Sandra Alston received her Bachelor of Music Education with emphasis in String Pedagogy from Arizona State University in 1992. Her Master degree is in Early Childhood Education, with an emphasis in Curriculum and Assessment. Mrs. Alston continues to direct a division of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. She enthusiastically embraces the art of teaching with the goal of ensuring individual comprehension both cognitively as well as aesthetically. Her love of music is evident, as many of her former students have gone on to make music a part of their professional life.
I have been a lifelong Arizonan except for briefly living in Japan and Utah. I earned a BS in History at BYU. I also completed the core classes for a Computer Science Teaching minor degree. During that time I also worked in the BYU media department repairing computers. After graduation, I opened my own computer consulting business, taught professional development courses for the ASU Computer Institute, and decided to go back to school to earn a Master’s Degree. I spent 23 years as a full-time staff member at ASU in the College of Public Programs.
Hi my name is Kerwin Blau, and I have been involved with music one way or another all my life. I have been a student of music for over 40 years and I have taught music and band for over 20 years. I was born and raised here in Mesa. I graduated from Gilbert High School and attended MCC and received my degree from ASU. My wife and I have been married for over 25 years and we have four children. Music has been such an important part of my life, and I have always wanted to be the kind of music teacher for my kids that I wish I would have had when I was a child. I have been fortunate to see music and the arts flourish here in the valley and I am excited to be a part of that.
I also enjoy Scouting, reading, cooking, outdoor activities and being with my family. I am asked quite frequently what my favorite type of music is, and in all honesty I have to say it’s usually the type that I am listening to, or performing at the moment. I like to have fun and play games and sports of all kinds.
My name is Jeff Burrell. I have been a teacher for many years; math, science, critical thinking, piano, problem-solving and some other odds and ends. I have lived in Mesa, Arizona almost my entire life. I was born here, went to school here, got married here, went to school some more, got a job here, and am still in school here (just on a different side of the desk, now).
I earned an Associate’s Degree from Mesa Community College in General Studies. I went on to finish a Bachelor’s Degree at Arizona State University in Secondary Education, with a minor/double-major in Mathematics. I have also taken coursework for Physics. I earned my Master’s Degree in Teaching and Learning (with an emphasis in Technology Integration) from Nova Southeastern University.
I received my BA in English / Education from ASU and I have taught for 18 years in grades K-2 and 7-12. This will be my eleventh rewarding year at Heritage. When not grading 7th-grade essays, I enjoy reading, hiking, and playing with 12 grandchildren, but not necessarily at once.
Lindsey Crosland earned her BA in Anthropology from ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change. Previously she earned her Associates from BYU-Idaho and was fortunate to study at BYU-Jerusalem. She continues to take classes and further her education whenever she can. She has furthered her love for people and places by travelling the world and working nationally and globally in different areas of Business.
Lindsey has worked in fields ranging from Healthcare, Logistics, Military Programs, Design and Architecture/Education. She comes to us from the David Wright House, an iconic Frank Lloyd Wright building, where she managed all operations, visitorship and site work.
Travelling the world has given her a deep appreciation for the United States of America and our rights, freedoms, and privileges that we enjoy here and she loves the U.S. and its Constitution.
Outside of work Ms. Crosland enjoys being a mom, reading, swimming, scuba diving, travelling and volunteering in her church and community.
She is very happy to be part of the Heritage team and hope that her two young children will attend Heritage Academy when they get older!
I grew up in southern Idaho—a land of sagebrush, constant wind, and farmland as far as the eye can see. I can tell the difference among fields of alfalfa, green beans, and potatoes, but it isn’t a skill that comes in handy very often. After graduating from Twin Falls High School (go Bruins!), I attended BYU (go Cougs!), where I learned that I love history—the history of just about anything. My degree is in history with a minor in humanities, and college taught me that EVERYTHING has a history. I was lucky enough to study the history of art, architecture, culture, government, literature, music, philosophy, politics, religion, science, technology, war, and the world.
For the last 25 years, I’ve been a full-time mom of seven rambunctious kids, ranging in age from 25 to 6, and now I’m Gran to soon-to-be six little monkeys of the next Denton generation. Three years ago I decided I wasn’t too old for school, and I graduated in 2015 from ASU (go Devils!) with my master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. It sounds weird, but I love learning new things, researching new ideas, and synthesizing my thoughts through writing. Even weirder, I’m thrilled to return to the classroom (go Heroes!) to share my love of American History with you.
