Ms. Alethea Allen was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She attended Brigham Young University-Idaho where she received her B.A. in Political Science, emphasis in Foreign Affairs with a minor in International Studies. She will receive her Master’s in Secondary Education from ASU in August of 2023. Ms. Allen has taught at Heritage Academy Maricopa since it opened in 2019. Before coming to Heritage Academy she taught for three years in Okeechobee, Florida, 6th-grade ELA and 7th-grade Civics.
Jennifer relocated to Arizona with her family almost eight years ago to escape the cold Minnesota winters. She received a Master’s degree in Child and Family Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from State Cloud State University. She worked for over 12 years in the child welfare field as a case manager, guardian ad litem and foster care licensor. In addition, for the past 12 years, she has taught undergraduate university students at SCSU and ASU on the topics of Parent-Child Relations, Child and Adolescent Development, Family Involvement & Regulatory Services, Culture and Schooling, Educational Psychology, Multicultural Education and Diversity in the Classrooms. Most recently, she taught English in the secondary classroom, worked as a substitute teacher, as well as served as a middle school counselor for a local public school district.
She has always loved reading, and she has always loved the learning process. She wants scholars to get to be themselves, learn more about what their own interests are, and strengthen and share their literary voice in her classroom. She is a mom, a crafter, a baker, and a traveler. Ask her about her favorite way to travel. Three things still on her bucket list include visiting the Mediterranean, the Panama Canal and Alaska. Did she mention she loves reading? She really wants to share that joy with all of her 10th grade English scholars.
Miss Bocchinfuso is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and moved to Arizona in 2014 for a teaching opportunity. She graduated from Penn State University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Additionally, she obtained a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University in 2017.
Miss Bocchinfuso spent 4 years teaching fifth grade in the Casa Grande Elementary School District and Maricopa Unified School District, and began teaching at Heritage Academy Maricopa in 2019. She enjoys spending time with friends and traveling home to see her family whenever possible. She also loves to read, sing, and spend time outdoors.
Mrs. Brems is an East Coast girl living in an Arizona world. She moved to Arizona in 2004 with her husband but relocated her family to Maricopa in 2013. Mrs. Brems went back to school when she was 26 and found that she really loves being a student and learning. She spent 10 years completing multiple degrees: BA in English, BS in Family and Human Development, MA in English, and M.Ed. in Secondary Education. She is excited to share her love of the English subject with your scholars in the classroom.
When Mrs. Brems isn’t spending time with her husband or her five children, she loves to read and watch movies. When she gets the chance, she loves to travel and has a list of places she still wants to go. Her favorite family vacation spot is Disneyland, but she can’t decide on one single ride as her favorite. Even though everything seemed spicy when she first moved to Arizona, she developed a real love for Mexican food . Overall, Mrs. Brems just enjoys having a good time with the people she is with. She looks forward to working with your scholars this year.
Mr. Bunker was born and raised in Arizona and is very happy to be teaching choir for Heritage Academy. He earned a Bachelors in Choral Music Education from Northern Arizona University and a Masters in Music Education from Arizona State University. Mr. Bunker has been teaching choir for over 11 years and looks forward to the new School year as our choir program continues to grow.
Mr. Bunker is happily married and is raising eight awesome kids with his amazing wife Laura . One of his favorite quotes about music is “The only thing better then singing is more singing” (Ella Fitzgerald).
Mr. Carpenter grew up in North Dakota with 3 younger sisters. After high school he attended Mayville State University in North Dakota where he earned a BS in Mathematics and Physical Education while playing baseball and football. After teaching math for a year in North Dakota, he moved to Arizona where he has been teaching Mathematics and coaching baseball for the last 5 years.
Education runs in Mr. Carpenter’s family as both of his parents were part of the school system as he was growing up. This influenced him to become a teacher as well as two of his sisters who are elementary school teachers. Mr. Carpenter has enjoyed being able to make an impact on student’s lives both in the classroom and on the athletic fields. As far as coaching experience, he has coached golf, baseball, basketball, and football.
Ms. Choi grew up in Southern California, where she attended a performing arts high school for Classical flute, and holds a B.A., Post-Baccalaureate, and M.A. After attending Wellesley College for Music and History, she completed a Post-Baccalaureate in Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania while employed at the Kislak Center for Rare Books and Manuscripts. During this time, she participated in archaeological excavations of a Roman bathhouse in Colchester, England and the theater and agora of Ancient Thouria in Messenia, Greece. Ms. Choi received her M.A. in Classics from the University of Notre Dame, where she taught Beginning and Intermediate Latin and Roman History.
Ms. Choi’s academic interests lie primarily in fifth-century Greek historiography and warfare, including the dynamics of alliances, historical agency, and ethno-cultural studies, and she has presented her research at various regional and national conferences. Outside of the classroom, her interests include hiking, spinning, impressionist music, upcycling clothing, animal welfare, and modernist literature.
Ms. Contreras was raised in Obregon, Sonora, Mexico. She holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Education. She came to the United States four years ago with teaching experience in all grade levels. This is her third-year teaching Spanish in Arizona and she is so happy to have the opportunity to share her culture. She has a bachelors and masters degree in Education and is certified by AZDE with a Spanish endorsement.
When Ms. Contreras is not teaching she enjoys traveling and visiting her family in Mexico. A famous quote that describes her life is “We will not have failure, only success and new learning” -Queen Victoria. The most important lesson that she has learned in life is to have discipline and to be diligent in everything she does; that’s her key to success.
Mr. James Creighton has a Master’s degree in Medieval and Western American History from the University of New Mexico and has been teaching for four years. He has also taught Latin, U.S. Government, Economics, and Logic and takes immense joy in learning more along with his scholars. His extracurricular activities range from singing in his church choir, community theater, and writing novels to taking long hikes in nature and spending time with his wife (whom he recently married).
Mr. Creighton enjoys working with the staff and scholars of Heritage Academy, Maricopa, and enjoys working as a successful part of the community. Everyday, he looks forward to imparting knowledge to scholars, the future generation of America, and leading them by example.
