Our Staff

Central Tucson, Arizona

DENNIS O’REILLY – Head of Schools

Dennis O’ReillyMr. O’Reilly started working with young people as a volunteer junior high basketball coach back in 1990, and has been in education for over twenty years, starting as a middle school math teacher back in 1993. Mr. O’Reilly has been an administrator since 1999 serving as Curriculum Coordinator, Assistant to the Principal, Principal, and Head of Schools at three different private schools in Tucson, Arizona and earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Chapman University. Mr. O’Reilly has been married for sixteen years to his beautiful bride Krissy, and will have two scholars attending Leman Academy, Conner and Adeline.



Michelle Wohlford
Mrs. Wohlford is honored to be at the Leman Academy of Excellence. She began her career in education as a math teacher after first serving in the Air Force, then staying home with her children while following her military husband all over the world. She taught math in the public, international and charter school systems. She was a school director for grades K-12 for the six years prior to joining the Leman Academy of Excellence team. She is serving as the Vice Principal at the Leman Academy of Excellence East Tucson campus until the Central Tucson campus opens.

Mrs. Wohlford holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and a Master of Arts degree in Education. Married to Jeff since 1993, she and her husband are the proud parents of Luke, Seth and Tanner (who follow Dr. Leman’s The Birth Order Book descriptions perfectly). Their dogs Kona and Cooper help fill up their empty nest.


Heather Parra – Vice PRINCIPAL

Heather Parra
Mrs. Parra has worked in education for over 20 years. Her career includes experience as a Science and Biology teacher and for the past four years she has served as a school administrator in a local charter school. Mrs. Parra received her undergraduate degree from North Dakota State University and her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. She holds a PreK-12 Principal certificate and a 6-12 Secondary Education certificate.

Mrs. Parra is originally from Minnesota and moved to Tucson in 2001. She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and son. In her free time, she can be found outside hiking with her dogs or relaxing inside with her cats. Mrs. Parra is excited to be a part of Leman Academy of Excellence!



Gabriela GonzalezGabriela Gonzalez grew up in Tucson, AZ and has lived in other places like Scottsdale and also San Diego, CA! She loves hanging out with her family and friends, but especially with her wife and their two fur babies! Gabriela has over 10 wonderful years of experience and is excited to get to know our new Leman community!


Monica Majalca - Administrative Assistant

Monica Majalca



Megan Juhasz
Ms. Juhasz is a Tucson native. She graduated from Sabino High School and attended Northern Arizona University where she obtained her Bachelor's degree in Business. She misses the beautiful weather and visits the mountain town any chance she gets. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, hanging out with friends and family and learning more about photography.

Ms. Juhasz began her journey at Leman Academy of Excellence as a kindergarten teacher's assistant. She knew instantly this is a place where she would love to continue her career. She is beyond excited to start her first year teaching at Leman Academy of Excellence and is thrilled to learn and grow with your scholars.




Ms. McClure is originally from the Pacific Northwest and her family relocated to Tucson in 2006. She has worked in Early Childhood Education since 2001, as a pre-kinder teacher. She started out her education by learning American Sign Language, as one of the children she worked with was deaf and she wanted to enhance their communication. During her years of the Interpreting for Sign Language program, she was introduced to Speech Pathology, which led to an interest for that profession. She worked on her undergraduate degree at Northern Arizona University, where she received her Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies: Speech Language Sciences and Technology and Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) certificate. She has a piqued interest in working with children with Autism. Currently she is getting her Masters of Education in Special Education. She radiates love for what she does and is so eager to teach, learn and grow with our scholars at Leman Academy!




Heather Oakland
Ms. Oakland is so excited to join the Leman family! She is a native Tucsonan who attended The University of Arizona to get her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Oakland has taught Kindergarten since 2013 and is looking forward to another great year! In her spare time, she loves hiking, reading, and spending time with family, friends, and her dog Tango.




Marianne Porzio
This is Ms. Porzio’s first year teaching at Leman Academy of Excellence. She feels very blessed to be part of the Leman Academy family and is very excited for this school year.
She was born in Virginia and grew up on the East Coast until she was 10 years old. She moved to Tucson, AZ in 1996 and has lived here ever since. She went to Elementary School, Middle School, and High School in Tucson. From 2008-2015 she went to college in Dallas, TX where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree, both in Elementary Education. She moved back home to Tucson in 2015 and she launched her teaching career in 2016 where she taught Kindergarten for the last 4 years for a different charter school. This will be her 5th year teaching Kindergarten and she absolutely loves it.

