Bobcat Bulletin

July 2021

We hope everyone had a safe and fun 4th of July!

We look forward to welcoming our Bobcats back on August 2nd.

In the meantime, keep enjoying summer and check out the information below about Meet the Teacher, school supply lists, and our newest staff members joining the Bobcat family.

Meet the Teacher & Ice Cream Social: July 29th from 4:30-6pm! Stay tuned for additional details...

August 2nd @ 8:45am

School Supply Lists for 21-22

Click here to find the school supply lists for every grade level. Happy Back to School shopping!

Join us in welcoming our newest staff members to the community...

Mrs. Johnson- Gifted Specialist

Hello! I am Mrs. Johnson, the new Gifted Specialist at Sonoran Foothills. This year will be my 16th year of teaching. I have had a few different roles over the years, all focused around ELA. I started at Haverford Middle School in Haverford, PA, a beautiful suburb of Philadelphia where I taught Sixth Grade ELA and Math for six years. I transitioned to the Reading Specialist there for a year and a half. I worked with Sixth through Eighth graders who were struggling with reading.

After moving to Arizona and staying home with my children for five years, I decided to head back into the classroom. I have spent the last seven years at Legend Springs Elementary. I taught Fifth Grade Writing for one year, then moved to Sixth Grade where I taught ELA to both regular education and gifted students.

I graduated from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, PA with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. I earned my Master's Degree in Reading from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA. I also have my Gifted Endorsement and Middle Grades ELA Certification.

When I am not teaching, I LOVE to spend time with my family. I especially enjoy cheering on my daughter at her dive and track meets and spending the weekends at the baseball diamond for my son's baseball games. When I have a little time for myself, you will find me outdoors. I enjoy running, walking, or hiking if I'm feeling active. When I feel like relaxing, I will be sitting out on my patio with a good book.

I look forward to enriching the gifted students at Sonoran Foothills with critical thinking activities that will prepare them for success in the future.

Mrs. Velaski- 4th Grade

Hi! My name is Ashley Velaski!

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! I am very excited to be joining the Sonoran Foothills community as the fourth grade Social Studies teacher. This will be my second year teaching in the Deer Valley Unified School District. I have previously taught Special Education and Fourth grade math and science.

I am originally from Quincy, Illinois but have lived in Arizona for 26 years. I graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. I have always been passionate about students thinking and learning.

When I am not teaching I love spending time with my husband, our sweet baby boys Henry and Greyson, and lovable pup Olive.


"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose."

Dr. Seuss

Mrs. Press- Special Education Strategist

Hello! My name is Gabrielle Press, and I am so excited to be joining the Sonoran Foothills community as the Special Education Strategist for the 2021-2022 school year! This will be my fourth year in education and fourth year in the Deer Valley Unified School District.

I am originally from White Lake, Michigan but have lived in Arizona for 8 years and absolutely love it! I graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. I have always been passionate about supporting all learners and their journey in education.

When I am not at school, I love spending time with my family, friends, and pups. You can often find me outdoors exploring with my fiancé and our pups, Braxton and Bella. We love hiking, paddle boarding, backpacking, and rock climbing.


Ms. Kindell- 8th Grade Math


My name is Robyn Kindell and I am so excited to join the Sonoran Foothills team as the new 8th grade math teacher! This is my first year in the Deer Valley School District, but I have been teaching in Arizona for 9 years. I previously taught high school and 7th grade math and have Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education.

In my free time I enjoy watching movies, going on vacation, and hanging with my family. I have a great life and a great job and I am so excited for this year and everything it will bring!


Mrs. Mordka- 2nd Grade

Hello Bobcat Families! My name is Katy Mordka and I am very excited to be joining the Sonoran Foothills staff this year as a second grade teacher! I got my degree in Elementary Education from NAU and have taught preschool, kindergarten, first grade and spent some time in third grade as a long term sub last year. I know that we will learn a lot this year and build a strong classroom community. I love to travel with my family- my husband, Adam and my two kids Reagan and Will. Reagan will be a freshman in high school next year and Will is going to be in 6th grade. We have gone on many adventures and have more planned. I also enjoy reading, going to movies and baking. I can't think of a better place to be next year and look forward to meeting more of our SF families.

Mr. Bacskay- 7th Grade Social Studies

Hello Bobcats and Families,

My name is Gary Bacskay (Mr. B) and I am on top of the world to be your upcoming 7th grade Social Studies teacher for the 2021-2022 school year. This will be my first-year teaching at Sonoran Foothills. I previously taught 7th-12th grade history at a few Christian schools in the valley, along with being an assistant principal at one. I like having the opportunity in teaching students about our past and the events that shaped who we are today by engaging them to learn, comprehend, and increasing their knowledge on history.

A little about myself, I am retired military (Army) and received my Bachelor’s degree through Kaplan University. Just recently, I received two more degrees through Grand Canyon University. My first degree was a Masters in Secondary Education, and my second degree was through the College of Doctoral Studies with an emphasis in Educational Specialist in K-12 Leadership.

I have a wonderful wife of 25 years, who also is a teacher at Sonoran Foothills. We have three amazing adult sons and four young grand kids, who have an endless amount of energy. I enjoy the outdoors and often take my jeep out four-wheeling. I am a sports guy and love watching college and NFL football in my spare time. It’s different now watching the game instead of playing and coaching it.

Thanks again for allowing Sonoran Foothills to be the center for your child’s education. I hope your child and myself will learn more about each other and where history paved the path in who we are today.


About Us

In partnership with students, families, and community members, Sonoran Foothills School seeks to create a challenging and diverse learning environment through engaging instruction allowing for individual differences in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect.