- Kindergarten Teachers
- 1st Grade Teachers
- 2nd Grade Teachers
- 3rd Grade Teachers
- 4th Grade Teachers
- 5th Grade Teachers
- 6th Grade Teachers
- ESS Staff
- Art & Music Teachers
- Language Teachers
- Physical Education
- Health Coordinator
- Afterbell & Food Service
DENNIS O’REILLY – HEAD OF SCHOOLS
Mr. 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 – PRINCIPAL
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.
MICHELLE WOHLFORD – VICE PRINCIPAL
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 has 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.
Mrs. Wohlford holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and a Master of Arts degree in Education. She has been married to Jeff since 1993 and they are the proud parents of three sons who are now 23, 20 and 18 (they follow Dr. Leman’s "The Birth Order Book" descriptions perfectly). She and her husband have two dogs who help fill up their empty nest.
WENDY SMITH - OFFICE MANAGER
Mrs. 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.
GABRIELA GONZALEZ - ADMIN ASSISTANT
Gabriela 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!
MISTY WALKER - PRESCHOOL DIRECTOR
Mrs. Walker was born in Maquoketa, Iowa and moved to Arizona in 1988 with her parents. She earned her Early Childhood Education degree in 2007 and has been working in the field for 16 years. Her experience is mostly in the classroom setting but has directed after school programs, camps and has experience in leadership with her peers. She has four children and a husband who all love to go camping, fishing and boating at the lake. She is looking forward to the adventure ahead as Director of East Tucson Leman Academy Preschool!
GINA WARREN - Assistant Director
Ms. Warren has 4 adult children, 3 grandchildren and one grandchild on the way. She has been a preschool teacher for 12 years. She has taught all ages. She doesn't have a favorite age because they are all great! She loves being around children and loves seeing the look on their faces when they learn something new. Thank you trusting us with your scholars.
Sadee Calen - PRESCHOOL TEACHER
Sadee was born and raised in Tucson Arizona. She recently graduated from Sahuaro High School and is excited to join the Early Childhood field.
Sadee loves outdoor activities with her friends and family and in her spare time loves to paint, build and draw. Sadee is looking forward to learning and growing at Leman Academy!
Cynthia Coles - PRESCHOOL TEACHER
Cindy Coles will be co-teaching in the Adventurers room. She has been teaching Preschool for over 15 years. Many of those years she spent teaching special needs preschoolers. Cindy loves working with the little ones and is excited about being apart of Leman Academy. She is honored to be working with you're amazing children and wants her class to be a fun, safe and loving learning environment. When Cindy isn't teaching she loves to spend time with her husband, three sons and grand babies!
Let the Adventures begin...
Tylene Good - PRESCHOOL TEACHER
Tylene was born in Indiana and has lived in Tucson since 2003. Tylene was a nurse for 15 years before following her passion for teaching. This is her 4th year teaching in the Early Childhood field and she is looking forward to learning and growing at Leman Academy!
Genevene Ramirez - PRESCHOOL TEACHER
Genny was born in in Ohio and moved to Tucson in 2015. She has been in the Early Childhood field for 10 years. Genny enjoys spending time with family and friends. Genny is excited to be part of our amazing preschool staff here at Leman!
Brandy Stephenson - PRESCHOOL TEACHER
Brandy was born and raised in tucson Arizona. She has been working in Early Childhood education for 13 years. In her spare time she enjoys doing things with her family and friends. Brandy is excited to learn The Leman Way and watch the scholars flourish!
Kayla Kroto - PRESCHOOL TEACHER
Kayla was born and raised in Tucson Arizona. She has been in the Early Childhood field for 10 years. Kayla is a life-long Girl Scout. She enjoys dancing, camping singing and spending time with her family. She is excited to apply her experience and knowledge in our Leman Academy Preschool Program!
Andrea Figueroa - PRESCHOOL TEACHER
Ms. Andrea was born and raised in Tucson Arizona. She graduated U of A in 2015 with a degree in Language, Literacy and Leadership. She continued on to Grand Canyon University and graduated with a degree in Elementary Ed. in 2019. She is excited to join our team and start a new adventure with preschoolers!
ANDREA BROBECK - Half Day KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Mrs. 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 BRODERICK - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Mrs. 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 RUSKOWITZ - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Mrs. 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 SHERMAN - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Mrs. 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.
COLLETTE EBARB - INSTRUCTIONAL ASSISTANT
Mrs. Ebarb will be working with the Kindergarten team as an Instructional Assistant. 2018 will be her first year with Leman Academy of Excellence. She grew up right here in Tucson, Arizona!! She did live in Orlando, Florida, right after high school for 3 years, across the street from Mickey Mouse, while attending college. She loves to spend time with her family & friends, to travel, and make crafts. She is married to a Computer Engineer and has 2 children, a son and a daughter.
