Our Staff

Marana, Arizona

DENNIS O’REILLY - Head of Schools

Dennis O’Reilly started working with young people as a volunteer junior high basketball coach and has been in education working with young people since 1990, getting his start as a middle school math teacher. Mr. O’Reilly has been in administration since 1999 serving in a variety of capacities: Curriculum Coordinator, Assistant to the Principal, Principal, and Head of Schools at three different private schools in Tucson, Arizona; he was able to earn his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Chapman University.

Mr. O’Reilly has been married to his beautiful bride Krissy since the spring of 1999, and has two teenage kids in high school, Conner and Adeline, who both graduated from Marana Leman Academy.

doreilly@lemanacademy.org


Ashley Nicolarsen- Principal

Ashley NicolarsenAshley Nicolarsen is a proud Wyoming native! She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in K-8 Education, with concentrations in both Math and Science from The University of Arizona. With over a decade of experience in education, Ashley previously taught 3rd Grade, 5th Grade, 7th Grade Earth/Space science and Chemistry. After earning her Master’s Degree, she joined the staff at the University as a Graduate Course Facilitator in Educational Research, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Autism studies before teaching Chemistry at our Marana Campus.

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 where her son began his educational journey in Kindergarten, Year 1 (2015) at Marana. She is inspired every day by her colleagues and the atmosphere of excellence on Marana’s campus. Ashley greatly enjoys partnering with families while sharing her passion for lifelong learning and character development with the scholars!

ashley.nicolarsen@lemanacademy.org


Joshua Cooper- Vice Principal

Josh Cooper was born and raised in the Great Lake State of Michigan. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in Science and Elementary Education from Hope College, he spent the next 10 years working as a teacher and athletic director at American International schools in Honduras and Morocco. The majority of his experience in the classroom is as a middle school math and science teacher, but he has also taught 4th and 6th grade as well as high school biology. After earning his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, he spent three years working as a middle school and high school athletic director.

Josh and his wife have two young children. His wife Molly was a 5th-grade teacher and Reading Intervention Specialist before deciding to take some time off to be at home with their kids. As a family they enjoy spending time outside exploring nature, traveling, and learning more about different cultures and ways of life. Josh is excited to begin his journey at Leman Academy of Excellence and is looking forward to serving in a school community that willingly engages and embraces families in the educational process.

joshua.cooper@lemanacademy.org


Joncarlo Iyescas- Vice Principal

Joncarlo Iyescas joins us as a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Arizona. He received a bachelor’s with concentrations in Architecture and Business Administration and holds a Peace Corps Master's International degree in Secondary Education and Bilingual Studies from Texas Tech University. Joncarlo has over 9 years combined teaching experience in international, university, public, charter, and private school sectors, including his service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia where he taught English, trained teachers, and helped lead local and national service projects. He is passionate about scholar empowerment, parent advocacy, capacity building, collective efficacy, community-based schooling, and soccer, as a player and a coach! Joncarlo and his wife Kristin have two wonderful kids. As a family, they enjoy camping, sports, and being outdoors. Since moving from the “Lone Star State,” they love calling Tucson home, and absolutely treasure all the natural beauty “The Grand Canyon State” has to offer. He is honored with the opportunity to serve both scholars and families as a Vice Principal at Marana’s campus . In addition, he is humbled and grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with his team and to grow as an educator building relationships with families and their scholars while fostering academic and social achievement.

joncarlo.iyescas@lemanacademy.org


Shelby Lichty - Instructional Coach

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 sixth 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.

slichty@lemanacademy.org


Taryn Raterink - Office Manager

Taryn is excited to be part of the Leman Academy community. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Arizona. She has spent the last sixteen years of her professional career working with children and families. She is dedicated to bettering the lives of those she serves. Taryn is married to her husband Robert. Taryn and Robert both love working out, eating delicious food and spending time with their two beautiful children, both who are scholars at Leman. As a family, they love swimming, going to the lake, entertaining/hosting friends. Taryn is ready to partner with the families and staff at Leman Academy Marana to continue to grow this amazing campus community.


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.

teresa@lemanacademy.org


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 since 2009. She has two children who are graduates of Leman Academy Marana. Beth is overjoyed to be a part of the Leman Academy family and is looking forward to getting to know each and every family.

 

bskorupa@lemanacademy.org


Leslie Weishaupt- administrative assistant

Leslie was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ where she received her Associate's Degree in Global Business. She has worked in the office environment for many years and has always enjoyed being around kids, working at Leman is the perfect mixture of the two. Leslie moved to Tucson in 2010 after she married her wonderful husband. While she gained a son who is currently serving in the U.S. Army, they have two sons that are happily attending Leman Academy. She enjoys spending time with her family, camping, swimming, playing games, and reading to her boys.

leslie.weishaupt@lemanacademy.org


Erica Ratzlaff - Scholar Accountability Clerk

Erica has been a stay-at-home mom for the last 7 years and is so excited to join Leman Academy as Marana’s Scholar Accountability Clerk. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Dallas and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University. She worked in IT Change Management for 10 years prior to becoming a mother.

