I am honored to serve as the principal of Leading Edge Academy at East Mesa. On behalf of the staff, I would like to extend an invitation to you to join our “family.” Every day we strive to provide a physically and emotionally safe environment in which our students know that we care about them as individuals and that we have high expectations for each of them.
We believe that by working together, our youth will find elementary school to be an enjoyable, meaningful, and rich experience that will provide them with a strong foundation to fulfill their dreams.
The Leading Edge Academy staff is here to make the school years of your student(s) as successful and educationally challenging as possible. We embrace the opportunity to make a lasting impact on their lives and look forward to celebrating their successes!
If you have questions or concerns about school-related matters, we want you to feel comfortable seeking the help of any of our trained professionals who will work hard to help you resolve such issues.
Brenda has been married to her husband, Kevin for 28 years. They have 2 sons together. Brenda joined the Leading Edge Academy at GEC this past year as the administrative assistant to the principal and recently moved to the business specialist role.
I have worked in the education field for over 20 years. I taught Kindergarten and First Grade for almost 8 years. Stayed home for a few years and now have joined the leading edge family. My son has been here since Kindergarten and now is in Fifth grade. My youngest is now here and in First grade! I love being here and can’t wait to watch all your children grow up!
Keli Palmer came to Leading Edge Academy after working for the State of Arizona for over 30 years. The majority of her time was spent working in higher education. Her background includes education administration, academic advising, and financial aid. After leaving state service, Keli was looking for a new adventure and found that at Leading Edge East Mesa! She enjoys spending her free time with her husband and house full of dogs.
Ms. M. was born and raised in Central Illinois and has called Arizona home for the past 24 years. She has three busy children and enjoys exploring the Southwest. She has been described as a “jack of all trades” and an incredibly patient person. Ms. M. started her post-secondary education at Illinois Central College followed by Illinois State University, then completed her Bachelors of Arts in Special Education, with a concentration in Emotional Disabilities, at Prescott College. She has taught a variety of subject matters as a resource teacher and co-teacher at McClintock High School and Corona del Sol High School in Tempe for a total of 15 years.
Mrs. Nicole Fisher is currently teaching Kindergarten at the East Mesa Campus. She is originally from Toledo, Ohio where she was born and raised. She attended and graduated from The University of Toledo with her Bachelors in Early Childhood. She moved to Arizona almost 6 years ago to further pursue her teaching career. She has since then taught Pre-K for the last 5 years. Her favorite thing about Arizona is you don’t have to shovel sunshine. She loves spending time with her husband and 3 year old son, especially watching football. Her favorite quote is ” it takes a BIG heart to shape Little minds.”
Mrs. Kramer is a native to Arizona. She has been in the field of Education for almost 20 years. She has taught Pre K, Kindergarten, and 1st grade. Mrs. Kramer graduated from Ottawa University in 2009 with a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education and Grand Canyon University in 2018 with a Masters in Reading. In her free time Mrs. Kramer loves spending time with her husband and kids.
Miss Goldberg is a local to Arizona growing up in Flagstaff and graduating from NAU with a B.S. and a Minor in Spanish. Miss Goldberg has experience teaching in various class settings including Bilingual education and Montessori methods but especially has focused on teaching grades 2-4 where she has spent most of her time. Outside of work Miss Goldberg likes to be active outside running, biking and hiking.
Mrs. Jennifer Lindstrom graduated in 2011 from University of Phoenix with her Bachelors of Science in Psychology. While attending University of Phoenix, Mrs. Lindstrom worked as a paraprofessional in special education and in the school library, where she taught kindergarten through 5th grade. After graduating, she began teaching 1st grade. She taught 1st grade for two years and then moved up to 4th grade at Leading Edge Academy. She moved from Pennsylvania to Arizona in 2001 and lives in Mesa with her husband and two children. In her spare time she enjoys baking, swimming, and Zumba.
Sarah Whitney has worked with students of all ages for the past 14 years ranging from birth to 12 years old. She received her Bachelors in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University in 2018. Since then she has worked for Leading Edge Academy, and loves every minute she has with her wonderful students. Sarah is a mother to 3 boys herself and is married to her high school sweetheart. Sarah believes her students inspire her everyday and that she is blessed to work with such an amazing staff at the East Mesa Campus.
Ms. Gomez grew up and lived in Guanajuato, Mexico, for 20 years. She was a teacher there too. Ms. Gomez have been working in the field of education for 14 years. She is passionate about her chosen career. She moved to Arizona in 2012, she loves it here! For the last four years, she has been working here at Leading Edge Academy. Blanca graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor’s degree of Science in Elementary Education K-8; she received her degree with a Summa Cum Laude honors recognition. In her free time she enjoys reading, swimming, hiking, and going for evening walks with her two Aussies, Marlee and Ruby.
Ms. Mindy Nelson is originally from Miami, Florida where she was born and raised. She moved to Arizona in 2009 and loves it! She currently lives in Gilbert with her very large Boerboel named Dembe. She graduated from Florida State University and remains an avid Seminoles fan. Mrs. Nelson has been teaching for over 25 years and has taught every grade (with the exception of first) kindergarten up to tenth grade. She loves photography and is a big gamer nerd playing Dungeons and Dragons in her spare time.
Mrs. Baugues re-joined Leading Edge in 2017, and has 9 years in education. She holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum & Instruction from Concordia University, Portland. She earned her B.S. in Political Science from Arizona State University.
Ms. Janell York graduated from Daemen College in Buffalo, NY with Bachelors of Fine Arts in Drawing and Illustration. Janell has taught Elementary Art at Leading Edge Academy since 2012 and currently teaches on our East Mesa and Online campuses. She has also taught PE, Music and lead Art and Photography Club. Janell has 2 daughters and enjoys thrift shopping, antiquing and traveling with her family!
Julio Daniel graduated from Leading Edge Academy – Gilbert Early College. He has attended Chandler Gilbert Community College, Rio Salado, and Arizona State University. He has taught multiple sports such as basketball, soccer, football, and volleyball for over 4 years. He is currently the Physical Education teacher and Athletic director for the East Mesa Campus.
Miss Carlson is originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She graduated from Northern Michigan University and began teaching in Ishpeming, Michigan. Later, she moved to Las Vegas to continue teaching. Finally, moving to Arizona to be with the rest of her family. Miss Carlson has been teaching in Arizona for 15 years. Away from school, Miss Carlson enjoys playing the piano/organ at church on Saturdays. She also relaxes by playing games on her iPad. When she is able, Miss Carlson also loves to go on vacation cruises. Her dream vacation would be an Alaskan cruise. Miss Carlson has 1 sister and 1 niece. Her family all lives together in Mesa. She is very excited about being a part of the Leading Edge family!