing marathons, all things that he hopes to bring to DGM. He is married to his wife, Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan and they have two children. The oldest is finishing her sophomore year at Westminster College in Missouri; the youngest is in the middle school program at their local Montessori School in GA. and will be in MYHS with Mr. John next year. Mr. John’s personal interests can be summed up with the following: all things Doctor Who and Tolkien, his recumbent bike, astronomy, and his pop-up camper!
Ms. Kim is returning for her second year in the MYHS program. She is excited to enter the 2022-2023 year teaching the same classes for Math and Design, but also adding some art classes too! She loves the teaching philosophy and strong sense of community at DGM. Ms. Kim’s background is full of interesting skills and talents! Ms. Kim loves learning new things. Before coming to DGM, she was an independent art teacher and an entrepreneur! She has done everything from curating design and dine pop-up events, being a personal chef, owning a wellness company, and selling her art in boutiques! She has her Masters in Architecture and was also an architect for several years. She moved to Arizona from Hawaii in 2020. In Hawaii she was part of a paddling team, and she surfed, hiked, and rode her bike as much as possible! She enjoys that she can continue living an active lifestyle in the desert! Ms. Kim feels blessed to be a part of the DGM community and looks forward to continuing to grow with, educate, and support students as they progress through the MYHS program!
Mr. Mark Pickett, M.S., joined the MYHS staff last fall to help fill in teaching Math, Science and History while one of the other teachers was out on leave. He continued teaching Pre-Calculus through the end of last semester and has continued with Pre-Calculus and added Geometry and Woodworking this semester. Mr. Mark retired a year ago after working for 40 years as an Aeronautical Engineer doing wind tunnel and flight testing at NASA and Honeywell. He has a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle AU and an M.S in Industrial Engineering from Cleveland State University. He also has an associate degree in Aviation Technology from the University of Illinois CU where he received his Private Pilot and Aviation Mechanics certificates from the FAA. Mr. Mark is a member of Phoenix Flyers and has taken all of his students flying in the club C-182. In his spare time Mr. Mark likes to sail and scuba dive with his son and has been an avid backpacker since the 70’s. He has built his own airplane and is currently restoring a 1974 BMW R75/6 motorcycle.
Ms. Patti Duncan, M. Ed., is thrilled to be returning to MYHS in the fall! While this will only be her second year at Desert Garden as a staff member, she has been associated with the school for numerous years as two of her grandchildren are being raised in the DGM environment. Prior to teaching in MYHS, she taught for over 30 years in public schools and colleges. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education (emphasis on English and Reading), a Masters in Guidance Counseling and CTE, as well as Reading and Structural English Immersion Endorsements. She is a fourth generation Arizonan and she has three adult children who were raised in Ahwatukee. Outside of school, Ms. Patti’s life revolves around her five grandchildren. She also enjoys travelling and can’t wait to take on Yearbook, as well as mentoring the high school students in planning the MYHS field study trips for 2023!
Ms. Crystal, LMSW
Ms. Krista, M. Ed.
Ms. Crystal Lindquist is part of our iTeam at Desert Garden and has a B.A. in Psychology and a LMSW in Social Work. Her professional experience has included being a researcher at University of Arizona and Arizona State University, Child/Family Therapist, and a School Social Worker and Child Development Specialist. Ms. Crystal has always been fascinated with early childhood and how early childhood experiences impact growth and development. She is extremely interested in the relationships formed with parents and caregivers during the early years and how the quality of the relationship sets the foundation for all future development: intellectual, social, emotional, physical and behavioral. Crystal received her certification through the Harris Institute at Southwest Human Development. This certification allowed her to specialize in Infant/Toddler Mental Health. Ms. Crystal is also passionate about mental health in school aged children. She is currently working towards her certified training specialization through Conscious Discipline. Conscious Discipline integrates classroom management and social-emotional learning, discipline and self-regulation. When Ms. Crystal is not working, she enjoys spending quality time with her family. She loves to stay active, travel, and learn from everyone around her.
Ms. Dana Westermann, M. Ed., is elated to introduce herself to the DGM community as the new Director of MYHS! She has been in education for a very long time! She began her career in Houston, Texas and even had the opportunity to teach at the American School in Cairo, Egypt! From there she landed in Phoenix and was hired in Kyrene where she spent the last 18 years of her career. Ms. Dana has everything from early elementary school through High School Math. She has been an Administrator in both elementary and middle schools in Kyrene. She also taught future teachers at Rio Salado! Ms. Dana views education as a lifelong process and she believes that the relationships between families and the school are vital to the success of our students.
Together with our teachers and families, Ms. Dana will help continue to move Desert Garden Montessori students through a rich learning environment guided with love and support toward a bright future!
Mr. Gautham Bala is part of the iTeam at Desert Garden. He obtained a B.S. in Community Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s in Social Work, with a concentration in schools, from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Gautham has learned wellness and mindfulness from our very own Dr. Dave and incorporates it into his own lifestyle. He believes in the importance of promoting mindfulness to students and the benefits it encompasses. Gautham has also coached and played tennis for years and hopes to spread his love for it at DGM. In his free time, Gautham loves to spend his time outdoors, specifically playing spikeball, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family.
Ms. Krista John, M. Ed., has spent over a decade in the field of education with one main goal: to take a creative, personalized, and holistic approach to teaching and learning that supports each students’ growth as a whole person. She has worked for Desert Garden since 2016 in several different roles including teaching Italian, English, and History in MYHS, and as the Director of MYHS who led us through our IB authorization. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in English, and a Master of Education from Arizona State University. She also has certification in IB Leadership and Foreign Language. Her experience includes work in curriculum, classroom teaching, guidance counseling, and school leadership in both private and public education. Ms. Krista is passionate about creating opportunities for students and teachers. She sees the power that comes from small class sizes and student driven experiences. She believes schools should prepare students to become global citizens and leaders who are academically capable, socially responsible, critical and creative thinkers. She loves her family, traveling, good books, and history! The John family took time to travel during the pandemic in their RV and have been to 43 states in the last 18 months! In her free time, you can usually find her with her nose in a book or planning their next trip! Ms. Krista is very excited to be a part of this talented team and continue to help the MYHS program develop.
Shetal Walters is the founder and Executive Director / Head of School of Desert Garden Montessori. Ms. Shetal started the school in her living room in 1996 and has devoted her energy and care to its growing community of students and families ever since. Ms. Walters holds an M.S. in Counseling and a B.S. in Liberal Arts; her professional experience includes counseling families, couples and individuals, but her most valuable skills are in bringing people together, and she is most motivated by the work of building community while educating children. Ms. Shetal enjoys traveling, music from ‘80s to Motown, banana-protein smoothies, and she has a different favorite color from day to day. She loves best her dogs, three children, and her husband, whom she’s been dating since age 15.
As Executive Director, Ms. Shetal is fully responsible for the execution and preservation of the mission set forth by Desert Garden Montessori School. Her general responsibility is to create and sustain an ongoing Montessori Educational program with full authenticity. School growth and enhancing the programs to fulfill best practice for students to prepare them for Education for Tomorrow are central to her daily duties. Building community partnerships, working with various educational institutions, cultivating lasting relationships with alumni, current parents and staff are core to her role as Executive Director.