Erica will celebrate 10 years of marriage with her awesome husband Ben this year. They have two children, one who is currently a scholar at Leman Academy and one who will be soon! As a family they love going to the movies, traveling, playing games, and exploring the outdoors. Erica looks forward to getting to know and partner with all of our Leman Academy Marana families.

erica.ratzlaff@lemanacademy.org


Turanda Benton-Florez - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER

Mrs. Benton-Florez is a native of Cross Plains, Tennessee. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She has worked in the field of education since 2001 in the public, charter and Department of Defense school systems serving Hawaii, Georgia and Arizona and has been a Leman team member since 2015. She and her husband, Robert, have been married since June 2000. They moved to Tucson after Robert's retirement from the military in 2008. Together, they have 5 children and 5 grandchildren.

Mrs. Benton-Florez loves teaching children, watching them learn and have fun! When she is not teaching, she enjoys cooking, working in the yard, online shopping and spending time with her husband and grandkids. Mrs. Benton-Florez is honored to be a part of the Leman Academy family and looks forward to many years of partnering with our families and community.

tflorez@lemanacademy.org


ANNE GRUENSFELDER - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER

Mrs. Gruensfelder has been in education for 37+ 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 student teachers over the 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 and two energetic schnauzers. Anne enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with her family.

agruensfelder@lemanacademy.org


VERONICA HARO - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER

Mrs. Haro is a native Tucsonan. She received her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education(Summa Cum Laude) from Arizona State University and a Masters degree in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in English as a Second Language from the National Hispanic University. Mrs. Haro was honored as "Teacher of the year in 2018-2019 & 2011-2012. She's taught kindergarten since 2008. She possess a strong dedication and passion for instilling the love of learning to all scholars. She has served as a mentor teacher and has facilitated New Teacher Induction courses.

Mrs. Haro has been married to her best friend Tino for 33 years. They have three grown children and one grandchild who will be attending Leman Academy this school year! When Mrs. Haro isn't teaching she loves spending time with her family, gardening and reading.

vharo@lemanacademy.org


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.

rlopez@lemanacademy.org


Jennifer Walters - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER

Jennifer attended Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana while working towards a Primary and Elementary Education Degree. She has been married for 9 years and is blessed with 4 wonderful little girls. Jennifer has been in education since 2012 and has loved every bit of it. In July of 2020, her family moved from Indiana to Arizona. She is looking forward to starting her Kindergarten teaching career with Leman Academy.

jennifer.walters@lemanacademy.org


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.

 

nicole.barron@lemanacademy.org


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.

veronica.bond@lemanacademy.org


Alexis Schoen - KINDERGARTEN Aide

Alexis Schoen is a Tucson native and a graduate of The University of Arizona with a bachelors degree in Communications. She is married with two small children ages 8 and 6.

During her free time she enjoys working out, adventuring with her family, watching movies, organizing and decorating.

Alexis is very excited to start her career as a kindergarten aide and watch the scholars blossom as they begin this new chapter of their education.

 

 


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.

 

karen.strickling@lemanacademy.org


Lacy Tritz - KINDERGARTEN Aide

Lacy Tritz is thankful to be a member of Leman Academy of Excellence. Lacy was born and raised in Chicago, Ill. She has called Tucson her home for the last 20 years. Lacy studied Geosciences with emphasis on Earth Systems at the University of Arizona. She has recently transitioned careers and started at Leman Academy in April of this year as a Kindergarten Aide. She is working towards becoming a Kindergarten teacher at Leman Academy. In her spare time she volunteers at Tu Nidito as a Littles (3-7) bereavement group facilitator, helping little kids cope with the loss of a special person in a positive way. She also loves to go to the beach and be in Nature any chance she gets! Lacy has been with her husband Matthew D. for the last 19 years and has 2 Yorkies, Bella Swan (12) and Jimmy (5) that she calls her fur babies. Lacy has recently joined the Young Rembrandts afterschool art program as an Art Teacher at Leman Academy for the current school year. She is very blessed and happy to share her blessings with the scholars and make a positive difference in their lives!!! She is beyond excited for this thrilling next part of her journey!

lacey.tritz@lemanacademy.org


Alejandra Barcelo – 1ST GRADE Teacher

Mrs. Barcelo is excited to officially be joining the Leman Academy family and is looking forward to having her own classroom again. She is a native Tucsonan and graduated from the University of Arizona, with a degree in elementary education. She has taught lower elementary for seven years and until recently, was a stay-at-home mom with her two young boys, for two years. She started guest teaching at Leman Academy in the beginning of January 2022 and was asked to sign on as a long-term sub. Since then, she has loved working with the Leman staff, scholars and parents. When Mrs. Barcelo is not shaping the young minds of tomorrow, you can find her spending time with her family, off-roading, watching movies, or dancing Zumba. She and her boys (soon to be scholars) are looking forward to a new school year.

 

alejandra.barcelo@lemanacademy.org


CATHERINE KIRK – 1ST GRADE TEACHER

Catherine Kirk has a heart for children, and got her start in education as a reading interventionist. Ms. Kirk earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Kirk has been with Leman Academy Marana since its groundbreaking in 2015! Teaching the love of learning, and specifically reading, is her passion. She enjoys partnering with families, as this is key to scholar success. Ms. Kirk has two teenagers, one in high school, and one in the 8th grade at Leman. When not in school, Ms. Kirk enjoys reading, cooking, baking, and playing board games with friends and family.

ckirk@lemanacademy.org


Celina Moreno - 1ST GRADE Teacher

Mrs. Moreno is thrilled to be a part of the Leman family! She was born in Mexico and moved to Tucson when she was in 2nd grade. She earned her BS degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in English as a second language from The University of Arizona. Learning alongside her scholars and building relationships with families are two of the many things she is looking forward to. Mrs. Moreno got married in 2010 and now has three wonderful children, two daughters, and a son. Her daughters are both proud Leman scholars. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, cooking, and exercising. Mrs. Moreno looks forward to partnering with you and having a fabulous school year!

