I am excited and blessed to have the opportunity to serve the Leading Edge Mountain View community as principal. I have had the honor of serving under Mr. Butcher for the last two years and I plan to carry on his high standard of family connection and character development. I believe that every student has the capacity for amazing things and each child has their own gift. Our job as a school full of passionate educators is to be sure that we are facilitating and inspiring those gifts.
Character is our number one priority as we are supporting the growth and development of future adults and problem solvers, not just test takers. We will create opportunities to support our character development within our curriculum and through our amazing teachers and staff.
I look forward to celebrating our academic successes as well, as we prepare our students for college and future careers with our new-up to date-curriculum pieces, teacher training, and additional instructional support. Every child deserves to learn, so it will be an effort by all staff on campus to minimize distractions so that each student can reach his or her learning potential.
We are fortunate to have so many supportive families and I hope to strengthen our partnerships this year! Please reach out to me with questions or concerns throughout the year. I welcome and value your feedback and involvement.
I look forward to meeting our new families and welcoming back our returning families on August 1, 2019 at 6 pm in the gym for our Back To School Night Celebration!!
It is going to be a great year to be a LION!
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. Rhonda Puetz grew up in Missouri and attended Memphis State and the University of Missouri K. C. She has worked as an Assistant to Principals and Assistant Principals in California, Indiana and Missouri. After working 15 years in Human Resources for the City of Springfield Missouri she and her husband Ted moved to Arizona. They enjoy hiking the San Tan Mountains, sailing and most of all spending time with their beautiful grandchildren. Rhonda’s has been at Leading Edge since 2013.
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 Mountain View Campus as a Business Specialist.
I moved here from Oregon 6 months ago. My husband and I were ready for nicer weather year round. I started working at Leading Edge Academy in November as a receptionist. I love to cook, bake, paint and find new places to travel on our Harley. My Favorite food is Thai, and I love Chocolate. I also have a dog name Kai.
Shelly van Niekerk was born and raised in Madagascar where her parents were missionaries. She attended boarding school in Kenya from 5th grade through her Senior year. After university, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and a teaching degree, she returned to Madagascar and taught eight years at the International School of Antananarivo. It was during those years that she got married started a family. She now lives in Queen Creek and is a proud Kindergarten teacher.
Mrs. Ebner grew up in Minnesota and moved to Arizona in 2011. She is happily married and has an 11 year old stepdaughter and a pet chihuahua. She enjoys traveling and reading in her free time. She also loves the color pink and Hello Kitty! This is her 11th year teaching and she is very excited to join the Mountain View campus!
Mrs. Robinson has been an educator for twelve years. She has been in first grade for three years! She has a passion for building a foundational love of learning. She believes in creating dynamic and engaging lessons that meet the diverse needs of all learners. Mrs. Robinson received her bachelors in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
Mrs. Lisa VanCamp has been married to Billy VanCamp for 28 years who was her Jr/High School sweetheart. She was born and raised in Arizona and has three children. Her daughter Paige is married to John Bolin & lives in Texas with her two grandchildren, Gracie, & Hudson. Trey is married to Jordan & they live in San Tan Valley and have one child named Faith. Shea lives at home & attends Valley Christian High School. Lisa graduated from Arizona State University & worked on her masters at NAU. She has taught in the public school for 6 years, private school for 11 years, and have been with Leading Edge Academy for 5 years.
Miss Lagana was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and moved to San Tan Valley when she was eleven years old. Miss Lagana recently graduated from NAU last December with her Bachelors in Special and Elementary Education. She currently lives in Gilbert, AZ with her furbaby, Ziggy. Miss Lagana enjoys traveling and exploring new places with her family and friends.
Mrs. Cleveland was born and raised in Minnesota where she lived for 24 years. She attended Augsburg College in MN and finished her degree in Education at Ottawa University. She has been married for 9 1/2 years has a daughter who is in 3rd Grade. She has taught kids of various grades/ages for the past 6 years. She is passionate about making learning fun while encouraging students to become independent thinkers and problem solvers.