Mr. Daniels graduated from Utah State University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in English and a minor in business. He also earned his Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Argosy University. After graduating with his English degree, he worked as a technical writer, copy writer, graphic designer and marketing coordinator for several organizations as well as himself for a short time. In 2010, he began working in university enrollment and was successful at helping students see the value of earning a college degree. With his career in higher education, Mr. Daniels worked as the Director of Enrollment for several institutions, most recently at Benedictine University, Mesa.
Mr. Daniels has a passion for teaching and leading youth. In college he worked for the Especially for Youth summer camps, as a counselor and director. He also worked as a Youth Development Professional for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and gained classroom experience during his senior year of college as a seminary teacher. He is excited about changing direction in his career and teaching the great scholars at Heritage Academy! Outside of work, Mr. Daniels spends most of his time with his wife and five children and providing service within his church and community. When time permits, he enjoys long boarding, running, disk golf, ping pong and going to the beach to surf whenever possible.
Mrs. Daniels graduated from California State University Hayward in 2002. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Physical Education with a teaching emphasis. She’s also taken many graduate level courses in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Her professional background lies in a variety of sport and recreation programs, running youth and adult sports leagues and working as a personal trainer. Mrs. Daniels was a dual sport athlete in high school and has over ten years competitive volleyball coaching experience. She’s served as a boys’ head coach at the high school junior varsity level and a girls head coach at the varsity, junior varsity and elite club levels. If that weren’t enough to show her love for coaching, she’s spent multiple seasons as a volunteer coach for multiple youth recreational sports.
Outside of school, Mrs. Daniels has a second career as a successfully published author, writing contemporary young adult and adult romantic comedy. It probably goes without saying that in her free time she loves playing sports, reading and writing. She also stays busy as a book blogger, wife, mother of five and active member of her church community. She loves working with teens and is very excited to become a part of the Heritage family.
Ms. Dugan has 10 years of experience in special education. She holds a M.S. Education, Special Education and a M.S. Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelors of Science, Computer Information Technology all from the University of Phoenix. She also is certified in Special Education, Cross-Category K-12 / SEI Certification.
Mr. Durling grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and made it his mission to escape the frigid winters. Now, he basks like a lizard in the 117 degree Phoenix heat. He earned an associates degree from College of DuPage, then studied at Northern Illinois University for his bachelors and then masters in English Education. He is certified as a secondary English instructor and as an elementary Montessori teacher. He taught and served as the vice principal at a Montessori elementary school for eight years and as an adjunct English professor for two years. He has completed the coursework towards a doctorate in education through Illinois State University, where he worked as an assistant editor for an academic journal, a supervisor of students teachers, and a research assistant using eye tracking to study how children develop as readers.
Outside of the classroom, Mr. Durling is likely to be found climbing rocks, playing ultimate, woodworking, backpacking, or taking pictures while traveling internationally. He loves reading and his time spent listening to audiobooks through the Audible app is measured in months.
Ms. Fairbanks wanted to work at Hogwarts but the only available position was Defense Against the Dark Arts. Realizing that the HISTORY of that position was quite precarious, she decided to return to her Alma Mater Heritage Academy as our 8th-grade History teacher and where she has happily been teaching for the last three years. Ms. Fairbanks recently finished her Masters’ degree in History and will now be teaching the High School American History Class both Duel Enrollment and regular.
Ms. Fairbanks’ perspective as an Alumni of Heritage has given her a unique viewpoint of this amazing school. Her time as a scholar at Heritage was so influential, that it was in her 7th-grade history class she decided that teaching was her life’s passion.
After graduating from Heritage, Ms. Fairbanks attended Brigham Young University Idaho and graduated with her Bachelor’s in Social Studies Education with an emphasis in History. And is a recent graduate from Grand Canyon University where she received her MA in History with an emphasis in Education.
Though she was educated at the Mesa Campus, she loves being part of the Maricopa team and helping to bring the unique mission of Building America’s Heroes to Maricopa.”
Lee Feiles became a Certified Martial Arts Instructor in 1992 while earning his Bachelors degree at the University of Arizona. After practicing engineering for seven years, he became a full-time professional instructor and opened or acquired seven commercial martial arts schools in Tucson and Phoenix.
Mr. Feiles was awarded the title of Master Instructor in 2007, and served as part of a three-person regional team responsible for training and certifying instructor applicants, as well as a designated weapons certification trainer. Mr. Feiles earned two competitive martial arts World Championship titles in 2009 and holds the prestigious title of International Judge. He is currently ranked 8th Degree Black Belt with the Title of Chief Master Instructor.
With his wife and two young children, he is currently based out of Maricopa, where his school supports recreational activity in the community, including quarterly safety and self-defense seminars offered as a community service. He has provided continuous Leadership training in his schools, serving hundreds of students each year. In 2012, he was appointed by the Maricopa City Council to serve on the Parks Recreation and Libraries Citizens Advisory Committee, has served on the Maricopa 2040 Vision Plan Committee and the Maricopa Board of Adjustments, and is a member of the City of Maricopa Advocates Program. Mr. Feiles also holds the position of Adjunct Professor of Kinesiology for Lee College as an online martial arts program instructor.
Mrs. Ford grew up in a small town in San Diego, California. She graduated from Ramona High School as Senior Class President with multiple scholarships from the State of California for “Future Teachers”. She then attended Palomar College in San Marcos and is continuing her education through the Brigham Young University Pathway program with an emphasis on Public Health and Safety. Mrs. Ford had her five children with her husband and the love of her life in their little town of Ramona.
Together they started The I.T. Pros, a technology company, was recognized as one of San Diego’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies and by Inc. Magazine as one of the Top 5,000 fastest growing companies in the Country. In 2010 she and her husband sold their company to national I.T. Service provider and moved to Maricopa. While in Maricopa, Mrs. Ford started a Lego Robotics Team that competed in the FLL Challenge for three years and earned a spot in the Arizona State finals.
