Miss Bocchinfuso is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and moved to Arizona about 5 years ago for a teaching opportunity. She graduated from Penn State University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Additionally, she obtained a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University in 2017.
Miss Bocchinfuso has spent the entirety of her five years in education teaching fifth grade in the Casa Grande Elementary School District and Maricopa Unified School District. She enjoys spending time with friends and traveling home to see her family whenever possible. She also loves to read, sing, and spend time outdoors. She is very excited to embark on this new adventure at Heritage Academy!
Mr. Carpenter grew up in North Dakota with 3 younger sisters. After high school he attended Mayville State University in North Dakota where he earned a BS in Mathematics and Physical Education while playing baseball and football. After teaching math for a year in North Dakota, he moved to Arizona where he has been teaching Mathematics and coaching baseball for the last 5 years.
Education runs in Mr. Carpenter’s family as both of his parents were part of the school system as he was growing up. This influenced him to become a teacher as well as two of his sisters who are elementary school teachers. Mr. Carpenter has enjoyed being able to make an impact on student’s lives both in the classroom and on the athletic fields. As far as coaching experience, he has coached golf, baseball, basketball, and football.
Ms. Daniel’s is a graduate of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia where she received her Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in dance. While in college, Ms. Daniel’s was awarded the Outstanding Performer and Choreographer of the Year for the School of Theatre and Dance at JMU. In addition, Ms. Daniel received a full scholarship to attend The American Dance Festival, hosted in Durham, North Carolina. A year later, she received a scholarship to study dance for an entire month at the Laban Dance Studio in London, England.
In 2015, Ms. Daniel became a graduate of Arizona State University where she received her Master of Fine Arts degree in choreography, teaching, and performance. Since then, she has traveled to several countries such as Panama, India, France, Germany, Cambodia, Thailand, Netherlands, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Mexico teaching dance. Ms. Daniel enjoys choreographing, performing, and most of all teaching.
In 2018, Ms. Daniel became a University Dance Supervisor for Arizona State University. She supervised college dance students who were teacher candidates, seeking to obtain a teaching certification. She served as Dance Director at North Pointe Preparatory for the 2018-2019 school year. Additionally, she has taught dance to grades K-5th all across the valley. Ms. Daniel recently became a dance member of the “Be Kind People Project” in Arizona. This program uses dance as a tool to teach children how to be kind and serve one another.
Mr. Daniels graduated from Utah State University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in English and a minor in business. He also earned his Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Argosy University. After graduating with his English degree, he worked as a technical writer, copy writer, graphic designer and marketing coordinator for several organizations as well as himself for a short time. In 2010, he began working in university enrollment and was successful at helping students see the value of earning a college degree. With his career in higher education, Mr. Daniels worked as the Director of Enrollment for several institutions, most recently at Benedictine University, Mesa.
Mr. Daniels has a passion for teaching and leading youth. In college he worked for the Especially for Youth summer camps, as a counselor and director. He also worked as a Youth Development Professional for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and gained classroom experience during his senior year of college as a seminary teacher. He is excited about changing direction in his career and teaching the great scholars at Heritage Academy! Outside of work, Mr. Daniels spends most of his time with his wife and five children and providing service within his church and community. When time permits, he enjoys long boarding, running, disk golf, ping pong and going to the beach to surf whenever possible.
Mrs. Daniels graduated from California State University Hayward in 2002. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Physical Education with a teaching emphasis. She’s also taken many graduate level courses in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Her professional background lies in a variety of sport and recreation programs, running youth and adult sports leagues and working as a personal trainer. Mrs. Daniels was a dual sport athlete in high school and has over ten years competitive volleyball coaching experience. She’s served as a boys’ head coach at the high school junior varsity level and a girls head coach at the varsity, junior varsity and elite club levels. If that weren’t enough to show her love for coaching, she’s spent multiple seasons as a volunteer coach for multiple youth recreational sports.
Outside of school, Mrs. Daniels has a second career as a successfully published author, writing contemporary young adult and adult romantic comedy. It probably goes without saying that in her free time she loves playing sports, reading and writing. She also stays busy as a book blogger, wife, mother of five and active member of her church community. She loves working with teens and is very excited to become a part of the Heritage family.
Mr. Deakyne is a happy husband and proud father to an amazing son. He graduated from Heritage Academy, Mesa in 2013. After graduation, he went on to be the boys’ varsity basketball assistant coach, and the junior varsity head coach for the 2013-2014 school season. In 2014-2015 Mr. Deakyne was the boys’ varsity basketball head coach at South Pointe HS, where they won the state championship against powerhouse program Westwind Prep and Mr. Deakyne was awarded the Canyon Athletic Association Division III Coach of the Year Award. During this time he also trained and privately coached a number of basketball players from the high school to NCAA Division 1 level.
