Our High School Staff.

Staff Profiles

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

Webpage: Mrs. Albretsen’s Webpage

Gateway Choirs Webpage:

Tyler Bergeron is originally from New Hampshire and grew up exploring our nation’s historical sites in New England and along the East Coast. While most kids wanted family vacations to theme parks, he planned yearly summer trips to historical sites. Tyler earned his BS in History from Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. He then went on to earn his MA in History from Virginia Tech. His research focused on the idea of a martial spirit in the North and South through a comparison of college campuses prior to the Civil War. Tyler also served in the New Hampshire Army National Guard for 6 years. After returning from his deployment he moved to Arizona where he has been teaching for 6 years. When Tyler isn’t teaching he likes traveling with his wife and swimming with his dog Winfield Scott (Winnie). Tyler is excited to share his deep passion for American history and be a part of the Heritage Academy community.

Email: tyler.berg@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mr. Bergeron’s Webpage

I have enjoyed the Spanish language since my father taught me my first phrase at a gas station in Mexico. I scaled the Temple of the Sun and Moon in Teotihuacán at 5 years old, hiked Barrancas del Cobre at 12, and somewhere in between got stung by a jellyfish in San Carlos. After living in Venezuela for two years, I studied Spanish 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 my heart is in teaching and coaching. In 2005, I was privileged to begin teaching at Heritage Academy in Mesa. I currently teach Spanish and government.

Football is the greatest sport in the world. I started the high school flag football program at our Mesa campus in 2005, winning the state championship in our first year as a team. We were runners up in 2006. In 2007, I started the football program, studying the work of Mike Leach, Gus Malzahn, Hal Mumme, and Urban Meyer, but always adjusting the offense to the personnel. As head coach, I was fortunate to coach our team to 3 state championship victories in a row. I took a break from football to work in administration, but I came back to Heritage in 2018 as offensive coordinator and coached an additional 4 teams to the state championship game. In total I have coached in 10 state championship games, winning 6, with 3 undefeated seasons. I was humbled to know that the other coaches voted for me as Coach of the Year so many times.


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

State Champions: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2019*, 2020*

State Runners Up: 2009, 2018*, 2019*

*As offensive coordinator

Flag football: State champions, 2005; Runners up, 2006.

The most important aspect of my job is teaching the United States Constitution in my government class. I have a great love for America. It is an exceptional country with a special purpose and destiny. I have a deep respect and admiration for the Founding Fathers who established the most important constitution in the world. Teaching government 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 principles.

But my most important job is as a husband and father. My wife and I were married in 1999, and enjoy being parents to 6 wonderful people. No success in life can compensate for failure in the home.

Email: sbowers@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Bowers’ Webpage

I graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Boston with a BA (Major: Sociology & Minor: Political Science). After graduating, I worked briefly for the Department of Protection and then began a 25 year career with The Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office. After retirement, I sold real estate in the Greater Boston area and finally a 3 year position with the Commuter Rail. I have two adult daughters, a fiance, a large dog, a large cat and a small home.  I enjoy commuting to work on my motorcycle, making homemade meals, coaching sports and being a good neighbor.

Email: r.bruno@heritageacademyaz.com

unnamed-Colin-ComerfordColin Comerford was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He grew up in Peoria, Arizona, playing varsity basketball in high school. He attended the University of Arizona, receiving a bachelor’s degree in economics, with minors in mathematics and education. He has taught for seven years, teaching a variety of classes including algebra, geometry, statistics, economics, and business marketing. He has also coached basketball, from a junior high team all the way to the men’s varsity level. He enjoys basketball, reading, chess, boxing, mountain biking, video games, and the works of Wes Anderson.

Email: colin.come@heritageacademyaz.com


Coach Condie is a dedicated swimming enthusiast, born in Rochester, New York. She began her competitive swimming journey at the tender age of 4, displaying exceptional promise in the sport. At 10, she took a significant step in her swimming career by joining a club team in Maryland, where she dedicated herself to year-round training. During her time as a swimmer, Coach Condie actively participated in various prestigious events, such as Junior Olympics and Metro Honors at Watkins Mill High School. Additionally, she played a pivotal role in leading her high school swim team, Mountain View High School, to victory in both individual and relay events at the State Championships.

Following her remarkable swim accomplishments, Coach Condie received multiple swimming scholarships from various universities. Coach Condie attended both BYU Provo and Hawaii taking courses towards her associate’s degree. However, she eventually chose to pursue a different path. Later focusing on organizing successful swim clinics at her residence. Through these clinics, Coach Condie found fulfillment in sharing her expertise and helping aspiring swimmers achieve their goals.

