Mrs. Asanovich joined the Heritage Laveen Campus in 2014. She started as a volleyball coach, physical education teacher, and chair of the physical education department. In 2019 she became the Assistant Principal for the Laveen Campus and also joined the Governing Board of the school. Before coming to Heritage, Mrs. Asanovich taught and coached in the Isaac School District in Phoenix, AZ and coached at Colorado State University Pueblo.
Mrs. Asanovich was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from Colorado State University Pueblo. Outside of Heritage, Mrs. Asanovich spends her time reading, hiking, fishing, and swimming with her family. She is happily married with two beautiful children. Mrs. Asanovich and her husband can often be found cheering on their children at baseball and softball fields around town.
Mr. Arnold has been teaching French for over 17 years in both Colorado and Arizona. He earned a BA in French from Southern Utah University and his MA in French from Horizons University, Paris. He has taught beginning level French, starting as young as 2nd grade, through AP French. He is passionate about helping young people learn and explore new languages and cultures. He had the wonderful opportunity of living in France for two years. In addition, he has been blessed to be able to travel abroad with students and to see them experience being immersed in a new language and culture. He leads a student tour to France every two years. Outside of teaching, he enjoys running, playing soccer, reading great literature and above all, spending time with his family. His wife and children live in Laveen and are grateful to be part of the community!
Mrs. Arviso was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics Secondary Education and a Masters in Secondary Education – Mathematics from Northern Arizona University. She teaches Dual Enrollment math and is an adjunct faculty member at Phoenix Community College. She loves teaching math, spending time with her family and watching her sons play football!
Mr. Boyer is a West Valley native who loves Greek, Latin, and the Classics. He served in the Arizona legislature for ten years between 2013 – 2023 where he chaired the House and Senate Education committees for several years. He concurrently taught Humane Letters for eight years and Latin for two while in the legislature.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from A.S.U. West, a Masters of Arts in Communication Studies from A.S.U. West, and a Master of Humanities with a Classical Studies emphasis from the University of Dallas.
He and his wife Beth have a young son, and a Yorkie Terrier named Mr. Bingley. He enjoys camping, writing, and hiking – the Grand Canyon and Mt. Humphreys in particular.
Tom graduated from Bourgade Catholic High School in Phoenix. After high school, Tom attended Glendale Community College and then transferred to Bethany College (KS), where he lettered in football and received a bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education. Tom received a master’s degree in sports science from the U.S. Sport Academy (AL). Tom is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Tom has taught physical education for 26 years in the Deer Valley School District. He’s been coaching football for 29 years. For the past 12 years, Tom coached offensive line and coordinated the strength program at Pinnacle High School. Prior to that he spent time at Chaparral High School (2002 4A State Champs), Phoenix College, and Goldwater High School.
He currently lives in Glendale with his wife Amy and their 3 kids Matthew, Ashlynn and Isaiah.
My family and I moved to Laveen from Juneau, Alaska in 2019. In the capital city of Alaska, I served as the Healthy Teen and Youth Development Coordinator at the Zach Gordon Youth Center for 14 years.
I obtained my Bachelors of Social Science majoring in Sociology, with a minor of both Psychology and History from the University of Alaska.
For the past 4 years I have taught 7th grade ELA in Tolleson, Arizona. I love teaching and believe that English Language Arts is a gateway for students to discover a love for reading and writing.
In my spare time I love cheering on my son Bubba Burras as quarterback for Heritage Laveen Football Team (Go Heroes!), cheering on my daughter Kala Burras on stage during her vocality choir concerts, hiking, cooking, decking out any item I can in glitter and bling bling, and being the best mom and wife that I can be!
I am so excited to be joining the Heritage Team and look forward to a great upcoming school year! Let’s Go Heroes, Let’s Go!
