At our school, we believe in providing a safe, supportive and nurturing environment for all our students. We have a team of highly qualified and dedicated teachers who are committed to ensuring that each student achieves their full potential. Our curriculum is designed to be comprehensive, rigorous and engaging, and we offer a wide range of extracurricular activities to enrich the learning experience of our students.
We encourage you to explore our school and get to know us better. You can find important information about our mission and vision, our academic programs, our staff, our events, and our policies by contacting us directly or through other communication channels that we use to keep you informed about what is happening at our school. These include newsletters, emails, phone calls, and parent-teacher conferences. We value your input and feedback, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions.
Finally, I would like to thank you for choosing our school for your child’s education. We believe that education is a partnership between the school, the parents, and the community, and we look forward to working together to help your child achieve their full potential.
Principal, Leading Edge Academy – Gilbert K-8
Jennifer Lucas has been in education for 15 years. She graduated from ASU with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education, SEI endorsement and a specialization in math. She continued her educational journey and graduated from GCU with a Master’s in Educational Administration. She has several years of educational experience as a mentor teacher, instructional coach, dean and assistant principal. She has been married over 20 years and has 3 beautiful daughters who are very active in sports and theater.
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.
Tabatha Queen went to college for Early Childhood Development and Computer Programming. She worked closely with mentally and physically challenged children for 12 years in NC. She is certified in CPR, as well as other medical certifications. She taught preschool after moving to AZ and worked as an IA (paraprofessional) for 4 years at LEA Gilbert campus with varying grades 2nd-6th. This year she changed gears a little and is currently working as the admin/receptionist for the Gilbert Campus, Jr High office.
Ashley grew up in California and graduated from LIFE Bible College (now LIFE Pacific University) with a theology degree and an emphasis in Christian Teaching before getting married and moving to Washington state in 2003. Her and her husband have two children, ages 13 & 15. Their family moved to Arizona in 2021 and this is her first year as a teacher (’22-’23). Before becoming a Kindergarten teacher, she and her husband pastored a small church in WA. She has also been a children’s, youth, and women’s pastor, as well as a paraeducator at different points in her life.
Taylor was born in Illinois but has spent most of her life here in Arizona. She graduated from Arizona State University. In her free time she enjoys reading, painting and spending time outdoors.
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!
Mrs. Lora Cannegieter is a 3rd grade teacher at Leading Edge Academy Gilbert Elementary. She has been teaching since 2010 and has taught 1st-4th 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 Tinkam 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, holds 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.
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. 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.
Justin Rosepapa is an alumnus of Northern Arizona University. He earned a Master’s Degree in Literature during the spring of 2019. When he is not teaching, you may find him hiking far and wide throughout the southwest, writing and reading at local coffee shops, and jaunting through used bookstores and record shops.
Ms. L graduated from the University of Arizona with a double major in Communication and Spanish. She studied abroad for a semester in Chile and worked at a Montessori school teaching preschool aged children English. Ms. L has always wanted to be a high school Spanish teacher but had started working for a mortgage company while in school and stayed with real estate for a period of time before finally deciding to follow her dreams of teaching! Her favorite part about teaching is seeing people excited about communicating with others and bridging gaps between groups with language barriers.
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 and Music. 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 23 years and has 3 grown 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. 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.
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.
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.