Tricia Andersen, JV Ultimate Frisbee Coach
Those who know Tricia well describe her as faithful, fearless, and fun. A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, Tricia grew up playing club soccer, but she discovered the “celestial sport”—ultimate—during college. She quickly gained an affinity for ultimate during the early years of the Orem Ultimate League. Tricia is a graduate of BYU with a bachelor of science in zoology. She is a USAU certified coach and has a passion for teaching and organizing youth activities, especially athletics. In neighborhoods where she has lived, she is known as the “Kool-Aid Mom” because children flock to her to play whatever sport she is found organizing on any given day. She and her husband are the parents of five children—two boys, both of who attend AHS, and three girls whom Tricia teaches at home. The Andersens’ favorite activities together typically involve BYU sports, service, kayaking, hiking, good books, music, dancing, or making pizza.
Stephen Blake, Soccer Coach
Stephen Blake was born and raised in the islands of Fiji—Bula! While in high school, he ran track and played soccer and field hockey. Stephen represented his country and played soccer for 8 years in the Fiji National Soccer U17, U20 and Olympic Men’s Teams, and was able to travel all of the South Pacific and much of Southeast Asia for competition. He became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was 22 years old. After playing soccer for his country, Brigham Young University Hawaii offered him an academic and athletic scholarship where he graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Exercise & Sport Science. Stephen served an LDS mission in Sacramento, California. He and his wife, Kamaile, their two children, and a little dog happily reside in Orem, Utah.
Yahosh Bonner, Athletic Director
Yahosh comes to American Heritage having served as the Director of Basketball Operations for Southern Utah University, Assistant Coach at Western Nebraska Community College, and most recently as the Head Varsity Basketball Coach at American Leadership Academy, where he also taught a “Values in Leadership” course and served as the “Voice of the Eagles” announcer for several sports. Yahosh served an Latter-day Saint mission in Tampa, Florida, and is a second-generation member of the Latter-Day Saint faith (his parents joined the Church in Connecticut). He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Communications from the University of Northern Colorado and Southern Utah University, respectively. He played basketball at the University of Northern Colorado, where he was named the Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and where he also competed in track (long jump) and football. In addition to athletics administration and teaching, Yahosh also loves singing and acting. View a music video of the Bonner family’s original composition “I Am Here” and a duet “One Call Away.” Yahosh and his wife, Vanessa, are the parents of two sons and one daughter: Malachi, Samaiah, and Nehemiah.
Paora Winitana, Director of Basketball Operations
Savanah Laycock, MS Physical Education Teacher
Brian Smith, Athletic & Wellness
Fine Arts Department
Chris Culver, Art
Eric Heywood, Art
Jan Parker, Art (K-5)
Nelsen Campbell, Band
Emily Halverson, Kinder Music Teacher/Accompanist
September Howard, Music
Deborah Otteson, Music Teacher Grades 2-5
Robert Swenson, Music (Dept. Chair)
Melissa Swingle, Men’s Choir
Lisa Brodie, Symphonic Strings Orchestra Conductor
Kayson Brown, Orchestra
Jay Clark, Technical Director
LauraLyn Eberting, Music (AHYC)
Marie Dustin, MS/HS Math Teacher
Camille Heiner, MS/HS Math Teacher
Shawnell Larsen, MS/HS Math Teacher
Jeff Meade, Math Teacher
Ty Smith, Math Teacher
Ty comes to American Heritage with 31 years’ experience teaching math in the Provo School District, 26 of those at Dixon Middle School, including 10 years coaching basketball at Provo and Mountain View High Schools. Ty received a bachelor’s degree at BYU with a math endorsement. He has been recognized as one of Provo School District’s most outstanding teachers on numerous occasions through the years. Ty’s mother was a dance teacher, so in addition to his love for teaching math, he also danced for over 40 years. He even worked one summer dancing in the Disneyland parades, and we look forward to him demonstrating some of those dance moves as he expounds upon quadratic equations and the Fibonacci sequence. Ty has enjoyed service in many capacities in the Latter-day Saint Church. He is married to Joani, and together they have six children and nine grandchildren, all of whom live close to the Smiths, and within a mile of each other (to Grandpa and Grandma Smith’s delight).