Mrs. Ford loves living in Maricopa and has had many opportunities to serve with the community. She is the founder of “Mothers of Everyday Heroes”, an arm of her family’s non-profit foundation, the Rocking 4D Foundation, that services and supports teens and victims of violent crimes. Through these services she has had the honor of working with local and state officials to help make Maricopa a loving and safe place for teens and their families.
Ms. Garza was born and raised in Texas. She earned her Bachelor of Arts
in Biology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. She began her
career in education in 2016 as a 4 th and 5th-grade science teacher. Since
then, she has taught middle school science, AP Biology, and Anatomy and
Physiology courses. In addition to teaching, Ms. Garza has been a sponsor
to a variety of clubs such as Chief Science Officers, American Red Cross,
Robotics, and Coding. Ms. Garza has always had a passion for science and
believes that students learn science by doing science. In her spare time,
Ms. Garza enjoys spending time with her English Bulldog and family, as
well as traveling, trying new foods, reading, hiking, boxing, and watching
the latest movies and TV shows.
Mr. Hamblin grew up in Gilbert, Arizona with four siblings. After high school, he lived for two years on the East Coast before getting married and earning a BA in History from BYU-Idaho. After a study abroad semester in Jerusalem, Mr. Hamblin began studying Arabic and earned an MA in Near Eastern Studies while teaching Spanish at the U of A. While there, he and his wife had their first child and his wife earned an MA in Hispanic Linguistics. They had their second child while living in Kayenta, Arizona on the Navajo Nation, where Mr. Hamblin taught world history at a high school for five years. They moved to Maricopa in the summer of 2018 so their growing number of children could know their relatives that live nearby.
At Heritage, Mr. Hamblin will also be teaching dual-enrollment classes through Central Arizona College. He enjoyed his college history classes and is excited to be providing a college experience to young scholars in such an excellent environment as Heritage Academy.
Before joining the teaching staff at Heritage Academy, Gregory Hamilton was
Associate Professor of Cello at Concordia College and Executant Senior
Lecturer of Cello at the University of Otago in New Zealand. He also taught at
Illinois State University for ten years where he was a founding member of the
Ricard Piano Trio. Dr. Hamilton has performed internationally at the
conservatories of Milan, Seville, and Malakoff (France) and has taught and
performed with the Lugano String Orchestra, a program serving poor and
disadvantaged children in Buenos Aires.
In 2005 he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of
Kansas. A solo CD “The Hollywood Cello”, featuring works by film composers
of the Golden Era, was released by Soundset Recordings in 2011.
Mr. Hazlett enjoyed his time in the Oil Industry as an “A” Operator for a refinery in Santa Fe Springs, California, changing crude oil into many other different forms of oil such as Methane, Ethane, H2s, Jet fuel, and Gasoline.
Mr. Hazlett drove an 18 wheeler for 20 years, seeing every state in the United States and traveled to every province in Canada. It was during his time on the road where he found his love of Photography. As a photographer, he loves to capture memories of weddings, families, and sports and enjoys bringing happiness to others through his photos.
For 5 years before coming to Heritage Academy Maricopa, Mr. Hazlett has worked for The Home Depot, first starting as an associate, then working his way up to a merchandise expert, responsible for the product display and promotion for 10 valley stores.
Mr. Hazlett is proud to work for Heritage Academy for the past 2 years as the Maintenance Tech. With all of the knowledge and experience he has gained throughout his journey, he hopes to be able to share his talents in maintaining a great working environment for our family of heroes.
Mr. Hettinger grew up in Southern California. He is a graduate of Cal State Northridge where he studied Film and Television Arts. In addition to his creative pursuits, he has always had a passion for History and American Government. As a youth, Mr. Hettinger traveled to many of the historic landmarks across the United States and even visited some of Europe’s celebrated destinations; this fanned the flames of his social studies interests.
Mr. Hettinger is entering his third year of teaching. Previously he taught U.S. and World History in Paradise Valley AZ. He was excited to begin teaching in Maricopa where he resides with his wife and three boys. He is especially proud to be teaching here at Heritage. Last year Mr. Hettinger taught World History and Film Production. This year he is pleased to add “wrestling coach” to his list of titles.
Tabri Hicks grew up in Ketchikan, Alaska. She graduated from Alaska Pacific University with a degree in
Education and a minor in Philosophy. She has been teaching and living in Maricopa for the last 16 years
with her husband and daughter. Mrs. Hicks loves the challenge of teaching and making learning fun and
engaging. When she is not working, she enjoys watching her daughter play soccer and gymnastics,
reading, and spending time with her family. Mrs. Hicks is very excited to be a part of Heritage Academy!
Currently teaching Dual Enrollment English through Rio Salado College, John has Master of
Arts training in both English (Rhetoric & Composition) and Applied Linguistics from Arizona
State University, where he plans to continue with his studies as a postgraduate.
John has served as a writing tutor for undergraduates at ASU and an embedded teacher
assistant in two ENG 101 classes. He also has completed two graduate-level writing
internships: working with inmates in the New Mexico Corrections Department Pen Project and
conducting a research project where he authored “The Heart of the Story in Persuasive Writing,”
which examined the cultivation of student-centered voice and authenticity in persuasive writing.
Self-described as “aggressively innovative,” John’s current work explores two fertile areas: 1)
the intersect of rhetoric and technology in shaping the future of composition toward real-world
applicability; and 2) the power of student-centered identity as a foundation for voice and
authenticity in composition.
John’s professional memberships include the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing, Association for Writing Across the Curriculum, and the Linguistics Society of America. John has written professionally as a content writer and has acted as a consultant to the Center
for Arizona Policy (CAP). He recently wrote testimony for Sen. Nancy Barto in support of the Save Women’s Sports Act, which was read in front of the AZ House. In his free time John enjoys staying up late (very late!), endlessly debating his kids (he doesn’t always win) and blogging on his website (usually while burning something on the stovetop or in the oven). His blog is an extension of his academic research. Check out his work at www.rhetoricalprose.com. John has an unmatched passion for his students and his subject. “God has given me the gift of energy because He wants me to do BIG things. That is what I am at Heritage Academy Maricopa to do. BIG things!”
