Mrs. Laura Leavitt has been with the APA family for 15 years. Before coming to the
WV1 campus in 2010 she taught third grade for 6 years. She holds a BA in Art from
BYU, an Elementary Teaching License, and a Master’s in Education Leadership from
Central Michigan University. Laura loves reading, movies, gardening, camping and
cooking for a crowd. She and her husband, Dave, have seven children and fifteen
beautiful grandchildren. In Laura’s words: “I love coming to work each day. Our
APA students, parents and staff are wonderful. It is a privilege to work with them
and for them.
Mrs. Tammy Okelberry has been with APA for the past 5 years as a counselor at
WV2. She received her Bachelors Degree in Social Work from BYU and her Masters
in Counseling from Northwest Nazarene University. In addition to being a licensed
Clinical Mental Health Counselor, she has been working with teens and families for
25 years throughout Utah and Idaho. She was privileged to live in Argentina for 18
months as an LDS missionary and loves using her second language as often as
possible. She loves to spend time with her extended family as well as one-on-one
time with her son. She looks forward to working with the students of WV1.
Ms. MaryCarmen Gamez has been with the American Preparatory Academy West
Valley 1 since they opened in 2009. She received her Bachelors’ in Business and an
Associate Paralegal degree. MaryCarmen was born in North Mexico and has lived in
Salt Lake for 17 years. She likes to read books and enjoys being around kids.
MaryCarmen has 3 daughters and 3 grandchildren. MaryCarmen has a wealth of
experience at American Prep and is very excited to take on the role as
Administrative Director for West Valley 1
Mrs. Melanie Ferlo has been with American Preparatory Academy since 2005. She graduated from Ricks College (BYU-Idaho) with her Associates Degree. She continued her education at BYU-Provo where she met her husband who teaches at the High School and College level. She is the mother of 3 sons, all graduates of American Preparatory Academy. What she enjoys most of all in life is spending time with her family. Her involvement in teaching includes the following areas: Groups Instructor, PACE Teacher and currently she is the Academic Coordinator at WV1.
Ms. Lauren Butterfield has taught at West Valley 1 for the past 3 years and joined our elementary support team this fall. She was born and raised in Sandy. Ms. Butterfield loves to sing and loves to try new things. Which is evident with all the new opportunities that she takes on at APA. She is the youngest of four children and has tons of nieces and nephews who love her dearly. She loves to travel and spend time with her family. She loves to meet new people and is very excited to
work with students, parents, and staff this year as an Academic Coordinator.
Mrs. Sharon Miller has been with APA since 2011 working as an instructor. Currently working as the Academic Secretary. She lives in Magna and is married to Jim Miller. They have 5 children and 7 grandchildren. Mrs. Miller also teaches piano in the afternoon and has been doing this for over 35 years. She also sings with a community choir, the Mountain West Chorale. Favorite hobbies are reading, crocheting, going to movies and currently taking art lessons. But her ultimate enjoyment is spending time with her family.
Mrs. Hailey Stevens the Character Development Director at WV1. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in public relations. She attended American Preparatory Academy when it first opened and is an advocate of the Ambassador program. Hailey wanted to be an event planner when she started her university studies but worked with online marketing and social media upon graduation. She is thrilled to now be working with events and hopes to make a difference with the students through the Ambassador program.
Mrs. Bonnie Meyerson has been with APA since 2007. She was a 1st grade instructor at the Draper 1 campus for 2 ½ years. She moved to the SNA campus, when it opened, as the Curriculum Specialist, which means that she handles all of the student textbooks, workbooks, library books and teaching materials. She also teaches a couple of groups classes. She has a degree in Psychology from Fullerton College and attended BYU for two year before she married her husband of 42 years and started her family. They currently live in the community of Daybreak in South Jordan with their two dogs, Dodger and Daisy. They have 4 children and 9 grandchildren. She loves animals and enjoys reading, gardening, taking walks by the lake with her dogs and grandchildren, traveling and watching a good movie. If she could choose her favorite activity, it would be to have her whole family together to hang out and do fun activities. Her motto is, “Being a Grandma is the best job in town!”
