Our Staff 2019-09-05T09:27:52-07:00

Our Staff.

Dal Albretsen graduated Suma Cum laude from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Music degree emphasizing vocal performance. Because Mrs. Albretsen values education so much she did not stop there. She went on to complete her Master of Music degree emphasizing Choral Education in May of 2016.

Mrs. Albretsen is a concert Soprano who has performed locally as well as throughout the Intermountain Region. She loves working with youth of all ages and has been teaching music, in the state of Arizona, since 1987. She began teaching with Heritage Academy in the Fall of 2014 and dearly loves the students, the staff and the environment.

Mrs. Albretsen is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME), the Arizona Music Educators Association (AMEA), the Arizona Choral Educators Association (ACE), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honors Society.

In her spare time, Mrs. Albretsen loves to ski, both water and snow, and spend time with her growing family. The Grandkids are the best!

Email:  dalbretsen@heritageacademyaz.com

Gateway Choirs Webpage:

I attended high school in California and graduated from Utah Technical School in cabinet and furniture making. I have worked for Fetzer’s Woodworking and Challis Stairs in Salt Lake City, and Artistic Stairs and American Wood Stairways in Arizona. For over twenty years, I built spiral and circular staircases all over the country. Before coming to Heritage Academy I was a safety officer and assistant superintendent on various commercial endeavors all over the western United States. I am one of the original staff members at the Gateway campus. It has been a pleasure to assist in its growth. I am happily married and am so proud and grateful for my wife, my three children and three grandsons. I love baseball, all kinds of animals, and photography. It is wonderful to work with such a talented staff and such great kids.

Email:  ballred@heritageacademyaz.com

Email:  sbowers@heritageacademyaz.com

I have a great love for this country, and a deep respect for the Founding Fathers. Teaching at Heritage has allowed me to communicate that love of country to my students. I believe that the best way to help our country improve and prosper is to return to our original Constitutional principles.

I have enjoyed the Spanish language since my father taught me my first phrase at a gas station in Mexico. After living in Venezuela, I studied the language on scholarship at Arizona State University and the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, graduating with a degree in Spanish and a Certificate of Latin American Studies from ASU. I earned a Juris Doctorate from ASU as well, but in the process I realized where my heart really was: teaching and coaching. I was privileged to begin teaching at Heritage Academy – Mesa Campus in 2005. I started the high school flag football program during my first year, and the football program in 2007.

Awards: Coach of the Year, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

State Championships: Flag football – 2005; Football – 2010, 2011, 2012

State Runners Up: Flag football – 2006; Football – 2009

I am so thrilled to begin the adventure of educating the fabulous scholars at Heritage Academy!

Ms. Cowles graduated Magna Cum Laude from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation Administration.  She worked in the field of Recreation helping individuals enjoy life.  She followed a lifelong dream of becoming a professional educator.  She participated in a year- long Post Baccalaureate Teacher preparation program.  She shares her love of literature and creative writing with her students.  In addition to classroom teaching, Ms. Cowles loves athletics!  Her passion has changed from participating and competing to coaching.  She has coached basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball, track and field and swim team.  She has been involved with coaching all ages in all levels of competition.  Everything from recreational sports to competitive varsity level sports at the high School level.

Ms. Cowles is also actively involved in helping special needs individuals; making sure they lead healthy, active lifestyles.  In her spare time, Ms. Cowles enjoys traveling, shopping and spending quality time with family and friends.

Email: bcowles@heritageacademyaz.com

Being a Special Education Director/Teacher is an honor. I believe every scholar, facing challenges or not, has an inner strength and willingness to become successful. Heritage provides leadership to ensure that all scholars are appropriately served and supported.

I earned my Bachelor Degree in Human Services and my Master’s Degree in Special Education, both from the University of Phoenix. I am also highly qualified in English.  I’ve been a resident of Arizona since 1997 and worked for Gilbert Public Schools Special Education Department. In addition to teaching, I have worked with disabled students and adults, assisting them to obtain employment here in Arizona.  During my leisure time, I love traveling with my husband and spending time with my family.  I am the mother of three girls and grandmother of 4. I am so blessed and privileged to be a part of Heritage Academy Gateway.


