Greetings Leading Edge parents and students,
I welcome you to the Leading Edge family and community. As the Principal of Leading Edge Academy Online, I am responsible for ensuring that our students receive the best possible education. I am not only committed to helping our students earn their high school diploma, but also preparing them for college and a career.
The Leading Edge Academy Online 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 Resource Centers throughout the valley for students to work from. Each Resource Center has a teacher there to help students as needed and to provide motivation for students to stay on track in their classes. Students are also able to work from home 24 hours a day.
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 junior high and high school experience and that our families feel supported and part of the educational process.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to your student’s success.
Mindi Johnson, M.Ed.
Mrs. Sarah Williams started teaching in 2003. She has taught Kindergarten through Twelfth grades. Along with teaching English for Leading Edge Academy Online, she also is an adjunct professor for Northern Arizona University, teaching undergraduate classes for education majors. Mrs. Williams has four children and enjoys playing with them, drinking coffee and reading when she gets a quiet moment.
Mr. Mylott graduated from Bradley University in 1995 with a BS in Biology. Mr. Mylott is a forensic scientist specializing in trace chemical analysis. He has managed a food and environmental laboratory and directed the special pathogens unit for the Arizona Department of Health laboratory. He is a father to five amazing children and he been blessed to teach middle school and high school Science for the past 13 years. He is highly qualified in Middle Grades Mathematic, HS Biology, HS Chemistry, and HS Physics. Mr. Mylott also conducts the Leading Edge Academy Jamaica Field Expedition annually giving students the opportunity to learn in a living marine laboratory while giving back to the local communities.
Mrs. Smith is Canadian by birth. As long as she can remember she has had a love for math and number manipulation. She completed a Bachelor of Science at Indiana Wesleyan University and a Bachelor of Education at University of New Brunswick. Since marrying and moving to the USA she has taught high school math in North Carolina and Arizona. Outside of school she likes to read, repurpose bargain finds and travel.
Mr. Geesey is originally from Florida. He received his Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Florida, his MBA from Florida Atlantic University, and is currently working towards a Master’s in Educational Leadership from GCU. In college he worked as a research assistant developing gene therapy treatments for blindness and in grad school he implemented and taught outdoor recreation & education courses for college students. He loves to travel (he’s been to over 75 countries!) and has instructed high school study abroad programs to Iceland and Ecuador. In his free time he enjoys hiking, camping, cooking, and snowboarding.
Ms. Laura Gulbranson is a native Arizonan who has just joined the Leading Edge Academy family. She graduated from Arizona State University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. She specializes in English as a Second Language for 6th through 12th grade but has found her home in sharing her love for literature and writing with her junior high and high school students. When not teaching, you can find Ms. Gulbranson dreaming to travel again or reading until the wee hours of weekend mornings with a cup of hot chocolate or tea. She is currently working on her first novel and is overjoyed to be your child’s English teacher!
Kim has a BS and MA from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) and she in her 13th year of teaching. In her spare time she loves to drink coffee, run, and hang out with her family.
Jennifer was born and raised in northern Arizona. She attended Arizona State University and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science. She is back at A.S.U. completing her Master’s in Secondary Education. This is Jennifer’s fifth year in education and her third year with Leading Edge Academy. Outside of the classroom, she is a court-appointed special advocate for children in the care of the Department of Child Safety. She enjoys sharing her passion for service with her students. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and playing board games with her husband and four children.
Mrs. Tracie Kruszeski and her husband relocated to Arizona from the Albany, NY area in September 2015. She graduated from the College of Saint Rose in Albany in May 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education. Tracie taught in a 3rd-5th grade 15:1:1 classroom in Gloversville, NY at the beginning of her career. She later moved on to teach a 9th-12th grade 12:1:1 classroom in Stillwater, NY. Tracie took a break from the classroom and did in home teaching for special needs infants, toddlers and preschoolers through Head Start in Saratoga Springs, NY. She is excited to be teaching at Leading Edge Academy as well as being back in the classroom again.
Mrs. Shelly Livengood worked for over 30 years in the worker’s compensation insurance industry as a claim representative dealing with permanently injured workers. After retiring from that career and spending a few years as a stay-at-home mom, she signed on with Leading Edge part-time in 2015 to assist the growing online school. She enjoys traveling, reading, gardening, shopping, her cabin in the woods and most of all, spending time with her family and two granddaughters. She enjoys investing in the lives of the students.
Jenn Kos has been with Leading Edge Academy for almost 10 years as the administrative assistant to the principal at the Maricopa campus when she helped open the school in 2010. She recently started a new position as one of the Business Specialists for the Gilbert and Online Campuses and loves the change of pace. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa. She and her husband, Brian, have been married for 25 years and have three very active, adopted sons.
Brenda has been married to her husband, Kevin for 28 years. They have 2 sons together. Brenda joined the Leading Edge Academy at GEC this past year as the administrative assistant to the principal and recently moved to the business specialist role.
Professor Barbara Clark is from Mesa, Arizona, born and raised. She graduated from Heritage Academy and then from ASU with a BA in Secondary Education and a BA in Spanish Linguistics. She studied Spanish throughout high school and college and then lived in the Dominican Republic for about 2 years. Having learned the language in both the educational setting and through immersion, she understands the complexities of language learning and is eager to guide the students. Professor Clark is a devoted teacher and mother ready to share her passion for the Spanish language and culture.
Mrs. Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of the Program series. Originally from New York, Suzanne moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She is a novelist and an English teacher, but not in that order. Suzanne is the author of The Program series, Girls with Sharp Sticks series, Poet Anderson series, A Need so Beautiful series, All in Pieces, Just like Fate, and Hotel for the Lost. She has taught creative writing and language arts courses for over ten years.
Ms. Janell York graduated from Daemen College in Buffalo, NY with Bachelors of Fine Arts in Drawing and Illustration. Janell has taught Elementary Art at Leading Edge Academy since 2012 and currently teaches on our East Mesa and Online campuses. She has also taught PE, Music and lead Art and Photography Club. Janell has 2 daughters and enjoys thrift shopping, antiquing and traveling with her family!
Vanessa graduated from Higley High School in 2007. She attended East Valley Institute of Technology for Early Childhood Education in 2008 and has spent time as a classroom aide for 4th and 5th grade. She is proud to be a part of the Leading Edge Online Academy team
Areece Pollard was born and raised in Pasadena, California. Areece moved to Arizona in 2005. She has four children all boys, an angel baby and 3 Goddaughters. Areece bakes cupcakes for Kynnidy’s Krem-re, where she is the proud owner. In her spare time she enjoys watching movies with her children and reading devotionals. Areece, received her B.A. in Child Development and a minor in Child Care Administration at Cal State University Northridge, M.Ed in Educational Leadership from Northcentral University. She has over 14 years of teaching experience as an early early childhood professional in preschool to high school.