Our Staff

East 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.



Nathan Edwards
Mr. Edwards was born and raised in Kansas. He attended Emporia State University and graduated with his Bachelors in Elementary Education in 2001. Since moving to Tucson in 2004, Mr. Edwards has taught a wide range of scholars at both the elementary and middle school levels. In 2012, he received his Masters in Educational Leadership from NAU. He has worked with scholars, their families and school faculty in an administrative capacity since that time.

Mr. Edwards has been married to his wife, Tia, since 2003 and they have four children. Nate enjoys mountain biking, reading, cheering for his Kansas Jayhawks and discussing anything related to Star Wars. He and his family also love worshipping and serving alongside their church family. Mr. Edwards is very excited to start the East Tucson Leman Academy and be part of seeing scholars maximize their potential.


Luke Kollasch – VICE PRINCIPAL

Luke Kollasch
Luke is honored to work with the Leman Academy of Excellence! He graduated with a bachelor's degree in history and secondary education from the University of Arizona and accepted a teaching job in the Vail School District as a middle school social studies teacher. During his nine years of teaching middle school and coaching middle school and high school basketball in Vail, he graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Masters's degree in Educational Leadership. Luke also spent two years as a middle school vice-principal and upper school athletic director at an American international private school located in Casablanca, Morocco.

Luke is married to his wife Candace and they love spending time with their children playing board games, reading, traveling and being outdoors. He loves partnering with families and educators to bring to life the classical curriculum that is true, good and beautiful!



Dave Le Peau

After moving from the Chicago area to attend the University of Arizona and earn his Bachelors in History Education, Mr. LePeau began his teaching and coaching career right here in Tucson. Mr. LePeau taught middle and high school social studies and served as the Director for Duel Volleyball Club prior to becoming the Athletic Director at Rincon/University High School. In 2015 Mr. LePeau earned his Masters in Education Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Mr. LePeau is thrilled to be a part of the Leman Academy Team that is committed to expecting excellence, partnering with parents and instilling values, ensuring that our scholars will make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Marrying his wife Christe was the best decision Mr. LePeau ever made, they have two children and also serve as foster parents. Outside of school hours Mr. LePeau will be found cheering on the Wildcats and his favorite Chicago teams, eating some good food, spending time with his family or volunteering with his church.


Eileen Aguilera – Professional Development Coordinator

Eileen Aguilera



Wendy SmithMrs. Smith holds a bachelor's degree in business marketing and a master's degree in elementary education. She taught for 10 years, worked for two local non-profits benefiting youth in our community, and is honored to have re-entered the education field at Leman Academy of Excellence as the Office Manager at East Tucson. She has a wonderful husband of almost 30 years, three amazing stepdaughters, 6 grandkids, and three amazing feline fur-kids! She enjoys reading and cooking in her spare time.


Karen Bettenhausen - ADMIN ASSISTANT

Karen Bettenhausen



Mia_LindMia Lind was born and raised in the mountains of New Mexico but realized her love for the desert when she moved to Tucson in 2003. After meeting her wonderful husband shortly after, she settled down and welcomed her two boys Henry and William in 2008 and 2011. Most weekends you’ll find her out climbing rocks or helping her husband fix up their new school bus! Her favorite past times include loving on her 3 boys and lounging in a hammock on her beautiful property in the Empire mountains.




 Coleen Harting



Andrea BrobeckMrs. Brobeck has been teaching in Tucson for 6 years in the K through 2nd grade levels. She and her husband are native Tucsonans! They love the city and the community. Recently, they were able to foster the sweetest twins and rejoice in the successful reunification to their mother! During that time, Mrs. Brobeck became pregnant! Their adorable baby girl, Alice, was born Dec 23! They are very big on spending quality time with their families and community. They enjoy musicals, theater, unique and local restaurants, Second Mile Church, and trips to Japan! She cannot wait to get to know about her scholars, their family, and build a wonderful community at East Tucson Leman Academy!



