Contact Us

State GEAR UP Office

Arizona GEAR UP

15451 N. 28th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85053

Phone: (602) 776-4616
Fax: (602) 776-4619
Email: gear.up@nau.edu 

State Office Team

 

Daniel L. Kain
Principal Investigator

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Daniel L. Kain
Principal Investigator

Dr. Daniel Kain is the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel at Northern Arizona University and Principal Investigator (PI) for Arizona GEAR UP 2012-19; his role as PI spans three grant cycles and a decade. In addition to overall project oversight, Dr. Kain brings expertise in curriculum and research-based instructional strategies to GEAR UP. He served as Principal Investigator on the 2010-12 research study of the Arizona GEAR UP intervention, academic mentoring. Dr. Kain is the former Dean of the College of Education at Northern Arizona University, and a leading academic authority for middle school professional development with a specialty in problem-based learning.

Daniel.Kain@nau.edu
(928)523-2230

Teena Olszewski
Executive Director

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Teena Olszewski
Executive Director

Teena Olszewski is the Executive Director of Arizona GEAR UP and has provided leadership to the State GEAR UP Office since 2002. She is responsible for ensuring compliance with programmatic, administrative and fiscal requirements of the project; creating and expanding partnerships to meet objectives; representing Arizona GEAR UP to constituents; and initiating actions to increase preparation for, access to, and retention in postsecondary education. She is a second-term Commissioner on the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education; is chair-elect of the Arizona ACT Executive Council; and is a co-chair the national GEAR UP Evaluation Consortium Executive Committee, as well as the College Depot Advisory Committee. She brings more than 25 years of executive-level administrative, management and leadership experience in government, education and non-profit environments to the position. Teena received her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and her master's degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.

Teena.Olszewski@nau.edu
(602)776-4613  

Elizabeth Elkes-Johnson

Executive Assistant

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Elizabeth Elkes-Johnson
Executive Assistant

Elizabeth Elkes-Johnson has worked with GEAR UP at Northern Arizona University for five years as the Administrative Assistant for the State Office. She is currently on special assignment as the Executive Assistant to Executive Director, Teena Olszewski. Elizabeth is the first line of contact with constituents for internal and external communications and she performs an array of duties to support executive leadership functions. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communication from Northern Arizona University (NAU) and recently completed coursework for a Masters of Applied Communication with an emphasis in advocacy from Arizona State University (ASU).

Elizabeth.Elkes@nau.edu
(602)776-4657 

GEAR UP High School Partners

Jan Wenning
Assistant Director, GEAR UP High School Partners

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Jan Wenning
Assistant Director
In-School Partnerships

A member of the Arizona GEAR UP team since 2003, Jan Wenning provides direction and leadership to ensure effective student services at schools in fourteen school districts across the state. She directly supervises Site Support Specialists, and together they provide consultation and guidance for 17 full-time GEAR UP Coordinators at participating schools. Jan is a member of the Arizona College Access Network Steering Committee.  Her career has focused on prevention and early intervention for disadvantaged children and their families with an emphasis on collaborative efforts. These efforts have taken place in her work with Head Start programs in Maryland and Arizona, and as Director of the Arizona Governor's Division for Children, where she was responsible for administering federal grants for early care/education and for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Jan received her M.Ed. in special education from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Judith.Wenning@nau.edu

(602)776-4315

Rhae Lynne Clawson

Site Support Specialist, GEAR UP High School Partners

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Rhae Lynne Clawson 
Site Support Specialist

Rhae Lynne Clawson provides guidance, support and feedback to nine GEAR UP school-based Coordinators and their site-based Task Force members to develop/implement and execute annual performance based work plans. She assists with continuous assessment and evaluation of work plan progress and student participation in GEAR UP activities.  Rhae Lynne came to GEAR UP in 2012 from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) where she served as a branch Education Director, and worked to develop and implement a college readiness program across the organization. Prior to BGCS, Rhae Lynne taught 6-8th grade Science and Social Studies in the Pendergast school district for six years. Rhae Lynne received her Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education-History and Social Studies from Northern Arizona University (NAU), and is in the process of earning a Master’s of Secondary Education from NAU as well.

Rhae-Lynne.Clawson@nau.edu

(602)728-9502

John (Tie Guy) Acedo

Site Support Specialist, GEAR UP High School Partners

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John (Tie Guy) Acedo 
Site Support Specialist

John “Tie Guy” Acedo works closely with GEAR UP Schools in central and southern Arizona as a Site Support Specialist. Tie Guy provides support and guidance to the GEAR UP Coordinators and their Task Force Teams, while also providing ongoing evaluation of work plan progress.  Tie Guy came to GEAR UP in 2012, after ten years of working with GEAR UP students attending the Summer Enrichment Program at Northern Arizona University (NAU), where he directed the College of Education’s Office of Community Engagement.  Prior to his work at NAU on the mountain campus, he taught for a number of years in the Alhambra Elementary School District, as a middle school general/choir teacher, and as the Musical Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix. Tie Guy received his Bachelor’s Degree in K-12 Music Education and his Masters in Educational Technology from Northern Arizona University.