Mrs. Hill grew up in Southern Oregon. She attended Southern Oregon University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with minors in business, communication, and chemistry. She has many years of teaching experience at various grade levels. Last year she began working for Heritage Academy Maricopa as a substitute teacher, and this year she took over as our permanent 6th grade math teacher.
She has lived in Maricopa for 14 years. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons. When she’s not working, you can find her at a soccer field watching her boys play soccer. She also loves traveling and reading. She is very excited to be a part of Heritage Academy.
Mrs. Hilsinger is originally from Ohio, but moved to Arizona as a kid. She grew up in Prescott Valley, then moved to Phoenix for college. Mrs. Hilsinger received her Bachelors in Education at Arizona State University, and her Masters in Educational Leadership at Grand Canyon University. She has been teaching for 15 years, and has taught an array of grades and subjects, including elementary school, Math, and Science. Mrs. Hilsinger is married, and has 2 children. In her free time she likes to be outdoors hiking, paddle boarding, and riding quads. She has 5 dogs that are extremely spoiled. Some of Mrs. Hilsinger‘s favorite things include Harry Potter, sweets of all types, Coke Zero, Dutch Bros and teaching scholars like you! I hope to encourage you to have a love of learning and a desire to grow.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” -Abraham Lincoln
Mrs. Hoellwarth has been teaching for 20 years! She has taught 1,2,6,7,8, and 9th grades. She loves all subjects, and has taught middle school Science and English. Mts. Hoellwarth graduated from San Francisco State University with her BA in Liberal Arts, and Chico State University, CA with her Teaching Certificate, She lives in Maricopa with her husband Brian, and three children, Noah, 17, Emma, 15, and Ava, 14. She also has two of the world’s cutest dogs, Sox and Violet! Mrs. Hoellwarth can’t wait to spend the year teaching our amazing Heritage scholars, and watching them develop a love of learning!
Mrs. Huff is native of Arizona, her home town is Chandler. She has always loved water and started swimming competitively at the age of 8. She continued swimming competitively throughout high school, her favorite race was the 100 backstroke.
Mrs. Huff observed her Dads love of photography from a young age. She recognized that pictures could communicate and add value to her life and began learning and developing her photographic skills in junior high. She has worked at Lifetouch as an individual, group, and sports photographer and also a wedding photographer.
Mrs. Huff received a degree with concentration in finance from the University of Phoenix in 2012. She has had many jobs over the years, her favorite has been staying at home to raise her children. She has been married to Vinson Huff for 25 years. They have 6 children, her oldest child is 23 and her youngest is 8. She has been involved with the community by volunteering in schools, serving on community boards, and being involved in church.
Mrs. Huff is starting her 3rd year here at Heritage in Maricopa. She adores our small town and the community here, she has lived in Maricopa for over ten years. Some goals she has for the future are; further her education, and help design and build a house. When she is not teaching, she loves learning, swimming, gardening, yoga, and being with family in the mountains.
Taylor Hughes is a music teacher, composer, and enthusiast active throughout multiple orchestral, wind band, and marching band organizations across the country. He has experience with all instrumental aspects of music, including strings, brass, winds, and electronics. While playing Horn with the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, Mr. Hughes
performed in multiple national and state conferences, including two times at the Missouri Music Educators Association conference in Osage Beach, MO; and the College Band Directors National Association in San Antonio, TX.
Mr. Hughes performed with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps in 2013 and The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps in 2017 as part of the Drum Corps International touring circuit, touring and performing through more than half of the United States. Upon graduating from Missouri State University in 2019 with his Bachelor’s in Instrumental Music Education, Mr. Hughes moved to Arizona to pursue his teaching career. Mr. Hughes served as the Director of Strings and General Music Teacher for K-8 at Maryland Elementary School in central Phoenix from 2019-2022, where he served as a musical guide for students from age 5-14 in both instrumental and choral music practices. In June 2022, he world-premiered his first composition, titled Memoriam, at the International Clarinet Association’s 2022 conference in Reno, NV.
Mr. Hughes is excited to bring his musical expertise to the scholars at Heritage Academy and to help them develop a deep understanding of music that extends far beyond their time in school.
Mrs. Melody Hunsaker was born and raised in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. Little did she know she would grow up two blocks away from the love of her life but never meet him till high school. Melody received her Cosmetology license in Nevada while working for a dental practice. In 2003 the Hunsaker’s moved their young family to Phoenix, Arizona. Shortly after they found the little town of Maricopa and raised three wonderful boys. While Melody stayed home to raise their family she was always very active in their schooling and volunteered as often as she could. Melody has been a past PTO President, and then became a certified Paraprofessional and worked at several elementary schools here in town.
Mrs. Hunsaker loves to be creative. She can do many types of crafts and has taught herself to paint, knit, crochet, sew, make candles, and more. She is currently working on mastering her vinyl machine and learning how to use power tools. She has a great love for the outdoors and will hike any trail at any opportunity. In recent years she has found a great love for backpacking and is enjoying discovering Arizona’s diverse landscape. We are very excited to have Mrs. Hunsaker be a part of our Heritage Academy family.
Mrs. Hunt grew up in Las Vegas, NV. After graduating high school she attended cosmetology school and earned her cosmetology license. She met and married her husband in 2007 and practiced cosmetology for over 10 years while raising her 3 children. She completed the BYU Pathway program and is currently working on her education degree at WGU. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mrs. Hunt taught a group of youth from 5-8th grade in her home so they wouldn’t have to do online schooling or homeschooling. She realized even more, her passion for working with teenagers, watching them learn and grow up. She thrives on motivating and engaging all groups of kids to understand and reach their goals and potential.
Over the past 16 years, she has organized and taught chorus singing to several hundred children for an annual live performance. These choirs were made up of children from around the area to perform in a multi-city gathering of hundreds of people. Mrs. Hunt also spent time directing adult singers from novice to advanced levels. Her time with the younger children helped her learn valuable skills in classroom management and engagement.