Outside the realm of swimming, Coach Condie enjoys spending quality time with her loving husband, with whom she has shared 20 years of marriage, and their three wonderful children. Her family holds a special place in her heart.

Currently, Coach Condie is thrilled to kick off another year at Heritage Academy, where she looks forward to nurturing and guiding the scholars to reach their full potential, both within and beyond the pool. With her dedication and passion for swimming and assisting others, she is bound to make a profound impact on the lives of those she works with.

Email: teagan.cond@heritageacademyaz.com

Jennifer Consadori is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Education from Brigham Young University and moved to Arizona in 2000 to complete her Master’s degree in English Literature at ASU. At BYU, she was able to study abroad in London, England, and loves to share her passion for British culture and literature with her students. She has been teaching English for 14 years at the middle school, high school, and college levels. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, camping and hiking, reading, interior design, photography, and theme parks (especially rollercoasters). Above all, she loves to spend time with her husband (a U.S., Canadian, and Italian citizen), her three children, and their yellow Labrador. This is Mrs. Consadori’s first year at Heritage, and she is excited to work with these amazing scholars!

Email: j.consadori@heritageacademyaz.com

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

WebpageMs Cowle’s Webpage


This is Ms. Davidson’s fourth year with Heritage Academy Gateway and she has loved teaching not only the amazing scholars here but also some of their parents and other staff members how to dance! She came to Heritage after 6 years of professionally teaching, competing and managing at a studio where she taught students ranging from 6 to 93 years old. She has four Ballroom Teaching Certifications in American Smooth, Rhythm, and social dance styles. Ms. Davidson has been dancing most of her life, but originally attended the University of Arizona for Biomedical Engineering. It wasn’t until after college that she became a professional Ballroom Dance instructor and competitor, and in teaching has found she has a passion for helping others find confidence and strength in themselves. She loves going out social dancing, yoga, being involved with her neighborhood, and traveling whenever possible.

Email: elizabeth.davi@heritageacademyaz.com

unnamedI have been at Heritage Academy since Jan  2016 and absolutely love my job and all the amazing people I get to be around daily! I grew up in northern VA and moved to Charleston, SC in 2002. My kids and I moved to AZ in Nov. 2015. Recently I got married in Vegas to an amazing guy! We have 6 children. I love road trips & exploring new places.Trying new restaurants is also fun. Being outdoors and exploring this beautiful state is at the top of my list hiking, riding quads, shooting, etc.

Email: vdespain@heritageacademyaz.com


Taylor Hubbard is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She received a Bachelor of Music Education in 2017 from Grand Valley State University. Her primary instrument is flute/piccolo and during her time at GVSU she was nominated to participate in the outstanding Performance Honors program. During her music career she has performed with a variety of ensembles including marching bands, pep bands, chamber winds, full orchestras, pit orchestras, opera productions and more! Taylor also participated in a large recording project with Dr. Lowell Graham – President and CEO of the John Philip Sousa Foundation. The outcome was a professionally recorded CD titled Under Western Skies in which the ensemble and trumpet soloists perform works by Kevin McKee, Erik Morales and other well known composers. This will be Taylor’s sixth year teaching orchestra and she is excited to share her passion for all things music with the Heritage Academy Scholars. In her free time she enjoys hiking with her boyfriend and their German Shepherd or snuggling up with her cats to binge watch true crime documentaries.

email: taylor.hubb@heritageacademyaz.com

Mrs. Duke loves teaching Kenpo at Heritage Academy; she has been a Black Belt since 1996. She absolutely love my Kenpo Instructor (who also happens to be her husband) and she speak three languages: French, English and Laotian.  Mrs. Duke attended Lycee Marie Marvingth in France and earned her associate of tech in 1991.  Mrs. Duke loves fitness, hiking and being with her family family.

Email:  dduke@heritageacademyaz.com


I was born and raised in Taylor Az. I went to Snowflake High school and in that time I
also completed my CNA license. I worked with special needs children for several years with
verbal and non-verbal children. I also worked with several colleges such as WIU, DeVry and
University of Phoenix helping assist students to get their financial aid. I am married and have 4
children and 2 dogs. And love working in the SPED department at Heritage Academy Gateway
as a paraprofessional.

Email: k.farnes@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

Webpage: Mrs. Fraser’s Webpage

unnamedHello Heritage Families!

My name is Tiffaney Gardner and I have been a Physical Education teacher for over 20 years.  I received my bachelor’s in Arts in Education  from ASU.  I also have a master’s in Multicultural Bilingual Education from NAU.  I have coached tennis and badminton for several years.  In my free time enjoy traveling, hanging out with friends and family.  I am super excited to be a Heritage Hero!