When she is not teaching she enjoys spending time practicing her new hobby of hand-lettering and modern calligraphy. She loves to write and draw and loves all things markers, pens, pencils, and paper. She also enjoys crafting with her Cricut machine. She loves to make paper crafts and vinyl stickers. She also enjoys spending time with her friends and riding her bicycle.

She looks forward to meeting you and your child and partnering with you as we adventure on with learning.



Gabriele Araiza - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER assistant

Gabriele Araiza



Alanna Gray - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER assistant

Alanna Gray



Gabriela Grijalva - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER assistant

Gabriela Grijalva



Lisa Ziehler - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER assistant

Lisa Ziehler




Pauline HallMrs. Hall is very excited to be part of Leman Academy of Excellence. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies from California State University San Bernardino, then went on to earn an Elementary Education Teaching Credential.
Later during her career, she went on to earn her Master's degree in Educational Leadership from NAU.

Since moving to the Tucson area, Mrs. Hall has taught many grade levels in elementary school (K-5). She has also taken on many leadership roles such as Curriculum Management, Cognitive Coach, Instructional Team Leader, and English as a Second Language (ESL) coordinator. Mrs. Hall was selected as Acacia Elementary-Vail School District Teacher of the Year in 2003/2004.

In order to spend more time with family, Mrs. Hall opened an In-Home Daycare where she continued to teach. She provided a complete preschool program and provided a homework club for her students. As her youngest now enters high school, she feels that she is being call back into the classroom and cannot wait for the first day of school.

Mrs. Hall and her husband Steve have enjoyed the Tucson area for over 20 years. They are both so glad that they made the decision to move from California to Tucson to raise their four children (Chris, Jeff, Megan, & Sean).


Debbie White - 1ST GRADE TEACHER

Debbie White
Ms. White is thrilled to be part of Leman Academy of Excellence. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from Azusa Pacific University in California. Ms. White will graduate from Northwest Nazarene University with her Ed.S degree in Educational Leadership: Organizational Development on August 18, 2020. Ms. White is an experienced teacher and school administrator skilled in creating positive school culture and long-term plans for student academic success.

Ms. White was raised in Tucson, Arizona and has returned to her hometown after living more than 20 years on the East Coast. Ms. White has two children Beth (24) and Austin (22) who live in Manchester, Connecticut. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, tennis, and writing. Ms. White looks forward to partnering with parents and building significant relationships with scholars and their families.


Autumn Withers - 1ST GRADE TEACHER

Autumn Withers


Miranda Cottrill - 2ND GRADE TEACHER

Miranda Cottrill
Ms. Cottrill will be starting her first year teaching at Leman Academy of Excellence as a second grade teacher. She graduated cum laude from Cameron University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She taught one year in Oklahoma, and this will be her second year teaching in Tucson. Ms. Cottrill has previously taught kindergarten and second grade. She is certified in two states: Oklahoma and Arizona.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Ms. Cottrill grew up in a military family - her mother and father served 20+ years in the United States Army. She moved from Oklahoma to Arizona to be closer to family. During her free time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family and friends.


Caitlyn Slanina - 2ND GRADE TEACHER

Caitlyn Slanina
Mrs. Slanina is a Tucson native who enjoys cycling and rock climbing on Mt. Lemmon, running and competing in local races and fun runs, as well as rollerblading wherever she can. Prior to beginning her teaching career Mrs. Slanina enjoyed her job as a nanny, and volunteered her time at local schools and online learning platforms to help foster a creative and positive learning atmosphere for children. Following her passion for teaching Mrs. Slanina earned her Bachelor of Science in Education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. She is currently pursuing her Master of Education.

Mrs. Slanina and her husband Matthew are proud to call Tucson their home where they continue to adopt, raise, and foster a myriad of animals which currently include 3 dogs, 2 cats and a tarantula.


Melanie Ford - 3RD GRADE TEACHER

Melanie Ford
Mrs. Ford is ecstatic to be a part of the Leman Academy of Excellence. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Mathematics with a minor in biology from Northern Arizona University. This is Mrs. Ford's fourth year of teaching, and second year of teaching third grade. In the summer of 2019, she took the opportunity to teach abroad in Guangzhou, China, at a math camp. Looking forward, Mrs. Ford is looking to earn her Master's degree in Applied Mathematics, and one day, even a PhD.

Mrs. Ford spends much of her free time walking her dog, Saya, going to Renaissance Festivals and Comic Cons with her husband, Cameron, reading manga, and taking cycling classes. In the classroom, she is dedicated to creating a fun and enjoyable learning environment for her scholars. She is greatly looking forward to meeting her new scholars and spending the year learning together!



