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A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.

                                                                                                                                -Brad Henry

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Mr. Marco Garcia.png

Mr. Ben Davis 

Special Education 

General Studies


Hi, I am Ben Davis! I grew up in North Phoenix and moved to Tucson for college. Once I got here I fell in love with the University of Arizona and with the city of Tucson. After graduation in 2008, I started working at SACA as Leadership Instructor and then as an English Instructor. In 2012, I moved to Santa Cruz, CA where I met my wife Hawley. We both taught Bible and led chapels together at a private school in San Jose until moving back to Tucson this past fall. I am so happy to be back at SACA and excited to get involved again with this fantastic school. In my free time, I like to play basketball, read, watch movies, hang out with my wife and two-year-old daughter Storey.



FILM                                        The Dark Knight

FOOD                                     Pizza from Rocco's Little Chicago on Broadway Blvd.

YEAR IN SCHOOL                 Junior year of HS

BOOK                                     The Road by Cormac McCarthy

PASTTIME                               Playing Basketball

HISTORICAL FIGURE            C.S. Lewis

TEAM                                      THE CHICAGO CUBS!




Bio coming shortly!



FILM                                        The Rifleman + all Western movies

FOOD                                     Greek Food

YEAR IN SCHOOL                 Fourth Grade

BOOK                                     the Bible

PASTTIME                               Spending time with family

HISTORICAL FIGURE            Jonah (Bible)

TEAM                                      The Dodgers!

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Attendance Admin


Hi there, my name is Mandy Garnier. I am number 6 of 7 siblings. I grew up in the small town of Franklinton, Louisiana. Shortly after graduating high school, I moved to New Orleans, LA to attend Cameron Business College.

A mother of 3 young adults; 2 girls and 1 boy, plus a grandmother of 2 handsome little boys who

call me "Noni" and steal my heart daily. It was the best feeling in the whole world when I became a "Noni"/Grandmother!!! I am a survivor and a lover of myself!!!

I have been working at SACA for 3 years and find it most rewarding working with the students and

being able to interact with them daily. If I can help one student, better yet if one student helps 

me to be a better person, I believe my day is well spent.



FILM                                        The Notebook because it's such a beautiful love story. Love is Life!!!

FOOD                                     "Soul Food" although I love seafood and Italian food as well.

YEAR IN SCHOOL                 Senior year

BOOK                                     I don't have a favorite book but I love reading the Bible, fiction and

                                                non-fiction books. I also love the writings of Toni Morrison.


YOU A BETTER PERSON     My favorite mistake was not a mistake at all but a lesson learned. It 

                                                taught me to evaluate my life, know my worth and love me.

PASTIME                                Spending time with my family because family is so important to me.

HISTORICAL FIGURE            Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I love that he stood for peace, love and 


TEAM                                     My favorite team "by default" is the New Orleans Saints... but I may

                                                jump ship occasionally to Raider's Nation (LOL).

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Hello, I am Dax Moreno. After graduating High School in Nogales of 2003, life got a bit too real and too quickly.  Not only was I worried about attending college in another city, but my means of transportation was of concern.  Working a construction job gave me the funds to attain a vehicle. I departed for Tucson at the age of 19 with a ’91 Civic Hatchback and my wits (which weren’t fully developed at the time).  Pima Community College was meant to be a breeze for me, quite the opposite. Social life, work pressures, living situations and bills were among the few reasons to cause worries. Eventually, I wound up working dead-end jobs, which was a blessing in disguise.  The sheer necessity for a decent wage and opportunity for advancement was all I needed to pursue the next stage of my life. The age of 28 is around the time I finished up with PCC and began taking courses at the University of Arizona. I proudly graduated with a double major in Creative Writing and English in 2018.    

Yes, it took about eight years for me to complete my general education (surviving and educating myself was the toughest thing I had to overcome).  The multitude of knowledge and life lessons learned at the University will forever be ingrained in my being. In all honesty, no one can ever take my education away from me.  It not only fortified my mind but gave me a better sense to navigate in this chaotic world.  

As of lately, chess, reading, writing, hiking, running and spending time with my girlfriend seem to occupy most of my time.


