Our Staff

Oro Valley, 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


ERIC CAREY – PRINCIPAL

Mr. Carey has served at Leman Academy since 2017 with nearly 20 years of experience in teaching and administration. Much of Mr. Carey’s career has been in teaching High School English, serving as a Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator, and he now has the privilege of being the Principal at Leman Oro Valley.

"I LOV(E) this community. The staff is one of the most caring and passionate group of educators I've ever worked with, the scholars are a joy, and they truly WANT to be here. And the families...they have shown such tremendous support through some very difficult seasons, and I'm honored to serve them."

Having earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Immaculata University (Malvern, PA), and his BSED in English at West Chester University (West Chester, PA), he holds PreK-12 Principal and for Teaching 6-12 English certifications in both Arizona and Pennsylvania. Mr. Carey, his wife, and their four children enjoy living in Eastern Tucson where they hike and mountain bike. He also enjoys woodworking, and riding his motorcycle. One of Mr. Carey’s favorite quotes is by the 18th Century Poet, Alexander Pope: “A little learning is a dangerous thing/Drink deep or taste not the Pierian Spring.”

ecarey@lemanacademy.org


KIMBERLY EARLENBAUGH – Vice Principal

Mrs. Earlenbaugh is honored and thrilled to be joining Leman Academy of Excellence this year as a fourth-grade teacher.  During her 30 year career in education, Mrs. Earlenbaugh has taught in K-8 grades as a general education teacher, gifted education teacher or special education teacher.  For the last 16 years, she has called Indian Prairie School District in Naperville, Illinois home.  There she was the Principal of two K-5 elementary Illinois Schools of Excellence, and Vice-Principal of a National Blue Ribbon middle school.  Keeping “kids first” is her number one priority.  She believes by building trusting, positive relationships, and maintaining consistent lines of communication between the home and school are the keys to success for each scholar.

Iowa State University is where she earned her B.S Degree in Elementary Education.  She completed her M.A.T. Degree in Special Education from Rockford College, and her M.A.T Degree in School Administration was completed at Northern Illinois University.

Mrs. Earlenbaugh, her husband Don, and their bloodhound Ellie Mae recently relocated to Arizona from Plainfield, Illinois, in January of 2021.  She has considered Arizona as her home away from home and couldn’t be happier to be here permanently.  Her stepson, Travis, and his family live in Illinois, but she anticipates regular visits.  Mrs. Earlenbaugh loves to golf, read, garden, exercise, and of course, TEACH!

kimberly.earlenbaugh@lemanacademy.org


TRACY HOPPE – VICE PRINCIPAL

Mrs. Hoppe has worked in education for over 15 years as both a classroom teacher and administrator. For almost half of those years, she taught middle school Life Science. For the other half, she had the privilege of working as a Dean of Students (grades 5-7) and a Vice-Principal (grades 6-9). Most of that time she lived in Wisconsin, but also lived on the island of Kauai for four years, before moving to Tucson in 2016.

tracy.hoppe@lemanacademy.org


Eileen Aguilera – Instructional Coach

Eileen Aguilera was born and raised in the desert southwest. Her family includes her husband Marco, 3 adult children and 2 granddaughters Isabella and Leia Belle. She loves spending time with her family. They like camping, hiking, playing games and traveling together. She graduated from the University of Arizona holding a Bachelors in Elementary Education with a math/science minor, specialized endorsements in Early Childhood and Sheltered English Immersion. She facilitated Professional Learning Communities for over 10 years and taught both elementary and middle school scholars for many years. She is now living her dream as a Professional Development Instructional Coach working alongside teachers. Eileen seeks to inspire a lifelong love of learning in her teachers and assist them on their personal journey to excellence for their scholars.

eileen.aguilera@lemanacademy.org


Tamara Terpstra - OFFICE MANAGER

Tami Terpstra is so excited to be a part of the Leman Academy of Excellence Oro Valley as the Office Manager and Registrar. She joined the LOV team on July 2, 2018. She is recently retired from public education after over 22 years of working in the cafeteria, registrar, health assistant and secretary. She looks forward to meeting the LOV families and community. If you have any registration questions you may reach Tami at

 

tamara.terpstra@lemanacademy.org


Linda Kimmel - ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Linda Kimmel is excited for this new chapter at Leman Oro Valley. She previously worked as an Instructional Assistant in Kindergarten since LOV opened. She and her husband Eddie love the LOV family and strive to be a blessing to all.

 

 

 

linda.kimmel@lemanacademy.org


Katherine Perry - ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Katherine Perry is excited to be a part of Leman Academy of Excellence Oro Valley. She joined the LOV team on January 6, 2020.

She previously worked as a preschool teacher at Leman Oro Valley. She is very excited to meet the families and start this new chapter at Leman Oro Valley.

 

 

katherine.perry@lemanacademy.org


Shante Yount - Scholar Accountability Clerk

Shante` Yount joined the Leman team in August of 2021. She serves us as our Scholar Accountability Clerk and is the welcoming voice to all new families. She enjoys showing our campus off during school tours. Her go-to phrase is " How can I be of help!"

 

 

 

shante.yount@lemanacademy.org


Jackie Todd - Half Day KINDERGARTEN Teacher

Ms. Todd began serving at Leman Academy Excellence in 2016 after retiring from teaching in the public school system with 30 years of experience. Much of Ms. Todd's teaching experiences have been educating young minds in the primary grades, but she has also been a Reading Specialist, an English as a Second Language Teacher, a Gifted and Talented Teacher, a mentor for other teachers in the Career Ladder Program and is honored to be working with our Kindergarten Scholars. "I am thrilled to be here at Leman Academy of Excellence teaching our Kindergarten Scholars. Kindergarten is such a wonderful journey filled with excitement and discovery. The partnership between teacher, scholar and parents as we embark on this journey is the foundation for building life-long learners." Having earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Arizona and her Master's Degree in Bilingual and Multicultural Education from Northern Arizona University, Ms. Todd continued her education in order to meet the needs of the scholars she served. She holds Endorsements for English as a Second Language - PreK-12, Gifted Education - PreK-12, Reading Specialist - K-12 and Early Childhood Education - Birth - Age 8. Living in the Northwest area around Tucson, Ms. Todd loves to hike, garden and listen to live music. She also loves to travel and learn about other people and their cultures. One of her favorite quotes she found on the door of a school in the Urubamba Valley in Peru. "Educar la mente...sin educar al corazon no es educar." It is a quote from Aristotle meaning "Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all."

jtodd@lemanacademy.org


Lesley Baker - Kindergarten TEACHER

Mrs. Baker is going into her 3rd year here at Leman Academy. This is her 4th year teaching altogether. She earned her BAA in Early Childhood Education in 2019. She taught Kindergarten for 1 year in MUSD and 4th grade for 2 years here at Leman Oro Valley. She is once again in her area of expertise, teaching Kindergarten with our wonderful Kinder team. Before earning her teaching degree, Mrs. Baker was a stay-at-home mom. She has four children...her step-daughter (29), who is the mother of her three-year-old grandson, her biological daughter (11), adopted daughter (5) and adopted son (1). Along with her children, Mrs. Baker and her husband enjoy being a part of the foster community. They have fostered 9 babies from newborn to 2 years of age in the last five years. Growing up, Mrs. Baker helped her mother with her in-home child care. She taught 1st grade in the Title One department, her senior year of High School. Mrs. Baker has always had a passion for teaching and caring for children. She lives by the quote, "I will teach them here or there, I will teach them anywhere." as she took on the challenge of remote teaching her first two years of teaching. In her free time, Mrs. Baker enjoys spending time with her children outdoors, swimming, playing games or just relaxing and having a movie day. She also loves to watch football (especially the Dallas Cowboys). She is excited to learn new things with her class this year and watch her scholars grow.