Arlette SandovalMs. Sandoval will be starting her first year teaching at Leman Academy of Excellence as a Third Grade Teacher. She grew up in Douglas, AZ and moved to Tucson after high school to go to the University of Arizona. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.



Kathleen TutaanMs. Tutaan has been with the Leman Academy of Excellence family since 2018. As a Wildcat alum, she graduated cum laude from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art with a concentration in photography and a minor in Creative Writing. She has been published both for her writing and art, and some of her photography can be found displayed in the Asian Pacific American Student Affairs center at the University of Arizona. Ms. Tutaan also has a history working in broadcast media as a Morning Show Producer sharing and teaching the great stories of Anchorage, Alaska. Born in Madrid, Spain, Ms. Tutaan grew up in a military family — her father served 21 years in the United States Air Force. She also comes from a long line of educators on her mom’s side. It was only natural that she made a career shift toward public service and education.

Currently Ms. Tutaan is in the process of obtaining her Master’s degree in Elementary Education. Last year she worked at Leman Academy East as a 5th grade teacher. This year she is thrilled to serve 4th grade scholars at the brand new Leman Academy of Excellence Central campus and to have the opportunity to be a part of their incredible scholastic journey. Her goal is to create challenging and creative experiences for her diverse scholars in an atmosphere that is based on mutual respect and caring.

As a Filipino-American, Ms. Tutaan loves to travel to the Philippines every 2-3 years. In her free time, she loves to read classical novels, write/illustrate short stories, and do yoga and kickboxing aerobics. Outside of the classroom she can be found painting, biking, hanging out with her brothers, going on road trips, or taking long walks with her rescue Chihuahua, Paco. Ms. Tutaan dedicates herself to lifelong learning and professional development. She looks forward to building strong and meaningful relationships with her colleagues, scholars, and their families.




Naomi CarterThis is Ms. Carter's first year teaching at Leman Academy of Excellence. She looks forward to continuing the passion of building and maintaining a sense of community, a love for learning, as well as opportunities for growth. Her background is in elementary education with experience teaching students in grades K-6th. She embraces moments where she is able to learn from her students and see them shine not only in the classroom but in their friendships, family, and community. This is Ms. Carter's second year living in Tucson. She is eager to enjoy the food, attractions, activities, and the people which make Tucson a special place to live.



Roland Lytle
Roland Lytle has been working in education for 8 years and feels right at home as a member of the Leman family. He will be our 5th grade teacher teacher this academic school year. Mr. Lytle began his career in education while completing his Bachelor's degree in history from Monmouth University. Later, he earned 27 credits in a Masters in Education program at Monmouth University and currently working on his Masters of Science in Higher Education Administration at SNHU. Mr. Lytle enjoys working out and staying active through various indoor and outdoor activities. He is happy to be here and aid scholars in their educational endeavors!


Allison Meade - 6TH GRADE TEACHER

Allison Meade
Ms. Meade loves being a part of the Leman family and feels incredibly thankful to be the 6th grade English/History/Logic teacher. Ms. Meade has been working with young people and kids in various capacities for 8 years and has been teaching for 3 years. She was born in Tucson, moved to the northwest for a while, and moved back to Tucson a few years ago after living in rainy Portland, Oregon while she went to college and graduate school.

She graduated from George Fox University with a Bachelor’s in English with a double minor in literature and writing. Ms. Meade attended George Fox University for graduate school as well and holds a Master of Arts in Teaching and Reading Specialization. She is committed to her scholars and their families and loves to see and bring out the best in others. She cares deeply about making sure every scholar feels safe, respected, celebrated, and honored. In her free time, Ms. Meade loves to read, write poetry and stories, play music and sing (especially sing in the car), spend time with her nieces, and swim. She is committed to partnering with and building trusted relationships with her scholars and families.



Patricia Ortiz
Mrs. Ortiz has worked in education for over 30 years. She spent 23 years in the field of special education and the last eight years as a teacher for the gifted and talented for 2 nd through 6 th graders. Mrs. Ortiz received her undergraduate degree and her Master’s in Education from the University of Arizona.

She enjoys spending time with her husband and her two daughters. In her free time, she likes gardening and spending time outdoors. Mrs. Ortiz is excited to join the Leman Academy of Excellence!



Dana Michaels


Sydney Herrboldt - Speech Pathologist

Sydney Herrboldt



Ki'Jev King
Mr. King is an educator who partners with scholars, parents, staff and administrators to educate children by minimizing skill deficits using a variety of philosophies, tools and resources.