FILM                                 The Matrix

FOOD                              Las Vegas Sushi Rolls

YEAR IN SCHOOL          The year I graduated, senior year at the U of A.

BOOK                              Mary Shelly's Frankenstein (1818)


A BETTER PERSON        Hitting rock bottom. Not being able to afford basic necessities.

PASTIME                          Enjoyment of nature.

HISTORICAL FIGURE     William Shakespeare

TEAM                               The underdog (I'm not a sports fan)

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Academic Advisor

Online Coordinator


Hi, I am Sophie Martin-Sanchez. I am the Academic Advisor at Southern Arizona Community Academy (SACA). I graduated from SACA in 2012. After graduating, I started at the University of Arizona as a pre-nursing major, and also began working in the classroom at SACA as an Academic Coach. Working with students helped me realize that I wanted to work in education and so I changed my major and goal. I have been working at SACA for more than 6 years and I really believe in our approach to personalized education for students.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, hiking, cooking and spending time with my family.


FILM                               The Godfather Part II

FOOD                            My green chile enchiladas

YEAR IN SCHOOL         Junior year of college because I was able to study abroad in 

                                       England and travel around Europe.

BOOK                            One Thousand and One Arabian Nights

PASTIME                        Reading, traveling and cooking

HISTORICAL FIGURE    Thomas Jefferson 

TEAM                             Arizona Wildcats! Bear Down!

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Hey, my name is Jeremy Katz. I’m an Arizona boy, born and raised in Phoenix. I took every opportunity as a child to help my dad out with projects and repairs around the house. I became quite adept at using tools and developed a knack for problem solving and a keen sense of how things work. Our garage was filled with the discarded remnants of past repairs and projects. I spent a great deal of my childhood in that garage creating gadgets and gizmos out of anything I could find. As I grew, so did my curiosity about the physical world around me. My search for answers led me to the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences where I earned my B.S. in Optical Engineering and a minor in mathematics. Still not satiated, I applied for the UofA optical sciences graduate program. In addition to my teaching position here, I am currently a full time Ph.D. student. When not at SACA, you can usually find me in the UofA 3D Visualization and Imaging Systems Lab where I am developing a new type of endoscope for laparoscopic minimally invasive surgery.



FILM                                    It's a tie between Zombieland and Gladiator

FOOD                                 POLLO FUNDIDO

YEAR IN SCHOOL             Senior year of High School, hands down

BOOK                                 Alice

YOU A BETTER PERSON  My first time as a teaching assistant, I sent out an email to the whole                                                 class about grading policies. I did not realize it when I was writing the                                               email, but it had a harsh and abrasive tone. As you can imagine, the                                                   email was not well received by the students. I ended up sending out a                                               lengthy apology email to everyone. The whole experience was                                                           embarrassing but really taught me to be mindful of how my words                                                     (written or spoken) can be interpreted.

PASTIME                            ​Acting! From the age of six all the way to college, I was up on stage                                                   performing in musicals and plays. I've acted in school productions,                                                     community theaters, and some improv troupes. At one point I even                                                   won the award for best youth actor in a lead role for all of Arizona.

​HISTORICAL FIGURE       Carl Friedrich Gauss

TEAM                                 NY JETS!

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Academic Coach

Hello, I am Brooke Otte. I am a SACA alumni and now an Academic Coach (teacher/staff aid) at Southern Arizona Community Academy. My department is in Language Arts/History where I assist students and teachers with different activities and assignments. I also actively help lead, supervise, plan, organize and participate in events and fundraisers for the groups and clubs we have here on campus. I am enrolled at Empire Beauty School to study and become certified in Cosmetology. I hope to open my own salon and beauty school. I also enjoy long boarding, camping, hiking, drawing and coloring. I also am a huge animal lover! 


FILM                               Divergent/Insurgent

FOOD                            Steak/American

YEAR IN SCHOOL         7th + 12th grade

BOOK                            The House of Night Series

PASTIME                        Camping + hiking

HISTORICAL FIGURE    Amelia Earhart + Martin Luther King, Jr. 