Alexandra Castro is excited about this new school year at Heritage Academy! Throughout her time in education, she has taught children with a variety of needs ranging from Kindergarten to 12th grade as well as supported teachers and students in a school leadership role. Ms. Castro earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Special Education from Arizona State University. She earned a Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree from Grand Canyon University. Her passion is in helping students strengthen their abilities and develop the skills needed to succeed both in and out of the classroom. Ms. Castro was born and raised in Phoenix and is a first-generation college graduate. Outside school, Ms. Castro enjoys spending time with her son and family exploring new places. She is delighted to continue to share her passion and dedication to educating young people this coming school year.
Ms. Chisenski was born and raised in Chandler, Arizona. She has performed since the age of two, and has always had a passion for dance that was bigger than life. She has extensive training in various styles of dance including ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, hip hop, modern, musical theatre, Latin, and ballroom.
Ms. Chisenski has performed around the valley in various stage shows, competitions, sports events, concerts, and local plays. While in college, she had the chance to dance on the pre-professional dance company and work with many well renowned choreographers including Mike Esperanza, Kathryn Alter, and Phillip Flickinger.
Ms. Chisenski received an Associate’s Degree of Fine Arts from Scottsdale Community College. After graduating Ms. Chisenski spent her time working as a professional Latin and ballroom dance instructor and even had the chance to work with the one and only Tony Dovolani from “Dancing with the Stars.” Most recently she taught at another charter school as the Dance Director and Fine Arts Lead.
Ms Chisenski loves to spend her free time teaching fitness classes, staying active, and spending time with family and friends! She is excited to start this next chapter of her life with the Heritage family, and share her passion for dance with the students!
I am excited to be joining Heritage Academy and bringing my experience to your wonderful campus. Though born in the midwest, I consider myself a desert native as I was raised and have lived most of my life in the Valley. I have been teaching community college, middle school and high school for nearly a decade. I have two degrees in History, a BA from ASU and my MA from UC San Diego. I enjoy teaching many different fields of history and sharing my passion for the past with our young people. When I am not doing this, I am learning the ropes of new parenthood along with my wife as we adjust to life with a toddler. I also enjoy spending time outdoors in our beautiful state by jeeping, camping and hunting.
Mr. Cucciarre has taught 5 years of public school in Ohio and Missouri. Mr. Cucciarre teaches music and band, a keyboarding class and is coaching golf. He attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Education. He previously taught at Van-Far R-1 School District in Vandalia, Missouri, where he taught 6-12th grade band, and 7-12th grade choir. He returned to Miami University in 2018 to pursue his master’s degree in Music Education.
Claudine Dulaney teaches Martial Arts and dual-enrollment Legal Studies classes at Heritage. She is also the co-owner of Laveen Fitness LLC (Laveen Karate, Laveen Dance, Laveen Yoga). She was born and raised in Aurora, Illinois and has lived in Laveen since 2006 with her husband of 20 years and 3 children.
Sensei Dulaney was introduced to Okinawan Karate in 2001 by Sensei Dave Cloud and resumed her training under Sensei Marcel Dulaney. She has competed in local, state, and national martial arts tournaments in both sparring and kata. She is one of the Senseis at Laveen Karate and helped develop Laveen Karate’s Bullyproof program that teaches confidence and self-defense to school-age children.
She earned a Bachelor’s degree in African-American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a J.D. from the University of Miami College of Law. She has over 15 years of experience in education – mostly in teaching and administration of higher education programs.
Miss Dulaney has been a teacher for 12 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, an MBA, and an MFA from Lindenwood University. She has written and published short stories and has a healthy obsession with classical music, French bulldogs, BTS, school supplies, and tacos. She is very excited to work with the scholars at Heritage as they explore their interests in reading, writing, and the study of the English language!
My name is Stacia Ely and I will be teaching 8th Grade Science and Conceptual Science at HAL. I have been teaching in Arizona since 1999! I have a B.S. degree from the University of Arizona in Agricultural Education with an emphasis in animal science and technology management. I earned my Master’s of Education in School Leadership from Arizona State University. I have taught a variety of subjects including: leadership, livestock science, computer applications, integrated middle school science, AP Biology, Human Anatomy, and American History.
