- Kinder Teachers
- 1st Grade Teachers
- 2nd Grade Teachers
- 3rd Grade Teachers
- 4th Grade Teachers
- 5th Grade Teachers
- Middle School Teachers
- ESS Staff
- Art & Music Teachers
- Language Teachers
- Physical Education
- After Bell/Food Service
- School Nurse
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.
Daniel Erickson – Principal
Dan Erickson has been an educator for 24 years. He was a classroom teacher for six years, assistant principal for two years, and principal for twelve years. He has also served as a central office administrator for the past four years. He is excited to be the principal for Leman Academy of Excellence. Dan has served as the president of Educational Leaders Incorporated, the professional association of administrators in his former district. As the Director of Advanced Learning, he led a district wide plan to increase academic outcomes for students at 86 campuses from kindergarten through 12th grade and implemented a 6.2 million dollar budget. Dan and his wife, Michele, have been married for 20 years and have two children.
CYNTHIA SENN - Vice Principal
Hi, I’m Cindy Senn. I love school. I have been a teacher ever since I was a little girl, lining- up my dolls and teddy bears to teach them everything that I learned in school. I have been certified to teach K-8 for over 30 years. My 30 years of experience started in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where I graduated from Coastal Carolina, a satellite school to USC. I have taught in South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, South Korea and Tucson. In addition to a Reading Specialist endorsement, I also earned a Master of Science in Educational Leadership through Troy State University.
My husband, Bill of 40 years, is a retired AF fighter pilot who now flys the friendly skies for UPS. We have two children, Will, who graduated from Santa Clara University in CA and is working on his masters in internet marketing through Northwestern and Christine, who recently graduated from U of A and is a hair stylist at Encore. We also have a new addition to our family, a lively Yorkie named Teddy. In July 2017, I began my latest journey in education as Reading Intervention Coordinator and teacher in the Royal Reading Room at Leman Academy of Excellence. For school year 2018-19, I have accepted the role of Assistant Principal at LAE. My sincere wish is to celebrate your childrens' school life with you! I look forward to partnering with you as part of the family at Leman Academy of Excellence.
Ashley Nicolarsen- Vice Principal
A proud Wyoming native, Ashley Nicolarsen moved to Tucson in 2004. In 2008, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in K-8 Education, with concentrations in Math and Science, from The University of Arizona. She has previously taught 5th Grade and 7th Grade Science. After earning her Master’s Degree in Instruction and Curriculum in 2011, she joined the staff at the University as a Graduate Course Facilitator in Research, Education, and Autism studies. Although teaching at that level was a valuable experience, she missed middle school and teaching science. Ashley and her husband have 3 incredible Leman scholars. As a family, they love to travel, explore, and be outdoors. Ashley is honored to be a part of Leman Academy of Excellence, and greatly looking forward to partnering with families while sharing her passion for lifelong learning!
KRISSY O'REILLY – PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Coordinator
Krissy O’Reilly began her educational journey in 1996 after graduating from North Park University in Chicago, Illinois with a double major in Elementary Education and Psychology. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in Teaching from Grand Canyon University. She has served as a 2nd grade teacher, Kindergarten teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, Director of Classical Instruction, and Vice Principal in both private and charter schools in Tucson. She is excited to serve all the Leman Academy locations in order to partner together to pursue excellence at Leman Academy. Krissy is married and has two scholars that attend Leman Academy.
Cathy Letkeman- Dean of Scholars
By the time she entered high school in her Canadian hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Cathy knew she wanted to combine her love for children and her love for music by becoming a music educator. After completing Bachelor degrees in Music Education and Education at Brandon University, as well as completing two years in a 6th grade ELA classroom at Grace Christian School (GCS) in Tucson, she stepped into her first music classroom at GCS in 1998. Two years later, she embraced the life of a student and pursued her Masters of Music Education at the University of Arizona. While there, she thoroughly enjoyed mentoring pre-service teachers, directing the vocal jazz area, and being a performer, arranger, and director of Vocal Ease, a 6 voice all-female a cappella ensemble. Her doctoral studies were interrupted for the best possible reason: the birth of her daughter, Nikki, in 2003. Cathy returned to the music classroom at Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) in 2004, had her son John in 2006, then returned to CCA in 2008-2009. After several years of homeschooling, the Letkemans joined the Leman Academy family in 2016. Cathy is passionate about helping scholars make connections between music and what they’re studying in the regular classroom. She considers it a privilege and a joy to partner with parents, educators, and scholars in the LAE school community. In her free time, Cathy enjoys reading, writing, songwriting and serving on the worship team at her church.
Marie Saner - OFFICE MANAGER / Registrar
Marie Saner was born and raised in Tucson along with her husband of 20 + years. Marie began working in the medical field in 1996 and served as a medical assistant for a family practice in Tucson. In 2001 she moved on to work in the educational system serving as an administrative assistant in the Flowing Wells Special Education Department for 3 years. She then taught 3rd grade for 6 years for a home school co-op. Marie has two sons. One is currently a scholar at Leman Academy. She feels honored and blessed to be a part of the Leman Academy Family.
Lisa Keilholz - Administrative Assistant
Lisa was born and raised in Tucson. She enjoys playing and coaching sports, quilting, baking, and most hands-on challenges. Having a degree in Parks and Recreation Management, Lisa never imagined she would find herself working in education; however, Lisa admired the Leman way long before her boys were of school age and is now blessed to not only have three of them as Royal scholars but to also be a part of the Front Office team.
Teresa Shin - Administrative Assistant
Teresa grew up in Mesa, but has been happily residing in Tucson with her fabulous husband for over 14 years. She studied at U of A and ASU toward a degree in sociology. Teresa is driven to help others, which led her to become a volunteer coordinator at a shelter for women and children victims of domestic abuse on her early career path. She loves the outdoors, as do her two dogs, a lab mut and a poodle mix. Teresa has two scholars attending Leman Academy. She is looking forward to seeing this school and its scholars grow. She too would love to meet each and every family of the LAE community.