Mrs. Lindsey Oveson just joined our APA WV1 campus in January 2018, filling in the position of front office secretary. She graduated from Cyprus High School in 1994. She was born in Farmington, New Mexico and has lived in West Valley City since she was 5 years old. She married her high school sweetheart, Brian and has been married for 23 years. They have 4 children - 2 boys and 2 girls, and recently got their first grandson. When she is not sitting at a baseball/softball/football/basketball game, or a choir/theater performance of one of her children, she enjoys reading, singing, playing the piano and decorating cakes. She loves being creative and making messes. If she could she would travel anywhere in the world. She would sell everything and live out her life on a quiet tropical island somewhere.
Ms. Anabella Carrasco is our new Jr. High Secretary joining our WV1 campus February of 2018. She is studying online at BYU-Idaho. Anabella is from Argentina and currently lives in Sandy. She loves sports, the outdoors and being active, and dark chocolate. One of her biggest items on her bucket list is to go to the Machu Picchu Ruins. She loves super hero movies and buying Nike shoes.
Ms. Meredith Novak is one of our new Kindergarten teacher this year. She got her education at Brigham Young University Idaho in Elementary Education. She is originally from Southern California and now lives in Salt Lake City. She loves dancing. She performed several times in college. She also enjoys spending time snowboarding and spending time at the beach.
Ms. Yvette Aguilera is an instructor at WV1 and has been with WV1 since 2014. She studied at the University of Utah. Yvette started as a classroom instructor and now is a groups instructor, teaching Reading, Math and Spelling. She lives and grew up in West Valley City. She has a one and half year old who attends daycare at WV2. She says she wants him to learn the APA expectations young. She loves gardening and hiking.
Mrs. Annaka Hendersen started with American Preparatory Academy 7 years ago in 2011 as a kindergarten instructor. She is from Murray and lives now with her family, that she adores, in Taylorsville. Her children are students of APA. She loves camping, picnics, Disneyland, Harry Potter, concerts, music, hiking, and sushi. She collects shot glasses and is currently at 134. She also loves reading and her nieces and is excited for her nephew that is soon to arrive.
Mr. Joe Nath is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and has been teaching at APA since 2013. Previously he worked at a variety of preschools. He enjoys teaching students and seeing the “ah-ha” moment when concepts are conceived. He and his wife love spending time together, watching movies, and being outside.
Mrs. Sisilia Morey is an 8 year parent/volunteer, and has been with the staff for the past 10 months working in the food services department. This year she became an instructor in the first grade. She received her education from Kearns High School, the University of Utah in Dietetics and Nutrition. She is from Paradise, UT and now resides in Taylorsville. She has been married for 20 years to her husband John. They have 5 beautiful children that have attended and still attend APA. She enjoys hiking, jogging, weight lifting, volleyball, basketball, traveling, event planning and decorating. Favorite things are family movie & game nights. Her dream is to travel to the rest of Paradise, Asia, India and Europe with her Sweetheart.
Ms. Brittany Judd joined the WV1 APA team 3 years ago, starting out as an instructor. She now teaches 1st grade and is loved by all of her students. She has a BA in English from Brigham Young University Idaho. She was born in Jacksonville, Arkansas and currently lives in Salt Lake City. She is the eldest of five, and was born and raised in the Air Force and lived overseas and all over the states. She loves to paint, read, eat and go on lots of adventures.
Ms. Aimee Peterson started with APA 3 ½ years ago. She is a second grade teacher. She has her BS in Elementary Education, and is ESL and TESOL certified. Aimee taught Japanese students in St. George, then taught in Japan for 2 years American English and Customs. She was born and raised in West Valley City. She loves the color green and collects frog figures. She has a cat and a dog and is soon to be a first time mom. She currently has 2 bonus children. She says she enjoys being a teacher and hopes to publish one of her children’s stories.
