• Our Faculty and Experts

  • ACE is committed to providing an exceptional educational experience. Our faculty and experts are at the heart of our commitment to excellence. Here's what sets our team apart:

    • Expertise: Our educators are subject matter experts who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom. They are dedicated to delivering high-quality instruction that equips students with the skills they need for success.

    • Dedication: The ACE team is passionate about helping students reach their full potential. Our educators go the extra mile to provide individualized support, guidance, and mentorship to each student.

    • Innovation: We embrace innovative teaching methods and stay up-to-date with the latest educational trends. This ensures that our students receive a cutting-edge education that prepares them for the future.

    Our faculty and experts work closely with each student to tailor their educational experience to meet their unique needs and goals. We understand that every student is different, and we celebrate those differences by mentoring, advising, and advocating for our students.


      Phone: 210-407-0740


      Degrees and Certifications:

      Bachelor of Science, Zoology – Texas A&M College Station Master of Arts, Counseling – University of Texas at San Antonio Doctor of Philosophy, Educational Administration – Texas A&M College Station

      Dr. Patrick J. Valdez

      Title IX Coordinator, Campus Behavior Coordinator

      PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE – North East ISD (26 Years)

      2017 to Present – Director, Academy of Creative Education (ACE)
      2006 to 2017 – Assistant Principal, Douglas MacArthur High School
      2005 to 2006 – Lead Counselor, Douglas MacArthur High School
      2003 to 2005 – Counselor, Douglas MacArthur High School
      1999 to 2003 – Science Teacher, Academy of Creative Education (ACE)
      1997 to 1999 – Special Education Teacher, Winston Churchill High School
      1994 to 1997 – Special Education Teacher, Theodore Roosevelt High School
      1999 to Present – Presenter and Co-Presenter at numerous conferen

      Implemented innovative teaching and learning strategies at ACE, including:

      Project-Based Curriculum
      Restorative Discipline Processes
      Growth Mindset Practices
      Social Emotional Learning Training


      2010 – Nominee, Outstanding Young Educator Award – Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
      2010 – MacArthur Academy of Creative Education (MACE) Program emulated District-Wide
      2009 – Finalist, National Council of Professors of Educational Administration Conference
      2007, 2006, 2005 – City Proclamations, MacArthur Academy of Creative Education
      2005 – State Proclamation, MacArthur Academy of Creative Education
      2004 – Design Team Leader, MacArthur Academy of Creative Education Program
      2003 – Teacher of the Year, Academy of Creative Education
      2003 – District Semi-Finalist, Secondary Teacher of the Year
      1994 – Nominee, Sallie Mae Outstanding First-Year Teacher Award

      Assistant Director

      Phone: 210-407-0740


      Degrees and Certifications:

      Mr. Dennis Rudnick

      I come to ACE from MacArthur H.S. I was at MacArthur for 14 years. I was a football coach and World History teacher there for 6 years and have been an AP the last 8 years….six of those years I did summer school and the last two years I was the summer school principal.

      Overall I will be starting my 27th year in education. Prior to MacArthur I taught and coached at Corbett Jr. High, Devine HS, Lee HS, Akins HS, and Lake Travis HS.

      I have been married for 20 years. My wife, Tracey, is a teacher/coach at Bradley Middle School. I have a son in 11th grade at Reagan HS. He is involved in football, and track. I have a daughter who is in 10th grade at Reagan HS. She is in the art, and Special Olympics.

       My hobbies include weightlifting, ANYTHING SPORTS, and music… on my Sirius radio you will find Hair Nation (kind of ironic since I have no hair) or Margaritaville

      • Passionate Educators

        Courtney Anderson

        Boasting over 20 years of secondary education experience, Courtney Anderson draws on her background spanning social studies, French, and various leadership roles to guide ACE High School students. After earning a dual Bachelors of Arts in History and French alongside a Master of Arts in Teaching from Trinity University, Courtney taught social studies at multiple NEISD campuses before transitioning to French instruction across districts.