Megan BroderickMrs. Broderick is so excited to begin her first year at Leman Academy of Excellence! This will be her 15th year teaching, but her first year to teach at the Leman Academy! She is looking forward to learning with her scholars and making this first year at this new school an exciting and memorable one. She previously taught Kindergarten for 14 years at St. Joseph Catholic School and is so excited to begin a new journey in her 15th year of Kindergarten here!

Mrs. Broderick was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She graduated from Sabino High School and then went to the University of Arizona and received her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. She then later went on to receive her Master's Degree in Education, with an emphasis in Human Relations, with distinction, for Northern Arizona University. She is certified with the state of Arizona and has received endorsements for Early Childhood Education and Structured English Immersion. She is married and has a daughter, Rebecca, who will also be attending the Leman Academy of Excellence Eastside Campus! Rebecca will be in 5th grade this year!

Mrs. Broderick loves animals, playing volleyball, and cheering on her favorite sports team, the Arizona Wildcats. Go Cats!!! She is looking forward to a wonderful and successful school year with her scholars and their families! She is happy to provide them with high academic expectations in a fun, safe, and positive learning environment that is welcoming to all unique learning styles and that instills values and morals of love and kindness.



Vivian RuskowitzMrs. Ruskowitz is beyond thrilled and honored to be joining the Leman Academy of Excellence team. Her caring nature resonates throughout her classroom, building a positive and safe learning environment. She has taught scholars from preschool to 8th grade for over 12 years. The majority of her teaching experience is with kindergarten and 1st grade scholars. Her hard work ethic and passion for community service is evident by the countless years of volunteer work she has performed. She has volunteered as a reading coach, cheerleading coach, religious education teacher, Spanish teacher, Child Advocate, and performance dance instructor.

Mrs. Ruskowitz, a Tucson native, graduated with honors from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Studies and a Post Baccalaureate degree in Elementary Education. She is also a certified Reading Specialist. Last year she became a certified Zumba and Pound Fitness instructor. Although she loves spending her free time with her family most of all, she also enjoys playing the piano, singing, dancing, reading, jogging, and swimming. She resides on the east side of Tucson with her husband, two children, and three cats.



Katie ShermanMrs. Sherman knew from a very young age that she would one day be a teacher. After spending a few years working at Lamb’s Gate Preschool, she completed her Bachelor in Elementary Education degree from the University of Arizona. For the last 14 years, she has worked in TUSD teaching K-4th grade, and most recently was a Curriculum Service Provider. She is so excited to be back in the Kindergarten classroom, which is her true passion, and looks forward to building many memories with her young scholars. When she is not teaching, she stays very busy with her husband and two daughters. Together they enjoy “glamping” at the lake, karate, softball and swimming.


Kelsey Kirkendall - Kindergarten Teacher

Kelsey Kirkendall
Kelsey Kirkendall has been working in education for the last five years and is so excited to be joining the Leman Family! Kelsey has two little babies, a girl who is two years old and a boy who is four months old. She is looking forward to her own children becoming immersed in the classical education model as well as they get older. When Kelsey is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her children, husband, and two puppies outdoors. Kelsey cannot wait to be a part of your child's education!



Janine Bratlee-Pomeroy - Kinder INSTRUCTIONAL ASSISTANT

Janine Bratlee-Pomeroy
Mrs. Janine Bratlee Pomeroy, or Mrs. P as the scholars call her, is in her fourth year of college studying Elementary Education with a focus in Special Education. Mrs. P has two daughters and enjoys tumbling, dance and spending time with her family.






Krista Heeringa – 1ST GRADE TEACHER

Krista Heeringa



Valerie Lucas

Valerie Lucas is a Tucson native. She and her husband have three boys. Two of her boys currently attend the Leman Academy of Excellence. When she is not at school, she enjoys spending time with friends and family.
In 2011, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix. She has taught for the last five years in Amphitheater Public Schools, all in first grade. Her experience in 1st grade has solidified her passion to encourage and cultivate a love of learning and exploration. She is excited to join the Leman Academy of Excellence team this year and looks forward to collaborating with teachers and parents to help her scholars succeed.


