James Narlock

Current Students

Faculty Recognition

Amy McDonnel


Amy has been a part of the Grand CanAmy McDonnelyon University faculty for almost four years now. She has a love for learning and teaching and is dedicated to student success. In 1995, she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Spanish from Arizona State University. A few years later, while she was teaching full time, she earned a Master of Arts Degree in Bilingual/Multicultural Education from Northern Arizona University. Amy enjoys learning and taking classes, and this has led her to get certifications in Reading, English as a Second Language (ESL), and Middle School instruction.

Amy is currently in her 19th year of teaching. She has taught grades K-8 over the years in many different capacities. This would include transitional bilingual, self-contained ESL, pull out ESL, sheltered immersion, as well as inclusion programs. She also enjoys serving on various district and school committees. She has worked to implement the new Common Core standards in classrooms making the transition easier for teachers. In addition, Amy has been busy collaborating with other teachers for a new textbook adoption within her district to help ensure alignment to these new standards.

During her time at GCU Amy has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate level courses. These courses include early childhood, elementary education, ESL/TESOL, and reading. With her many years in K-8 classrooms, she is able to apply her experiences and expertise to these courses bringing a deeper insight and real life applications for the benefit of her students.
Amy lives in Arizona and has been married for over ten years She has two daughters, ages 6 and 8. As a family, trips to the beaches in California or to the mountains of northern Arizona are always a welcome break from the summer heat. In her spare time she enjoys reading, hiking, and going to the movies.

How has facilitating online courses at GCU helped you find your purpose?
Working as a facilitator for GCU over the past four years has allowed me to share my strengths in this field with others. Even though I have been an educator for nearly 20 years, it has been a reminder for me that the field of education is ever changing. It is important to keep up with all of the current research that encompasses it. Being an online instructor allows me to create a connection between the research being done and how it will be implemented in the classrooms of future teachers. By being a part of this intricate process, I can help to ensure their success.

What is one effective teaching strategy you use in your online classes?
The most important thing for me in my classes is to build a positive rapport with my students. This means that all ideas are welcomed and valued. I am quick to reach out to students who need it, and praise students' efforts often. I find that a lot of the learning takes place in the forums, so I am active in student discussions and present my own experiences as well as current research in a way that will be useful to them. I present questions and ideas that allow for critical thinking and full student engagement. In addition, I give prompt student feedback, which is essential for student success.

What is a GCU online student success story you can share?
Since I have been with the college, there have been many success stories. However, one thing that I enjoy is when I receive an email from a student sharing with me something that they have tried in their own classroom that was presented to them in my online class. This is when I really know that they learned what they were supposed to learn. For me, as well as for them, this is success and that is exciting!!