Samuel Wood, MS/HS Math Teacher
Ryan Anderson, Biology / Human Anatomy & Physiology
Levi Crockett, Chinese, AP Computer Science
Alex DeBirk, Physics, AP Physics and Intro to Engineering
Laurel Hill, Science K-2
Laurel has a Bachelor’s Degree from Brigham Young University in Public Relations. After graduation, she worked for Melaleuca, Inc. in Idaho Falls in product development and marketing. Laurel has worked as a freelance writer for various magazines and newsletters. Laurel homeschooled her youngest starting in kindergarten, through the AHS Distance Education program. The Hill Family loves American Heritage and knows how it changes lives, blesses families, teaches children how to think for themselves, and inspires students to love learning. She was a stay at home mom for 20 years. For the past two years, she has worked as a substitute teacher in Jordan School District, substituting in elementary resource classes, and in schools for those with Autism. Laurel has been a substitute teacher for American Heritage for two years in K-12 grades. Her family has been a part of American Heritage for 12 years. Laurel was born and raised in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She has lived in Utah for 22 years. She and her husband Jay have 4 children who have all attended AHS, three of whom have graduated from AHS. Laurel’s youngest daughter will be in the 6th grade this upcoming school year. Laurel loves to hike, read, play the piano, exercise, cook, and spend time with her family.
Steven Hoffer, Science Creativity Lab
Nikki Kelley, Science 6-8
Nikki is a fun and energetic teacher who loves to learn and encourage learning. She graduated from BYU with a Bachelors degree in Sports Medicine, Athletic Training. While at BYU, Nikki played basketball on a full-ride scholarship. After graduating from college, Nikki worked at the Waterford School for 10 years. She taught PE and Science. She also coached and administrated as the 9th and 10th grade Dean. Her hobbies include playing and spending time with her family, hiking, reading, cooking and spending time with friends. Nikki and her husband, Dave, have 5 children. Nikki feels it a great honor and pleasure to teach Middle School Science at American Heritage. She takes great pleasure in helping students work hard, learn, and enjoy the wonderful creations of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Karen Logan, Science 3-5
Abby Taylor, Science 6-8
Andrew Winegar, Chemistry
Eliza Diener, Science Teacher Aide 6-8
Jill Atkinson, Reading Interventionist
From a young age, teaching young children has been one of Jill’s dreams. She attended Brigham Young University and received her Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education. She taught Kindergarten for two years and then started her family. She is a mother of five children. When her first child was born, she told her husband that she wanted her children to attend American Heritage which was just getting started. Her family ended up moving away to Idaho for 15 years and then returning. She was really excited to come back and have her children attend American Heritage. Jill is very happy to get back into teaching at American Heritage which shares her same core values. She loves being in an environment where the spirit is present and both teacher and student learn from each other. When Jill is not teaching, she enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, and being a mother. Teaching at American Heritage helps her realize one of her greatest joys in life, helping children feel love as they grow and learn.
Jennifer Nielsen, Reading Interventionist
Jennifer grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, just outside of Seattle. She completed her degree in Elementary Education at Brigham Young University, but decided to stay at home with her newborn daughter instead of take a teaching position after graduation. When the youngest of her five children started 3rd grade, she decided she was ready for more than volunteer work at the school. She came back to education as a Para-Educator in a Life Skills class where she learned from the example of a master teacher that every child deserves a life of dignity and purpose. She practiced every day living the motto, “Never say I can’t.” Several years later, she was invited to apply at American Heritage School for a position as a Reading Interventionist. Reading is a subject that Jennifer is passionate about. She is certified in the University of Utah’s Next Steps and Higher Steps intervention models, Tier 1 Text comprehension routines, and Spalding Level 1. Jennifer finds real purpose in helping students develop their reading skills- skills she believes are critical for achieving our AHS Mission Statement of developing life-long learners.
