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Kindergarten

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    Annie Taylor
    Kindergarten Teacher
    Annie Taylor
    Kindergarten Teacher

    Ms. Annie Taylor is very excited to be teaching all-day kindergarten at Early Light Academy. She taught all-day Kindergarten previously and is excited to help develop this new program at ELA. She appreciates the parental support and involvement in the children’s education at ELA. Ms. Taylor believes that all children are naturally curious learners who need to be surrounded by love and opportunity in order to spark their natural abilities. Annie also believes that learning should be fun and does her best to provide this each and every day.

    In her free time, she enjoys yoga, walking, travel, reading, and spending time with family and friends. She has two children, who are both college graduates and two cats Nala and Simba.

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    Kelsey Stirland
    Kindergarten Teacher
    Kelsey Stirland
    Kindergarten Teacher

    Kelsey is so excited to be starting her third school year teaching Kindergarten! Kelsey has known she wanted to be a teacher ever since she had the opportunity to live in China teaching English to 2nd graders. She absolutely loves being a kindergarten teacher and her main goal is for her kindergartners to be confident and excited about learning! 

    Kelsey is from Las Vegas but now lives in Herriman with her husband and Goldendoodle puppy. She is an aunt to her 11 nieces and nephews and loves traveling with family, especially to Disneyland! She also loves cheering on the Utes and the Jazz! Outside of teaching, she works as a bridal hair and makeup artist in the summers and loves that she gets to pursue multiple passions! 

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    Janel Preusz
    Kindergarten Teacher
    Janel Preusz
    Kindergarten Teacher

    Janel began her career in 2007 for the Jordan School District. A graduate of Brigham Young University--Idaho in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education, she taught special education and then kindergarten at Oquirrh Elementary before coming to Early Light Academy in 2015. As the second child of eleven kids, working with young children has always been a part of her life. She applies her personal as well as professional experience into her teaching and loves to see her first graders learn and grow. Janel loves movies, popcorn, the color pink, sewing, visiting her family in central Pennsylvania where she was born and raised, and spending time with her husband and two children, Tommy and Isabella.

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    Rebecca Paskett
    Kindergarten Teacher Assistant
    Rebecca Paskett
    Kindergarten Teacher Assistant

    Rebecca Paskett is excited to be a part of the ELA team.  She is especially happy to be working with the Kindergarten students.  She enjoys connecting with the kids and helping them learn new things.  

    In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys camping and hunting with her family.  She especially enjoys reading.  She also likes to craft.  Her favorite is cross-stitch.  

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    Mandy Dean
    Kindergarten Teacher Assistant
    Mandy Dean
    Kindergarten Teacher Assistant

    Mandy Dean grew up in Boise, Idaho and attended Ricks College where she majored in Communicative Disorders and Sign Language Interpreting.  She and her husband moved to Utah in 2000.  They have been married for 21 years and live in Herriman with their two children, Conner and Taya.  Mandy loves to unwind by running and being outside with her family.  She enjoys traveling, attending sporting events, listening to all kinds of music, reading, playing games with her family and following interior design blogs.  

    Because of her desire to be actively involved in her children's education, Mandy had been volunteering in each of their classrooms since they were in kindergarten.  Now she loves being able to work with the Kindergarten children and working alongside the teachers and staff at ELA.

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    Sarah Hare
    Kindergarten Teacher Assistant
    Sarah Hare
    Kindergarten Teacher Assistant

    Sarah lives in Herriman with her husband, 2 children, a great Pyrenees named Hank, and 2 cats named Carl & Winnie. She loves, Beauty and the Beast, musicals, iced tea, collecting mugs and traveling anywhere warm.

    She has been working at ELA since 2017  and absolutely loves working in kindergarten. Her 2 kids attend ELA and have since 2015.
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    Sydnee Harris
    Kindergarten Teacher Assistant
    Sydnee Harris
    Kindergarten Teacher Assistant

    Sydnee Harris was born in Salt Lake City, she has been married for 23 years, and has 4 children, 1 of which is attending ELA this year.  She has worked in the professional field of property management for several years.  Sydnee has always volunteered in her children's classrooms and wanted to be more involved in the school system.  She is new to the Early Light staff, and is excited to get to know the students.  

    In her leisure time she  loves to read, bake, enjoys family time with good food, go for walks, play games with her family, and watch movies.  One of her favorite past times is to attend musicals with her daughters and soccer games with her son.

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    Carolyn Walker
    Kindergarten Literacy Aide
    Carolyn Walker
    Kindergarten Literacy Aide

    Carolyn Walker is excited to join the literacy team and read with students at Early Light Academy! She grew up and then raised her six sons by the beaches of sunny Southern California. In 1996 the family moved to Utah where she discovered snow, taught children’s literature and college success courses at UVU, and became a reading specialist/coach for grades K-6.

    She is passionate about literacy and believes helping children read effectively is the key to them becoming independent, enthusiastic, life-long learners!

First Grade

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    Lacey Merrill
    1st Grade Teacher
    Lacey Merrill
    1st Grade Teacher

    Lacey Merrill has been teaching for 2 years at Early Light Academy and can’t wait to share her love for teaching with her new kiddos. 