I grew up in the 4-H and FFA programs, having raised and shown sheep across AZ, CA, TX, and KY for 27 years. I still enjoy a good fair and working with today’s youth in the agriculture industry. I also enjoy coaching and watching volleyball–my daughter is a senior on the Benedictine University Mesa women’s indoor and beach volleyball teams. I am looking forward to coaching this year’s Freshman Volleyball team at HAL, go Heroes!
Ms. Espinoza was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She is currently enrolled at GCU to get her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics for secondary education. This is her first year teaching but has worked in a school district for 4 years. She enjoys watching football and basketball/going to the games. She also enjoys binge watching Netflix and she loves math!
Mrs. Farris is originally from Central Phoenix and has lived in Laveen for twenty years. She received her bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brigham Young University, with an emphasis in Russian. She has twelve years’ experience working in office administration in education, from elementary and secondary education as well as at the university level. Mrs. Farris taught ELL for three years and has taught yearbook for one year. She loves to travel to other parts of the world and to discover the good in other cultures and people. However, she is proud to be an American and loves her country. Her favorite colors are red, white, and blue! She is glad to be a part of Heritage where American History is valued and our freedoms in this country are celebrated. She and her husband have five spectacular children ranging in ages from 13-23. Her oldest three children are graduates of Heritage Academy and they attend three different universities in three different states. Mrs. Farris enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, traveling, swimming, and reading.
Mr. Fox grew up near Portland, Oregon. He served in the United States Army for over twelve years. He carries an Associate of Arts Degree in Music Performance from Mount Hood Community College, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Cultural Studies—emphasis in literature—from SUNY Empire State College, and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing from Lindenwood University. He has multiple years of teaching experience while serving in the military and is very excited to be continuing his teaching career here at Heritage Academy. When he’s not sharing his passion for literature, writing, and guitar with his students, Mr. Fox enjoys listening to jazz, playing guitar, and writing. He loves to spend time with his wife, three children, dog, and three cats.
Esther T. Golding received her Associate of Arts Degree from Mesa Community College, her Bachelor of Arts degree from ASU, her Masters in Secondary Education from NAU with a Reading endorsement, and her Master of Fine Arts from ASU. She was an Adjunct faculty member for Maricopa Community College District in the Departments of Communication, Theatre, and Education, from 1996-2011. From 2002-2005, she worked as adjunct faculty of Communication and Education for Ottawa University, and from 1998-2000, was a Student Teacher Supervisor for the Dept. of Education for ASU. Mrs. Golding teaches Rio Salado DE classes at Heritage Laveen in English and Communication, HS Reading and Writing, and serves as the English Department Chair.
I am originally from Minnesota where I graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University with my B.S. in both Physical Education and Health Education, as well as a Minor in DAPE. I started my teaching career at my Alma Mater of Ulen-Hitterdal Public Schools. I moved down to Arizona in October of 2018 and love living here.
I am entering my 4th year teaching at Heritage and I am looking forward to another great year! I am teaching Physical Education and I am also the Head Boys Basketball Coach. In my free time I enjoy golfing, video games, and movies.
I am originally from a small town near Bryce Canyon National Park. I grew up participating in rodeo (barrel racing and even rode a bull once!), volleyball, basketball, track, student government and cheerleading. I love the small town feel of Laveen and the opportunity Heritage scholars have to be involved in a variety of activities.
After high school, I studied at Weber State University and earned an Associates of Science degree while studying pre-med. I met my husband when I transferred to the University of Utah when we ended up in the same organic chemistry and physics classes. We lived in Portland, Oregon; Chicago, Illinois; and finally settled in the valley the summer of 1997 where we have raised five children, two of whom graduated from Heritage Academy.
We moved to Laveen in 2008 and were excited to have a new option for high school in 2014 even though our oldest daughters graduated successfully from a Phoenix Union high school. I have been involved at Heritage as a parent, coach, and substitute teacher from the beginning. When I finished my bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (K-8), my first choice for a teaching position was Heritage.