Mrs. Kimberly I.S. Johnson joined APA in October of 2016. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and 2 minor degrees in Anthropology and Applied Computers from Brigham Young University. She is originally from Kent, Washington, a suburb of Seattle and now lives with her family in the Magna area. She loves traveling, food and people. She has lived in Washington, California, Oklahoma, Utah and in Victoria, Australia. She has also been to the Ukraine, China, Germany, France, England, Belgium, Honduras, Mexico, Grand Cayman, the Bahamas and Canada. Her goal is to visit all the states in the U.S. and see as many countries as she can.
Mrs. Justina Spencer has been with APA for 5 years, starting out as an instructor. Now she is a second grade teacher. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Disability Studies. She grew up in West Valley City and now lives in Magna. In her personal time she is the Prop Master at the Empress Theatre in Magna. She also loves to perform comedy improve.
Mrs. Katie Deplace has been teaching third grade at West Valley I for four years. She is originally from the east coast, but loves living in Utah. She graduated with a Biological Systems Engineering degree from Virginia Tech, before pursuing her teaching license. Science and math have always been some of her favorite subjects. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time outside. Her family consists of two cats, Missy and Walter, and her husband, Thomas. She is excited every day about what we get to learn at APA.
Mrs. Wendy Beckstead started this year, 2017-18, at the WV1 APA campus. She is a second grade instructor and recently became the soccer coach. She has an Associate’s degree in General Arts and Interior Design from LDS Business College. She is from Evanston, Wyoming and now lives in West Valley City. Wendy played soccer in college. She loves sports, outdoors, thrills and adventures. She loves being with her family and hopes to travel the world and go on wild adventures.
Ms. Rebecca Twitchell has been with our APA family for 5 years, at both our Draper campus and West Valley campuses. She teaches 3rd grade and has been at our WV1 campus for the past 3 years. Rebecca has her BS in English & Literature. She lives in Taylorsville.
One of her favorite hobbies is cross-stitching. She learned from her grandma when she was about 9 and has loved it since. If she’s not cross-stitching she’s reading. She states that she’s definitely a homebody.
Ms. McKenzie Denison has been with APA’S West Valley I campus for three and a half years. She started as an instructor, then worked her way into teaching. She is now a fourth grade teacher. She got her degree from Southern Utah University - SUU. She currently resides in Bountiful. McKenzie loves the theatre, music and things that are funny. She has five nephews and three nieces that she adores to pieces. She lives by the saying, “He who laughs longest, wins!”
Mr. Enrique Vargas has been with our APA WV1 campus for 9 years, since it opened in 2009. He is one of our groups instructors, teaching all the different groups and PACE classes. He got his education from Utah Valley University- UVU. Enrique is from Mexico and now lives in Taylorsville. He and his wife Nadia have one cute little 4-year old, Azael. His favorite things to do are read, Anime and video games. Pozole is his favorite food. One day he would love to go to Greece and Egypt.
Mrs. Emily Boynton joined our WV1 campus this year, but has been with APA for 3 years. She started at WV2. She has a BA in Early Childhood Education at Ohio Wesleyan University and a Minor in Fine Arts (Art History). She is originally from Ohio and now lives with her husband and 2 cats in Millcreek. She loves outdoor things, hiking, camping, going to National parks and especially loves to travel. She would one day love to travel around the world. She lived in South Korea for a year teaching. She loves to read and watch scary movies.
Mrs. K'Leena Furniss - (5th grade) attended Utah State University where she majored in Sociology. After graduating, K’Leena became a Camp Director, where she had the opportunity to work with and educate children of all ages. In addition to teaching children in a professional capacity, K’Leena has enjoyed working with children in her personal life as well. She has volunteered and served on several committees and boards associated with helping teach children throughout her life. She is currently working towards obtaining her Utah Teaching License through the ARL program. K’Leena’s enjoys swimming, hiking, biking, boating, painting, photography and traveling. And she especially loves hanging out with family and friends.
