Meet The Principal: Mat Reese

Mr Mat Reese

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.

Principal’s Note

Dear Parents,

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 proud to proclaim that Leading Edge Academy is the number one ranked academic elementary school in Maricopa and Pinal County with an “A” rating.

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!

Sincerely,

Mat Reese
Principal

Teacher & Staff Bios

MC Office

Maricopa Office Staff

Assistant Principal

Rachele Reese

Assistant Principal

rreese@leadingedgeacademy.com
Business Specialist

Christine Horvath

Business Specialist

chorvath@leadingedgeacademy.com
Administrative Assistant II

Jennifer Kos

Administrative Assistant II

jkos@leadingedgeacademy.com
Administrative Assistant I

Kristy Saldana

Administrative Assistant I

ksaldana@leadingedgeacademy.com
Receptionist

Nicole McKeever Irons

Receptionist

emckeeverirons@leadingedgeacademy.com

Maricopa

Leading Edge Academy Maricopa

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.

Karen Vaughan

Kindergarten Teacher

kvaughan@leadingedgeacademy.com
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.

Deborah Immordino

Kindergarten Teacher

dimmordino@leadingedgeacademy.com
Kindergarten

Virginia Rodarte

Kindergarten Teacher

vrodarte@leadingedgeacaemy.com
Kindergarten Teacher

Ava Swewll

Kindergarten Teacher

asewell@leadingedgeacademy.com
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!

Shannon Trezos

1st Grade Teacher

strezos@leadingedgeacademy.com
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 a new addition to the Leading Edge Academy Maricopa campus.

Fabiola Estrada

1st Grade Teacher

festrada@leadingedgeacademy.com
1st Grade

Roberta Cianciosi

1st Grade Teacher

rcianciosi@leadingedgeacademy.com
1st Grade

Laurel Zimmerman

1st Grade Teacher

lzimmerman@leadingedgeacademy.com
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.

Stella Calles

2nd Grade Teacher

scalles@leadingedgeacademy.com
2nd Grade

Guadalupe Diaz

2nd Grade Substitute Teacher

gdiaz@leadingedgeacademy.com
Ms. Mych'Iayla Mathis' began teaching at Leading Edge Maricopa in 2016. Mych'Iayla is originally from Illinois and moved to Arizona in 2011 from Wisconsin. She has taught and trained for more than eight years in ministry (in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Arizona). Mych'Iayla lived and studied in Spain for 4 and 1/2 months to better absorb the culture and the language. Mych'Iayla has over 12 years of experience in behavioral and mental health and was a therapist for over 2 years. She currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish as well as a Master’s of Science in Professional Counseling.

MychIayla Mathis

2nd Grade Teacher

mmathis@leadingedgeacademy.com
2nd Grade

Julie Fessenden

2nd Grade Teacher

jfessenden@leadingedgeacademy.com
Ms. Natalie Uhriniak is originally from New York. After graduating from SUNY Plattsburgh she received her Bachelors in Elementary Education with a Concentration in History. She has been teaching for Leading Edge since 2008. She enjoys traveling, swimming, fishing, skiing, and spending time with her family.

Natalie Uhriniak

3rd Grade Teacher

nuhriniak@leadingedgeacademy.com
Ms. Lisa Reith Austin is a mother of two amazing daughters ages 15 and 10. She has been teaching since 2009 and holds a Bachelors in education. Before she earned her degree, she taught at Foundation for Blind Children working with visually and hearing impaired pre-school aged children. She loves working with kids and thinks it's amazing to watch their minds grow along with them.

Lisa Reith-Austin

3rd Grade Teacher

lreithaustin@leadingedgeacademy.com
Ms. Erin Tucker is a native Phoenician. She attended both ASU and GCU earning her Masters degree in Elementary Education and Bachelors degree in School Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She has taught in a variety of settings which include college level courses, low income inner-city schools, and accelerated charter schools. She has been a team lead and a part of many different committees which had significant impacts on the school's culture and procedures.

Erin Tucker

3rd Grade Teacher

etucker@leadingedgeacademy.com
3rd Grade

Jeana Shwenk

3rd Grade Teacher

jschwenk@leadingedgeacademy.com
Ms. Sara Dirks enjoys teaching and working with kids of all ages. She graduated with a degree in Secondary Education and taught Language Arts in 6-12 grade for 8 years. She has been involved in Children's Ministry for all age levels for over 15 years. She has 3 kids, 2 of whom attend Leading Edge Academy Maricopa.

Sara Dirks

4th Grade Teacher

sdirks@leadingedgeacademy.com
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.

Reggie Overton

4th Grade Teacher

roverton@leadingedgeacademy.com
Mrs. Selina Bennett has a Bachelor's in Home Economics, a Master's in Elementary Education, and is currently working on a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction. She has taught for the last 5 years, and is excited for her first year with Leading Edge Academy. Selina has taught 7th and 8th grade math for three years and last year was her first year as a 4th grade teacher. When Selina is not working she is taking care of two children, who will both be attending LEA-Maricopa, and a husband. Selina's pastimes include reading, sudoku puzzles, sewing, cooking, and collecting postcards.