I love the mission, the atmosphere, the staff, and the students at Heritage Academy Laveen. I feel honored to officially join the Heritage team helping 6th grade scholars become experts of the English language. I am also thrilled to continue coaching our varsity volleyball team. As our community and school continue to grow, I am committed to help our scholars understand what it means to be an involved citizen in our school, our urban-village, and our great country.
As the facilities coordinator here at Heritage Academy Laveen, Charles plays a crucial role in maintaining and managing our facilities. Prior to coming to Arizona, he has worked on the construction of golf courses, maintained transitional housing for the homeless, worked as maintenance supervisor at Oahu’s premier yacht club, ran the agricultural operations and movie sets/locations for the largest working ranch on the island of Oahu, and ran the maintenance department for Oahu’s most exclusive tennis club. He brought his wealth of knowledge and experience to Heritage Academy 4 years ago.
She received her Bachelor’s of science in Marine Biology from Hawaii Pacific University and for a brief time worked on the commercial fishing vessels that sailed out of Hawaii. Tiring of weeks at sea, she then took a position in Hawaii’s premier food and water testing lab working as the lead chemist for 10 years. It was at this point that Florence decided to switch careers and become a high school teacher. Returning to her alma mater, Hawaii Pacific University, Florence earned a Master’s of Education with a science focus. Florence has taught a number of different sciences over the years including chemistry, biology, marine biology, astronomy, and conceptual science. She currently teaches dual enrollment chemistry and AP biology. She loves all things science and is a self-proclaimed nerd. Here at Heritage Academy, she has coached both the Science Bowl and JV volleyball. In her spare time, she enjoys working agility with her dogs.
She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education from the University of Arizona and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Lamar University in Texas. She has taught art for the past 35 years in both Colorado and Arizona. She has experience in teaching art history as well as multiple art media including drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printing, photography, woodworking, and textiles. Ms Kuecker is a working art and sells her work all over the US.
Ms. Kuecker believes in using art education to help develop a well-rounded student. For seven years, she was the Children’s Program Director for the Anderson Ranch Arts Center where she developed art programs for non-profit agencies such as the Roger Pepper Foundation for Severely Burned Victims, for disabled children in Challenge Aspen Organization, and for disabled adults with Mountain Valley Developmental Services. She believes that art gives scholars a voice and a means to express themselves.
Emily Loertscher grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and loves living in the desert. When she has free time, she enjoys being outdoors hiking and rock climbing. Ms. Loertscher got her Bachelor of Science in genetics from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and her Master of Science in genetics from University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. She has worked conducting research on potential causes of prostate cancer. Ms. Loertscher enjoyed her opportunities to teach laboratory classes during her undergraduate work, which inspired her career change. This is her first year teaching and she is looking forward to getting to know and learning with her scholars this year.
My name is Judson Lowery. I was born in Mississippi but I’ve lived in the valley since I was 15, so I consider Arizona home. I graduated from ASU with a BA in English and a focus in Creative Writing. After college, I worked as a copywriter for an ad agency here in the valley. After a year or so of that, I joined the Air Force and served on active duty for 6 years, where I reached the rank of Staff Sergeant, and completed one tour of duty to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan in 2019. It was an amazing experience for which I will be forever grateful.
I enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, working out, shooting guns, and working on my old Harley in my free time (one day it’ll run… maybe). I also play the drums in a local band. I try to keep myself busy!
I’m excited to join the Heritage family and I cannot wait to learn and grow alongside your scholars!
Jonathan Lucas started his teaching career in 2020 at Layton Elementary, located in Utah, where he taught physical education. He worked with kindergarten-6th grade classes.
In January of 2018, he volunteered for a service mission in his church and was asked to serve in Spain. He began to learn Spanish in a training center in Madrid; he then went on to live in other cities all over Spain: Sevilla, Murcia, Pamplona, San Sebastián, Badalona, Huércal-Overa, and Manresa. After growing to love the Spanish people, their culture, and their language, he returned to Utah, in December of 2019, to continue learning Spanish in college.
