Our Staff

Oro Valley, Arizona


BETHANY PAPAJOHN For over twenty years, Mrs. Papajohn has been committed to the education and development of children. She has taught children in elementary and special education, believing that each child is a unique and valued learner. She has served the Leman Marana community as Vice Principal and Principal. As the newly appointed principal of Leman Academy of Excellence, Oro Valley, she looks forward to serving the community of scholars, staff and families; partnering with them to grow an exceptional learning environment that emphasizes exploration, rigor, joy, encouragement, creativity, and community. She has received her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.



Gayle MacklinMrs. Macklin has been in education approaching 20 years, as a teacher, curriculum developer and a school leader in the states and overseas. She holds a Bachelor of Education from Trinity International University and a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership from Concordia University.

Mrs. Macklin pursued teaching, as a second career following a successful business career. Passionate about education, meeting the needs of all scholars, to ensure all scholars were exceeding their potential was the motivation for her to return to school and become a teacher. As a teacher she taught elementary, middle school Language Arts, highly qualified in Reading, Writing, Social Studies and endorsed as a Second Language Teacher and Special Education.

The past seven years Mrs. Macklin has worked in Abu Dhabi, UAE in the national reform as a teacher, curriculum developer and a school leader. Her last post was Sr. Vice Principal K-12 Curriculum and Instruction for an accredited American School. As one journey ends, another begins with Mrs. Macklin joining Oro Valley Leman Academy as our Vice Principal. She feels honored and blessed to be working with Mrs. Papajohn, continuing the success of the school, working together in one place with limitless potential.

Mrs. Macklin and her husband Duane have five children (Amanda, Meredith, Jessica, Sheridan and Grady), three sons in laws and three amazing granddaughters. The future holds travel, both near and far to add to our blog, Where in the World are Duane and Gayle?



Dee Etter
Mrs. Etter originally from Iowa has been in Tucson over 30 years, so feels like a native. Her professional career includes 34 plus years of working in many different capacities in education. Prior to accepting the position at Leman Academy of Excellence, she was a classroom teacher and an assistant administrator in a local district for 28 years. During that time she was allowed a leave by her district to participate (facilitate) in an NSF (National Science Foundation) to improve mathematics in surrounding Tucson schools, as well as teaching math methods in the college of Ed. In 2014 she retired and worked part time for Northern Arizona University supervising student teachers. Mrs. Etter received her undergraduate degree from Truman University and her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.

It is with great pride the she has become part of the Oro Valley Leman Academy of Excellence team. She is honored to be in this position, and is looking forward to assisting Mrs. Papajohn in making this an unforgettable school year. It is her uncompromising view that all students can learn given a positive learning atmosphere that welcomes exploration and enhances student confidence. One of her commitments to the community is to look for and celebrate successes.


JACKIE TODD - Scholar Support/Assistant to the Principal

Ms. Todd has worked at Leman Marana this past year as our Kinder teacher and our Interventionist. We are so pleased to be having her lead the Kinder team in Oro Valley this year! Jackie has been an educator of young minds since 1986 and comes to us with vast knowledge regarding teaching young learners to be successful readers. She has the beautiful combination of calmness and enthusiasm needed to be an effective Kindergarten teacher!


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


Chondra Babb

Ms. Babb hails from Queens, New York and is a recent transplant to 3rTucson via New Jersey and Austin, Texas!

She has lived in Tucson for a little over a year and loves the sunshine and hot temps!
She has served as an Administrative Assistant in both corporate America, and the University level.
She is mom to two sweet daughters nineteen and fourteen. She is excited and looks forward to bringing warmth and experience to the Leman Oro Valley family.



Kelly Cardwell
Originally from Michigan, Mrs. Cardwell moved to the Tucson area in 1996 where she received her Associates of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education. She later graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science where she earned the honor of Summa Cum Laude. Mrs. Cardwell has worked in education since 2012 and comes to Leman Academy after working with the operations department of another local elite charter school. Mrs. Cardwell is looking forward to deepening her knowledge and understanding of school operations, educational leadership, and is also eager to make positive impacts within the school and local community. She is delighted to be a part of the Leman Academy family.


