Our K-8 Staff


Hello Heritage Pinnacle Families and Scholars!

I am honored and blessed to join the Heritage Academy family for the 24-25 school year as the new principal of Pinnacle and director of Liberty Kids Preschool. I am coming to you all with eighteen years of experience in public education (charter and district). I have a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from ASU and a master’s in Educational Administration from GCU. I have teaching experience in preschool through high school with a special place in my heart for middle grades science and children with exceptional needs. 

A little personal background on me:

I am an Arizona native, having lived in both Tucson and the Phoenix area. Currently, my husband of fifteen years, Mike, and I live in Anthem with our two daughters (ages 12 and 10). We are an education family as my husband has also been a special education paraprofessional and self-contained special education teacher for fifteen years. I love baking, cooking, crafting, and photography. 

As a leader I commit to serving, empowering, and supporting our scholars, staff, parents, and community. I believe in building meaningful relationships and engaging in transparent communication, and will make every decision with the following standard in mind: “What is best for scholars?”

Thank you for entrusting us with the most precious gifts in your lives. I look forward to partnering with you as we raise the heroes of tomorrow. 

Leah Jenks

Hello, my name is Andrea Lenhart! I have been working in education for 4 1/2 years, my education is in General Studies. I absolutely love working with the scholars and their families. I am a mother to a beautiful daughter, that is my sunshine! On my free time I love to travel, hike and the ocean is my happy place!

Contact: a.lenhart@heritageacademyaz.com


My name is Monica Stekkinger. I was born and raised in Ventura, California. I attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff where I received my B.S. in Elementary Education and Special Education. After graduating from NAU in 2014, I moved to Scottsdale where I worked in education, primarily early education, for over five years before transitioning to kindergarten. This is my seventh-year teaching kindergarten. Some of my favorite activities include reading, traveling, and spending time with my cat, Figaro and my dog, Georgia.

Kindergarten is a year of growing socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. I believe in a student-led classroom; many times, the process is more important than the product, and learning to accomplish by doing, touching, and experiencing!

I feel that my greatest contribution so far in education has been serving my students to the best of my ability, being an advocate for their education, and giving them independence and confidence to succeed!

image_67198721-2-scaledMy name is Britnie Smith. I was born and raised in Sherwood Oregon and received my Bachelors in Elementary Education from George Fox University in 2019. I spent a few years working as a substitute teacher in grades K-12 before moving to Surprise in 2021. In 2022, I worked at Pinnacle Point Academy as a Jr. High teacher and moved to first grade at Heritage Academy Pinnacle for the 2023-2024 school year.

I am passionate about teaching and first grade is the best! I love helping young scholars learn to read, make connections with the world around them, and grow socially.

My husband and I got married in 2024 and we have 3 dogs. In the evenings and on weekends you can find us biking, hiking, and camping with our Siberian Huskies. I am an avid reader and encourage all of my scholars to find a love for reading.

I am so excited to meet my new scholars and look forward to the amazing year ahead!


Hello 2nd grade families!  My name is Jackie Wheeler and I will be your child’s teacher this year. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. While pursuing my education, I worked as a K-6 substitute teacher for 5 years and then took a long-term media substitute position the year after that.  Once in Arizona, I taught Kindergarten for 7 years, 2nd Grade for 8 years, and Reading Intervention for 2 years.  I’m very excited to be joining the Heritage Community and believe 2nd grade is where I belong.

I was born and raised in Michigan and married my High School Sweetheart before moving to Arizona 17 years ago.  We are the proud parents of a 13 year-old daughter and an 8 year old son.   When I’m not busy in the classroom, I enjoy reading, baking, crafting, and hanging out by the pool with my family.  I also loved attending Phoenix Coyotes games, but will now have to settle for watching the Detroit Red Wings and U of M Wolverines on TV.

I’m looking forward to being a part of your child’s education and hope that together we can make this a very successful year.


Mrs. Wheeler

3-KatieShawMy name is Katie Shaw. I graduated from Arizona State University in 2011 with my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education degree and this is my13th year teaching. The majority of my career has been in 3rd grade, with one year of 4th grade. On top of being a teacher, I am a wife and a mother of two wonderful kids and loving every minute of it!

BreannaCrockerI earned a Bachelor’s Degree in the College of Teacher Education and Leadership from Arizona State University in 2009. While in college, I was a member of the Kappa Delta Pi’s Honor Society where I was involved in events that gave back to the educational community. During my time as a student teacher, I really fell in love with teaching fourth grade, and I have been teaching fourth grade for 12 years now. In addition to teaching, I have coached baseball, volleyball, soccer, and softball to help build a community of students who worked together as a team. I am excited to join the Heritage team, and I look forward to setting the example of what a life long learner looks like. When I am not learning with my fourth graders, I love to go to the park with my two young boys and my husband.

Amanda_JerrellWelcome to 5th grade! I just recently married in April and will officially go by the name Mrs. Goff!  I have 4 dogs that I love to hike and play fetch with. My favorite hobbies include gardening, yoga, running, and cooking. I graduated from ASU with my Bachelors degree in Exercise and Wellness and received my Master’s degree in Elementary Education from GCU. I have taught in schools since 2014 and cannot wait for another fantastic year as a teacher for Heritage Academy!