celina.moreno@lemanacademy.org


Michelle Mucenski - 1ST GRADE Teacher

Michelle Mucenski is looking forward to another wonderful year at Leman! Michelle is a California State University of Fullerton alumni and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Adolescent Development with emphasis in Elementary School. Additionally, Michelle completed a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential program, also at CSUF. Michelle’s teaching philosophy is to inspire the love of learning in each scholar by building upon their individual strengths. Outside the classroom, Michelle enjoys spending time with family and friends, Arizona sunsets, cooking/baking, watching sports and everything Disney.

michelle.mucenski@lemanacademy.org


Victoria Sesteaga - 1ST GRADE Teacher

Ms. Sesteaga is a Tucson native. She recently graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelors degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in English as a Second Language. She has always loved working with children, and strives to create an environment that is safe and welcoming for your scholar! Ms. Sesteaga is new to Leman Academy this year and is excited to be a part of such a great team. In Ms. Sesteaga's free time she enjoys being outdoors, traveling to new places, trying new restaurants with her best friend, playing soccer, and just being with her family.

victoria.sesteaga@lemanacademy.org


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. She received passing scores on NES Elementary Education I: English Language Arts/Social Studies and NES Elementary Education II: Math/Science/Unified Arts. She has been married to her wonderful husband since 2010 and together they share a daughter. In her spare time she enjoys playing sports and spending time with her family. Mrs. Branch became a second grade teacher at Leman Academy in 2020 and is excited to continue working with second grade scholars. She looks forward to building positive relationships and is proud to be part of the Leman team!

shelby.branch@lemanacademy.org


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.

jdanhof@lemanacademy.org.


ANDREW BRANCH - 2ND GRADE Teacher

Mr. Branch is originally from New Jersey and moved to Tucson, Arizona during High School. He has worked in the field of Early Childhood Education for eleven years as a supervisor and teacher. Andrew began his career in education tutoring at-risk youth.

Andrew worked in the field of behavioral health for a short time and learned to assist members to achieve their goals in a positive and supportive manner.

Andrew is married to his wife Shelby (eleven years) who teaches 2nd grade at Leman Academy Marana. Together they have an Eight-year-old daughter that attends Leman.

When he is not teaching, he enjoys coaching basketball, working out, collecting action figures, watching movies and reading.

Andrew graduated from Grand Canyon University in 2020 (Cum Laude) with a degree in communications. Andrew is proud to be part of the Leman Academy 2nd grade team and strives daily to establish a safe, healthy, fun and welcoming setting to educate scholars.

abranch@lemanacademy.org


Lindsey McWhirter - 2ND GRADE Teacher

Lindsey was born and raised in Arizona. She grew up in Casa Grande, AZ where she started her teaching career as a substitute for the elementary schools. Lindsey moved to Tucson, AZ in 2009 to attend Pima community college and received her associate's in Early Childhood Education. She then went on and attended the University of Arizona and received her bachelor's in Early Childhood Education. After attending the University of Arizona she completed her master's program in Early Childhood Education from Grand Canyon University in October 2021. Lindsey has worked with children for over 15 years and prior to Leman, she was a preschool director in Oro Valley, AZ. She is excited to be able to work with all the new faces in Mrs. Mac's class and have a great year!

lindsey.mcwhirter@lemanacademy.org


Allaysha Lona-Rios - 2ND GRADE Teacher

Allaysha Lona-Rios 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 seven years, she has taught all subjects in both 1st and 2nd grade. She has over 12 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. Lona-Rios enjoys reading books, playing with her cats and dogs, playing video games, as well as getting outdoors and exercising.

This year will be her 3rd year working with Leman Academy and the amazing families and scholars that are a part of this community.

allaysha.lona-rios@lemanacademy.org


Deirdre Bortz – 3RD GRADE TEACHER

Deirdre Bortz is a new addition to Leman Academy of Excellence. A former Arizona resident, she and her husband just returned to the desert after living on the shores of North Carolina for seven years. After working in the corporate world for many years, Deirdre decided to return to school to earn a degree in Education. She attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus. Deirdre began teaching in 2004. She and her husband Buddy have a family of four children and five grandchildren. They also have a very spoiled furbaby that they absolutely adore. She is very excited to be with us and is looking forward to an amazing year.

deirdre.bortz@lemanacademy.org


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.

ana.midgette@lemanacademy.org


ALICIA PHILLIPS – 3RD GRADE TEACHER

Alicia Phillips was born in Montana but grew up in Tucson. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts degree and received her Master's Degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. Alicia began her teaching career in the Pinetop-Lakeside community in the exceptional service program and then taught fourth grade. She pursued a career in administration and was an elementary principal. After retiring, Alicia became the program coordinator for a nonprofit agency and worked in area schools in substance abuse prevention. This was a rewarding job being able to work with area youth in grades K-12. She and her partner Vern enjoy bicycling, traveling, and spending time with family. They love the Marana community. Alicia is a proud parent of two children, Joshua and Brieanna. Joshua is a hotshot for the US Forest Service and resides in the White Mountains. Brieanna is married and a nurse in Portland, Oregon. Alicia is excited to work with her scholars and build positive relationships with her Leman families.

