Gifted and Talented Education Team
The educators for Arizona Virtual Academy's (AZVA's) gifted program—Reaching Intellectual Success and Excellence (RISE)—are dedicated to lifting education up to new heights.
Bouchra Bouanani | Coordinator of Title Programs and Gifted and Talented (RISE)
Bouchra Bouanani was an electrical engineer for almost a decade. She left engineering and became an educator in 2005. She holds a master's degree in education and an elementary and secondary teaching certificate with endorsements in elementary education, mathematics, and French. She started at AZVA in 2011 as a math teacher and took on the role of math content specialist in 2014, where she assessed professional development needs, created material and resources, assisted in implementing mathematical practices, and coached in data analysis and MTSS decision making. In 2016, Bouchra moved to the title programs manager position; she works closely with AZVA administrators, teachers, and all stakeholders to conduct needs assessments and design integrated action plans for continuous school improvement as well as managing all title related federal funds. In August 2018, Bouchra led the launch of AZVA's RISE program, a self-contained gifted program. Her profound passion for education and commitment to all our students drives her continuous effort to research and implement evidence-based models for learning.
Fun facts: Bouchra is originally from Morocco, speaks four languages fluently, and would love to learn more languages. She also learned how to ride a bike as an adult while teaching her kids how to ride. Bouchra would love to take her students to Morocco in spring where they can swim, surf, ski, and hike. They would also learn about the diverse cultures that have influenced Morocco.
Becky Cuperus | Gifted and Talented Teacher
Becky Cuperus is the RISE teacher for grades 3–5. She became part of the team in 2018, bringing with her 35 years of experience in education as a teacher, achievement advisor, and program coordinator. Holding a BA in elementary education and an MA in special education, she is also endorsed as a reading specialist, mathematics specialist, gifted education specialist, national board-certified teacher, and an Arizona master mentor/teacher. As a RISE teacher, Becky provides daily enrichment courses in mathematics, science, language arts, and social studies for gifted learners in grades 3–8. She also supports RISE students in the development and completion of extended projects that integrate multiple content areas, as students conduct in-depth research in areas of personal interest. Becky leads the AZVA Poetry Contest and AZVA Science Fair. She also provides gifted parent talks for parents/Learning Coaches of RISE students and gifted information sessions for parents/Learning Coaches interested in having students evaluated for placement in the RISE program.
In her spare time, Becky enjoys reading, writing poetry, and instrumental music. She plays more than 20 different instruments. She feels online learning is a great opportunity for students because it allows flexibility in scheduling so they can pursue other interests more in-depth, allows for individual pacing in each content area, and provides a safe learning environment free from distractions. She enjoys seeing students engaged, challenged, working independently, and succeeding in appropriate challenges. Becky likes to tell her students that learning isn't about getting the right answer to someone else's question; it's about finding the answers to your own questions. As Einstein says, "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."
Amanda Kumlin | Gifted and Talented 6–8 Teacher
Amanda Kumlin is the RISE teacher for grades 6–8. For the past 18 years, Amanda has focused her career on childhood development and the study of mathematics and science. This focus has culminated in a Bachelor of Science in information technology and a Master of Education in secondary education, which have been great complements to the nine years she invested in teaching middle school and high school math students. Always focused on student excellence, Amanda has been a key contributor to ground-breaking efforts in online education, and frequently pushes the envelope when looking for new ways to help students and peers get the most out of an online environment. She is, above all else, a student advocate, and her mentorship contributions to students and teachers are a true reflection of her passion for K–12 education.
In her free time, Amanda enjoys exploring new and amazing places, whether they are found outdoors, out-of-town, out-of-state, or hidden inside of a really good book. Amanda loves how AZVA allows students flexibility in their learning with an engaging and rigorous curriculum. She believes learning should be a lifelong process and encourages her students to engage in learning with curiosity.