Email: tiffaney.gard@heritageacademyaz.com


Ms. Emma Godfrey is originally from Minnesota and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Life Science Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She moved to Arizona and, after teaching for a few years, she earned her Master’s degree in Biology from Grand Canyon University. Ms. Godfrey is an Arizona certified biology teacher that loves to share her enthusiasm for learning with her students.

Email: emma.godf@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 nearly 10 years here at 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.

Email: jgraffius@heritageacademyaz.com

Website: Mrs. Graffius’ Webpage

Mrs. Griffin is a multi-talented art teacher currently pursuing Fine Art and Animation at Mesa Community College. With a background in coding from BYU, she excels in painting, drawing, and sculpture. Experienced in various commissions, she has crafted gravestones, family portraits, pet portraits, logos, and media creation. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her dogs and ferrets.

Email: e.griffin@heritageacademyaz.com

Bonjour! Rebecca Henriksen has been speaking and studying French for over 30 years and absolutely loves sharing her passion with her students! She has a BA in French from the University of Utah and a MA in French Linguistics from Arizona State University and has been teaching at both the college and high school level ever since. She loves to travel and spend a lot of time in France with her family. She also loves to read, cook, listen to music, take photographs, and spend time with her four kids.

Email: rebecca.henr@heritageacademyaz.com

Christie Higgins, an educator and passionate sports enthusiast, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from ASU with a dual major in English and History. Currently, she is the 10th grade English teacher, leveraging her expertise to inspire students. Moreover, as a cross country and basketball coach, she fervently advocates for the pivotal role athletics plays in fostering the holistic growth of young individuals, nurturing their minds, bodies, and self-esteem.

Email: chiggins@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Higgin’s Webpage


Hello Heros! I am Coach Johnson and I’m thrilled to be teaching and coaching this year. I’ve spent 9 years coaching and played both high school and collegiate sports.  I have a bachelor’s degree in both advertising and Public Relations. I am also a certified fitness instructor.

My educational philosophy in Physical Education revolves around fostering and promoting lifelong wellness. I believe in creating an inclusive learning environment. By integrating physical, social, emotional, and cognitive aspects, I aim to empower scholars with the skills and knowledge necessary for their overall well-being. I hope to instill a love for physical activity and promote healthy habits. My goal is to empower students to lead active, healthy lives beyond the classroom and sports arenas.

I like to spend my free time with my family.  I have 5 kids. My oldest son is serving in the US Army as an airborne Military Policeman. I have a daughter who, thanks to Heritage, is a senior in college. I have two daughters here at Heritage Academy, and a son over at the elementary school.  I enjoy coaching, wake surfing, exploring, hiking, traveling, spending time with my family, and hanging out with my husband.

Email: sj.johnson@heritageacademyaz.com


Brandon began his journey into music in the fifth grade playing the Euphonium. Since then, his adventure has been rewarding. He attended the Curry Summer Music Camp at Northern Arizona University for 6 years while participating in his school band programs through high school. In 2003, Brandon was the principal euphonium player for the Arizona All-State Band. From 2002-2004 Brandon performed with The Academy Drum & Bugle Corps during the ensemble’s first years. Brandon received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Arizona State University in 2008 and Master’s degree from Kent State University in 2013. From 2008 to 2022, Brandon instructed high school marching, concert, and jazz bands at Basha and Perry High School in the Chandler Unified School District. Brandon’s performance experience consists of prior membership with the Salt River Brass Band of Arizona from 2007-2013 and various community and solo performances. Brandon continues to fulfill his lifelong passion for music by sharing the experience with his scholars at Heritage Academy. Brandon enjoys spending his precious spare time with his loving wife Carrie and three children, Grayson, Liam, and Elizabeth.

email:  brandon.kies@heritageacademyaz.com

3192phCoach Leavitt received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from The University of Phoenix and, although most of Coach Leavitt’s adult life was spent in the tourism industry in the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, he has always wanted to teach.  Moving to Arizona gave him the opportunity to fulfill his dreams of coaching and teaching at a school that shares his values and standards.  Coach Leavitt began his coaching career at Mesa Heritage in 2015.  Over the years he has been lucky enough to add more coaching and most recently became Athletic Director for Heritage Gateway.  Coach Leavitt has been married for 21 years and has 6 children.  The oldest graduated from Heritage Gateway in 2019 and 2 more are currently enrolled.  Coach Leavitt has a passion for physical education and believes sportsmanship should be valued over winning.  While coaching at Heritage Gateway he has led teams to state championships and received Coach of the Year in 2018 and 2019.  He is looking forward to putting more trophies in our new gym while encouraging our scholars to be the best they can be in all aspects of their lives.