BETH SKORUPA - ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Originally from California, Beth moved to Tucson in 1994. Beth met her husband over 20 years ago while working as a Manager at a world class resort here in Tucson. Beth has been working in education for over 6 years. She has two scholars that are attending Leman Academy. Beth is overjoyed to be a part of the Leman Academy family and is looking forward to getting to know each and every family.
Marie Saner - Office Manager / Registrar
Marie Saner was born and raised in Tucson along with her husband of 20 + years. Marie began working in the medical field in 1996 and served as a medical assistant for a family practice in Tucson. In 2001 she moved on to work in the educational system serving as an administrative assistant in the Flowing Wells Special Education Department for 3 years. She then taught 3rd grade for 6 years for a home school co-op. Marie has two sons. One is currently a scholar at Leman Academy. She feels honored and blessed to be a part of the Leman Academy Family.
Turanda Florez - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Mrs. Florez is a native of Cross Plains, Tennessee. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She and her husband Robert moved to Tucson after his retirement from the military in 2008. Mrs. Florez has worked in the field of education for 14 years in public, charter and Department of Defense school systems in the states of Hawaii, Georgia and Arizona. She has been married for sixteen years to her husband Robert. Together they have five children and three grandchildren. Mrs. Florez loves teaching children, watching them learn and have fun! When she is not teaching, she enjoys cooking, working in her yard and spending time with her husband. She is honored to be a part of the Leman Academy family and looks forward to many years of partnering with families and our community!
ANNE GRUENSFELDER - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Mrs. Gruensfelder has been in education for 30+ years teaching kindergarten and 1st grade with a passion for fostering a love of learning for her young scholars. She enjoys teaming with staff, families and scholars to bring out the best from her scholars. Mrs. Gruensfelder has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Arizona, as well as an endorsement in Early Childhood Education. She has been a mentor teacher for several scholar teachers over the past several years. She is originally from Southern Colorado and moved to Tucson to attend college. Mrs. Gruensfelder is married to her husband Phil, also an educator. They have two grown children, Lindsey and Connor. Anne enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with her family.
VERONICA HARO - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Mrs. Haro was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Elementary Education, and earned a Master’s Degree from the National Hispanic University in Teaching and Learning English Language Learners. Mrs. Haro was “Teacher of the Year” in 2011-2012. She possesses a strong dedication and passion for instilling the love of learning to all scholars. She’s taught kindergarten since 2008, has been a mentor teacher, and has taught New Teacher Induction courses. She was also the English Language Learner Coordinator for her former school district, specializing in English development. Mrs. Haro has 3 beautiful children and a loving husband. When Mrs. Haro isn’t teaching she loves to garden, read books and spend time with her family.
Regina Lopez - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Regina Lopez is grateful to a member of the Leman Academy of Excellence. Regina was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. She has called Tucson her home for over ten years. Regina has worked in the education field for over five years. She has been a part of Leman Academy as a teaching assistant for the past two and a half years. Regina graduated with her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Ashford University. In her spare time, she serves at Victory Worship Center where she teaches elementary children and summer events. She is also a mother of two children, one who currently attends Leman Academy. She loves spending her free time with her children and enjoys reading, journaling, and being active in the community.
CLAUDIA BACELIS – KINDERGARTEN AIDE
Claudia is a native of the Yucatán peninsula and left her Hotel management and Service Industry career in Cancún to become a full-time mom. She has been in the Sonora – Arizona region since 2004 where she and her husband decided to start their family. With the spirit to serve since she was a child, she found a way to use this gift during the preschool through early elementary years of her two boys at the school that they attended in Nogales, Arizona by actively volunteering and working with preschool to 4th grade children as well as in administration. Claudia is the proud parent of a son who graduated from 8th grade at Leman Academy in 2019 and a 7th grade scholar currently attending.
Presently Claudia is privileged to be a part of the Leman Academy legacy where she can continue to serve children, families and fellow staff. On a personal note, when she is not driving her boys around town to their numerous activities, she enjoys graphic design, amateur photography and quiet family time.
Karla Platt - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Ms. Karla Platt is originally from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico (Bordering AZ). She is a mother to two teenagers, and loves to teach! Ms. Platt attended the State University of Sonora in Hermosillo, where she studied to be an English teacher and translator with a Minor in Creative Transformation. She has taught since 1995, with experience teaching at the Pre-K, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School and High School levels. She worked as a teacher in Mexico, Brazil (On a one-year missionary tour with the Legionaries of Christ) and the US. Ms. Platt received her Paraprofessional certificate while working as a certified math and reading interventionist, and had the privilege to work with students with special needs, and English as a second language. She is proud to be part of the LAE family and enjoys finding new ways to make learning fun for her scholars.
Nicole Barron - KINDERGARTEN Aide
Nicole Barron has been in education for over six years and is both excited and proud to continue her journey at Leman Academy. She is a mom of two Leman scholars and is happily married. In her free time she loves spending time with her family and friends. Her hobbies include crafting, puzzles, and projects of many sorts. She is thrilled to share her joy of love and laughter with the scholars and seeing them grow and flourish.
Veronica Bond - KINDERGARTEN Aide
Veronica has worked in education in a variety of ways for over ten years. She is a graduate of John Brown University where she met her college sweetheart, Murjan. They have been married for 16 years and have three children who attend Leman Academy. Veronica began her career as a music teacher in a private school and then branched out to guest teach in public schools. Mrs. Bond began working at Leman Academy as a guest teacher and is happy to join the kindergarten team as an aide this year. Kindergarten has always been her favorite age to work with. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, singing and playing music, reading, playing games, crafts, and eating good food.
Karen Strickling- KINDERGARTEN Aide
Karen is so grateful to be a part of the Leman Team as a Kindergarten Aide since 2017. She has been working with children since the age of 12, first as a Sunday School Teacher and then as a Children’s Pastor for over 20 years. It is her passion to be a part of helping children learn and grow. Karen has been married to Jay since 1992, and in her spare time, she enjoys reading, beading, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.
