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    Bio
    Amanda Nimmo
    9th Grade Math Teacher
    Amanda Nimmo
    9th Grade Math Teacher

    Amanda Nimmo was born and raised in Thermopolis, Wyoming where she grew up with three siblings. Amanda enjoyed school and was involved in many sports and activities including volleyball, basketball, band, FFA, and National Honor Society. Some of Amanda’s fondest memories of her senior year were leading her basketball team to a state championship, winning grand champion steer, grand champion swine showman, and graduating in the top of her class. 

    Amanda grew up with a passion for math. After high school, she got her associates degree while playing two years of college basketball. She then transferred to Montana State University to pursue a degree in education. Amanda completed a double major in Mathematics and Elementary Education with a minor in Coaching. She graduated with cum laude distinction in both Bachelor’s Degrees and scored in the top 10% of the nation on her Praxis exam.  

    After graduating from college, Amanda started teaching high school math along with coaching volleyball and basketball in Shoshoni, Wyoming, where she met her husband, Brad. Amanda and Brad have three boys who keep them extremely busy. They enjoy traveling, Jeeping, hiking, kayaking, sports, as well as just spending time together at home. 

    After earning her Master’s Degree in Mathematics, Mrs. Nimmo has enjoyed being an Adjunct Math Professor at Central Wyoming College. She has been teaching math for 14 years to students ranging from 8th grade to undergraduates in college. Mrs. Nimmo’s teaching philosophy is centered around making math engaging, relevant, and achievable for all students.  In closing, Mrs. Nimmo is a teacher who is excited and willing to help, guide, and celebrate success with all students. She strives to build relationships with her students so they know she cares about their learning and success.

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    Joyce Drury
    8th Grade Math Teacher
    Joyce Drury
    8th Grade Math Teacher

    Joyce Drury was born and raised in Delta, Utah, the fourth of five children.  She loved everything about school and was involved in many fun activities during her high school years.  Joyce played on three state championship volleyball teams and one basketball team during her years as a mighty Rabbit!  She was the General Sterling Scholar and Valedictorian her senior year.  After high school, Joyce attended Southern Utah University where she met her husband, Will.  She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in history. Joyce began her teaching career in Fontana, California while her husband earned his master’s degree in physical therapy at Loma Linda University.

    Life is never boring at the Drury home.  Here is a list of some of the exciting things currently going on:

    -Two new grandsons arriving this summer, bringing the total to 5 grandchildren!!

    -A new daughter-in-law!!

    -A very independent 19-year-old daughter returning safely from her month in Hawaii after successfully learning to surf, scuba dive, and skydive!!

    -A son graduating from UNLV Law School!!  Next up…the bar exam!!

    -A surprise voluntary cutting of a mullet on the youngest son!!

    Math is a hobby of Joyce's and she never tires of it.  She has thoroughly enjoyed her 4 years teaching at Early Light Academy and looks forward to helping students learn Math 8 concepts this year!

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    Jeremy Loewen
    7th Grade Math Teacher
    Jeremy Loewen
    7th Grade Math Teacher

    Jeremy Loewen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and grew up in South Jordan. He attended Early Light in its opening year as a 4th-grader and stayed until 8th grade. During those years, he developed a passion for math, computer skills, music, and sports. Also at ELA, he played on the soccer and basketball teams, ran cross country, and participated in math competitions around the state. 

    Jeremy graduated high school with his associate's degree and has studied computer science and math education at Brigham Young University. As a young adult, he has worked in schools, youth camps, and treatment centers with the goal of positively affecting the lives of teenagers. Jeremy is excited to teach at ELA and hopes to help his students have the same great experience at the school that he did. 

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    Ed McFee
    Junior High Science Teacher
    Ed McFee
    Junior High Science Teacher

    Ed was born and raised in rural, upstate New York. Though coming from a family of teachers, he chose to major in biology and minor in chemistry while at Colgate University. It was while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia, West Africa that he discovered a love for teaching middle and high schoolers, even the ones who sat in the front row and ate live cane larvae.  After returning to the States, Ed worked in college admissions before earning his secondary science teaching certificates and an M.S.Ed. degree from Binghamton University.

