NCPG is delighted to have an outstanding group of teachers returning to NCPG this year, and have also expanded our teacher community with a fabulous addition of new teachers. We encourage you to get to know each of these highly educated and knowledgeable women.
Monique Nelson – Newborn A (Child Due September- May) & Newborn B (0-5 months)
Monique Nelson is an Arizona native. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University in biology/premed. She holds an additional degree in nursing with a clinical focus in pediatrics. Over the past 20 years she has enjoyed working in the field of pediatrics as a pediatric triage/advice nurse. She has also been teaching pregnancy, newborn, infant and toddler classes for the past 17 years. Monique teaches not only for North Central Parenting Group but Scottsdale Parenting Group as well. She also taught for East Valley Positive Parenting group before the group dissolved. Monique and her husband Dave just celebrated 20 years of marriage this past June and they are the proud parents of Taylor age 17 and Dylan age 12.
Blaire Hinks – Class 1A (5-11 months)
Blaire Hinks is a native to Arizona. She grew up in the Madison School District and went to Xavier College Prep for high school. She graduated from University of Arizona in 2002 with a BS in Business Marketing. She went on to help manage at the Hubbard Swim School. During her 17 years at the swim school she was in charge of staff training, the special needs program and taught countless number of swim classes to babies and young children. Blaire has been married to her husband, Otto, for 16years and they have six children; Tommy (14), Maggie (12), Joe (10), Will (8), Rosie (5), and Grace (4). After years of teaching new moms in the pool and having six babies of her own, she realized there was need for support in the home for new moms after birth. Blaire opened her own business, Lille Landsby Postpartum Village, in 2018. She is a lactation counselor, postpartum doula, and baby-wearing instructor that provides a holistic in-home care approach for all families with little ones. Blaire’s favorite things to do during her down time are going on adventures with her family, date night with her husband, and working out.
Amy Stewart – Class 1B (12-17 months)
Amy has a Masters of Science degree in Nursing and is a Certified Pediatric Nurse. She has worked as a Registered Nurse at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea for over 16 years. In addition to hospital nursing, Amy works as a University nursing professor. Amy combined her passion for nursing, education, and motherhood in 2011 when she began teaching parenting courses. She loves empowering others through education and promoting supportive parenting communities. Her scientific and research based nursing background, paired with her love for being a mother to her five adopted children provide unique and relatable teaching opportunities. Amy is also the founder of Hope in Parenting, an online parenting education and supportive community providing parenting tools and resources from birth through school-age. Amy feels her greatest accomplishments are found in her home. She loves being the wife to her husband Drew and mother to her 5 children Merik (10), Sophie (8), Olivia (3), Gracie (2), and Spencer (1).
Debbie Hurst – Class 2A (17-23 months)
Debbie is a native Arizonan. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in Elementary Education with a minor in Child Development and Family Relations, and her Ma.Ed from the University of Phoenix. Debbie recently retired from the elementary classroom after twenty-nine years of teaching, specifically in grades one and three where she provided parenting tips and benchmarks of child growth and development in her weekly parent newsletters throughout the school year . She is currently under contract as adjunct faculty with Grand Canyon University in the College of Education, and has received training with the Rosemond Leadership Parenting Institute as a certified parent coach. As a teacher, Debbie has trained and mentored numerous interns, student teachers, and new faculty members in addition to serving on school advisement committees. She believes a nurturing environment containing love, leadership, communication, positive reinforcement, and mutual respect are paramount and fundamental in a child’s life. Debbie has been married to her husband Craig for forty-years and they are the proud parents of three children (including Amy Stewart, a fellow NCPG instructor) and eight grandchildren. She enjoys traveling, cooking, playing the piano, and spending time with family and friends.
Kristin Klecka – Class 2B (24-29 months)
Kristin Klecka is an educator who has been working with children since the early 2000’s. Trained in Elementary Education, she has worked fulltime with two different grade levels (fourth and second) for six years and has also substitute taught in grade levels K6, including leading gifted/honors classes. Teaching in both California and Arizona, Kristin has a firm grasp of critical early years teaching skills and methods such as Core Knowledge. Kristin’s course work at the University of Arizona resulted in a Bachelor of Arts in Family Studies and she subsequently obtained a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education at the University of Pepperdine in Los Angeles, CA. She also achieved her teaching credential in California. But, her greatest accomplishment has been being a wife and fulltime mom to three children Ashlyn (14), Reid (12), and Beau (10). They have taught her more about love and life than anything else. Kristin likes to cook, exercise, spend time with friends, and travel.