Mrs. Dietz is passionate about the languages, cultures, and history of the Greeks and Romans and sharing her enthusiasm for learning with others. She holds an Honors B.A. in Classics with a minor in Spanish from Colgate University and an M.A. in Classical Languages and Cultures from Leiden University in the Netherlands, the country of her birth. Throughout her life she has traveled extensively around the world and has studied abroad in several places: Rome, Italy; Salamanca, Spain; and Leiden, the Netherlands. In 2008 she earned the Award of Excellence in Latin and in 2010 the J. Curtiss Austin Latin Prize, among other accolades.
Since her graduation from Leiden University in 2011, Mrs. Dietz has taught Latin, Spanish, History, and Success Skills for 6 years to middle school and high school students. As an Expert Lecturer for Semester at Sea’s Enrichment Voyage 2014 around northern Europe, she also had the opportunity to create and deliver her own course on mythology, teaching both college students and lifelong learners about Greco-Roman, Celtic, Norse, and Slavic mythology. She loves teaching and discussing academic concepts with people of all ages.
In her spare time, Mrs. Dietz loves to spend time with her husband and baby daughter, travel, explore nature, play piano, and oil paint. Her personal goal is to help as many people as possible discover their love for learning!
I love teaching Kenpo at Heritage Academy; I have been a Black Belt since 1996. I absolutely love my Kenpo Instructor (he happens to be my husband) and I speak three languages: French, English and Laotian. I love fitness, hiking and being with my family.
I have been with Heritage Academy from the beginning. Our family has practically grown up on the Mesa Campus (all of our children attend at the Mesa Campus). Currently a 7th Degree Senior Master Black Belt, I have been training in Kenpo since I was thirteen years old and the confidence and friendships I have developed from my Kenpo have truly been a blessing. I feel it is a privilege to instruct Kenpo to these wonderful scholars. I am married and we have four children; I enjoy hunting and sports.
I love being the “voice” of Heritage. I have been in charge of the front desk for over 10 years and enjoy seeing and speaking to all of our scholars! I have lived in Arizona for 28 years with my family and am actively involved in the community. I enjoy giving potential scholars and their family tours of our campus.
At the dawn of time I graduated from High school in Tucson, AZ. Before that I lived in several states and moved around a fair bit as a child. We travelled often as a family, both small and larger trips where we stopped at just about every historical sight between Nebraska and California. My parents instilled in me a love of the history, geography and culture of wherever I was. Years later, after the wheel was invented, I settled in Mesa with my husband Steve when our family was small and young.
My first experience with Heritage was as a parent. Since then I have had 3 of my 6 children graduate from Heritage and one more will finish in 2016.
I received my BGS (Bachelor of General Studies) with a History emphasis degree through BYU. This is my fifth year at Heritage teaching 7th grade History and I couldn’t be happier. If I had known 7thgrade would be so much fun to teach I would have finished my degree decades earlier, perhaps before Columbus discovered America.
I still love to learn and I love to read: mysteries, historical novels, biographies and on and on. I still love to travel, but this great love has been diminished by a new love- grandchildren!
Joy Gardner was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. She received a scholarship in the Music Dance Theater Program at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah where she earned her Bachelor’s degree. As a freshman, she was cast as a member of the traveling musical theater company, Young Ambassadors, where she had her first opportunity to perform outside the U.S. Following her experience with Young Ambassadors, she was signed as a lead singer for Holland America Cruise Lines.
Joy has been in many films including, The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd (shown world wide), Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration, and Liken the Scriptures. During her time in Utah, Joy was asked to workshop and originate the role of “Mary, the mother of Jesus” in a new musical, Savior of the World; the first major production in the new Conference Center Theater at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
Following graduation from BYU, Joy joined the Music faculty at Brigham Young University, teaching contemporary musical theater singing. She has also taught in the Musical Theater department at the University of Florida and Mesa Community College. She has a solo inspirational CD, “There Is Hope”, and is a guest artist on numerous professional recordings. She is currently the lead singer for the Uptown Big Band. Joy and her husband, Quin, have been blessed with three beautiful children.