KATIE BERGHOEFER – 1ST GRADE Teacher
Katie Berghoefer is ecstatic to be apart of the Leman family for another great year! She is most excited about growing and partnering with her scholars, Leman families, and exceptional colleagues. She is a proud graduate of Northern Arizona University with her degree in Early Childhood Education. Katie is also the mother of three wonderful children. She is a Leman scholar and her identical twin baby girls that are growing like weeds. In her free time, Katie enjoys being creative, crafting, and soaking all those sweet moments with her family.
CATHERINE KIRK – 1ST GRADE TEACHER
Ms. Kirk has been with Leman Academy since its groundbreaking in 2015. She earned her BS degree in Elementary Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is a native to the southwest. Teaching the love of learning, and specifically reading, is her passion. She enjoys partnering with families, as this is key to scholar success. In her free time, Catherine delights in spending time with her two children, reading, walking, and cooking/baking.
Carolina Sesteaga - 1ST GRADE Teacher
Carolina Sesteaga is a proud Tucson native and University of Arizona graduate. She works tirelessly to ensure her scholars leave her class mentally and emotionally prepared for their next academic transition. In addition she models respect, collaboration and kindness. When Ms. Sesteaga isn’t teaching, she loves spending time with her family, outdoor adventuring, and reading.
Paola Spader - 1ST GRADE Teacher
I am excited to join the first grade team at Leman Academy. I was born and raised in Colombia and I moved to the US when I completed high school. I graduated from University of Nevada Las Vegas UNLV with a degree in Elementary Education. After teaching 2nd grade in Las Vegas for 4 years, my family and I moved to Florida to explore the East Coast. I taught Kindergarten and looped with my group of scholars to 1st grade. I loved that experience! After enjoying 2 years in beautiful Florida with a couple of hurricane experiences, and many alligators, we decided to move to Tucson, closer to family and friends.
When I’m not teaching, I love spending time with my husband and best friend Dr. Taylor Spader, my 3 children, Danielle who will be attending PIMA College, Nico, and Olivia who will excel here at Leman Academy, and our dogs Bruno, our Great Dane and Roxy, our Pug.
Susan Mary Bareis - 1ST GRADE Reading Teacher's Aide
Susan Mary Bareis was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. After moving to Arizona she started volunteering at St. Mark Evangelist Catholic Church as a teacher assistant because she enjoys seeing children learn. Susan Mary also volunteered at Leman Academy of Excellence. She loves tutoring the scholars. They are so excited to learn. Susan Mary loves working with all the teachers and scholars. The Leman Academy of Excellence is like family to her. Susan Mary is blessed to be with such wonderful people. Susan Mary looks forward to tutoring the scholars and watching them grow at Leman Academy of Excellence. She loves doing things with her sister, walking the
dog, Marley and cooking.
Shelby Branch – 2ND GRADE TEACHER
Shelby Branch was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. In 2013, she graduated cum laude from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and a minor in Adolescents, Community, and Education (A.C.E). She began teaching in 2014 and has experience working with multiple grade levels K-8 and with children with special needs. She has been married to her wonderful husband since 2010 and together they share a daughter. Mrs. Branch and her husband have been coaching their daughter’s basketball team for seven seasons and in her spare time she enjoys cooking, baking, and spending time with her family. Mrs. Branch is excited to be working with second grade scholars and she is proud to be part of the Leman team. She looks forward to building positive relationships and teaching scholars the Leman way!
Jane Brown – 2ND GRADE TEACHER
After a long career in the classroom and as a reading specialist, Jane returned to school as the Leman Intervention teacher. She is passionate about creating a learning environment that is fun and challenging. In her free time, she and her husband travel to four different states to spend time with their five daughters and grandchildren. Having lived in Tucson for five years, she is finding many new places to explore!
JENNIFER DANHOF – 2ND GRADE TEACHER
Mrs. Danhof was born and raised in Tucson. She graduated with honors from Northern Arizona University with a BS in Elementary Education and a content emphasis in Bilingual/Multicultural Education. She began her teaching career in the Marana School District working with English as a Second Language scholar's in grades K-12. Soon she had the opportunity to become a classroom teacher at the elementary school level, teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. After the birth of her second child, Mrs. Danhof made the decision to stay home and concentrate on raising a family. She homeschooled her 4 children until Leman Academy opened in 2015. She joined the Leman Academy staff in January 2016 as an instructional aide, transitioning to a 2nd grade teacher position the following school year. She is passionate about building positive relationships and encouraging scholars toward academic and personal excellence.
JULIE ELDRIDGE - 2ND GRADE Teacher
Julie Eldridge is originally from a small town in Ohio and spends her summers in Northern Michigan. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Ohio Northern University in Elementary Education with a concentration in art and music. Ms. Eldridge has over 14 years of experience teaching in public, private, and charter schools. She taught Elementary Art and 4th grade for a few years, before she stayed at home for ten years to raise her three children. She moved to Tucson eleven years ago and for the past three years she has taught 2nd grade at Leman Academy and taught 3rd grade for six years at a private school. Ms. Eldridge is an energetic and caring teacher that loves to actively engage her scholars in the learning process and instill self-confidence in them to take risks in and outside of the classroom. When not teaching, Ms. Eldridge enjoys spending time with her children, working out, decorating, and traveling. She looks forward to teaching 2nd grade again and building close relationships with her new amazing scholars and parents at Leman Academy.
Allysha Mohr - 2ND GRADE Teacher
Allaysha Mohr is originally from the midwest, born and raised in Iowa. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and Science and is working towards completing an Elementary Education Certification at Pima Community College. For the last four years, she has been teaching all subjects in 1st and 2nd grade at a charter school in South Tucson. She has over 10 years of experience working with children and enjoys building scholars enthusiasm for learning and understanding of their capabilities. When she is not working or taking classes, Ms. Mohr enjoys reading books, playing with her cats and dogs, playing video games, as well as getting outdoors and exercising. She looks forward to being a part of the 2nd grade team and getting to know all of the amazing Leman scholars and families.