lesley.baker@lemanacademy.org


SHARON “DENISE” HAYS - KINDERGARTEN Teacher

Mrs. Hays earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona and has an endorsement in Early Childhood Education. She has been in education here in Tucson since 1984 in Kindergarten through 2nd grades. Finding the strengths in her scholars and partnering with parents to provide the greatest success has been her passion for over twenty-five years in the classroom

She and her husband John have enjoyed life together for over thirty years and have three adult children, one son-in-law, and their first grand baby! When not busy she spends her time outdoors, reading, and crafting. Her joy in life comes from her faith, family and friends.

sharon.hays@lemanacademy.org


Virginia Rosario - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER

Virginia Rosario started teaching kindergarten at Leman Academy in Oro Valley in 2022. Her previous experience includes teaching preschool, 3rd grade, and 8th grade Reading. Her longest teaching job however was being a stay at home mom for 12 years! Virginia has her Bachelor’s Degree from Norwich University in Vermont and her Master’s of Education Degree from Salem State University in Massachusetts. Virginia, her husband, and their three children (plus their dog and cat!) moved to Oro Valley from New England. They all miss the snow but the Arizona sun just can’t be beat!

 

virginia.rosario@lemanacademy.org


ELKA SWINGLE - KINDERGARTEN TEACHER

Ms. Swingle counts it an enormous privilege to teach and serve the scholars and families at LOV(E) - Leman Oro Valley. It is her heart’s desire to bring truth, goodness, and beauty to a child's early educational experience, and to make a personal and meaningful connection with each treasured scholar.

 

 

 

elka.swingle@lemanacademy.org


Michelle Ferland – 1ST GRADE TEACHER

Michelle Ferland has had the pleasure of caring for kids her entire adult life. She started her path working as a classroom aide in a 3rd grade classroom after graduating from San Francisco State University. She had earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She knew from her studies that she had an interest in helping others, and she always felt a connection with children. Her jobs have included being an aide, a nanny, a tutor, and a teacher from preschool to elementary. In addition, she has been a mom for several years with two kids of her own.

Mrs. Ferland really is enjoying her time working at Leman Academy of Excellence. Both the staff and 1st grade team have been very supportive. When she is not working, she spends much of her time with her family and friends. She also really enjoys the outdoors. This would include taking hikes in Catalina State Park or going for a drive up to Mt. Lemmon. She loves listening to music and simply relaxing at home with her puppy and kids as well.

 

michelle.ferland@lemanacademy.org


Krystal Holliday – 1ST GRADE TEACHER

Ms. Holiday has been with Leman Academy since 2017. She started with teaching preschool and advanced to First grade in 2020. Ms. Holiday is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and completed a Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She has five nieces and nephews and discovered her love of children when her first nephew arrived in the family in 2009. Ms. Holiday is passionate about educating the youth to become leaders in the future. She wishes to continue sharing her love of teaching and becoming a part of scholars' lives.

Krystal.Holliday@lemanacademy.org


Hedy Pluta – 1ST GRADE TEACHER

Mrs. Pluta has been an elementary school educator for 36 years. She has experience teaching in Private, Public and Charter schools. Mrs. Pluta graduated from the University of AZ in Elementary Education with a minor in Math and Science. She earned her Master’s Degree at Northern AZ University and has endorsements in ESL, Reading and Early Childhood. Mrs. Pluta and her husband enjoy hiking and going to sporting events at the U of AZ. She has one daughter and loves spending time with her and their son-in-law. During her first year of retirement she worked at Leman Oro Valley as a Guest Teacher and decided to join our team. She looks forward to the great relationships that she will build with the scholars, parents, staff and the community of Oro Valley. hedy.pluta@lemanacademy.org

hedy.pluta@lemanacademy.org


Shelby Romero - 1st grade TEACHER

Shelby Romero was born in Cherry Point, North Carolina but raised in Tucson, Arizona all of the years she can remember. This will be her fifth year teaching in a classroom and has ranged from preschool to first grade. She is proud to say that she has been an employee here in some role since Leman OV opened their doors in 2017. She received her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education in the summer of 2021 from Northern Arizona University, while earlier receiving her undergrad from Arizona State in 2014. Her husband and two children, along with herself, enjoy being outside on their 5 acre homestead, tending to their horse and roping and riding in the arena. Her newest favorite hobby is photography! Mrs. Romero’s favorite thing about teaching at Leman Academy is the opportunity to build strong relationships with her scholars and families and making a difference in the lives of tomorrow’s leaders!

shelby.romero@lemanacademy.org


Michele Wilcox - 1ST GRADE teacher

Michele WilcoxMrs. Wilcox has worked with children for over 25 years. Prior to becoming a classroom teacher, she started her career working with incarcerated teens and teaching art at a local elementary school. After receiving her bachelors in elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood education, Mrs. Wilcox was a substitute for 4 years before becoming a full-time elementary teacher. She has taught Kinder, 2nd and has been a first-grade teacher for the last 9 years. During this time, she also earned her reading endorsement/certification. Mrs. Wilcox is married with two sons. As a family, they spend as much time together as they can mountain biking, snowboarding and camping.

Michele.Wilcox@lemanacademy.org


STEPHANIE ELLERSICK - 2nd GRADE TEACHER

Mrs. Ellersick is a small-town Idaho girl at heart. She has many fond memories from her schooling, including adopting her 6th-grade class pet, a guinea pig named Chiquita. Like her own educational experience, she aims to provide a safe, loving environment full of wonder for her scholars. Stephanie completed her Bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University in 2007 and is finishing her Master's of Education degree at Northern Arizona University.

Stephanie has moved all over the United States with her husband and three children. She spent several years in the Washington, D.C. area enjoying all of the Smithsonian museums and chasing her kids around the national monuments.  As an avid sports fanatic, she almost always cheers for the underdog!

Mrs. Ellersick and her family love Leman Academy. She looks forward to creating lasting relationships with each of her scholars and their families.

stephanie.ellersick@lemanacademy.org


KARI RICHARDSON - 2nd GRADE TEACHER

Mrs. Richardson has been an elementary teacher since 1990. She graduated from the University of AZ with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Ed and a minor in Sociology. Her Master's degree is in Educational Leadership.