Dalila Suarez - AFTERBELL LEAD

Shawuntiel Johnson - AFTERBELL LEAD

Shawuntiel Johnson


Maria Grijalva - AFTERBELL

Maria Grijalva


Brika Rickard - AFTERBELL

Brika Rickard



Mrs. Nugent opened the Leman Marana Preschool and is joining us to open the Leman Oro Valley Preschool this August. Nadine has served in a preschool licensing facility since 2008 and has one of her own kiddos in our preschool! Nadine brings the knowledge and expertise needed to open a new and quality preschool.



Shelby Romero
Ms. Romero is a high school graduate of Mountain View here in Tucson and she earned a Bachelor’s in Organizational Studies from Arizona State University after completing an Associate’s degree at Eastern Arizona College. She attended Eastern Arizona College on a cheerleading scholarship and because of that, loves school spirit and a sense of pride in where she comes from. Although she graduated from Arizona State she will always root for her home team - WILDCATS! She has formerly taught 1st grade but is excited and delighted to have an opportunity to help shape even younger minds.

Faith and family are most important to her and she is happy along with her husband to announce the birth of their first child, a girl, Elyana.

Her favorite thing about teaching is to be a part of a child's educational success and to help make a positive difference in their lives. She is very excited and blessed to start on this new journey with Leman Academy of Excellence!



Cindy Coles will be co-teaching in the Adventurers room. She has been teaching Preschool for over 15 years. Many of those years she spent teaching special needs preschoolers. Cindy loves working with the little ones and is excited about being apart of Leman Academy. She is honored to be working with you're amazing children and wants her class to be a fun, safe and loving learning environment. When Cindy isn't teaching she loves to spend time with her husband, three sons and grand babies!

Let the Adventures begin...



Hilary Benitez
Ms. Hillary grew up in a military family and experienced living in multiple states throughout her life. She lived in Tucson for six years. When she graduated from Central Christian College in McPherson, Kansas, with a Bachelors degree in Psychology, she decided to move back to Tucson. She began her experience in multiple positions as a nanny and working the after school program at the YMCA. With a passion to work with children, she began working in behavioral health as a Case Manager and later transitioned to a position as a parent educator. This position provided her experience in working with parents to encourage early childhood development and for the parent to be the most influential teacher for their children to prepare for school. Through these experiences, she realized her passion for educating children to grow and learn. She loves to travel with her husband, take long walks/hikes and working out, enjoys reading a good book, and spending time with her two cats and dog.



Hilary Benitez
Ms. Sharkey was born and grew up here in Tucson. She earned her Early Childhood Education degree in 2018 and has an American Sign Language Associates degree. She has been an active member of the Leman Academy preschool through volunteering her time in the classrooms. She enjoys spending time with her family and daughter who is a Leman Scholar. As a family, they love gold panning, camping, caving, and boating at various lakes around Arizona. She is honored to be a part of the Leman Academy team and is enthusiastic about working with the scholars and families.










Denise Hays
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.


Carolyn Bondi - KINDERGARTEN Teacher

Carolyn Bondi
I’m a local gal, the first born in my family, and raised in the little town of Oracle, AZ; located just north of Tucson.

I graduated from Canyon Del Oro High School and hold a bachelors degree from University of Arizona. After spending many years serving in the industry of Sales, Marketing and Event Planning, my husband and greatest supporter affirmed for me the calling I felt had been placed on my heart ~ to serve our next generations with all that is within me. As I pursued this calling, doors of opportunity and favor opened in the most unexpected and exciting ways!

In 2017, I successfully completed student teaching through the Pima Community College post-baccalaureate program to earn my certification to teach elementary education.

I look forward to a beautiful year of connecting with our sweet Kinder-scholars and their families, sharing my joy and passion for life, and lighting a spark of love for learning in little hearts and minds!


Sherri Hamdan - KINDERGARTEN Teacher

Sherri Hamdan
Ms. Hamdan brings 13 years of experience as an educator to Leman Academy. She holds a Bachelor in Elementary Education from the State University of New York (Oswego). Her career as a teacher includes preschool, a bilingual teacher for Head Start and as an elementary teacher. She is excited for the new year working with her scholars and their families, sharing learning through joy, care and enthusiasm.