Ana Midgette – 3RD GRADE TEACHER
Aracely Midgette is honored to be a Wildcat. In 2007, she graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Bilingual Education. She loves to find different ways to help each scholar excel in their academics. Adding on, she was born in Mexico and has lived in Tucson since she was in 5th grade. Mrs. Midgette loves to spend time with her husband and family. When she is not traveling, she enjoys going to the movies and eating ice cream.
ALICIA PHILLIPS – 3RD GRADE TEACHER
Alicia Phillips was born in Montana and grew up in Tucson. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts degree and moved to the beautiful community of the White Mountains. Alicia taught fourth grade and worked in the exceptional service program. She received her Master's in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. After retiring as a school principal, she became program coordinator for a nonprofit agency and worked in substance abuse prevention. Alicia and her partner Vern enjoy bicycling and love the Marana community. She is the proud parent of two children Joshua and Brieanna. Joshua is a hotshot for the US Forest Service and lives in Colorado. Brieanna is pursuing her nursing degree. She is married and lives in Portland, Oregon. Alicia is excited to work with her scholars and build relationships with her Leman families.
Christina Rienzo – 3RD GRADE TEACHER
Ms. Rienzo was born in New Jersey but spent most of her childhood/early adult life in Scottsdale. She graduated from Arizona State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. After graduating, she moved to Tucson to be closer to her now husband, who was attending the University of Arizona. Ms. Rienzo began teaching kindergarten shortly after arriving in Tucson, while her husband received his degree in Mining Engineering from U of A. They were married in 2015 and now have two beautiful daughters. Ms. Rienzo’s oldest daughter will be a scholar at the Leman Academy Preschool this year. When not at school, Ms. Rienzo enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and crafting. She is looking forward to this school year and being part of the Leman family.
Chelsea Tellez – 3RD GRADE TEACHER
Mrs. Tellez was born in the Bay Area but grew up in Tucson since she was a baby. She got her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in 2014 and then went on to get her Master’s in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix and graduated in 2018. She has been married to her wonderful husband Carlos since October of 2015 and together they have two beautiful daughters, Shea and Harlow, who keep them on their toes daily. They also have a black lab named Minnie and a chihuahua named Tink. Mrs. Tellez loves all things Disney and if you can’t find her at work or home, chances are she is at Disneyland making memories with her family. Mrs. Tellez is excited to grow and learn along with her scholars and make this their best year yet!
TAMARA WESTBERG – 3RD GRADE TEACHER
Tamara grew up in the midwest. She married her husband in 1990 and moved to the Tucson area in 1993. Together they have two adult children. Tamara has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a Master of Science degree in Recreation Administration from Aurora University. After working in the Parks and Recreation field for nearly 15 years, she committed to stay at home with her children. During this time, she held a number of volunteer positions and later began a second career in education after obtaining her teacher certification in elementary education. Tamara has been a third grade teacher at Leman Academy of Excellence in Marana since its founding, and she serves as the lead teacher for the third grade team.
MARYBETH BAREIS - 4TH GRADE
After teaching for over 20 years in Philadelphia (Go Phillies!), Mary Beth Bareis “retired” to Arizona. However, her passion for teaching children couldn’t keep her out of the classroom. Mary Beth received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from La Salle University and her Masters in Education from Arcadia University, both in Pennsylvania. Now in her fourth year at Leman Academy of Excellence, Mary Beth is grateful for this exceptional community. She looks forward to building relationships with her new scholars and families. Her hobbies include model trains, gardening, and baseball.
Logan Logsdon - 4TH GRADE
Logan Logsdon was born in Tucson, AZ, and was raised part-time in San Diego, CA. Logan obtained his BSB in Marketing and sought out to build a business of his own through marketing and photography. Through all of this, he found his true calling to be an elementary school teacher and decided to pursue his MAEd with an emphasis on Elementary Education, in which he will achieve this winter. Logan is honored and privileged to have been selected as a 4th grade teacher here with Leman Academy and is excited to be teaching at Leman for a second year. He looks forward to enriching many young lives through education, building relationships with his scholars and community, and leading the youth for many more years to come. He enjoys spending time with his family, learning new things and watching the Chargers play on Sundays, and credits his wife and sons with fully supporting him.
MARY HATTABAUGH – 4TH GRADE TEACHER
Mary Hattabaugh has been a fourth grade teacher since 2006. She received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from the University of New Orleans in 1991 and a Masters in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in Mathematics & Science from the Univerity of Texas at Arlington in 2011. She loves to spend quality time with her family, explore new cultures/countries through traveling, and needs to find a new hobby, besides cheering for the Cubs, since becoming an empty-nester. She lives with her husband, Dr. Mike Hattabaugh, and her three adult children nearby. She looks forward to a great year at Leman Academy!
LINDA MORRIS – 4TH GRADE Teacher
Linda Morris graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Elementary Education. As a teenager, she taught in various church organizations and has continued this for over 30 years. Her professional career encompasses thirteen years. In addition to teaching, Miss Morris earned her MBA. This in turn led to her becoming an adult training specialist. However, her true passion is teaching in the elementary classroom. Ms. Morris is excited to be a part of the Leman Academy and especially the fourth grade team. Outside of school, her interests include reading, exploring Arizona and being out in nature.
Shelby Lichty - 5TH GRADE Teacher
Shelby Lichty was born and raised in Puyallup, WA and moved to Tucson after completing seven years of active duty with the US Navy. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy and obtained her Arizona State teaching certificate after completing Pima Community College’s Post-Degree Teacher Certification Program. After seeing much of the world, she decided to serve once again by educating the youth of our community and country. This is her fifth year teaching at the Leman Academy of Excellence in Marana. Ms. Lichty is honored to be working with the Leman Academy and looks forward to building relationships with the scholars and families of this wonderful community. She enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with her family.
