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The accomplishments of exceptional individuals were spotlighted by the Governing Board of the Glendale Union High School District during Independence High School's Achievement Above All event. This yearly event commends notable contributions from various members of the Independence community, including a teacher, a student, a student group, a support staff member, and a dedicated volunteer. Independence High School Principal Rob Ambrose had the honor of presenting these awardees to the community, governing board, and superintendent. Each recipient was acknowledged with certificates or awards in appreciation of their outstanding achievements at the event.

Teacher of the Year, Amy Munoz

District alumni, Amy Munoz is this year’s Teacher of the Year recipient. Ms. Munoz is Independence’s Marketing teacher. Before transitioning to teaching, Ms. Munoz had a 20-year global marketing communications career. Since her time at Independence, she has been able to grow the DECA team. 

Independence Teacher Kevin VanNatter says, “When Amy started at Independence, there was no Patriot Hut. There was no DECA. In the 7 years she has been here, she has worked tirelessly to build a program that was almost non-existent at IHS. That by itself is a pretty big deal considering the success that our students have found through DECA.”


Student of the Year, Britanny Noriega Galindo

Described as an outstanding Independence Patriot, Britanny Noriega Galindo is this year’s Student of the Year. Britanny is ranked number one in her class and is a leader on the Cross Country team. During her high school career, she has played multiple sports and is involved in multiple clubs on campus. 

Independence teacher says, “I have known Britanny for three years now and she has become not only a good student on campus but has proven herself to be an outstanding leader as well. As a teacher, I have had the pleasure of working with Britanny and have gotten to know her quite well. Britanny is a young woman who inspires her peers and teachers with her perseverance and determination to meet life’s obstacles and conquer any barriers.”

Britanny Noriega Galindo

Student Group of the Year, Student Council

Independence High School Student Group of the Year is the Student Council. Student Council is a student-led group made up of over 40 students and is sponsored by Pepper Marshall. The group hosts events, spreads spirit, cheers on the student body, and supports the school in all capacities. Some of the events they host include the Fall Festival, dances, assemblies, spirit weeks, and talent shows. The group has won several Council of Distinction Awards for the Arizona Association of Student Councils.

Many Independence teachers had great things to say about the Student Council. For example, “Student council has developed into a highly functional group full of school spirit. They have created a festive environment encouraging students to attend events and share their school spirit. Their enthusiasm, dedication, and ability to follow through is awe-inspiring and I can’t wait to see what else they do!”


Support Staff of the Year, Theresa Williams

Theresa Williams is no stranger to being an Achievement Above All recipient. Ms. Williams received the award during the 2017-2018 school year. She is also this year’s Support Staff of the Year. Ms. Williams serves as a Title I Instructional Assistant. When she’s not in the classroom she can be found hiking with Independence’s Hiking Club or working an after-school sports event. 

Several Independence teachers spoke highly of Ms. Williams, praising her commendable qualities. For example, “I don't think I've ever seen Theresa without a smile on her face and a kind word on her lips. She is a lovely person and such an asset to our school, staff and students alike. We especially appreciate how she always graciously volunteers to help out with the Hiking Club!”


 Volunteer of the Year, Terry Starr

Independence’s Volunteer of the Year, Terry Starr, has been contributing to the community of the school for decades. Starr was previously the Career Center Specialist at Independence, where she found scholarships and financial assistance for students before her retirement. Now, she helps host events during summer registration and 8th-grade placement testing.  

Principal Rob Ambrose says, “I have always appreciated Terry’s willingness to support Independence whenever we have needed her.”