Elka Swingle
A Tucson native, Ms. Swingle graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech-Language and Hearing Sciences with an emphasis in Early Childhood Development in 2003. Elka has served as a school-based speech-language pathologist, a professional photographer, a middle- and high-school photography and graphic design teacher, and a kindergarten teacher.

Elka has lived in Southern California, Washington state, and Washington D.C. area, but has enjoyed settling back in her home state of sunny Arizona. Her most exciting adventures have been with her two sons, Tre and Paxton, going on fishing/camping trips and spending time in the White Mountains. She also enjoys cooking recipes from The Pioneer Woman, reading funny memoirs and educational or child development books, visiting the county fair, watching her sons play sports, and trying (unsuccessfully) to keep her potted plants alive. She so enjoys teaching that she plans fun learning projects to do with her boys at home, and is constantly on the look-out for quality children’s books to add to her overflowing collection.

Elka has loved working with children of all ages in so many capacities over the past two decades, and is thrilled to be joining the Leman Academy Oro Valley team of staff and families to guide these precious scholars toward a love of learning.



Natalie Yuen
Ms. Yuen graduated from Cedarville University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Art. She taught elementary school for five years in Ohio before moving. Her hobbies are reading, gallery browsing, and raising her son.

Having recently returned to professional teaching, she is looking forward to meeting all the wonderful people in the Leman Academy family and sharing in the joys of educating again.



Gretchen Ellwood
Mrs. Ellwood, a Tucson native, is a proud graduate of the University of Arizona. During her time at the UA, she studied Speech, Hearing, and Language Sciences while competing as a jumper on the Track & Field team. Upon graduation, she married her high school sweetheart and accepted a teaching position working with young children. Mrs. Ellwood has spent the past three years active in the world of Early Childhood Education while simultaneously pursuing her teacher certification through Pima Community College. She will serve as a Kindergarten teacher during the 2017-2018 school year as the final step of the PCC program.

Aside from teaching, she says her greatest joys in life are faith and family; both have shaped her into the teacher she is today and provide her with goals to strive toward. She is excited and honored to be a part of the exceptional team of teachers Leman has to offer.



MARGARET PURVISMrs. Purvis is one of our founding teachers at the Leman Marana school. She has brought joy to our campus for two years now with her positive attitude and enduring smile. She holds the honor of being our first recipient of the Dr. Leman Award. This award goes to a staff member who exemplifies what it means to be a top-notch Leman Academy Staff member. She also brings more than 25 years of teaching experience! We are so glad to have her joining the team in Oro Valley and leading the first grade team!


Angela Gallo - First GRADE

Angela Gallo is enthusiastic to be part of the Leman Academy of Excellence community. She graduated from CSU, Chico with a BA in Child Development and minor in Studio Art. She received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials in Elementary Education and has been teaching for over 20 years. Her passion for teaching scholars has begun with preschoolers, teaching grades from kindergarten through 6th graders as well as being in administration as an Instructional Coach. She has found her love with Young learners, especially first graders. Their imagination, creativity, and eagerness to learn is always a delight to be around. She has high expectations of all scholars and engages them in a fun nurturing environment. She believes that families are essential and the primary component for each scholar to be successful to work as a team. In her spare time Angela loves spending time with her family, traveling, and enjoying the natural beauty of the outdoors. She is very excited to help your child be successful and enjoy learning this upcoming year!


Laura Smithson - First GRADE

Laura Smithson
Laura is originally from New England. She moved to Tucson after graduating with a BS in Health Education in 2004. Since moving to Tucson, Laura has worked in foster care services for Arizona's foster children. After the birth of her daughter, she enjoyed being a stay at home Mom. Avery now attends Leman Academy Oro Valley. Laura was an instructional assistant at Leman for the 2017-2018 school year. She is excited to further her education journey teaching first grade.

Laura is an avid Red Sox and New England Patriots fan. She enjoys spending time with her family and watching her daughter's dancing. She also loves to cook and is passionate about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, especially concerning children. She hopes to bring some of that knowledge to the classroom.