Mrs. Lyndzie Eddards started at APA’s WV1 campus in October 2017 and is a fifth-grade instructor. She has a B.S. in Educational Studies from Grand Canyon University in 2018. She is from Salt Lake City and now lives in West Valley City. She is married and they have one son who is an APA student. She loves to go camping, go to the movies, and take trips as a family. She loves to discover, explore and learn. She loves summer and fall and anything Disney. She is excited to be part of the APA family.
Mrs. Melissa Young has been working in the education field for 14 years, the majority of that time as a third grade teacher. She joined the APA team as a 6th grade teacher this year, 2017-18. She attended Ashford University in Iowa where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education with a Minor in Early Childhood Education and an Associates in Business. Mrs. Young has been married to her husband for 24 years and has four children. While Mrs. Young’s husband was Active Duty with the Marine Corps, she had the chance to move 12 different times, living all over the country and even lived in Japan for 3 years. This helped her develop a love of traveling. Mrs. Young and her family have settled back in Utah, and when she is not getting her children to and from all their activities, she spends her free time as a Girl Scout leader, softball coach, reading good books, watching movies and camping.
Ms. Amy Hugh has been with APA since 2011, when WV2 opened where she started . She taught 5th grade at WV1 for 2 years and currently teaches 5th & 6th grade Science at both campuses. She has a BS in Sociology from Utah State University. Also an MS in Special Education with an emphasis in Rehabilitation Counseling from USU. She has a Level II Elementary Education license USOE. She lives in Fruits Heights, the City of Good Neighbors.
Amy’s favorite subjects in school are math, science, history, writing, literature and music. She’s into traveling, especially river trips, biking, hiking, backpacking, cross-country skiing, going to museums, art galleries, historical sites, and attending the theatre. Her favorite place on Earth is in a canoe on the Green River in Stillwater Canyon of Canyonlands. The best place to bike so far is along the River Danube from Passau, Germany through Vienna to Budapest or the vacant lots, hollows, and open spaces right around from her house. Her favorite place to ski is Bryce and around the neighborhood before the snow plows come out. She likes to relax with yoga, photography, watercolor, reading, storytelling and cooking/eating good food around a campfire under the stars. She says she’s always on the lookout to learn, reading about and try new challenging things. Favorite sayings: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tine matters compared to what lies within us.” & “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” She says she always thinks “I CAN!”
Conor Hampson (9th Grade English) graduated from Justin-Siena High School in 2011, and attended Bates College in Maine until graduating in 2015. While studying at Bates, he wrote and edited for the campus newspaper, and hosted a weekly radio station. He also enjoys studying the history of Rome’s Republic.
Mr. Jourdan Tidwell (Secondary English) is in his second year of teaching, and we are glad he is back at APA this year. He graduated with a degree in English from Weber State University in 2017, and also minored in Spanish. Currently he is working on obtaining his Utah teaching license through the ARL program. He is about half way through that program, and by this time next year he hopes to be very close to being licensed as an educator. He is a big fan of good literature and absolutely loves seeing students open a book to find something more than they expected. He enjoys spending time with his wife and son, and is interested in any football, basketball, or baseball game on the TV.
Mrs. Leighann Nunez was born and raised in Southern California. After high school she attended Dominican University of California in the Bay Area, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in History and Art History and a minor in studio art. With her goals always being set on being an educator she attended California State University Long Beach where she received her secondary teaching credential in social science. She worked for a year teaching at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, teaching 9th grade geography and 10th grade World History.
In 2012 she made the move to Utah with her husband and their Labradoodle Zoe in tow. In August of that year she began working at American Preparatory Academy teaching 6th grade at the West Valley 2 campus. For three years she taught 6th grade, and loved experiencing elementary and getting to work on subject matter that was new and different. In following with her passion and the content that was aligned with her license, she went back into teaching secondary history, this time at West Valley 1.
Mrs. Kathy Woodcox has been with the American Preparatory Academy family for 12 years. She teaches secondary math and has her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Western Governors University. Kathy was born in Utah, was raised in Star Valley, Wyoming and currently resides in Herriman. She has been married to the same awesome guy for 30 years. They have 4 children and 6 grandchildren. They enjoy camping and rock climbing with family and friends. She also loves helping her husband in his bakery.