She grew up overseas in Indonesia and Malaysia. Tucson became her home when she returned. She has 2 grown children, 2 grandchildren (the lights of her life) and 2 dogs. When time permits, she escapes to the beach where she enjoys reading and walking. Her favorite quote is by Theodore Roosevelt: "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care ." She LOV(E)s being a part of the Leman staff!

karissa.richardson@lemanacademy.org


LAURA SMITHSON - 2nd GRADE TEACHER

Mrs. Smithson has served Leman Academy since 2017 in Oro Valley. She has taught first and (currently) second grade. Mrs. Smithson earned her BS in Health Education from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. She is certified in K-8 Education from the State of Arizona. "My passion is building relationships with my scholars. Watching them grow academically, emotionally, and in maturity is the highlight of my year. LOV(e) has wonderful, supportive families who make this job not only rewarding, but full of laughs and fun. I love being a part of the Leman community." Mrs. Smithson lives in Oro Valley with her husband and daughter, who also attends Leman. She enjoys musical theater, dance, and cooking for her family and friends.

laura.smithson@lemanacademy.org


SARAH TUCKER - 2ND GRADE Teacher

Mrs. Tucker joined Leman Marana in its second year and transferred to Leman Oro Valley for its opening. Sarah has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana) and a Master's Degree in Special Education from The University of Arizona. Sarah has been an educator in Arizona for more than 20 years. She has an intuitive way about her in understanding the many layers of each of her learners and uses this to effectively meet their needs. Sarah definitely encourages her scholars to grow in many aspects of life and learning.

"I am honored to work at Leman Academy, partner with supportive parents, and create tomorrow's leaders today!"

stucker@lemanacademy.org


Christina Jeter - 3rd GRADE teacher

Christina Jeter was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She is the youngest of six children who attended Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Salpointe High School, and the University of Arizona. She and her husband Marcus have been married for 29 years, have two wonderful daughters, and one granddaughter. Mrs. Jeter enjoys traveling, photography, and spending time with her family. She also has four loyal rescue dogs. Christina enjoys watching sports and is a fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees. Mrs. Jeter has proudly taught elementary school children for over 40 years. Although she has retired from public school education, she looks forward to teaching for many more years. She was drawn to, and believes in, the mission of Leman Academy of Excellence. Christina looks forward to the great relationships that she will build with the scholars, parents, staff, and the Community of Oro Valley.

christina.jeter@lemanacademy.org


Kate Keshishian - 3rd GRADE teacher

Kate Keshishian has been proudly part of the Oro Valley Leman Academy of Excellence's community and third grade team since the 2020-2021 school year.

Kate's educational and teaching background began in 2000. She earned her Elementary Education degree at The University of Arizona in 2000 and her Master's in Educational Leadership in 2015. She taught 3rd and 5th grade at The Catalina Foothills School District for four years and then became part of the Remedial Reading Program team for Flowing Wells (Richardson and Elementary) for eight years. At that time, she was yearning to have her own classroom again, so she began working at Legacy Traditional School since their grand opening in 2011.

Positivity, trust, joy, communication, and perseverance/hard work ethic are some of the characteristics and life skills Kate wants all of her scholars to have acquired when they leave her classroom at the end of each school year. She wants them to be set up for success for the 4th grade, but most importantly, for their future.

Kate's very proud to say that she's a Nebraskan, born and raised. However, she considers herself a Tucson native at this point because she's lived here since 1985. Her immediate family live in Tucson and Phoenix and they get together quite often just to be together or celebrate birthdays and holidays. On her free time, she always looks forward to horseback riding, running, and hiking. They all bring her great peace and relaxation, which helps her be a better person and teacher.

kathleen.koester@lemanacademy.org


Florencia McGorty - 3rd GRADE teacher

Mrs. McGorty was born and raised in a small town in Connecticut. She is the youngest of two girls. Mrs. McGorty graduated from Mount Ida College in Newton, MA with her Bachelor's in Social Science and Humanities in 2015. She is currently working towards her Master's of Art in Teaching online from Columbus State University in Columbus, GA where she resided prior to moving to Tucson. Mrs. McGorty has taken pride in the mission at Leman Academy of Excellence as she enters her second year at the Oro Valley campus. She thoroughly enjoys working in elementary school settings and hopes to become an elementary education professor in the future.

Mrs. McGorty and her husband have two daughters, ages 6 and 4 months, and a bloodhound mix named Moose. They enjoy spending their time traveling, hiking, swimming, and watching hockey. Go Bruins!

florencia.mcgorty@lemanacademy.org


Laura Morrissey - 3rd GRADE teacher

Laura Morrissey has been teaching in both public and private school settings and loves teaching third grade, with 27 years of experience at that level. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Illinois State University and a Master’s degree in Education from Northwestern University. Laura and her husband, Steve, recently relocated to Tucson from the northwest suburbs of Chicago. They have one daughter, Mary, who is living and working in Dublin, Ireland. In her free time, Laura enjoys distance running and spending time with her family. Laura is honored to be a part of the Leman Academy of Excellence team and looks forward to an exciting year with her scholars and their families!

laura.morrissey@lemanacademy.org


SUSAN SCOTT - 3rd GRADE Teacher

Mrs. Scott has been an elementary school educator for over 30 years. I have enjoyed teaching at LOV(e) since the school opened in 2017. I have taught 3rd grade almost exclusively and love the curiosity and energy of these scholars!

Over the years I have served on leadership teams, curriculum teams, assessment teams and positive discipline committees. To say that education has changed since I first began my career is an understatement. What hasn't changed is my passion for this profession. Educating children is a calling. I was never meant to do anything else!

My husband, Tom, and I live in Oro Valley where we raised our three daughters. We are now enjoying the fruits of our labor and love having three active grandsons that keep us on our toes! In my free time I love to cook, read, travel, volunteer at church, and play golf. I believe, has Horace Mann wrote in 1848, "Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance wheel of the social machinery."

susan.scott@lemanacademy.org


Joshua Blau - 4TH GRADE TEACHER

Mr. Blau is a 4th grade teacher. He received his: Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Broadfield Social Studies from the University of Wisconsin Green-Bay in 2005, Special Education Certification from Silver Lake College in 2012, and Master’s of Arts in Education degree in Educational Leadership from Marian University in 2016. He has taught in the middle and high school setting for over a decade before starting his elementary teaching journey. Prior to his start at Leman, Mr. Blau had careers as a radio personality for Jack FM in Wisconsin for 6 years, and as an entertainer, disc jockey, emcee, and public address announcer in the state for many decades.

Mr. Blau is a recent addition to the state of Arizona. He enjoys watching sports (especially the Green Bay Packers). He admits that he is a junkie for cheesy reality tv, and that he loves collecting unique clocks.

joshua.blau@lemanacademy.org


Amy Stahlman - 4TH GRADE TEACHER

I am a former home-school mom of eleven years, have a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona, and Mrs. Etter was my supervisor. I was drawn to Leman because I believe in the classical education format. I LOVE whole books, focus strongly on character and virtues and history makes sense when it is taught chronologically. I have been married almost twenty years, have three boys and adore Rottweilers! I am excited to have my own classroom and feel it is a privilege and honor to be teaching the future generation.

amy.stahlman@lemanacademy.org


Kristin Terpstra - 4TH GRADE TEAM TEACHER

Ms. Terpstra has really enjoyed being a part of the Leman family since 2021. She received her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. She has been teaching since 2010 (although she has been playing teacher since she was a small girl). She taught 4th, 2nd and 7th-grade math at Twin Peaks Elementary School and was a Teaching and Technology Coach for three years with Marana Unified School District. Her daughter started at Leman in January of 2021 and fell in love with Leman's approach to education. She knew she wanted to be a part of this team!