From 2015 to 2019 Mr. Deakyne served in the United State Marine Corps. As an infantry rifleman, he served with the Blackhearts of Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. There he spent time as a Fire Team Leader, Assistant Rifle Squad Leader, and Team Small Unit Leader Course Instructor. In 2018 Mr. Deakyne was promoted as a Non-Commissioned Officer. He did two deployments to South East Asia on the 31st MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit).
Mr. Deakyne is excited to be returning to Heritage Academy as the new physical education teacher and to take the lead of the basketball program, where he expects to have a lot of success both in the classroom, on the court, and in life! He looks forward to meeting and interacting with the students at the Maricopa Campus.
Marcus Ellsworth has a masters degree in youth theater from ASU and has been acting, directing and choreographing for over twenty years. He has been teaching for Heritage Academy for five years at the Laveen campus and has directed shows including Thoroughly Modern Millie, West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, Three Musketeers, Peter Pan and Wendy, and Addams Family. He and his sister founded Actor’s Youth Theater in Gilbert and have been lucky enough to see their actors progress on to Broadway and television.
Marcus is excited to be bringing the drama program to the Maricopa campus. He loves working with scholars and helping them achieve their goals. Marcus is married to Kim and they have four awesome children, Parker, Ethan, Madilyn and Brady.
Mrs. Ellsworth started at Heritage Academy as a junior high English teacher in 1999. She later had the opportunity to work as a teacher and assistant principal with other schools in the valley. She returned to Heritage Academy in 2014 as the founding Principal for our Laveen Campus.
Mrs. Ellsworth has a great love for the mission of Heritage Academy, our scholars, and parents. In her new role as principal of the Maricopa campus, she will provide leadership and guidance to all the Heritage Academy Maricopa scholars and their families. Mrs. Ellsworth will serve on the new school governing board and report to Mr. Jared L. Taylor who is the Chairman of the Governing Board and Charter Representative for the Heritage Schools.
Mrs. Ellsworth earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. Mrs. Ellsworth has demonstrated her passion for teaching Arizona’s children throughout the course of her career and we are excited to have her be the principal of our newest school. Please join me in congratulating Mrs. Kim Ellsworth on her new role as the principal of Heritage Academy Maricopa!
Ms. Fairbanks wanted to work at Hogwarts but the only available position was Defense against the Dark Arts. Realizing that the HISTORY of that position was quite precarious, she decided to return to her Alma Mater Heritage Academy as our 7th and 8th grade History teacher.
Ms. Fairbanks’ perspective as an Alumni of Heritage has given her a unique viewpoint of this amazing school. Her time as a scholar at Heritage was so influential, that it was in her 7th grade history class she decided that teaching was her life’s passion.
After graduating Heritage, Ms. Fairbanks attended Brigham Young University Idaho and graduated with her Bachelors in Social Studies Education with an emphasis in History. She has spent the last few years teaching 6th and 7th grade Social Studies in Las Vegas but is grateful to be back in good old Arizona.
Though she was educated at the Mesa Campus, she is excited to be a part of the Maricopa team in bringing the unique mission of Building America’s Heroes to Maricopa.
Lee Feiles became a Certified Martial Arts Instructor in 1992 while earning his degree at the University of Arizona. After practicing engineering for seven years, he became a full-time professional instructor and opened or acquired seven commercial martial arts schools in Tucson and Phoenix.
Mr. Feiles was awarded the title of Master Instructor in 2007, and served as part of a three-person regional team responsible for training and certifying instructor applicants, as well as a designated weapons certification trainer. Mr. Feiles earned two competitive martial arts World Championship titles in 2009 and holds the prestigious title of International Judge. He is currently ranked 7th Degree Black Belt with the Title of Senior Master Instructor.
With his wife and two young children, he is currently based out of Maricopa, where his school supports recreational activity in the community, including quarterly safety and self-defense seminars offered as a community service. He has provided continuous Leadership training in his schools, serving hundreds of students each year. In 2012, he was appointed by the Maricopa City Council to serve on the Parks Recreation and Libraries Citizens Advisory Committee, has served on the Maricopa 2040 Vision Plan Committee and the Maricopa Board of Adjustments, and is a member of the City of Maricopa Advocates Program.
Mr. Halterman received a Bachelor’s degree in Geological Sciences and Spanish from Arizona State University, where he also worked as a teaching assistant for more than two years in the Earth sciences. After graduating from ASU, he joined a well-respected groundwater science consulting firm in the Phoenix area where he worked for 11 years as a hydrogeologist. Mr. Halterman also holds a Registered Geologist certificate from the State of Arizona.