For the past 10 years, Mrs. Hunt has worked in various leadership roles with teenagers and adults. When working with teens, she guided weekly meetings, teaching them how to organize and execute activities from a small level all the way up to large-scale community outreach projects. She worked hard to teach teenagers how to direct and govern themselves and become future adult leaders through peer-to-peer teaching. Currently, she works in the capacity of training adult leaders to work with youth and enjoys traveling with them to various surrounding cities.
Mrs. Hunt ultimately loves connecting with teenagers and helping them see how precious they are to our society. She is hopeful for a wonderful school year with our amazing Heritage scholars!
Mr. Jimenez is an award winning artist and graphic designer, and has been involved with the arts for the last thirty years. Formerly a Logo Specialist for GoDaddy, he has created designs for businesses all around the world. His paintings and drawings are displayed in homes and businesses throughout the United States, Mexico, and several other countries. Jimenez’s client list includes television and radio personalities as well as professional athletes. His portrait art has captured national attention and his work has been featured on shows such as Good Morning Arizona, Fox 10 Sports Night, and others.
Mr. Jimenez studied graphic design at Collins College in Tempe, AZ, and has since then developed his own artistic style. Apart from creating art and designs, Mr. Jimenez’s other passion is teaching. He has taught art and graphic design in Casa Grande as well as Maricopa, and is excited to now be a part of Heritage Academy. During the last five years, Mr. Jimenez has led his art students to winning national competitions, including winning the National Congressional Art Competition twice. Some of his graphic design students are now working in the design industry and are creating logos and other designs for local businesses.
When he is not teaching or creating art, Mr. Jimenez enjoys watching movies and attending sporting events, and is always ready to try new restaurants! It’s going to be an amazing year!
Ms. Nadine Khalil was born and raised in beautiful Lebanon. She earned her degree in advertising and communication. She worked for a well known advertising agency in Lebanon and Tunisia. After having her first child she decided to switch careers so she could have more time for her family. Her passion for communication and children lead her to the position of Principals assistant in her previous position.
Ms. Khalil speaks and writes 3 languages fluently. English, French and Arabic. In her spare time she likes drawing, reading and decorating. She loves travelling, discovering and learning about different cultures.
Heidi Klepfer was born and raised in Tucson Arizona. She has lived in Maricopa for 15 years with her wonderful husband, who also teaches at Heritage and her 3 beautiful boys.
Mrs. Klepfer has been teaching Special Education for over 20 years. She started her career in Kyrene School district and then taught Life Skills Special Education at Mountain Pointe High School for 12 years. She has her Bachelor’s in Special Education Cross Categorical, from Northern Arizona University and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction in Behavioral Science from Arizona State University.
Mr. Klepfer teaches Chemistry, Physics, and Conceptual Science, as well as, coaches JH volleyball and JH Baseball at Heritage Maricopa. Mr. Klepfer has been teaching and coaching for 25 years in Arizona. He has a bachelor of Science in Education with a minor in Chemistry.
Mr. Klepfer has written the Science curriculum for Gila Bend school district and created the “Simple Machines / Chemical Reactions” class for the Maricopa School District, and is writing a grant to create a garden for Mesquite Junior High, which has 30 indigenous plants and an analemmatic sundial in the middle of the garden.
Recently Mr. Klepfer was fortunate to coach the only HS baseball team in the town of Maricopa to ever win a HS baseball state championship. He returned the following year, falling short by one run of accomplishing the feat for a second time. Joseph enjoys surfing and mountain biking with his three boys Kai, Keanu, and Kalani and wife Heidi Klepfer, who is a special education teacher at Heritage as well.
Dr. Sherrie Licon has worked in education for more than 18 years. She earned her Doctoral and Master’s Degrees from Northern Arizona University and a dual Bachelor degree in French and International Studies from the State University of New York, College at Cortland. Dr. Licon is from Buffalo, New York, speaks French and Spanish, and has traveled extensively. In college, she completed four study/travel abroad experiences at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, L’Institut Universities Americanin Avignon, France, Centro Bilingue in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and a homestay in the Czech Republic. Dr. Licon lived in Mexico and taught French and English at the Universidad de la Sierra, A.C. located in Huauchinango, Puebla. Dr. Licon has a passion for language and linguistics and is excited to share her love of languages with Heritage scholars. Dr. Licon is married and lives with her wonderful husband and three amazing daughters.
Mrs. Lora Loomis was born and raised in the small town of Hemet, CA. She is the youngest of 10 children, 1 boy, 9 girls. She loved living close to the ocean, and the mountains. Mrs. Loomis married her childhood sweetheart, together they have raised 6 children, 1 daughter and 5 sons. She has 7 grandchildren that she adores. They moved to Maricopa, AZ in 2004, and have loved living here. In her spare time she loves to decorate, refinish and paint furniture, crochet, and would love to learn more about gardening in the beautiful Arizona desert, but spending time with her family is her favorite.
Mr. Miller grew up in Southern California. He graduated from Brea-Olinda High School. He played high school and club soccer. His soccer ability earned him a scholarship at NCAA DII Brigham Young University – Hawaii. There he studied biology education and received his Bachelor of Science degree in 2001. For the next few years after college, he taught at Kailua Intermediate School, Hau’ula Elementary School, and Kahuku High School. He was hired as the head coach of BYU-Hawaii’s Men’s soccer team in 2006. At that time, Mr. Miller began working as the Assistant Sports Information Director and managed events for the Canon Activities Center on campus.
In 2009, he moved his family to Maricopa while working in administration for Argosy University. While with Argosy University he was the Admissions Operations Manager, Director of Talent Management, and Data and Metrics HR Manager. He continued coaching in the valley, taking teams from Ahwatukee Foothills SC, Barcelona FC, Challenge FC, Legacy SC, and RSL AZ. In the summer of 2019, he came back to education and began teaching high school science at Heritage Academy Maricopa. He currently coaches in the soccer program while working as Athletic Director.
Mrs. Miller was raised in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and moved to Laie, Hawaii after graduation. She attended Brigham Young University – Hawaii where she received her Bachelor’s degree in International Cultural Studies, with an Associates in Communications. She loves the islands and stayed there for 12 years as she and her husband raised their family and started teaching school. Her family moved to Arizona where she went on to receive her Masters degree in Education from Argosy University and has been teaching all ages, from preschool to high school, for over 19 years.
