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:

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

IMG_3824-scaledTyler 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 and has been living here for 4 years. Tyler has been teaching for 3 years and 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 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

Email: sbowers@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Bowers’ Webpage

Screenshot_20220722-113955_Samsung-Internet-1

My name is Coach Condie. I was born in Rochester, New York. I started swimming competitively at the early age of 4. At the age of 10, I joined a club team in Maryland and began swimming year-round. During this time, I participated in Junior Olympics, Metro Honors (Watkins Mill HS), and helped lead my high school swim team (Mountain View HS) to the State Championships in both individual and relay events . After graduating from high school, I was offered scholarships to swim for several Universities. More recently, I have run several successful swim clinics out of my house. I have a real passion for swimming and helping others succeed. When I am not working with the swim team, I spend most of my time with my husband of 20 years and my three amazing children. I am very excited about my role at Heritage Academy and look forward to helping our scholars reach their full potential both in and out of the pool.

Email: teagan.cond@heritageacademyaz.com

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

WebpageMs Cowle’s Webpage

IMG_4187

 I have been dancing as a performer and competitor for most of my life- but instead of pursuing a dance career, I originally attended the University of Arizona for biomedical engineering. It wasn’t until after college that I  became a professional ballroom dance instructor and competitor in 2014 and I realized that my calling is to help others find confidence and strength in themselves.

I was professionally trained and certified by the only 12-time undefeated US Rhythm Dance Champions, who are some of the most sought after coaches and judges in the ballroom industry. I currently hold 3 professional teaching certifications to teach beginner, bronze, and silver dancers in 12 styles of American dancing. I continue to compete nationally and train with my partner; we just began dancing together in 2019 but have already received a first place title in Rhythm Multi-Dance from the New England Open. When not competing, I absolutely love social dancing whenever possible!

I am thrilled to share the joy of partner dancing to the Heritage scholars by encouraging them to be confident, empowered dancers

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

Hubbard

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 fourth year teaching band and 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

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

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

Godfrey

My name is Emma Godfrey, and I am teaching biology here at Heritage Academy.  I have a passion for learning about how life works and sharing that knowledge with our scholars!  I earned my Bachelor of Science in Life Science Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato.  I spent most of my life in Minnesota, but I am happy to consider Arizona home now! I plan to work toward a master’s degree in biological sciences in the near future.

In my free time, I enjoy country dancing with my friends and listening to music.  A perfect Saturday in my world would involve a young adult fiction book and a good cup of coffee.  I also enjoy trying new foods as well as spending time with my friends and family.

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 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.

Email: jgraffius@heritageacademyaz.com

Website: Mrs. Graffius’ Webpage

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

Webpage: Mrs. Haggarton’s Webpage

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 10th grade English, cross country, basketball, and is the advisor for Scholar Council.  She 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

Webpage: Mrs. Higgin’s Webpage

Headshot

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

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

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

Email: kmelchin@heritageacademyaz.com

Website: https://sites.google.com/d/1QUL6J-caSjrtWpK-2Ndr56G2pnibzg6z/p/1UeUA3G_4JexMk5SmTTNpaAgKGy2q9pCx/edit?pli=1&authuser=3

I graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Psychology. I have taught at Heritage Academy for the past 11 years.
Some of my hobbies include; sewing, reading, creating things from nothing, any type of water, beach, lake, river, pond, pool I enjoy it all. Most of all I love being able to spend time with my family, they are the joys of my life. I have enjoyed the time I have spent with the scholars at Heritage, they make me laugh and keep me young and on my toes.  Hurrah for Yearbook.

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: jpassey@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Passey’s Webpage

image0

I was born and raised in the Phoenix area and have resided here almost my entire life! I attended Michigan state university and the University of Virginia where I also played football. My free time is spent being with my family, coaching, and traveling! My true passion is helping young people. I am extremely excited to be a part of the Heritage Academy Gateway family.

Email: cassius.peat@heritageacademyaz.com

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-PhelpsI’m excited to join the Heritage team! I received my bachelor’s degree from BYU-Hawaii majoring in Special Education. I’ve been teaching for 20 years and have taught in Virginia, Hawaii and Arizona. I have taught grades pre-k through 12th grade.

Email: heidi.phel@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Phelps’ Webpage

Julie-Picture-Julie-PinkhamJulie graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Theatre Arts from Brigham Young University. She then earned her Master’s Degree in Theatre History, Theory, and Criticism, with an emphasis in Directing, also from BYU.

She has directed “An Evening of Shorts by Samuel Beckett,” Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale,” and a high school one-act version of “The Crucible,” among others. She was asked to spearhead a youth group’s Bicentennial Celebration of Joseph Smith’s Birth–and got the youth to write a script; act in it on stage and on film; and compose a symphony and perform it.

Her acting credits include “Henry V,” and “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare on stage, and “Minnie’s Kitchen,” and “Text and Performance with Arthur Henry King” in film. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Cedar City Community Theatre Company.

Her stage managing work includes “A Dream for Katy,” an original production for BYU Women’s Conference, and the Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra, New York. She also received an Honorable Mention award in the Utah State Irene Ryan Competition for her work stage managing “Henry the Fifth,” by Luigi Pirandello, directed by Cameron Deaver.

She has worked with Heritage Academy Gateway for several years, now. She has coordinated volunteers for the Instrumental Department concerts, and substitute-taught in the classroom. She assisted the Drama Department by doing costumes for Heritage Academy Gateway’s first ever musical, “Seussical, the Musical!” in March of 2019. In the 2019-2020 school year, she taught the Filmmaking class and designed lighting and sound for “Beauty and the Beast.” A perfectly designed and timed cue still gives her goosebumps!

Email: julie.pink@heritageacademyaz.com

Webpage: Mrs. Pinkahm’s Webpage

pictureMrs. 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 12 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

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 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

Webpage: Mrs. Schoon’s Webpage

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

Webpage: Mrs. Scott’s Webpge

P.-Scott

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 10 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 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

Webpage: Dr. Thompson’s Webpage

LeAnn

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

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

Pic-scaled

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

3096phMrs. 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.

Email: mworley@heritageacademyaz.com