Ms. Terpstra loves yoga, running and riding her Peloton. She typically always has a novel on her Kindle and prefers to get lost in a story over watching TV. She will have two kids at Leman with her. We typically spend time playing games, reading books or being outside together.

She cannot wait to watch her students grow throughout the year!

kristin.terpstra@lemanacademy.org


Anahi Walters - 4TH GRADE TEACHER

Mrs. Walters love for education began when she was in 6th grade. Her teacher made her see what a difference a dedicated teacher could make in a student’s life. Since that day she has strived to provide the same classroom experience for her students. She has been in education for the past 16 years. Mrs. Walters received her Teaching Credential from California State University Los Angeles in 2007. She has taught grades 2nd- 10thas well as Special Education classes. Teaching such various grade levels taught her all students can learn when taught with love and dedication.

Her family moved from California to Arizona in 2019 and have loved the community and friendships they have made here. Oro Valley is a very special place and she feels lucky to be able to experience it. She has been at Leman since 2021 as a substitute teacher and then as the 4th-grade teacher. Her children also attend Leman as she believes this school is filled with teachers who want the best for their students. She is thrilled to be at Leman once again as the 4th-grade teacher and looks forward to an exciting year ahead.

anahi.walters@lemanacademy.org


Carolyn Bondi - 5th GRADE TEACHER

Mrs. Bondi is a local gal, raised in the little town of Oracle, AZ just 40 minutes north of Oro Valley.

She is Alumni of both Canyon Del Oro High School and the University of Arizona, where she earned her B.A. in Sociology, minor in Psychology.

Mrs. Bondi spent many years serving in the industry of Sales, Marketing and Event Planning. In 2015 she felt called to serve the next generations in a career-transforming way. As she pursued this calling, the doors of opportunity and favor opened in the most unexpected and exciting ways. She began Guest Teaching at several public, private and inner-city campuses in the Tucson area and served a wide demographic and grade level range within grades K-12.

After completing her post-baccalaureate teaching certification program in Dec 2016, she joined the LOV(E) Team as the Reading Intervention Specialist, subsequently joined the Kindergarten Teaching team the following year, and has never looked back!

Carolyn.Bondi@lemanacademy.org


Denise Cook - 5th GRADE Teacher

Denise Cook loves working with children and has been in education for over 20 years.  She received her Bachelors in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona and Masters in Early Childhood Education with a Reading Specialist Endorsement from Northern Arizona University.  She holds additional endorsements in Sheltered English Immersion and Early Childhood.  Mrs. Cook's experience also includes working as a Literacy Specialist and an Instructional Coach.  Before joining the Leman team, she took some time away from the professional world to be with her husband and three wonderful children.  She is originally from New York, but has been in Tucson for many years.   She enjoys hiking, swimming and watching movies with her family.

This year will be Mrs. Cook's second year teaching 5th grade at Leman.  As a teacher, she strives to create an engaging learning environment where scholars are challenged and feel comfortable taking risks.  Her goal is to develop an enthusiasm towards learning in each child while helping to create responsible and respectful scholars.  Mrs. Cook believes parent partnerships are vital to the success and growth of each scholar; and she looks forward to forming productive partnerships to ensure each child achieves their highest potential and learning goals.

denise.cook@lemanacademy.org


Beth Schmugge - 5th grade Teacher

Mrs. Beth Schmugge grew up in Crete, Illinois and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from Wisconsin Lutheran College. She has taught various grade levels for 15 years. This is her second year at Leman. LOV (E) was truly named appropriately! It is such a positive and encouraging environment to be a part of because of the scholars, staff, and parents.

Beth is married and has a 17 year old daughter, who is a Senior this year. Mrs. Schmugge and her family enjoy being outdoors, camping, crafts, and projects. She is looking forward to a great year even among the challenges this year may bring. We, together, as a class and community, will rise above it and come out smiling and encouraged.

beth.schmugge@lemanacademy.org


Ashley Vadnais - 5th grade Teacher

Mrs. Vadnais started teaching fifth grade in 2006 in Prescott, Arizona after earning a degree in elementary education from Arizona State University.  After spending some time in California and Texas, she and her husband moved to Tucson in 2013 and knew this was "home".  They now have three girls, all of whom are at Leman!

You might see Mrs. Vadnais running or biking down the road- if so, give a wave!  She also enjoys playing with her family at the park, working in the yard, watching her chickens "Lintsey" and "Cinnamon", organizing, playing cribbage with her husband, and eating popcorn!

Mrs. Vadnais has dreamed of being a teacher since she was in first grade. Her goal is to challenge every student, and to help them see that their weaknesses can be their greatest strengths, with love, encouragement, and hard work.  She is honored to be entrusted with your children everyday, and looks forward to developing these most special relationships.

ashley.vadnais@lemanacademy.org


Jaime Vidinha - 5th grade Teacher

Mrs. Vidinha has had the opportunity to travel and live in multiple locations throughout the United States. She spent her formative years in Long Island, NY where she resided until she moved to Pennsylvania to attend Lock Haven University. There she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education, Social Studies. Afterwards, she returned to Long Island where she attended Hofstra University and earned a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in Special Education. Upon completing her Master’s Degree, she moved to Washington, DC where she served as a High School Special Education/Social Studies teacher. A few years later, Mrs. Vidinha and her family moved to Dallas, TX for a couple of years before they settled down in Tucson, AZ. Mrs. Vidinha began working as an Instructional Specialist at a small K-8 charter school for a few years and then accepted a position as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher. Shortly thereafter, she enrolled her daughters at LOV(E) and Mrs. Vidinha fell in love with the Classical Education being provided to them. She was impressed with LOV(E) and the school’s style of teaching, which ultimately led to her accepting a position as a 5th grade teacher at the school. Mrs. Vidinha could not be more excited for the school year to begin!

jaime.vidinha@lemanacademy.org


Guy Black - Middle School Math/Logic TEACHER

Guy Black was raised on a bilingual ranch underneath the hot southwestern sun, a hop, skip and a jump southeast of Tucson in Benson, Arizona. After a short adventure out to Texas and then Virginia he returned to Tucson with his wife, Jessica. Now they have "settled down" with their two daughters, and two cats.

Guy finds life to be a wondrous adventure and is naturally filled with curiosity and wonder that has fueled his own extracurricular studies in a myriad of subjects. Officially, he completed his bachelor's in History from Grand Canyon University. In what free time Guy can find he is a game designer, podcast host, voice talent, and collaborative storyteller.

