Dear Leading Edge Families,
I am thrilled to be the principal of our Gilbert campus serving K-12 grades. Our wonderful staff at Leading Edge Academy provides our students a full school experience with many rigorous, learning opportunities.
We are committed to helping your child flourish as a learner, preparing them for college, career and their future.
As the principal, I am dedicated to helping your child throughout their school experience. I have a passion for learning and believe we are all life-long learners. I look forward to getting to know our families and students this year. I am always available to meet with parents and families as a partner in your child’s education.
I look forward to a great school year!
Heidi Simms, Principal
Mrs. Simms joins the Leading Edge Team with more than 17 years of experience in Education. She has a Bachelors degree in education from Arizona State University and Masters degrees from Saint Xavier University and the University of Phoenix in Teaching, Leadership and Administration. Over the course of her education career she has served as principal, mentor teacher leader, and elementary teacher.
Mrs. Simms brings all her experience to Leading Edge to help us continue to build the reputation we have for strong academics, athletics, performing arts, and extra curricular activities.
Mrs. Dallas Jandreau graduated from A.S.U with a B.A. in the Multilingual Multicultural program in Elementary Education. She has taught kindergarten at Monte Vista Elementary in the Creighton School District, was a substitute teacher in all grades K-7 in the Creighton school district, and taught pre-k at Totspot Preschool . She was hired at Leading Edge in December 2015 Mrs. Jandreau loves the culture here at Leading Edge Academy and looks forward to helping your child become the best learner they can be, while building character within. While not at school, Mrs. Jandreau loves spending time with her husband and twin boys. She also enjoys polynesian dancing and camping with her family.
Ms. Geraldine Torrellas went to high school at Desert Vista. After graduating from DVHS, she went on to attend college at South Mountain CC. After completing her Associate’s Degree at SMCC, she went to the University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley. She graduated from UTRGV in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree. She started playing golf when she was a sophomore in high school and played on the team for DVHS, SMCC, and UTRGV. After graduating from UTRGV, she was a kindergarten paraprofessional at LEA – Gilbert. Now she is a kindergarten teacher at LEA – Gilbert.
Anna Sawyer graduated from CSU Fresno with a BA in education and attended Chapman University as a graduate completing her studies in education. She taught two years in California and took some time off to raise her two daughters. She began teaching again in 2016 in Yuma AZ and then moved to South Carolina in 2018 where she continued to teach. Recently her husband has retired from the the military and they now live in Gilbert where she is excited to be a part of the Leading Edge family.
Mrs. Accurso is originally from New Jersey, where she graduated from Rowan University. After she moved to Arizona in 2017, she taught 3rd grade for a few years and is now currently teaching (and loving!) 1st grade. In her free time, Mrs. Accurso enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, and traveling.
Ms. Diane Krueger has taught 2nd Grade at Leading Edge Academy since the fall of 2011. She absolutely loves 2nd Graders and has spent almost all of her 21 years of teaching at this grade. She earned her BS in Education from Baylor University, holds her Arizona Department of Education Certificate for teaching at the elementary K-8 level, and is Arizona Highly Qualified at the K-3 level. She and her wonderful husband, Steve, have been married for thirty years. In her time away from the classroom, Diane enjoys learning more about education, reading, knitting, and finding treasures at local estate and garage sales.
Mrs. Amanda Steib has been teaching at Leading Edge Academy since 2012. She has been teaching since 2006 and absolutely loves third graders. She received my B.A. degree from Northern Arizona University. As a native Arizonan it was very hard learning to live with the snow while she was at college! When not at school she keeps very busy spending time with her 4 dogs, cat, two daughters, and husband!
Tanya Matt is a native of Phoenix, Arizona, as well as having the privilege of traveling through out the United States and abroad. Family is very important, and she comes from a family of Educators! Tanya graduated from East High School, went on to pursue her Bachelors of Science in Family & Consumer Science Degree from ASU. Tanya went on to complete her Masters of Arts in Education from Grand Canyon University. She has 2 children, 2 German Shepherds, and a wonderful Husband. Tanya has been teaching for over 10 years and is excited to be a part of the Leading Edge Academy team.
Mrs. Lora Cannegieter is a 4th grade teacher at Leading Edge Academy Gilbert Elementary. She has been teaching since 2010. She has taught 1st, 4th, and 2nd grades. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Kennesaw State University in 2007. She went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Education from Walden University in 2016. When not teaching, Mrs. Cannegieter likes to spend time with her family, travel, and read.
Mrs. Connie Tinkham loves teaching and stretching children so that they reach their highest potential. She enjoys teaching project-based lessons and literature studies. She has over 16 years of teaching experience, hold an Arizona teaching certificate, and is Spalding certified. Connie has been teaching at Leading Edge Academy since 2012. She is married with children. She was formerly a missionary in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Her heroes are Jesus Christ, Corrie Tenboom, and Deitrich Bonhoeffer. Her hobbies include reading, DIY projects, and frugal shopping. Her favorite movie is Lord of the Rings and favorite TV show is Stargate SG1…but she loves any SciFi!