aphillips@lemanacademy.org


Chelsea Tellez – 3RD GRADE TEACHER

Mrs. Tellez was born in the Bay Area but grew up in Tucson since she was little. 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 started her career in education working as a paraprofessional in 2014. She then taught second grade for two years before accepting a third grade position at Leman Academy. She has been teaching third grade at Leman since 2019 and has loved every minute of it. She has been married to her wonderful husband Carlos since October of 2015 and together they have two beautiful daughters, Shea and Harlow, who are also Leman scholars. They also have a black lab named Minnie and a chihuahua named Tink. Mrs. Tellez loves all things Disney, reading, working out, and a good brunch. She also enjoys traveling and has made it a goal to visit at least one new place a year. Mrs. Tellez is excited to grow and learn along with her scholars and make this their best year yet!

chelsea.tellez@lemanacademy.org


MICHAEL LEVIN – 3RD GRADE TEACHER

Mr. Levin is so excited to be a part of a part of the Leman family! He has worked in elementary education in Rochester, N.Y. and Cleveland and spent the last 24 years working in education in Flagstaff. He won the Olmsted Prize for Excellence in Education from Williams College.

With Janet, he has two grown daughters: Aria and Iris. He likes to spend time reading, writing, acting, running rivers, engaging in the art of conversation and cooking.

He looks forward to a fantastic year with scholars, colleagues, and parents.

michael.levin@lemanacademy.org


Kristy Carnes - 4TH GRADE teacher

This will be Kristy’s second year as a 4th grade teacher at Leman Academy. She graduated from New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM) with a Bachelor's in Psychology and a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction. During her 20-year teaching career, Kristy has taught K-6 elementary-aged scholars in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. In addition to her studies in Elementary Education, she received a Master's in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Arizona State University. While at ASU, Kristy instructed Educational Service Learning courses, as well as taught Freshman Education Courses. In her downtime, Kristy enjoys exploring Tucson with her husband, Darek; pausing to enjoy the spectacular sunsets, and cherishing any time she has for napping.

kristine.carnes@lemanacademy.org


Geoff Gerrish – 4TH GRADE Teacher

Geoff Gerrish is returning for his 3rd year at Leman Academy, and his 2nd year teaching 4th grade. He was born and grew up overseas as a Navy Brat, his family finally settled along the Chesapeake Bay in Southern Maryland when he was in elementary school. After high school Geoff packed his car and drove cross country to attend The University of Montana where he earned a degree in criminology, with a heavy emphasis on whitewater kayaking, hiking, and camping. When he has free time you can find him spending it with his wife, daughter, and two dogs. He also enjoys working on projects of all kinds, watching F1 racing, and reading and exploring history.

geoff.gerrish@lemanacademy.org


MARY HATTABAUGH – 4TH GRADE TEACHER

Mary Hattabaugh is returning to Leman Academy for her 8th year, and is entering her 20th year of teaching. 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 University of Texas at Arlington in 2011. She loves to spend quality time with her family, explore new cultures/countries through traveling, taking up the hobby of golf, watching sports, and drawing/painting. She lives with her husband, Dr. Mike Hattabaugh. She has three adult children who live nearby and is expecting her first grandchild before the school year begins, so is excited to add a new role as 'Mimi'. Mrs. Hattaaugh is looking forward to building relationships with the Leman community!

mhattabaugh@lemanacademy.org


Courtney Jolly – 4TH GRADE Teacher

Mrs. Jolly is thrilled to have joined the Leman Family. She was born and raised in Tucson but went off to Oregon State University with a full ride scholarship for gymnastics. After graduating, she began her journey as a business owner of a gymnastics facility for 12 years.

After a successful 12 years of coaching gymnastics, she is beginning a new adventure as an educator. When she is not working with children, she is enjoying her free time with her 4 children and husband.

courtney.jolly@lemanacademy.org


Alisia Valenzuela – 4TH GRADE Teacher

Ms. Valenzuela was born in Oklahoma but moved to Arizona at a young age with her family. She grew up in Fountain Hills, AZ, and moved to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona. She received her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the U of A. She worked in the behavioral health field for several years, then took an opportunity within the field of education teaching second grade at a charter school in Tucson. She completed her teacher preparation program with Rio Salado College and holds a standard K-8 certification with an SEI endorsement. She is currently completing her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Canyon University. Ms. Valenzuela is excited to be a part of the Leman team and looks forward to working with the scholars and their families!

alisia.valenzuela@lemanacademy.org


KATIE BERGHOEFER – 5TH GRADE Teacher

Ms. Berghoefer is an Arizona native and has lived in Tucson since 2011. She graduated from NAU. She has been a part of the Leman team since 2010. Her three children are Leman scholars. In her time, Ms. Berghoefer enjoys spending time with her family, spending time outside, working out, and cooking.