I love teaching Kenpo at Heritage Academy; I have been a Black Belt since 1996. I absolutely love my Kenpo Instructor (he happens to be my husband) and I speak three languages: French, English and Laotian. I love fitness, hiking and being with my family.

Email:  dduke@heritageacademyaz.com

Mrs. Ferguson is dual-certified and has been teaching junior high science and mathematics since 2008. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, and an MBA at Benedictine University in Mesa, Arizona. As an educator, Mrs. Ferguson strives to create a challenging and meaningful learning experience for all scholars, while also integrating study and note-taking skills into all class activities. In her free time, Mrs. Ferguson enjoys indoor cycling, camping, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Email: kferguson@heritageacademyaz.com

Hello! my name is Field Ferkin. I graduated from Cal State Fullerton in History. I have been teaching history over 5 years in California. I have taught World History, U.S. history and Civics and Economics. I love teaching History. I also revere the founding Fathers and the United States constitution. I am very excited to joining Heritage academy.

Email: fferkin@heritageacademyaz.com

I have been teaching music since 1992. I received my Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, graduating with Honors.  Post-graduate study includes work at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, and the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. I was a teacher for the Department of Defense Dependents’ school in Japan where I taught band, choir, and strings, and served as the Fine Arts department chair.  My professional affiliations include the National Band Association, the National Association for Music Educators, the Arizona Music Educators’ Association, Pi Kappa Lambda and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.  I am also a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, the Gamma Beta Phi Society,  the Sons of the American Revolution and I was included in the 10th Edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. My wife, Kristi, and I live in Mesa and have two children.

Email:  rforbes@heritageacademyaz.com

Melody Fraser comes to Heritage Gateway with 20 years teaching in Gilbert Public Schools. She has taught all of the Microsoft Office courses, AP Computer Science, Marketing, Travel and Tourism, College Prep Keyboarding, Entrepreneurship and Advanced Business. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management and a Master’s degree in Secondary Education-Computer Emphasis from Northern Arizona University. She holds both Microsoft and Google Certifications and is committed to maintaining high standards of education with emphasis on developing skills in scholars that will allow them to be college and career ready. Her husband is an educator as well and they have two beautiful school aged children. She enjoys traveling with her family, sewing and swimming. She is proud to be taking scholars on this “Techcellent” adventure.

Email:  melody.fras@heritageacademyaz.com

Email: bgarner@heritageacademyaz.com

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Education and a Minor in History. It was her great pleasure to return to Heritage Academy as the first alumna teacher in 2011. As a student, history was always her favorite class. Her love and appreciation for history continues to grow as she spends each day with your students; uncovering the truths and principles that make America great. In her free time she loves to bake, read, and spend time with her husband and daughter.

8th Grade History Class Website

Email: jgraffius@heritageacademyaz.com

I love being an educator!  I earned both my Bachelors in Math Education and my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University.  I have enjoyed teaching for over ten years in Gilbert and now Heritage Academy Gateway.  In addition to teaching I enjoy spending time with my family, watching football and baseball, and when the glorious Arizona weather permits, snow skiing.

I love being at the front desk and being able to build relationships with the scholars, families, and staff here at Heritage! It’s important to me to make sure that everyone who comes here feels welcomed and comfortable. My four children and I moved here to AZ in November 2015, from Charleston,  SC. We have loved living out west for the first time ever and taking trips all over to really get to know AZ, as well as the pacific north/southwest.

Email: vgriffin@heritageacademyaz.com

Dr. David R. Grimm earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO.  He has spent over 20 years doing DNA research in the fields of Molecular Biology or Molecular Genetics.  His research topics include the genetics of cancer, the genetics of drug response and personalized medicine, and the genetics of bone and cartilage development.  During his research career, Dr. Grimm has sequenced, genotyped, linkage mapped, cloned, replicated, transcribed and translated DNA.  In essence, if it can be done with DNA, he has done it.

Dr. Grimm’s research career has resulted in 23 research articles that have been published in peer-reviewed journals, either as author or co-author.  In addition, he has written three books on the topic of understanding the scientific data and evidence that can be generated from DNA.

These experiences have empowered Dr. Grimm to combine two things that he is passionate about, science and educating others, into his new career as a science teacher.