In 2014, Mr. Halterman joined the teaching staff at Heritage Academy’s Laveen campus, and since then has helped to build a culture of academic excellence as Science Department Chair. He has also been a part of numerous extracurricular and campus activities, including coaching the middle-school baseball team, and assisting in set construction for drama productions. In his free time, he spends time with his family and volunteers with The Boy Scouts of America as a Unit Commissioner and Merit Badge Counselor.
Mr. Hamblin grew up in Gilbert, Arizona with four siblings. After high school, he lived for two years on the East Coast before getting married and earning a BA in History from BYU-Idaho. After a study abroad semester in Jerusalem, Mr. Hamblin began studying Arabic and earned an MA in Near Eastern Studies while teaching Spanish at the U of A. While there, he and his wife had their first child and his wife earned an MA in Hispanic Linguistics. They had their second child while living in Kayenta, Arizona on the Navajo Nation, where Mr. Hamblin taught world history at a high school for five years. They moved to Maricopa in the summer of 2018 so their growing number of children could know their relatives that live nearby.
At Heritage, Mr. Hamblin will also be teaching dual-enrollment classes through Central Arizona College. He enjoyed his college history classes and is excited to be providing a college experience to young scholars in such an excellent environment as Heritage Academy.
Mr. Hazlett, over the years, has had a diverse array of careers. He has done a lot of work in the construction industry including, home renovations, landscaping, roofing, and plumbing.
He enjoyed his time in the Oil Industry as an “A” Operator for refinery in Santa Fe Springs, California, changing crude oil into many other different forms of oil such as such Methane, Ethane, H2s, Jet fuel, and Gasoline.
Mr. Hazlett I drove an 18 wheeler for 20 years, seeing every state in the United States and traveled to every providence in Canada. It was during his time on the road where he found his love of Photography. As a photographer, he loves to capture memories of weddings, families, and sports and enjoys bringing happiness to others through his photos.
For the last 5 years, Mr. Hazlett has worked for The Home Depot, first starting as an associate, then working his way up to a merchandise expert, responsible for the product display and promotion for 10 valley stores.
Mr. Hazlett is proud to be joining Heritage Academy as the Maintenance Tech. With all of the knowledge and experience he has gained throughout his journey, he hopes to be able to share his talents in maintaining a great working environment for our family of heroes.
Mr. Herrera was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona and now lives in Maricopa with his family. He is a first generation college graduate. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies, a Master of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Administration of Justice and Securities. He also holds several certifications from FEMA, NRA, Homeland Security, and ASIS.
Mr. Herrera spent 10 years working for the University of Phoenix in advisement assisting university students with their degree programs. He has also been involved in corporate security as well as corrections. Mr. Herrera loves working with his hands and grew up learning how to work with wood, metal, and leather. He currently operates his own blacksmith business, Black Wolf Forge, where he and his daughter make all types of historical items. On his off-time, Mr. Herrera enjoys spending time with his family participating in outdoor activities such as camping and fishing.
To schedule an appointment to meet with Mr. Herrera about your college preparation, click here.
Ms. Lopez is an Arizona native who is returning home after four years living in California’s bay area. She is an accomplished ballroom dance professional with 11 years of teaching and competitive experience.
She began teaching dance at the young age of 19, however even by that time, she had already established a deep connection with her body through rigorous conditioning as a competitive cheerleader. Through dancing, Ms. Lopez was introduced to Yoga and Pilates for the physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
Ms. Lopez’s years of training and experience with people have shaped her into a powerful athlete and a sensitive artist, teacher, and choreographer. We are glad to welcome her to Heritage Academy Maricopa where she is excited to bring her vast knowledge and teaching skills to our scholars.
Jasper Oudemans was born in Singapore to an expatriate American family. He grew up living in
different parts of Europe and Southeast Asia and was educated in the French school system
until he graduated with a French Baccalaureate with a major in European studies. He then
received his bachelor’s degree from Goldsmiths College of London before moving to California
as a young adult to work and study psychology.
Having grown up in a French-English bilingual home, Jasper began teaching French privately as
a teenager before discovering a passionate interest in language and language-learning. He
enjoys studying Hindi, Sanskrit and reading general linguistics in his free time and loves to
continue to be a student as well as a teacher.
He joins our team in Maricopa to bring his natural, enthusiastic yet detailed and thorough
approach to teaching French and Latin.
Mrs. Pepper has been a certified teacher for 19 years. She earned her degree in Education from Ottawa University. One of the reasons why she became a teacher was to share the love of reading and writing with kids. She has taught seventh-grade for a majority of her teaching career, but she has also taught first grade, second grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade as well.
Mrs. Pepper is married and has two adult children. Mrs. Pepper’s favorite authors include Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, and Stephen King. She is excited and can’t wait to start off the new school year at Heritage Academy!