TEAM                            Arizona Wildcats

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Hi there, my name is Travis Ross. Born in California, my family moved all over the country where we lived in Utah, Tennessee and New York. After graduating high school in New York, I moved to Phoenix, AZ where I completed my Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry at Arizona State University. My wife and I were married in June of 2018 and we moved down to Tucson so that she could start her new career as a Software Engineer at Raytheon. I am currently attending ASU online as a full time student where I will be completing my second Bachelors degree in Software Engineering. In our free time, my wife and I

enjoy hiking, camping and spending time with our five dogs. 


FILM                               The Dark Knight

FOOD                            BBQ Ribs

YEAR IN SCHOOL         Senior Year

BOOK                            Airborn by Kenneth Oppel or

                                      Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy


ME BETTER                   Taking too much advice to heart instead of trusting myself.

PASTIME                        Sports and Video Games

HISTORICAL FIGURE    Neil deGrasse Tyson 

TEAM                            ASU Sun Devils

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Hello, I am Ms. Ruiz. I grew up in a very small town called Dudleyville, Arizona; it is located 60 miles northeast of Tucson. This is a rural community where I had a lot of space and time to enjoy the great outdoors. I have

one sister and two brothers and my parents still live in this small town. My memories living in 

Dudleyville are very sweet and simple. I was always around family and enjoyed tubing down the 

Gila River, riding ATV's, horseback riding, playing sports and tons of family gatherings.

I moved to Tucson, was married and started my beautiful family. I have two incredible sons. I was

blessed to stay home for several years to be with my children and also care for my nieces and nephews. When it was time for me to enter the workforce, I followed my passion and love for CHILDREN. It was natural for me to work in education and with children. I have spent the last 19 years working in education and have been at Southern Arizona Community Academy for the last 

2 1/2 years. I have truly enjoyed the students and staff at this wonderful school.


FILM                               The Green Mile

FOOD                            Mexican Food; Tacos, Tacos and Tacos.

YEAR IN SCHOOL         Freshman year of high school

BOOK                            The Bluest Eye


ME BETTER                   Moving away from home too soon, I realized I needed structure in

                                      my life. 

PASTIME                       Yard work.

HISTORICAL FIGURE    Mother Theresa 

TEAM                            San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Braves, these are my son's favorite 

                                      teams since he was a little boy. 

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MR. Larry SPETA 


Hello, my name is Larry Speta and I was the principal at three different schools before becoming the principal for Southern Arizona Community Academy (SACA). I am honored to be the principal at SACA this year and come with over eighteen years of experience as both a science teacher and an administrator, as well as having served as an instructor for Aviation Maintenance while in the Marines. Before becoming an educator in Arizona, I served in the Marine Corps for twenty-six years. I can say that my feet have touched on every continent to include Antarctica during my travels. While in the Marine Corps I married my wife Darlene, who I credit for the success of all of my children.

Originally from New York, my education includes master’s degrees from the University of Phoenix in Educational Leadership and Administration, and one from Concordia University, a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction (Math and Science). While in the Marine Corps, I earned a Bachelor of Science from Excelsior College (Magna Cum Laude).

My passion is teaching and learning in any of the sciences (I love learning). 


FILM                               Shrek

FOOD                            ALL

YEAR IN SCHOOL         Middle School- 8th grade

BOOK                            Elric of MeIniboné by Michael Moorcock


ME BETTER                   Happened in high school when a friend and I had a big fight, 

                                      midway through the fight almost at the same time, we realized 

                                      what we were fighting about was rather stupid. The lesson learned

                                      was when you are really angry- step back and ask yourself "is it 

                                      worth fighting about or do you have something more important

                                      or fun to do?"

PASTIME                       Gardening, reading, martial arts and spending time with family.

HISTORICAL FIGURE    George Washington 

TEAM                            Any as long as it is a good game where both teams try their


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Hey, I am Tony West. Born in the Philippines, both parents were in the Navy and stationed in Subic Bay during my birth. I am the youngest of four brothers. Moved to Tucson when I was 3. Attended Van Horne

Elementary School, Magee Middle School, and graduated from Tucson Accelerated High School in 2008. Spend the next 7 years working in Market Research before going to the University of 

Arizona. Graduated from the University of Arizona in 2017 with a degree in Astrophysics. Worked at BASIS as a subject expert math teacher before coming to SACA. 


