AIPA

Board Members

Melanie Allen – President

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Passion. Long ago Melanie Allen learned that one must follow their passions because this is where true happiness and success lies – doing what you’re passionate about. Melanie has found her passion in teaching English, advising the school newspaper, The Rocket Reporter and serving as the Language Arts department chair and literacy coach at Moon Valley High School in Phoenix.

Melanie truly believes that every student can learn, and is continually seeking opportunities that will allow for each student to learn and flourish. Throughout her years of teaching and advising she has continually sought out conferences or workshops that provide meaningful strategies to increase student learning. In 2006, she earned a journalism educator fellowship at UC Berkeley where she networked with 29 other journalism teachers from across the nation. While there she learned from leading journalism professionals about the industry and had hands-on training in reporting, editing, design, photo and graphics skills. She continually incorporates and implements these experiences throughout her teaching, working with other teachers and researching.

Melanie serves on the board as president and fall convention coordinator, she previously held the position of vice-president. Her students enter the AIPA contests annually, taking away many accolades from each contest. This, along with her guidance, she feels, helps to empower her journalism students to tackle the issues that appeal to their readers. Moreover, many of her students have been accepted into various journalism schools such as the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and Ball State University.

Melanie graduated with her B.A. in Communications in 2001 and her M.Ed. in Secondary Education in 2005 both from Grand Canyon University.

Mike Walker – Vice President

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With over 12 years of experience teaching Career and Technical Education (CTE) to West Valley students, teaching three levels of TV Broadcasting Production at Verrado High School, in addition to serving on the board of Arizona Interscholastic Press Association (AIPA) I’m also an advisor and board member for SkillsUSA and have been an active member of the Student Television Network (STN) for over ten years. My students have excelled, winning numerous awards at the regional, state and national level; including my TV Broadcasting class being named the number one high school program in the country by STN.

I love teaching and watching my students meet their full potential. I also encourage students to give back to the community by donating the skills they learn to various community service projects by providing video related services to many community groups, schools and clubs in the city and local school district.

I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems at Murray State University in Murray, KY in 1994, my Master’s in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix in 2005, and am a certified Final Cut Pro user by Apple. I was also awarded the Dysart Hero award in 2011 for my outstanding contributions to the Dysart school district and in the 15-16 school year decided to move districts and took a teaching position at Verrado High School in the Agua Fria Union High School District.

I also participate in many SkillsUSA competitions by chairing events at both the regional and state levels and taught classes at both the AIPA summer and fall conferences. I was on the committee that developed the CTE State Assessments for TV Broadcasting for the AZ Department of Education, in addition to developing the curriculum for TV Broadcasting along with other Film and Graphics related classes in both the Dysart and Agua Fria school districts.

Stephen Truog – Recording Secretary

Stephen J. Truog moved to Arizona in 2005 to begin a career in teaching after a decade working in the media. He graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and worked as a copy editor, page designer, arts editor and movie critic at papers in the midwest. Since 2005, he has been teaching AP Government and other social studies courses as well as digital media and journalism courses and serving as newspaper/yearbook advisor at Buckeye Union High School and Copper Canyon High School.

Deanne Hutchison – Web Admin/Convention Coordinator

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Deanne Hutchison has worked for over 25 years with two publications at Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix where she also served as a technology mentor for several years. She advises Viking Views, the school newspaper, and the school yearbook, Valhalla. Both the yearbook and the  newspaper have won numerous local and national awards during these years.

Hutchison remains an active member of AIPA and JEA as she has for 25 years. She has been the contest coordinator, website manager and an area coordinator for AIPA, taught sessions for local AIPA conventions as well as JEA national conventions.

Kristy Roschke – Communications Director

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Kristy Roschke is Executive Director of KJZZ’s Youth Media Center, SPOT 127. She is doctoral candidate at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she conducts research on digital media literacy and social media. She previously headed the journalism department at Sunrise Mountain High School. Roschke recently earned her Master Journalism Educator distinction from the Journalism Education Association and has been an AIPA board member since 2009.

Christine Brandell-Melendez – Past President

Christine Brandell-Melendez is in her twenty-fourth year of teaching. Brandell-Melendez advised the El Demonio yearbook and Demon Chronicle newspaper at Dysart High School and then was recruited to Highland High School in Gilbert to advise the Talon yearbook. She has been the recipient of both the Freeman Hover and Forest Martin awards from AIPA. After having her son, Brandell-Melendez decided to teach closer to home to spend more time with her family. Currently, Brandell-Melendez is teaching AP Economics and Economics and Paradise Valley High School.

In addition she is active with the Journalism Education Association as the Arizona State Director.

Michelle Coro – In-service Coordinator

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Michelle Coro, a certified journalism educator, has advised multimedia programs at Desert Vista High School since 2003. She works with staffs of the Thunder Vision, View Newspaper, Storm Yearbook and the DVthundermedia.com website. She encourages students to explore areas of media production including writing, videography, digital photography and technology in all her classes. In addition to her courses, Coro is one of the school’s web directors and serves on the administrative council team, as well as the district’s Career and Technology Education media advisory council and the Arizona State Interscholastic Press Association board. Coro earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism with a minor in communication from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 1990 and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in technology from the University of Phoenix in 2000. Her work as a professional journalist in broadcast and print media before becoming an educator includes a police/fire beat as a news reporter for the Tribune Newspapers and work in front of and behind the camera for KYMA-TV, KSAZ-TV and WDAF-TV. She left the newsroom to teach English and journalism at Ruskin High School, as well as Highland and Mesquite high schools before arriving at Desert Vista, where her focus has been the Thunder Media Information (TMI) program, which emphasizes convergent, multimedia journalism.