As an alumna, I am so proud to now be teaching Geometry at Heritage Academy! I received my Bachelor of Science at Brigham Young University and my Post-Baccalaureate in the Secondary Education program from Rio Salado College. I truly enjoy teaching the students math and interacting with them in the classroom. I also have the great opportunity to coach the girls’ varsity basketball team where I can get to know the girls in a different setting. There is no greater success than seeing my students accomplish hard things in my classroom and on the basketball court. When I’m not teaching and coaching I enjoy traveling with my husband, interior decorating, and reading. There is no better place to be than Heritage Academy!
Heritage Academy Mesa Campus welcomes Mr. Benjamin Gwin to the Heritage family as our new Algebra II teacher and head varsity boys basketball coach!
Coach Gwin has a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University and a Bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in Interdisciplinary Studies/Mathematics and Management.
Since 2007, Coach Gwin has been teaching Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II at public district schools in Arizona and New Mexico. He holds an Arizona teaching certificate.
Most recently, Coach Gwin has been teaching Algebra II at Hamilton High School in Chandler, AZ where he was the assistant varsity coach for the boys varsity basketball program. He also coached the freshman basketball team during the ‘14-‘15 season. Coach Gwin has 20 years of coaching experience at all levels of high school basketball.
We are excited to have Coach Gwin join our family of Heroes!
I earned my bachelor’s in Journalism and Communication from Boise State University and a master’s in English also from Boise State. During graduate school and after graduation, I taught Freshman Writing (ENG 101 and ENG 102) at Boise State for four years. After moving to Mesa with my family, I also taught composition classes at Mesa Community College. In addition to teaching at the college level, I also taught grades 1-5 at Pathfinder Academy here in Mesa. Despite the stacks of essays that accumulate on my desk, I truly enjoy teaching students to write because understanding and harnessing the “power of the pen” can change their lives. When I’m not grading essays, I enjoy vacationing in Idaho with my husband and three sons.
View a current listing of our college preparation activities. Click on the link to download a copy of the
I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from Brigham Young University and I have a Masters Degree in Educational Counseling. I have 20 years of combined teaching experience with Mesa Public Schools and Mesa Community College. The subjects I have taught are Biotechnology, Anatomy/Physiology, Biology, eighth and ninth grade science. In addition, I recently spent four years at ASU managing a National Science Foundation Grant through the College of Engineering. It involved writing science educational curriculum and training teachers throughout the Phoenix area.
I enjoy road cycling, hiking and spending time with my awesome family!
This is my 20th year at Heritage Academy, and I love teaching at this great school. The scholars here are eager to learn and fun to teach. I teach all of the High School Drama classes and the Junior High Fitness classes. I direct the school plays (38 and counting) and coach the Junior High Flag Football team. My children attended here. It is an honor to come to work every day, and to be involved in preparing our scholars to become happy and successful adults.
Teaching at Heritage Academy for over 18 years has been a joy. I started teaching Senior Art for 7 years and have spent the last several years teaching World and British Literature. I enjoy expanding the horizons of our scholars and I have added a Science Fiction/Fantasy class to our curriculum. It has also been my privilege to guide students in producing our school’s yearbook for 7 years.
I received my BS from Northern Arizona University. I have 25 years experience working in accounting/finance and office management. Numbers are my thing! My husband and I have lived in Mesa for over 25 years and have raised our four children here. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and being involved in their activities, and reading good books.
Mrs. Brenda Johnson graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Brigham Young University. After working at Honeywell and Boeing as a software engineer, she left the workforce to raise a family. She has spent the last 10 years working in the Mesa Public School system teaching various subjects and working in district positions. Her passion is the Math and Sciences. She is looking forward to teaching at Heritage.
I have been teaching Ballroom Dance at Heritage Academy since January of 2007. I was first introduced to Ballroom Dance while I was in college at Brigham Young University where I got my BA in Family Science. I am a former competitive Ballroom Dancer and have been involved with other dance projects such as various musical theater productions in school and the community, “cotillion” style classes at the Mesa Country Club, choreography for Jr. Miss Pageants, Dance Festivals, and the Gilbert Temple Cultural Celebration. I also teach Pilates here at Heritage Academy. As an LMT, former powerlifter and aerobics instructor, I am enthusiastic about health and fitness. Additionally, I am a mother to four and grandmother to seven and counting. My younger two children are Heritage Academy alumni. Besides dance and fitness, I also enjoy reading and travel and have spent some time living abroad.