Mr. Rasmussen is thrilled to lay the foundation of his teaching career as he begins his first year of teaching at Heritage Academy. He was born and raised in Mesa, and attended high school at Higley High, where he found his inspiration and love for music.
Mr. Rasmussen went on to pursue a degree in Music Education at Brigham Young University-Idaho, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in 2017. It is now his privilege work side by side with the scholars of Heritage Academy to, as Plato once said, create music that “gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
Ms. Stephanie Schwarzen is celebrating her fourth year of teaching and first year with Heritage Academy. Currently a sixth grade teacher, she is thrilled for the opportunity to share her love of creativity and to foster the artist within each of our Heritage Heroes!
Born and raised in Missouri, Ms. Schwarzen has lived in Maricopa with her family for nine years. She studied studio art at Webster University, and earned her Liberal Arts Degree from Arizona State University in 2013. Since then, she has earned a well-rounded skill set through work as Director for Bright Minds Preschool, elementary art teacher, and as a creative mentor to underprivileged women and children in Haiti, where she taught drawing, painting, and sewing.
Ms. Schwarzen has two beautiful daughters, ages 8 and 11, who are heavily involved in Maricopa youth sports. Chances are, you’ll see her on the sideline of one field or another, cheering on her favorite athletes and sharing sidewalk chalk with any kiddo who asks!
By the age of sixteen, Mrs. Steelman had lived in Connecticut, Louisiana, Nevada, and Virginia! She grew up playing soccer and acting. She also loves traveling, photography, and animals. Her father was a College Professor and her mother was a Middle School Educator. Because Mrs. Steelman was immersed in education from a young age, she knew she wanted to be an educator.
She earned her BS in Education from Chowan University in North Carolina, and a MA in New Professional Studies in Education from George Mason University in Virginia. Mrs. Steelman has also completed the majority of her coursework towards a PhD in Mathematics Leadership.
Mrs. Steelman taught Middle School Mathematics for eight years in Virginia; for three of those eight years, she taught both Mathematics and Science. She then spent six years as a Mathematics Coach. She moved to Arizona in June of 2016 because of her love of the southwest. Since moving to Arizona, she has taught Math 7 in a virtual setting for two years, and Math 6 Tiger Prep in Maricopa Unified School District 20 for one year. She lives here in Maricopa with her husband, 3-year old son, and two dogs.
Mrs. Taylor is a native of sunny Arizona. After graduating from High School she moved to the Midwest where she obtained her ASL Interpreter Certification. Mrs. Taylor has enjoyed working in and or supporting education for the last 7 years. She started out as an involved parent and shortly thereafter joined the PTO. For the last 3 years Mrs. Taylor has supported staff and students as a librarian aide focusing her efforts on getting reluctant readers excited to read and up to level.
When Mrs. Taylor is not in the library, you can find her on one of two athletic fields. She is the secretary and communications officer for Maricopa Sandlot, Maricopa’s Club Softball league. She is also the media and fundraising officer for Maricopa Militia (Maricopa’s youth tackle football organization) founded by her husband and herself in 2017.
The best part of her day is observing those moments when scholars realize their full potential and reach it. Setting the bar high and leaving zero room for excuses, her scholars know she expects their best and they are happy to give it. They know she will be there to celebrate every milestone and cheering for them at the finish line.
Mrs. Taylor has lived in Maricopa for 14 years with her husband and has built a beautiful family with their three amazing children two of which will be among Heritage’s finest. In her “spare time” she enjoys spending time with her family. She loves to dance, play volleyball, read, garden, and enjoy the outdoors.
Mrs. Titus grew up in Southern California. She attended Brigham Young University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education. She has taught several different grade levels and subjects in Utah, California, Texas, and Arizona. She has had the honor of being Teacher of the Year twice. Her most recent assignment has been teaching math and science in the Blended Learning program in Maricopa where she won the State Golden Bell Award with her fellow blended teachers.
She moved to Maricopa 3 years ago with her husband and 4 children to be closer to her extended family. She LOVES Disneyland and is a little obsessed with all things Disney! She is very excited to teach science at Heritage Academy and is looking forward to a fabulous year.
Ms. Turik graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and has been teaching for 16 years. She has taught grades 4th through 8th in Texas and Arizona and has especially enjoyed teaching American Sign Language and crocheting as elective classes. She loves making a difference in her community and encourages her students to give as well. Her crochet students donate the hats and bags that they make to the Cancer Treatment Center of America.
Ms. Turik has two amazing daughters that keep her super busy, as well as two cats and two dogs. Her favorite activities are cooking (well, mostly eating) and reading. Ms. Turik’s favorite genre is horror and she has read every Stephen King book written. She is so excited to be teaching 6th grade history at Heritage Academy!!