    Ed has been teaching chemistry, earth science and physics for over 20 years and now brings his depth of experience and background to Early Light Academy.  He and his wife, Michele, have four grown children, all of whom have waited patiently in the car while dad collected rock and mineral specimens from roadcuts around the northeast. Three of the four are currently in earth-science related fields, so the love of earth history must have worn off.

    Ed and his wife have explored the Erie Canal and its laterals and have immersed themselves in the social, military and geologic history of New York State. Now they plan to search for the lesser- known stories of the people and places in Utah and surrounding states. When not traveling, Ed enjoys reading about the men and women of science whose insight and creativity forged new discoveries about the natural world.

    Ed is excited to be teaching at Early Light Academy. He looks forward to sharing his love of science and teaching and for the opportunity to learn from a great group of teachers and students.   

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    David Stone
    Junior High Science Teacher
    David Stone
    Junior High Science Teacher

    David was born in Olathe, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City not unlike South Jordan. His childhood was spent doing all sorts of things that kids do in the movies – riding bikes and scooters around the neighborhood, going to the pool, building a tree house (a huge, awesome tree house), and exploring everywhere we could find.

    After 18 years in Olathe, he moved about 30 miles west to Lawrence, Kansas, home of the Jayhawks and the University of Kansas. There he got cheap student tickets to KU basketball games in Allen Fieldhouse and stayed in a dorm with his best friend who he had known since he was 9 years old. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and was lucky enough to teach the general and organic chemistry labs during his last 2 years in school.

    For a long time, he had wanted to move to the mountains, a product of yearly trips to Colorado from his home in Kansas. When David graduated from college, he looked to move to Salt Lake City for its proximity to the Wasatch mountains (as well as Arches, Zion, Canyonlands, etc.). Over the summer, he was excited to find Early Light Academy and become a science teacher for this awesome school!

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    Doran Brooks
    Junior High Science Teacher
    Doran Brooks
    Junior High Science Teacher

    Doran was born and raised in May Pen, Jamaica. During his time in Jamaica he spent most of his time working at his parent’s restaurant, going hiking and playing cricket. After completing high school, he migrated to Fairfield, CA to live with his father. 

    While living in California, Doran found his love for volleyball, road tripping and photography. He coached several volleyball teams and has even assisted with coaching ELA’s boys and girls volleyball teams in the past. 

     Doran attended Brigham Young University- Idaho, where he enjoyed the wide-open space and natural wonders that Idaho had to offer. He realized early on in high school his love for Biology and decided to study Biology as his major. However, after his freshman year he discovered Exercise Physiology and decided to change course in order to become a Physical Therapist but couldn’t resist the urge to take a biology class every semester even when some of them weren’t necessary for his degree. He earned his B.S in Exercise Physiology and after 7 months of successfully shadowing and working with a therapist, he came full circle and realized that it was indeed the biology/physiology in his major that he loved and excelled the most in.

     Doran is excited to teach and what better place is there to begin that journey than Early Light Academy!

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    Kevin Worthley
    Social Studies Teacher
    Kevin Worthley
    Social Studies Teacher

    Kevin Worthley grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he spent the cold winters reading every history book he could. Social Studies was his favorite class in junior high and high school, so it makes sense that he became a teacher of that subject. Kevin graduated from North Central University in Minneapolis, with a Bachelor’s degree in education with a social studies concentration. Additionally, he is currently in a program to earn his Master’s degree in political science.

    Kevin moved to Utah 10 years ago, and was one of the original teachers at Channing Hall in Draper, teaching there for all 10 years before joining the ELA faculty for the 2016-2017 school year.

    When not teaching, Kevin can be found at a soccer field or hockey arena, watching his three children playing these sports, which are dear to him. Kevin has been married to his wife, Jenny, for 12 years, and they have one son and two daughters. He also enjoys the beautiful mountain trails here in Utah.

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    Kylee Woodfield
    Junior High Language Arts/History Teacher
    Kylee Woodfield
    Junior High Language Arts/History Teacher
    Kylee Woodfield grew up in Elsinore, Utah, a tiny town in central Utah. She discovered a love of reading at an early age and continues to nurture that love today. 

    She received her bachelor's degree in English literature from Utah Valley University, and her master's degree in secondary English teaching from Western Governors University. 