Guy is thrilled to be a part of the Leman team and excited to foster in his scholars a passion and wonder for the world we live in.

guy.black@lemanacademy.org


STEVEN DEAN - 6TH GRADE LATIN & 7th GRADE LOGIC TEACHER

Mr. Dean is a local Tucsonan with a passion for language, education, community and delicious Mexican food. He has been teaching 6th grade Latin at Leman Academy of Oro Valley for three years. He has also been in education including teaching English and Debate at the high school level for over five years. Mr. Dean has a BA in English and a Master's degree in Literature from CUNY Brooklyn College. In his free time, Mr. Dean enjoys staying active, going on hikes, playing basketball, and even cooking his very own homemade carne asada fajitas. One fun fact about Mr. Dean is he is an experienced beekeeper; working for a year on a small honey farm here in town. Nowadays bees are only a hobby, language, education, and helping young people fulfill their amazing potential are his passions.

steven.dean@lemanacademy.org


Eamon Devine - 7th grade ELA/Logic TEACHER

Mr. Devine is joining us this year 2022-2023 to teach 7th grade ELA and Logic. He has previously taught English in South Korea and Taiwan, but most recently he taught literature, debate, and economics at a private high school with a California state curriculum focus in eastern Taiwan. He completed his undergraduate degree in business administration and later finished his graduate degree in education after teaching in South Korea for three years. Mr. Devine is an avid language learner and very interested in linguistics. He speaks Mandarin Chinese, some Korean, some Spanish, and some French. His hobbies include camping, playing guitar, building furniture, and cooking. He is a passionate educator who strives to make learning fun and interesting. All scholars are encouraged to come to class with energy and ready to be engaged in his exciting classes.

eamon.devine@lemanacademy.org


Lisa Forrester - 6th Grade ELA TEACHER

Lisa Forrester returns to the field of education after taking a break to raise her daughter and care for her parents. Lisa grew up in New Jersey, where she developed a love for teaching at fourteen years old, when she taught 4 hours of Gymnastics for the YMCA on Saturday mornings. She became a teacher in 1990, and began teaching a diverse population of students at Ewing Alternative High School in West Trenton. She had the opportunity to create a unique Health, Driver’s Education and PE program for the students as this was the first year the school opened. Lisa said, “I loved having fun with my students by interacting and role playing during Health lessons. It was awesome to have the freedom to create my own curriculum and start a Guest Speaker program to enrich their lives.” In 1995, Lisa moved to Mercer Special Services School District in Trenton, New Jersey. She taught and coached a variety of students during her time there. Lisa then completed her Master’s in School Counseling in 2000, and worked as a counselor at Montgomery High School in Skillman, New Jersey. She enjoyed it immensely, but chose to stay home and raise her family, after her daughter was born. Lisa moved to Arizona four years ago. She came to help her parents. Her parents passed on, her mother most recently. She is delighted to be joining the amazing staff at Leman Academy of Excellence. She looks forward to a great year with her sixth grade ELA students.

lisa.forrester@lemanacademy.org


ERIK GUTIERREZ - 6th GRADE ELA & HISTORY TEACHER

Mr. Gutierrez is originally from Las Cruces New Mexico has spent the majority of his life in the Southwest, except for a few years overseas in South Korea. He has been in education for nine years, all at the elementary level. Erik attended the University of Arizona and then completed his Bachelor’s degree at New Mexico Highlands University.

In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. They enjoy being outdoors, trying new restaurants, watching movies, hiking, bike riding, and family game night. He is a fan of both the U of A and Arizona Cardinals. On most weekends, he can be found on the sidelines of his nine and eleven year olds’ current sports interest. Finding new music, gardening, and garage tinkering also keeps him busy. Also, he enjoys hunting both migratory birds and big game. He has a wonderful hunting bird dog named Kona.

He is looking forward to meeting and creating positive relationships with his new scholars and staff. The Leman Academy of Excellence will allow him to continue to challenge, motivate, and inspire kids to do their very best.

erik.gutierrez@lemanacademy.org


Kellie Headley - 7th & 8th grade History Teacher

Mrs. Headley is originally from California but considers Arizona her home after living here since the age of nine. She was an avid volleyball player through college and was asked if she was interested in coaching for a private club during her Sophomore year which made her realize her passion for teaching! Continuing through college at the University of Arizona, working a full-time job and coaching year-round made for a busy life that was full of fun and adventure! She was thrilled when Amphi High School asked her if she would be interested in coaching their boys' varsity volleyball program when she was a Junior in college. Through hard work, dedication and trust she led those young men to state two years in a row! Coaching for 10 years and playing for nearly 20 has given her wonderful opportunities to travel the country and memories to cherish!

Mrs. Headley met her future husband when they were young and they have been together for 20 years. They have two amazing daughters, 8 and 3 years old who attend LOV. Becoming a mother trumped volleyball in such a way that Mrs. Headley decided it was time to devote all of her time to her children for the beginning years of their lives. Their family got a little bit bigger and hairier when they bought two Siberian Husky pups last year, Sansa and Arya. Once her youngest started preschool she started Guest Teaching for Leman and loved it so much that she transitioned back to the classroom full-time last year! Spending time with family & being at home is zen for Mrs. Headley!

kellie.headley@lemanacademy.org


CALLIE HIME - 7TH & 8TH GRADE SCIENCE TEACHER

Mrs. Hime is originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin and is a Packer fan. She graduated from Taylor University, in Indiana, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with Middle School endorsements in Math and Science.

Her adventuresome spirit has led her to teach in Bolivia, South Texas and now in Arizona to students of all different ages, ranging from pre-K to seventh grade. Through a variety of teaching experiences, Mrs. Hime has discovered a passion for building relationships with scholars of all ages to instill a love of learning and a sense of accomplishment in meeting academic goals. She loves spending time with her three kids and husband by hiking, watching movies, serving in their church, swimming and the occasional family dance party.

callie.hime@lemanacademy.org


Michael McCourtney - 7th and 8th grade math TEACHER

Mr. McCourtney is a new teacher to Leman Academy, however he has over 30 years experience at the high school and community college level. Mr. McCourtney graduated from ASU and earned a masters degree in education from NAU. Mr. McCourtney's interests include golf, gardening, golf, his dogs and golf.

 

 

 

michael.mccourtney@lemanacademy.org


REBECCA NEMEC - 8TH GRADE ELA & HISTORY TEACHER

Originally from the Philadelphia, PA, Mrs. Nemec is a loyal Philly sports fan - Eagles, 76ers, Phillies, and Flyers! After graduating from West Chester University in West Chester, PA with a degree in Education and later a Masters in English, Mrs. Nemec taught for 10 years. In that time, she taught middle and high school English courses, Speech and Debate, and Bible as well as German language courses.

She and her family moved to Tucson in 2018 and are loving their new community in AZ. After taking some time to stay at home raising her children while working from home teaching courses online, Mrs. Nemec decided she was ready to return to the classroom in 2019. When she chose to return to the classroom, Leman was a natural fit with its blend of Classical education, interrelated disciplines, and relationships. She is passionate to cultivate readers and thinkers that can express themselves through written forms.

When not teaching, Mrs. Nemec enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. They can often be found watching one of their beloved Philadelphia teams on television, hiking, or playing board games as a family on a Saturday. When not out with her family, she is most likely sipping on a cup of coffee and reading a new book.

rebecca.nemec@lemanacademy.org


Celeste Sinclair - 6th grade Biology TEACHER

Ms. Sinclair started at Leman Academy of Excellence in 2022 as the sixth grade Biology teacher. Before coming to Arizona, she taught math and science for nine years at Heritage International School in Kampala, Uganda. After getting engaged to a Tucson man, she was excited to move to Arizona and join the LOV community. She received a BA in Biology from Covenant College in 2011 and a Master of Arts in teaching, also from Covenant College, in 2012. She earned her teaching certificate in the state of Georgia and used it abroad. Ms. Sinclair loves dogs, plays the flute, and enjoys reading, and chatting with family and friends.