    She loves fitness and creating a healthy mindset and lifestyle for herself! She loves spending time with her family and also watching tv shows or reading romance novels! 

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    Amy Naylor
    1st Grade Teacher
    Amy Naylor
    1st Grade Teacher

    Amy Naylor enjoys teaching first grade at Early Light Academy. First grade has always been her favorite grade to teach. Amy comes from a long line of educators ranging from teachers, a superintendent, and a college professor who started the philosophy department at the University of Utah. Her grandmother, a reading teacher, was passionate about education and literacy. This grandmother became Amy’s inspiration as a child to follow in her footsteps and become a teacher.

    She grew up in Sandy, Utah and now resides in Herriman. Amy and her husband, Steve, have a house in Rosecrest, an area of Herriman. She has lived in Utah her whole life.

    Amy has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Elementary Education and a minor in TESL, Teaching English as a Second Language, from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. She worked hard and graduated with honors. Amy plans on getting her Master’s degree in Education within a few years. She completed her student teaching experience in a full day kindergarten class at Horizon Elementary in Murray. Also, she had several placements through the course of her education in elementary schools within Salt Lake, Jordan, and Murray school districts. While at Westminster, she volunteered as a reading tutor at Hawthorne Elementary in Salt Lake City and was a member of Exceptional Griffins.  She is working on her math endorsement.

    Outside of education and teaching, Amy enjoys gardening, camping, skiing, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.

    Amy is driven to assess and value multiple intelligences and individualize the way students learn to better meet their individual needs. She strives to create an environment in her class that fosters a love of learning, inquiry, a sense of belonging, and reinforces individual self-worth. Students will often collaborate with their peers and ultimately create a classroom community. Amy values the parent, teacher, and student partnership. She looks forward to working closely with parents and students alike. She believes that by doing these things, students can know at an early age that success can be theirs. Students can then continue the rest of their years of school with confidence.

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    Kristi Maples
    1st Grade Teacher
    Kristi Maples
    1st Grade Teacher

    Kristi Maples worked in the medical field for 22 years before earning her teaching degree and joining Early light academy in 2020. Kristi attended Western Governors University where she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in education.

    Kristi was born and raised in Pocatello, Idaho where her and her 5 siblings would spend countless hours outdoors camping, hiking, and fishing. Kristi moved to Utah in 1996 to raise her family and enjoy the many outdoor adventures that Utah had to offer. Kristi loves to travel and has been to 28 of the US states, and 5 different countries. Kristi also enjoys working in her garden, watching movies, and playing with her granddaughter.

    Kristi is passionate about reading and loves to share her passion with all of her students.

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    Derek LeDoux
    1st Grade Teacher
    Derek LeDoux
    1st Grade Teacher

    Derek LeDoux is a graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho, and has a degree in Elementary Education. Derek has experience teaching in his native city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he worked as an elementary school teacher for four years. As a Wisconsin native, Derek enjoys cheering for all Wisconsin sports teams, and especially for the NBA Champion, Milwaukee Bucks. 

    In his free time, he enjoys running and biking out in nature, and enjoying the Utah scenery. Derek is passionate about education and helping students achieve success.

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    Hattie Deluca
    1st Grade Aide
    Hattie Deluca
    1st Grade Aide

    Hattie was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah sandwiched in the middle of five kids.  She attended Granger High School where she developed a love of art and music.  She later went on to attend the University of Utah (go Utes!!!) where she majored in Sociology with a certificate in Criminology.

    Hattie has worked for two major flooring companies in their respective accounting departments, but really fell in love with the education system having volunteered many times at Early Light Academy for the classes of her two beautiful girls who attend Early Light Academy.  Hattie really enjoys working as a 4th grade aide and loves the students she works with.  

    During her spare time she enjoys spending time with her kids, the great outdoors, puzzles, legos, listening to podcasts, enjoying music (she plays the piano and loves to sing), games, reading, enjoying a good meal and spending time with family. She is also a sports fan who enjoys supporting the Utes and Utah Jazz.

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    Jennifer DuCharme
    1st Grade Literacy Aide
    Jennifer DuCharme
    1st Grade Literacy Aide

    Jennifer DuCharme was raised in Riverton, Utah. Both of her parents were school teachers and she spent countless hours helping in the classroom. She graduated from Bingham High School, Ricks College with an associates degree in Elementary Education, and Utah State University with a degree in Elementary Education and an emphasis in Language Arts. She taught school in Cache Valley and Bluffdale. She is married and has 3 children. Education has always been a very important part of her life. She quit teaching to raise her kids but was very involved in their schools. She loves sewing and reading. She hopes to pass her knowledge and enthusiasm for reading along to the wonderful first graders at ELA.

Second Grade

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    Mary Cannon
    2nd Grade Teacher
    Mary Cannon
    2nd Grade Teacher

    Mary graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor degree in Humanities and minor in Art History. Though Art History remains one of her passions, she has developed an enthusiasm for education through her involvement with the creation of Early Light Academy. During the first year of ELA, Mary had the opportunity to work on the Fine Arts Committee, allowing her to help establish a strong tradition of art integration at ELA including Tanner Dance, Art Inspirations Program, Art in a Box, and the University of Utah ArtsBridge Film Project. In May of 2015 she finished a 5 year term serving on the Board of ELA, most recently. 