Vickie McDonald – 1ST GRADE TEACHER

Vickie McDonald



Alison Moore
Ms. Moore acquired her BA in English from California Baptist University and will soon have completed her Masters work in Christian Education with a concentration in Counseling. She began her journey with Leman Academy of Excellence on the Exceptional Scholar Services team and immediately developed a love for the Leman culture and values. She eagerly made the transition to teaching second grade and is ecstatic to have found her calling.

When not in the classroom, Ms. Moore can usually be found being the world’s best aunt to her niece and four nephews or spending time with her rambunctious pup, Brie.


Kendra Starkey – 1ST GRADE TEACHER

Kendra Starkey


Bobbee Ashfaq - 2ND GRADE TEACHER

Bobbee Ashfaq


Valerie Barnes - 2ND GRADE TEACHER

Valerie Barnes


Kellie LaMasney - 2ND Grade Teacher

Kellie LaMasney
Mrs. LaMasney is a Tucson native and earned her B.A. degree in Elementary Education at the University of Arizona. She has 8 years experience teaching K-8 in Tucson public schools. Mrs. LaMasney loves spending time with her husband, Brian, and her children, Jacob and Mallory. They enjoy swimming, playing board games, attending live music events, and finding new hiking trails in Tucson to explore. Mrs. LaMasney is very excited to begin teaching second grade at Leman Academy.



Claudia RangelMs. Rangel was born and raised in El Paso, TX. She earned her BS in International Business, Business Administration from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. For the past two years she has worked as a Math Interventionist with students in grades K-8 at a local Tucson charter school. Ms. Rangel is very excited to be joining Leman Academy as a second grade teacher and looks forward to building positive relationships with her scholars and their families. When she is not teaching she loves spending time with her three children. They do activities such as night time bike rides around their neighborhood, hiking, Netflix, church and staycations.


Vicki Scherwinski - 2ND GRADE TEACHER

Vicki Scherwinski


Priscila Arvizu - 3RD GRADE TEACHER

Priscilla Arvizu



Tami Colver



Wendy DunnMrs. Dunn has a Bachelor's degree from WCU and a Master's degree from UNCP, both in Elementary Education. She has taught 14 years in NC, 4 years in Massachusetts and one year in Arizona schools. She has been a classroom teacher as well as a hands in Science teacher during those 19 years of teaching. She and her loving husband Quincy have been married 11 years and they have three beautiful children: Cameryn is 10, Quinten is 8 and Chloe is 3.


Carrie Fette - 3RD GRADE TEACHER

Carrie Fette


Amy Tometich - 3RD GRADE TEACHER

Amy Tometich



Monica LovatoMrs. Lovato has always had a passion for serving ever since her early career as a member of Security Forces in the United States Air Force. She has always had a passion for education and because of this, has graduated with four degrees. After becoming a mother, she chose to realign her career to pursue her passion of teaching and to continue to serve our country through its youth.

She is married to Ryan Lovato and together they are blessed with two daughters, Mia and Lily, who will also be attending East Tucson Leman Academy. Her family also owns businesses in Tucson. When they have time to take off, they enjoy spending time together traveling and enjoying church activities.


Melissa Matt - 4TH GRADE TEACHER

Melissa Matt



David MendozaMr. Mendoza is excited to be part of East Tucson Leman Academy. He was born and raised in Delano, California where he graduated from high school in 1998. Then, in 1999, he moved to Tucson to begin his college career at Pima Community College. In 2005 he attended and graduated from the University of Arizona (GO WILDCATS!) He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science.