Selina Bennett

4th Grade Teacher

sbennett@leadingedgeacademy.com
5th Grade Teacher

Blayne Booth

5th Grade Teacher

bbooth@leadingedgeacademy.com
Mrs. Lisa Husnu received her Masters in Education from Florida Atlantic University and her undergraduate degree from University of Florida. She taught in Florida before her family moved to Arizona. Her husband and two wonderful children are very supportive of her teaching career. Her family loves to travel together, tackling new adventures and learning about other cultures. She enjoys most outdoor activities including hiking, snowboarding, and all water sports.

Lisa Husnu

5th Grade Teacher

lhusnu@leadingedgeacademy.com
5th Grade

Craig Smith

5th Grade Teacher

csmith@leadingedgeacademy.com
Middle School Math

Meagan Biermann

Middle School Math Teacher

mjjohnson@leadingedgeacademy.com
Mr. Patrick Thompson is a happily married father of four. He has been teaching for 4 years and coaching for several more. He recently finished his Masters in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University and received his Bachelors in Business Marketing from University of Phoenix. He has lived in Maricopa for 7 years and when not teaching and coaching enjoys teaching his kids to play guitar and drums.

Patrick Thompson

Middle School Math Teacher

pthompson@leadingedgeacademy.com
Mr. James Larson grew up near Seattle, Washington and is a big Seahawks fan. He went to Washington State University where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology. James had not planned on becoming a teacher, but has been enjoying it every day. His long term goals are to get his PhD in Neuroscience, do research, and flee the desert to return to the comforts of forested mountains.

James Larson

Middle School Science Teacher

jlarson@leadingedgeacademy.com
Middle School Science

Susanna Cabello

Middle School Science Teacher

scabello@leadingedgeacademy.com
Mr. Jason Dye was born in Cooperstown, NY, in 1978. His father is a dairy farmer and his mother works at a veterinarian clinic. He played football, basketball, baseball, ran track, and was a drummer in the band before he graduated from New Berlin Central High School in 1996. He attended the University of North Carolina-Asheville where he graduated with a degree in History in 2002. He began his career coaching football, basketball, and softball in northeastern North Carolina, and completed his student teaching at Elizabeth City State University while coaching at Pasquotank County High School. He began teaching Social Studies in the middle school at Leading Edge Academy Maricopa in 2012, where he coaches flag football and basketball.

Jason Dye

Middle School Social Studies Teacher

jdye@leadingedgeacademy.com
Mr. David Perkins is currently in his 29th year in education. His previous experiences in Nebraska, Colorado, and Arizona have included teaching grades 6-12 Social Studies, English, Speech, Drama, and Family and Consumer Sciences. Additionally, he has been involved in professional development in the areas of curriculum, instruction, assessment, school improvement, and career education.

David Perkins

Middle School Social Studies Teacher

dperkins@leadingedgeacademy.com
Ms. Mary Wakeling joined Leading Edge Academy in 2014. Mary graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Secondary Education. She has been involved in several nonprofits and was a founding member of the Youth Experience Project, now run by the Center for Inclusive Praxis. Her class is a literature-based Language Arts class that involves plenty of writing and analysis, quite a bit of Socratic discussion, and a lot of reading. Mary's favorite hobbies include reading and drinking coffee.

Mary Wakeling

Middle School Language Arts Teacher

mwakeling@leadingedgeacademy.com
Mr. Marcel Ludlow is originally from California. After graduating high school he enlisted in the USAF and spent 6 years in military intelligence. Upon separating from the Air Force, Mr. Ludlow attended the University of Arizona in Tucson where he earned a B.A. in Linguistics. During his previous 3 years of teaching English, he has taught both middle and high school levels and proceeded in getting an M.A. in English with a specialization in Gothic Literature. His class focuses primarily on concept of content, putting extreme emphasis on strategies.

Marcel Ludlow

Middle School Language Arts Teacher

mludlow@leadingedgeacademy.com
Ms. Denise Frietas teaches general music to Kindergarten through 5th grade, Performing Arts to 6th through 8th grade. She earned her Music Bachelor degree from FAAM University (Sao Paulo, Brazil). She has almost 30 years of experience teaching music, playing piano and working with musical productions. She is also a member of National Association for Music Education. She enjoys singing, dancing, playing piano, acting, jumping up and down all day long with her students. She feels that her job is so much fun! When not in school, she enjoys watching movies, spending time with her family and her cute dog named Oscar.

Denise Freitas

Music Teacher

dfreitas@leadingedgeacademy.com
PE Teacher

Teri Piasecki

Physical Education Teacher

tpiasecki@leadingedgeacademy.com
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 have 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 artists and better critical thinkers we become!"

Jessica Fox

Art Teacher

jfox@leadingedgeacademy.com
Special Education Teacher

Karen Deadrick

Special Education Teacher

kdeadrick@leadingedgeacademy.com