Teachers and Staff
Our highly qualified, dedicated and enthusiastic team has made TCDS a leader among Arizona charter schools.
Each staff member is meticulously screened and interviewed to ensure their talents, skills, experience and commitment are at the highest of levels. Below you will find a quick synopsis for many of our school leaders. Combined, our administrative team has over 134 years of experience in the field of education. Resumes for all of our administrators and teachers are available for parent review. Just stop by the school office.
Not sure who runs a specific program? Or who is in charge of a specific area? See the Tucson Country Day School Organizational Chart.
Our Administrative Team
While each of our administrators have their own specialty areas to focus on, they work as a team to ensure Tucson Country Day School delivers an outstanding education for every student in an environment that is safe, promotes academic and social excellence, and is free from bullying and other disruptive behaviors.
President, CEO and Founder: Mr. Richard Cooper, M. ED.
Mr. Cooper has a Bachelors in Elementary Education and a Masters in Education Administration. He is a former teacher and has more than 57 years of educational experience. He was recently awarded the Arizona Charter Association’s coveted Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Education. Mr. Cooper is only the second person to receive the award since the charter school movement started in Arizona in 1996.
Chief Operations Officer: Mrs. Cindy Kappler, M.S.
Mrs. Kappler has a Bachelors in Elementary Education and a Masters in Politics and Public Policy. She has 13 years of experience in the field of education, including nine years in school administration. She has additional administrative/management experience as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Arizona House of Representatives and the Deputy Director of the Arizona Department of Revenue. Mrs. Kappler is responsible for overseeing all operations of our school, and for working with and assisting teachers, staff, parents and students.
Principal: Dr. Deborah Anders, Ph.D.
Dr. Anders has 38 years in education including four years teaching elementary school, four years teaching preschool, 15 years as a teacher educator, ten years as an elementary school principal, and four years as Director of the gifted and talented program (GATE) in TUSD. She has a Bachelors in Special Education/Elementary Education, a Masters of Education in Elementary Education/Gifted Education, a Ph.D. in Teacher Education and her Administrative Certification from Northern Arizona University. Dr. Anders is our instructional leader.
-School Guidance Counselor: Mrs. Diane St. Amand, M. Ed.
Mrs. St. Amand has a bachelors degree in education and received her Masters degree in Educational Guidance Counseling in 2000. She taught middle school science and math for five years, and then moved into the counseling arena. She has been a school guidance counselor for the last 16 years. Mrs. St. Amand is responsible for working with students to remove barriers they face that negatively impact their learning. She works closely with the Expectations Team to ensure that our school community is friendly, family-oriented, welcoming and bully-free.
Our Program Directors
Early Childhood Director: Ms. Wanda Vinson
Ms. Wanda has 11 years of experience managing and teaching preschool/preK programs following the Reggio Emilia philosophy. She is certified in child development with over 20 years of direct teaching experience. Ms. Wanda runs an early childhood program that is second to none. Students in the program get an early start on their manners, respect and academics. Many are reading by the end of their pre-kindergarten year.
Exceptional Education Program Director: Mrs. Kelly Grusendorf, M. Ed.
Ms. Grusendorf has a Bachelors in Special Education and Rehabilitation and a Masters in Elementary Education. She is certified in Special Education (Cross Categorical, K-12) and Elementary Education K-8. She has 11 years of experience in the field of education and has served as the Director of our Exceptional Education program since 2005. Under Ms. Grusendorf’s leadership, our Resource Department has been recognized as being 100% compliant with special education rules and regulations for the last five years. She is responsible for introducing the eagerly-awaited Resource Recognition assembly that occurs each spring.
Exceptional Education Program Co-Director: Ms. Sara Huber, M. Ed.
Ms. Huber has a Bachelors in Education, and a Masters in Inclusive Education. She is certified in Special Education and Elementary Education K-8. Ms. Huber has fourteen years experience in education. She serves as the Co-Director of the Tucson Country Day School Exceptional Education program.
Athletic Director: Mr. Mike Rubin
Mr. Rubin has a Bachelors degree in Education. He has eight years of experience teaching and runs our awesome Middle School physical education program. He has served as the Athletic Director since 2005. Mr. Rubin has helped our athletic program to reach high levels, bringing home several league championships and guiding the development of many young athletes who have left to become major players on their high school athletic teams.
Our Office Staff
Quick with a smile or word of encouragement, our office staff ensures continuity throughout the years. Our staff is not only very good at their administrative work, but they make a point to be there for our children as well. Whether it is a special birthday song, first aid for a skinned knee, a sympathetic ear or just helping students work through the inevitable ups and downs that come with growing up – students know our staff is there for them year after year.
Office Manager: Ms. Susie Gallardo
Attendance Specialist/Health Clerk: Ms. Nicky Brown
Program Coordinator: Ms. Rachel Robertson
TCDS prides itself on our excellent teachers!
All of our K-8 teachers are “Highly Qualified” – this Federal “No Child Left Behind” measurement means they have a bachelor’s degree, and full state certification and/or demonstrate subject matter competency in the academic subject they are assigned to teach.
Fourteen of our K-8 teachers have a Masters degree.
Many of our teachers know additional languages other than English including Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, and American Sign Language (ASL).