Email: dgrimm@heritageacademyaz.com

She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities from Northern Arizona University with an emphasis in Art History.  She has taught Home Economics and Health at the Mesa campus and is the Art teacher at the Gateway campus.  Her skills include drawing, painting, sculpture, creating, sewing, and building.

Email: shaggarton@heritageacademyaz.com

I was born and raised in Orange County, California and recently relocated to Arizona with my husband. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. My dance training began at Inland Pacific Ballet where I had the opportunity to perform in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Coppelia.

During my time in college, I was able to study many other genres of dance where I was featured in annual dance concerts and received a Dance Scholarship for my choreography piece Nocturnal Visions. I also spent two summers training at American Ballet Theatre in New York City as well as a summer training with the Jose Limon Dance Company. When I was 17 years old, I started a twelve and a half year career with the Walt Disney Company. I spent the first six years as a performer doing shows and character work as well as being featured in the 50th anniversary parade, Parade of Dreams. From there I went on to work with the Disney Performing Arts program assisting with workshops, guest performances, special events and production coordination. I spent my last three years as an Administrative Assistant to the Entertainment Division Operations Manager. From my time spent in New York City, I developed a passion for Musical Theater. Since then I have been doing theater and continue to do so here in Arizona. I have been featured in shows: The World Goes ‘Round (Downey Civic Light Opera), Evita (GEM Theater), Legally Blonde (Covina Center for the Performing Arts), Anything Goes (Hale Centre Theater) and West Side Story (Hale Centre Theater). In addition to theater, I was also a featured dancer at the Mattel Awards in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching for twelve years at dance studios all over Southern California in all styles and genres of dance. I have choreographed routines for regional and national competitions and those routines have been placed in the top 10 at Move, Spotlight and Showstoppers. I also received an award for “Outstanding Choreography” at Spotlight Dance Cup in 2015. I absolutely love teaching dance and I am excited to share my passion for the arts with the scholars at Heritage Academy.

Email: aharkey@heritageacademyaz.com

Mrs. Higgins received her Bachelor of Arts degree from ASU with a double major in English and History.  Her teaching career has spanned middle school and high school.  Mrs. Higgins has coached multiple middle school students to the national level in the National History Day, We The People, and History Bee contests.  She teaches Junior High English and Honors English, history, pilaes, cross country and is the advisor for Scholar Council.  She took an active role in promoting student government, acting as student council advisor for six years at her previous school.  She also believes strongly in the role athletics plays in developing the minds, bodies, and self-esteem of young people.  She played basketball in high school and college. She is also an avid runner who has completed multiple marathons and half-marathons.  Mrs. Higgins continues her dedication to scholar education, government and athletics at Heritage Academy.

Email: chiggins@heritageacademyaz.com

Angela Huston received her Bachelor’s Degree in History with a minor in English from Brigham Young University.  She has taught English in the middle school ages in Utah and Arizona.  As a parent of Heritage scholars, she is passionate about the quality of education provided at Heritage Academy and thrilled to be a part of it.

Email: ahuston@heritageacademyaz.com

My love of languages began where I am now, in high school Spanish class!  After graduation, I had the amazing opportunity to live and study for a year in Finland, as a Rotary International exchange student.  There, I learned Finnish, and began studying French, German and Russian.  At ASU, I continued studying both French and Spanish, earning my B.A., and after spending several years at home with my children, went back to ASU Polytechnic for my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction.

I firmly believe that learning another language is so important to a well-rounded education.  It opens up unexpected opportunities, and changes the learner’s perspective of the world and his or her place in it.

I am both excited and proud to be a part of the wonderful Heritage Academy community, and to be able to share my love of language learning with our scholars.

Email: slewis@heritageacademyaz.com

I earned my Bachelor degree in Special Education from ASU and a Master degree in Counseling from NAU.  I am also an Arizona certified math teacher grades K-12. I have taught special education, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry and Foundational Algebra II for the past 20 years.   I love Heritage Academy Gateway and our scholars and am proud to be one of the teachers who opened the school.

Email:  klopez@heritageacademyaz.com

I feel at home at Heritage already. What an incredible school! I have been teaching for 16 years. I am certified in Language Arts, History, and Administration. I have a Master’s in Educational Leadership. I am blessed with three awesome children (14,16, and 18) and a musical, fun husband. We are all Cubs fans. Once in a while, you will see me riding my Harley Road King to school.