Dr. Lane Law (Secondary Science Teacher) has a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University. His major was Molecular Biology, and he received a minor in German. He received his Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Iowa and completed a post-doctoral fellowship from the University of Maryland. He then worked for the Department of Defense as a research analyst. Dr. Law accepted a position with a government contractor in Oklahoma and trained military personnel on the detection and analysis of biological pathogens. After that he worked for a probiotics startup company and then moved back to Utah. He taught science and math for one year at the Reid School in Salt Lake City before teaching science at American Preparatory Academy in West Valley. He loves Utah and the outdoors. He enjoys camping, hiking, reading and Legos.
Meaghan Nielson (Secondary Latin) has been with APA for 4 years. She has a BA in History from USU and a M.A.T. (Master of Arts in the Teaching of Latin) from the University of Arizona. She taught as a T.A. at USU for 5 years and spent 2 years teaching at the U of A. Meaghan grew up in American Fork and now lives in Salt Lake City. She loves to cook and walk her dogs. She would love to travel to Europe, learn more languages, go on an archaeological dig, and adopt more dogs. She is also getting married next September.
Mrs. Angela Western came to our WVI campus 2.5 years ago as our Physical Education Teacher. Angela has her Bachelor of Education -Physical Education and Health Master’s Sports Condition and Human Performance from Southern Utah University. She moved from New Jersey 10 years ago to Utah, moving around quite a bit and is currently residing in West Valley City.
She loves all sports and everything outdoors, from hiking, snowboarding, longboarding, swimming, camping, off-roading, and kayaking. She has 3 children - 5- year old girl - Abigail, 4-year old boy - Max, and 7-month old boy - Ray. She also has a Lab/Boxer mix - Finn. Turtles are her favorite animal and she has one pet turtle and one pet tortoise.
Angela was raised as an Air Force brat, but claims New Jersey as her home. She loves to travel and see new things. She enjoys trying to get really visually pleasing pictures in really neat places. She has had the opportunity to travel all around Europe in her early Adulthood, and would love to, one day, visit South Africa, Australia and Bora Bora, Fiji.
Monica Ingoldsby (Art Teacher) moved from Peru at the age of 15 and graduated from Canyon High School in Jun 1991. She attended California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. While in college, she participated in a few arts shows and competitions. She graduated in 2002, and enjoyed going to the beach to paint.
Dr. Henry Caceras joined our APA team 2 years ago in 2016. He has his Bachelor’s in Music Performance, Music Education and Fine Arts at the Universidad de Chile, Masters of Music (Performance) from the University of Utah, Doctors Degree in Music Performance and Minor in Orchestra/Band Conducting, University of Utah.
Dr. Caceras is from Santiago, Chile. He loves to watch movies, teach, play music, practice the clarinet and going out to eat!
Mrs. Sara Marchetti has been with American Preparatory Academy for 6 ½ years. She has a Masters in Trumpet Performance. She lives in Taylorsville with her husband and two amazing dogs. One is a two-year old female Newfoundland and 7-year old Australian Cattle Dog. Their names are Izzy and Mercury. She originally came from Oak Lawn, Illinois.
Sara plays the trumpet professionally with the Ballet West Orchestra, and when she’s not working, she enjoys Utah’s great outdoors - hiking, backpacking and exploring new places in our state are some of her many interests.
Mr. Rodrigo Betancourth began his career at APA in October of 2014. Rodrigo is one of WV1’s orchestra teachers. He got his Bachelor’s degree in Education Science with a Major in Violin performance and Pedagogy. He is also a Suzuki Certified Violin Teacher, teaching up to Book 5 and in the summer will certify up to Book 7. Rodrigo lives in Midvale and is from Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Rodrigo has experience as a violin teacher in school with kindergarten children, and as a violin and orchestra teacher in elementary and high school from 2006 - 2013 in Ecuador. He taught violin classes in a music Conservatory from 2010 -2013, where he graduated as a teacher in 2011. He continues practicing his profession of being a violin teacher and was also a member of the Symphonic Orchestra of Guayaquil-Ecuador from 2003 to 2013.