    In her free time she enjoys spending time with her dog, Rey, and husband, playing board games, reading, and sewing. 
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    Mikayla Lightheart
    Junior High Language Arts Teacher
    Mikayla Lightheart
    Junior High Language Arts Teacher

    Mikayla Lightheart spent the first part of her life in Utah. Her childhood is filled with fond memories of running around wildly with her 4 younger siblings. No matter what she was doing though, she ALWAYS had a book with her. Her 1st grade teacher instilled an all-consuming love of reading and that has yet to disappear. When she was 16, her family moved to Oregon City, Oregon where she became a true northwesterner -- lover of rain and trees. Though she moved back to Utah with her spouse to attend school, she takes any and every opportunity to return “home” to Oregon. 

    Mikayla graduated from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor’s in English Secondary Education. Mikayla’s love for reading is now in constant competition for the love she has for her students. By combining and utilizing the arts of reading and writing, she vehemently believes that students have the capacity to change the world. Her belief means that her door is (metaphorically) always open and she practices that through her everyday actions. She teaches 7th and 8th grade Language Arts. 

    Mikayla, her spouse, and their two cats (Miso and Katsu) currently live in Vineyard. Their time is often spent watching movies, playing video games, trying diverse foods together, and (of course) reading. Mikayla loves the community and relationships she has been a part of at Early Light Academy and looks forward to continuing to develop those connections. 

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    Mathew Sherwood
    Career & Technical Education Teacher
    Mathew Sherwood
    Career & Technical Education Teacher

    Mathew Sherwood was born in Michigan where he enjoyed the wonderful Great Lakes and all the fun outdoor activities that go along with them. He attended Michigan State University and received his Bachelor's degree in Telecommunications with a minor in Business. After college he and his soon to be wife, Sarah packed up and moved to South Carolina to enjoy some sun and experience life in the south. While in South Carolina he worked as an IT specialist for the school district in the small historic town of Abbeville where his wife eventually became the mayor. While working for the school district Mathew learned of his desire to teach children and eventually transitioned into being a CTE teacher who taught engineering and computer classes. After two years of teaching and the end of his wife's term as mayor the couple decided to embark on a new adventure and move west, the mountains were calling. Utah is home now for Mathew where he looks forward to teaching 7th-9th graders at Early Light Academy. When he’s not teaching you can find him snowboarding, camping, hiking or anything outdoors with his wife and two dogs, Bailey and Charlie.

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    Toni Butler
    Theatre/Drama Teacher
    Toni Butler
    Theatre/Drama Teacher

    Mrs. Butler grew up in Taylorsville, Utah and graduated from Taylorsville High School. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre Education from the University of Utah. She has been a drama specialist (implementing, creating, and teaching) at several theatres and public schools throughout the Wasatch Front. She taught theatre for four years at East High School. She is the President of Kensington Theatre Company where she is a producer, designer, actor, teacher and director.  Mrs. Butler is also a founder of Early Light Academy.

    Mrs. Butler has an infectious passion for theatre and youth and loves sharing this passion with the students at Early Light Academy.

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    Candice Kugler
    Music Teacher
    Candice Kugler
    Music Teacher

    Candice Kugler grew up on a ranch in North Dakota in a family where singing and playing music together was a common occurrence.  She was raised on bluegrass and gospel music and her first solo was singing in church at 4 years old.  In high school Candice’s family moved to Manhattan, Kansas where she would eventually graduate from  Kansas State University with a degree in Music Education.  It was there that she joined a folk/rock band and met her husband Kyle- who plays the guitar.  

    Candice has been at Early Light Academy since it opened its’ doors in 2009. Her vision and hope is that every student who comes to her class will be encouraged to work hard together to create music that is beautiful and moving.  She loves getting to “show off” all of her students efforts during the year in ELA’s very own theatre space!  Her students enjoy Candice's sparkling personality, encouraging demeanor, and technical expertise.   

    Candice lives in South Jordan with her husband and 3 daughters (one ELA alum and 2 current ELA students), her sweet Australian Labradoodle Reese’s Pieces and her farm cat Sunshine

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    Michelle Willis
    Music Teacher
    Michelle Willis
    Music Teacher

    Michelle Willis studied at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) and Boise State University and graduated with a B.A. in Choral Music Education in 1999. Throughout her career, she has had the opportunity to work with well-known industry conductors and composers such as Barlow Bradford, Nathan Hofheins, and Darwin Wolford. She completed her student teaching in Boise, Idaho with Becky Prindle (orchestra) and Ted Totorica (choirs at Borah High School).