Laurel Efu-Awich - 5TH GRADE Teacher
Laurel Efu-Awich was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She attended the University of New Mexico, and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education in 2005. While at UNM, she also met her sweetheart. They moved to Tucson in 2008 and have joyfully made it their home. Mrs. Efu-Awich has been a Leman Parent for several years and is excited to now be a member of the staff. She loves building new relationships and is looking forward to being a member of the Leman Staff Community. In her free time, she loves traveling with her family. She has been to 3 continents and 8 countries and can’t wait to add more! She also enjoys playing soccer and watching college basketball and the Los Angeles Dodgers!
Renee O'Connor - 5TH GRADE Teacher
Renee O'Connor was born and raised in Phoenix. Before moving to Tucson in 2000, she earned her Bachelor's degree in Marketing from Northern Arizona University. She spent the early part of her career as a paralegal and ran a small retail store before deciding to stay home with the birth of her twin daughters. Renee and her husband Craig have four kids, all of which are Leman Scholars. Mrs. O'Connor and her family have been a part of the Leman community since it opened in 2015. Renee loved being at the school so much that she decided to obtain her teaching certification so she can spend even more time there. She spent the last year as a Guest Teacher and is excited to be teaching 5th grade this year. In her spare time, Renee enjoys camping and traveling with her family, reading and working on home improvement projects.
HEATHER WOODS - MIDDLE SCHOOL LEAD & 6TH GRADE MATH
Ms. Woods is a proud University of Arizona graduate who earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 2005 and a Masters Degree in Mathematics Leadership for MS in 2013. She has taught middle school math for over a decade, but has also taught social studies and is highly qualified in MS language arts. Her passions in life revolve around her faith and family, including her son Jaeden. She also loves traveling, working out, tiaras, pedicures, swimming, reading, anything U of A , music, shopping, and her dog Rosco. Her favorite things about teaching 6th grade at Leman Academy are the ways the engaging curriculum ties together between subjects, the high expectations the scholars have for themselves and others, and the positive, caring, genuine atmosphere she gets to enjoy working in everyday.
Marla Currie - 6th Grade Social Studies
Marla is honored to be a new member of the Leman Academy of Excellence family. Though born and raised in Tucson, Marla has a love for traveling. She has traveled to fifteen countries (so far). She lived in Orvieto, Italy for a semester while attending the University of Arizona as well as Glasgow, Scotland for 1 year earning her Master's degree in Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Glasgow. During her time there, she met a nice Scotsman who is now happily living in the United States as her husband. Though fairly new to teaching, Marla has always had a passion for history and comes from a long line of teachers.
Aurora Dominguez - 6TH GRADE Science
Mrs. Dominguez has worked with children for over twenty years in both a volunteer capacity and professionally. She has a degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona and has also completed all the coursework in Elementary Education with a focus in Sciences. She has taught elementary, middle and high school Science. Her passion for the Sciences began when she was in 6th grade. Her amazing teachers from her childhood have influenced how she both teaches and cares for her scholars. Mrs. Dominguez was born in Montevideo, Uruguay and grew up in New York City. She moved to Tucson 19 years ago with her husband and four children. In her spare time, Mrs. Dominguez enjoys reading, music, sewing, beading, crocheting, going to the beach and spending time with friends and family.
LISA POWERS - 6TH GRADE ENGLISH
Originally from Indiana, Lisa grew up in Germany, where she earned her “Abitur” or German degree in Economics. Once Lisa had enough of the cold weather, she moved to Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in English and German Studies. Lisa has a passion for literature and has surrounded herself with books by working at and eventually managing a bookstore for over a decade. When not reading or writing short stories, Lisa loves to travel and go on adventures with her two sons. They plan on visiting all 50 states together—5 down, 45 more to go! Lisa is incredibly excited to get to know and learn with all the amazing scholars at Leman Academy.
DAVID MACIBORSKI - 7TH GRADE LOGIC
David Maciborski was born and raised in Michigan. He graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville earning his B.A. – majored in Humanities and Spanish and minored in Philosophy. He graduated in 2002 and then moved to Tucson. He attended a summer program with the University of Arizona in Guadalajara. There he studied Politics and Government of Mexico and Religion of the Southwest. He obtained his Master of Arts in Secondary Education with the University of Phoenix in 2004. He taught Religion and Philosophy with a focus on Aristotelian logic for 13 years at Immaculate Heart High School before coming to Leman Academy in 2017. He and his wife Susan are raising 4 wonderful children. He enjoys spending time with his wife and children. He and his family are dedicated to their religion, church community and country. David believes in the education philosophy of Dr. Leman, which focuses first on forming and maintaining relationships between teachers, scholars, and parents and then on using a classical curriculum.
TOM MOSER - 7TH GRADE HISTORY
Tom Moser has over twenty-five years teaching experience among five Arizona school districts. He is a graduate from the University of Arizona, earning a Bachelor and Master in Education degrees. His interest in helping young people has extended beyond the classroom walls. He has coached youth sport teams, directed a children’s camp in Ontario, Canada and created Youth @ Performing arts, a musical theatre company for youth ages 7-14 years. He is married to Kristin and together they have enjoyed raising two children, Lee and Kristina.
Mr. Moser is excited to join the faculty of Leman Academy. Mr. Moser believes that taking risks, finding ones passion and becoming life long learners are the keys to an adventurous and successful adult life. He enjoys teaching and believes in the potential inside each and every one of his scholars. His classrooms are filled with fun and learning.
Rebecca Smith - 7TH GRADE Math
Rebecca was born and raised in Mesa, AZ and then moved to a small town just outside of Nashville, TN. She graduated from Belmont University with a B.S. in Liberal Studies and Accounting and Grand Canyon University with a Masters of Education in Special Education. She has 20+ years of experience in education, with most of those years focused on special education and middle school math. In her free time, she loves coaching youth basketball and spending time with her family. Joining Leman Academy of Excellence is a dream fulfilled and she is excited to partner with families while sharing her passion for lifelong learning!