Señor Lucas received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish, with the highest distinction (Summa Cum Laude), and a minor in psychology from Weber State University.
In the Summer of 2022, Señor Lucas received a Master’s Degree in Education from Western Governors University.
Throughout his high school career, he ran Cross Country and distance in Track and Field. He helped Coach Joseph Arnold with the Cross Country team in the Fall of 2022 and helped the scholars of Heritage Academy Laveen compete in their first season of Track and Field in the Spring of 2023.
The 2023-2024 school year will be Señor Lucas´s third year with Heritage Academy Laveen.
Mrs. Lueraharris was born and raised here in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been working in education for 27 years. Mrs. Lueraharris has worked with students from kindergarten to high school, her areas of focus have been Exceptional Student Services. She is currently working towards her Bachelors degree in Education.
I grew up in Indiana and graduated this year with my BS degree in Mathematics Education from Florida College. This will be my first year teaching and I am so excited to begin! In my free time, I enjoy kayaking, cooking, and spending time with others.
Mrs. McAdams is the Director of the dance program Laveen Dance. She and her husband have loved being part of the Laveen Community for the past 18 years. They have four wonderful children, and are active members in the community.
Mrs. McAdams grew up in Tempe and is a proud native of Arizona. She started dancing when she was five years old in various genres such as tap, jazz, ballet, modern, and gymnastics. She grew up dancing in studios and competed at the state and national levels. She studied at Arizona State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Education. While at ASU, she danced for the ASU Dance Team for Football and Basketball games and had the privilege to compete nationally with the team.
While attending ASU, Mrs. McAdams was the coach for the McClintock Dance Team. After graduating from ASU, Melissa went on to be a dance teacher at Higley High School. She then was the dance director at Estrella Foothills High school and the Varsity Dance Team Coach. Her dance team competed at state and national competitions. She graduated from the University of Phoenix with her Master of Arts in Education in Curriculum and Instruction.
Mrs. McBride is an Arizona native and has lived in Laveen for 17 years. She has been a part of the Heritage family since the Laveen campus opened, seven years ago, as a parent of Heritage scholars. Her oldest son graduated from HAL last school year and this year her other two sons will be a sophomore and 8th grader. She loves to be on campus with her children, and the other scholars and teachers who impress her with their determination every day. She has her Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University – Idaho and has been working in the classroom setting for over 13 years as a parent volunteer, classroom aide, substitute teacher, and instructional associate.
Mr. McCambridge, a New Jersey native, recently returned to the valley. He previously lived in the Phoenix metro area for over 10 years. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with minors in English, Philosophy, and Religious Studies from Fairfield University. He continued his education with a Master of Arts from The University of Arizona and a Master of Business Administration from Fayetteville State University. Most recently he worked at Rutgers University. His prior employment includes positions at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Arizona State University. With over 10 years working in higher education, Mr. McCambridge loves to promote learning at all levels and continues to learn new things every day.
Mr. McCambridge lives in Mesa with his wife, his dogs Loki and Harley, and 2 cats Odin and Lilith. He enjoys reading, watching movies, comic books and graphic novels, traveling, and playing guitar.
Ms. Mills moved to Arizona in 2019 from Virginia. She was born in a military family and lived in Arizona and Virginia. It was in Virginia that she received her Bachelors in History at Old Dominion University and a Masters in Secondary Education – Social Studies at the University of Mary Washington. She has a passion for history and was a historical interpreter for Ferry Farm and Kenmore Plantation. She loves learning and spreading the love of history to everyone!
Mr. Nash grew up in Southeastern Idaho and Arizona and attended Heritage Academy as a young scholar. It is at Heritage that he learned a deep appreciation for the Founding Fathers and the American system of Government, as well as his love for history. It is also where he met his wife of 12 years.
Mr. Nash attended Mesa Community College where he received his Associates of Arts Degree and Arizona General Education Degree. He then went on to Arizona State University where he studied at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education – History.