John.Acedo@nau.edu
(602)728-9501 

Fiscal Operations

Stephen R. Hart
Assistant Director, Fiscal Operations

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Stephen R. Hart
Assistant Director
Fiscal Operations

Stephen Hart, Ed.D., is responsible for all financial operations as it relates to Arizona GEAR UP. He received his bachelor's degree in economics at Arizona State University (ASU), a Master's of Public Administration from ASU, and doctorate in Educational Leadership from NAU. He came to Arizona GEAR UP in 2004 from the Arizona Community Foundation, where he was administering the Arizona GEAR UP Scholarship Program. Prior to that, Steve served Colorado College as its Director of Advancement Services, overseeing the department's donor records and major prospects database. Steve is excited to be part of Arizona GEAR UP.

Stephen.Hart@nau.edu
(602)776-4614

Roxanne McNabb

Assistant, Fiscal Operations

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Roxanne McNabb
Assistant 
Fiscal Operations

Roxanne joined the GEAR UP team in early 2014, as the Assistant for fiscal operations.  She graduated from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in May of 2013 with a degree in Business Administration, a major in Economics and a minor in Spanish.  She has worked as a Supplemental Instructor for Micro Economics and as a Peer Advisor for the Inclusion Multicultural Services at NAU. Roxanne’s experience also includes involvement with a number of student organizations at NAU, including officer positions with the International Economics Honor Society, and chair of the Franke College of Business Student Organization Committee.

Roxanne.McNabb@nau.edu
(602) 298-4016

Data Management & Program Effectiveness

Barbara Soby
Assistant Director, Data Management & Program Effectiveness

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Barbara Soby
Assistant Director
Data Management & Program Effectiveness

A member of the NAU GEAR UP team since 2003, Barbara Soby is responsible for all data-related matters for Arizona GEAR UP -- promoting data-informed continuous improvement, ensuring reporting compliance, and supporting rigorous annual evaluations of the project. Barbara is the liaison, on behalf of GEAR UP, to the Arizona Department of Education’s State Longitudinal Data System project, and she is a technical expert for Arizona on the national GEAR UP Evaluation Consortium.  For over 30 years, her career and research has focused on support for, and empowerment of, disadvantaged and disenfranchised populations. She has a strong belief in prevention and early intervention for addressing social problems and improving the quality of life at both the individual and community levels. Barbara received her M.S. in Child Development from the University of California at Davis and her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Boston State College.

Barbara.Soby@nau.edu
(602)776-4617

Kitty Hager

Data Input Operator, Data Management & Program Effectiveness

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Kitty Hager
Data Input Operator  

Kitty Hager joined the GEAR UP team in October 2012. As Data Input Operator, she is responsible for processing the array of data  associated with a large-scale college access program, and for producing reports that support program implementation and continuous improvement.  Kitty also trains others on the use of the GEAR UP database for data entry and reporting purposes, and  participates in the development of forms and procedures that promote accurate, complete, timely data collection and management.

Mary.Hager@nau.edu
(602)728-9503

EXPLORE Program

Ann Connelly
EXPLORE Manager

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Ann Connelly 
EXPLORE Manager

Ann Connelly is Manager of the Arizona EXPLORE Program, a GEAR UP commitment to increase early college and career awareness among the State’s eighth graders. Ann is responsible for ensuring large-scale participation of schools in offering the assessment to students, and for ensuring the training necessary for schools to accomplish all pre- and post-assessment activities. She is a trained facilitator of online curriculum for college access professionals, and served as the Coach for Arizona’s participants in the national GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy.  Ann has more than 15 years of experience in education, with special expertise in students’ early awareness and post-secondary planning for college, career and life.  Ann has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Colorado State University and a Master of Education – School Counseling degree from Northern Arizona University.

Ann.Connelly@nau.edu
(602)776-9526

 

Middle Grade Initiative

Dawne Spangler
Assistant Director, College and Career Readiness

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Dawne Spangler 
Assistant Director

College and Career Readiness

As Assistant Director for College and Career Readiness, Dawne Spangler is responsible for leading the Middle Grade Initiative, a project launched by Arizona GEAR-UP in 2014, to increase the percentage of students entering high school in Arizona on track to graduate from high school, college and career ready.  She is a sixteen-year veteran of secondary and post-secondary classrooms, teaching topics from remedial middle school mathematics to college calculus and post-graduate teaching methods classes.  Outside the classroom, she is an experienced presenter at educational conferences, online course developer, and curriculum designer. While working for Johns Hopkins’ Center for Social Organization of Schools, she became intrigued with professional development, coaching and mentoring, with the goal of improving classroom education through support and encouragement to teachers as the greatest educational asset.

Dawne.Spangler@nau.edu
(602)728-9503