Ms. Cynthia Pierce joined the Leading Edge family in 2012 after teaching for 11 years in the private sector. She has a BSBA and AZ teaching certification and has taught K-8th grades (with the exception of second). While Cynthia is not busy teaching she enjoys traveling with her family, reading, gardening, and being involved in volunteer opportunities.
Ms. Buehler has been teaching middle school for 24 years and has 5 grown children and 7 grandchildren. While raising her children as a single mom, she earned a Master’s Degree in Education. Acting and directing has been a long time love for her, and she continues to write her novel for juvenile literature. Spending time with her grandchildren in Las Vegas takes the rest of her time, as she continues to look forward to achieving her next challenge.
Michele Irvine is married with two beautiful children who both attend Leading Edge Academy. She graduated from Central Michigan University in 2001 with a B.S. in Elementary Education and minors in Mathematics, Language Arts, and Middle Level Education. Mrs. Irvine has taught for 10 years in different positions including 6th grade Math and Science, 7th Grade Math, Honors Math, and worked as a K-6 Math Specialist.
Mrs. Barbara Durant taught in Mesa Public Schools for 24 years. After being retired for one year, she took the opportunity to teach for Leading Edge Academy. Mrs. Durant has a Bachelors Degree in Special Education from ASU and a Masters Degree in Counseling from NAU. Mrs. Durant has been married for over 36 years and has three daughters and 4 grandchildren. In her spare time, Mrs. Durant enjoys spending time with family, her pets, hiking and traveling.
Mr. Garcia considers himself the luckiest teacher in the world because he gets to teach the subjects he is most passionate about which are Art, Music and PE. Mr. Garcia wants to make learning fun and strives to teach students to believe in their abilities and realize how amazing they are! Mr. Garcia has been married for 22 years and has 3 teenage sons who have all attended the Leading Edge Academy GEC campus.
Mrs. Katie Bradley received her BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Wichita State University, majoring in English with a minor in Speech Communication. In 2011, Katie received her Master of Arts in Communication. From 2005-2009, Katie was a starter for the Div. 1, Wichita State Shockers’ Volleyball Team and went on to play for Arizona’s professional volleyball team, The Arizona Sizzle from 2013-2014. Katie coaches the Spartan’s Varsity volleyball team, winning the 2013, D2 State Championship and received the “Coach of the Year” award. With both parents as art teachers, it came natural to love and teach art to others.
Ms. Laura Lindstrom has her BA in Vocal Performance and Speech Drama, from North Park University in Chicago, Ill. She holds a Provisional Career and Technical Education and Training Certificate. Ms.Lindstrom is a member of the NAfMe and the AMEA. She has been teaching for Leading Edge since 2004. In her spare time, Ms. Lindstrom enjoys spending time with her grown children and grandchildren as well as helping produce musicals at her church.
Ms. Gillespie started teaching PE at Leading Edge Academy in 2020. She received her Bachelors of Science in Sports Science in 2015 and her Masters of Science in Kinesiology in 2019. She played college soccer at Mesa Community College and Briar Cliff University. Currently she is coaching soccer at the GEC campus. In her spare time she is often playing, coaching, or watching soccer.
Charity started teaching at Leading Edge in 2014. She is very thankful and honored to work at such an amazing school! She loves the small school atmosphere, the focus on character building, and the community among the teachers. Charity has two high school students at GEC. She attended bible college in Dallas, Texas. Charity grew up in the military and her traveling experiences have given her a love for other cultures and places. Her number one bucket list item is to see New York City and return to Europe.
Mr. Adam Goldson received his BA in Music Education from Dowling College in New York. Prior to that he studied Classical and Jazz Performance at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. While there he studied Tuba with Gregory Fritze, Principal Tubist with the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Mr. Goldson has worked as a District-wide Instrumental Music Teacher and Band Director for Grades 4-8, in addition to being the High School Marching Band Director in the Attleboro Public Schools in Massachusetts. He has taught Band in the Scottsdale Unified School District and Madison School District in Phoenix.
Amy was born and raised in Oregon. She graduated from Oregon State University with a Master’s Degree in Teaching Physical Education. She taught PE for 18 years before moving to Arizona in 2017. Amy has been happily married for 19 years and has three children, all who attend Leading Edge Academy. Amy began her time at Leading Edge Academy over the summer and is very grateful for the opportunity to work in the Gilbert Elementary office as Admin. Assistant.
Jessica was born and raised in Arizona. She is happily married to her husband (Robert) and has 5 children who all attend Leading Edge Academy in Gilbert. In 2019, Jessica worked in the school’s cafeteria as the “Lunch Lady”. In August of 2020 she accepted the position of Receptionist for Gilbert Elementary which gives her a chance to display her organizational skills and create a warm welcome to parents, staff and students.
Jenn Kos has been with Leading Edge Academy for almost 10 years as the administrative assistant to the principal at the Maricopa campus when she helped open the school in 2010. She recently started a new position as one of the Business Specialists for the Gilbert and Online Campuses and loves the change of pace. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa. She and her husband, Brian, have been married for 25 years and have three very active, adopted sons.
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.