Mr. Nash has four “particularly rambunctious” boys who keep him and his wife very busy as well as a German Shepherd Dog named Pilot. Mr. Nash enjoys playing video games with his boys, playing racquetball, riding bikes, reading, taking walks, camping and hunting, and working as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America.
Mrs. Nash has been teaching at Heritage Academy Maricopa for the past two years and is excited to be joining the Laveen faculty. Mrs. Nash grew up in Mesa Arizona and attended Heritage Academy Mesa from 7th – 12 grade. Attending Heritage Academy helped her to gain an appreciation and love for History. It is also where she met her husband of 18 years.
Mrs. Nash attended Brigham Young University Idaho where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications and Certificate in Home and Family Studies.
Mrs. Nash has four boys (three are attending Heritage Academy Laveen) who keep her very busy as well as a German Shepherd Dog named Pilot. Mrs. Nash enjoys spending time with her family, reading, school, floral design, event planning, taking walks/hikes, and road trips.
Mrs. Pearson grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi. She joined the U.S. Air Force after high school and worked as a medical technician for 8 years, this gave her the opportunity to see the world. She feels very lucky to have lived in 8 states, traveled to 46 of them and lived in 3 countries and traveled to 20! Her favorite part of about traveling has been meeting new people, broadening her horizons, and learning new ways to incorporate healthy living into an everyday routine. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Chapman University and a Master of Science degree from Mississippi University for Women. She has taught exercise and health classes in various settings for over 20 years. She is happy to be settled in Laveen and currently teaching Pilates and is an adjunct faculty member at Grand Canyon University in the Exercise Science Department. She loves the great outdoors, spending time with her husband and their 3 children.
Mr. Plumb has a Master of Art’s degree in Teaching from Chapman University in Orange, CA. He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from the University of Redlands in Redlands, CA. He has a Professional Clear Teaching Credential issued by the state of California. He taught for 12 years at a charter school in Victorville, CA. While there he taught Engineering Geometry with Physics for 3 years. This course was approved by the University of California. Mr. Plumb also helped design this course at the UCCI Institute. (University of California Curriculum Integration). He also taught Architectural Drafting, Engineering, and CAD (Computer Aided Drafting). Prior to teaching Robert worked in the fields of Architecture, Engineering and Manufacturing for 20 years as a Drafting Technician. From Mr. Plumb, “I enjoy working with scholars who can think outside the box, who love to learn and enjoy taking on new challenges.”
Mr. Plumb has been teaching here at Heritage Academy Laveen since the school opened in 2014. He has taught 9th grade Conceptual Science, 11th and 12th grade Physics, and Geometry. He also helped coach the football team for three seasons. “One of the best things about science is that it is never static; there are always more things to discover about the world and the universe we live in. Like Albert Einstein said, ‘Question Everything.”
Heather Romito has been teaching High School English in Arizona since 2008. Her experience teaching at the highschool level includes English, Dual Enrollment, Creative Writing, and Yearbook. She also has a love for Theater and Drama. She received her BSed in English and Creative Writing from Montana State University-Billings and her MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Outside of school, Ms. Romito loves to read, write, and travel whenever she gets the chance.
Mr. Saathoff is excited for another fantastic year at Heritage. He will continue to be the Athletic Director and teach economics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from GVSU and a masters from ASU. Outside of school, Mr. Saathoff enjoys watching sports and playing golf.
Mr Samuel is very excited to join the Heritage Academy family for his first year of teaching! Mr Samuel was raised in Arizona, and has spent his whole life surrounded by music and theatre. He attended Chandler Gilbert Community College where he studied both music performance and theatre, and has had the privilege of performing as a pianist and actor across the United States. Mr Samel has taught music and theatre all over the valley, including Casa Grande Youth Theatre, Actor Youth Theatre, and Greasepaint Theatre. Mr Samuel is greatly looking forward to working with the amazing students and other teachers and staff at Heritage Academy Laveen.
Matt Sheffer is an Arizona Native who has lived in South Phoenix for the last 38 years. He enjoys spending time with his wife, eight children and eleven grandchildren. He also enjoys playing sports, doing comedy and has an affinity for old Volkswagens. He is excited to begin year 8 with Heritage Academy Laveen.
Mr. Sheffer is trilingual and obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in German and completed requirements to teach Spanish, all through Arizona State University. These studies included German Literature, German Civilization, the Nazi period, Spanish Literature and Linguistics, Latino Studies and Second Language Acquisition research. Mr. Sheffer taught for three years at Arizona State University and for seven years at Mesa Community College.
He also has 24 years of experience in the foods distribution industry, seventeen of those years in supervision with additional experience in Business Process Improvement. Mr. Sheffer loves the youth of this area and is excited to share his passion for history and language with them. He also feels it an honor to advise the Scholar Council and help mentor tomorrow’s leaders.
My name is Alayna Slinker. I am excited to be a junior high math teacher at Heritage Academy this year! I have always loved math, and I am looking forward to the fun we will have with numbers this year!
I grew up in Idaho, but I moved to Arizona nearly 25 years ago. I attended DeVry University and hold a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computer Information Systems with a minor in accounting.
I already feel like a part of the Heritage community as my own children have been attending the school for several years. My oldest graduated in 2022, and I will have a senior, freshman and seventh grader this year. Last school year, I had the honor of working as a substitute teacher at Heritage, and as a science teacher for the final quarter. I love Heritage and everything it stands for!
In my spare time, I love to read, sew, work on puzzles, play the piano, sing, and serve in my church and community. I love musical theater and baseball. I am thrilled to be at Heritage and I’m looking forward to a great year!
Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor’s in Security Management and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Mr. Smith has completed requirements to teach Spanish I, II, and III through Southwest University. Mr. Smith has worked with Boeing, and Lockheed Martin in charge of the classified Security programs, contracted for the Missile Defense Agency. Mr. Smith served 21 years in the military; four of which were in the USMC and 17 in the US Army. During his military service as an intelligence agent he served on the Defense Threat Reduction Agency working with Russia to reduce nuclear inventory and prevent nuclear proliferation. Mr. Smith loves spending time with family and enjoys the great outdoors. His favorite sport is racquetball and loves to dabble in art on his free time as an artist. Mr. Smith holds multiple computer certifications from CompTia and is a certified Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma.
Elise Stoffer embraced the performing arts at a young age and has performed with Phoenix Children’s Chorus in Germany, Russia, Canada, and various venues in the U.S. She has earned numerous awards including 1st place Musical Theatre Division 3MW NATS, 1st place Classical Division Artist of Promise, 1st place Musical Theatre Artist of Promise, and 1st place Division 1W Musical Theatre NATS. Her favorite musical theatre roles include Baker’s Wife from Into the Woods, Domina in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Chiffon in Little Shop of Horrors. She graduated from Santa Fe University of Art & Design in May, 2016 with a BA in Contemporary Music with an emphasis in vocal technique. She received her Masters degree in Musical Theatre Performance from the prestigious School of Music at the Herberger Institute at Arizona State University in 2018. Elise Stoffer is addicted to her art and strives to communicate her passion through everything she does. She believes it is her responsibility to help rebuild the muscles of our imagination. She feels so blessed to have the opportunity to help open scholars minds to many genres of music.
Ms. Tejada began her career in education in 2000. She has a BA in History and an MEd in Educational Administration. She is an Arizona certified teacher and principal. Her teaching experience ranges from elementary to high school levels, with an emphasis in Structured English Immersion and Dual Language instruction. She has also served as a member and chairperson of student intervention teams, as a collaborative peer teacher, master teacher, the school coordinator for the IB Primary Years Programme, curriculum coach, assistant principal, and principal. She is passionate about quality instruction for all students and empowering students to work hard for the life they want to lead. Ms. Tejada also believes that a quality education is not complete without service in the community. She enjoys reading, running, cooking, music, and spending time with her family.
Lee Turley is a veteran teacher with 20 years of teaching experience. She has a Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University and her Bachelor’s from Upper Iowa University. Lee has taught at the Arizona Department of Corrections – Perryville, Kyrene School District, and Des Moines School District. She has taught preschool, grade 6 – 9, and adults.
Ms. Villa joined Heritage Academy Laveen in 2015 as a high school scholar and is now the Spanish I teacher! Ms. Villa recently graduated from Arizona State University with her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Secondary Education with an emphasis in English. Ms. Villa plans on pursuing a Master’s in Educational Psychology in the near future!
In 2022, Ms. Villa established Heritage Academy’s first Baile Folklorico class. Her hopes are to expand the class to all four campuses and beyond!
Outside of the classroom, you can find Ms. Villa shopping, dancing, reading, cooking, and just about anything under the sun! Ms. Villa is excited to officially be a part of the Heritage Academy team!
Mary Wadsworth is a Heritage Academy Mesa alumnus. She began her ballroom dancing career as a freshman in high school and has not stopped since!
After graduating high school, Mary focused on Lindy Hop & swing. She joined the Gypsy Jitterbugs Solo Charleston Team and performed at various events all over Arizona and New Mexico. During this time, she substitute taught ballroom for HA Mesa and was a choreographer for their showcases.
In 2017, she moved to the east coast where she competed at the International Lindy Hop Championships (ILHC) in Washington, DC. After discovering Brazilian Zouk she made the District Zouk Ladies’ Team and had the opportunity to perform at various events all over the DC metro area; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Denver, Colorado.
Mary moved back to Arizona in 2019 and continued dancing Brazilian Zouk, joined local ladies’ and partnered teams, as well as an international team. She was able to perform with her teams before the pandemic hit.
Mary holds her degree from Eastern Arizona College and is also a licensed aesthetician & cosmetologist. She enjoys hanging out with her pet cockatiels, playing board games, and spending time with her family and friends.
Ballroom dancing is important to Mary because on top of the health benefits it provides she can socialize and make new friends from all over the world and different walks of life. She loves sharing her love of dance through performance and teaching!
Jason White is very excited to be joining the Heritage Academy Laveen team. Jason got his BA in theatre from Arizona State University, where he also got his teaching certification. Jason has been doing theatrical work on and off the stage all around the valley. Jason is currently the Artistic Director for Youth Ensemble Theatre Inc. (YETi). Jason was the production manager for Mesa Encore Theatre from 2018-2020, Jason has also Stage Managed at the regional level with Southwest Shakespeare. Jason also taught at Casteel Highschool and has been a teaching artist with Childsplay since 2018. Some of Jason’s favorite directing credits include Chicago: Teen Edition (Actors Youth Theatre) This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (YETi), Romeo and Juliet (CYT Phoenix), and Constellations (BlackBox Foundation) which was nominated for the Zoni award for Best Play.
I am certified to teach both History and English in the state of Arizona. I received a Bachelor’s in History from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, with a minor in Criminal Justice. I was only a few credits away from minors in the theater and anthropology as well. I went on to get a Master’s of Education from Arizona State University and then a Master’s in History from National University. I taught both History and English at Tolleson for five years before joining the Heritage team.
I love being at the front desk because it allows me to get to know our scholars and their families. I have so much fun helping to build our school’s culture and uniting our staff. I attended Weber State University. I have over 10 years of experience in the customer service industry and strive to apply those skills to provide a welcoming environment for our scholars and their families. I have lived in Laveen for 6 years and love our community.
All 3 of my children currently attend Heritage and we all love being part of the Heritage family!
Hello HAL Heroes! My Name is Adam Witcher. I’ve taught every core math course from 6th grade through Algebra II, as well as taught Financial Literacy and coached soccer and cross country over the past 11 years. I graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Economics in April of 2012, completed a Secondary Math program at Rio Salado in 2014, and earned my Masters degree in Special Education in 2018 from Western Governors University. My wife is an Arizona native and I grew up in Texas where I raised goats, marched in the band, played football and became an Eagle Scout. We are both excited to be back in the heat. We have 5 daughters and a son. In our free time we love to enjoy the outdoors; camping, hiking, kayaking and biking.