 

 

katie.berghoefer@lemanacademy.org


Ryan Elliott - 5TH GRADE Teacher

Ryan Elliott was raised in Winnetka, Illinois just north of Chicago. She moved to Tucson in 2009 to attend college. She and her husband, their son, and two dogs love spending time camping in the mountains. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management in 2015. She is currently working on her Masters in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University. Mrs. Elliott is entering her third year at Leman Academy and fifth year teaching. Mrs. Elliott's favorite part of teaching is partnering with families and building relationships with her scholars .

ryan.elliott@lemanacademy.org


Riley Gerrish - 5TH GRADE Teacher

Riley Gerrish was born and raised in Tucson. She escaped the heat for a few years by attending the University of Montana, earning a Bachelor’s in Sociology - Criminology in 2015. She returned to Tucson in 2017 with her husband and their new puppy. After working in the Community Management Industry for several years, she decided that teaching was the best way to build relationships with her greater Marana family. When she’s not at school, she is usually chasing her toddler around the house, followed closely by her 2 loud but lovable Aussie Shepherds. She enjoys F1 Racing, baking homemade bread, and watching 90’s Disney movies with her family.

riley.gerrish@lemanacademy.org


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 from Northern Arizona University. She spent the early part of her career as a paralegal and ran a small retail business before deciding to stay home after the birth of her twin daughters. Renee and her husband, Craig, have four children, all of which are Leman Scholars.

Mrs. O’Connor and her family have been part of the Leman Community since the school opened in 2015. Renee loved being at the school so much that she decided to find ways to spend more time there. She spent one year as a guest teacher and started teaching 5th grade in 2018.

Renee enjoys camping, traveling with her family, and working on home improvement projects.

renee.oconnor@lemanacademy.org


Tracy Song - 5TH GRADE Teacher

Tracy Song was born in Dekalb, Il but raised in Tucson, AZ. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She then went to pursue a Master's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Teaching English as a Second Language. After graduating, Tracy lives with her husband, daughter, and corgi, and has taught at BASIS, ESL programs, and has currently settled at Leman Academy. She is excited to be back in person at Leman and to partner with scholars and families!

tracy.song@lemanacademy.org


Marla Currie - 6th Grade History

Marla Currie has been teaching at Leman Academy of Excellence since 2019. Though born and raised in Tucson, Marla has a love for traveling. She has traveled to sixteen countries (so far). She lived in Orvieto, Italy for a semester while attending the University of Arizona as well as Glasgow, Scotland for one 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. Marla has always had a passion for history and loves blending the subject with archaeology to make history come alive.

marla.currie@lemanacademy.org


Sasha George - 6th Grade English Language Arts

Sasha George was born and raised in Virginia. She studied Psychology at Shenandoah University and later transferred to the University of Arizona to complete her BS. Sasha worked as an ABA therapist before moving into the school systems. She first started as an ESS aide in 2014, and has been a part of the Leman family since 2016. She is excited to be moving into the role of a classroom teacher following several years of education experience. In her free time, Sasha likes to spend time with her husband, family, and two kitties Milo and Winnie. She loves to travel, read, catch a new movie, attend broadway shows, try new recipes, and draw. Sasha is looking forward to another wonderful year in middle school!

sasha.george@lemanacademy.org


Logan Logsdon - 6TH GRADE SCIENCE TEACHER

Mr. Logsdon was born in Tucson, AZ, and raised part-time in San Diego, CA. In 2015, He obtained his BSB in Business/Marketing, and his Masters in Education, in 2021. He has taught 4th grade since 2019, and is now anticipating an exciting first year in 6th grade Biology! Mr. Logsdon is honored and privileged to be a part of Leman Academy. 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 lovely wife and three sons, learning new things, working out, traveling, and watching pro-football in his free time.

logan.logsdon@lemanacademy.org


Nicole Tompkins - 6TH GRADE Latin

Ms. Tompkins is a native Tucsonan. She has worked with all grade levels, from Kindergarten and elementary as a paraeducator for an after-school program, to college-level as a tutor employed by the state college system. She received a classical education up through high school, which has greatly influenced her love of learning. She holds degrees in History, English, and Art History, but has tutored all subjects. Ms. Tompkins is thrilled to have the opportunity to come in and provide for our 6th Grade scholars.

nicole.tompkins@lemanacademy.org


HEATHER WOODS - 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.

hwoods@lemanacademy.org


DAVID MACIBORSKI - 7TH GRADE LOGIC

David has been teaching for 17 years - 5 years at Leman Academy. He believes in classical education and that cultivating relationships with scholars is crucial for helping them grow. David is originally from Lake City. It's a small town in Northern Michigan. He received his BA in Humanities and Catholic Culture with a minor in Philosophy from Franciscan University in Steubenville Ohio. He earned his MA in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix. He loves his beautiful wife Susan and enjoys spending time with his four children.

 

david.maciborski@lemanacademy.org


Jaquelyn Shope - 7TH GRADE MATH

Mrs. Shope is thrilled to join the Leman family! She was born and raised in Arizona and has been an educator for twelve years. She graduated from NAU with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and is currently working towards a Master's degree in Educational Leadership. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children and two dogs, enjoys reading and loves sports! She looks forward to a great year with her Leman scholars!

