Michelle Voight Tolzman – East K-1 Grades
I am Michelle Voight Tolzman. I was born in Keflavik, Iceland. My dad was in the Navy for 21 years and he was stationed there. I grew up in the Panhandle of Florida in a small town called Milton, whose nickname is “Scratch Ankle”. I was in Girl Scouts and CYO and between the two groups I enjoyed many activities like canoeing, community service, and many a camping trip. I even got to go to the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. I sure miss those camping trips at the beach and riding our bikes through the old batteries at Fort Pickens. When my dad retired after I graduated from Milton High School I moved for about a year to San Diego and worked at SeaWorld for a summer while attending Community College. Then I moved with my family to Tucson and attended Pima and then transferred to the U of A, where I earned my Teaching Degree. I got my 1st teaching job as a Kindergarten teacher in Eloy, AZ. I taught K and 3rd grade in Eloy for 7 and a half years. After having my 1st child I decided the commute was going to be hard so I got hired with Tucson Unified School District for 21 years at Vesey Elementary (4th grade-1 yr. and the other 20 were a couple years in 2nd grade and then mostly Kinder and 1st grades). While at Vesey I went back to school and earned my Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education with a Reading Endorsement from NAU. I’m in my 29th yr as a teacher now here at TIA, with a fantastic class of 15 Kinder and 1st Grade beautiful children. I am enjoying getting to know the wonderful families and staff here at the East Campus!
“Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.” -Walter Elias Disney
Diana Daniel – East 2-3-4 Grades
Peter Meehan – East 5-6 Grades & Principal
I am Peter Meehan and I was born in Meriden, Connecticut. My family moved to Tucson just after I graduated from high school. I graduated from U of A with a degree in history with a political science minor. I worked for the newspaper in Tucson for many years then decided to pursue my dreams to become a teacher, going back to school to obtain my teaching certificate. I became the 4th and 5th grade teacher at another charter school in Tucson for gifted students, where I also became the Principal. After 11 years, that school closed and I started working at TIA as a 4th and 5th grade teacher and also the Principal of the East Campus. I love teaching!
“Helping a student develop a strong sense of self confidence is often all it takes for that child to be successful.”
Bill Chambers – East 7 -12 Grades Math/Science
I am the Math/Science teacher for grades 6-12. I have been a teacher for over 25 years. I have taught in Mexico, Gabon West Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Spain, and Peru. I have enjoyed being a teacher and consider myself lucky to have traveled doing my job. I graduated with a B. S. in GeoScience from the University of Arizona. I also received and a MS from South Eastern Florida University in Curriculum Instruction and Technology. I also have over 70 semester hours in professional development classes. As a military dependent I have been traveling for most of my life. I have been to six of the seven continents and look forward to the day I will be able to go to Antarctica. I consider myself to be lucky being a teacher.
“Every truth has four corners. As a teacher I give you one corner and it is for you to find the other three.” Confucius
Jonathan Basurto – ELA/SS 7-12 Grades
I grew up in here in Tucson on the west side and graduated from Salpointe Catholic High School. After two years at NAU, I graduated from the University of Arizona and moved to Los Angeles where I was an actor and then a manager of an international sports marketing firm, where I had the privilege of working with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Clippers, Kings and Chivas USA. In 2010 I decided to come back to Tucson to focus on my faith and was led to TIA.
We have an exceptional business program that was created by Eller College of Entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona, where students learn to dress professionally, build their resumes, build websites, build pamphlets in different languages, speak formally, and yes, even learn to shake hands before they interview with a professional on the career of their choice. We have had multiple visits from politicians like Congressman Grijalva and Juan Ciscomani, business owners from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and we compete against other high schools from Tucson yearly in the Arizona Financial Face-Off where students show off their understanding of financial stability.
Xiuqing Sun – Chinese Teacher
I went to China Communication University and have a degree in Media Management. In China I taught Chinese to foreigners before I moved to the U.S.
I’ve been teaching Chinese at TIA since 2012. I have traveled to Thailand, Japan, Korea, China and around the U.S. I cannot give a direct translation but my favorite quote is something like this; “If I walk with two other people, I can learn from at least one of them.” It shows humility and the willingness to learn from different people, regardless of their age, background or beliefs.