• 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, Singh contributed a chapter about Maryvale GTA  to the text  The Palgrave Handbook of Transformational Giftedness in Education.  https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-91618-3


    Ann Gay-Baradic


    After four years of teaching with Maryvale High School, Ms. Gay-Baradic is pleased to join the Gifted and Talented Academy as an English teacher. This year marks her twenty-first year of teaching high school and tenth-year teaching college level English courses with Rio Salado Community College and Phoenix College.

    Ms. Gay-Baradic studied English education at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and she is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Professional Writing from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

    Prior to becoming an English teacher, Ms. Gay-Baradic worked in the performing arts as an artist and teacher. With a Master of Arts degree in Theater Arts, she taught movement studies at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.

    Ms. Gay-Baradic is the proud sponsor of the Maryvale High School National Honor Society. Her favorite club activity is community service projects where she can work alongside her students in the greater Maryvale community.



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    Patrick Harris   


    Mr. Harris is one of the English teachers in the Gifted and Talented Academy at Maryvale High School. He has been teaching English in the Phoenix Union High School District since 2017. Currently, he teaches Honors English 1-2, Honors English 5-6, as well as AP Seminar, which is part of the AP Capstone program.Mr. Harris comes from a family of educators, and sees teaching as a calling, rather than a profession. Prior to teaching at Gifted and Talented Academy, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in English, Master’s degree in Secondary Education, as well as a Graduate certificate in Gifted Education. Outside of school, Mr. Harris enjoys reading, writing, cooking, listening to music, and spending time with his friends and family.



     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.

    Dr. Rahmen was chosen chosen as Teacher of the Month last year. She started a new partnership with ASU Bioscience Network aligned with her Biology honors class. The intent is to encourage students in the field of Biotechnology.


    Annie 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.

    Mrs. Shanahan was selected as one of five finalists for Arizona Educator of the Year.


     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.

    He actively participates in professional growth opportunities to enhance his expertise to support students with differentiated needs.  He was awarded teacher of the month.