Email: dleavitt@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mr. Leavitt’s Webpage

Sharon Lewis is a passionate advocate of language learning and happy to be a member of the Heritage Academy community. Her educational journey took her to Finland as a Rotary International exchange student, where she immersed herself in Finnish and embarked on the study of French, German, and Russian. At Arizona State University (ASU), Sharon pursued her love for languages, earning a B.A. After working in International Business, then dedicating several years to raising her children, she returned to ASU Polytechnic to obtain her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. Sharon firmly believes in the transformative power of learning another language, recognizing its ability to open doors and broaden one’s perspective of the world. She is thrilled and honored to share her passion for language learning with the scholars at Heritage Academy.

Email: slewis@heritageacademyaz.com

2YTYKZRX-100012_original-scaledI 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 23 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

Webpage: Ms Lopez’s Webpage

Tyler is a veteran teacher who grew up in Indiana.  He enjoys teaching math and is passionate about special education.  In his free time, he enjoys playing sports with his kids and doing all kinds of DIY projects.  Tyler has a Bachelors of Arts from Christendom College and a Masters of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Email:  tyler.mcat@heritageacademyaz.com

Hannah Mougharbel has been teaching at Heritage Academy for the past 7 years. She teaches human anatomy and physiology. She is an Arizona native. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology with an emphasis in biomedical science from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in biomedical diagnostics from Arizona State University. (Go wildcats!). She spends most of her free time trying new recipes, travelling, and playing with her cats, Binx/Drexi, and dog, Oso. Her goal is to share the wonders of science with all her students!

Email: hmougharbel@heritageacademyaz.com

JuLee Passey is a dedicated educator with a passion for Deaf education. She embarked on her academic journey at Phoenix College, enrolling in their esteemed 3-year Deaf Education Program. Alongside her studies, JuLee served as an interpreter for a Deaf child during her time at Northern Arizona University. Equipped with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a minor in American Sign Language, she thrived as a teacher in Mesa Public Schools, where she nurtured a classroom of six Deaf students. Additionally, she worked part-time at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind (ASDB) Parent Outreach Program, providing invaluable support to families with Deaf children. JuLee found joy in teaching various families American Sign Language and, after 12 fruitful years at ASDB, made the decision to return to the classroom. She has now been a member of the Heritage family for the past 7 years.

Email: jpassey@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Passey’s Webpage

HeadshotEmail: christina.peop@heritageacademyaz.com

Christina Peoples graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Music with a focus in Voice Performance.  She has experience with many different styles of music, from opera, classical, choral and solo performance to jazz, broadway and Disney.  She has performed with the ASU Lyric Opera Theater, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and and had the honor of performing with Doc Severinsen and the ASU Jazz Choir.  She has also performed with local theaters and has a great love for the stage, both on it and behind it.  She directed the Music Theater Program at Eduprize School for 2 years before following her 3 children to Heritage Academy.  Christina has been a private piano and voice teacher for 15 years and loves working with students of all ages, from 5 years to adults.  Some of her show credits include The Sound of Music, The Prima Donna, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Marriage of Figaro and the Soprano soloist in Carmina Burana.  In her spare time, Christina enjoys spending time with her husband, 3 children and 4 dogs!

Email: christina.peop@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Peoples’ Webpage

20200615_212638-Heidi-PhelpsMrs. Phelps has been teaching since 2000. She earned her degree in Special Education from Brigham Young University Hawaii. She has taught in Virginia, Hawaii, and Arizona in grades pre-k through high school. She has three children. She enjoys traveling, the out of doors, being with friends, and relaxing at home.

Email: heidi.phel@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Phelps’ Webpage

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. 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 taught 7th – 12th grade math and Personal Finance for 14+ years. Mrs. Radostits has been with Heritage for 9 years and is currently the College Advisor at the Gateway campus. Even though she is no longer teaching, she continues to help scholars with their educational goals as their College Advisor.

Email: mradostits@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Radostits’ Webpage

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: mraymond@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Raymond’s Webpage

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 early due to 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.  After teaching he enjoys supporting new public speakers through Toastmasters and performing improv comedy.

Email: jrussell@heritageacademyaz.com

Mrs. Schoon has been teaching high school mathematics since 2012, and has been teaching at the Gateway campus since 2019. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Northern Arizona University, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Arizona State University. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Schoon enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and their two children.