    Willis has received dozens of awards for her compositions for choirs, orchestras, and solo instruments over the past 25 years and is the owner of her own publishing company, Teton Music (www.TetonMusic.com). 

    Mrs. Willis founded the Herriman Community Orchestra in 2008 and served as its Artistic Director for 6 years. She was a member of the Herriman Arts Council from 2005-2011 and served as director, producer, and conductor for that organization for numerous productions and events. She is currently the Artistic Director for the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, which is part of the non-profit group Kensington Theatre Company (www.KensingtonOrchestra.org). She is also Music Director for the Murray Symphony Orchestra (www.MurraySymphony.org).

    Mrs. Willis has taught private voice, piano, string, ukulele, guitar, and harp lessons to numerous students over the last 25 years. She is the mother of 4 wonderful children and enjoys supporting her awesome and talented husband, Spencer, who sings in the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

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    Jason Lyons
    Art Teacher
    Jason Lyons
    Art Teacher

    Jason Lyons grew up in Pocatello, Idaho and graduated from Highland High School where he lettered in cross-country and track and field every year. He continues his love of running by coaching the ELA cross country team. He has an MA in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and a BA in Art Education and a minor in French from Brigham Young University. He presents at state and national art conferences, and displays artwork in various shows nationwide. He also loves to travel, play sports, read books, and be with his wife.

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    Shannon James
    Physical Education & Health Teacher
    Shannon James
    Physical Education & Health Teacher

    Shannon James has been a teacher at Early Light Academy for 9 years. She attended Snow College as an athletic trainer for 2 years then graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor Degree in Health Education and Exercise Science.

    Shannon has always had a love and passion for teaching health and fitness. In her early years, as a competitive gymnast, she understood the importance of hard-work, dedication, health and well-being. Since then, Shannon has achieved many levels of success in the health and fitness industry. She brings with her 20 years as a certified fitness trainer/instructor, as well as 5 years as a gymnastic coach/dance teacher. She has been instrumental in the success, development, and growth in numerous individuals striving to achieve optimal health and wellness. Through her passion, drive and focus Shannon is excited to bring her success to Early Light Academy.

    One of Shannon's life goals is to make a positive difference in her community. One way she feels she is able to accomplish this is through teaching at Early Light Academy. "I believe through teaching at ELA, we don't just have an opportunity to make a difference, we have an obligation to make a difference in the life of each and every one of our students!"

    Shannon has been happily married for 29 years to her amazing husband. They have two beautiful children. The James gang also includes a dog and two cats. She enjoys spending time with her family watching movies and football, decorating her home, gardening, working out at the gym, relaxing and sipping on a steaming hot great cup of coffee!!!

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    Paige Knight
    Junior High PE Teacher
    Paige Knight
    Junior High PE Teacher

    Paige Knight was raised in American Fork, Utah. Growing up with 5 brothers created her love of sports and her competitive nature. Paige graduated from American Fork High School as a state champion in basketball. She then went to Snow College on a basketball scholarship and was able to help her team become conference champions. After which she went to Utah State to finish her degree in exercise science with an emphasis in Physical Education. Paige had always wanted to become a teacher. Her father who also works in the field of education, taught her at a young age the importance of educators. She’s excited to finally become one and start her teaching career here at Early Light Academy! 

    Paige recently got married to her husband Turner. Together they enjoy spending time hiking, camping, backpacking and visiting national parks. They also love playing pickleball, spike ball and playing card games together. 

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    Cora Lyons
    Photo/SMAC/World Languages Junior High Teacher
    Cora Lyons
    Photo/SMAC/World Languages Junior High Teacher

    Cora Lyons is from Los Alamos, New Mexico. While at Los Alamos High School, Cora played 4 years of high school basketball as well as working as a research assistant at Los Alamos National Laboratory. After graduation, she decided to study Art and Italian at Brigham Young University. During her time at BYU, Cora was able to participate in a study abroad program in Italy and later an internship at the Santa Maria della Scala Art Museum in Siena, Italy. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education and Italian Studies.

    Cora taught Art 1 at Hunter Jr. High before coming to Early Light Academy. At ELA Cora teaches a wide variety of elective courses including Photography, World Languages, Student Government, and School News. Cora enjoys the opportunity to pursue her passion for sports as the assistant coach for the Cross Country team.