Adrienne Johnson - First GRADE

Adrienne Johnson
Mrs. Johnson joins LAE for a second year with Leman Academy, having taught First Grade at our Marana campus last year. Mrs. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Colorado College and a Master Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado. During her Masters program, Mrs. Johnson become strongly influenced by the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education and attended an International Conference for educators held in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

As an educator she brings experience and is passionate about teaching to the whole child and has fully embraced the Classical curriculum taught at Leman Academy.



Eileen Aguilera
Mrs. Aguilera was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She is a true desert rat. She graduated from the University of Arizona, earning a degree in Elementary Education with a math and science focus. You might call her a math maniac! She served in educational leadership for over a decade. Her faith and family guide her life goals.

Eileen loves to dance, sing, cook and eat with her family. She has a wonderful hubby, Marco, and 3 grown children, a beautiful granddaughter, and a dog named Daisy.



Holly Bedford
Originally from California, Mrs. Bedford graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Elementary Education. Having raised four children, she began her teaching career in 1996, and just completed seventeen years as a 2nd grade teacher in a neighboring school district.

Holly has lived in many different places around the country, but likes the desert in Tucson the best. If you know Holly, you know that she is passionate about her faith, her family, bundt cakes, yard work, and of course, teaching children. She is very excited about joining the team at Leman!



SARAH TUCKERMrs. Tucker joined Leman Marana this past year in our second grade and will be leading the second grade team in Oro Valley this year. 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.



Susan Scott
Mrs. Scott loves to teach!  So much so that the philosophy of Leman Academy of Excellence, and their focus on the school-family connection, has lured her back to the classroom. Susan graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities Education. She has taught kindergarten, first and third grades. Twenty years of her career were spent teaching third grade in one of our neighboring school districts.

Mrs. Scott and her husband Tom have three wonderful grown daughters and two awesome grandsons!  They are active in their church, love spending time with their family, and travel to Kauai as often as possible!

Mrs. Scott is looking forward to being a part of Leman Academy in Oro Valley and building strong relationships with her scholars and their families!

Maryanna Wheeler - THIRD GRADE

Maryanna Wheeler
Maryanna graduated from Southeastern University in 2008 with a Bachelors in Elementary Education K-6. She had the opportunity to teach both Kindergarten and First grade. Two years later, she moved into a full time Children pastorship. She spent four years at a church in FL before she moved to the Tucson area to work at Victory Worship Center. There she met and married her amazing husband Bryan.

After 7 years of full time ministry, her and her husband transitioned to GA, but missing the mountains and their Tucson family they are glad to be back. She is looking forward to stepping back into the classroom.


BRANDIE BARR - Third Grade Teacher

Brandie Barr
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 Bachelors in Studio Art. She opened her own business shortly after and loves capturing moments for her customers. MS. Barr is overly joyed and excited to begin the next chapter of her story at Leman Academy of Excellence!



Kimberly Danley
Mrs. Danley is a native Arizonan and graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a Minor in Social Studies, in 1993.  She has twelve years of classroom experience in a variety of grade levels, with several additional years spent in administrative roles.  Her experience was divided by nine years spent homeschooling her triplets; Kayla, Andrew and Connor, using the Classical Education model!

Kimberly and her husband, James, have been married for twenty-five years, this December. A highlight for Kimberly was when the Danley family was privileged to spend one year volunteering in a children’s home in Ukraine.  She returned to the classroom in 2013.  For fun she enjoys singing, hiking, cooking and eating.



ROBIN TAPIAMrs. Tapia taught fourth grade this past year in our Leman Marana school and loved it! Robin has been an elementary educator for 33 years! She brings such mastery to integrating all of the subjects together in an engaging way for our scholars. Her scholars enjoy the integration of art and theater throughout their school day. We are thrilled to have her joining our Oro Valley team of teachers and leading the fourth grade team!



Caryn Wall
Mrs. Caryn Wall is a graduate of Northern Arizona University who earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 1997. She graduated with honors and was acknowledged as an Outstanding Senior Scholar. She previously taught 5th and 6th grades.

Caryn has spent the past fourteen years raising her three children, Caleigh, Cooper and Cameron. During this time, she also homeschooled her two sons and volunteered at her church in various roles. She spent the past two years as a K-8 substitute teacher and served as a PTO Executive Board member (VP and President) at her children’s school. She highly values the importance of serving her community as a volunteer and encourages her children to serve as well. She and her family enjoy camping, tennis, travel, home improvement projects, spending time with friends, and their two dogs.