        Returning to NEISD in 2006, Courtney continued teaching both subjects at Churchill High School while serving as World Languages Department Chair until joining ACE in 2018. As Social Studies Dean, she fuses innovation and real-world application to engage learners through extensive use of Project-Based Learning and cross-curricular linkage. Her accolades as both Teacher of the Year and Master Mentor Teacher further showcase Courtney’s exceptional ability to motivate and elevate students. Whether teaching French I-II or courses in World Geography, World History, US History, or Government, her customized approach unlocks pathways for academic and personal achievement.

      • Sabine Haschke

        Sabine Haschke utilizes her science expertise to teach, gained through a bachelor’s degree in Biology from UTSA and a Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction from Concordia. After 11 years at Krueger Middle School, Sabine is approaching almost 10 years at ACE, drawing from a diverse set of certifications, including 4-8 Generalist, 6-12 Technology, EC-12 German, 7-12 Composite Science, and High-Powered Rocketry, to offer ACE students a robust selection of teachings spanning core subjects to electives.

        Whether teaching Biology, Earth Science, Environmental Systems, German I-II, Professional Communications, or Rocketry, Sabine infuses creativity into course connections that enables students to think outside the box. Her accolades, including NEISD Teacher of the Year, Superintendent’s Award, and 2nd place nationally at the Team America Rocketry Competition, further showcase her commitment to innovating engaging instruction for all types of diverse young learners. By tapping into ACE’s flexible environment, Sabine continues finding new ways for students to expand their strengths and unlock their potential.

      • Diane Jett

        Diane Jett’s diverse 25-plus years of education spans elementary, middle and high school settings, leadership roles, and traditional & alternative campuses to support ACE students. After earning an MBA and MEd in Special Education, she taught across NEISD before serving as a district High School SPED Coordinator and Transition Teacher.

        Now at ACE, she uses her expertise to provide individualized support with a strength-based approach to elevate and enhance student learning in Algebra I, Algebraic Reasoning, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus. Whether building skills or confidence, Diane holds students to high expectations while meeting them where they are and providing pathways to success. Her consistent recognition, such as NEISD’s Gold Star Teaching Award, further showcases her commitment to nurturing growth by pairing compassion with academic rigor.

      • Kara Juhl

        Kara Juhl is an English and ASL teacher, drawing from 24 years of experience across multiple secondary and special education settings to educate ACE students. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Hearing Impairment from Texas Tech and a Master of Education in Advanced Literacy from Concordia, she first applied her skills teaching elementary SPED, middle, and high school deaf education, and as a parent/infant advisor. Since transitioning to ACE over five years ago, she has instructed English I-II, Creative Writing, EOC Prep, and ASL I-II, serving as World Languages Department Head, followed by her current role as English Dean.

        Her robust set of certifications spanning English, ASL, ESL, and Reading Specialist further the innovative curriculum at ACE, striving to develop leaders through high expectations and learner-centered instruction. As an active teacher consultant with the San Antonio Writing Project, award recipient like NEISD’s Inspiring Innovator, and the handler of ACE’s beloved therapy dog, Chevy, her dedication to nurturing students academically, socially, and emotionally shines through. By pairing passion with skill mastery, she continues working diligently to equip youth for lifelong success beyond graduation.

      • Wade Larson

        Blending special education expertise with science instruction, Wade Larson taps into his robust skill set to propel ACE students to maximize their potential. Possessing a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M and certifications in Secondary Science, Life Science, Special Education, Physical Education, and Health, Wade draws from 23 years of experience, including 15 at ACE, to teach Aquatic Science, IPC, Chemistry, and Physics.

        Beyond the classroom, he serves as campus special education liaison, community service coordinator, and technology lead. Centering student wellbeing in his approach, Wade strives to nurture an encouraging environment for students to develop socially, emotionally, and academically. His consistent recognition as ACE Teacher of the Year and accolades like the Trinity Prize supports his student-focused commitment to student achievement. From making science accessible to broadening perspectives, Wade utilizes his multifaceted skill set to help individuals recognize and attain their goals.