Mr. Mendoza has been a teacher for over 13 years and he has 8 years of experience teaching at the high school level. This past year he decided to make a transition into elementary education. It was a great decision, because with that, he found a renewed passion as an educator. Building a positive student-teacher rapport is critical and each day there are opportunities to challenge and engage scholars into reaching their fullest potential.

He is a big fan of sports and athletics and anytime he gets a chance to talk or play sports, he seizes the moment. At heart he's a coach, and that’s one of the traits that he will bring not only to his scholars, but to the entire school. He looks forward to creating a culture in his classroom that embraces movement while learning…. the key is to be an active participant!
He has a wife and named Vanessa and they have been together for 10 years. They have a 5-year-old son named John. They enjoy spending time doing family activities such as going to the movies, reading, and traveling. When he has spare time, he likes to play basketball and frisbee golf with his best friends.

He hopes to make the remainder of this year and many more to follow a great learning environment for not only himself, but for the scholars as well.



Caitlin NietoMrs. Nieto recently graduated from GCU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, and this will be her first year as an official teacher. She could not be more excited!

Her educational philosophy is founded on the belief that every child is capable of learning and succeeding in the classroom. To ensure that each of her scholars succeeds in the classroom, she believes that the home-school partnership is essential for each scholar's success. She also thinks it is important for learning to be fun, engaging and differentiated so her scholars can enjoy the content that they are learning. Further, she believes it is important to build all of her scholars so they believe in themselves so they can become the future generation of empowered critical thinkers and problem solvers. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” -Nelson Mandela.

In her spare time she enjoys traveling to new places, and spending time with family and friends.


Inger Hedlund - 5TH GRADE TEACHER

Inger Hedlund


Molly Hutchinson - 5TH GRADE TEACHER

Molly Hutchinson



Morgan Knox


Allison Richardson - 5TH GRADE TEACHER

Allison Richardson


Jennie Elmerick - 6th Grade History

Jennie Elmerick


Pamela Johnson - 6th Grade Math

Pamela Johnson


Lawson Moore - 6th Grade Science

Lawson Moore


Kenneth New - 6th Grade Latin

Kenneth New
Mr. New was born in Ohio, but moved to Arizona while in middle school. He served his country in the US Army for four years after graduation, then moved to Tucson where he attended the University of Arizona and graduated with his Bachelors in Latin, History and Classics in 1993. Mr. New has taught a wide range of scholars at both the middle school and high school levels, in subjects including ELA, AP US History and Latin at the high school level, and ELA, Social Studies, Latin, Science and Math (including Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2) at the middle school level.

Mr. New met his future wife Terri while still in middle school. They been married since 1986 and they have three children. Ken enjoys cooking, writing, reading, and discussing anything related to science fiction. Mr. New is very excited to be a part of the Leman family at the the East Tucson Leman Academy and to mentor scholars on their journey to become excellent, well-rounded human beings and to maximize their potential.


Sheighlin Wilband - 6th Grade ELA

Sheighlin Wilband


Cynicka Bridenstine- 7th/8th Grade Math

Cynicka BridenstineMs. Bridenstine is a certified K-8 Elementary Education School teacher with an SEI endorsement. She maintained a meritorious academic record throughout the certification program and earned A’s in all courses.  She also holds a Bachelor's of Business Administration degree in Management and Organizations from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks where she graduated with honors.  Additionally, she achieved a 4.0 GPA, graduating with distinction, from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Master's of Science degree in Management. She was twice recognized as the “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges” for outstanding merit and academic accomplishment as a student. This is her fourth year as an elementary school educator, and before coming to LAE, she taught at a private Catholic school. ​

Prior to becoming an elementary school teacher, Ms. Bridenstine was an adult-level instructor on Davis-Monthan AFB (DMAFB). She was the sole instructor for the Transitioning Service Member program at DMAFB, delivering Department of Labor (DOL) employment information to hundreds of separating military members. She was ranked first instructor by the DOL, receiving a 100% score in accuracy in delivery and approval rating, for the entire Southwest Region. She was also an adjunct instructor at ITT-Technical Institute and prior to their closing, and taught for the company for over two years. She successfully instructed Introduction to Business, Business Communication, Team Leadership, Strategies for the Technical Professional, Global Project Management, Microeconomics and Fundamentals of Management courses (to name a few) to community college level students.