She is thrilled to be joining the Leman Academy family and looks forward to creating an enriching and encouraging environment for her scholars.


Guadalupe Holguin - FOURTH GRADE

Guadalupe Holguin
Originally from Texas, but has now been in Tucson for the the last 7 years. She is prior military (Air Force) where she used to work in a medical laboratory. Has Bachelors in Management with a minor in Human Resources from University of Phoenix and is currently working on her Teaching Certificate through the Post-Baccalaureate Education program at Pima Community College.

She has a wonderful daughter which she homeschooled using the classical education model before attending Leman Oro Valley last school year. Ms. Holguin worked as a Sunday school teacher in the past and fell in love with teaching at LOV after substituting last year. She is passionate about children and ecstatic to be a part of LOV family both as a teacher and a parent.

On her free time she loves going to the gym, hiking, baking, shopping, going to the movies, traveling and spending time with family and friends


Meagan Holcomb - FIFTH GRADE Teacher

Meagan Holcomb
Mrs. Holcomb is excited to embark on the first year of her teaching journey at Leman Academy. She has been serving the educational community through volunteer work and tutoring for over 10 years and in 2016 she gained her Master of Arts in Education. Mrs. Holcomb and her family of 6 are brand new members of the Oro Valley area and can’t wait to hike, bike, and explore Arizona!


Barry Burnett - FIFTH GRADE Teacher

BARRY BURNETTMr. Burnett has taught children and young people for over 20 years. He was born in Texas, but raised on the Amazon River in Brazil. His last years have been spent teaching in the Dominican Republic, he speaks three languages and has travelled through most of Latin America. Thereafter, he and his wife came to Tucson to be close to their children, his son, Erik, an optometrist and a captain in the Air Force. His oldest daughter, Gabriela, is entering her second year at the University of Arizona and his youngest daughter, Brianna, is a junior at a local high school. In addition, his wife, Sonia, works at the University of Arizona foundation. He is very passionate about working with children and looks forward to helping his scholars learn and discover the world around them as well as explore new frontiers as they learn their age level subject materials.


Ann Franklin - FIFTH GRADE Teacher

Ann Franklin
Mrs. Franklin, a native Phoenician, she grew up in the Valley of the Sun. A graduate from Grand Canyon University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, with Minors in History and French. Mrs. Franklin recently relocated from Texas and is excited to join the LOV team. An expert in elementary instruction with seventeen years experiences in first, second, fourth and fifth grade. Married to her best friend for 30 years, she and her husband just relocated from living in Texas. They have two children, both University of Arizona Wildcats.



Erik Gutierrez
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.


Andrea Williams - Sixth Grade Math & Science Teacher

Andrea Williams
Mrs. Williams is originally from southwest Louisiana, but recently moved to Arizona after living in Idaho for 16 years.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas, with a major in Mass Communication/Journalism and minors in Art and Business Administration.  After college, she worked in an advertising agency as an account coordinator and proofreader for a number of years before becoming a stay-at-home mom.  Prior to moving to Arizona, Mrs. Williams served as a substitute teacher in the classroom and in extended resource education at the elementary level. Last year Mrs. Williams served as a Guest Teacher at Leman Academy and loved the classical education model and the caring community. 

In her free time, Andrea enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, playing games, crafting with her daughter, and cheering on her boys in their basketball games.  She and her husband, Jason, have been married for 17 years, and have three children.


Monique Durbin - Sixth Grade Math & Science Teacher

ELIZABETH PIAZZA - Seventh Grade Math & Science Teacher

Elizabeth Piazza
Mrs. Piazza graduated from the University of California at Davis with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. She received her Secondary Teaching Certificate through the Post-Baccalaureate Education program at Pima Community College. She is mother to four wonderful children (three boys ages 16, 14, & 8, one girl age 10). Her experience teaching includes computer software training, tutoring mathematics and economics, a few years spent home schooling her children, as well as substitute teaching.

When she has free time, she loves running, biking, skiing, cooking, or gardening. Mrs. Piazza was born in Colorado, then raised equally in New York and California. Tucson has been her home for the past sixteen years. What she is looking forward to most about teaching 6th grade at Leman Academy of Excellence is working with the amazing staff and getting to know each of her 6th grade scholars!