She believes children are a priceless treasure. She looks forward to all the exploring learning and fun we are going to have this year.
Jennifer Ulrich - INSTRUCTIONAL ASSISTANT
Jacqueline Alquist - INSTRUCTIONAL ASSISTANT
Arlene Stamp - Instructional Assistant
PAULINE HALL - 1ST GRADE TEACHER
Mrs. 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).
TONIA SMITH - 1ST GRADE TEACHER
Ms. Smith graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education in 1995. She has worked as a teacher in many different school settings since that time, including technology education, first grade, second grade and preschool. Most recently she worked as a preschool teacher on the Tohono O’odham reservation while receiving her Master's degree in reading instruction from Grand Canyon University. She looks forward to working at the Leman Academy of Excellence as a first grade teacher in the 2018-2019 school year as we build a community of learners together.
Lisa Locke - 1st Grade Teacher
Lisa Locke has been working in education for over 13 years and is thrilled to be part of the Leman family. After completion of her Master’s degree in 2012, Lisa began homeschooling her two small children using the Classical model as her curriculum. Her love for Classical education was an immediate draw to Leman Academy. Both of Lisa’s boys attend Leman and have enjoyed the transition to a school that offers several incredible opportunities. Lisa has been married to her amazing husband for 13 years. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys hanging with her pug, kayaking, gardening, volunteering, reading, and being outdoors with her boys. Lisa is thrilled to be teaching the brilliant children of Tucson!
VALERIE LUCAS – 1ST GRADE TEACHER
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.
CLAUDIA RANGEL - 2ND GRADE TEACHER
Ms. 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.
ANNE ZIMMERMAN - 2ND GRADE TEACHER
Ms. Zimmermann is delighted to join the 2nd grade team! She brings nineteen years experience working with children in not-for-profit organizations and in public and private schools across the United States. Ms. Zimmermann holds a B.A. degree in Economics, B.S. in Social Work, and is a certified teacher in New Jersey and Arizona. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys hiking, gardening, harvesting rainwater, and adventuring with family. Ms. Zimmerman’s philosophy of life is twofold: live by the Golden Rule and just do your best work possible on each and every given day.
Alison Moore - 2ND Grade Teacher
WENDY DUNN - 3RD GRADE TEACHER
Mrs. 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.
CAITLIN NIETO - 3RD GRADE TEACHER
Mrs. 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.
ARLETTE SANDOVAL - 3RD GRADE TEACHER
Ms. 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.
ELAINA BRABANT - 4TH GRADE TEACHER
Mrs. Brabant was born in Virginia and raised in her formative years in New Hampshire, so her favorite season here is of course, fall - winter. She has lived in Tucson for nearly two decades now since marrying her husband. Together, they are in the midst of raising their three boys whose ages range from 7 to 16. She loves reading, writing, eating good foods, and music. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, and a former guest teacher with the Vail School District, she is honored to be a part of the team at Leman Academy of Excellence. She is looking forward to getting to know her students and helping them develop into lifelong learners. She is passionate about learning and is eager to learn right along with them. Her youngest son will be attending as a scholar, and they are both excited to be a part of the community at East Tucson Leman Academy.
MONICA LOVATO - 4TH GRADE TEACHER
Mrs. 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.
DAVID MENDOZA - 4TH GRADE TEACHER
Mr. 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.
NAOMI CARTER - 5TH GRADE TEACHER
This 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.
Kathleen Tutaan - 5TH GRADE TEACHER
CYNICKA MABERRY - 5TH GRADE TEACHER
Ms. Maberry 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. Maberry 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. Maberry has three amazing children who all attend LAE. Bricyn, her strong reader, is a fifth grader this year, Paxson, her sweet little comedian, is in second grade along with his twin sister Claire, her "everything must be pink" princess!
ANTONETTE ENOCHS - 6TH GRADE TEACHER
Mrs. Enochs was raised in New York. After moving to Phoenix as a teenager, she attended a classical education academy, causing her to discover her love of Philosophy, History, and Language. She attended Arizona State University and graduated as the valedictorian of her class with a BA in Linguistics, a minor in German, and a teaching certificate. Knowing that she wanted to share the education that she received with the next generation of students, she became a teacher and has been working with sixth graders for several years. Recently married, Mrs. Enochs relocated to Tucson this summer and is excited to be joining the Leman family. In addition to teaching, Mrs. Enochs is currently pursuing her MA from Franciscan University of Stubenville. When not working, she can be found spending time with her husband and puppy, Scout, or trying to learn French, her fifth language.
NANCY VARELA - 6TH GRADE TEACHER
Mrs.Varela was born in the Chicago area and moved to Arizona as a teen. She previously worked in the medical field, and in retail human resources before returning to school to obtain a teaching degree at the same time her son left for his freshman year of college. She has been teaching in Tucson area districts for seventeen years at both the elementary and middle school grade levels.
