I welcome you to the Leading Edge family and community. As the K-8 Principal for Leading Edge Academy Gilbert, I am responsible for ensuring that our students receive the best possible education in a safe, positive environment. I am not only committed to helping our students be successful in their academics, but to instill the positive character values that they will carry through life.
The Leading Edge Academy Gilbert 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!
We offer many different programs and activities – from STEM programs to sports to fine arts to unique after school clubs. There’s something for every student!
As part of the Leading Edge family, please feel free to share concerns, questions, and successes with our staff. We are here to help ensure that our students have a successful school experience and that our families feel supported and part of the educational process.
Where you send your student to school is your personal choice, and we are so glad that you are considering our amazing school! Thank you for your time and I look forward to your student’s success.
Mindi Johnson, M.Ed.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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!
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.
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.
Mrs. Tanya Owen has been a teacher at GEC since 2019 but has worked as a long-term sub and paraeducator since 2014. Tanya received her Bachelor’s degree in 2010 from Ashford University, now an extension of University of Arizona, Tucson where she was proud to be awarded Summa cum laude. After years in the behavioral health field, she decided to make the change to teaching, as it has been a passion of hers since 3rd grade. Mrs. Owen became highly qualified in the summer of 2019 and is proud to be a Spartan!
Mrs. Actkins was born and raised in Sycamore, Ill. She has been living in Arizona for 25 years. This is her third year teaching. After years in the health care industry she decided to make the change to teaching. Teaching has always been a passion of hers and she loves building relationships with her students through the field of science. Mrs. Actkins holds degrees in Healthcare Administration, Public Health and is currently working towards her Doctorate of Education. In her free time she enjoys traveling, watching movies, baking, spending time with family and going to the gym.
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.
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.
Mrs. Bonnie McCalley is married with 4 adult children. She is an almost native of Arizona and received her elementary and special education degrees from Northern Arizona University. Bonnie has been teaching children for over 20 years and believes all children have the ability to learn; some just need different techniques to reach their individual learning style.
Ms. DeSena holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Services and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She began her teaching career over 20 years ago. She spent 15 years teaching in public schools in California which is where she was born and raised. After moving to Arizona, Ms. DeSena spent 6 years at Gilbert Christian Schools before joining Leading Edge Academy in 2021.
Ms. DeSena has a teenage son and loves hanging out with him. She also enjoys traveling and finding new vacation spots for fun adventures with friends and family. Her family and faith mean everything to her