JENNIFER WUOLLET - 7TH GRADE ENGLISH
Originally from Minnesota, Jennifer graduated from the University of MN, Mankato with a BS in International Business and a minor in Spanish. After living in AZ for 15 years, she now considers Tucson her home. Her love of teaching middle school English came after many years in the business world when she received her Master’s Degree in Secondary Education and completed her teaching practicum here in Tucson, teaching 7th and 8th grade English. Jennifer went on to teach high school English and high school ELL. During that time she also worked as an assistant high school principal as well as a high school principal. Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her husband and three children along with their beagle Sasha. Jennifer loves traveling and was an exchange student in Italy. She also enjoys reading, exercising, and visiting her oldest son at CSUMB in Monterey, CA. She is thrilled to be joining the Leman Academy community.
George Hella - 7TH GRADE SCIENCE
George is grateful for the opportunity to work with the scholars at Leman Academy of Excellence. He went to college in New Ulm, MN and graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Education. He started teaching middle grades in Carlsbad, CA in 2008. In 2010 he then became principal and started teaching the upper grades. He was married in June of 2012 to Michelle and they now have two boys, Seth and Brodie. He completed his Master's in Curriculum and Instruction in 2017. His family moved to Tucson in the summer of 2019. He is excited to be a part of the Leman family!
VERONICA AYALA - 8th GRADE HISTORY
Veronica Ayala is honored and excited to be your scholar’s 8th grade Literature and History teacher this coming school year. Mrs. Ayala holds a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s Degree in Language, Reading and Culture. She is a certified Reading Intervention Specialist for grades K-12. She has been in the educational field over a decade. Her educational career began as a first grade teacher with a strong focus in literacy. In the last five years, she has been dedicated to teaching Literature to middle school scholars in a loving and safe environment seeking high expectations. Veronica surrounds herself with her husband, three beautiful daughters and abundant faith. She loves music, movies, reading, shopping, watching sports and most importunity spending quality time with her husband and girls. She will make the classroom a fun learning experience but at the same time, will challenge your scholars. Every action matters, every minute is crucial and every word is to be heard in her classroom.
Chelsea Lowe - 8th GRADE English Language Arts
Chelsea Lowe is excited to rejoin the Leman family after taking a few years off to stay home with her young children. She is originally from Southern California where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a Teaching Concentration from Azusa Pacific University. She has taught all ages from preschool to 12th grade, but her favorite age group is middle school! Chelsea is excited to get to know the new 8th grade scholars this year as they prepare to enter high school. When Chelsea is not in the classroom you can find her spending time with her family, reading great books, and soaking in the beautiful Tucson sunrises!
COLLIN ROBINSON - 8TH GRADE LOGIC/GEOGRAPHY
Mr. Robinson is a proud graduate from the University of Arizona. He has been teaching at Leman since 2016 and is thrilled to be a part if the Leman family. He has a wife and has been married since 2013 and have a beautiful little girl. Mr. Robinson loves spending time with his family, watching and playing soccer and anything U of A related. Mr. Robinson loves teaching the art of debate and exploring the world with his scholars.
Eric Tompkins - 8TH GRADE Physics
Mr. Tompkins was born in Tucson, raised in Phoenix and then in Nebraska on a cattle ranch. He graduated from the U of A with a B.A. in Elementary Education and NAU with an M.A. in Educational Leadership. He taught 5th and 6th grade in the Flowing Wells district for 17 years until 2005. He and his wife raised their five kids in Nebraska, and are now back home in Tucson. He is excited to teach Physics at the great Leman Academy of Excellence!
ALEX STACHOWIAK - MIDDLE SCHOOL MATH
Mr. Stachowiak has been a math teacher for the past seven years. He previously taught 5th Grade Intro to Pre Algebra, and 11th, and 12th Grade Linear Algebra and Number Theory. Mr. Stachowiak has a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics with an Education Emphasis in 2013 from the University of Arizona. Aside from teaching, Mr. Stachowiak enjoys seeing movies, spending time with family and geocaching. One of Mr. Stachowiak's goals in the classroom is for students to get excited coming to math class and learning new concepts.
Sheila Wilson - EXCEPTIONAL SCHOLAR SERVICES TEACHER
Mrs. Sheila Wilson was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio. She graduated from Youngstown State University with a dual major in Elementary and Special Education. She began her teaching career in 1978 with special needs scholars in Austintown, Ohio before moving to Mesa, Arizona in 1981. She met and married a wonderful man with 3 daughters in 1991. They now have 10 grandchildren that fill her life with joy! Over her teaching career Mrs. Wilson has been fortunate enough to teach trainable and severely mentally handicapped scholars along with general education scholars in Kindergarten, First, and Second grade with the Mesa school district and more recently the Amphitheater school district. This is Mrs. Wilson's second year at Leman Academy of Excellence teaching ESS scholars grades K-4. Mrs. Wilson' earned her Master's degree from Northern Arizona University with an emphasis in reading. Teaching is her passion but she also enjoys cooking, crafting, decorating, gardening and cheering on the Arizona Diamondbacks in her free time. Mrs. Wilson is excited for the new school year and looking forward to supporting classroom teachers and exceptional scholars here at Leman Academy!
Desiree Gallagher - Exceptional Scholar Services Assistant
Desiree Gallagher is excited to be joining the teaching staff at Leman Academy. Desiree grew up in Dayton, NJ where she met her husband in their senior year of high school. Desiree has a bachelor's of fine arts degree from Ithaca College and is working on finishing her teaching certification from Pima. She and her husband moved to Tucson in 2007 and ther family grew in 2009 and again in 2012. The Gallagher family joined the Leman Community in 2016 and has enjoyed every adventure that this journey has brought them. Desiree looks forward to many more years of service in this wonderful community.