Mrs. Varela is married to her husband, Sal, and enjoys time at home, taking care of the family pets, spending time with family and friends and teaching. She is very excited to join the Leman Academy of Excellence faculty and is looking forward to building relationships with scholars and their families.
STACY WALKER - EXCEPTIONAL SCHOLAR SERVICES TEACHER
Mrs. 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.
KiJev King - ESS Teacher
Ki'jev King.jpg is an Educator who partners with students, parents, staff and administrators to educate children by minimizing skill deficits using a variety of philosophies, tools and resources. Receiving 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, King spends most of his time raising two children and soft-coaching teachers who demonstrate they have the love, kindness and passion it requires to do this heart work.
JANINE BRATLEE-POMEROY - ESS Instructional Assistant
Mrs. Janine Bratlee Pomeroy, or Mrs. P as the scholars call her, is an ESS instructional assistant and is currently in her third 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.
Carol Osollo – READING INTERVENTION
Mrs. Osollo has taught kinder and 1st grade for 27 years. She has been married for 34 years and has 1 son and a beautiful daughter-in-law who is expecting her 1st grandbaby in July 2019.
Mrs O's philosophy is to treat each scholar as if they were your very own child. Mrs Osollo is in her element in the Royal Reading Room.
"One scholar, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world."
DEBORAH STAHR - READING INTERVENTION
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.
BENJAMIN BEAMS - ART TEACHER
Mr. Beams is originally from Springfield, Illinois and has been in Tucson for almost 3 years! He enjoyed teaching at the Jamestown Fine Arts Association in North Dakota and the Madison Creative Arts Program (MadCAP) in Wisconsin. He loves watching baseball and football with his cats and is also a big Theatre geek! He has acted in, directed, and produced plays and short films. “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” -Pablo Picasso
KATY MCNIFF - MUSIC TEACHER
Mrs. McNiff is thrilled to be joining the East Tucson Leman Academy of Excellence as the Music Teacher. In addition, she is the Founder and Director of Audivi Vocem Conductors Choir Summer Institute: an educational program for undergraduate students with locations in Tucson and Tempe.
Mrs. McNiff has held the position of Director of Music at Mountain Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Tucson Unified Public Schools Arts Integration Specialist and Teaching Artist, Assistant Director for the Tucson Masterworks Chorale, Artistic Director for the Bisbee Community Chorus, Director of Music for Church of the Painted Hills United Church of Christ in Tucson, and Conductor with the Arizona Rose Opera Company. She was the Chorus Master for the University of Arizona Opera Productions, Instructor for the University of Arizona Opera Scenes, and Conductor for undergraduate ensembles at the University of Arizona. Mrs. McNiff is also the former Director of Music and Drama at Deborah's Stage Door School for the Performing Arts in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and has taught voice and musical theater for the West Bloomfield Public School District in West Bloomfield, MI.
Mrs. McNiff holds a Master's Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona and Bachelors Degrees in Musicology and Voice from the University of Michigan. She is currently completing a second Master's Degree in Music Education at Arizona State University. She enjoys the Arizona sun along with her husband, Brian, her baby son, William and her cat, Coco Bean.
KAREE COPELAND - SPANISH TEACHER
Mrs. Copeland was born in Newport News, Virginia, She is an Air Force dependent, and spouse. She relocated to Tucson two years ago after their military retirement. She absolutely loves teaching! Her formal education includes a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, one in Foreign Language, Spanish and an MBA. She loves hamburgers, ice cream and recently, a slight obsession with Life Saver gummy snacks. Their youngest daughter will be a junior in high school.
Frances Miranda - Latin Teacher & ELL Coordinator
Ms. Miranda believes a child has the ability to be empowered through education to make a positive contribution to our world. She teaches Latin to all scholars of Leman Academy. She has more than 10 years experience working with children in the area of education and behavioral health. She completed a Bachelor's of Science in Human Services from the University of Phoenix. She has two children; the youngest is currently attending college and the oldest is a music engineer. When she is not teaching she enjoys hiking, camping, scuba diving and gardening. She is excited to bring a new language to the scholars
BRAD ESKER - P.E. TEACHER
As a graduate of Northern Arizona University, Mr. Esker has taught Physical Education and directed athletics for over 31 years. During that time he has coached Volleyball, Cross Country, Football, Basketball, Wrestling and Track and Field. He and his wife Yvonne have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. He loves the outdoors and enjoys spending his free time cycling, backpacking, camping and listening to music. Professionally, he’s been chosen Teacher of the Year twice by his peers and has represented Flowing Wells School District as their choice for Arizona Teacher of the Year. He is looking forward to bringing his experience, knowledge, skills, fun activities and love of Physical Education to the East Tucson Leman Academy scholars.
BRENDA LAIRD - HEALTH COORDINATOR
Ms. 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.