Email: carmella.mcne@heritageacademyaz.com

Welcome to Pre-Algebra and General Math!  I am confident we will have a fun and successful year together here at Heritage. I taught Algebra 1 at Mesa Heritage for three years before transferring to Heritage Gateway. I also taught for Mesa Public Schools for 18 years before transitioning over to Mesa Heritage.  I started my teaching career at Franklin Northeast teaching sixth, seventh, and eighth grade math from 1997 – 2001.  I taught the junior high math program at Franklin Northeast and then moved to Smith Junior High the first year that it opened.  There I taught eighth and ninth grade algebra.  I returned a year later to Franklin Northeast to teach sixth grade.  In 2009-2010, I was asked to embark into a new endeavor to teach math for Franklin Junior High once again.  After getting the math program up and running, I resumed teaching 6th grade at Franklin JH.  After Franklin, I taught 5th grade for two years at Zaharis Elementary.

I have earned a B.S. in elementary education, M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University, and a M.Ed. in Counseling from Ottawa University.  I also hold a middle school endorsement (7th – 9th) and have passed the math Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment.

I was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona.  I have been married to my beautiful bride for 25 (ASL teacher here at Heritage Gateway) and we have four children, three of which are currently enrolled here at Heritage Gateway.

I am excited to start another school year!  Yeah!  I am thrilled to be part of the Heritage family.  I am impressed with how Heritage teachers are able to instill a love of learning and our country’s heritage into the hearts and minds of our most precious treasures (our children). The support of the parents always makes a little sacrifice on my part all worthwhile!

Thanks for entrusting your children to us, and I look forward to educating the young minds of our future leaders.

Email: dpassey@heritageacademyaz.com

Email: JPassey@heritageacademyaz.com

I am so excited to teach American Sign Language (ASL) at Heritage Academy Gateway!  I have a great love for this language and I can’t wait to share it with my students.  

I became curious about ASL when my 2 Deaf cousins came to visit when I was about 12 years old.  They taught me a little bit each time they came.  When I got into high school, I took as many ASL classes as I could.  At Mesa Community College I decided to take American Sign Language as an elective.  I enjoyed it so much that I decided to transfer to Phoenix College to join their 3 year Deaf Education Program.  

After graduating, I interpreted for a Deaf Child in elementary school for a couple of years as I attended Northern Arizona University.  When I received my BS in Education with a minor in American Sign Language, I taught for Mesa Public Schools and had 6 Deaf students in my classroom.  

After my son was born, I decided to stay home.  I worked part-time for Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind (ASDB), working with families with Deaf children.  I enjoyed teaching many different families ASL.  After 12 years of working at ASDB, I decided to return to the classroom.  

I have always loved teaching my children and others how to sign!

Email: karla.pohl@heritageacademyaz.com

I grew up in MI. I received my B.S. degree from Madonna University with a double major of Biology/Chemistry. I did some graduate work in radiation biology at Texas woman’s University and them went on to University of Texas in Austin for my Master degree in science education with a physics major. I love horse back riding and hiking with my dogs. I just moved here to AZ 1 year ago.

Mrs. Radostits was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to Arizona in 2009.  She attended Illinois State University for her undergraduate degree in Business, with a minor in Art.  She went on to have a successful business career in sales for thirteen years before she found her true calling of being a teacher.  During her sales career she was asked to train new hires within the territory.  It was through this training she realized that teaching was her true passion.  Her trainees expressed how much her skills and experience benefitted their career, which gave her a great sense of accomplishment. After moving to Arizona, Mrs. Radostits continued her education at Arizona State University where she earned her Master’s Degree in Education and her teaching certificate.  She has been a 7th – 12th grade math teacher for the past 7 years.  Making the transition to teaching was one of the best decisions of her career.  Mrs. Radostits feels there is no greater reward than seeing the smile on a scholar’s face when he/she understands math.  It is a feeling she never received from her sales career and keeps her motivated to teach every day.

Email: mradostits@heritageacademyaz.com

Email: mraymond@heritageacademyaz.com

Merly Zoilo Raymond is a resident of  Gilbert,  Arizona and a new faculty member at Heritage Academy. She graduated with a Bachelor of Secondary Education, major in mathematics. She first taught at San Beda College Alabang, Philippines in 1999. She later earned a Master of Arts in Teaching in mathematics at the Philippine Normal University.