Mrs. Meheut has taught for 9 years, teaching in preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade and 3rd grade. She is a double graduate of Arizona State University. She has a B.S. is Nutrition and a ME.d in Early Childhood education. Prior to teaching, she spent 10 years working in a commercial kitchen as a pastry chef. In her free time, she loves to run ultramarathons, paddleboard and enjoy nature. She is a mom of 7 children, ranging in age from 15 years to 2 years old.
Mr. Nick Towner has a bachelors degree in elementary education from the University of Mary. He taught 5th grade for 9 and a half years in Mandan, North Dakota. Nick moved to San Tan Valley, Arizona last January and was hired full time at Leading Edge Academy Mountain View in 2016..
Ms. Stephanie Rios began teaching fourth grade at Leading Edge Academy in 2011. She has a BS degree in Business with a minor in Behavioral Science from Western International University. She has worked in adult education administration for several years but always desired to be in the classroom working with children. So, Stephanie went on to get her MA degree in Education and is now doing what she enjoys the most! Her greatest joy is watching her students grow academically and helping them achieve their goals. She has three daughters who keep her very busy!
Mr. Nicholas Kretsedemas received a BA from Arizona State University in 1985 and previously taught in Winslow, AZ for 16 years. He moved to Chandler, AZ in 2001 and taught at Chandler Scholastic Academy for 11 years. He has been teaching at Leading Edge Academy Mountain View since 2010. He is married to his wonderful wife Denise and has 2 children. They enjoy all outdoor activities and are actively involved with St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox church
Ms. Nicole Thames has been teaching since 2008 and also has many years of experience as a substitute teacher and teacher assistant in all grades through eighth. Nicole taught fifth grade for six years prior to coming to Leading Edge Academy, Mountain View last year to teach middle school, with an additional year each under her belt in third and fourth. She holds a Master of Education degree in Human Relations from NAU, and her undergraduate degree and teaching credential from Cal State Long Beach in California, where she lived prior to moving to Arizona. She loves to play tennis, volleyball and bowl. Her son Jordan graduated from Leading Edge a few years ago.
Ms. Sipes came from Missouri with her three boys and three grandchildren six years ago. She studied Computer Science and Mathematics at Missouri Western State University where she discovered her true passion for teaching mathematic. From here Mrs. Sipes continued her education by taking classes to become a certified secondary math teacher. She was so enthusiastic in teaching that she decided to get her Master’s degree in Secondary Administration.
Ms. Sipes taught high school math for 10 years, courses included Algebra 1 thru Calculus. She decided that after seeing so many students struggling with basic math skills in high school she needed to teach middle school. This is her second year in as a middle school teacher.
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.
My name is Jackquel Carter, and I am proud to be a Leading Edge Academy MV Lion. I am married to an amazing man and we have three beautiful children. Outside of teaching, I love family time, exercising, reading, photography and adventures. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, but I have lived in a few states due to being a Military dependent. I received my Masters in Special Education from Grand Canyon University. I started out as a substitute teacher, then moved on to be a paraprofessional for Special Education while I pursued my Masters.
I truly have a passion for teaching, and though I’ve always had a love for this field, that love deepened after having my son. My son was born with a rare syndrome and his story is an extraordinary one. Helping him progress and overcome his more challenging obstacles is such a rewarding experience and really encouraged me to pursue a career in this field. I love to help other learners with similar needs and challenges. Helping students progress in every aspect of their development is important to me and a challenge I am honored to accept.
John Zuccaro was born and raised in Brooklyn New York. He has always enjoyed sports and that is what pushed him to pursue a degree in physical education at Arizona State University. He enjoys teaching Physical Education for the last 10 years.
Tara Gamel has been a professional artist for over 18 years and has been teaching young artists for over 10 years! She found her love for art at a young age and now enjoys being able to continue to create original work and inspire the younger generation to appreciate and enjoy the arts!
Barbara Walker has been teaching music both privately and in the school system for over 25 years. She is a California native and holds a BA from San Jose State University. She spent many of those years teaching high school, middle and elementary schools in Northern California, ranging from instrumental and vocal responsibilities. This is her 1st year at Leading Edge Academy. She has also been involved with many local theatres playing several shows. Barbara has been married to her husband Gary for 20 years and has one son, Chris, who will be graduating high school from New Way Academy this year.