 

celeste.sinclair@lemanacademy.org


ANDREA WILLIAMS - 6TH GRADE MATH & SCIENCE TEACHER

In her free time, Andrea enjoys spending time with her family, playing games, crafting, and cheering on her children in their local sports.

 

 

 

 

 

andrea.williams@lemanacademy.org


SHERRY CAMERON - 4th & 5th Grade ESS TEACHER

Ms. Sherry Cameron grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Bowling Green State University. After college, she moved to Arizona and fell in love with the state. She has taught various grade levels from Kindergarten to 10 grade. This is her fourth year at Leman. The positive and encouraging environment of Leman Academy of Oro Valley has made her feel a part of the LOV(E) community. Ms. Cameron enjoys the outdoors, hiking, movies, cooking, trying new foods, traveling, game night, spas and spending time with her family and friends.

sherry.cameron@lemanacademy.org


ALISANDRA SAINZ - 1st-3rd grade ESS TEACHER

Ms. Sainz is a native of the "Old Pueblo" and a graduate of the University of Arizona (2004). Ms. Sainz is proud to have served special needs children for the past decade, in both public schools and private settings. She is committed to supporting scholars with special needs and is dedicated to helping them reach their full potential. She lives with her family in Mid-town Tucson and enjoys reading, movies, taking care of a variety of pets, and spending time with family and friends.

alisandra.sainz@lemanacademy.org


Miraim Lopez- ESS Assistant

I graduated Cum Laude from the University of Arizona with a B.A in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. I’ve been working at Leman Academy for one year and I really enjoy providing academic support and encouragement to scholars who need it the most. Before working at Leman Academy I volunteered at my sons’ previous school, I taught English online to kids in China, and I was a substitute teacher at my daughter’s preschool. I speak fluent English and Spanish, and I love to learn. When I work with a scholar, I like to be positive and gentle in order to minimize stress. I want nothing more than to help them reach their goals and develop a love for learning. In my free time I enjoy fun outings with my husband and children, eating out, photography, trail running, and spoiling my two cats.”

Miraim.Lopez@lemanacademy.org


TAMARA WATTS - ESS ASSISTANT

My name is Tammy Watts. This is my first year at Leman. I spent the last 7 years working with special needs preschoolers. It’s a privilege to help young scholars learn new things.

I’ve been married for 25 years and we have one daughter who is in 7th grade. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, singing, and drinking coffee.

tamara.watts@lemanacademy.org


Sandy Wilson - Instructional Coach

Sandy Wilson graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. Sandy previously taught Third Grade, Fourth Grade and Fifth Grade at Fort Huachuca Schools, Amphitheater School District and Leman Academy. She has over 35 years of teaching experience in Elementary Education.

Sandy and her husband have two adult children and two beautiful grandchildren. As a family, they enjoy RV camping and boating. Sandy is excited to be at the Oro Valley Leman campus as an Instructional Coach. She will be assisting teachers and scholars toward excellence.

sandy.wilson@lemanacademy.org


BRANDIE BARR - K - 4TH GRADE ART TEACHER

Ms. Barr began her teaching career in 2011 teaching Kindergarten in the Amphi School district, she then went on to teach first grade for five years and now she has found her happy place teaching Art. Dreams do come true! Ms. Barr has been a resident of Arizona since 2000. She was raised on the Navajo Reservation in Northern New Mexico. Yá'át'ééh (Hello in Navajo) Ms.Barr graduated with Honors from Northern Arizona University with a Masters in Elementary Education. Before becoming a teacher worked for an ergonomic computer keyboard company out of Washington State for 15 years. Ms. Barr's dream of being a professional photographer came true in 2004 when she graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s in Studio Art. She opened her own business shortly after and loves capturing moments for her customers. Ms. Barr finds pleasure in teaching, crafting, dancing, reading, drawing, sports, camping, fishing, and most of all spending time with her son Levi.

brandie.barr@lemanacademy.org


CHRIS HERALD 5th - 8th GRADE MUSIC TEACHER

My name is Christopher Herald, and I am excited to be teaching music at Leman Academy of Excellence this year! My musical background is as a professional saxophonist in jazz and classical music. I've taught in a wide variety of settings, from beginning music lessons to high school, to college music classes. I’m from Ohio but moved out to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona, where I earned my Doctor of Musical Arts degree in saxophone. When I am not teaching or playing music, I am out running on Tucson’s beautiful (and challenging) mountain trails with my partner Lily, and our Australian Shepherd. I also love learning languages and am passionate about plant-based nutrition.

christopher.herald@lemanacademy.org


NADENE NAPPI - 5th - 8th GRADE ART TEACHER

Ms. Nappi has been with Leman Academy since 2018. Ms. Nappi received her Master's Degree in Social Work and her Bachelor's of Science in Psychology. She has worked as a counselor/ caseworker for many populations such as the homeless, SMl , domestic violence victims, substance abuse clients, and children suffering from post-traumatic stress. Ms. Nappi has experience teaching art therapy group to children ranging from six to eighteen years old. Ms. Nappi adores teaching in a school setting since she is able to provide a safe, accepting, and wonder-filled environment. She might be a bit zany, but the scholars don't seem to mind too much.

Ms. Nappi enjoys playing video games, creating art, watching horror movies, and baking. She also loves spending time cultivating her garden and playing with her cat! Her perfect day consists of coffee, nachos, cat cuddles, and horror video games.

Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.
Alice replied, rather shyly, “I—I hardly know, Sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then." - Alice in Wonderland

nadene.nappi@lemanacademy.org

EMILY WARD - K-4th Grade MUSIC TEACHER

Mrs. Ward has had the pleasure of teaching General Music at Leman Oro Valley since 2018. She graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her Bachelor's in Music Education. In college, she professionally performed and taught throughout Arizona, California, and internationally in Sweden, Estonia and Latvia. Although Mrs. Ward is considered a vocalist, she has had over 10 years of instrumental experience. Throughout her teaching experience, she has discovered the joy and art of teaching K-4th grade music to scholars. “Music is an art, history, science, math, physical education, and language. It interrelates naturally within ALL our subjects at Leman. Music learning should be fun, engaging, and memorable. I have the best job! I see our scholar’s musical progress and share in their pains and triumphs throughout their first 5 years at Leman. In the process, I have the opportunity to watch these scholars grow into young educated musicians and be excited for the future of America.” Outside of the classroom Mrs. Ward enjoys watching community performances, reading a good book, roller skating, playing volleyball, or adventuring the outdoors with her husband and her two dogs: Molly and Tonks.

emily.ward@lemanacademy.org


Debora Bencomo - K-2nd grade Spanish Teacher

Deborah Bencomo started working with young children in 2009. She holds a Child Development Accredited certification from Pima Community College and a Bachelor of Applied Science degree with a focus on Child Development from Wayland Baptist University. She has a passion for teaching young children. Mrs.Bencomo has worked in different educational settings that include, schools, shelters, home groups, and organizations.Mrs.Bencomo is married and has a young daughter and, son which attends Leman Academy.