Emily May will be receiving her Master of Fine Arts in Dance, Graduate Certificate in Dance Teaching Artist Praxis and K-12 Teaching Certificate this May from Arizona State University. Originally, from Orem, Utah, Emily received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with an emphasis in Ballet and a Bachelor of Science in Dance Education from Utah Valley University. Her recent work, Mi Firma; It Started with a Choice, was performed in the Emerging Artist II concert at the Margaret Gisolo Dance Studio. This work is the result of her thesis research that included a community art project at an orphanage in Mexico. Her scholarly research was presented at the World Dance Alliance conference 2015 and National Dance Education Organization conference 2015. During her graduate career, she has cultivated her entrepreneurial and video art skills. She helped organize and produce S.A.M., a successful student art market that connected artists with their local communities. As a Teacher of Record at ASU, she has taught Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Yoga/Pilates and the online course Dance, Culture and Global Context. Emily finds great joy in dancing and moving with others. She is forever grateful for the love and support of her husband and daughter.
Mrs. Mecham earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Brigham Young University. She has been at Heritage for the past 12 years and enjoys working with all of our scholars. As a Math Lab teacher, she encourages the scholars, and provides the opportunity for each one to receive the help needed to achieve success. In Club Fitness, she focuses on the positive aspects of smart choices for healthy living. She enjoys being adviser for our chapter of the National Honor Society, which enables scholars to have the opportunity to provide service and develop leadership skills. She feels her time spent advising Scholar Council in planning and carrying out social activities such as Homecoming and Prom is incredibly fun and rewarding. Her sincere hope is that all scholars will leave with fond memories of their time spent at Heritage.
Scott Mecham received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Brigham Young University and a Master of Business Administration from ASU. After living in Mexico for two years he has continued to study Spanish and enjoys the language and culture. He loves teaching Spanish and spending time with young people. His spare time is spent traveling with his wife and having fun with their children and grandchildren
I graduated from BYU with a B.S. in Child Psychology. I have been working at Heritage for 4 years as the Yearbook Advisor. We are proud to have won the prestigous Gallery of Excellence award from the publisher, Walsworth, for last years’ yearbook! I also enjoy teaching Tennis. I am excited to be a part of the Heritage family.
We are changing the order process for yearbooks. Please order your yearbook directly from Walswoth for $55.00. Senior ads ($100.00 for full page ad) can still be purchased via the registration fee shopping cart for Mesa Campus.
Dr. Travis Moore is the new principal at the Heritage Academy Mesa campus. Previously he taught Algebra 2 for six years. He earned a bachelors degree in business with an emphasis on finance from University of Phoenix and a masters degree in teaching from University of Southern California. He later earned a doctorate in Education from University of Phoenix. His hobbies include white water rafting, surfing, and rebuilding old cars. He currently has a 1954 Chevy four-door sedan, and a 1948 Chevy step side pickup. Dr. Moore has been married for over 15 years and has two children.
To see Dr. Moore’s algebra tutorials on Youtube, visit the link below:
I earned my Bachelors in Elementary Education from Ottawa University and my Masters in Science Education from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. I have been teaching science at Heritage Academy-Mesa since 2006. I absolutely love using live animals in education. I keep a variety of indigenous reptiles and amphibians for use in educational labs and outreach programs. I worked at the Phoenix Herpetological Society Reptile Zoo as the venom specialist for nine years where I cared for venomous snakes from all over the world, taught educational programs and relocated hundreds of rattlesnakes from homes in the Phoenix area. I conducted a six year rattlesnake research project in Usery Mountain Regional Park and used the data to teach rattlesnake outreach programs for the county parks, cub scouts, boy scouts and elementary schools throughout Mesa. During the research project I worked with National Geographic Television on three different rattlesnake films. I presented my rattlesnake research at the Biology of the Rattlesnake Symposium and I was a contributing author for the book, Venomous Reptiles and Their Toxins, published by Oxford University Press in 2015. I also love spending time with my family, reading, drawing, writing and exploring the vast biodiversity of the Sonoran desert.
