Board Members

Melanie Allen – President


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


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

Copper Canyon High School





Deanne Hutchison – Web Admin / Co-Convention Coordinator

Deanna Hutchinson

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


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.


Michelle Coro – In-service Coordinator

michelle-coroMichelle 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 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

Willow Canyon High School





(vacant) – Contest Coordinator

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  40+ years and over the years served as president, vice president, secretary, convention coordinator and is the current treasurer. In addition she is active with the Journalism Education Association as the Arizona State Director and 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.

Heather Eaton – Member at Large

Heather Eaton (@rawkineducation) | Twitter

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

Gilbert High School





Peggy Gregory – JEA Mentor

Peggy 2

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 & Director, High School Journalism Institute

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