CALLIE HIME - Seventh Grade Math & Science Teacher

Callie Hime
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.


Amanda Bryant - Sixth & Seventh Grade English Language Arts & History Teacher

Amanda Bryant
Amanda Bryant has been an Oro Valley resident since 2015, when she and her husband and two kids relocated from Hot Springs, Arkansas. Mrs. Bryant graduated from University of Arkansas with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism, with an emphasis in public relations, and a minor in professional and technical writing. She received her Secondary Teaching Certificate through the Post-Baccalaureate Education program at Pima Community College.

With more than 15 years’ of real-world experience, Mrs. Bryant brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding to the classroom. Prior to joining the staff at Leman Academy, Mrs. Bryant was the owner of a marketing, advertising and communications business for more than four years. And was also a former communications director at an Arkansas Chamber of Commerce and an account executive at a public relations agency in St. Louis, Missouri.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family. They enjoy being outside, hiking, biking, pool days and going to the park. Movie nights and game nights are always a hit. She also enjoys cooking and reading.

Her goal is to be a mentor, confidant and friend to her students. She wants to share her passion of writing with her students and help them understand that writing is more than just a class, but a life lesson that they will always use and need.


Anitha Nadiger - Seventh Grade

Anitha Nadiger



Jill Coulter
Mrs. Coulter is coming to Leman Academy with over thirty years of experience in teaching the Visual Arts. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education, as well as receiving her MLA from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) with an emphasis in Humanities. Mrs. Coulter’s post graduate studies at The Pennsylvania State University focused on Art Museum Education and Visual Arts Curriculum Development.

Although her young Border Collie keeps her busy as the puppy learns basic skills, Mrs. Coulter volunteers and evaluates future teams for Animal Assisted Therapy with Pet Partners International (mainly hospitals), Gabriel’s Angels (working with children at risk) and Read to a Dog programs as well.

Mrs. Coulter looks forward to sharing the “World of Art” with the Leman Academy Community.


Emily Ward - Music Teacher

Emily Ward
Originally from Tucson, Emily Ward received her bachelor's in Music Education from Northern Arizona University with an emphasis in Choral Music. There, she had many professional opportunities to perform choral music both nationally and internationally. She finished her degree student teaching in the Vail School District where she had the chance to teach at Cienega High School and Esmond Station K-8.

After receiving her degree, her goal was to continue teaching in Tucson to be closer to family. Emily Ward is happily married to her husband, Alex, and has 3 loving dogs. She loves singing, listening to music, painting, traveling, reading, hiking, and board games.


Leslie "Christie" Pearce - Athletic Director

Christie Pearce
Mrs. Pearce holds a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi. She also earned her personal training certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Mrs. Pearce has 15 years in the health and fitness industry. She is passionate about health and fitness especially so in our youth. Physical Education was a natural next step in Mrs. Pearce’s career. She enjoys her time with all of her scholars teaching and encouraging them in how to be both healthy and active.


Shasta Crabb - Exceptional Scholar Teacher K-3rd

Mrs. Crabb is excited for another year at Leman Academy of Excellence! She is a proud University of Arizona graduate with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Sociology. After graduating from the U of A, Mrs. Crabb partnered with NCS Pearson to develop curriculum and testing materials for various states including Arizona, Florida, Virginia, and Washington. In 2002, she moved to Michigan to begin her career working directly with students in a school setting. She studied at Central Michigan University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education, majoring in English and Special Education. She has also completed reading specialist courses at Grand Valley State University. Mrs. Crabb has taught in a variety of settings for the past sixteen years ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade.


Sherry Cameron Exceptional Scholar Teacher 4th-7th

Sherry Cameron
Ms. Cameron up in Ohio and went to college at Bowling Green State University. I have taught special-education and elementary education for many different grade levels. I have a son, Morgan, and a daughter, Hayley. They were born and raised in Arizona and love it here, as do I. Along with teaching, I enjoy traveling, hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time with family and friends.