    As the mother of six, children—Mary is actively involved in her children’s education and has loved the occasion to help in the classroom. Her favorite was teaching the Great Artist Program in her kids’ classes. She enjoys teaching children in a variety of capacities and has a great admiration for teachers, their many talents and the many hours they spend on behalf of their students. Mary finished out the 2017 school year teaching 4th grade, has spent a few years as a substitute teacher, taught 5th grade full-time and is excited for a new adventure teaching  2nd grade at ELA this year.  

    Mary’s other passions include reading, baking, swimming, water polo, soccer, theatre and dance (basically, whatever her kids are involved in).

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    Rebecca Woodard
    2nd Grade Teacher
    Rebecca Woodard
    2nd Grade Teacher

    Rebecca Woodard is looking forward to another great year at ELA! She has been teaching the second grade at ELA since our opening in 2009. She thinks it's so much fun seeing her former students in the hallways and watching everyone grow up!

    Mrs. Woodard was born and raised in West Virginia. She graduated from Fairmont State University in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Before coming to ELA, Mrs. Woodard had experience working as a classroom aide, teaching preschool, substituting, and working with the Boys and Girls Club of America. She moved to Utah in 2008 with her husband, Chris, after living the Army life in Colorado Springs.

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    Megan Morris
    2nd Grade Teacher
    Megan Morris
    2nd Grade Teacher

    Megan Morris was born and raised in the state of Washington. At the age of 16, she moved to Utah with her family. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. She is married to Taylor Morris,  who is a 2018 Winter Olympian. Together they have a daughter named Emery, a son named Jordan,  and two cats. 

     Her love for learning began when she was an elementary student. Her passion for teaching began in high school when she tutored her high school friends in their studies.

     Megan Morris taught a third grade class at Early Light Academy for the 2015-2016, school year  In 2016, she moved to New York State to support her husband as he trained with the USA National Luge team. She substitute-taught and traveled to many new places throughout that year she spent in New York. She missed teaching so much that she just had to move back to teach again and to be with the ELA family! Ever since 2017, Megan has taught here at ELA in third and in second grade. 

     Megan's interests include: hiking, running, reading, watching movies, and cooking. One of her biggest goals is to make learning fun for all of her students. She believes that it is important for all students to be taught independence, communication skills, leadership skills, confidence, and perseverance. Her goal is for every student to feel successful and proud of their work. Her mission is to have all of her students graduate second grade with a passion for learning, the drive to be successful, and the confidence to move on to third grade. 

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    Anjeanette (AJ) Armstrong
    2nd Grade Teacher
    Anjeanette (AJ) Armstrong
    2nd Grade Teacher

    Anjeanette (AJ) Armstrong takes pride in bringing passion and enthusiasm to the classroom, discovering new and better ways to teach, and helping others reach their potential. She strives to have a positive impact on self-esteem and building confidence in others.

    AJ attended Western Governors University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Management and a Master of Education degree in Learning and Technology. She is also certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR).

    During her career she has developed acumen in various facets of the HR industry, yet found her passion in learning and development. Her previous experience teaching 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Managers, and Teens provided her the background necessary to oversee and teach the Leader in Me program at Early Light Academy. She’s a lifelong learner who promotes continuous improvement and strives to inspire others to stretch and build their knowledge and skill sets.

    In January 2018, she received the KSL Newsradio and Zions Bank's Teacher Feature Award. In October 2018, she received Early Light Academy's Teacher of the Year Award as recognized by South Jordan Chamber of Commerce.

    When she’s not teaching, you’ll find her with her family at the movies, on the golf course, hitting the slopes, or exploring a new city or island. She loves to work hard and play hard and encourages others to do the same.

    AJ enjoys teaching at Early Light Academy and looks forward to her seventh year of creating many great experiences and memories for her students!

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    Erin Coates
    2nd Grade Literacy Aide
    Erin Coates
    2nd Grade Literacy Aide

    Born and raised in Utah, Erin Coates has lived in Herriman for seventeen years with her husband; together they have three wonderful children. She has enjoyed being a stay at home mom for the past 13 years while giving her time and crafting skills to various school projects and assisted living facilities. Spending time with these children and older adults while volunteering has been an amazing opportunity that she has adored. Her hobbies include, but are not limited to, card making, sewing, baking and especially reading. Reading has always been a passion for Erin and she is excited to share this love of reading with the students here at Early Light Academy.

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    Noelle Hennick
    2nd Grade Teacher Assistant
    Noelle Hennick
    2nd Grade Teacher Assistant

    Noelle Hennick attended Southern Methodist University and Boise State University and graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology with an emphasis in Behavioral and Developmental Disorders of Childhood. Since then she has worked primarily with children and teens in a variety of settings. Noelle’s first love was dance and she ran and taught the Lower Academy of Dance at Ballet Idaho for several years. Noelle also worked with at risk teens in shelter settings and later transitioned to working with families and young children with developmental delays and intense behavioral issues. 

