• Faculty

    Welcome from the GTA faculty.  The Gifted and Talented Academy offers a unique holistic experience for students. Teachers not only facilitate their students academically, but also support whole-child development to shape students into responsible and compassionate citizens of tomorrow.

    Dr. Renu Singh

    Director of GTA Dr. Singh  (rsingh@phoenixunion.org)

    Dr. Renu Singh is presently the program director of the Gifted and Talented Academy at Maryvale High School. She has shown continued commitment to delivering student success and transformation through education.

    Her teaching journey started in India after she completed a Masters’ in Organic Chemistry. In the year 2000, she came to the United States with her family to complete another Masters in Secondary Science Education. She then began teaching at the Phoenix Union High School District in 2001. Since then she has worked in four different schools and taught twelve different subjects.

    Dr. Singh had lead teams as a science instructional leader and gifted facilitator. She has contributed substantially toward multiple projects in the district facilitating school improvement. Dr. Singh’s expertise lies in science instruction, curriculum, and innovative program development, social justice through education and human learning in conjunction with social-emotional wellbeing.

    After completing a doctoral program in education at Arizona State University in 2014, she got a rare opportunity to lead the Gifted and Talented Academy at Maryvale High School. This is a collaborative effort with Phoenix gifted community to promote transformational giftedness.  


     Dr. Rahman

     Dr. Rahman  (rahman@phoenixunion.org)

    Dr. Afroza Rahman is one of the science teachers in the Gifted and Talented Academy at Maryvale High School. She has been teaching science in the Phoenix Union High School District since 2006. She has taught a wide variety of science classes—biology, chemistry, environmental science, physical science, biotechnology, and bio-informatics to name a few. She also has taught college level classes.

    As a daughter of a chemistry professor, Dr. Rahman was always interested in science. She completed a master's degree in biochemistry from her home country, Bangladesh, and a Ph. D. in biochemistry and genetics from Iowa State University.

    Dr. Rahman is passionate about teaching and always looking for ways to help her students learn. To that end she has participated in many professional and curriculum development activities. Outside school, Dr. Rahman likes to cook for friends and families, watch TV, read books, crochet and knit, and also to travel

    Ms. Shanahan

    Ms. Shanahan  (ashanahan@phoenixunion.org)


    Mrs. Annie Shanahan was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota. She received her bachelor of science degree in education from Winona State University in 2001 and began teaching the Monday after her graduation ceremony. She moved to Avondale, Arizona, in 2004 to teach middle school at Desert Star Elementary in Goodyear.

    In 2005 she married a fellow Maryvale educator, Mr. Patrick Shanahan, and started a family. By 2010 she had three daughters and had completed her master's degree in education from Arizona State University. In 2017, after thirteen years teaching middle school social studies, Mrs. Shanahan joined the Gifted and Talented Academy as the social science teacher. 

    For the past three years, Mrs. Shanahan has taught honors world history, U.S. history, government, economics, and AP government and politics. In 2020, Mrs. Shanahan was awarded the prestigious James Madison Fellowship and is currently in graduate school earning her second master's degree in American history and government.


    Mr. Tafolla

     Mr. Tafolla  (tafolla@phoenixunion.org)

    Mr. Tafolla was a first generation college student. He is of Mexican American heritage. He immigrated to the U.S. in 2008 from Guanajuato Mexico. He is the oldest of two brothers and two sisters.

    He graduated from Sacramento State as a math major and loves all math classes, teaching math, encouraging students, and learning.  His hobbies are exercising, kick boxing, video games, and math.