Noemi Beko - Exceptional Scholar Services Instructional Assistant

Noemi Bekos


Nadene Nappi - Exceptional Scholar Services Instructional Assistant

Nadene is originally from New Jersey, but moved to Arizona for her undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona. She received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology, and is currently half way through her Masters of Social Work program. She has worked with many populations in the behavioral health field such as substance abuse clients, domestic violence survivors, homeless individuals and children. She has certifications in CPR, Mandated Reporting, and is a member of the PSI CHI International Honor Society for Psychology. She has a great interest in human behavior and cognition along with cats, tacos, horror movies, and video games preferably all at the same time.



Michelle Oler - Exceptional Scholar Services Instructional Assistant


Theresa Jakubik Hawkins - Exceptional Scholar Services Instructional Assistant




Caty Prieto-Garcia
Born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, Caty graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Her passion for teaching made her go back to school to obtain her bilingual elementary teacher’s certification. She was a dual language (Spanish/English) teacher in Texas, and an elementary Spanish teacher in Michigan.

Her husband’s job moved her to Arizona. She has two amazing kids, Santiago and Sofia and two great schnauzer dogs, Pancho and Chiquis. She loves reading, cooking Mexican food, exercising, dancing, listening to Latin music, traveling, and a good cup of coffee with friends.

Education has always been in her heart. Having the opportunity of watching her scholars learn and grow is priceless to her. Caty fell in love with Leman Academy’s philosophy and core values, and is very excited to be part of this teaching adventure at Leman Academy Oro Valley.


Lorena De Frias - Latin & Logic Teacher

Lorena De Frias
Ms. DeFrias joins LOV as the Latin Teacher for Grades 3rd -7th. Her education preparing her for this role is a testament to a life-learner. She holds a Bachelors of Philosophy from Michigan State University, a Masters of Philosophy from the University of Memphis, and a Masters of Legal Studies from James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona. Ms. DeFrias first teaching role was during her Graduate Teaching Assistantship while at the University of Memphis. Now at LOV she is focused on helping students to develop critical thinking skills in Language, Arts and Literature, expanding and contributing ideas supporting the Classical Curriculum Model.


MONICA VALENCIA - Health Office Coordinator

Monica Valencia

Mrs. Valencia graduated from Pima Community College with a degree to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). For 12 years she has word as a school nurse in both elementary and high 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 19 years, and they have two wonderful daughters, both scholars at LOV. They enjoy spending time together playing games, going to the movies, shopping, bike riding, going to various sporting events and traveling.
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Mrs. Valencia graduated from Pima Community College with a degree to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). For 12 years she has word as a school nurse in both elementary and high 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 19 years, and they have two wonderful daughters, both scholars at LOV. They enjoy spending time together playing games, going to the movies, shopping, bike riding, going to various sporting events and traveling.


Gordon Carpenter, Jr. - Facilities Coordinator

Gordon Carpenter, Jr.
12 years experience in facilities, in and around the Tucson and Marana area. Born and raised in Northwest Tucson. I enjoy building Model RC vehicles, PC's or anything else that will keep my hands busy. I am a Saguaro enthusiast, and I am happy to call Leman Academy my new home.


Mary Figge - Food Service Coordinator


Minah Hayne - Food Service Staff


Ann Jansen - Lunch Recess Staff


Dalila Suarez - Lunch Recess Staff


Maegan Hanks - Reading Interventionist

Maegan Hanks
Mrs. Hanks was born in Arizona, lived in eight different cities and returned to Tucson a few years ago. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education. She taught preschool for eight years, five of which included teaching her own three kids as students. She has also tutored reading and math, coached soccer, and coached Odyssey of the Mind for the last few years.

Maegan likes outdoor adventures including running, hiking, biking and camping. A big part of her life is her faith, family and fitness. She loves musical theater, muffins with fruit and playing piano and singing. Her family likes traveling, rock climbing and their new dog Jet. She is thrilled to join the Leman Oro Valley team!


Linda Kimmel - Kinder Instructional Assistant

Linda Kimmel


Pauline Corral - Kinder Instructional Assistant

Pauline Corral


Jennifer Rogers - Kinder Instructional Assistant

Jennifer Rogers


Julie Baker - Kinder Instructional Assistant

Julie Baker


Julie Baker - Kinder Instructional Assistant

Faith Mathews