    A mother to three boys, Noelle is constantly on the run or rather her bike. Noelle loves to road bike but is often found out on the trails mountain biking with her husband and kids. When she does get a moment to relax it’s with a good book and a Swig drink!

Third Grade

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    Jack Harper
    3rd Grade Teacher
    Jack Harper
    3rd Grade Teacher

    Mr. Harper is excited to be your teacher! Hailing from Alabama, Jack plans on using his diverse background in History, Politics, and Spanish to give students at Early Light Academy a unique perspective on the world and their role in it. He is particularly interested in making learning engaging and meeting his students where they are.

    This is Mr. Harper’s third year at ELA and he couldn’t be happier! His experience ranges from helping with summer camps, working on fishing boats in Alaska, tutoring students with Dyslexia, leading students on outdoor trips, and teaching snowboarding at Brighton. 

    He loves traveling around the world, playing soccer, climbing, and being outdoors. He finds special pleasure in hanging out on his patio and reading a book with his cat running around. 

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    Naomi Foreman
    3rd Grade Teacher
    Naomi Foreman
    3rd Grade Teacher

    Naomi has been at Early Light Academy since 2014. She graduated from NMSU in 1994 and taught nine years in NM. She moved to Utah in 2002 and in 2005 started substituting for the Jordan School District. She has taught first grade for eight years and now teaches third grade. In the eight years she substituted in the Jordan District, she has had a long term sub job in every grade from K-6. In 2014, she knew it was time for her to have her own classroom and ELA was the perfect place for that classroom. She has always been an advocate of Charter Schools and could not wait to start.  In all of the years that she has been at ELA, she has come to love the Charter School life and the family ELA is.

    Naomi is married to Les and has two children, Kelsie and Lucas. In her free time, she enjoys reading and camping. However, most of her free time is spent watching kids play soccer. She has volunteered with Copper Mountain Soccer Club for years and can often be found watching a team of eight year olds play soccer.  Her goal is to see all 50 states.

    Her sense of humor spills over into her classroom and she enjoys laughing and learning with her students. Nothing makes her happier than to see a student fall in love with reading. She looks forward to meeting each one of you and spending the next year making some really cool third grade memories.

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    Mica Hawkins
    3rd Grade Teacher
    Mica Hawkins
    3rd Grade Teacher

    While working as a personal care assistant for disabled children and tutor, Mica learned what it means to make a difference in someones life. She loved working with children and decided to pursue a career as a teacher. Mica graduated from Western Governors University with her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education. In 2014, she joined the ELA family as a third grade teacher and has loved being a part of this awesome community ever since! She loves to find creative and engaging ways to teach concepts including escape rooms, hands on projects, and art.

    Mica grew up in Minnesota, spending most of her time outdoors enjoying the lakes! She has fallen in love with Utah’s amazing mountains and national parks. She has two children, her 5 year old son Ryker and 2 year old daughter Arya, who are the joys of her life and teach her new things everyday.  In her free time Mica especially enjoys hiking, going on adventures with her children, playing games, and reading. 

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    Enguun Narangerel
    3rd Grade Teacher
    Enguun Narangerel
    3rd Grade Teacher

    Mrs. Nara is delighted to be your teacher! Born in Mongolia, she came to the U.S. and spent the majority of her life in Colorado. After graduating from University of Colorado at Boulder, she decided to pursue her career in education. After teaching Special Education and supporting students with their individual needs, she joined the ELA team to teach 3rd grade in Utah and she is so happy to continue teaching here at ELA!

    When she was a student, she came across some amazing teachers who shed light on her mentality for school and encouraged her to learn. She was pushed to high standards. As an adult, she would like to do the same. Mrs. Nara believes all children can and wants to show students that she cares about their education so that they can empower themselves in their own academic journey.

    During her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and taking road trips. 

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    Shauna Price
    Third Grade Assistant
    Shauna Price
    Third Grade Assistant

    Shauna Price was born in California but as the daughter of a Colonel in the Army, she lived all over the world. Her father retired in Los Angeles, California and that is where Shauna graduated from high school. She also graduated from Ricks College with an Associates of Arts Degree and then attended the University of Utah, majoring in Political Science & History.

    Shauna and her husband have three awesome boys, ages 21, 19 and 14. They have attended ELA since its opening year. They have lived in the South Jordan area for 21 years.

    Shauna enjoys reading, shopping, attending plays and concerts and watching her kids play sports.

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    Jennifer Ashby
    3rd Grade Literacy Aide
    Jennifer Ashby
    3rd Grade Literacy Aide

    Jennifer Ashby was born and raised in the Salt Lake Valley.  She graduated from Utah State University with degrees in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and a minor in English. Following graduation she taught kindergarten and fourth grade in Granite School District. After four years of teaching she moved with her husband to Texas and started a family. She volunteered often at her daughters’ schools and enjoyed helping the teachers and students. While her two daughters were in middle school and high school, her family moved to Bogota, Colombia and Muscat, Oman. She enjoyed experiencing different cultures and making friends from around the world. In 2014 her family moved back to Utah and she became a kindergarten aide in Jordan School District, followed by a first grade teacher the following year. She loves to read, cook, hike, and spend time with family and friends. Jennifer is excited to bring her love of learning and reading to Early Light and working with the teachers and students!