Mrs. Miller loves the ocean and has learned to love the desert during the last 12 years that she has lived in Maricopa. She loves to run, hike, swim, camp, play sports, and read. She and her husband have four boys and love the small town feel of Maricopa. She loves learning and likes to make learning fun and engaging for her scholars. She has been coaching volleyball and basketball at Heritage for four years and looks forward to working with scholars in the classroom and on the court!
Crystal O’Barr attended Brigham Young University where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Athletic Training. She has been an Athletic Trainer for Mount Whitney High School and an EMT. She believes in teaching scholars correct technique to prevent injury in sports and all physical exercise. Coach O’Barr has participated in many sports and loves to exercise through PLAY. She has coached city league sports such as Volleyball and Soccer. She has been a substitute teacher here at Heritage Academy for the last two years and she is excited to join our full time team. In her spare time Coach O’Barr enjoys helping with our school drama department, playing pickleball, and hiking. She recently hiked the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim and is looking forward to exploring more of Arizona’s natural wonders.
David O’Barr was born and raised in San Diego California. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1991 with a BA in Political Science and a Minor in English Literature. He graduated from California Western School of Law in 1994 earning a JD and passed the Bar in California the same year. He worked as a Deputy District Attorney in Tulare County in central California for four years. He then worked as a City Attorney Prosecutor for the City of Anaheim for the last 23 years. During his time in Anaheim he became the Chief City Attorney in charge of criminal prosecutions in the city. Mr. O’Barr is excited to be in the classroom teaching Criminal and Constitutional Law as dual enrollment classes. He hopes he will help the scholars at Maricopa Heritage better understand the American legal system and be become better citizens and leaders. When not working, Mr. O’Barr enjoys spending time with his family, exploring history and historical sites, and playing loud rock n’ roll music on his guitars. He also enjoys building little models of vehicles and aircraft used during World War Two.
Mrs. Misti Oosthuizen comes to us with teaching experience at both the secondary and college level. She began working in education in 2013 as a Middle School Science teacher. Since then, she has taught a variety of courses including AP Psychology, AP Biology, Physics, Middle School Math, and Dance. In addition to teaching, Misti has experience as an instructional coach as well as science chair and team lead. She also enjoys her role as an adjunct professor at the local Community College. She has an associates and bachelor’s degree in Psychology as well as a Masters of Industrial Organizational Psychology. In her spare time, Misti enjoys spending time with her family and dogs as well as traveling, testing her creativity, and reading.
Mrs. Ormond was born and raised in Southern California where she enjoyed all things Disney and all things in the beach and ocean. She graduated and spent 4 magical years studying at BYU Hawaii. After graduating with a BA in Psychology, she married her college sweetheart and together they moved to the Midwest for 4 years. It was there that she made the transition from yoga student to yoga instructor. Most recently, Mrs. Ormond worked in behavioral health working with children, adolescents, and families as a resource, guide and advocate. She is thrilled to join the Heroes at Heritage working to cultivate physical and mental strength, and resiliency through the practice of yoga and principles of mindfulness.
Dr. Matthew Ormond earned his Bachelors of Art from BYU-Hawaii and earned his Doctorate Degree from Cleveland University. He is a husband and proud father of 6 children. He owns and operates Relief & Restoration Chiropractic located in Huntington Beach, California.
His hobbies include: soccer, learning, teaching, running, camping, fishing, pickleball and enjoying the outdoors with his family. Dr. Ormond is looking forward to sharing his love for science with the scholars at Heritage Academy. Three things still left on my Bucket List are: 1. Hiking Napali Coast in Kauai with my family. 2. Getting my pilots license. 3. Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with my wife.
A famous quote that can describe my life is: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you have imagined”, Henry David Therou.
Ms. Pepper has been a certified teacher for 24 years. She earned her degree in Education from Ottawa University. One of the reasons why she became a teacher was to share her love of reading and writing with kids. Over the years Ms. Pepper has taught 1st grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, and 10th grade. This is her 5th year teaching 9th grade, and she loves it!
Ms. Pepper has two adult children and two amazing grandchildren. Her favorite authors include Orson Scott Card, Ray Bradbury, and Stephen King.
Cindy Price spent most of her adolescent years in Florida, the third of seven children. She and her siblings loved spending time outdoors, going to the beach and playing sports. While studying at Brigham Young University, Cindy discovered swing dancing and fell in love. She was a member of the swing dancing club and traveled throughout the state performing. One of the highlights of her time on the team was learning from Frankie Manning, one of the original founders of swing, who was pivotal to the revival of swing dancing and taught into his 90’s. Cindy currently has 4 children with her husband, Christian Price. She is a Certified Life and Strengths Coach as well as an Emotional Wellness Instructor. She owns WaveMaker Essentials Coaching here in Maricopa. One of the core principles she teaches her clients is to schedule joyful activities into their lives just like they would any other appointment or responsibility. Cindy is excited to introduce Heritage students to swing dancing, which she considers “Joy in motion.”
Ms. Schmidgall was born in Louisville Kentucky but moved to Arizona at a very young age. Ms. Schmidgall earned her BA in education at ASU and her master’s degree in Curriculum and Planning at NAU. She has two sons and five wonderful grandchildren.
When Ms. Schmidgall is not teaching (which she loves) you can find her playing with her five grandkids, watching her family play baseball, or traveling to any history site. Ms. Schmidgall even spends her summers in teacher workshops learning more about history! Ms. Schmidgall loves cooler weather so you can find her in Flagstaff visiting one son as much as possible.
Ms. Schmidgall is excited to be at Heritage Academy and can’t wait for some great historical adventures with her scholars!