Sasha George - Exceptional Scholar Services Instructional Assistant
Sasha George was born and raised in Stafford, Virginia. She studied Psychology at Shenandoah University. Shortly after leaving Shenandoah, she became a registered ABA therapist/ RBT doing therapy around Northern Virginia. In 2013, she started working in middle school Special Education and has been in love with it ever since. She met her husband while he was stationed in Quantico, Virginia. In 2016 they were married and made the move to Oro Valley, Arizona. Sasha enjoys cheering for the New York Yankees, dancing, cooking for her family, traveling, movies, swimming, and spending time with the ones she loves. She joined the Leman family in 2018, and is looking forward to another wonderful school year!
Jennifer Downey - Exceptional Scholar Services Aide
Jennifer is proud to work at Leman Academy of Excellence! Originally from New York, Jennifer has been in Tucson since the age of 11 and graduated from Canyon Del Oro High School. She attended and graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor's degree in Philosophy. Jennifer worked in the mortgage and lending industry for many years while living in Phoenix. With the changing economic times, Jennifer pursued a new avenue and started working as an Academic Advisor for local colleges. Jennifer has been married to her wonderful husband, Jay for 8 years and they have been in Tucson for 10 years and have a beautiful son who attends Leman Academy.
JESSICA FERBEYRE – ART TEACHER
Originally from Minnesota, Jessica graduated from Concordia University St. Paul with a BA in Studio Art. Her passion for art started as a young child visiting the numerous art museums and theater productions in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area. After graduating from Concordia she moved to Florida to teach alongside her fiancé at a private school in Miami. Teaching and coaching in Miami was the beginning of her professional journey in which she has had the privilege to positively influence children over the last 16 years. Jessica and her family have lived in seven different states. Along the way she has always had amazing opportunities to work with, care for and teach young children. Jessey, Jessica, Tyler, and Alexis currently call Tucson home, and have come to appreciate the beauty of the desert. Her family enjoys outdoor activities, traveling, sports, music, theater and of course Art!
NICHOLE PERRY - ART TEACHER
Nichole grew up in upstate New York and graduated with a degree in elementary education from SUNY Oswego. In 2003, she married her high school sweetheart. Nichole has taught a few different grade levels and also had the opportunity to homeschool their three wonderful children for two years. After living in five different states since 2003, Nichole and her husband are thrilled to be able to plant their family's roots here in Tucson. Nichole's passion for art began back in elementary school but really took shape during her high school years. She is thrilled to be given the opportunity to intertwine her two passions; teaching and art. She is honored to be a part of the Leman team and to have her children be a part of such a wonderful learning environment!
Tim Short – MUSIC TEACHER
Tim Short comes as an Arizona native with over 15 years experience in education. He has a Bachelor's in Music from the University of Arizona and a Master's in Music from Colorado University at Boulder. Tim honed his skills teaching at Colorado University for 5 years as an Applied Music Lecturer for the Continuing Education Department. He is a self-declared lifelong learner and has another Master's in Business Administration from DeVry University. Tim's first instrument is percussion, but he also enjoys brushing up on his piano and guitar and is excited to see every scholar find the beauty in appreciating and playing music.
Tim's favorite quote is from the Apostle Paul, "Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen for what is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal." In his free time he is a proud marathoner and triathlete, treasures a good book and loves getting outdoors with his family. Tim and his wife Katie have three children: Ruthie (4), James (2) and Jonathan (9 months).
Cindy Lefaive - Intervention Aide
Cynthia (Cindy) Lefaive was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and raised in Allen Park, Michigan. She moved to Tucson when she was 25 years old. She is a proud graduate of the U of A. Go Wildcats! She has taught in Arizona for over twenty-five years, first as a physical educator and then as a reading specialist and retired from MUSD in 2014. Mrs. Lefaive is married and has a daughter who also teaches at a classical education charter school in Phoenix. Her favorite things to do are traveling, rubber stamping, reading and spending time with family, friends and her dog and cat. Mrs. Lefaive is very happy to be working in the Reading Room encouraging a love for Reading.
MEGHAN ANGULO - PHYSICAL EDUCATION Teacher
Meghan Angulo, an Arizona native, is a proud graduate of the University of Arizona. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education in 2007. After devoting nine wonderful years to raising her children, Mrs. Angulo is eager and excited to share her passion for Physical Education with her scholars. In 2007, Mrs. Angulo married her high school sweetheart Daniel. Together they have two beautiful children who are proud Leman scholars. As a family, they enjoy hiking, camping, and fishing. Mrs. Angulo is honored to be a part of Leman Academy and is looking forward to partnering with all the Leman families.
Clarence McRae - PHYSICAL EDUCATION Teacher
Clarence (Bam) McRae, is a proud graduate of the University of Arizona. Coach Bam earned his bachelor's degree and family studies human development in 2005. His passion for strengthening youth through Sports began when he was a certified strength and conditioning specialist at the University of Arizona. Over the past 13 years he has continued to work with scholar-athletes through coaching, counseling, and mentoring. His gift to help kids see their full potential uniquely qualifies him. He is excited to join a wonderful academic institution like the Leman Academy. of Excellence Coach Bam and his beautiful wife Chelsey have two daughters that will be attending the Leman Academy and 2 sons. As a family they enjoy traveling, swimming, karaoke, sports and ice cream.
Angela Pelton - AFTER BELL DIRECTOR
Mrs. Angela Pelton is very excited to be joining us as our After Bell Director. She has been with Leman Academy of Excellence since 2016. Mrs. Pelton has three scholars attending school at Leman Academy. Originally the whole family is from Ann Arbor Michigan, but have been residents of Tucson since 2011. Angela has been married to her husband since 2004. She has a background in cultural and biological Anthropology at the University of Michigan and was employed in their fossil preparation lab for two years. Mrs. Pelton loves working with the scholars and getting to know them. She loves Science and Art and loves to encourage scholars in these and many other fun educational subjects and pursuits.
Tammy Atchley - After bell Staff/ Playground Monitor
Mrs. Tammy Atchley was born and raised here in Tucson. She has been working and teaching children since 1994. She home schooled her children for nineteen years. She married her high school sweetheart and has three children and one grandson. She has written and published one children’s book and is working on a middle grade book. She loves horses. She assists her daughter in teaching private horseback riding lessons to children with disabilities. She loves encouraging and spending time with the scholars here at Leman Academy. She also enjoys getting to know their parents. She is honored to be a part of the Leman Academy family since 2017.