Mrs. Connie McCullough is a Sistema Director at American Preparatory Academy. She manages and runs an afterschool music program where 150 kids receive three hours of music instruction each day. She loves teaching music. She and her Sistema partner, Trina Christensen, manage Sistema Strings, a performance group. Sistema Strings recently performed at the Utah Grizzlies Hockey Game, many University of Utah sporting events, Afterschool Day on the Hill at the Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake Local Leaders Summit, and in a side-by-side performance with the Utah Philharmonic.
Connie has been teaching violin and viola for over 20 years. She has been a Suzuki Violin teacher for the past 10 years. Her training in music is through the University of Utah School of Music, Suzuki training at Institutes, conferences and workshops, on the job training as an Elementary School Orchestra Teacher and Private Suzuki Violin/Viola Teacher, and through performing with many different quartets, orchestras, symphonies, and bands.
Connie recently served on the board of the Suzuki Association of Utah (SAU) for 5 years, three of those years she served as President of the organization. She was the conference coordinator for four state wide conferences for SAU and was the chairman for the Celebration IX Concert in 2015, where they had over 1300 children performing on nine different instruments. She has taught, headed committees, and spoken at local, national, and international conferences.
Ms. Monica Brown started working at the American Preparatory Academy’s West Valley I in 2016 working as a Special Education Case Manager. She earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Northern Illinois University. She currently lives in South Jordan. Among Ms. Brown’s hobbies she likes to travel, learn, shop and play.
Ms. Allison Cadwell joined the APA team this year as a Speech Language Technician. She has a B.S. in Communication Disorders from BYU. Allison is from McAllen, Texas and now lives in Kearns. She enjoys exercising on her free time, and spending time with friends and family. She loves to travel and has a bucket list of places she wants to visit, including Iceland and Machu Picchu.
Mrs. Laura Dye has been with APA since September 2016. She is our K-12 School Counselor, with a Master of Science Degree in Psychology from Utah State University, focusing in School Counseling. She also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in Art from Weber State University. Laura has lived in Utah most of her life, currently living in Syracuse.
She enjoys writing, traveling, and going on walks, hikes or bike rides with her spouse and two children.
Ms. Kathy Papach started with West Valley I 2 years ago in 2016 as an instructor. She has an Associate’s degree in Education. Kathy is from Connecticut and currently lives in Taylorsville. She is the oldest of 3 children. She loves to read, mostly to her third grade class. She also likes to cook. Kathy loves animals and currently has a cat names Roger. She enjoys the outdoors. Camping and fishing are her two favor outdoor activities.
This is Mrs. Brittanya (Tanya) Payne’s 6th school year with APA. She has college experience from LDS Business College and Weber State University. She has been accepted into Western Governors University to continue her college degree. She was born and raised in West Jordan and currently resides in West Valley City. When she is not at school she tutors kids in reading, writing and math. She also spends time with her husband of 7 years and her two cats, Tiki and Roxy.
This is Mrs. Lindsey Ruben’s second year at American Preparatory Academy. She is one of the groups instructors. She got her Bachelors’ of Science from Utah State University. She resides in Murray with her husband and 2 adorable kids, a 3-year old and 9-month old. She enjoys traveling and being outdoors. In her words she says; “I’m also a big nerd and love to go to events like Comic Con.
Mr. Jason Mejia joined our APA WV1 campus midway in the 2017-18 school year as our Information Technician (IT). He graduated from Kearns High School. He now lives in Salt Lake City with his wife Vianey. He has many hobbies, but his favorites are drawing and reading. If you need need your computer fixed or updated, Jason is the man to see.
Mr. Kevin M. Stephens has been in operations with APA for the past 6 years, at WVI for the last 2 years. He went to Davis High School and Weber State University. He is from Davis County and lives in Layton. He has been married to his wife Alaina for 10 years and they have two children, a daughter McKayla and son, Tyson. His wife works operations at the WV2 campus and both children attend APA. His interests include video games, Philosophy, politics, economics and history.