"I am delighted to be part of the Leman team, I work with amazing educators with a great heart for teaching."

deborah.bencomo@lemanacademy.org


Giovanna Toledo - 3rd-5th grade LATIN

Ms. Toledo is new to Leman Academy. She is a teacher with more than 7 years of experience. Prior to Leman, she worked as a Teacher at Basis Oro Valley Primary for 3 years. Before that she taught Art at Thatcher Elementary School and worked as a German Teacher in School Immaculata Concepcion, Chile. Ms. Toledo has a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology and a Bachelor's Degree in Education. Ms. Toledo, her husband, and her 3 daughters live in Marana, Az. They love to travel all around the world, in their long list of countries visited are Germany, Italy, England, France, China, Egypt, Japan, Greece, Scotland, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Canada, and Mexico. When Ms. Toledo is not working, she enjoys meeting with friends and planning playdates for her daughters. Sip a cup of coffee or snack on dark chocolate. " I am very excited to join this amazing community of Teachers and Families, I am looking forward to meeting you all and working together on our task to produce the leaders of tomorrow"

giovanna.toledo@lemanacademy.org


HOLLY BEDFORD - K-2nd Grade READING INTERVENTIONIST

Ms. Bedford graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Early Childhood Education. She has been educating young children for more than 20 years and is currently working as a Reading Intervention Teacher.  She considers herself very fortunate to be working with a dedicated staff who share the excitement of new learning!

Holly has lived in many different places around the country but likes the desert in Tucson the best.  She is passionate about her faith, her family, hiking, and of course, teaching children.

holly.bedford@lemanacademy.org


PAM SONG - 3rd - 5th grade Reading Interventionist

Mrs. Song is excited to start her first year at Leman Academy Oro Valley teaching second grade. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and upon graduation, she was able to return to the elementary school she attended as a scholar. Mrs. Song has taught scholars from 13 months of age up to 10th grade, but her favorite grade level is second grade. When she was not teaching full-time, she was a substitute teacher and an active volunteer in her children’s schools.

Mrs. Song, her husband, and three children have been blessed to have lived overseas for several years and enjoyed the experiences that they had. She has lived in Tucson for 4 years and looks forward to this year at Leman Academy. Mrs. Song has found her colleagues at Leman Academy Oro Valley to be very friendly and helpful and is excited to be able to teach the scholars she has this year.

pamela.song@lemanacademy.org


Debby Price - Math Interventionist

Welcome to Math Intervention!

Mrs. Price is thrilled to be serving as the Elementary Math Interventionist for Grades 3-5 at Leman Academy of Excellence. She believes that all children can learn given the chance, the tools and the encouragement to be successful. Her goal is to provide a nurturing and inviting atmosphere in which children can experience academic success through purposeful and challenging learning experiences.

Mrs.Price received her Bachelors of Business Administration/Accounting from the University of Oklahoma and began her professional career as a CPA auditor for a public accounting firm. After starting her family and staying home with two sons, she realized that her true calling was to become an elementary teacher. She received her education degree from the University of Texas-Arlington and began her teaching career in Texas as a 4th-grade teacher. After moving to Tucson with her family in 2004, she began teaching in the Amphi School district where she taught 5th grade for eight years and 3rd grade for the past six years.

Mrs. Price and her husband absolutely love where they live here in Oro Valley, Arizona! They enjoy hiking, cycling and camping in the mountains in a Sprinter Van. They have two grown sons. One lives in Tucson and works for the University of Arizona doing research in Diabetes. Her other son lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and their precious grandson.

debby.price@lemanacademy.org


KELLY VALENZUELA - Math Interventionist

Kelly Valenzuela joined Leman Academy, Oro Valley, August 2020. She is excited to be teaching 6th grade math and 8th grade Algebra this year. Her background is in civil engineering, but after raising her kids and trying substitute teaching, she discovered another fulfilling way to practice math and science. Kelly truly enjoys simplifying difficult concepts for her scholars and seeing them persevere through challenges. She seeks to build relationships with her scholars and their families throughout the year.

Kelly’s father was an A-10 pilot which meant a childhood of moving. She lived all over the United States and also overseas in Kenya, Africa and Suffold, England. Upon meeting her husband at Hughes Aircraft, she settled into Arizona living and has lived in Tucson for 28 years. She and her husband have 3 young adult children. Her hobbies include cheering on her Auburn Tigers as well as visiting her kids.

Kelly has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Auburn University and will be completing her Arizona Secondary Teaching Certification in December of 2021.

kelly.valenzuela@lemanacademy.org


Michelle Fenn - Speech Pathologist

Michelle Fenn considers herself a Tucson native, although she lived in Jacksonville, Florida for 5 years. She and her family returned home in the summer of 2020. She and her husband have been together for 14 years and have 3 wonderful boys. Michelle enjoys swimming, reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Michelle has a masters degree in Clinical Speech Language Pathology from Northern Arizona University and a bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from University of Arizona. She has been working with children as a speech therapist for 10 years. She has extensive experience with children with autism spectrum disorders, emotional disabilities, and various speech and language disorders. Michelle believes that communication is one of the most important skills that anyone could ever possess, as it is the key to human interaction.

michelle.fenn@lemanacademy.org


Wendy Koosmann - School Psychologist

Dr. Wendy Koosmann is a Certified School Psychologist in Arizona, a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, and a licensed Psychologist in Arizona. She has served in the capacity as a school psychologist at Leman Academy since 2019. Dr. Koosmann chose to work at Leman Academy because Leman prioritizes the parent-teacher-scholar relationship which is so important in the educational process.

Dr. Koosmann has a history of teaching at a local junior high school and neuropsychological assessment as a lab technician. Prior to serving at Leman Academy, she was a school psychologist at a local high school. She has a Master's Degree in Teaching and Teacher Education as well as a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in School Psychology, both from the University of Arizona. She has lived in Tucson all her life but enjoys traveling the world often. Dr. Koosmann also enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren.

wendy.koosmann@lemanacademy.org


Alison Passeck - Floater Teacher

Ms. Passeck spent 20 years as a Financial Advisor, educating adults and their young adult children the art of investing in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in addition to planning for retirement, college, and estate planning. While working with the young adults she developed a passion for their enthusiasm toward learning and decided to return to school herself and obtain a Masters Degree in Secondary Education. This she completed in May of 2017 from Grand Canyon University in Arizona. Ms. Passeck has been a Guest Teacher at Leman Academy of Excellence Oro Valley since October of 2020 and for the 2022/23 school year has been assigned the role of Floater Teacher also referred to as the Permanent Guest Teacher.

Prior to coming to Leman Academy Ms. Passeck was a Long Term Substitute Teacher at Changemaker High School/The Institute for Transformative Education in Tucson beginning in October of 2017 thru March of 2020. She also worked with the Mexicayotl Academy Primary School which is affiliated with Changemaker High School as part of their K-20 campus in Tucson.

Since her early 20's, Alison has participated in animal rescue and worked with several organizations in upstate New York hailing most recently for the Rochester area. Since relocating to Arizona she has fostered large breed dogs through Pima Animal Care Center, PACC. She has also adopted medical needs cats and senior cats that otherwise might be difficult to place from PACC. Working with equine rescue in New York and Arizona as well as being a former member of the Countyline Riders of Catalina with whom she was a volunteer for the Tucson Rodeo Parade in 2011 and 2012 as Foot Marshall on the parade route. She rescued several horses from various race tracks and adopted two horses from an equine rescue in Mammoth Arizona.