      • Amanda Lasley

        Driven by a passion for students via writing, Amanda Lasley's experience of over 20 years developing young storytellers leads to successful ACE English students. After earning a BA in Literature and MSEd, the Rio Grande Valley native taught secondary ELAR and ESL prior to joining the faculty at ACE.

        Amanda’s calling is educating youth. Since realizing in third grade this as her purpose, she has embraced teaching as an act of service, pouring knowledge and compassion into helping each student unlock their voice. As a Writing Project Trainer, Miss Lasley infuses the best practices for expressive growth through creativity into the English classroom. By providing safe environments for students to discuss texts, share narratives, and refine communication abilities, she unlocks pathways for students to convey ideas effectively as they chart their own journeys.

      • Matthew Mann

        Matthew Mann instills success from over 2 decades of teaching globally in private, public, and international schools to prepare ACE students for meaningful impact. After earning an MA in English Literature and a Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Science, he gained experience teaching English and serving students as a dean overseas prior to 8 years instructing social studies in NEISD secondary schools.

        In forming his approach, Matthew values learner ownership, using student-driven inquiry and real-world connections to deepen motivation and content mastery whether teaching Economics, Psychology, or World Geography. As an AP Capstone pioneer facilitating open-ended research and solution development, he equips students with strategies to analyze issues and create change so they can drive progress on causes they care about.

      • Troy McHugh

        Troy McHugh's credentials consist of over 25 years of secondary experience, including serving at-risk youth at the Academy of Creative Education since 2022, to prepare high school students for postsecondary success. After graduating from UTSA with a bachelor’s degree in Geography and certifications in Special Education, Physical Education, and Health, Troy taught and volunteered in NEISD schools. Now, as ACE’s College, Career, and Military Readiness specialist, he guides students in charting their path beyond graduation.

        Through research-backed communication, Troy works to shape character and cultivates qualities like discipline and resilience. He views education as an avenue for self-improvement, emphasizing the personal growth that emerges from overcoming struggles. Having received accolades like Trinity University’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Troy is deeply committed to meeting students where they are and helping them develop the tools, mindsets, and inspiration to unlock their brightest futures.

      • Jason Mills

        With a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from UTSA and an associate's degree in Liberal Arts from San Antonio College, Jason Mills serves as a diverse teacher in mathematics. With over a decade of experience, Jason teaches Algebra I, Geometry, Algebraic Reasoning, Math Models, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus. 

        Grounded in a student-centric approach, Jason has seen success working with at-risk and special education students by harnessing individual learning styles and strengths to enable concept mastery, an approach aligned to the Academy of Creative Education's philosophy. By developing strong student-teacher relationships through personalized support, Jason taps into the talents of students for them to excel.

      • Juan Olegario Rodriguez

        Drawing from his artistic passion and bilingual proficiency, Juan Olegario Rodriguez fuels student creativity and cross-cultural exchange through Visual Arts and Spanish courses at ACE. Possessing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education and certifications in All-Level Art and Secondary Spanish, Juan taught middle and high school art across districts prior to serving ACE students for nearly two decades and counting.

        Focusing on young artistic voices, Juan currently teaches Art I, Drawing II, Painting II, and Spanish I-II using a supportive approach aligned to his belief that quality education is essential for community contribution. His campus role displays deep commitment to fostering cultural curiosity and self-expression by engaging students’ unique strengths. Whether refining techniques or communication, Juan empowers ACE students to envision their place in our diverse society.

      • James Spencer

        With over 15 years in education, including 12 as a school counselor, James Spencer now uses his counseling expertise to meet the unique needs of every ACE student. After earning a Master of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction along with a Bachelor of Communication from Angelo State, James taught English and Journalism prior to discovering his passion for guiding student growth at ACE.

        Since transitioning into counseling and taking on roles at campuses like Roosevelt High School, student advocacy and relationship building have anchored his approach. Now at ACE, James promotes an open door atmosphere where constant accessibility and compassion establishes trust, ultimately allowing students to feel safe enough to self-actualize. Through promoting healthy development, he upholds the philosophy that all youth deserve respect and access to fully realize their potential.