Mrs. Sims first discovered she wanted to be a teacher at 7 years old. She went to a college-prep high school and graduated while also becoming certified as an EMT and CNA. Furthermore, she went on to get a diploma in Medical Assisting. Mrs. Sims wanted to explore the medical field, so she began her pre-nursing at Mesa Community College. She loved the medical field, but something was missing. It was teaching! She decided to follow her dreams and go back to teaching. Mrs. Sims graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with Magma Cum Laude honors. She spent three years as a substitute teacher in North Pole, Alaska. She moved back to Arizona with her family two years ago, where she began teaching 5th-grade science and social studies at FUSD. She is going into her 3rd year teaching 7th-grade science at Heritage Academy. Currently, she just started her Master’s Degree in Biology. She found out she loves teaching science because of her medical professional background. She loves all things science and loves showing how science can be found everywhere! Mrs. Sims has two beautiful children and two fur babies with her husband, Jesse Sims. She and her family were looking for a location to build a home, they went to look at Maricopa and fell in love! She then began looking for a teaching position that would align with her goals and values then she found Heritage Academy, which aligned in every way she wanted. This year is her 3rd year teaching at Heritage and she truly loves teaching all of her scholars and getting to know them.
“It is our choices that show us what truly we are far more than our abilities” This quote by Albus Dumbledore is what Mrs. Sims teaches her scholars.
Ashley Smith began her dance training at the age of 2. She studied all forms of dance and grew up as a competitive dancer in the Dallas and Phoenix areas. She received a scholarship to attend Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA and graduated cum laude with a B.A. degree in Dance. Ashley continued her summer dance training at the Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles and at the Broadway Dance Center in NYC, along with Chicago’s Lou Conte Dance Center, River North Chicago, Visceral Dance Center and The Giordano Dance School in Illinois.
After graduating from college, Ashley received a full scholarship to study and perform at the Giordano Dance School in Evanston, IL as a member of the Giordano 3 Company. While living in Chicago, she had the opportunity to perform with numerous Jazz and Contemporary dance companies such as Giordano 3 and Inaside Dance Chicago. She has had the privilege of working with many well-known choreographers such as Doug Caldwell, Mandy Moore, Eddie Ocampo, Brian Friedman, Harrison McEldowney, Nick Pupillo, Nan Giordano, Sherry Zunker, Autumn Eckman, Jessica Deahr, Joel Hall, William Gill, Richard Smith, and countless others.
Ashley’s career progressed even further when she landed the incredible opportunity of touring internationally as a professional dancer and performer with Disney Live!’s “Mickey’s Rockin Road Show”, A Feld Entertainment Production. For five years, Ashley toured internationally and performed in over 25 different countries along the way. After touring with Disney Live!, Ashley relocated back to Phoenix, AZ, to be closer to family, and currently teaches and choreographs all forms of dance across the valley. Ashley is the current Dance Director at Heritage Academy in Maricopa, AZ, teaching dance to grades 6 th – 12 th . Her favorite styles to teach and choreograph are Lyrical, Contemporary, and Jazz. Ashley also travels around the nation as a competitive dance adjudicator and enjoys sharing her lifetime passion of dance and technical knowledge with others. Furthering her education and artistry, Ashley recently completed her MFA in Dance Choreography at Jacksonville University, FL (May 2022). She loves to inspire and motivate dancers and students to be their best and is ecstatic to share her love of dance, fitness, and creativity with those around her!
Ms. Sorenson was born and raised in Tempe, Arizona. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Finance and communications. She completed her Post Baccularate program in Elementary Education. She recently obtained her Master’s Degree in Administration in Leadership from Grand Canyon University.
Ms. Sorenson has taught locally with Maricopa Unified School District for six years until she joined the Math team here at Heritage Academy. She has three school aged children and has lived in Maricopa for the past eleven years. When she is not teaching she enjoys watching her children play various sports, watching ASU football, and baseball.
By the age of sixteen, Mrs. Steelman had lived in Connecticut, Louisiana, Nevada, and Virginia! She grew up playing soccer and acting. She also loves traveling, photography, and animals. Her father was a College Professor and her mother was a Middle School Educator. Because Mrs. Steelman was immersed in education from a young age, she knew she wanted to be an educator.
She earned her BS in Education from Chowan University in North Carolina, and a MA in New Professional Studies in Education from George Mason University in Virginia. Mrs. Steelman has also completed the majority of her coursework towards a PhD in Mathematics Leadership.
Mrs. Steelman taught Middle School Mathematics for eight years in Virginia; for three of those eight years, she taught both Mathematics and Science. She then spent six years as a Mathematics Coach. She moved to Arizona in June of 2016 because of her love of the southwest. Since moving to Arizona, she has taught Math 7 in a virtual setting for two years, and Math 6 Tiger Prep in Maricopa Unified School District 20 for one year. She lives here in Maricopa with her husband, 3-year old son, and two dogs.
Ms. Katie Talbot is an amazing pianist, singer, and clarinetist. She has been playing the piano for almost
twenty years and has recently graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in piano from Snow College.
She also minored in business. She has many years of experience with both choir and band. She
has been playing piano for various choirs and other groups and individuals for six years. Ms. Talbot grew up in
Salt Lake City, Utah and has recently moved to Mesa. In her free time, she enjoys cooking,
painting, and reading. Ms. Talbot is very excited to work with the very talented choirs here at Heritage Academy!
Mrs. Taylor is a native of sunny Arizona. After graduating from High School, she moved to the Midwest where she obtained her ASL Interpreter Certification. Mrs. Taylor has enjoyed working in, and or supporting education and scholars since 2012. She started out as an involved parent, quickly joined the PTO and has never looked back.
The best part of her day is observing those moments when scholars realize their full potential, decide to go for it and reach their goals. Setting the bar high and leaving zero room for excuses, Heritage scholars know she expects their best and they are happy to give it. They know Mrs. Taylor will be there to celebrate every milestone and cheering for them at the finish line both on and off the court or field.
Mrs. Taylor has lived in Maricopa since 2006 with her husband and has built a beautiful family with their three amazing children. During the little free time her busy life provides, she enjoys being with her family, reading, decorating, gardening and camping.
Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.
Mr. Taylor has lived in Arizona since birth. Teaching has been a bit of a family calling, with his mother, Grandfather, and Great Grandfather (as well as several other relatives) having dedicated their adult lives to teaching. Mr. Taylor started his career in education in 2008, and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 2013.