Chelsea Kunde – Class 3A (29-35 months)
Chelsea has her Bachelors of Art in Psychology from The University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from The University of San Diego. She has worked extensively with children, families and couples specifically helping them with parenting skills and/or training. She has worked as a behavior interventionist, parent trainer, therapist providing individual, couple, family and group services and a sleep consultant. Chelsea owns her own company called Building Blocks Family where she provides consultation services on sleep, discipline, and potty training to families with children ages 0-6 years old. BBF was created to provide loving family solutions to families. She helps families to create a safe and predictable world for their children while maintaining healthy and safe practices. Most importantly, she helps them to create a happy environment for both parents and kids to thrive and enjoy! Chelsea enjoys in her free time taking a pilates or spin class, watching bad reality tv, hanging with her girlfriends and spending time with her family. Chelsea is married and has two daughters Harper (6) and Reese (3). This is Chelsea’s first year teaching at NCPG and she is excited to be part of this wonderful community in her new role as teacher!
Barb Grady – Class 3B (36-41 months)
Barb Grady begins her 28th year teaching for NCPG. She is a nationally certified counselor, certified teacher and parenting coach. In 1999, Barb began her business, Parenting-Plus, where she offers parenting classes, personal growth groups, individual consulting and life/parent coaching for both adults and children. Barb has taught preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades as well as high school and college. Barb has two daughters: Jody, who is a director for Honor Health in charge of the Covid patients and has two children (Carter 8 and Grady 7), and Annie, who works as a senior program coordinator for the non-profit Daily Acts in California and just had a daughter in July. Barb loves being an involved grandparent! She is delighted to return this year to share her passion and to motivate and inspire parents. You can learn more about Barb and access parenting resources from her website: www.parenting-plus.com and her YouTube channel Barb Says.
Emma Porter– Class 4A (41-47 months)
Emma is an Arizona native and currently lives in north central Phoenix. She received her degree in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University. Emma has taught multiple grades over the last ten years ranging from fourth grade to preschool. Currently, she is teaching preschool part-time at Christ Church School and tutoring for families around the valley. Emma is expecting her second boy in late November. In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband and two-year old son. She is excited to be joining the community of professional women at NCPG for a successful year.
Lesley Isaak– Class 4B (48-53 months)
Lesley Isaak is a Licensed Professional Counselor, specializing in the treatment of children and teenagers (ages 4-18), as well as their families. Lesley graduated with a business degree from the University of Arizona and worked in administrative and management positions until becoming a stay-at-home mom. After 9 years of fun and exhaustion at home, which included enjoying classes at NCPG as a new mom, Lesley returned to school and earned her Masters in Professional Counseling from Ottawa University. For the last 6 years, she has focused on providing education, therapy, and ideas to assist families in creating a healthy, supportive environment at home.
When she has free time, Lesley enjoys being outdoors – hiking, biking, working in the yard – and most importantly, hanging out with her husband and their four boys (now ages 12, 13, 14, and 15 years old).
Jennette Zander – Pre K (enrolled in Pre-K or Junior Kindergarten)
Jennette Zander feels so blessed to be part of the wonderful community NCPG community.Originally from Seattle Washington, she moved to Phoenix with her family 7 years ago.Jennette’s been in education for over 15 years and has taught students ranging from preschool up to high school, however, her heart is early childhood education. She has a degree in SpecialEducation from the University of Arizona and attended the University of Notre Dame completing the graduate certificate Program for Inclusive Education. She is also fluent in American SignLanguage. She is passionate about early childhood education and understands the positive impact that a strong foundation has on a child when it is rooted in love, curiosity, and enthusiasm for learning. Jennette is currently the interim principal and Saint Theresa CatholicSchool and director of the STCS Little Flower Preschool. When not focused on all things education-related, she enjoys the outdoors with her husband and two boys (8 and 10 years)camping, hiking, kayaking, and biking. Jennette is thrilled to join the NCPG team of teachers this year and looks forward to partnering with the pre-k parents!
Jemeille Ackourey – Kindergarten (enrolled in Kindergarten)
Jemeille Ackourey is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has a master’s degree in counseling. She provides services to individuals and families at her North Central Phoenix office. Her compassionate assistant is Ellis, a golden doodle and certified therapy dog. Jemeille served the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix for 23 years before retiring in 2005 as their Vice President of Operations. Throughout her professional career, Jemeille has been volunteering her time and expertise at various community agencies, associations and schools where she trains staff, educates students, mentors youth, and advises on program and organizational development. She has served on numerous educational and community boards and advisory committees. Jemeille’s greatest joy is her family. Her marriage to Karl has brought together a blended family of 5 children, their spouses, significant others, and 4 grandchildren.
Michelle Cox – Elementary School (grades 1-4) & Middle School (grades 5-8)
Michelle has been married for 24 years and is the mother of two adults and two teens. She loves to spend time with her family as they discover new places and explore the outdoors. She also loves to create – the messier the art project the better. Michelle is the founder of Build Family Connection and has coached and taught hundreds of parents over the last 10 years.
Michelle graduated with a BS in Education from Northern Arizona University, completed “The Choice in Coaching: Arbinger Mastery Training for Coaches,” a graduate of the Coachville School of Coaching, and is a PCC certified coach with the International Coaching Federation.
The information provided by NCPG instructors should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.