Amy McTague – Treasurer

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Amy McTague is a recovered English teacher turned graphic design teacher who is in her 22nd year of teaching. She has advised yearbooks for 21 of those years. Like so many, she was asked to take on yearbook with little background as a second year teacher. She counts it one of the best things that ever happened to her. Amy started her career at Conifer High School in Colorado after spending ten years in industry. She moved to Arizona the summer of 2008 and teaches at Willow Canyon High School in Surprise.

Amy’s passion for working with students to help them become responsible, engaged, civic-minded citizens of their communities began with growing as a journalism adviser and has led to her involvement with Arizona Interscholastic Press Association, where she serves as treasurer and previously served as summer workshop coordinator. She is also active in SkillsUSA, where she is the AZ Region 5 Coordinator, a position she has held for eight years. Her responsibilities include organizing the region’s championship competition with more than 30 competitions and over 1000 student competitors. On the local level, Amy is the lead advisor for her school’s SkillsUSA chapter.

She holds a B.A. in Theatre with an emphasis in costuming from University of Colorado, Boulder, and has completed Masters classes Liberal Studies focused on literacy at University of Denver.

Amy believes passionately in the potential of all students and has been accused by her own students of tricking them into being successful.

(vacant) – Contest Coordinator

Amanda Cline – Member at Large

Red Mountain High School, Mesa, AZ

Jason Davis – Member at Large

jason-davisCactus Canyon Junior High, Apache Junction, AZ

 

 

 

 

Heather Eaton – Member at Large

Heather Eaton is in her 23rd year of teaching. Early in her career, she was a special education teacher before moving to fine arts to teach her niche, digital photography and journalism. She has had the pleasure of building several programs at La Joya Community High School from the ground up. She currently advises the Montage yearbook, Eye of the Lobo, La Joya’s school online newspaper and La Joya Link, the digital media program at La Joya Community High School in Avondale, Arizona. She is also the Department Chair for Career and Technical Education (CTE) at her school site. Her passion for art, design and digital media has allowed her to build these programs into what they are today.

Eaton’s high school programs are dual-enrolled through Estrella Community College. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication where she teaches JMC 305 the Multimedia Journalism class. Eaton has also taught workshops for AIPA Fall/Summer conferences, Herff Jones, Balfour and her District.

Eaton’s students have produced publications that have won awards from AIPA, The Arizona State Fair, Shemer Gallery, City of Avondale and District-wide on a consistent basis.

Eaton received her Bachelor’s Degree from Northern Arizona University in 1999, and her Master’s in Education Media Design and Technology from Full Sail University in 2010. Her love for technology drives her instruction with 21st Century learning skills. She has a deep-rooted love for learning and Eaton’s passion for her craft is very evident when she in her element, teaching in the classroom. She often expresses she could never see herself doing anything else.

Casey Hinde – Member at Large

Shadow Ridge High School, Surprise, AZ

Stan Bindell – Member at Large

Stan Bindell has taught print journalism, radio broadcast and video broadcast at Mingus High School. He was a working journalist for more than 20 years before going into teaching. He also continues to free lance for several newspapers.

 

 

Laura Hardy – Member at Large

Laura Hardy has served as a contest coordinator for the past two years and is currently a board member of the AIPA. She has advised journalism and yearbook at Highland High School in Gilbert, AZ for 4 years now and before that served as adviser at Paradise Valley High School. Last year, her students were honored with a Certificate of Merit Premiere Print Award from the American Printing Industries for their work on the 2018 yearbook “Reflections”. She loves the opportunity to teach students to tell their stories and train to be leaders. Highland High School, Gilbert, AZ

Carmen Wendt – Member at Large/JEA Mentor

Carmen Wendt, MJE, has been a teacher and adviser 34+ years, advising both yearbook and newspaper staffs. She worked in Missouri, California and mostly in Arizona at Saguaro High School, in Scottsdale. She taught photography, English, business, typography and, of course, journalism. She has been involved with AIPA for 40+ years and over the years served as president, vice president, secretary, convention coordinator and treasurer. In addition she is active with the Journalism Education Association as a Mentor to new advisers. She has received NSPA’s Pioneer Award, AIPA’s Adviser Hall of Fame and Forrest Martin Award, JEA’s Lifetime Achievement and Scottsdale Charro’s Outstanding Teacher. She holds a BAE in journalism from Arizona State University and an MA from University of Missouri – Columbia.

Peggy Gregory – JEA Mentor

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Peggy Gregory, CJE, advised the award-winning Greenway H.S. Demon Dispatch for 35 years and held two specialist positions for 8 years in the Dysart USD. Gregory served as president of Arizona Interscholastic Press Association for seven years and is presently on the board as a Member at Large. She has served on the JEA Mentoring committee since it’s inception and was local co-chair for two JEA/NSPA Phoenix conventions. Honors include NSPA Pioneer Award, JEA Medal of Merit, CSPA Gold Key and James F. Paschal Award as well as the Dow Jones Special Recognition Adviser and Distinguished Adviser awards.

Anita Luera – Summer Workshop Director/High School Journalism Institute Director

Anita Luera is the director of the Cronkite Institute for High School Journalism, a consortium of national and local programs designed to support and train high school journalism teachers and students. Luera was the first woman news director at a Phoenix television station, running the news department for the Spanish-language Univision affiliate KTVW-Channel 33. She worked at 12 News KPNX, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix, and KOOL-TV (CBS), now Fox 10. She is president elect of CLFSA ASU, Chicano/Latino Faculty Staff Association; AIPA Board ASU Liaison, immediate past president of the Arizona Latino Media Association. Member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalist and faculty advisor for NAHJASU Student Chapter.

Pam Walker – Bookkeeper

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Board Members