    In her free time Cora enjoys traveling, playing basketball, creating photography, going to concerts, and reading.

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    Marisa Tebbs
    Spanish Teacher
    Marisa Tebbs
    Spanish Teacher

    Marisa was born in Provo and raised in Lindon, Utah.  She is the third child of four. Growing up Marisa loved to dance, cheer, run and be creative with her sisters.  Marisa has always enjoyed school and knew she wanted to be a teacher from a young age just like her mom!  Marisa attended Pleasant Grove High School where she joined the National Honor Society and Cheerleading Team.  Marisa graduated high school with high academic honors and was accepted to Southern Utah University.  Marisa received a cheerleading scholarship at SUU and was invited to be a part of the Kappa Omicron Nu Academic program.  Marisa cheered and served as treasurer for Kappa Omicron Nu for 3 years prior to serving an LDS mission to Fresno, California.  As a missionary Marisa learned Spanish and her love of the hispanic culture developed.  Upon returning from her missionary service, Marisa completed her education at SUU and received a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Science Secondary Education.  

    Marisa then began working at Channing Hall International Baccalaureate School in Draper for 7 years.  During that time, Marisa met her husband Adam and has now been married for 4 years.  Marisa has 2 amazing children, Carter (3) and Cozette (8 months) and loves being a mother.  In her free time Marisa loves to be with family, decorate, sew and indulge in yummy treats!  Marisa has been an ELA team member for 1 year and looks forward to many more to come!  

Assistants

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    Nikki Hill
    Junior High Teacher Assistant
    Nikki Hill
    Junior High Teacher Assistant

    Nikki Hill was born and raised in Kimball, Nebraska where she graduated from Kimball High School. She then attended Western Nebraska Community College where she graduated with an Associate of Arts degree. She has worked in the classroom for 13 years as a paraprofessional for both junior high and high school students as well as at the elementary level.

    Nikki and her husband, Robert, moved to South Jordan in 2013 with their two daughters Maddi (13), and Savannah (9). She enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching her daughters play softball, and serving on the Oquirrh Mountain Girls Softball board.

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    Amanda Maxwell
    Junior High Teacher Assistant
    Amanda Maxwell
    Junior High Teacher Assistant

    Amanda was born and raised in Utah. She attended Copper Hills High School and later the Salt Lake Community College’s Culinary Arts Program, resulting in an internship in Italy with a Master Chef.

    Amanda is married and with 2 children, a nine year old daughter and a 7 year old son, both of who attend Early Light Academy. In her spare time she enjoys spending time  with her family, hiking, horseback riding and cooking.

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    Jamie Greer
    Junior High Teacher Assistant
    Jamie Greer
    Junior High Teacher Assistant

    Jamie grew up in Salt Lake City. She graduated from Bingham High School. Her favorite classes were Child Development and teaching PreSchool. Since working at Early Light Academy, Jamie has found a love for working with the Junior High students.

    Jamie is married to her best friend. They have 2 amazing boys. She loves the Utah Mountains, going hiking, loves all things cats, Corgis, and playing video Games.

Counselor

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    Chelsey Sorensen
    Junior High Counselor
    Chelsey Sorensen
    Junior High Counselor

    Chelsey Sorensen was born and raised in Mapleton, Utah where she was the middle child of 3. She enjoyed working hard to get good grades and was her high school's CTE Sterling Scholar and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. She went on to attend Utah Valley University where she obtained her Bachelor's degree in Psychology (Magna Cum Laude), took a little break from school, and then continued to get her Master's in School Counseling (Summa Cum Laude). She worked at the Utah State Hospital for many years while going to school and enjoyed working with the patients there. 

    She greatly enjoys traveling anywhere and exploring new and old places. She has a labradoodle named Harper who is very energetic, hyper, and sweet. Harper loves playing fetch the most, and Chelsey has spent countless hours throwing balls for Harper to chase. Harper also loves to shop and go on adventures with Chelsey, they both love TJ Maxx, going for walks, and playing in water. While Chelsey loves the Utah mountains, she loves the beach just a little bit more.

    Chelsey has a passion to inspire and empower others, especially her students. She has looked forward to being a school counselor for many years and is so excited to make a difference and encourage others to believe in themselves and be great leaders.