Tabitha Aguila - After bell Staff/ Lunch Staff
Ms.Tabitha Alexandria Aguilar was born and raised here in Tucson. She has been working and teaching children since 2014. She has started school at Pima community college and is working on her associates degree in early childhood education and is eager to spend her days working with children. She spends her free time with her family, crafting, and most of all with her little sister Andy. Ms.Tabitha is so excited to be part of Leman academy family. She also has experience with working with kids volunteering at little lions preschool at Mountain View high school since 2014.
Luisa Diaz - After bell/ Lunch Staff
Ms. Luisa Diaz was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. At the age of thirteen she was diagnosed with leukemia. At fourteen, she relapsed and went through several treatments and bone marrow transplants. She has been cancer free since 2004. She is the teen coordinator and on the board for an organization called Candlelighters childhood cancer foundation. She has worked with children with cancer and terminal illnesses.
Every year she coordinates with her foundation to put on a prom for teens and young adults with cancer and terminal illnesses and also survivors. Her hobby is party decorating. She has worked for Leman Academy since 2018. She enjoys working with the children. She has an After Bell dance class that does performances every month.
Martha Gandarela - After bell/ Lunch Staff
Ms. Martha is a native of Tucson. Ms. Martha has been taking care of children of all ages for more than ten years. She has been with Leman Academy of Excellence since 2016 and has two scholars here. She enjoys being part of the Lunch and After Bell program and getting to know the scholars.
Rebecca Lizarraras - After bell/ Lunch Staff
Ms. Rebecca is so excited to be apart of the Leman Academy family. She has started school at Pima Community College and is eager to obtain a degree in which she can spend her days working with children. Rebecca and her fiancé Tj, have a son, C, who will be attending Leman Academy Preschool starting this fall! She spends her free time enjoying her family, crafting and baking.
Casey Ortega - After bell/ Lunch Staff
Ms. Casey is originally from El Paso Texas but has been living in Tucson since 2007 and she absolutely loves this city! In 2015 she starting working with children of all ages and has learned so much throughout the years from them and thoroughly enjoys interacting with kids. Casey married her husband Miguel back in 2007 and they share 2 boys who also attend Leman Academy of Excellence. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports with her kids, hiking outdoors and overall spending time with her family. Casey is excited to be a part of the Leman Academy family.
Alexandria Roche - After bell/ Lunch Staff
Ms. Alex was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She graduated from Salpointe CHS in 2016 and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education with an ESL Endorsement and a minor in Art History from the University of Arizona. Ms. Alex has volunteered in kindergarten classrooms, summer camps, and has completed one year of student teaching in a preschool setting. She will graduate this spring after student teaching in a first grade classroom. This will be Ms. Alex’s third year working at Leman Academy After Bell and she is so grateful to have built relationships with the Leman students and families she sees each day. Ms. Alex enjoys working with our After Bell students so that they feel loved, supported, and encouraged in an after school program that allows them to build off what they have learned in their classrooms while having fun through the various activities our program offers. Ms. Alex enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching movies, baking, sipping iced coffee, and going on beach vacations and Disneyland trips.
Brooke Rickard - After bell/ Lunch Staff
Brooke Rickard is currently a student at Pima Community College studying Early Childhood Education. In her free time she enjoys shopping, watching movies, and hiking. She is excited to be a part of the Leman Academy Afterbell staff this year and looks forward to having a good school year as an Afterbell aide at Leman Academy.
Ana Recinos-Sandoval - After bell/ Lunch Staff
Originally from California, Ana moved to Tucson in 2015. She has been married to her husband since 2008 and they have two beautiful daughters that are also proud Leman Scholars. Ana loves to spend time outdoors enjoying life by doing things such as cycling, hiking, mountain climbing, swimming and she enjoys experiencing all the beauty that nature has to offer. Ana has been with Leman Academy since 2018. She enjoys nurturing every child’s creativity and imagination through art and sports and is excited to continue being part of the Leman Academy family.
Kimi "Sunny" Wilson - After Bell Staff
Ms. Sunny always has a song for her scholars and everyone she meets. She enjoys teaching "little" art and showing the scholars how to be kind and respectful. She comes to us this year having lived in Tucson since 2016. She has a Licensed Nursing Certificate since 2012 and is a Certified Surgical Technologist since 2018. We are pleased to have her join our team.
Brenda Martinez - Lunch Coordinator
Mrs. Martinez was born and raised in Tucson Arizona and has been married to her husband since 2002. She has a daughter who is now attending college. Brenda has been working with kids of all ages since 2005. Brenda has been with Leman Academy since we opened our first location, here in Marana. She started out in After bell and is now the Lunch coordinator. She enjoys spending time with the scholars and getting to know them and their families. She is honored to be a part of the Leman Academy family.
JENNIFER BOLTZ, RN – SCHOOL NURSE
Mrs. Boltz graduated with a BSN from The University of Arizona in 1995. She has worked as a pediatric nurse in a variety of health care settings including medical-surgical, oncology, bone marrow transplant, pediatric intensive care, and home health. She has also been the school nurse for Leman Academy of Excellence since it’s opening in 2015. Mrs. Boltz and her husband have two children attending Leman Academy of Excellence. She enjoys spending time with her family, quilting, and early morning walks with her dogs.
Ana Herman - Health Office Assistant
Ana Herman is honored to be part of Leman Academy of Excellence! The Herman family joined the Leman community since it’s opening in 2015 and Ana has been a part of the Leman family since 2016. Ana has a passion for helping and caring for others. She believes it is important to support our scholars with education, love, and compassion so they can lead happy, healthy lives. Ana is married to Jeff Herman and they have 3 beautiful daughters, 2 that attend Leman Academy. She feels blessed and grateful to be part of such a wonderful community.