I am excited to be teaching 8th-grade science at Heritage Academy! I have had a love for science all of my life. I can remember bringing home science experiments to work on in the eighth grade! I enjoy working with teenagers and helping them become excited as they are exposed to science curriculum. I have had the privilege of attending several educational institutions as I have traveled with my family and pursued my educational goals. These experiences have afforded me a diverse science background that has helped to expand my instructional expectations. I received my Associate of Arts degree from Mesa Community College, my Bachelor of Arts (5-12 Biology) from Western Governors University, and my Master of Arts (5-12 Geosciences) from Western Governors University. I look forward to many more years of developing and implementing creative, engaging lessons that will encourage an appreciation for science in all students.
She began her college career at Mesa Community College and served on the MCC Student Government Executive Board. After marrying and mothering four children, she graduated from Ottawa University with a Bachelor’s in History. She loves spending time with her family, serving in her community, reading, traveling and learning more about history, the arts (especially drama and musicals) sports, and meeting and learning about people!
“Working at Heritage Academy has been an honor and privilege as I learn from scholars and give instruction to help them discover the principles that have created liberty throughout history.”
Sharon Overall is a seasoned Communication professional. Over a period of 13 years, she taught at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Mesa Community College and Central Arizona College. She has a passion for helping students be successful in their chosen field by guiding them in ways they can improve and enhance their communication skills. Sharon’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Arizona State University, and a Master of Education degree from Northern Arizona University. Sharon also brings over 20 years of human resources experience, having served in leadership and consulting capacities for large healthcare organizations. She is well versed in the job market and the skills needed for success in the workplace. She is certified as a Senior Human Resources Professional (SPHR) and a Society for Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional (SPHR-SCP). Sharon is a Mesa native. She loves music and is known for piano teaching, accompanying, and composing skills.
I was born in Alberta, Canada but I have lived most of my life right here in Mesa. I actually became an American citizen when I was twelve years old! Swimming has always been part of my life and I swam competitively as a youth and then in college on the BYU Swim Team. I have coached and taught for private and public swim programs and teams for many years as well as being a supportive parent, timing, officiating, and cheering in the stands. Of all my roles, mother is my favorite. I have loved cheering for my seven children and now nine grandchildren, several of whom I have been able to teach to swim. My two youngest children are on the 2016 Heritage Academy swim team.
I enjoy nothing more than coaching, supporting and teaching youth to do their very best! I believe that being part of a team encourages you to look outside yourself and build up those around you, pushing yourself to work hard and doing your best builds character and confidence, and being physically active builds resilience and strength to take whatever comes at you in life! I am thrilled to coach Heritage Academy’s first swim team and I am so excited to see what the season brings!
I earned my BS from the University of Arizona and my M Ed from ASU in math education. I have been teaching at Heritage Academy for more than 10 years. I love spending time with my nieces and nephews, traveling and spending time outdoors.
For more information please click on the appropriate link below.
I earned a B.A. in Mathematics Education at ASU and my Masters of Education degree in curriculum & instruction through GCU. I have been teaching at Heritage for over 4 years after teaching for 3 years at other schools. I love teaching the upper math classes and challenging the students to think. It really is a pleasure to teach and interact with these wonderful young men and women and to help them to challenge themselves and to grow intellectually as well as personally.
I teach the support class of 7th-grade Writing and Reading Skills, assist in the Resource Room with students who have instructional needs, and I also assist in the grading of the 9th and 10th-grade compositions. I have been a part of Heritage Academy first as a parent, then as a substitute, and finally as support staff. I attended Boise State and Utah State Universities as well as continuing education with Yavapai College, Mesa Community College, and I am currently enrolled in BYU Idaho online courses. I find wonderful nurturing opportunities and tremendous people to work with here at Heritage.
Welcome to Algebra I! I am confident we will have a fun and successful year together here at Heritage.
