Student Spotlights

January Family Spotlight: Meet the Burke Family from The Jones-Gordon School
January 26, 2023

Meet the Burke Family, Kadence is in 9th grade and Jakob is in 8th grade at The Jones-Gordon School. Amanda, their mom is also a teacher at the school where she teaches the Wilson Reading System to dyslexic students and also middle school math. Their dad, Jake Sr., is a City of Phoenix Police Officer who served in the National Guard and is retired from the Army.

From Amanda Burke about how school choice has impacted their family:
In 2008, I interviewed with Dana Herzberg, the head of school at the Jones-Gordon School (JGS), and immediately knew I wanted to work there. I have been with JGS since its inception not knowing at the time that it would be the perfect school for my own children. As a teacher at JGS, I have seen first-hand the confidence grow within my students and my own children by teaching them strategies that will help them be successful.

When my daughter, Kadence was in 1st grade she really struggled to keep up in class. She was falling behind on classwork, being kept out of recess to finish work, struggled to keep friends, became frustrated in class and hated going to school. That was an extremely tough year for our family.  Luckily, being a teacher at The Jones-Gordon School and having the help of the founder and owner Dana Herzberg I was able to get the testing done for Kadence that was needed to find out the cause of her struggles. After her diagnosis of ADHD, and learning disabilities in reading, writing, and math I knew I needed to get her enrolled at The Jones-Gordon School. The school specializes in helping students build upon their strengths while also helping to improve their weaknesses.  She was offered smaller class sizes, specialized reading instruction for dyslexia, and social and emotional support at school. My downtrodden child was completely turned back into my sweet, smiling and laughing little girl.

A few years later my son, Jakob, began to struggle in school and more specifically in reading and writing. The process I went through with him was of course much different because they each have unique circumstances. He was diagnosed as a gifted dyslexic with ADHD. With my husband, Jake being deployed to Afghanistan, the next school year, we decided it was the perfect time to transfer him to The Jones-Gordon School. He received specialized reading and writing instruction by doing The Wilson Reading System as well as being encouraged in his stronger gifted areas. This has continued throughout his academic path and he loves going to school and is learning and growing each day. 

Both of my kids are thriving in all of their classes. They are taught by teachers who understand them and give them the support they need. They are also able to participate in basketball, track and field, cheerleading, student government, and so many more activities that are teaching them lifelong skills in addition to having academics that work with her learning differences.  With two kids in a private school, an organization like Arizona Leadership has helped our family out tremendously and we appreciate them so much!

Dr. Liz Westerfield and Karen Turner, two JGS teachers who have worked with both siblings over several years had this to say about the family:
“Jakob and Kadence are walking examples of the Jones-Gordon values. Two of the nicest, hardest-working kids you will ever meet, both are deeply invested in their learning, active in school and extracurricular activities, and are natural leaders with their peers. Fantastic people (not just students), each sets a fabulous example to others on-campus — students and adults alike!”

More high praise from JGS FLEX Teacher and Wilson Dyslexia Therapist, Lauren Nolan, who’s helped each of them overcome reading difficulties due to dyslexia:
“Kadence and Jakob are two of my favorite people at JGS! It has been so rewarding to watch them grow as learners over the years; they consistently work hard, aspire to do well, and have always been very involved in the JGS community. Both teachers and students value their presence at our school.”

About The Jones-Gordon School:
The Jones-Gordon School (JGS) is a small, independent private school where diverse learners THRIVE! We foster the holistic growth of bright, capable, and motivated students in grades 1-12 who have dyslexia and other related learning differences (ADHD, executive dysfunction, etc.). Our strengths-based, targeted approach to education results in a truly customized program that provides: small classes, daily FLEX hour (enrichment or support), an emphasis on building executive function and social intelligence, field studies, community service learning, and more!


Contact Information:
Phone (602) 525-7355
Fax (855) 340-9399
[email protected]


A School Tuition Organization cannot award, restrict, or reserve scholarships solely on the basis of a donor’s recommendation. A taxpayer may not claim a tax credit if the taxpayer agrees to swap donations with another taxpayer to benefit either taxpayer’s own dependent. (A.R.S. 43-1089)