Email: alisa.scho@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Schoon’s Webpage

Amy Scott started teaching high school English at Heritage Academy’s Mesa campus in 1999 and soon took a 10 year hiatus to be home with her three children. She returned to Heritage’s English program in 2014 at the Gateway Campus, where she has continued to enjoy sharing her passion for literature and writing. She earned a B.A. from Brigham Young University and an MA in English from Southern New Hampshire University. Both programs confirmed her love for literature and composition. It’s a love that she is thrilled to be sharing with Heritage Academy scholars.

Email: ascott@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Scott’s Webpge


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  from the east coast where she attended Virginia Commonwealth University. She brings with her over 15 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

Mrs. Smith attended James Madison University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in middle school education. She also graduated Summa Cum Laude from NAU earning a Masters of Arts degree in Educational Technology.  Mrs. Smith has held numerous positions over her 14-year career in the field of education. 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 English to students in grades 5th-12th grade and is a certified dual enrollment instructor. Currently, Mrs. Smith serves as the assistant principal for the Gateway campus.

Email: asmith@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Smith’s Webpage


From his earliest years, family, friends, and educators have encouraged and supported him in each of his endeavors. They often opened doors of opportunity for him, granting experiences he never would have had without their help, and leading him to success in so many ways. He was one of the first who had the opportunity to experience dual enrollment courses here in Arizona. He was able to attend the community college over the summer during high school. Then, he 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.

He earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Arizona State University in Physics, during which time he taught physics recitation and lab courses. He also taught physics and astronomy at Mesa Community College for six years, while pursuing a Ph.D. in Physics. During this time, he became greatly concerned about the future of our country and our personal liberties. He began an intensive study of constitutional principles, attended seminars, and read many of the words of our founding fathers. At length he determined that he needed to step away from science for a time and study the law, both as it should be and as it is. His teaching at MCC and his Ph.D. program were interrupted while attending Brigham Young University where He received a Juris Doctorate degree. Upon returning from law school, he continued teaching at MCC and also passed the Bar Exam in Colorado and Arizona. He now practices law, mostly pro bono, as service to the community around him.

The opportunity he now has to teach at Heritage Academy is a chance for him 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

Webpage: Dr. Thompson’s Webpage


LeAnn Thompson comes from a big family and now has a big family with children that have, are, and will attend Heritage Academy!  She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the University of Arkansas.  After one and a half years of service in Peru, she obtained a Master of Natural Science degree in Physics at Arizona State University.  She has enjoyed teaching Physics part time at Mesa Community College.  Her favorite aspect of the science classroom is doing hands-on labs/activities that increase knowledge and excite curiosity and interest in the sciences.

Email: leann.thom@heritageacademyaz.com

Mrs. Walden was born in Utah and moved to Arizona in 2009. She graduated from Utah State University
with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. Mrs.
Walden worked with kids with disabilities in her late teenage years and throughout college. She took a
break to be a stay-at-home mom and is now excited to be working in the special education department.
Mrs. Walden enjoys spending time with her husband and four children. One of her favorite things to do
is to attend and cheer her children on in their different sporting and musical events.

Email: t.walden@heritageacademyaz.com

Rayshawn was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois before moving to Arizona with his family. He started getting into the arts at Heritage Academy Laveen where he was introduced to dance and musical theatre. Since graduating, he now attends Arizona State University and is pursing his BFA in Dance Performance.  Over the years, Rayshawn has been apart of many performance companies such as Grey Box Movement Collective, Desert Dance Theatre, and Metro Arts Company. These experiences has allowed him to go on tour to present “Sister Moses” around Arizona and in Texas. You can now find him in the valley teaching at multiple dance studios! He is excited to share his passion for dance with the scholars at Heritage!

Email: rayshawn.watk@heritageacademyaz.com


I received a BS from Central Methodist University and am currently pursuing my MBA from Williams Woods University. I’m a former CTE Business teacher and worked in administration in Missouri for 4 years. I’m super excited to live in Arizona and love spending time with my husband and 2 children.

Email: kristen.wagn@heritageacademyaz.com

Cindy was born and raised in Arizona, and wouldn’t have it any other way! She grew up in Gilbert, graduated from Highland High School where she met her husband, and has always lived in the East Valley. Music has always been a significant part of her life. She was taught to play the piano at a young age, first by her sister and later by her father. She taught piano lessons to children and teens for 25+ years. She has enjoyed all of the musical experiences and opportunities for growth that have been given to her throughout her life, and looks forward to many more as she works in this position at Heritage! Cindy enjoys spending time with her husband and 5 children, 3 of which attend Heritage Academy. She also loves playing the organ for her church congregation, going on walks, baking bread, and listening to audiobooks.