In 2005, she was given the opportunity to go to the United States to teach. She taught math at Baboquivari High School for 7 years. In 2012, she moved to Gilbert and has been teaching at Highland High School for the past 5 years until coming to Heritage Academy.

Mathematics has always been her passion since she was very young and considers Chemistry as her second love. Her inspiration to become a teacher came from her senior year class advisor — her dedication and her passion for teaching and learning is what pushed her to be in this profession. Her mission as a teacher is to  inspire her students in the same way that she was inspired during high school.

In her free time Merly enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children.

Email:  cribelin@heritageacademyaz.com

I was born and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona. I attended Brigham Young University in Utah, and then returned home where I received a Bachelor of Science in Education Degree from Northern Arizona University.  I coached City League sports, middle school sports, and led camp and church youth groups in Flagstaff for over 25 years. I developed curriculum, and taught Physical Education/Health at Northland Preparatory Academy for 5 years. I coached Varsity sports at Sinagua High School and NPA.  I played on the Women’s NAU basketball team, then qualified, and played at Nationals on the United States Tennis Association team. I also played competitive sponsored softball and volleyball for over 25 years.  My husband, Allen, and I have 5 children. I LOVE sports and LOVE helping kids!  I believe that participation in a positive physical activity or sports program helps develop confidence, responsibility, respect and accountability. It also teaches sportsmanship and builds character. Strong character helps build strong families, and strong families build strong communities and nations. I am excited to teach Physical Education and Citizenship, and happy to coach here at the Heritage Academy Gateway Campus. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my love for sports and kids, and my knowledge and experience for the promotion of each scholar/athlete’s happiness and success!

Dr. Russell’s teaching is guided by the principle that close encounters with significant texts have the capacity to transform lives for the better.  As a book historian interested in the contemplative reading practices of the Late Medieval and Early Modern eras, he has seen how reflective engagement with primary sources shaped some of history’s greatest minds, including those of the Founders.  Inspired by these examples, Dr. Russell aims to offer educational experiences to Heritage Academy’s scholars in a similar spirit.

He received his BA in English Literature at the age of twenty from Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts.  He was able to graduate at this age due Dual Enrollment (DE), which was then in early stage of development.  Having benefited from DE himself, Dr. Russell appreciates the opportunity to play a part in making early college-level courses available for today’s scholars.

Pursuing his lifelong interest in the Medieval Era, Dr. Russell completed his graduate education in the United Kingdom.  At Durham University he received an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies with a focus on Old Norse, the language of the Vikings. He took additional coursework at the University of Iceland in Reykjavík. Then he completed his doctorate at Durham with a focus on the History of the Book.  Dr. Russell’s research on the earliest printed books in Europe (called “incunabula”), took him to the British Library and the Vatican Library.  Following his doctorate he worked as an antiquarian bookseller at the Bauman Rare Books gallery in Las Vegas.

Dr. Russell has taught at the junior high, high school, university and adult education levels in the USA, the UK, and Honduras.  His research has been published in Kaleidoscope and the Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies.  He is married with one child.  After teaching he enjoys supporting new public speakers through Toastmasters and performing improv comedy.

Email: jrussell@heritageacademyaz.com

My name is Alisa Schoon, and I have been teaching high school mathematics since 2012. Teaching is my calling, and I have a true passion for helping my students reach their full potential in the classroom. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Northern Arizona University, and recently earned my Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Arizona State University. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy spending time outdoors with my husband, our daughter, and our two dogs.

Email: alisa.scho@heritageacademyaz.com

I earned my B.A. from Brigham Young University and my MA in English from Southern New Hampshire University. Both programs confirmed my love for literature and composition. This is a love that I’m thrilled to be sharing with Heritage Academy scholars. I taught high school English at the Mesa campus for five years, then took a 10 year hiatus to be at home with my three young children. I returned to Heritage’s English program in 2014 at the Gateway Campus where I have continued to enjoy sharing my passion for literature and writing.