Fourth Grade

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    Mary Anne Fowler
    4th Grade Teacher
    Mary Anne Fowler
    4th Grade Teacher

    Mary Anne attended Jordan High School in Sandy, Utah and went on to Weber State University where she was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Sales. She holds a K-6 Professional Level teaching license through the Utah State Board of Education.

    Prior to having children, Mary Anne and her husband spent two years in the Japanese Alps, teaching English in area elementary and junior high schools for the Japanese Board of Education. Upon returning home, She worked at Franklin Covey as a sales executive, consulting with clients to facilitate trainings and educational coaching for The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

    She has loved the idea of Early Light Academy from the beginning and even served on the acquisition and safety committees as construction on the school commenced. Her oldest daughter was in the first grade when ELA opened its doors. Later, in 2013-2014, when her youngest entered first grade, she was hired as a substitute teacher. Soon after that, she was asked to join the Special Education department, where she spent thousands of hours working with students from kindergarten to 9th grade. In 2017, she got the chance to join the 4th grade team and has absolutely loved working with the students and teachers there. 

    Mary Anne's educational philosophy centers on the belief that every child has unlimited potential and as such, has a right to respect, love, and kindness in her classroom. She has high expectations for every student, but she also realizes that each student is on his or her own journey and she will honor their social and educational victories accordingly. Mary Anne loves children. She loves the energy they exude. She loves the honesty and genuine friendship they offer. Her goal is to help her students gain a love and passion for learning, personal growth, and accountability.

    During her spare time, she enjoys working in her flowerbeds and watching her roses grow. She also loves dark chocolate, reading, and going to the movies (just to eat the popcorn!). She and her husband, Matt have 3 fantastic children, all of whom have attended ELA. 

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    Mallory Baggaley
    4th Grade Teacher
    Mallory Baggaley
    4th Grade Teacher

    Mallory Baggaley was born in Utah, but moved over 20 times before deciding to settle back in the Salt Lake Valley. She is excited to work at Early Light Academy as a fourth grade teacher. Previously, she taught as a 1st and 2nd grade loop teacher for 8 years. She has experience as a  mentor teacher and has served on several leadership teams. She graduated with a dual degree from BYU in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, with a minor in music. Mallory’s favorite part of teaching is building relationships with her students that fosters kindness, care, and a joy for learning. 

    Mallory is the oldest of 6 children, and loves to spend time with her family. She has been married to her husband James, for 4 years and they live in Holladay, UT. In her spare time, Mallory enjoys traveling, hiking, music, paddle boarding, reading, and spending time with loved ones. She loves sparkles, candy, Harry Potter, and her puppy, Leo! 

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    Allison Villastrigo
    4th Grade Teacher
    Allison Villastrigo
    4th Grade Teacher

    Allison Villastrigo (Vee-uh-stree-go) grew up in Boise, Idaho and attended college in her home state. She earned a BA in Psychology and MA in Teaching from The College of Idaho.  Allison enjoyed traveling to Europe and studying abroad in Australia as a part of her studies.  Attending a small college, Allison learned the value of a strong community, an open mind, and listening to a variety of perspectives in education.  She seeks to create that same kind of close-knit, caring community of smart, objective thinkers in the classroom each year. 

    Allison has had the privilege of working with unforgettable children from 2nd to 6th grade in Idaho, Washington, and Utah schools, since she began teaching in 2007. There is nothing that brings her more joy than synergizing with students each day, especially relishing a good book as a classroom community. She seeks to help students learn that they can persist through and even enjoy difficult concepts or tasks and is always trying to find a way to keep things engaging for kids.  

    Allison is delighted to return to Utah and Early Light Academy this school year after a couple of years back in Idaho.  Though she has taught at some really phenomenal schools, ELA stands out as one of the best of the best.  She loves the history focus and the aim for a more well-rounded education at the school.  Her whole family, including bubbly 4th grader, Cora, quick-witted 7th grader, Miles, only slightly grey-haired husband, Drew, and [mostly] angelic and adored dog, Ernie are so happy to be back to the community!  Allison feels grateful to be a part of the fabulous fourth grade team and is looking forward to a wonderful year.  

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    Mariah Magleby Richardson
    4th Grade Teacher
    Mariah Magleby Richardson
    4th Grade Teacher

    Mariah is new to Early Light Academy this year and is so excited to be here! She has loved to teach ever since her first job, teaching piano lessons to neighbor kids. Mariah previously taught 2nd grade, and has a degree from BYU in elementary education with minors in music and English teaching.

    In her free time, Mariah loves knitting, watching movies, making Japanese food, and playing board games with her husband of 2 years.

