Cynthia grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona and attended Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from Willamette with a major in Political Science.

After moving back to Arizona, Ms. Welsh received a paralegal certification from Arizona State University and worked in various legal firms and corporate legal departments specializing in commercial real estate finance. She obtained a Master’s Degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

Later, Ms. Welsh made a career change and completed the post-baccalaureate teacher education program at the University of Phoenix in 1997 to become a certified high school teacher. Since that time, she has held a variety of teaching positions including another therapeutic school, charter and public schools, and adult education at Yavapai College and the Yavapai County Jail and served as Vocational Director at Mayer High School for two years.

Additionally, Ms. Welsh has worked in social service positions with a behavioral health clinic and as a case manager for foster and adoption families and children and with the elderly.

Rick Derman


Rick has been teaching history in Arizona schools since 2008, AP US History since 2014, and animation since 2006. Having grown up in an arts-oriented environment on the east coast, Rick’s interest in art and history led him to an interdisciplinary doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania.

After earning a bachelor’s degree with honors in history, Rick earned a master’s degree from Penn in American Civilization. During his doctoral studies, Rick became interested in television’s effect upon children, and he left his doctoral program prior to dissertation to develop educational television programming.

Rick had taught developmental reading at colleges and prep-schools in the east and spent over twenty years on the creative side of television production in broadcast and cable. He worked in New York City government as an Urban Fellow in the Office of the Special Assistant to Mayor John V. Lindsay and as a free-lance writer for the Village Voice and various Ski publications.  During his career in the television industry Rick was a guest lecturer in animated graphics at Cooper Union. He received numerous industry honors, including two Emmy Awards.

Then, after witnessing the collapse of the World Trade Center and picking up debris from the catastrophe that had blown into their front yard in Brooklyn, Rick and his wife, Maria, moved to Prescott in 2005.

Maria is a retired clinical psychotherapist. Rick and Maria have a son who lives in Brooklyn and a dog who lives with them in Prescott.