Meet the Principal and Vice Principal!
Mrs. Julie Ballard is Tavan's principal and a 25-year veteran teacher. After 13 years of service as a master special education teacher, she was unanimously selected as the assistant principal in the 2014-2015 school year and has been the principal since the 2019-2020 school year. She also taught at NAU in the field of educational assessment. Her classroom experience brings valuable knowledge to all areas of curriculum design, student assessment, classroom management, teacher evaluation, and shared leadership. Mrs. Ballard's commitment to Tavan is evident in her innovative school initiatives, positive attitude in all situations, educational knowledge sharing, and understanding of the needs of a diverse student population. She has implemented school behavior initiatives and reduced student behavior referrals by 75% over two years. As a community member, all four of Mrs. Ballard's children attended Tavan Elementary School.
Mrs. Ballard received a dual degree in K-12 Special Education and Elementary Education from the University of Northern Arizona in 1993, her Masters in Educational Counseling in 1997 from the University of New Mexico, and most recently her Masters in Educational Leadership with Principal Certification from the University of Northern Arizona in 2012.
Ms. Suzi Figueroa is very excited to be a part of the Tavan family as the assistant principal. Ms. Figueroa is a Phoenix native, having grown up in Tempe and attending high school in Phoenix. This year marks her 44th year in education. She graduated from Regis University (Denver, CO) with a degree in Elementary Education, a masters from Northern Arizona University in Bilingual/Multicultural Education and a second masters in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University. She began her teaching career with Denver Public Schools and has also taught in Mesa Public Schools, Cave Creek Unified, Creighton, and Kyrene schools. She most recently served as an Academic and Behavior Specialist for the past four years at Kyrene Middle School. She has taught most elementary grades, as well as ELA and Spanish in middle school. She is a recipient of the Silver Apple Award and Xavier College Preparatory Woman of Tradition.
Ms. Figueroa is the proud mother of four children and four grandchildren. You will find her at Diamondbacks baseball games, Suns basketball games, and Cardinal and Sun Devil football games. Travel is another passion that she enjoys as often as possible. She enjoys working with the Tavan Wildcats and their families!