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Tempe Diablos Give Over $30,000 to Local Educators During Awards Ceremony
By Claire Natale - Tuesday May 17, 2022
On May 3rd, the Tempe Diablos recognized outstanding educators serving the Tempe community during the 33rd annual Excellence in Education Awards. Teachers, leaders and administrators from three Tempe school districts were honored across seven categories including Rising Star, Lifetime Achievement, and Teacher of the Year, along with cash prizes that totaled more than $30,000. Also recognized were the 27 recipients of the 2022 Tempe Diablos Scholarships.

“After two years of virtual events, the Tempe Diablos were thrilled to be able to host the Excellence in Education event in-person again at the Tempe Center for the Arts,” said David Formisano, event chair. “These outstanding educators help shape our future through the students they impact, and we are honored to celebrate their work during Teacher Appreciation Week.”

A total of 21 educators received grand prizes, including:

Teacher of the Year

Temeka Grandberry, Tempe Elementary School District
Tiffani Montelione, Kyrene School District
Corey Ozan, Tempe Union High School District

Lifetime Achievement

Tracey Valenzuela, Tempe Elementary School District
Scott Shelberg, Kyrene School District
David Morton, Tempe Union High School District


Joanne Kelly, Tempe Elementary School
Kelly Kimbrell, Kyrene School District
Sarah Tolar, Tempe Union High School District

High Impact

Danielle Sullivan, Tempe Elementary School District
Daniel Jordan, Kyrene School District
Lorie Warnock, Tempe Union High School District


Jessica Foster, Tempe Elementary School District
Laurel Gwilliam, Kyrene School District
Jill Stewart, Tempe Union High School District

Rising Star

Khrystal Sandoval, Tempe Elementary School District
Taylor Kindt, Kyrene School District
Logan Adam, Tempe Union High School District

Class Act

Fernanda Garcia-Rivera, Tempe Elementary School District
Sandy Theobald, Kyrene School District
Jaylee Dorris, Tempe Union High School District
The evening included a speech from Mayor Corey Woods about the importance of education in the Tempe community. Lyndsey Fry, Arizona Coyote analyst and the only Arizonan in history to medal in the winter Olympics, presented the Inspiration Award and talked about the important of mental wellness.

The teacher of the year award was sponsored by the family of Dr. Ralph Goitia, the former superintendent of Tempe Elementary. When Goitia passed away last year, his obituary requested that interested parties donate to the Excellence in Education event in lieu of flowers. The result was over $8,000 in donations and his son, Tempe Diablo Eddie Goitia, honored the teachers with his father’s memory and legacy.

The full livestream can be found by following this link. For more information about the Tempe Diablos, visit Like the group on Facebook at

About Tempe Diablos

The Tempe Diablos are a group of community leaders, business executives and driven individuals dedicated to enhancing the City of Tempe and surrounding neighborhoods. For more than 50 years, members of the Tempe Diablos have donated their time, resources, talents and money to provide scholarships, grants and more to Tempe youth, education and charitable programs. Since the group’s inception in 1968, it has donated approximately $17 million to local nonprofits. while providing leadership that creates worthwhile opportunities for the children of Tempe. For more information about the group’s mission, visit