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    Stacey Blank
    4th Grade Teacher Assistant
    Stacey Blank
    4th Grade Teacher Assistant

    Stacey was born in Denver, Colorado and has lived in many different locations throughout the US. She recently moved from Doylestown, Pennsylvania to South Jordan, Utah. Utah is by far the most beautiful place she has ever lived!

    Stacey received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Social Studies from Salisbury University located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  Upon graduation she began her teaching career in Lawrence Township Public Schools, New Jersey where she taught 4th grade for 10 years. Fun fact- she taught in the same school she attended as a child! Stacey has also spent many years of her life at the pool, either in the pool as a swimmer or on the deck as a coach. 

    In her free time Stacey enjoys spending time with her children and her husband. She has 6 year old twin girls who will be in 1st grade at ELA, a step daughter who recently graduated from University of Pittsburgh and a step son who attends West Chester University. Traveling is Stacey's top hobby and her favorite destinations thus far have been Italy, Turks & Caicos and Nashville. 

    Stacey is excited to continue her education career at ELA!

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    Kathy Angus
    4th Grade Literacy Aide
    Kathy Angus
    4th Grade Literacy Aide

    Kathy was born and raised in Salt Lake. She has lived in Riverton the last 20 years with her husband and three kids all of whom attended ELA.  She loves being involved in all of their activities and her favorite job has been a stay at home Mom for the last 14 years and helping in classrooms.

    She loves being surrounded by the mountains and spending time hiking, camping, and riding ATVs with her family. She enjoys traveling, good food, going to movies, game nights with family and getting lost in a good book. She is excited to work with the students at ELA and hopes to help them in becoming better readers and share her passion for reading

Fifth Grade

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    Anna Leggett
    5th Grade Teacher
    Anna Leggett
    5th Grade Teacher

    Anna first learned of her love for teaching while volunteering in her daughter's classroom, and decided to pursue her license through the Alternate Routes to Licensure program. She hasn't looked back! Anna graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in French and a Minor in Business. Prior to teaching 5th grade at Early Light Academy, she taught 1st grade at Bastian Elementary and STEM Education at Daybreak Elementary.

    Anna loves Early Light Academy, and is passionate about making learning engaging and fun, and ensuring her classroom is a safe and inclusive environment where all students can thrive.

    Anna resides in South Jordan with her husband, two children, a rambunctious cocker spaniel, and two unfriendly parakeets. She enjoys movies, dogs, running, sarcasm, yoga, Diet Coke, music, Harry Potter, sea otters, manual shift vehicles, nature, art, bad jokes and Europe, in no particular order.

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    Katharine Reese
    5th Grade Teacher
    Katharine Reese
    5th Grade Teacher

    Katharine discovered her love of teaching and children while teaching piano lessons to elementary-aged kids in her neighborhood in California. While she started her college career at BYU-Idaho as a music major, she soon learned that her true passion lay in the teaching. Katharine graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in History Education.

    When she is not teaching, Katharine enjoys reading (historical fiction is a favorite), playing the piano, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, chocolate, hotdogs, and playing all kinds of games. One day, Katharine plans to write children’s books and spend time traveling to as many countries as she can.

    Katharine believes that learning and laughter go hand in hand, and one of her biggest goals is to create a safe classroom environment that supports out-of-the-box thinking, peer collaboration, and patient perseverance. She is looking forward to a fantastic year at Early Light Academy!

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    Abigail Trent
    5th Grade Teacher
    Abigail Trent
    5th Grade Teacher

    Abigail has moved around her entire life, 12 times to be exact, including two foreign countries. This trial taught her how to make effective relationships and to be accommodating in a variety of situations. She is also the third oldest out of eight children in her family!

    She recently graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics. Unlike most teachers, Abigail never intended to return to the school system. While attempting to find her calling in life, she took a math class in college and began tutoring fellow students. Seeing the light in her peers' eyes as they understood the material was incredibly fulfilling and hence the reason she fell in love with teaching.

    Outside the classroom, Abigail loves to be social, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with loved ones. She loves to laugh at her own jokes while making others smile. Abigail is incredibly ecstatic to join the Early Light Academy team and to start teaching your wonderful students!
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    Matika Rasmussen
    5th Grade Teacher
    Matika Rasmussen
    5th Grade Teacher

    Matika Rasmussen grew up in Meridian, Idaho on a small “hobby farm” where she helped her family raise milk cows, sheep, pigs, llamas, chickens, emus, peacocks, cats, dogs, a skunk, and any other animals she could convince her parents to keep. 

    She loves being outside, whether it be working in a garden, climbing trees, playing sports or hiking mountains.

    In April of 2021, she graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho where she majored in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics.  She loves learning new languages and getting to know different cultures.  This was sparked by the time she spent living in Chile and learning the Spanish language.  She is excited to begin teaching and learning with her students this year.

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    Jamie Nelson
    5th Grade Teacher Assistant
    Jamie Nelson
    5th Grade Teacher Assistant

    Jamie Nelson is excited to be working with the awesome kids at ELA.  She was born and raised in Chicagoland but moved west to finish high school.  She graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a degree in Elementary Education.  Jamie has spent the past 13 years teaching the kids in the community of Kearns, Utah.  She enjoyed teaching fourth grade for 10 years and then kindergarten for the past three. She is excited to be part of a different area of education by being an aide to the amazing second grade teachers at ELA.