Mr. King received his M.Ed. from Gonzaga University. He has spent over a decade working in the public and private sector educating 1,000's of children; analyzing the function of behaviors in school settings, aligning academic supports to students' needs and using data to identify “next steps” in student learning.

In addition to teaching full-time, Mr. King spends most of his leisure time raising two children and soft-coaching teachers who demonstrate they have the love, kindness and passion it requires to do this heart work.


Mallory Shibe - ART TEACHER

Mallory Shibe
Miss Shibe is a proud Tucson native, who’s passionate about art and teaching. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, and has been teaching Visual Art for 4 years. Her passion, expertise, and knowledge about visual art and photography inspires her teaching. She loves to introduce scholars to new artists and ideas that encourage them to create individually personalized artwork.

When Miss Shibe isn’t teaching, she loves spending time with her family, camping, creating art, and photographing the beauty of nature. Miss Shibe is so grateful to be part of the Leman family, and excited for the first year at Leman Central!


Kimberly Jeter Hall - Music TEACHER

Kimberly Jeter Hall
Mrs. Jeter Hall was first introduced to the Classical Education model while at Scripps College, where she received her degree in Choral Conducting. She continued her graduate and postgraduate studies at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont California.

Mrs. Jeter Hall is the recipient of the University of Irvine, Most Influential Teacher Recognition Award, The National Association of Independent Schools, Teacher of the Year Award and the Scripps College, Alumnae Award.

Mrs. Jeter Hall has extensive work experience in music. Her experiences include conducting choirs, orchestras, instrumental ensembles in academic, church and community settings. She has designed and directed national and international tours and concerts for schools and community ensembles. One of her fondest experiences was a choral exchange with the American School in Austria involving Middle and Upper School students. She has been a guest lecturer and a clinician with the Southern California Vocal Association and at colleges, churches and musical organizations throughout southern California.

Mrs. Jeter Hall enjoys teaching voice and instrumental music privately, as well as in academic settings, and directing musicals. She has a nephew who attends Leman Academy East.

She married the love of her life 14 years ago. They moved to Tucson one month before the start of the 2020-2021 school year and are looking forward to becoming a part of the Leman Academy of Excellence community.


Erin DenBaars - Latin Teacher

Erin DenBaars
Ms. DenBaars is excited to join the Leman Academy of Excellence family! She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arizona with her Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and Classics. An avid traveler, Ms. DenBaars has visited such places as Costa Rica, Japan, and Egypt. She enjoys studying languages, reading fantasy and historical fiction, and spending time with her fiance and friends.


Claudia Nettles - Spanish Teacher

Claudia Nettles
Mrs. Nettles began her career in education in 2007 by teaching second grade in Mexico. She spent 6 years teaching grades 4, 5, and 6 in Mexico. She then moved to the United States and taught second grade at Glendale Elementary School. In addition to teaching, Mrs. Nettles has experience working as a Parent Educator at Blake Easter Seal Foundation.

Mrs. Nettles holds a Bachelor of Education. She is honored to be the mother of Grace, 16 years old, and William, 13. She is proud to be a Spanish teacher at Leman Academy of Excellence.


Greg Taves - Physical Education

Greg Taves
Teaching is Mr.Taves 3rd career. He ran his own business for 10 years and then had a 15 year stint as a Sales Executive for multiple Fortune 500 companies. In 2008 he decided to leave his sales career and pursue a career in education. He returned to college in 2010 and received his teaching certificate in 2012 from Pima Community College. After completing his student teaching he has held multiple positions as a Physical Education teacher. As a senior in high school Mr. Taves played on a state championship basketball team and participated in track and baseball.

Mr. Taves holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Arizona State University and is married to his beautiful wife Edith. They have two wonderful daughters; Natalie and Rhian. On the weekends Mr.Taves’ favorite pursuits are spending time with his wife, close-up photography, and reading. Mr.Taves is very excited to be working with Leman scholars, peers, and parents!



Holly Pimentel
Ms. Pimentel is a Certified Medical Assistant. She has an Associates Degree in Science/Medical Assisting and graduated with Honors from Mountain State University. Her background experience comes from ER/General surgery and dabbling in some orthopedics as well.

She is a mother of 4 fabulous grown and established children, 2 boys and 2 girls, well now men and women, but always her babies. She just became a grandma of her 3rd grandchild. She moved to AZ approximately 1 year ago from WI to join her significant other here. They have a puppy that is a complete joy! She absolutely loves the outdoors, gardening, camping, fishing and swimming.


Beth Premo - Lunch Coordinator

Beth Premo