Our People

Meet our amazing team.

We’re a talented group of community members interested in empowering children, teens and their families to nurture an environment in which gender may be freely expressed and respected.

Tami Staas


Tami Staas is a professional educator and fierce advocate. Her pronouns are she/her/hers. She has been advocating and educating in the greater Phoenix area on behalf of transgender and gender variant youth and their families for over a decade. She is passionate about educating the community on how to best serve transgender and gender variant youth.

In her role with Arizona Trans Youth and Parent Organization, she has worked with various agencies in the greater Phoenix area to foster and create inclusive practices in public spaces such as schools (both elementary and high school), hospitals, doctors and dentists offices, and community spaces. She is currently the president of Arizona Trans Youth and Parent Organization. She also serves as the committee chair of the LGBTQ+ subcommittee of the Equity and Inclusive Practices committee at the Arizona State Board of Education, and the co-chair of both the Educational committee and the LGBTQ+ Families committee with the Equality Arizona coalition group. She has presented on raising a trans child, and creating gender inclusive classrooms to groups such as the Arizona Psychological Association, Mesa Education Association, the Arizona State Legislature and many more.

In addition to her activist work, she is the mother of two children; one who identifies as a trans man, and the other who identifies as non-binary. She earns her living as a third grade teacher at Summit Academy International Baccalaureate School in Mesa Public Schools.

AZTYPO Board of Directors

Vanessa Anspach


I have been involved with education since 2006 both in the Tempe Union High School District and The French American School of Arizona as a teacher. I am married to Michael Anspach and we have 2 wonderful children, one of whom is transgender.

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Birningham Southern College in Alabama where I also played 4 years of NCAA Divsion I tennis. I enjoy traveling, sports, and being outside.

Bret Giles


Bret is a professor of practice in the W. P. Carey School of Business in digital, data-driven and social media marketing, and is also faculty advisor to AdWorks, a student run ad agency and Product Management Club (MBA) within the university experience. He joined the W. P. Carey School of Business in his teaching role in 2010, the same year he was recognized as “Arizona Small Business Person of the Year” by the Small Business Administration. When he isn’t starting something — companies, conversations, plans, books and more — Giles enjoys trail and road running and a good chocolate chip cookie.

Christina Healy


Christina’s volunteer work with AZTYPO includes talking with families and sharing resources regarding the many stages of the transgender journey, advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, and managing the AZTYPO Zak Ricci Memorial Name Change Grant Program. Christina is the mother of two children, the youngest is transgender. Eager to provide a positive transition for their youngest child, Christina and her husband, Chris contacted AZTYPO for guidance and resources in 2018.

“Ensuring that our child had a loving and supportive transition was our #1 goal. Successfully providing a beautiful and accepting experience meant we had to learn more and get involved.” said Christina Healy. 

Barb Nasco


Alison Cason


Michelle Miranda-Thorstad


Amber Checky


As the CEO & Founder of Inclusion Counts, Amber believes that schools/ businesses have a responsibility to actively and proactively support gender-expansive people.

Amber has dedicated over 18 years working with affiliates of the National Federation for Just Communities including – serving as the Executive Director of Anytown Leadership Program and a contracted diversity trainer for the National Conference for Community & Justice.

Amy Bonnett


Christiana Hammond