    As the mother of four kids, Jamie is often found playing legos, reading books, coloring, or at the park.  When she has a minute to herself she enjoys reading, participating in theater and singing.  She is excited for a great year!

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    Shayna Swiss
    5/6 Literacy Teacher Assistant
    Shayna Swiss
    5/6 Literacy Teacher Assistant

    Shayna is thrilled to be joining the ELA staff. She has been substitute teaching for the last two years and has loved working with the amazing students at Early Light (including her own four children who have all attended).She is always up for adventure and loves learning.

    Shayna enjoys yoga, playing tennis, traveling anywhere and everywhere, and reading. But most of all, she loves spending time with her family and friends.

Sixth Grade

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    Rebecca Lambert
    6th Grade Teacher
    Rebecca Lambert
    6th Grade Teacher

    Rebecca Lambert grew up in American Fork, UT and graduated Magna Cum Laude from BYU with her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.  She loves teaching 6th grade at Early Light Academy!

    Rebecca enjoys learning about everything!  Science, history, programming, drama, art, music, math, engineering, language arts- you name it!  She is excited to nurture a love of learning in her students this year.

    In her free time, Rebecca loves reading, hiking, watching cartoons, playing board games, making people laugh, performing with her clarinet, playing basketball, and hanging out with friends and family.

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    Joe Ahlstrom
    6th Grade Teacher
    Joe Ahlstrom
    6th Grade Teacher

    Mr. Ahlstrom was born in Yuba City CA; however, he has lived in a few states, including Utah, Wyoming, and just recently moved from Colorado. His new home will be in the Herriman/South Jordan area. This is Mr. Ahlstrom's second year teaching at ELA.

    He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Utah Valley University, where is worked in various positions as a law enforcement officer in Utah and Wyoming for 13 years. Mr. Ahlstrom's most influential work experience in law enforcement was being the D.A.R.E. Instructor and School Resource Officer for many years and being able to work with kids.

    He returned to further his education through the University of Wyoming to complete his post-baccalaureate certification in Elementary Education, course work for a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and Online Instruction Certificate.

    Most recently, he worked as a Licensing Specialist for the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Early Childhood conducting inspections and ensuring regulatory compliance for licensed child care facilities and providers.

    He enjoys learning, exercise, health, new adventures, family and loved ones, travel, the outdoors, and many sporting activities, especially golf and basketball.

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    Rob Abney
    6th Grade Teacher
    Rob Abney
    6th Grade Teacher

    Mr. Abney is originally from Orem, UT, but has lived in several states.He currently resides in South Jordan.

    He graduated with Bachelors degree in Human Development and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Brigham Young University.

    Before he was a teacher he worked in training, human resources, and with various government agencies.

    In his free time he enjoys acting, running, hiking, and writing.

    He looks forward to this upcoming year and working with your students.

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    Mandy Johns
    6th Grade Teacher
    Mandy Johns
    6th Grade Teacher

    Mandy Johns started teaching 6th grade at Early Light Academy in 2018. She loves the culture and people at ELA and is thrilled to be returning to teach this fall. 

    Mandy started working in education in 2014. She graduated from Western Governors University with a Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, as well as with a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She's passionate about meeting the needs of individual students, and providing a safe, fun and engaging environment to learn. 

    When Mandy is not teaching, she can be found doing all sorts of shenanigans with her best friend and husband. They enjoy playing goofy board games, going on random adventures, working out at the gym, spending time with family & trying new things. 

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    Kimberly Jelitto
    6th Grade Assistant
    Kimberly Jelitto
    6th Grade Assistant

    Working in the Parks and Recreation department, Kimberly coordinated and taught the after school program for Elementary students, and discovered her love for teaching.  She was hired on with the Granite School District in 2008.  She worked for three years in the resource department, then was transferred to a Title I school in Kearns where she worked as an aide for 4th, 5th and 6th grade.  This is her first year at ELA and is very excited to be part of the team. 

    She has two sons, three daughters and five grandchildren that keep her very busy.  She was born and raised in Utah. She lives in Herriman and loves dancing, hiking, camping and spending time with her family.

Specialists

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    Kevin Robinson
    Physical Education Specialist
    Kevin Robinson
    Physical Education Specialist

    Kevin Robinson is originally from the state of Oregon. He graduated from Southern Oregon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Art. Kevin has been working in a school since 2004, at Early Light Academy since 2012, and as the ELA Elementary PE teacher since 2015. Athletics and physical activities have always been his passion. Kevin has spent many years coaching, officiating, and supervising youth sports programs. He holds the unofficial free throw record at ELA of 15 consecutive free throws and 27/30. He challenges any ELA student or staff member to beat his record. Kevin is married and has 3 adult children and 3 grandchildren.

