Welcome to the start of another academic school year. I am honored to serve you as principal of Leading Edge Academy at Maricopa. We are a public charter school which means we are privately owned and publicly funded. Leading Edge has an excellent elementary curriculum taught by a talented elementary teaching staff.
We are a character counts school and live by the Six Pillars of Character - Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.
As your principal, I want you to know I’m committed to your child’s success and will do everything in my power to help each student develop an enthusiasm for learning, a respect for self and others, and the skills to become successful in any and all endeavors.
I have an open door policy and welcome parents to come and visit with me at any time. Please don’t hesitate to come in and say hello!
Mathew Reese is the Principal of Leading Edge Academy Maricopa. He has been a Teacher, Coach, Athletic Director, Assistant Principal, and Principal over the past 40 years. He has turned several schools around using the best in technology, curriculum, intervention, and best practices. He expects teachers and students to perform at high levels and visits the classrooms daily. Through his experience and high expectations he has developed highly achieving schools.
Mrs. Amy Sundeen began her educational career in 2007. After several years of teaching special education, and then supporting special education teachers as a coordinator, she pursued her Master’s Degree in Education Leadership which she obtained from Grand Canyon University. Mrs. Sundeen was excited to join the Leading Edge Academy team who shared her vision and commitment to providing every student the opportunity to be successful as well as helping them establish a love for learning.
Ms. Sherreis Moreland has been in the field of education since 2001. She has a Master’s in Education Administration and a Bachelor’s in Family Resources and Human Development. Ms. Moreland has five years teaching experience and moved to administration in 2007. Ms. Moreland is passionate about all children having access to high quality education programs.
Mrs. Kristi Marcus has a wonderful husband named Kevin and a beautiful little girl named Khloe. She and her family moved to Arizona near the end of 2015 from Northern California. She worked in California as a Preschool Teacher and Director for 19 1/2 years. During that time, she found that she loves the Administrative side of Education. Kristi has an AA in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Child Development.
Mrs. Apodaca moved to Arizona in January of 2020. She was born in Massachusetts, but lived most of her life Colorado. She began her educational career in 1998 as a paraprofessional for Denver Public Schools. After completing her Bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2003, she taught Kindergarten for 12 years then taught 1st grade for 3 years. She pursued her Master’s Degree in linguistically and Diverse Students Education from the University of Colorado Boulder. In 2015, she taught Spanish as a subject for Middle school. Teaching is her passion and she loves when her students discover learning as a path to success.
Mrs. Deborah Immordino earned her Bachelors in Fine Arts with a Teacher’s Certification from the University of the Incarnate Word. She has had the wonderful opportunity to teach K-12 Fine Arts for several years, as well as high school Theatre Arts. It is the Kindergarten grade level that she really enjoys and it is where she has spent the majority of her teaching experience. During her leisure time, she loves cooking, writing and illustrating children’s stories, and listening to live music with her husband.
Ms. Fabiola Estrada holds a Bachelor’s degree in design. She has experience as a paraprofessional for five years working in preschool, kindergarten, and special education. She is now a highly qualified elementary teacher. Her personal interests include reading, photography, art, and history. Her mission is to be the best version of herself. She is excited to be an addition to the Leading Edge Academy Maricopa campus.
Miss Trump was born and raised in Orange County, California. In 2015, after graduating high school she went on to study Education in Florida at Pensacola Christian College. She graduated in May, 2019 with her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. In July 2019, she moved to Arizona to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher. Miss Trump spent her first year in kindergarten and now teaches in first grade. When she is not at school Miss Trump enjoys spending time with her family and her dog.
Mr. Rockstraw has a Master’s degree in education and has been teaching 1st grade at the Maricopa campus for almost two years. He loves football and basketball!
Ms. Stella Calles has been teaching for over twenty years both at charter schools and public schools. She is a graduate of Arizona State University with a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Multicultural Emphasis. She is also a Bilingual/ESL endorsed teacher. She enjoys working with the students and their families and always encourage parents to come and visit the classroom.
Mrs. Pimentel has been teaching 2nd Grade at Leading Edge Academy Maricopa since 2017. She is an Oregonian by birth and moved to Arizona with her husband and 3 children in 2016. She received her Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Liberal Studies and a minor in Biological Sciences from Cal State University Hayward. She spent 20 years after college in the Marketing/ Advertising field and owned her own business up until their move to Arizona. She has led and taught in Children’s Ministry for 15 years and decided to enter back into the education field so she could have a positive impact on the young lives of today. After completing the required exams from the State of Arizona she decided to focus on 2nd grade at Leading Edge Academy. She feels blessed to work on this campus, with an amazing team.
Mrs. Plascencia is originally from Orange County, California where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Child and Adolescents Studies. Mrs. Plascencia has been a resident of Arizona since 2019. She loves spending time with her husband and 2 small dogs.
Mrs. Shannon Trezos has been at Leading Edge Academy since 2010 and says she absolutely loves this school! She has taught both kindergarten and first grade. Her goal is to challenge students and set positive expectations, ensuring every child will succeed. She holds a BS in Communications from Northern Arizona University and a BA from Rio Salado College in Early Childhood Education. She most enjoys being with her family and two big dogs. She also enjoys working out, swimming and cooking!