I taught for Mesa Public Schools for 18 years before transitioning over to Heritage. I started my teaching career at Franklin Northeast teaching sixth, seventh, and eighth grade math from 1997 – 2001. Yes, several teachers here at Heritage were my students. Including Mrs. Baldwin whom I have replaced as the Algebra I teacher. I taught the junior high math program at Franklin Northeast and then moved to Smith Junior High the first year that it opened. There I taught eighth and ninth grade algebra. I returned a year later to Franklin Northeast to teach sixth grade. In 2009-2010, I was asked to embark into a new endeavor to teach math for Franklin Junior High once again. After getting the math program up and running, I resumed teaching 6th grade at Franklin JH. After Franklin, I taught 5the grade for 2 years at Zaharis Elementary.
I have earned a B.S. in elementary education, M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University, and a M.Ed. in Counseling from Ottawa University. I also hold a middle school endorsement (7th – 9th) and have passed the math Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment.
I was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona. I have been married to my beautiful bride for 23 years (5th grade teacher at Zaharis) and we have four children, two of which are currently enrolled at Zaharis and 2 here at Heritage.
I am excited to start another school year! Yeah! I am thrilled to be part of the Heritage family. I am impressed with how Heritage teachers are able to instill a love of learning and our countries heritage into the hearts and minds of our most precious treasures (our children). The support of the parents always makes a little sacrifice on my part all worthwhile!
Thanks for entrusting your children to us, and I look forward to educating the young minds of our future leaders.
I started at Heritage in the fall of 2003. Teaching 9th & 10th graders is so rewarding because I get to see them transform from a middle school mentality to a high school (more adult) mentality. There is so much depth of material in American literature, and I enjoy the challenge of helping the students develop a greater appreciation for it. I definitely have the best job at Heritage!
Music is my passion! I love accompanying for the Heritage choirs, assisting basic theory classes, and helping in any and all musical aspects of Heritage Academy. Over 25 years ago, I began teaching private piano lessons and group lessons. Not only do I enjoy teaching students of all ages, I also found that organizing group theory lessons, piano teams, and inspiring students to learn and appreciate quality repertoire added to my passion. I’ve taken classes at MCC, but chose to postpone my studies when I began my family. It’s great to be back! I’ve enjoyed playing for and organizing the musicians pit for the Heritage Academy musicals “Meet Me in St. Louis”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Gondoliers”, and “Patience” and look forward to many more. In my free time, I love spending time with my husband and 6 children.
I have been here at Heritage over 10 years and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I received both my BS degree in Elementary Education and my Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. I have a SEI certification and am licensed by the state of Arizona to teach 7th and 8th grade. When I have free time I enjoy being with my wife and 6 children. I enjoy playing most sports and like to watch college football games. I also like to read and study about American history, and Theology, and Languages.
Born in Mexico and raised in Texas, Coach Portilla began playing football during his junior year in high school. After overhearing a coach say that he would never amount to anything, Coach Portilla took the personal challenge to prove his coach wrong, and became the first Mexican-born NFL player to ever play in the Super Bowl (Super Bowl XXXIII with the Atlanta Falcons). Coach Portilla played college football for Ricks College and the University of Arizona, where he earned a degree in Visual Communications. Coach Portilla is an accomplished artist, and teaches art, weight training, PE, football, and basketball. He has instructed the offensive and defensive line at the Heritage Academy Football Camp since 2010, and has been on the football team’s coaching staff since 2012, helping to create a heritage of winning, with state championships in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015.
Mr. Rakita is the Choir Director for Heritage Academy. He has a Master of Music in Choral Conducting and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Northern Arizona University, working under Dr. Edith Copley. During his graduate studies, he was the Director of the University Singers at NAU, as well as the Associate Director of the Flagstaff Youth Chorale. He has taught private voice, guitar, and piano lessons over the last six years, and is the resident voice instructor for the Curry Summer Music Camp in Flagstaff. As a vocalist, he am a member of the Grammy award winning Phoenix Chorale as well as Helios, a seven-voice early music group.
Mr. Rakita’s passion is to educate young singers to pursue their musical goals. He believes in the power of music to impact individuals, communities and nations.
I was born and raised in Mesa, AZ. I attended Red Mountain High School in Mesa. After graduating I attended Mesa Community College and received my associate’s degree. Once completed with Mesa Community College I attended Arizona State University (GO DEVILS!) and received my bachelor’s degree in Business Communications.