After many years of teaching, Mr. Taylor shifted focus, temporarily, and devoted the last 5 years to leading sales teams for various companies. Meanwhile, returning to teaching had always been a consideration. Having been so impressed with Heritage Academy and the positive impact the school and culture has had on his daughter, news an opportunity to teach at Heritage Academy caught his attention and Mr. Taylor knew it was time to return and find a long-term home in teaching at Heritage Academy.
Math had never been Mr. Taylor’s singular educational focus (having taught many subjects at many grade levels throughout his first teaching career), but he loves mathematics, and is beyond excited to be able to laser-focus on helping scholars achieve mastery in Algebra.
Shayla Taylor is new to Heritage Academy Maricopa this year. She brings with her 17 years of teaching experience, a passion for learning, and an adventurous spirit. Mrs. Taylor enjoys building connections within her classroom and knows that reading and writing are skills students need in order to thrive in their lives.
Mrs. Taylor graduated from Arizona State University in 1995 with a BA in Secondary Education with a focus on English. Just to make things interesting, she and her husband, Chris, got married the next day. She is the mother of four boys who are her absolute favorite humans. Mrs. Taylor loves escaping to San Diego where she has a tradition of exploring interesting sites including the Historic Point Loma Lighthouse, gaming/collectible stores, beaches, and Naval Station North Island. Yes, she and her family have a ritual of stopping on the way to share a delicious date shake.
Mrs. Taylor is excited to join the Heritage community and is looking forward to sharing her creativity and passion with her scholars.
Mrs. Titus grew up in Southern California. She attended Brigham Young University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education. She has taught several different grade levels and subjects in Utah, California, Texas, and Arizona. She has had the honor of being Teacher of the Year twice. Her most recent assignment has been teaching math and science in the Blended Learning program in Maricopa where she won the State Golden Bell Award with her fellow blended teachers.
She moved to Maricopa 3 years ago with her husband and 4 children to be closer to her extended family. She LOVES Disneyland and is a little obsessed with all things Disney! She is very excited to teach science at Heritage Academy and is looking forward to a fabulous year.
Ms. Turik graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and has been teaching for 20 years. She has taught grades 3rd through High School in Texas and Arizona and has especially enjoyed teaching American Sign Language and crocheting as elective classes. She loves making a difference in her community and encourages her students to give as well. Her crochet students donated the hats and bags that they had made to the Cancer Treatment Center of America.
Ms. Turik has two amazing daughters that keep her super busy with competitive dance, as well as five cats and three dogs. Her older daughter graduated high school early and is be studying Biomedical Sciences this year at ASU (her rival school!!!) Her younger daughter is a Junior at Heritage and wants to be a veterinarian. Her favorite activities are cooking and reading. Ms. Turik’s favorite genre is horror and she has read every Stephen King book written. She is so excited to be teaching at Heritage Academy!!
Mr. Tyler was born and raised in Utah. He moved to Montana after high school graduation, where he met and married his wife. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from
Montana State University Billings, where he was a finalist for the Golden Student Merit Award, and a Masters Degree in Mathematics from Brigham Young University.
Mr. Tyler taught Calculus at Brigham Young University, and has always loved Mathematics. He led a research team project studying the relationship between soil saturation and temperature, utilizing novel Machine Learning techniques, such as Non-Uniform Label Smoothing, Deep Neural Networks, and Hybrid Multiple Linear Regression for Principal Component Analysis.
Mr. Tyler has always loved teaching and tutoring Mathematics and calculus, and he has 4 children of his own he teaches Mathematics daily. He now enjoys sharing this passion with the amazing scholars of Heritage Academy Maricopa.
Mrs. Vargas is a California native that happily moved to Arizona in 2006. She received her B.A. in Communications with an emphasis in public speaking and performance studies from San Francisco State University. She also worked on her Master’s in Technical Theatre Education and design from Southern Oregon University. Mrs. Vargas is the Founder and Artistic Director for Maricopa Community Theatre (MCT), which was founded back in 2010.
Mrs. Vargas lives in Maricopa with her husband and has three grown children, Lin, Tyler and Lexie. She met her husband during a production of Into the Woods, and the two have been in/directed several musicals with MCT. When not doing all things theater, you can find her traveling with her husband (usually to a beach), running the state pageant for Miss Arizona Volunteer, reading, or playing with her dog, Cha Cha.
Mrs. Wilson was born and raised in the great state of Texas. She married the love of her life over 27 years ago. They have 5 children and 2 granddaughters. She enjoys singing, playing the piano, reading, and camping. She plays a mean game of Scrabble and is always ready to face off with a new challenger.
Mrs. Wilson holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University.
Coach Zappa’s journey in education and coaching began at Northern Arizona University, where he actively participated in the executive council of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. He graduated with a B.S. in Education, specializing in Physical Education. His professional career took off at Leupp Public School, located on the Navajo Nation, where he taught a multi-aged classroom consisting of 5th and 6th graders. Additionally, he served as the coach for the girls’ basketball team. Following his wife’s graduation from NAU, they relocated to the valley.
In 2000, Mr. Zappa established the Athletic Department at The Tesseract School, assuming coaching responsibilities for softball and various other sports. During the transition period between Tesseract and Pardes, he ventured into the field of Real Estate while continuing to coach softball at Phoenix Country Day School. He undertook the task of revamping the athletic program at Pardes. Subsequently, in 2019, he joined Pathway Academy as a Weight Training and PE instructor, in addition to coaching their Junior High and Varsity softball teams. The varsity team claimed victory in the 2019 CAA D2 H.S. Softball State Championship.
During his leisure time, Mr. Zappa cherishes moments spent with his wife and two children. He also actively coaches his travel softball team, USA Prime. Over the years, he has participated in triathlons and Ironman competitions held in Arizona, California, and Colorado.
Coach Zappa, having achieved back-to-back varsity state titles, is eagerly anticipating another fantastic year at Heritage Academy-Maricopa. He is excited to witness the passion and dedication of the scholars as they contribute to the growth and success of the school’s competitive softball program.