Mexicayotl Academy, Nogales/Tucson


Mexica: All Tribes

Yotl: The Heart Of The Community

My journey as a teacher began in Mexico where I taught for several years, and from then until now I can still say I truly enjoy it. There, I worked in secondary and preparatory schools, as well as private classes with smaller more personal groups setting providing me with exposure to different levels and overall different student-teacher interaction. After a few years of teaching I immigrated to the United States where I furthered my education by completing my Masters Degree in Education with a Reading specialist courses for Elementary Level at Northern Arizona University in 2006.

Before attending higher education in Mexico, I had the opportunity to learn the English language in an American high school where I learned to appreciate the American culture in conjunction with my own Hispanic culture, and gave room to my vision of one day teaching in an American school.

My goal as a teacher is to provide my students an academic experience with the high standards yet emphasized focus on creating an academic success nurturing environment as well as a positive personal growth experience on a day to day basis for the students.

I am dedicated to work towards the kind of experience for my students that I would desire for my own children and grandchildren which I value with all my heart. I once heart a saying of “Teaching is a career from the heart” and I feel that I have taken those words and live them.

Mi nombre es Ramona Kraffth. Estoy orgullosa de poder trabajar para la escuela Mexicayotl Academy Tucson. Yo soy mexicana nacida en Magdalena de Kino, Son. Y vivo en Tucson desde 1979. Tengo familia en magdalena y Phoenix, Az. Tengo 2 hijos y 3 nietos que viven aquí en Tucson. Voy a trabajar como custodian y transportación.

Mrs. Lynn Valenzuela has been in education since 2001 and values the hearts and minds of young learners.  Over the course of her career in education, she has taught children in 1st,  4th, 5th and 6th grades.  She has served in a number of communities in Tucson, Arizona both in the classroom and providing support to teachers and scholars as an Instructional/Data Coach and Math/Reading Interventionist.  She comes with experience in charter schools as she was previously Director of Instruction at another charter school here in Tucson. 

Mrs. Valenzuela is very proud to be a part of the Mexicayotl Academy community.  She will continue her work with teachers and scholars as Curriculum Coordinator.  In this position she will provide classroom instructional support, training in instructional practices and data analysis for teachers.  Mrs. Valenzuela believes in being a life-long learner.  She is a proud graduate of the University of Arizona where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and is currently attending Grand Canyon University where she will earn a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.


My name is Denise Webb and I am an early childhood educator since 2011. I am a mother of a 15 year old boy in whom I strive to teach him and guide him to become a good successful man and citizen. I graduated from National University with a GPA of 3.9 in June 2015. My passion is teaching and to challenge children to love learning. The strategy is to teach each child successfully by utilizing differentiated instruction and adaptations in order to teach each child and to reach their academic goals. I am a lifelong learner and will continue to work hard for every child to achieve in their academics. This is my 2nd year at Mexicayotl Academy. Previously, I taught for four years in an inclusion classroom with special needs students.  I am bilingual and I speak, read, and write in Spanish.

 My philosophy in education is that every child can learn. The methods of teaching are different for each child and through different learning strategies, children are able to grasp what is being taught. One strategy is hands-on learning. The purpose is for students to enjoy learning through discovery and exploration in various learning experiences. I also believe that it is essential that teachers built a strong relationship with the families in order for students to succeed.

I am looking forward to this exciting new year and I am dedicated to helping each child learn and enjoy their education!

My name is Larisa Thomas and I am very excited to join the team at Mexicayotl as the third-grade teacher. I have been actively involved in conservation education for the past 11 years. I received both my bachelors degree in elementary education and my masters degree in environmental studies from Prescott College. After teaching for six years at Southside Community School I took a job at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in the raptor free flight department and then transferred to the High Desert Museum in Bend Oregon, where I ran their free flight department and worked in education. In my spare time I like boating, music, art, hiking, dancing, gardening, birding and spending time with my animals. I know that we are going to have a fun filled year!

Ana Chavez




Lynn Valenzuela


fRANCINE Gonzales


Larisa Thomas


Roxanna Rivera-Pelton has been working in education and supporting the learning of children for 15 years.  She has worked as a classroom teacher both at the primary and intermediate levels, worked as a Learning Supports Coordinator, Dean of Students, and University Supervisor for the University of Arizona.

She is thrilled to be the instructional coach at Mexicayotl and to help support the teachers who work with and teach our scholars each day.

Mrs. Rivera-Pelton received her degree in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona and received her Masters in Education from this same institution.  In addition, she was nominated and selected as a Rodel Aspiring Principal where she received training from mentors who held a track record for leading successful schools.

Roxanna Rivera-Pelton


Lourdes Leon


Julie Macias



Cathy Ramirez


Lisette Ruiz


My name is Lisette Ruiz. I am from Nogales, Arizona- where Mexicayotl Academy first began. I graduated from Nogales High School in 2009. I attended Pima Community College and received my Associates of Arts in Elementary Education. After two years at Pima Community College, I transferred to the University of Arizona, and in May 2013 I graduated with honors and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. While being a fulltime student, I also worked full time at a daycare for four years. My desire to teach kids began when I was in high school. Ever since I was in elementary I’ve had a speech impairment, I would stutter every time and I saw how hard it was for me to go through school and decided that I wanted to show
students that anything is possible. Working with kids is something I really enjoy doing. I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a caring and secure atmosphere.

Ivonne Ferreira


My name is Ivonne Ferreira Riesgo and I am the new principal of Mexicayotl Academy of Tucson.  It is with great pleasure that I write to you to welcome you and your child to the 2015-2016 school year.  I have a wonderful husband and two great children Fabian 16 and Giselle 14.  They are my rock and inspiration.

I am a proud graduate of Class of 1992.  I am a first generation college graduate! I earned my bachelors degree in Bilingual Elementary Education at the University of Arizona and my Masters in Educational Leadership through Northern Arizona University. I hold a Reading specialist degree and plan on pursuing my doctorate in the near future. I taught for ten memorable years in the Sunnyside District and have experienced very rich positions that have expanded my learning as a leader.  I was a Prevention Specialist at a middle school setting, Career Ladder Teacher Coach and Evaluator and Supplemental Educational Services Coordinator at Sunnyside Central Administration.  I was very fortunate to have led two wonderful schools - Carrillo Magnet K-5 in the Tucson Unified School District and Peña Blanca Elementary in the Santa Cruz Valley District. I look forward to the continued endeavor of multitude of learning experiences here at Mexicayotl Academy.