My name is Zachary Smith. I was born and raised in Portland Oregon. I received my Bachelors in Biology in 2020 followed by my Masters in Secondary Education in 2021 from Pacific University. I moved to Surprise Arizona in 2021 and married my wife in 2024.

I have taught Jr. High Math and Science since 2021. I am passionate about fostering curiosity and critical thinking in young minds through engaging lessons and hands on activities. I have high expectations of my scholars and invite them to join me in the exploration of math and science this school year.

Outside of school, I enjoy playing soccer, hiking, biking, and camping with my wife and 2 Siberian Husky’s.


Hello! My name is Atahva “TJ” Jordan. I am excited to be a part of the Heritage Pinnacle family as the Junior High English and History teacher! I am from California, and have been in Arizona for 20 years. I am married with four children of my own, and am the fifth of nine children. I love listening to inspirational audible books, hiking, taking yoga classes, and spending time with my family.
I have a BIS degree in business and recreation management from ASU (2007), and a Masters in education from NAU (2012). This will be my 22nd year in education, working with children from birth to high school. I believe my gift is connecting with youth, and I am looking forward to making those connections with our Heritage scholars, families, and team!

Hi, my name is Ms. Perez! I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m a Heritage Academy alumni from the Laveen campus. I’m attending Glendale Community College; where I plan on receiving my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Special Education.

Throughout high school, I was in the chamber choir, and chamber band, as well as participated in our school musicals. I love to sing and play the clarinet, alto saxophone, piano, and bass.


Last year was my first year teaching and I loved every moment of it. Music class is a safe space, and I love getting myself and my scholars out of our comfort boxes. I believe EVERYONE can create music, we just have to find our rhythm. 
In my free time, you can find me playing volleyball, singing, making music, baking, or hanging out with my family and friends.

My name is Mrs. Robison, I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I attended The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles and earned a degree in Merchandise Marketing. I went on to work in the licensed sports apparel industry for over 20 years. My first love is art so working in the apparel industry gave me the opportunity to further my knowledge of graphic design.  I started teaching digital design to high school students during the 22-23 school year and went on to obtain an Arizona CTE Certificate to be able to share my real life work experience with our scholars. During my down time, I enjoy spending my time with my husband and our three daughters; traveling, creating art, and helping my husband coach youth basketball. I look forward to sharing my knowledge of sports, art, and design with our young scholars.

Roberts-1-scaledHello, I’m Ms. Roberts. I am so excited to become a part of the Heritage Family as the Special Education Teacher at Pinnacle!! After raising my children, I started my career as an instructional assistant in a self-contained special education program in 2013. I enjoyed it so much, I put myself through school to become a special education teacher! I graduated Magna Cum Laude in December 2019 from Northcentral Online University with a B.S. in Special Education and began teaching in January of 2020. I have taught students in every grade K-8. I pride myself in organization, integrity, and communication. In my free time, I enjoy jigsaw puzzles and spending time with my two adult children, two cats, and one dog.


Hello, my name is Neira Becirevic. I was born in Sarajevo,Bosnia and raised in Freiburg, Germany.
I studied Business and Economy. I speak 4 languages fluently, currently learning my 5th.
I’m passionate about art, languages and travel. My favorite is art and everything about art. My hobby is oil painting.
I am a wife and mom of two kids.
Last 3 years, I worked in special education as a SPED aide and assistant/paraprofessional.
My job was to provide instructional, behavior and other support to students in and out of the classroom.
My biggest reward working in special education is knowing you’ve made a big difference in student’s lives.

IMG_0940Hello, My name is Hannah Dodge-Zurita but you can call me Ms. Z.  I was born and raised in New Hampshire and moved to Arizona in 2014 after spending several years in Texas. For more than 16 years, I’ve dedicated myself to working with children. Eight years ago, I discovered my passion for supporting children with special needs. I transitioned into the school setting in 2019 and sat for my Paraprofessional certification in 2020. I have worked with children of all ages and abilities and love nothing more than seeing a child accomplish a goal they never thought they could! I truly believe that each child is capable of greatness and I look forward to helping them discover that.   I am very excited to join the Heritage family and look forward to getting to know the amazing scholars of Heritage Pinnacle.  In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, especially to the ocean, gardening, camping, crafting, and spending time with my husband and our 4 rescue dogs.

Hello! My name is Mrs. Christina and I am so excited to be a part of the Heritage Academy team this year. I was born and raised in Bulgaria. I earned my AA Degree in Business Administration with a minor in marketing at Santa Monica College, California. I moved to Arizona 6 years ago. In my free time I like to go on walks, watch movies, travel, try new restaurants and spend time with family and friends

Screenshot_20240717_092528_MessageHello, my name is Jocelyn Santizo. I am excited to have the opportunity to join the Heritage Academy family this year. I have a 5+ year background working with grade school children in a classroom setting as a paraeducator and my education is in general studies. Throughout that time, I have come to have a true love and respect for everything, and everyone involved in caring and guiding our youth to their bright futures. I am a wife and mother to 3 extraordinary children; my family is my world and by far my greatest motivation. During my spare time you can find me crafting, cooking, boating, supporting my children in their extracurricular activities or hanging out with my family and friends. This school year will be amazing! I feel blessed and honored to join the team, help and see all our scholars grow!