FILM                               Tremors 1990 and The Thing 1982

FOOD                            Chinese

YEAR IN SCHOOL         My first Quantum Mechanics class at the U of A

BOOK                            The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings

PASTIME                        Hiking, Backpacking, Stargazing

HISTORICAL FIGURE    Alexander the Great

TEAM                            The SACA Team


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Ms. Cyndi Cubillas 

Entity Administrator

Bio Coming Shortly!


FILM                               The Godfather Trilogy, Miracle on Ice, A League of Their Own and 

                                       all of the Marvel movies

FOOD                            My Nana's Tamales

YEAR IN SCHOOL         Senior Year of High School 

BOOK                            JFK: The Conspiracy of Silence

PASTIME                        Anything Softball

HISTORICAL FIGURE    The Big JC, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Jr. + Wonder Woman

TEAM                            The University of Arizona Softball team, Los Doyers and the Patriots

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Ms. Terrie Cubillas 

Gifted Specialist


Bio coming shortly!


FILM                               Gone with the Wind and the Lonesome Dove series

FOOD                            Tacos Dorados and Nana's Tamales

YEAR IN SCHOOL         Senior year of high school

BOOK                            The Bible and The Fifth Seal and The Sixth Covenant by 

                                       Bodie and Brock Thoene

PASTIME                        Gardening and traveling to the White Mountains

HISTORICAL FIGURE    Jesus Christ, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln + Ronald Reagan

TEAM                            The Yankees, Arizona Wildcats, the Dodgers and any team Cyndi is

                                      on or coaching 

MR. ABELARDO Cubillas, Jr. 


As the Director and Founder of SACA, Mr. Cubillas has always had a vision to help students reach their highest potential. Graduating from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Spanish and Health, Mr. Cubillas went on to receive his M.Ed. Masters of Education at the University of Arizona as well. Throughout his career in education, he has served as a classroom teacher, a department head, a baseball coach, a High School Dean of Students, Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction as well as Principal. His love for education is combined with an entrepreneurial spirit as he also is President of Cubco, Inc., a General Construction and Roofing Firm as well as Cubco Realty and Investments. He enjoys working outdoors, whether on his backyard or on a construction project, as well as playing guitar, watching baseball and spending time with his family.


FILM                               McClintock! and The Sand Lot

FOOD                            T-bone steak at Lil Abners

YEAR IN SCHOOL         Sophomore year in high school because the Dodgers won the 

                                       World Series

BOOK                            The Bible and El Corazón de Piedra Verde by Salvador de Madariaga

PASTIME                        Watching 50s and 60s Westerns and Baseball games

HISTORICAL FIGURE    Christ Jesus, the Apostle Paul, Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein

TEAM                            The Dodgers

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Lead Cheerleader 

Official Giver of Hugs

Hi there, my name is Ivy and I love this school. I get so excited on my way to work. I didn't always have this great of a life. When I was a baby, my brothers and sisters and I were found under the rubble of a fallen house. There was a big storm on our island, they called it Hurricane Maria and it hit our island home of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands very hard. I owe my life to some wonderful people who found us and got us to the vet right away. Originally my sister was scheduled to fly to the America, but she got adopted on the island. So one of the nice vets came in to visit our litter and said "who wants to go to the United States today?" and I jumped right up and ran into her arms! I was ready for adventure! So the nice lady got me a traveling outfit and took me on three different huge, metal very noisy birds and we flew through the air, all the way to my new life and family in Arizona. I was on TV and they call me a survivor and said there was no way I should have lived... but I did. I LOVE it here. I don't really like the heat, but I LOVE my family. I love going to my training classes and I most especially love the students at SACA. I am so lucky and blessed to be here. 


FILM                               A tie between Lady and the Tramp and whatever my dad and mom

                                       are watching at the moment so I can be right on their lap. 

FOOD                            I'm a big fan of steak and cheese.

YEAR IN SCHOOL         Every year. 

BOOK                            I can't read... yet but we are working on it.

PASTIME                        I LOVE to be anywhere with my dad. I love to play ball and go on 

                                      walks and road trips. 

HISTORICAL FIGURE    Snoopy and John Wayne

TEAM                            The Dodgers and the teams at the Puppy Bowl over Thanksgiving