Email: ascott@heritageacademyaz.com

Paciencia Scott first discovered Heritage Academy while searching for a quality education for her own children.  Since then she is proud to announce that she will not only be a Heritage Academy parent but also an employee. Ms. Scott came to Arizona 9 years ago from the east coast where she attended Virginia Commonwealth University. She brings with her over 7 years of experience working as front office manager and registrar in a charter school setting. She is eager to serve parents and scholars with all of their enrollment needs.

Email: pscott@heritageacademyaz.com

I am happily married and have 4 wonderful kids. My husband, David, is very supportive and helpful with all my dancing and other aspirations.  We sometimes can get him to join us in performances!  Nothing makes me more happy than being a mother and a wife.  I have owned my home based dance studio for more than a decade. I opened it so I could always be there first for my family.  I love that my children see my passion for dance and get to share that with me!  I believe performing, creating, learning new things, and being part of something builds confidence. I place high priority on keeping music, movement, and costumes wholesome and always will. Now that all my kids are in school, I’m excited to be teaching at Heritage as well so I can share my passion and love for dance here. My students always ask me how long I have been dancing.   My mom was my first dance teacher and taught while pregnant with me.  So, I always tell them, ‘I started dancing while in my mommy’s tummy!’  HA!  I’ve seriously danced and performed my entire life.   I’ve been teaching ever since I can remember but professionally teaching since I was 17.  I got my degree at BYUI in Dance and BYU in Recreation Therapy and Psychology. Although I was trained in all areas of dance to some degree, my favorite genres are ballroom, Latin, swing, hip hop, dance lifts, country, creative, and lyrical.  I was a dancer and cheerleader throughout my childhood, a Nauvoo pageant stunt dancer, president of STYLE; a social dance teaching/touring team at BYUI, BYUI Ballroom team, TA for ballroom dept at BYUI, BYU Dancesport soloist, UVU ballroom tour team and soloist, Fire and Ice country western dance tour team, BYU and UVU swing club, assistant director of the Red Mountain Institute Ballroom team, the director of the Arthur Murray Ballroom team, a teacher for Arthur Murray, choreographer for church events, teacher at Olympic Gym, sublease teacher at Dance Barn, dancer and teacher for Great Events, dance teacher and sub for Heritage Academy, choreographer for Music Forte, owner and director of my own Resonate Dance studio and ballroom performing team, guest choreographer for other events, and more. I love working with children and teens and helping them feel great about who they are.  I absolutely love to dance and love teaching!

Email: asell@heritageacademyaz.com

She attended James Madison University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in middle school education. She has received a Masters of Arts from NAU in Educational Technology.  She has held numerous positions over her 12-year career in the field. She began as a 7th and 8th grade Language Arts and Reading teacher, at Marstellar Middle School in Virginia. She has since then taught social studies and language arts to students ranging in level from 5th to 8th grade and also teaches 9th -12th grade English and is currently the assistant principal for the Gateway campus.

Email: asmith@heritageacademyaz.com

I am from Queen Creek, Arizona but have been attending school with my husband for the past four years at Brigham Young University-Idaho. There I received my bachelor’s in exercise physiology with an emphasis in nutrition. During my time in school I fell in love with exercise and teaching all aspects of wellness. I started teaching various group exercise classes on campus, including weight training, spin, yoga, kickboxing, high intensity interval training, step, Pilates, water aerobics, and more. I developed a strong passion for helping people see the amazing potential they had to do hard things while also helping them to see how important health and wellness are in their lives.

Before moving back home to Arizona I worked as a Cooperate Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor at the Melaleuca Wellness Company headquarters in Idaho Falls. There I was able to work with the Melaleuca employees by leading various exercise classes and personal training sessions they could take during their work day. I also provided mid-shift stretch sessions in which I would come to their offices and lead a group stretch session to help clear their mind and increase productivity.
I am so excited now to be here working at Heritage Academy with these amazing kids! I believe that the development of healthy habits at a young age can not only promote a high quality of life in the future, but also help them to learn self motivation and discipline. I am so grateful for the chance I have to share my love of exercise and wellness with them and hopefully show them the wonderful benefits that come from practicing them.

