Chair of Special Education
Dr. Lisa Aaroe "migrated" to Arizona in 1990 to pursue a Master's degree in bilingual/ESL education. She attended University of Iowa and received a Bachelor's Degree in Spanish/Elementary Education. She has taught gifted, bilingual, and special education at various grade levels. After teaching in the public school system for 15 years, she decided to pursue a PhD in Special Education from ASU. Her dissertation focused on culturally/linguistically diverse populations' views on problematic behavior and she has published journals in Current Issues in Education, Education and Treatment of Children, and Journal of At-Risk Issues. She also is a parent volunteer for Raising Special Kids and Special Olympics. She has been at GCU for 5 years and is currently acting as the Department Chair of Special Education.
If Dr. Aaroe is found away from her office, she is probably fishing, camping, walking her dogs, riding her Harley, playing Guitar Hero, or hanging out with her family/neighbors at home. She has 2 daughters, ages 11 and 13.
Chair of Secondary Education
Sherman Elliott received his doctorate in Teaching Innovation and Leadership in 2009 from Arizona State University. For the past three years, he has been an Assistant Clinical Professor of Education at Arizona State University and has served the past year as the Director of the Center for Civics Education at ASU. He has over 16 years of instructional experience at the primary, secondary, and university levels. Dr. Elliott taught at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix for six years where he was the Religious Studies Department Chairperson and taught courses in macroeconomics, world religions and ethics. Dr. Elliott also served as a principal for the Diocese of Phoenix for three years at St. John Bosco School, a PK-8 elementary school. A life-long learner, Dr. Elliott holds a B.A. in Government and an M.A. in Theology from the University of San Francisco.
Chair of Early Childhood Education and Curriculum & Technology: Technology
Dr. Pennington is currently the Chair of Early Childhood Education Department and assistant professor in the College of Education. She brings her expertise in early childhood development with an emphasis in learning and cognitive development to the GCU classroom. Her goal is to help future educators develop their pedagogical skills within an environment that recognizes and appreciates the dynamic nature of the child.
Dr. Pennington has a PhD in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in cognition and learning from Arizona State University and has been teaching Education and Psychology courses for about 9 years. Her research interests' focus on teachers' belief systems and how they influence their teaching efficacy, classroom behaviors, and expectations they set for their student's academic success. Another area of interest is student's perception of instrumentality (when students realize that the course or subjects they are taking will apply to their future career goals). She has published articles in the Journal of Developmental Education, and participated in numerous AERA presentations.
Dr. Pennington has many roles as we all do in our lives. She is a mother of four daughters and eleven grandchildren (19-1 years old), one of whom lives with her while attending college in Arizona. Dr. Pennington moved here from western Oregon where it rains almost the same number of days as the sun shines in AZ. Just arriving here from the rain, she jumped out of bed every morning and run outside to enjoy the sun. Time away from GCU is spent with grandchildren, hiking, and traveling when time permits.
Jim Mostofo is currently an assistant professor and co-chair of Secondary Education. He is working on his doctorate at Arizona State University in the area of Educational Leadership and Innovation. He is a proud graduate of GCU for his undergraduate degree in education and he played on the basketball team. He was a clinical instructor the past three years at ASU where he taught methods courses and supervised secondary math teachers. He also teaches workshops for schools and districts around the state in areas such as raising math scores, aligning curriculum to the standards, questioning strategies, motivating students, classroom management, and math AEPA prep.
Before starting with GCU, Jim taught high school and middle school math for seventeen years here in the Valley of the Sun. He focused mainly on Algebra I and students who struggled to be successful in math.Like everyone, Jim has many roles in his life. He enjoys attending his church weekly as well as working out daily and living a healthy lifestyle. He is an avid sports fan and used to coach high school basketball. Now he enjoys watching the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Cardinals. He takes care of his father who has Alzheimer's when he is not working.
Erinn Ferris comes to GCU from the Cave Creek Unified School District, where she was a certified English teacher and the Foundational Academic Mentoring coordinator, delivering and coordinating services for at-risk students at Cactus Shadows High School. Additionally, during her time at Cactus Shadows, she was an AIMS coordinator, faculty chair of NCA accreditation for the high school, successfully authored the school's A+ application, and served on the superintendent's steering committee. She is also a K-12 certified administrator and an International Baccalaureate trained instructor.
Ms. Ferris also taught middle school English at the Marion Burton School in Scottsdale, Arizona, a residential treatment center for at-risk youth. She also has taught courses in the arts at the prestigious Middlesex School of Summer Arts in Concord, MA; she was an instructor in mixed media, theatre, and painting for students aged 8-15 for 7 years. A secondary and collegiate forensics competitor, Ms. Ferris has coached successful speech and debate teams in Arizona and California.
Ms. Ferris' post-secondary experience is most recently at the University of Phoenix, where she has taught both online and at the local campus in Phoenix since 2009. She holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and master's degrees from Northern Arizona University in both Educational Leadership and Secondary Education. She is currently completing her doctorate in Education at Walden University.