Ms. Bridenstine has three amazing children who all attend LAE. Bricyn, her strong reader, is a seventh grader this year, Paxson, her sweet little comedian, is in fourth grade along with his twin sister Claire, her "everything must be pink" princess!


Zachary Dales - 7th/8th Grade History

Zachary Dales - MS History
Mr. Dales was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico when he was three years old. He always knew he wanted to be a teacher because he spent so much time in his mother’s class helping her with daily teaching duties. He attended Randolph College in Virginia on a tennis scholarship and was team captain for three years. Randolph College was a perfect fit for Mr. Dales because of his love of history and Randolph’s strong History Department. He received his Bachelors’ Degree in History in 2015. Mr. Dales has spent over ten years being a mentor for children in treatment foster care. He served as a volunteer middle school tennis coach for all four years of high school. He began his career as a head tennis coach in Albuquerque, New Mexico and then later in Tucson at Catalina High School. Mr. Dales came to Tucson to work in AmeriCorps as a youth career development specialist. He spent the last two years in the Tucson teaching Social Studies and Avid. Along with his teaching responsibilities he was head volleyball and soccer coach. Mr. Dales is excited for the new school year to resume and to begin teaching at Leman Academy.


Tori Einstein - 7th/8th Grade Science

Tori Einstein


Shannon Frederick - 7th/8th Grade ELA

Shannon Frederick


Sara Logan - 7th/8th Grade Logic & Geography

Sara Logan


Monica Riddle - Exceptional Scholar Services Teacher

Monica Riddle



Micaela Tillis
Micaela Tillis is excited to be joining the Leman family as a member of the Exceptional Scholar Services team. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Family Studies and Human Development and then went on to receive her Master’s degree in Elementary Education. She has been working with exceptional students for over 14 years and is excited to incorporate her experiences with Leman scholars.

Micaela has been married for 13 years to Rich and her daughter Bell will be joining the Leman family in fifth grade. When she’s not at school, Micaela enjoys spending time with family and friends. She likes going to the movies and just hanging out at home.



Rozalynn JedinakMrs. Walker grew up in San Diego and attended Sonoma State University. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development. After she graduated, she moved to Tucson to be close to her grandparents. She worked in a non-profit school-based program where she was introduced to a classroom for children with emotional disabilities. She decided to go back to school and get my Cross Categorical Teaching Certification. She has been teaching for 9 years. She has taught most of her career in self-contained classrooms for children with emotional disabilities. She also spent a year teaching 5th grade and taking an administrative role as the Special Education Director at a charter school.

Mrs. Walker has a wonderful husband and two children. They enjoy going to the park, playing with their dog and visiting with family. Teaching scholars in this field is her heart and she looks forward to all we will learn this year.


Rozalynn Jedinak - Exceptional Scholar Services Instructional Assistant

Rozalynn Jedinak


Karly Rhodes - Exceptional Scholar Services Instructional Assistant

Karly Rhodes



Jenny Korcheck



Deborah Stahr

Ms. Stahr has been blessed to work as an educator in Southern Arizona for almost 40 years. She has taught Kindergarten through Fifth Grade and is very excited to be working as a Reading interventionist.



Kara DeMott


Roxanne Hamilton - ART TEACHER

Roxanne Hamilton
Joining the Leman East Tucson team this year as the art teacher, Roxanne Hamilton is excited to share her love of art with the scholars. She paints professionally, and has taught art to scholars of all ages for the past thirty years, most recently at Pima Community College, where she teaches painting and art history. She holds a BFA from the University of Arizona, and an MFA from the University of Hartford. She is married to a wonderful man, and has four fabulous children and 6 amazing (and adorable) grandchildren. Her favorite pastime is, of course Art!



