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.
Mrs. Tanya Verbiesen or “Mrs. V” as she is known around campus joined the Leading Edge Academy family in 2014. Mrs. V is a certified Project Management Professional with over 20 years experience in being a consistent producer, driven to improve results and exceed goals. As the Business Specialist for the Mountain View campus, she uses her expertise in time management, compliance and customer relations to maintain a cohesive atmosphere.
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.
Sandra Zamudio has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary/Bilingual Education from the University of Northern Colorado and she has a Master’s degree in Social/Multicultural Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has taught in Public Schools for 12 years and Parochial Schools for 16 years. Sandra has taught Kindergarten for 11 years, 2nd and 3rd grades for 10 years, and Spanish for grades Pk-8th for 7 years. In 2012 Sandra was selected to be a Teacher Delegate for the Chinese Bridge Program put on by College Board. In 2013-2015, Sandra was a mentor teacher for the Teachers of Critical Language program sponsored by the US State Department. Sandra has been married for 30 years and has 3 children. Her oldest daughter is a Geophysicist, her son has a degree in Fire Science, her youngest daughter is a senior at Cal Poly and will graduate with a degree in political science.
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. 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.
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.
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
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. 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.
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.
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!