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    Amy Hickenlooper
    K-6 Music Specialist
    Amy Hickenlooper
    K-6 Music Specialist

    Amy Hickenlooper grew up in Idaho Falls in a musical family.    She has been playing the violin since she was 4 years old, and began actively studying singing and piano in her early teen years. Performing has always been a part of her life. She attended Idaho State University on a full tuition music scholarship. She struggled choosing between her love of playing the violin and singing, so she decided to pursue both.  She fell in love with teaching others when she was in college while maintaining a large private studio. She graduated with 3 bachelor’s degrees in Vocal Performance, Violin Performance and Music Education in 2002. She completed a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design last year. (2019)

     Amy just completed her 12th year of teaching music. She loves the students and is passionate about sharing her love of music with them. Along with teaching a performing children’s choir, she also is passionate about music integration and recognizes the power to learn that music can bring into a child’s life through play. She has written many songs and developed lessons for elementary music integration that have been shared throughout the state of Utah. She has been a presenter at several professional development courses for other music educators in her District and Region. She was awarded an “Elementary Teacher Commendation” award from Eagle Elementary School of the Arts in Meridian Idaho. (2009) She is a two-time recipient of the PTA Outstanding Educator award at Hidden Hollow Elementary, (2012 and 2017) and was the CTL of the team that was awarded most outstanding team of the year (2020). She was also recently awarded the “Sorenson Legacy Award for Excellence in Arts Education” for the State of Utah this past Spring. Her former elementary school was chosen to host the principal’s discussion for being the “Arts Rich School of the Year” for Alpine School District. (2020) 

    Amy just celebrated her 20th Wedding Anniversary and has two wonderful children.  They love to spend time together as a family at home and love all things having to do with the outdoors.  She loves reading, crafting, organizing, cleaning, decorating and most of all making music! 

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    Teresa Thompson
    Library Media Specialist
    Teresa Thompson
    Library Media Specialist

    Ms. Thompson was an original staff member at Early Light Academy, first working as the third-grade aide, and then in the library. She took a 4 year hiatus in the inner-city schools of South Bend, Indiana, but now she is so excited to be back home at ELA! Ms. T is a fervent advocate for literacy and the power it holds in the lives of our students. She believes that although literacy starts with reading, it evolves into so much more as students grow and mature. She looks forward to teaching your amazing kiddos a full range of educational literacy including literature, research, and critical thinking.

     

    Ms. T is the mother of two incredible adult kids – both of whom were at ELA the day the doors opened until they graduated – and one pampered puppy named after Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. She loves audio books, crafting, writing, rock hounding, traveling, and book fairs! Feel free to come see Ms. T and find out how you can volunteer in the library!

Assistants

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    Britteny Candelaria
    Simulator/Tech/Library Assistant
    Britteny Candelaria
    Simulator/Tech/Library Assistant

    Britteny Candelaria has been a part of the ELA family for 7 years now. She started off as a Library Aide and continues to do so. She has loved every minute of it. For the past 3-4 years, she has assisted in our tech department. Last year she had the wonderful opportunity to run our Space Simulator. It is one of her favorite things to do for ELA!!! It has been so fun and she is so excited to continue to facilitate this wonderful program for ELA! 

    She absolutely loves being a part of ELA and can’t wait for what this year has for us.

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    Jan Mayer
    Teacher Assistant
    Jan Mayer
    Teacher Assistant

    Jan was born, raised and educated in southern California.  He graduated from San Diego State University with special distinction in Social Science where he passionately and enthusiastically   studied  Sociology, History and Geography.  He has a minor in English with an emphasis in writing and American Literature. Jan did a graduate year in Education and earned  a lifetime teaching credential from San Diego State University.

    After many years of worldwide travel, Jan settled in Salt Lake City and is very happy here pursuing his love of downhill skiing and hiking and enjoying the great outdoors, and cultural life that Salt Lake City affords.

    Jan has a lifelong interest in helping youth become their personal best and grow into healthy, happy and productive members of society.  Jan has also been a summer camp counselor, a one on one mentor  and summer camp director and in recent years has served as tour director  for student tours of WDC, Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg.  Jan is delighted to be part of the Early Light Academy community.

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    Cameron Price
    Recess Assistant
    Cameron Price
    Recess Assistant

    Cameron is a ELA alumni who went to Early Light from 2nd grade to 9th grade. He has 2 brothers who also went to ELA. 

    After graduating ELA Cameron went to Herriman High School and graduated with the class of 2020. Cameron also works for the JL Sorensen Recreation Center as a Basketball official/ supervisor and is on year 4 on doing that. 

    Cameron enjoys playing and watching Basketball, listening to music. 

Counselor

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    Janeil Jones
    Elementary Counselor
    Janeil Jones
    Elementary Counselor

    Janeil Jones has her master’s degree in school counseling and a bachelor’s in psychology. She has worked in the field of Child Life, working with hospitalized children.  She took a hiatus to stay at home as her kids grew and has typed medical transcription from home during that time.  She is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada.  Janeil moved to South Jordan years ago with her family. She is married to a native Utahan and they have three children.  Janeil was an ELA parent before she was an employee.  She loved the school so much she got a job here! In her free time she loves to read, sing, and play video games with her kids.  She also really loves all things Harry Potter and Marvel!  Janeil loves being a part of the ELA community and absolutely loves working with all the students!