 

 

 


Emily Svenson - 7TH GRADE HISTORY

Emily Svenson has been teaching since 2010. She received her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the University of Indianapolis in Indiana where she was born and raised. After moving to Arizona, Mrs. Svenson earned her teacher certification from Pima College and a Masters in Curriculum & Instruction from Western Governors University. In her spare time, she loves to watch football (Go Colts!), spend time with her husband Eric and her two pugs Coco & Luna, and read anything and everything she can! She looks forward to building relationships with her scholars and having a fantastic career at Leman Academy of Excellence!

emily.svenson@lemanacademy.org


Tamara Westberg - 7TH GRADE SCIENCE TEACHER

Tamara Westberg 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. Mrs. Westberg 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 worked as a guest teacher. In 2016, Mrs. Westberg obtained her Post-Degree Teacher Certification from Pima Community College. Mrs. Westberg served as a 3rd grade teacher at Leman Academy of Excellence in Marana for 6 years, and now takes her love of science to teach chemistry to our 7th grade scholars.

twestberg@lemanacademy.org


JENNIFER WUOLLET - 7TH GRADE ENGLISH Language Arts

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.

jennifer.wuollet@lemanacademy.org


VERONICA AYALA - 8th GRADE HISTORY

Veronica Ayala is honored and excited to be your scholar’s 8th grade 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 for over 15 years. She will make the classroom a fun learning experience but at the same time, will challenge your scholars. Mrs. Ayala has been married for 26 years and has three beautiful daughters. Every action matters, every minute matters. It has been wonderful to work for Leman Academy the past five years!

 

veronica.ayala@lemanacademy.org


George Hella - 8TH GRADE MATH

George was born in southern Wisconsin and lived there for the majority of his childhood. He went to college in New Ulm, MN and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. He moved to Carlsbad, CA to start teaching middle grades classes in 2008. In 2010 he then became a principal and started teaching the upper grades. He was married in June of 2012 to Michelle and they now have three boys, Seth, Brodie and Ellis. He completed his Master's in Curriculum and Instruction at American College of Education in 2017.

His family moved to Tucson in the summer of 2019. Even though he grew up in Wisconsin, he is an avid fan of all Chicago sports teams! He is excited to be a part of the Leman family!

george.hella@lemanacademy.org


LISA POWERS - 8th GRADE English Language Arts

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.

lisa.powers@lemanacademy.org


COLLIN ROBINSON - 8TH GRADE DEBATE & GEOGRAPHY

Mr. Robinson is a proud Tucson native who earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s from the great University of Arizona! He has been teaching at Leman since 2016 and is thrilled to be a part of the Leman family. He and his wife, Nikki, have been married since 2013 and have three beautiful little girls. Mr. Robinson loves spending time with his family and watching and playing soccer. Mr. Robinson loves teaching the art of debate and exploring the world with his scholars!

crobinson@lemanacademy.org


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!

eric.tompkins@lemanacademy.org


Chris Aguilar - K-4 EXCEPTIONAL SCHOLAR SERVICES TEACHER

Chris Aguilar , pronouns she/hers, considers herself a native Tucsonan. She received her a BS in Child Development & Family Relations, as well as a Masters Degree in Special Education from the University of Arizona. She married her high school sweetheart on October 10, 1986 and they will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary this year! Chris and Robert are the proud parents of a 29-year-old, Loren.

 

christine.aguilar@lemanacademy.org


Melissa Vandiver - 5th-6th EXCEPTIONAL SCHOLAR SERVICES TEACHER

Mrs. Vandiver loves being a part of the Leman community. She has two Leman scholars of her own. in 2007, Mrs. Vandiver graduated from the University of Arizona with a BS in Special Education. This will be her tenth year teaching with experience across grades and exceptionalities. She has worked in Children's Ministry at her church. In her free time, Mrs. Vandiver enjoys running, cooking (but not the dishes), and singing. This will be an excellent year!

 

melissa.vandiver@lemanacademy.org


Desiree Gallagher - 7th-8th 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.

dgallagher@lemanacademy.org


Jessica Aviles - Exceptional Scholar Services Aide

Jessica Aviles was born and raised here in Tucson, Arizona. Although she loves living in the desert, she loves to travel and camp more than anything, preferably near any body of water.

Jessica has been happily married for 16 years and has 2 wonderful daughters. She is very excited to be a part of the Leman family and can’t wait for what’s to come!

 

jessica.aviles@lemanacademy.org


Jennifer Downey - Exceptional Scholar Services Aide

Jennifer is proud to work at Leman Academy of Excellence and has been since 2019! Originally from New York, Jennifer has been in Tucson since 1987 and graduated from Canyon Del Oro High School. For college, she attended and graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts 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 direction in the education field and started working as an Academic Advisor for local colleges. Jennifer has a wonderful husband, Jay and they have a beautiful son who attends Leman Academy.

jennifer.downey@lemanacademy.org


Julie Jacobbe - Exceptional Scholar Services Aide

Mrs. Jacobbe is excited to become part of the Leman Exceptional Student Team, She has lived in several states and now calls Marana her home. She has been married for several years and has 1 daughter. She is a graduate with a BS from Emmanuel College in Boston, MA. She looks forward to working and supporting the Scholars at Leman Academy.

 

 

julie.jacobbe@lemanacademy.org 


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!

jferbeyre@lemanacademy.org


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!

nichole.perry@lemanacademy.org


CATHY LETKEMAN – K-4 MUSIC TEACHER

Cathy Letkeman began her educational career in 1996 after graduating from Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada with two Bachelor’s degrees; one in Music Education and one in Education. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Arizona.

She has served as 6th Grade ELA teacher, K-8 Music Educator, UA Director of Vocal Jazz, Homeschool Educator, Homeschool Organization President, Professional Development Workshop Facilitator, and Dean of Scholars.