Trish Peel, Reading Interventionist Dept. Chair
Trisha graduated from Weber State University with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She has been a teacher for the past twenty years in a variety of settings, including public, charter, and home school classrooms. Her emphasis is in reading and math instruction, and she has tutored many children in these specific areas as well. Trisha loves to learn, and is inspired by the truths, values, and academic excellence that are at the heart of American Heritage School. She feels she has been prepared and directed to this remarkable school, and is excited for the opportunity to assist students. She has a great love for children and a strong desire to be a positive influence for good in their lives.
Holly Dunn, Kindergarten & High School Teacher Aide
Jill Fichialos, HS Teacher Aide
Anese Harmon, K–3 Music Class Assistant/Accompanist
Dr. Neil Harmon, Youth Chorus Accompanist/Organist
as well as music for solo organ, handbell choir, mixed chorus, and brass quintet. Active in the American Guild of Organists, he served twice as Co-Director of the Delaware Pipe Organ Encounter. Neil and his wife, Anese, are the parents of five children.
Michelle Jorgensen, Music (AHYC)
Brooke Brockbank, Admissions
Carolyn Lundberg, Orchestra
Karen Matsen, Science Aide/1st Grade Teacher Aide
Barbara McOmber, Ballroom
Aprel Mendenhall, Insructional Designer
Shane Mickelsen, Orchestra Conductor
Shane Mickelsen is an active composer, arranger, conductor, and teacher. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Utah State University and a Master’s of Music degree in Music Composition from the University of Utah where he also pursued doctoral studies in Music Composition. He is an accomplished clarinetist and recording musician who has recently written for and recorded with The Piano Guys, Paul Cardall, and the Latter-day Saint Church. Shane regularly conducts recording sessions and recently served as the Music Director of the West Jordan Symphony. At the age of 17, he was commissioned by the School of Music at Utah State University to compose an opera for its Opera Theatre Program which he composed, rehearsed, and directed. The work was recognized with an award from the university and Craig Jessop. As an educator, Shane directed choir, orchestra, and band at American Heritage of South Jordan where he also taught Latin. He currently maintains a private studio of voice, piano, clarinet, and composition students in his home in Riverton with his wife Kacee and daughter Annie.
Heather Park, Kindergarten Teacher Aide
Johanne Perry, Drama/5th Grade Teacher Aide
Graham Rasmussen, Girls MS Soccer Coach
Amanda Riley, Orchestra
As long time supporters of the Lyceum Orchestra program at American Heritage School, Amanda Riley and her family traveled from Beaver to American Fork each week to have their children participate. After many years of traveling, Amanda is excited to have moved to Highland and to be conducting the Chamber Ensemble. Amanda was formerly the Orchestra and Choir Director at Beaver High School and a general music educator at Belknap Elementary School in Beaver. She is also a graduate of Brigham Young University. Amanda followed her love for music as she started each of her young children playing the violin starting at age three and studied beside each of them. She was the recipient of the UTASTA Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2015. Her love for music, her family and youth has driven her to have a successful program where students feel safe, encouraged and allowed to follow their dreams. Amanda has a passion for touching student’s lives and inspiring them to achieve excellence.
Tai Russell, Math Aid (AP Calculus)
Matt Thornton, Concert Choir Assistant Director
Matt Thornton graduated from Utah State University with a bachelors degree in music education. He also holds a masters degree in music education from BYU. As an undergraduate, Matt served as the Music Vice President of the Logan Latter-day Saint Institute as well as the Dance President. He was also president of the New Horizons Institute Choir. While in Cache Valley, he worked with the Cache Children’s Choir and taught in their summer music camp. He has also worked as a music and dance specialist for Opera by Children. Matt has been trained in Orff, is Kodály certified and is currently an instructor at the BYU InterMuse Academy. He is the fine arts department head at American Fork Jr. High where he has taught choir for eight years.