I have always had a passion for math, statistics, and coaching. Heritage Academy gave me an opportunity to accomplish all of that!
I teach Algebra 1 along with coaching football, basketball, and soccer. I love seeing the kids grow both in the classroom and on the field!
This is my first year teaching and I am beyond excited to grow with the scholars. Heritage Academy is an outstanding school and I would not want to teach anywhere else.
When I am not teaching I love spending time with my wife and 2 amazing kids. Family, School, and Sports are my life and I can only thank Heritage Academy for allowing me to achieve all three in one place!
My family and I immigrated to the United States in 1997 and I started teaching at Heritage Academy the following year. I was raised speaking several languages and have a degree in History from the University of Brussels. Born in Africa and having spent my adolescence in Europe, I was thrilled when I was given the great privilege of being able to live in the United States. In a very short time, I was able to understand the wonderful opportunities this country has to offer. I love teaching students about other cultures and ways, and how to converse in another language. But as an immigrant, I truly value the freedoms this country has fought to uphold and am passionate about teaching students what they need to treasure.
Before coming to Heritage, I worked as a Dietary Consultant and Corporate Trainer for 15 years. I have spent the majority of my life in teaching in various situations and when the time came for a change in my career, teaching Biology was the natural fit for my education, talents, and skills. My Bachelor’s degree is in Nutrition and I received my Master’s Degree in Science Education from WGU. I have been teaching at Heritage since 2010. I am the Science Department Head and manage the fall break science tour each year. The tour allows the scholars to participate in a variety of laboratory and actual world experiences in many science topics. Watching them discover new ideas and seeing them push themselves physically and mentally to get the most out of the trip is one of my greatest rewards as a teacher. I also mentor the scholars who are working on completing a science distinction. I take Kenpo on campus from Mr. Duke, the Kenpo Instructor here at Heritage. Most of my free time is spent carving, gardening, and hiking, taking care of my many animals, reading and spending time with my family.
He received his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Education degrees from Northern Arizona University. He has seven years’ experience teaching physics, chemistry, and astronomy at the high school level. He is currently a workshop leader with the American Modeling Teachers Association and will begin teaching the Chemistry Modeling Curriculum in the summer through Arizona State University at a high school in Tempe. In addition to his work at Heritage Academy, Mr. Sheets plans to teach the Chemistry Modeling Curriculum at various schools in the United States in the ensuing years.
I graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Corporate Finance, served for two years in the Army, then returned to spend the next 18 years in the Real Estate business. I became gradually interested in the political situation in our country and became a teacher of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers for an organization entitled The National Center for Constitutional Studies. As I taught around the nation, my desire increased to get this message to younger people, particularly high school students. After trying, without success, to interest the public school districts, I was attracted to the then newly-passed legislation in Arizona providing for Charter Schools (1993). Heritage Academy was established as one of the first charter schools in Arizona (1995). I have now been teaching high school seniors the miraculous story of America’s founding and particularly the sources and principles upon which our country was founded (as required by state law). This has been a wonderful experience for me. To see these students light up with the simple, true principles of freedom and liberty is soul-satisfying indeed. I love teaching these seniors who are old enough to understand about freedom and liberty but have not been tainted much by current political philosophies, which the American Founders already proved to be false and unworkable. I served as principal since the founding of Heritage Academy and retired this past May of 2017. I have been honored to work with such a great assemblage of qualified staff and teachers at all of our campuses and will miss being on campus daily. Expect to see me around occasionally, checking our on wonderful scholars and staff.
Jared Taylor is the Charter Representative and Managing Director of Heritage Academy Laveen. He joined Heritage Academy in 2009. Prior to joining Heritage, he worked for 10 years in various corporate human resources roles with Motorola and Honeywell. He earned a BS in Management and an MBA at Arizona State University.
I received my B.A. in English from Valdosta State University, M.Ed. from University of Georgia, MLS from Florida State University. I grew up in a military family, and had the opportunity to live in a number of different states and countries before choosing Arizona as my home. My family and I enjoy outdoor activities including camping and fishing. I have taught high school, was a Librarian at ASU, owned my own business, and am now excited about teaching dual enrollment English at Heritage.