Ms. Gabriela Villaescusa is from Douglas, a small border town in SE Arizona. She attended the University of Arizona and is a proud Wildcat! This is her second year of teaching, but she has been with Leading Edge Academy since 2014. She has 2 daughters and a 13 yr. old Chihuahua. Her favorite pastime is reading.
Mrs. Fuiava has been a teacher for over 18 years. She currently holds a Bachelors in Elementary Education from the University of Hawaii. She anticipates graduating with her Masters of Science in Special Education through the online Western Governors University program in 2019. She has taught K-6th grades for the American Samoa Department of Education from 1997 to 2012. In 2012, she moved with her family to Renton, WA and worked as an educator. While in Washington, she earned her teacher residency certification. In 2018, Mrs. Fuiava moved to Arizona to serve its community alongside her husband in a newly established ministry. Mrs. Fuiava loves spending quality time with her husband and family.
Mr. Vaughan graduated from Arizona State University. Go Sun Devils! He is an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoys hiking, mountain biking, running, golfing and furniture making. His favorite subjects are history and science.
Mrs. Charna Menker has a BA in History from Arizona State University. She has experience as a one-on-one aid, paraprofessional, substitute teacher, and now as a fourth grade teacher. This is her second year teaching full time at Leading Edge and her ninth year with a child at Leading Edge.
Mr. Troy Riester come to Leading Edge Academy with over 20 years of child development experience in the aquatics profession. As a coach Mr. Riester developed many athletes to regional, national, and global recognition. Many of the programs that Mr. Riester stepped into were turned into top programs in the country. He accomplished this by implementing new theories, practices, and research. Troy’s degree in Information technology is a key component of his approach to teaching.
Mary Wakeling graduated from Washington State University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s in English Education and a Residency Teaching Certificate. She taught middle school grades 6-8 at Leading Edge Academy Maricopa for five years, taught as a substitute teacher in Washington at all grade levels for one year, and then moved into the fourth grade position at Leading Edge Academy Maricopa.
Mrs. Tamara Washington began working at Leading Edge in 2017. She’s originally from Detroit, MI and relocated to Arizona with her family in 2007. She has taught in ministry for approximately 18 years. She received her Associates Degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Phoenix and continued on to earn a BS in Business Administration from Capella University. She is currently working on her Master’s Degree at Grand Canyon University. Although she enjoys teaching, she absolutely loves learning. She strongly believes that life is only 10% of what happens to you, the other 90% is how you react to it.
Mr. Reggie Overton has previously tutored for Kumon Learning, Sure Prep, and Achievement Learning. He completed his student teaching and interning through ASU. He is excited to be on board this year with Leading Edge Academy at the Maricopa campus.
Mr. Moyar earned his bachelor’s degree from Ohio Christian University in 2005, and graduated from Wesley Biblical Seminary with his masters degree in 2009. He has taught at the collegiate level for over ten years. During this time, Mr. Moyar taught in both the in-seat and online context. He has a wide range of experience, teaching both adults and traditional aged students. Mr. Moyar has trained and taught world history, philosophy, and theology. He is excited to be in Maricopa teaching at Leading Edge Academy.
Misti has been teaching in Maricopa since 2013. She has a bachelors and master’s degree in psychology and she is highly qualified to teach both psychology and middle school science. In addition to teaching, Misti, who also goes by Mrs. O., has worked as an instructional coach as well as an adjunct faculty member for a community college. She loves to travel, loves her family and her amazing dogs.
Ms. Karen Vaughan received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from the University of Mississippi. She has been teaching Kindergarten for many wonderful years. She has enjoyed teaching the students at Leading Edge Academy Maricopa since 2008.
Ms. Jessica Fox grew up in upstate New York (Rochester) and moved to Arizona in 2011. Having studied many instruments and being a member in several bands for years, she started college in a music education program. However, in her 3rd year she felt she needed to switch to art as she had been naturally an artist her whole life. She ended up choosing art history and loves it. She went on to earn a Masters in Art History from Syracuse University in 2010 and later attended the Rio Salado Teacher Education program in Phoenix. Her goal is to inspire kids to try new things with art and be exposed to topics through art history references. “The more we learn to really SEE, to QUESTION, to THINK and to TRY, the better.”
Ms. Dollar was born and raised in Miami, FL. She received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Southern Adventist University and her Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Andrews University. She has experience teaching: in the private and public sector, in religious and public institutions, domestically and internationally, and has taught students ranging from the very young to college students to the young at heart and has taught in various capacities since 2007. She also has over 10 years of experience worship leading and coordinating for collegiate chapels, various churches as well as religious conferences. Her instruments include: voice, piano, guitar, ukulele and clarinet. Aside from teaching, she enjoys playing/composing/writing music, performing, all things choir, ministry and baking. However, her greatest joy in life is being a mom to her two beautiful children.
Ms. Lindsey Hammer has a always known she wanted to teach music. She received her bachelors from Liberty University and her masters from Anderson University, both in music education. She taught general music and beginner band at Easton Elementary school for 6 years before moving to Arizona. In her free time, she likes outdoor activities, playing sports, and hanging out with her husband, Jordan, and their three furry babies.