Devanna Lowe



Katy McNiffMrs. McNiff teaches Elementary Music and directs the Honor Choirs. In addition, she is the Director of Audivi Vocem Summer Institute: a choral conducting program for undergraduate students, and teaches adult learning courses in Music History.

Previously, Mrs. McNiff has taught in the Tucson Unified School District as an Arts Integration Specialist and Teaching Artist. She has also held positions as: Director of Music for Christ Presbyterian Church of Tucson, Director of Music at Mountain Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Assistant Director for the Tucson Masterworks Chorale, and Artistic Director for the Bisbee Community Chorus. She was the Chorus Master for the University of Arizona Opera Productions, taught undergraduate courses in opera scenes and lead four undergraduate choral ensembles for the Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona. She has conducted with the Thompson Street Opera Company in Louisville, KY and the Arizona Rose Opera Company. Mrs. McNiff is also the former Director of Music and Drama at Deborah's Stage Door School for the Performing Arts in Rochester Hills, MI, and has taught voice and musical theater for the West Bloomfield Public School District in West Bloomfield, MI. For the past six years, she has been active as an Arizona Music Educator Association (AMEA) adjudicator for high school all-regional choral auditions.

Mrs. McNiff holds a Master's Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona, a Master's Degree in Music Education from Arizona State University, and Bachelor's Degrees in Music History and Voice Performance from the University of Michigan. She and her husband enjoy spending time with their toddler/construction-vehicle expert: William.


France Miranda - Latin Teacher

France Miranda


Kenneth New - Latin Teacher

Kenneth New
Mr. New was born in Ohio, but moved to Arizona while in middle school. He served his country in the US Army for four years after graduation, then moved to Tucson where he attended the University of Arizona and graduated with his Bachelors in Latin, History and Classics in 1993. Mr. New has taught a wide range of scholars at both the middle school and high school levels, in subjects including ELA, AP US History and Latin at the high school level, and ELA, Social Studies, Latin, Science and Math (including Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2) at the middle school level.

Mr. New met his future wife Terri while still in middle school. They been married since 1986 and they have three children. Ken enjoys cooking, writing, reading, and discussing anything related to science fiction. Mr. New is very excited to be a part of the Leman family at the the East Tucson Leman Academy and to mentor scholars on their journey to become excellent, well-rounded human beings and to maximize their potential.


Alondra Rodriguez - Spanish Teacher

Alondra Rodriguez


Richard Diaz - Physical Education

Richard Diaz


Laura Moore - Physical Education

Laura-MooreLaura Moore is excited to join the Leman Academy Family as a first year teacher in Physical Education. Passionate about fitness and fundamentals of physical exercise, Laura is dedicated to bringing a structured but fun and physical program into the student’s educational experience at Leman. As a mom of 3 (Judah 11, Jordyn 9, and Jericho 6), she and her husband Lawson (12 years) have been drawn by Leman’s high value for student engagement and passion for cultivating each individual child. Laura aims to teach functional movements, court/field skills, sportsmanship, health and general fitness with that same holistic perspective — making PE no exception but rather an extension of active learning while having fun and maybe breaking a sweat from time to time.



Brenda LairdMs. Laird has been a medical assistant for 17 years. She has worked in pediatric offices and enjoys caring for children. She was born and was raised in Patagonia, AZ. She has 2 girls, ages 4 and 6, who she loves spending time with. They enjoy the outdoors, horse back riding and are very involved with their church family. It is a blessing to have this opportunity to be a part of the Leman Academy and meet all of the wonderful families.


Sara Huitron - Lunch/After Bell Staff

Sara Huitron


Seth Wohlford - Lunch/After Bell Staff

Seth Wohlford


Jason Majuta - Facilities Staff