She looks forward to fleshing out the Leman Academy of Excellence mission in the K-4 music classroom once again. 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. Cathy is married with two children and enjoys reading, writing, songwriting, and serving on the worship team at her church.

cletkeman@lemanacademy.org

Humberto Borboa – 5th-8th Grade Music Teacher

Humberto BorboaMr. Borboa is excited to return to Leman Academy of Excellence to inspire scholars through the power and beauty of music. Humberto is a passionate educator with a rich musical background having worked closely with several Opera Companies' education departments in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Southern California in order to bring music in a classical education fashion into classrooms. Mr. B was a teaching assistant while attending the University of Arizona, where he completed his Masters of Music in 2014. Originally from Baja California, Mexico, Mr. Borboa completed his Bachelors of Music in 2012 from "Escuela Superior de Canto de Mazatlán". Mr. Borboa has sung professionally with the choruses of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Opera, and currently, Arizona Opera among other companies, this love for the performing arts is what he strives to share with Leman scholars. Tucson is home once again for him, his wife Jovahnna, and daughter Martile.

humberto.borboabeltran@lemanacademy.org


Nico Sanchez – Spanish Teacher Kinder - 2nd Grade


Nico Sanchez was born in Santiago, Chile. After finishing his bachelor’s degree, Nico moved to Chicago, living there for six years. During that period, he earned a Master’s degree in applied pedagogy in music and classical guitar from Northeastern Illinois University. After his academic period, he moved to Arizona to become part of the Leman Academy’s teacher team. Nico loves to travel and adventures in different states and countries, but his primary passion is playing and sharing his music and culture.

nicolas.sanchez-barberan@lemanacademy.org


Michael Zablotsky – Latin Teacher

Mr. Z is from the east coast but has been living in Tucson for the last 18 years. A former children's nutritionist, he has recently taken to teaching to further broaden his horizons, this is his first experience teaching in a classroom. Mr. Z has his BS in Nutrition and Biochemistry from the UA.

 

 

michael.zablotsky@lemanacademy.org


JANE BROWN – Reading Intervention Teacher

Ms. Brown came to Leman as a Reading Specialist and decided to spend the next few years as a classroom teacher. She just loves to teach! Jane has four daughters and many grandkids.

She lives with her husband and dog daughter, Izzy. Their free time is spent visiting the kids in Portland, the mountains of Colorado, Dallas, and San Diego.

 

jane.brown@lemanacademy.org


Claudia Stoecklein - Reading Intervention

Mrs. Stoecklein is excited to be joining the Leman Academy team as a reading interventionist! She was born and raised in New Hampshire and obtained her Masters Degree in Special Education from The University of Denver. She is excited to make reading fun and help scholars excel in the reading room. In her free time she enjoys running, traveling and hiking.

 

claudia.stoecklein@lemanacademy.org


Susan Mary Bareis - READING INTERVENTION 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.

susan.bareis@lemanacademy.org


Laurel Efu-Awich - Math Intervention Teacher

Laurel Efu-Awich was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2005 with a degree in Elementary Education. 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 two Leman scholars and loves being a member of the Leman 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 basketball, watching college sports and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

laurel.efu-awich@lemanacademy.org


Rebecca Smith - Math Intervention Teacher

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!

rebecca.smith@lemanacademy.org


Clarence McRae - Athletic Director

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.

clarence.mcrae@lemanacademy.org


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.

mangulo@lemanacademy.org


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.

apelton@lemanacademy.org


Martha Gandarela - Lunch Coordinator

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.

 

 

martha.gandarela@lemanacademy.org


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.

tammy.atchley@lemanacademy.org


Mary Dipper - After Bell/Lunch Staff

Ms. Mary is so happy to be a part of the Leman Academy Team. She is a retired flight attendant and enjoys spending time with her grand children and traveling with her family. She started her childhood education career when her daughter was younger and loves working with children. She is happy that her grand daughter is a scholar at Leman Academy.

 

mary.dipper@lemanacademy.org


Esperanza "Espy" Heintz - Afterbell/Lunch Staff

Esperanza Heintz was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico to a prominent dentist and loving homemaker mother; the middle child amongst six siblings. She was raised in Tijuana and emigrated to the United States to complete high school and attend college in San Diego, where later she met and married her husband who was an active-duty member of the US Navy. Esperanza became a naturalized US citizen while living in Florida; is the proud mother of two girls, has traveled extensively throughout the United States and many areas abroad while raising her children, supporting her husband and managing her household. Her husband’s post-military career led to an employment opportunity in Tucson and afforded her and the family to settle in Oro Valley. With a desire to remain busy, she found meaningful and rewarding employment at the Leman Academy of Excellence, where she currently works in the Afterbell Department.

 

esperanza.heintz@lemanacademy.org


Christina "Nina" Houts - Afterbell/Lunch Staff

Mrs. Christina (Nina) Houts moved to Tucson in 1993 after living in several places around the world. She graduated from Palo Verde High School in 1996. She has been married for 15+ years and has 2 scholars attending Leman. She has been volunteering at the school for many years and is excited to officially join the Leman team. In her free time she enjoys time with her family and taking family vacations.

 

 

christina.houts@lemanacademy.org


Michael Howell - After Bell/Lunch Staff

Mr. Michael Howell was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. He has been working in schools and education in various capacities over the past 18 years. Mike and his wife Jerrica have been married since December of 2021. Michael also enjoys performing. He is an actor, singer and magician. He has performed on various stages throughout Tucson. He is happy to working here at Leman Academy and to be a part of the wonderful team.