Alison and her husband live in Oro Valley with their menagerie of dogs and cats.

alison.passeck@lemanacademy.org


Pauline Corral - Instructional Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

 

pauline.corral@lemanacademy.org


Jen Rogers - Instructional Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

 

jennifer.rogers@lemanacademy.org


Beth Mygatt - Kinder Aide

Mrs Beth was born and raised in Central Illinois. After getting her college degree in Radiology, she married her high school sweetheart. They now have two beautiful boys who proudly attend Leman Academy.

As a family they enjoy hiking, traveling and just being together. Mrs Beth loves helping scholars achieve their goals and hopes to have a positive impact on each little life.

beth.mygatt@lemanacademy.org


Noemi Beko - Kinder Aide

Mrs. Noemi Beko was a Financial Supervisor for ALTCS, but when her daughters started school she decided to work only part time in school settings. She worked for MUSD as the Migrant Education Program Specialist serving the migrant students Pre-K to 12 and their families for four year. Now this is her 5th year working as an Instructional Assistant for Leman Academy Oro Valley which she really enjoys. To her, one of the most rewording things is to see the scholars grow in knowledge and stature.

Mrs. Beko was born an raise in Mexico City, but moved to this beautiful country 32 years ago. She absolutely loves Tucson! She's married and has two beautiful teenager daughters who are her life and a lovely Shih Tzu Dog named Blossom.

Mrs. Beko enjoys reading, listening to Christian music, and traveling with her family.

noemi.beko@lemanacademy.org


Linsay Hernon - K-4th PE teacher

Ms. Hernon has been an educator since 2003 and with Leman Academy of Excellence since 2019. For the majority of her teaching experience she has been a classroom teacher, but in 2020 she transitioned to a specialist's position as an Elementary PE teacher. She received her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Simmons College and her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Arizona. In her spare time Ms. Hernon can be found outdoors running or indoors baking cupcakes and cheering on the Boston Red Sox.

linsay.hernon@lemanacademy.org


Tammy Ramos - Middle School PE

Mrs. Ramos graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with a B.A. in PE: Athletic Training. She went on to earn a multiple subject teaching credential, and then taught various grades in elementary schools, with some guest teaching mixed in while she was raising her son and daughter. Eventually, she earned a PE credential as well, and is happy to be putting it to good use here at Leman Oro Valley.

Having spent all of her life in California, Mrs. Ramos moved to the Tucson area in April of 2021, when her husband became the high school pastor at OVCN. She is enjoying Arizona, and getting to experience new places and things around her new state. When not at school, she can be found volunteering with the youth group or in the nursery at church, visiting her daughter in college in San Diego, CA, or taking a class at the gym. She also enjoys being at home with her husband, son, and wonderful dog, Cisco.

tammy.ramos@lemanacademy.org


Edisa Salcido - Food Service Coordinator

 

 

 

 

 

 

edisa.salcido@lemanacademy.org


AMELIA HAYNE - FOOD SERVICE STAFF

 

 

 

 

 

amelia.hayne@lemanacademy.org


Brandy Fimbres - Afterbell Director

Miss Brandy was in the customer service field for many years as a flight attendant and then administrative assistant before realizing she preferred working with children.

As a single mom of two boys, she became a part of the Leman team in 2017 at the Marana campus in order to spend more time with her youngest son who is a Leman student. In 2019 she was promoted to the Director of Afterbell at LOV(e) where they both transferred to. Miss Brandy's goal is to serve each of our families by leading the amazing Afterbell team in creating a warm, loving, fun and learning enriched environment in Afterbell. Please reach out to her with any questions or concerns regarding our LOV(e) Afterbell Program.

brandy.fimbres@lemanacademy.org


Tonya Kisinger - Afterbell Staff & Kinder Aide

Tonya KissingerMrs. Tonya was born and raised in Central Illinois. She later moved to Georgia where she met and married her amazing husband in 2013. They now have one wonderful child who proudly attends Leman Academy. As a family, they enjoy being active outdoors and spending time together. Mrs. Tonya loves working closely with Leman scholars and enjoys getting to know them better as both a kinder aid and as part of the Afterbell team. She hopes to make a positive impact on the lives of this young generation.

tonya.kisinger@lemanacademy.org


Beth Mygatt - Afterbell Staff & Kinder Aide

 

 

 

 

 

 

beth.mygatt@lemanacademy.org


Jessica Persons - Afterbell Staff

Miss Jess has always worked with children in some capacity. She has volunteered through the Humane society of Southern Arizona as a children's camp counselor and spent 2 years volunteering at Casa De Los Ninos. After college she spent 8 years in pediatric medicine as a CMA working under 5 pediatricians in the state of Oregon. She is currently back in school finishing her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Grand Canyon University. She absolutely loves spending her time with children! They have and always will be her passion. She adores their whimsical, innocent, and silly approach to life. Their energy energizes her, and she believes she learns just as much from them as they learn from her (if not more!). She feels honored to be a part of the Leman Academy team and loves coming to work every day!

jessica.persons@lemanacademy.org


Eva Quick - Afterbell & Lunch Staff

Ms. Eva was born and raised in Utah but moved around a lot as a child, living in Texas and California before moving to Tucson in 1991. Ms. Eva is a graduate of Canyon del Oro High School and attended Pima Community College. Ms. Eva has been active with the Leman PTO and as a volunteer at LOV(E) since it opened and now has 3 scholars here. She started as a lunch / recess monitor for the 20/21 school year and also joined the After Bell team for the 21/22 school year. She enjoys getting to know the scholars and helping in anyway she can, and feels blessed to be part of such an amazing team.

eva.quick@lemanacademy.org


Kate Tayyeb - Afterbell Staff

Mrs. Kate discovered she loves working with children as a nanny while studying English at a community college in California. She was born and raised in Pleasanton, California, which is a part of the Bay Area and only 40 minutes from San Francisco. She moved to Tucson in 2015 to attend the U of A in order to study physics and mathematics. She has enjoyed encouraging a love of learning in Leman scholars since 2019 in science, math and art by creating innovative lesson plans and camp activities. Mrs. Kate has become a valuable Afterbell team leader and has created many strong bonds with Leman scholars and parents in Afterbell. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her high school sweetheart that she married in 2021, and she also enjoys reading, writing, cooking and baking.

katherine.tayyeb@lemanacademy.org


MONICA VALENCIA - HEALTH COORDINATOR

Mrs. Valencia graduated from Pima Community College with a degree to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). For 14 years she has worked as a school nurse in both elementary and high school settings. Prior to school nursing, Mrs. Valencia’s career was in the medical field specializing in Surgical Dermatology, ENT, Allergy Nursing and Orthopedics. In the summer she escapes the summer heat and enjoys working as a summer camp nurse in Prescott, Arizona.

Mrs. Valencia and her husband Manny have been married for 21 years, and they have two wonderful daughters. They enjoy spending time together going to the movies, shopping, bike riding, going to various sporting events and traveling.

mvalencia@lemanacademy.org


Scott Edwards - Facilities Coordinator

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott.Edwards@lemanacademy.org


Ed Kimmel - Facilities Coordinator PT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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