About Camelback Montessori
Faculty & Staff
Montessori Program Director
Danchi Nguyen grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and attended Murray High School. Ms. Nguyen attended college out-of-state and pursued a B.S. in Neuroscience and a B.A. in Social Psychology at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, graduating in 2008. Through volunteering with multiple public schools in Rochester, Ms. Nguyen discovered a passion for seeking social justice and equity in education and joined Teach for America, bringing her back west to Phoenix, Arizona in 2008. Since then, Ms. Nguyen has taught middle school science, middle school math, and high school chemistry in traditional settings at Carl T. Smith Middle School and Camelback High School. Through Camelback Montessori College Preparatory, Ms. Nguyen helped to pioneer the Camelback Montessori program in 2012 and has taught biology, chemistry, math, and gifted senior seminar. The shift to embracing the philosophy behind a Montessori education has been transformational in her career, as she developed skills to fulfill the needs of the whole child through differentiated instruction, constructivism, and relationship building. A life-long learner herself, Ms. Nguyen received an M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education (2010) and an M. Ed. in Educational Leadership (2019) through Arizona State University and an M.Ed. in Secondary Montessori Education (2014) through Xavier University.
Ulises Aragon grew up in Phoenix, Arizona where he attended Mountain Ridge High School. Because of his diverse academic interests, he considered different academic disciplines during his college years, ranging from dental hygienist to biomedical engineering. However, an opportunity to lecture at Mountain Ridge High School as a guest inspired him to switch his major from biomedical engineering to secondary science education. He completed his B.A. in Secondary Science Education from Arizona State University in 2016. Mr. Aragon’s goal as a teacher is to harvest the potential of diverse thinking. He believes that the world is beautiful in its variety of perspectives and modes of thinking which are shaped by life experiences. Students learn best when they share, embrace, and harness diverse thinking. Mr. Aragon joined the Camelback Montessori College Preparatory in 2016 where he is teaching biology and chemistry. He embraces the principles of learning driven by curiosity and the adolescents’ yearning for meaning and purpose, which are present in Montessori’s self-directed activities, meaningful work, and practical applications. As a lifelong learner interested in learning and innovating, Mr. Aragon is currently enrolled in an M.Ed. program in Secondary Montessori Education at Xavier University.
Montessori Language Arts
Erin Sandoval was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona where she attended Washington High School. She attended Arizona State University where she majored in Communications and minored in Spanish, originally thinking she would pursue a career in non-profit. While studying in Mexico, Erin began teaching English classes which is where she fell in love with teaching. After finishing her Masters of Arts in Education in 2006, she returned to the United States where she taught subjects ranging from Spanish and ESL to English even working as an instructional coach for a period of three years. Erin is a National Board Certified Teacher who is passionate about student learning and believes in a holistic approach to educating adolescents. Her educational philosophy perfectly aligns to the “head, hands, heart” approach of Montessori. She has embraced Montessori education and has found her home at Camelback Montessori College Preparatory. Erin is working to finish her Montessori certification by December of 2016 and looks forward to future opportunities to continue her education and improve her instructional practices.
Montessori Social Sciences
Michael Sauer was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but grew up in Soldotna, Alaska. Mr. Sauer graduated from Doane College with B.A. in Mass Communication and a Minor in History in 2003. After broadcasting baseball for a few seasons Mr. Sauer decided to enroll in the Rio Salado Teacher Certification Program. He then took a job in the Creighton School District where he taught Middle School Social Studies and English for seven years. In 2012 Mr. Sauer helped start the Montessori Program and has taught U.S. History, World History, Government, Economics, English 1-2, and English 3-4 while working at CMCP. The love of collaborative learning and the ability for students to be creative in their work has drawn Mr. Sauer to Montessori education. He runs Montessori Club which does fundraising and organizes community service for the Montessori Program. Mr. Sauer received a M.Ed. in Secondary Montessori Education (2014) through Xavier University.
Montessori Social Sciences