 

michael.howell@lemanacademy.org


Amberly Garcia - After bell/ Lunch Staff

Amberly is working on earning her associates degree to become an elementary school teacher at Copper Mountain College in Joshua Tree, California. She has dedicated a lot of her time to volunteering at the boys and girls club as well as Yucca Valley Elementary school. While there she built relationships that inspired her to become an early childhood educator. Furthermore she has decided to follow her dream here at Leman Academy in Arizona to begin her journey as an Afterbell school teacher while continuing her degree.

 

amberly.garcia@lemanacademy.org


Lauren Gipson - Afterbell/Lunch Staff

Lauren Gipson is a Tucson native and has been working with children since she was young. She is a junior at the University of Arizona working towards her Bachelors in Elementary Education. She is hoping to become a teacher one day and is excited to work at Leman while earning her degree.

 

 

 

lauren.gipson@lemanacademy.org


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.

 

rebecca.lizarraras@lemanacademy.org


Angelica Luna - Lunch Staff

Ms. Angelica was born and raised in California. Moved to Tucson at the age of 13. Ms. Angelica has been taking care of children of all ages for more than ten years. Ms.Angelica volunteerd at the boys and girls club. Ms.Angelica is a parent of 2 children, with one scholars here at leman academy, and one scholar as a freshman at Marana High. Ms.Angelica enjoys spending time with her family.

 

 

angelica.luna@lemanacademy.org


Tayler Markle - Afterbell/Lunch Staff

Ms. Tayler Markle joined the Leman Academy team in September of 2021. She came with experience working with scholars of all ages and backgrounds, from working with the Little Tigers Preschool at her high school, to encouraging academic growth as a part of her university’s America Reads program. Ms. Tayler’s background as a Family & Human Development major has helped greatly in assisting Leman’s scholars and connecting with parents. She is thrilled to be a part of the After Bell and Lunch/Recess team at Leman Academy At home, Ms. Tayler is tending to her many pets and playing video games. Her other passions include all things animals, especially dog training and keeping exotic pets.

tayler.markle@lemanacademy.org


Mariah Rosema - After bell/ Lunch Staff

Ms. Mariah was born in Olathe Kansas, making her love the outdoors and all things nature! She grew up in vacation bible school and then got to lead it herself which grew her love of taking care of children. From babysitting, to kids summer academy and more she has always tried to find a way to better the lives of children in the community. She’s very excited being at Leman Academy and she can’t wait to see what this can do for her future!

 

 

mariah.rosema@lemanacademy.org


Isabel Torres - After bell/ Lunch Staff

Miss Isabel is happy to be joining the Leman Academy team as part of the After Bell staff. She currently has her Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts with a focus in Elementary Education and is attending the University of Arizona to acquire her Bachelor’s Degree in hopes of becoming an Elementary School teacher and maybe one day, a principal or vice principal. Miss Isabel also got to experience working at Walt Disney World in Florida through the Disney College Program. She says that Disney is one of her all-time favorite things on earth, along with going to the movie theatre, playing video games, traveling and spending time with her family and friends. She looks forward to making exciting memories with the scholars!

 

 

isabel.torres@lemanacademy.org


Ana Herman - Health Coordinator

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.

aherman@lemanacademy.org


Yvette Dolan - Health Office Assistant

Yvette Dolan has been an active volunteer with Leman Academy since her oldest daughter started Kindergarten in 2015. In 2021, she finally joined the Leman team and is excited to be here. Yvette has enjoyed working with Leman scholars, serving as yearbook advisor for two years while leading 6th-8th graders in the Yearbook Club. Yvette has also continued to help grow and manage the Facebook parent group since 2016, where she feels she has been able to meet many of Leman’s wonderful families and build great relationships. Yvette is a graphic designer by trade where she’s worked both in the office and freelanced since 2003.  In 2021 Yvette eagerly jumped at the opportunity to assist in the health office, where she can be face to face with wonderful Leman scholars every day. Yvette is married to her husband Shaine and they have a wonderful daughter and son who both attend Leman Academy. She enjoys spending time with her family and all of her many animals, which include a cat, 2 dogs, chickens, cows, tortoises, a mini horse and a pet pig!

yvette.dolan@lemanacademy.org


Jerry Valenzuela - Facilities Coordinator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jvalenzuela@lemanacademy.org


Cris Contreras - Facilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Araceli Hernandez - Psychologist

Ms. Hernandez grew up in Tucson. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Special and Rehabilitation, and an Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology, both from the University of Arizona. Since 2005 she has worked in schools assessing children preschool age to high schoolers. Ms. Hernandez joined Leman in 2019. Her interest in education was sparked in her mother’s classroom. Since an early age she has been fascinated by child development. When Ms. Hernandez is not working, she enjoys going to the gym and spending time with family and friends. She is thrilled to return to Leman Marana this year and looks forward to working with her talented colleagues and with the caring families at Leman.

araceli.hernandez@lemanacademy.org


 

Hallie Albin – Scholar Success Facilitator

Hallie Albin was born in Maryland and moved to Tucson when she started middle school. She received a bachelor’s in Psychology and master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Liberty University. Before becoming a Certified School Counselor, Hallie worked with children in various settings, including as a victim advocate, a counselor in a psychiatric unit, and in residential care facilities for at-risk and trafficked youth. She also started a nonprofit organization for child victims of trafficking. In her free time, Hallie enjoys spending time with her two little boys, one of whom attends Leman’s preschool. She also likes cooking, working out, reading, knitting, and snuggling their cat and dog. She is honored to be part of the Leman family!

halyna.albin@lemanacademy.org


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