From my earliest years, family, friends, and educators have encouraged and supported me in each of my endeavors. They often opened doors of opportunity for me, granting experiences I never would have had without their help, and leading me to success in so many ways. I was one of the first who had the opportunity to experience dual enrollment courses here in Arizona. I was able to attend the community college over the summer during high school. Then, I was blessed to be accepted into the physics program at Arizona State University, at 15 years old, while still in high school. None of these things would have happened without the encouragement and support of so many others.

I earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Arizona State University in Physics. Since then, for most of the last ten years, I taught physics and astronomy at Mesa Community College. While teaching at MCC I was pursuing a Ph.D. in physics at ASU, with an emphasis in the use of mathematics in the science classroom. During that time I developed labs for physics majors that allowed the students to match their experimental data with visual computer simulations they had written.  During this time, I became greatly concerned about the future of our country and our personal liberties. I began an intensive study of constitutional principles, attended seminars, and read many of the words of our founding fathers. At length I determined that I needed to step away from science for a time and study the law, both as it should be and as it is. My teaching at MCC and my Ph.D. program were interrupted while attending Brigham Young University where I received a Juris Doctorate degree. Upon returning from law school, I continued teaching at MCC and also passed the Bar Exam in Colorado and Arizona. I now practice law, mostly pro bono, as service to the community around me.

The opportunity I now have to teach at Heritage Academy is a chance for me to give back, in some small way, to ensure that the upcoming generations of scholars have similar encouragement, support, and open doors.

Email: athompson@heritageacademyaz.com


I earned my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education with a minor in Spanish from ASU and my Master’s in Elementary Education from NAU. Before staying home to raise our two daughters, I taught grades 4-6 in numerous schools in the Mesa Unified School district focusing on second language learners many of those years. I’m thrilled to be making the jump to junior high, and excited to help scholars delve into Latin. They’ll be astounded by how much they learn about English at the same time! When I’m not in the classroom, I enjoy spending time with my family on our boat, hiking, reading, and traveling.


I received my Bachelor of Education degree with a Latin Teaching major and a Spanish Teaching minor from the Brigham Young University as the recipient of a Trustees’ Scholarship.  I completed a semester of study at Universidad del Bio Bio in Chillan, Chile, and I have completed further courses in Latin Teaching through the University of Georgia.  I hold a Secondary Education certificate in the State of Arizona with endorsements for Spanish and Structured English Immersion.  I enjoy introducing the scholars to conscious learning of speaking, reading, and writing in a new language by building a foundation with classical Latin in junior high and connecting it to many other modern languages such as English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian.  Many aspects of many cultures are based on Roman civilization and it is great fun to help our scholars make those connections.

Mrs. Weiler is an Arizona certified math teacher.  She is a graduate of Arizona State University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She also holds two Master Degrees, one in Curriculum and Instruction from Northern Arizona University and the other in School Guidance Counseling from Ottawa University. Over the past 20 years, Mrs. Weiler has taught General Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, and Geometry.  Aside from teaching, she enjoys reading, hiking, camping, and fishing.

Mrs. Weiler is currently serving as Heritage Academy’s Director of College Relations for all three campuses, working with our dual enrollment partner and Heritage families to help scholars earn college credits.

Email: aweiler@heritageacademyaz.com

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Mrs. Worley grew up in Salt Lake City and was blessed with many experiences and opportunities that nurtured her love of piano accompanying, her love of teaching, and her love of country. She is amazed and thrilled to have found a position at Heritage Academy that combines all three!

Mrs. Worley attended Brigham Young University as a Kimball Scholar and graduated in Elementary Education, finishing her student teaching a month before her first child was born. She spent the next few decades as a stay-at-home and homeschooling mother of (eventually) six children, living near Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

In 2016, she moved to Arizona with her husband and two youngest children who attend Heritage Academy and sing in choir. She feels very fond of Arizona and considers herself an “Arizona girl,” while still believing that her family’s move would have been worth it if only to give her children the chance to be taught and mentored at Heritage Academy.

Mrs. Worley is grateful every day for the privilege of supporting the outstanding Gateway choirs at the piano, assisting Mrs. Albretsen in the classroom, and enriching scholars’ lives with uplifting and fun music. She especially enjoys supporting the mission of Heritage Academy with spectacular patriotic music that deepens scholars’ appreciation for the founding principles and values of our American nation.

When she’s not at the piano, Mrs. Worley enjoys dancing in ballet class and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren.