Our Staff.


Email: jarnold@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Arnold’s Website

Mr. Arnold has been teaching French for over ten years in both Colorado and Arizona. He earned a BA in French from Southern Utah University and is currently finishing up his MA in French through 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. 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!


Email: carviso@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Arviso’s Website

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.  This will be her 24th year as a high school math teacher, her 10th year as a Dual Enrollment Instructor and her 3rd year at Heritage Academy Laveen.  She enjoys teaching math, spending time with her family and watching football!  


Email: easanovich@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Asanovich’s Website

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.

About this opportunity Mrs. Asanovich said, “I absolutely love Heritage Academy and am honored to be chosen to serve as Principal. I am grateful to Kyle Leybas for the outstanding legacy he leaves behind and look forward to continuing the mission with the groundwork that has been laid. We have such an outstanding team of teachers and families and I am proud to be able to serve and support them in this new role.”

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.


Email: jarred.bowe@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Bowen’s Website

My name is Jarred Bowens. I’m originally from Toledo, Ohio. I’ve lived in AZ for about 10 years now. I graduated from Grand Canyon University with a bachelors in secondary education, with a math emphasis. I love to play drums and other various instruments. Additionally, I enjoy watching and playing golf, basketball, and football. Ohio State Buckeyes are my favorite team to watch. I became a teacher because it’s a pleasure influencing young students to become better versions of themselves daily. My goal is to pursue my masters degree and take on more challenges in leadership positions.


Email: tom.burk@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Burke’s Website

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.


Email: ccandiani@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Candiani’s Website

Mrs. Candiani has been teaching for 20 plus years from kindergarten to 8th grade teaching regular education throughout the Sun Valley; In addition to that, she has taught Junior High/High school Spanish, and dance classes. She has also taught college courses in the areas of reading and ESL. She has a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education, a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Bilingual Education (Spanish). She also has a Masters Degree in Development and promotion of culture, with a concentration in Cultural Legacy, and a minor in Dance. She currently teaches Spanish 1, Spanish 2, and Folkloric Dance. She is married to a wonderful dental technician, and has three children, a grand son, and a wonderful golden-doodle. Mrs. Candiani Loves Heritage academy and the scholars, and is looking forward to a great year.


Email: cathryn.cren@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Creno’s Webpage

Cathy Creno is delighted to be joining Heritage Academy Laveen and looks forward to sharing her passion for both the Spanish language and journalism in the classes that she will teach.

Before she became a teacher in 2016, Señora Creno was an award-winning journalist at the Arizona Republic/azcentral.com for many years. She served as a reporter, editor and online producer during her tenure at Arizona’s largest newspaper. Her favorite topic to write about was, of course, education!

Since leaving the newspaper and becoming a teacher, Señora Creno has spent about two months a year traveling in Spain and Mexico. She always has a collection of photos from her travels on her classroom walls. She has been traveling to Mexico for extended periods of time since her junior year of high school, when she was an exchange student in Mexico. She still enjoys spending New Years week with her exchange family in Acapulco!

Señora Creno earned a bachelors degree with honors in journalism and Spanish from Ohio State and has a masters degree in Spanish from ASU. She earned her secondary education degree from Rio Salado College. Her philosophy as both a student and a teacher is that it is important to take the most rigorous courses one is capable of — a hard-earned B in a tough class is worth 100 As in easy ones.


Email: alex.cucc@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Cucciarre’s Website

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 is co-owner and assistant instructor of Laveen Karate. She is also the Senpai
(senior student) of the dojo, currently working towards her black belt. Senpai 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.

Senpai Dulaney helped develop Laveen Karate’s Bullyproof program that teaches confidence
and self-defense to school-age children. She also volunteers with the Cub Scouts, her children’s
school, and her church.

Senpai Dulaney 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 nearly
15 years of experience in education – mostly in teaching and administration of higher education

Senpai Dulaney was born and raised in Aurora, Illinois but has lived in Laveen for the past 15
years with her husband and 3 children.



Email: PDurda@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Durda’s Website

Patricia Pirtle Durda began her professional teaching career in 1987 after receiving her Bachelor of Science in Education from The University of Texas at El Paso.  She continued her education while teaching and obtained her Master of Education in 1990.  After seven years teaching Middle School students, she was selected to design and facilitate the organization of the first alternative education school at Canutillo Independent School District.  She spent two years as administrator of The High Expectations Academy with an outstanding staff of middle and high school teachers.  At the alternative school she became familiar with the learning opportunities provided by computerized learning software and the success that students could achieve.  Then with the opportunity to become an educational consultant with a computer software company, Mrs. Durda spent the next 15 years traveling, training, teaching, and learning best practices to share across the country.  After a hiatus from teaching and a move to Phoenix, Mrs. Durda joined the faculty at Heritage Academy Laveen in 2017.  What an experience it has been to work with talented administrators and teachers, and a caring PTO teaching scholars at Heritage Academy!  Even with the challenging year 2020, she continues to grow, share and teach excellent young scholars in Laveen.  


Email: bfarris@heritageacademyaz.com

Mrs. Farris is originally from Central Phoenix and has lived in Laveen for almost seventeen years.  She received her bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brigham Young University, with an emphasis in Russian.   She has more than seven years’ experience working in office administration in education, both in secondary education and at the university level.  Her interests and experiences are varied as she has worked as a fitness instructor, pool manager, and even a seamstress.  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 10-20.  She enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, playing the piano, traveling, and swimming.


Angie Gadberry and her husband, Richard, have raised their daughter and son in the South Phoenix/Laveen area for the last 18 years.  She graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1993 in the Honors program with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.  She followed that with additional graduate training at the University of Houston in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and more recent training in developmental psych, statistics and pre-med.  She loves to learn!

She began working in the classroom 13 years ago and has worked with small groups and full size classrooms in a variety of subjects, including Math and English.  She currently teaches 8th grade students in English.  In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cycling, traveling with friends and family, enjoying good food and participating in various athletic pursuits.  Of course, she always enjoys a good book!

Email: agadberry@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Gadberry’s Website


Email: egolding@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Golding’s Website

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, coaches JH girls volleyball, and serves as the English Department Chair.


Email: jordan.graf@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Grafsgaard’s Website

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 will be teaching physical education and weight training as well as coaching football and basketball. In my free time I really enjoy sports and movies. I look forward to getting to know the students at Heritage and the school community as a whole.


Email: shaynie@heritageacademyaz.com

Mrs. Haynie’s Website

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 7th 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.


Email: kristen.hern@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Hernandez’s Website

Ms. Kristen Hernandez comes from a large family and is originally from Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Hernandez has  been a Laveen resident for over a decade  and has been a special education teacher for 12 years. Ms. Hernandez is in her second year with Heritage Academy. She has spent the past ten years teaching elementary education, serving as a special education resource teacher throughout the South Phoenix area. 

Ms. Hernandez graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University with her Masters Degree in Education and received her Bachelors of Arts from Eastern Illinois University.  

Ms. Hernandez embraces teaching students with special needs, learning from each student how to be a better teacher, and exhibits a passion for motivating scholars to reach their individual potential.  Ms. Hernandez teaches her scholars to focus on each of their abilities, and thrive in their own passions by aiding each to meet their individual goals. 

Ms. Hernandez finds serenity in practicing yoga daily, walking her two-fur babies, painting, creating décor for her home, and being outdoors with her toddler son. 

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.

Email: chulihee@heritageacademyaz.com


Email: fhulihee@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Hulihee’s Website

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.


Email: skuecker@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Kuecker’s Website

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.


Email: jessica.lewi@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Lewis’ Website

Jessica Lewis is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and has been a high school English teacher for 5 years in Southern California and Arkansas. She got her BA and teaching credential at Cal State San Marcos and MA in TESOL at Alliant International University. Her passion is to prepare students of all educational levels and backgrounds for college-level reading and writing.

She spends her time volunteering for veteran non-profits, writing, and doing art projects with her two young daughters. She is excited to join the team to prepare our scholars for college success!


Email: tlund@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Lund’s Website

Mr. Lund is excited and honored to be returning to the Heritage Academy family! As Heritage Academy Alumni, Tyson went on to study Theater Performance and Secondary Education at Eastern Arizona College and Theater Education at the University of Northern Colorado. Tyson has been honored to have worked with the Kennedy American Collegiate Theater Festival competing in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition in both Los Angeles and Hawaii. He has taught many theater workshops and clinics around the valley over the last few years; Including youth theater’s such as Actor’s Youth Theater and Valley Youth Theatre. Tyson is looking forward to giving back to the wonderful school system that first introduced him to his love for Theater and education and set him on this crazy journey over the last few years!


Mr. Richard Mack, aka Sheriff Mack, is the former sheriff of Graham County, AZ. He spent 20 years in Law Enforcement and five years as a DARE Instructor. Sheriff Mack has a degree in Latin American Studies and Sociology, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, and in 1997, won a landmark case at the U S Supreme Court. Both Mr. Mack and his wife, Dawn, are native Arizonans and live in South Phoenix. He now teaches History, Golf and Spanish and is happy to be back at Heritage Academy.

Email: RMack@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Mack’s Website


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. 

Email: rebecca.mcbr@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. McBride’s Website


Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Hannah Mougharbel received her Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Biomedical Science from the University of Arizona. She moved to Phoenix where she received her Master of Science in Biomedical Diagnostics from Arizona State University.  Her desire to teach began in her undergraduate courses when she was given the opportunity to work side by side with her professors. She has experience teaching at the university level and finds new ways to break down difficult subjects.


Email: hmougharbel@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Mougharbel’s Website

Email: knadjafi@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Nadjafi’s Website

Mrs. Nadjafi has been teaching Ballet and Pilates at Heritage Academy Laveen for two years. Previously, she danced professionally as a soloist and company dancer with Ballet Spartanburg in South Carolina, performing in both classical and contemporary ballets. She also toured China in the Great American Dance Tour with Artifact Dance Project and performed with the Arizona Theater Company.

Mrs. Nadjafi grew up in Vancouver, Canada and got her early ballet and jazz training there. She is trained in both Royal Academy of Dance and Cecchetti having completed the Advanced level vocational exams in both disciplines. Mrs. Nadjafi continued her training at the University of Arizona where she obtained her BFA in Dance, graduating summa cum laude.

Mrs. Nadjafi is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She is also certified in Pilates, Yoga and Progressing Ballet Technique. Mrs. Nadjafi also completed her MBA in finance at Northcentral University.


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.

Email: jnash@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Nash’s Website


Mr. Neag was born in Cluj, Romania but was raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and is currently pursuing his Master Of Public Health at Grand Canyon University. He has been an Instructional Assistant for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at GCU for 5 years and has also taught Math & Science at Brightmont Academy for over 2 years. He enjoys skateboarding, hanging out with friends, reading philosophy, and listening to indie music.

Email:  andrei.neag@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Neag’s Website


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.”

Email: rplumb@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Plumb’s Website


Email: hromito@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Romito’s Website

Heather Romito has been teaching High School English in Arizona since 2008. She has nine years experience teaching at the highschool level, including teaching freshman English and Creative Writing. 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 in 2017.

Outside of school, Ms. Romito loves to read, write, and travel whenever she gets a chance.


Email: asaathoff@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Saathoff’s Website

Mr. Saathoff is excited to be joining the Heritage Academy team. For the past four years he has been teaching World History, US History, Government, and Economics at AAEC South Mountain. Andrew is originally from Michigan, where he attended Grand Valley State University. He graduated with a major in History and Secondary Education and a minor in Political Science. He is currently attending ASU and will receive his Masters in Educational Leadership in May 2016. He has been part of the Laveen community since 2010. In his free time he likes to play all kinds of sports and go to concerts.


Email: justin.shal@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Shalongo’s Website

Mr. Shalongo was born in Quito, Ecuador and raised in Phoenix. He graduated with a bachelors degree and academic distinction as a soccer playing student-athlete at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Mr. Shalongo discovered his talents for teaching and coaching young people and has spent the last seven years helping students build their skill and confidence in mathematics. Subscribe to his YouTube channel “Make Math Make Cents” for videos!


Email: msheffer@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Sheffer’s Website

Matt Sheffer is an Arizona Native who has lived in South Phoenix for the last 34 years.  He enjoys spending time with his wife, eight children and seven grandchildren. He also enjoys playing sports, doing comedy and has an affinity for old Volkswagens.

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 is excited to start year five with Heritage Academy Laveen.

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.


Email: msmith@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Smith’s Website

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.


Email: faith.sosa@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Sosa’s Website

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. I attended Arizona State University and received my Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Wellness. I am a Fitness and Wellness Specialist and I enjoy being physically active. I love hiking and doing activities outdoors. I was in the America Reads Program at ASU and tutored elementary and middle school students. I enjoy volunteering and being involved in my community. I enjoy helping people and restoring one’s overall well-being. I enjoy teaching and I am glad to be a part of Heritage Academy teaching physical education.


Email: tstillings@heritageacademyaz.com

Phone: (480) 461-4470

Mr. Stillings’ Website

Originally from Pennsylvania, Coach Stillings moved to Arizona after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Gannon University in Erie, PA. He began his high school teaching and football coaching career at Tonopah Valley High School in 2004 where he served as a Weight Training, US History, and Psychology teacher as well as an assistant and then later head football coach. During his time in Tonopah, Coach Stillings earned a Master’s degree in physical education form Ball State University. In 2010 Coach Stillings moved to Ironwood High School where he spent his time teaching personal fitness, weight training, and Unified Sports as well as serving as the Defensive Coordinator for the varsity football program. While at Ironwood, Coach Stillings earned a Master’s degree in Athletic Administration from Ohio University. Following his time at Ironwood in 2017, Coach Stillings spent a year as the head football coach and physical education teacher at Arcadia High School before spending the 2018 season as a defensive assistant football coach at Erie Community College in Buffalo, New York.

Coach Stillings is entering his 2nd full year at Heritage Academy as a teacher and head football coach and his first year as Athletic Director.    Coach Stillings is very excited for this opportunity and sees great potential for success in both in the classroom and in our sports programs. Coach Stillings is looking forward to helping develop respectful and responsible athletes that not only contribute positively to the school, but make positive contributions to society throughout their lives.


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.

Email: estoffer@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Stoffer’s Website


Hello, my name is Carli Stralo and I’m from a small town in Northern San Diego called Valley Center. I am one of four children in my family. I have been dancing for about twenty four years in various genres such as tap, jazz, hip-hop, modern/contemporary, with some ballet, ballroom, and tumbling experience. I grew up dancing in studios, and then continued in my high school program all four years. I then studied at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where I participated as a member of the Tap Team, Hip Hop Club, traveling educational Company: Kinect, and DanceEnsemble. I graduated with a B/A in Dance Education and then began as a substitute teacher in various high schools in North County. I was the Dance Director at Valley Center High School for 5 years, and I have taught in various dance studios. I then relocated to Colorado with my now husband for a year, and continued teaching in studios. We moved to Arizona in 2018, and have been loving it ever since. I continued teaching at Sierra Linda High School, teaching dance, and coaching cheer. Moving on to Heritage Academy has been one of the best decisions in my career and I’ve enjoyed the dance program tremendously! I have two children and one on the way. Our family enjoys spending time at the dirt bike track, on the lake, at the beach, and visiting family.


Email: carli.stra@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Stralo’s Website


Lee Turley is a veteran teacher with over 15 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.

Email: lturley@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Turley’s Website

Jessica Vincent is happy to have found a new home at Heritage Academy Laveen as the Ballroom Dance Instructor. She has been working as a choreographer, director, and teacher in the valley for the past sixteen years. Working with Valley Youth Theater, Grand Canyon University, Arizona Theater Company, and many other high schools, theater companies, and colleges, Ms. Vincent is passionate about empowering teenagers and young people to be the authors and creators of their own story. As a co-director of Mambo Exquisite Dance Company, she has taught, trained, and performed internationally, with a specialty in musicality and connection. She is an advocate for social dance and works to create a strong community of dancers to provide opportunities for personal growth and unity. 

Email: jvincent@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Vincent’s Website


Mrs. Weiler is our Assistant Principal and joined the Heritage Academy Gateway Campus in 2015 as a Math Teacher. Over the last three years she has led the College Relations department growing the Early College Program at all four schools. From her outstanding efforts, she has been recognized by Rio Salado College as one of the finest high school advisors in all of Arizona. Heritage Academy’s early college programs have helped our scholars save thousands of dollars and years in their higher education plans.

Mrs. Weiler is a first-generation college graduate who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University. She also has a Master of Arts in Education, Curriculum and Instruction from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Arts in Education, School Guidance Counseling from Ottawa University. Mrs. Weiler has an Adult Education Standard Certificate, AZ Standard Elementary, K-8 Certificate with multiple K-12 endorsements. She is a member of the Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Outside of Heritage, Mrs. Weiler has taught at Central Arizona College, University of Phoenix as well as the East Valley Institute of Technology. Prior to Heritage, she taught math at EduPrize Charter School and Chandler Unified School District.

Heritage Academy College Resources Website CLICK HERE

Facebook page


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.

Email: heidi.will@heritageacademyaz.com

Ms. Will’s Website


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!

Email: owilson@heritageacademyaz.com


Hello HAL Heroes!  My Name is Adam Witcher.  I’ve taught Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Financial Literacy and coached boys soccer over the past 7 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. 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 4 daughters and a son. In our free time we love to enjoy the outdoors; camping, hiking, and kayaking.

Email:  adam.witc@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Witcher’s Website


Email: bryan.zaha@heritageacademyaz.com

Mr. Zaharko’s Website

Originally from Missoula, Montana, my family and I moved to the Boise, Idaho area when I was 10 years old. In high school I was a four-year letterer in both football and track and competed in several high-level competitions across the northwest. After high school I was awarded a walk-on opportunity at Boise State before I decided to put my life on hold and serve a religious mission in Madagascar using French and Malagasy. After returning to Idaho I worked my way to attaining three associate degrees from the College of Western Idaho in Liberal Arts, Communication, and Secondary Education (with an emphasis in Social Sciences). I then enrolled in Northwest Nazarene University where I focused on Elementary Education, completed a bachelor’s degree, and earned my Idaho State Teaching Certification.

I have always had a passion for teaching and have seen that enthusiasm grow significantly over the years leading up to where I am now. I have coached football for five years, high school track and field for six, and am entering my third year as a full-time teacher. I have a beautiful wife, four beautiful daughters, and now that we are settled in Laveen, I plan to work towards a master’s degree in education along with my high school certification.

I look forward to becoming part of the Heritage family, and know that this is a destination job. I have never been more excited for anything in my life!