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.
Mrs. Gina Strasser has been working as an Administrative Assistant II for more than 26 years and has always worked in schools. She enjoys interacting with students and getting to know them. She loves antiquing and even has her own antique booth. She also enjoys reading, cooking and traveling. She has been married to her husband Bill for 16 years, has a 32 year old daughter and is a grandma to two cats, one who is blind.
Ms. Crystal Ramirez has been a teacher for since 2004. She has taught preschool, kindergarten, and first grades. Her passion is to show students that learning can be fun and school is fun. Crystal has 1 son, 2 daughters, 4 dogs, a chicken, and a chameleon. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, swimming, camping, hiking, etc. Her favorite color is purple. Crystal loves pizza, skittles, starburst, and Circle K.
Mrs. Maria Mendoza grew up in Southwest Florida but moved to Arizona with her family right before the start of college. Ms. Phillips graduated with a B.A degree in Psychology with a minor in Child Development and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, both from Arizona State University. She started teaching first grade at Leading Edge Academy East Mesa in 2009. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her lab/husky mix named Hurley. She also enjoys hiking, reading, going to the gym, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family.
Mrs. Mariah Cuyler became a teacher in 2012 after graduating from NAU with a Bachelors in elementary education in 2011. She worked as a teacher assistant with pre-schoolers for 2 years, and soon after became a first grade teacher for 3 years. She is now working as the second grade teacher at Leading Edge Academy East Mesa campus. Outside of school she loves to bake desserts, make crafts, read, and spend time with her family.
Mrs. Beth Carder has taught third grade for the past eight years and enjoys working with her students. She is a graduate of Ottawa University, and plans to pursue her Master’s Degree in the future. She has two children. Her son is a Marine and is currently serving in the U.S., and her daughter currently attends High School at the Leading Edge Campus. She enjoys spending time with her family and reading.
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.
Mrs. Jacqueline Kodatt graduated from ASU with a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry. She began teaching in 2018 at Leading Edge Academy and is incredibly excited to be teaching math and science. Mrs. Kodatt is married and has an amazing puppy named Pluto. When she has free time she enjoys working out, hiking, biking, kayaking, baking and spending time with her family.
Mrs. Mindy Nelson is originally from Miami, Florida where she was born and raised. She moved to Arizona in 2009 and loves it! She is married with no kids, but does have a 170 pound dog and smallish cat both of whom she loves dearly. She graduated from Florida State University and remains an avid Seminoles fan. Mrs. Nelson has been teaching for over 22 years and has taught all grades from kindergarten to seventh grade (except for first).
Ms. Janell Krug 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!
Mrs. Melanie Jones has been a Physical Education (P.E.) teacher for 6 years. She enjoys sharing the love of fitness, sports, and how to be a great leader with all the students. Her mission in life is to serve others and leave people better than she found them. Melanie has a heart to serve and defines herself as a people builder. She has three amazing children, twin boys 15 years old and 1 daughter age 11. Besides teaching P.E., Melanie enjoys public speaking, singing, serving the homeless community, hiking, family time, and seeking any and all opportunities to bring out the best in others. One of Melanie’s favorite quotes: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Mr. Womack is split between the LEA East Mesa and Gilbert Campuses. At East Mesa, Mr. Womack teaches general music for grades K-8 and teaches song & dance, rhythm, singing, music theory, percussion, and ukulele. At the Gilbert-Early-College campus, Mr. Womack teaches electric & acoustic guitar, audio, video, lighting and oversees the school’s productions.