Kindergarten Teachers

Michelle Josie

Kindergarten

Michelle Josie

Michelle Josie

Kindergarten

My name is Michelle Josie and I am a kindergarten teacher at Ascent Academy Lehi. Over the past eight years, I have worked with students in grades k-6, but kindergarten is by far my favorite place to be. I love to see their little faces light up as they learn and achieve throughout the school year. It’s going to be a great year and I can’t wait to get started.
I have lived in Lehi with my husband and four children for the last 20 years. When I am not at the school you can usually find me at the ballpark with my kids. In my spare time (LOL) I enjoy graphic designing, paper crafting, and ReAl Salt Lake soccer.

 

Email:  mjosie@ascentutah.org

Jessica Peterson

Kindergarten

Jessica Peterson

Jessica Peterson

Kindergarten

I am very excited to join Ascent Academies’ faculty.  I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from BYU in 1999.  I have been teaching for 8 years in grades K, 2, 3, 4, 5 and now 6!  I have learned that all children have an inherent desire to learn and they thrive in a positive environment.  The expectation in my class is for students to be safe, respectful, and involved.  In turn I will provide students with opportunities for academic and social development through creativity, experimentation, projects, and portfolios.  I love working with children and helping them discover, develop, and nurture their own unique talents and abilities.
My interests and talents are varied.  I enjoy the outdoors through hiking, biking, and camping.  I like getting my hands dirty in both my flower garden and vegetable garden.  I could spend hours on end sewing and quilting.  I can sing, too.  I’ve been involved in choirs all my life and I’ve led school choirs throughout my teaching career.

I like sharing ideas and learning from others.  I am creative and I like finding new and different ways of approaching challenges.  I am goal oriented and I like setting achievable learning goals with my students.  I look forward to getting to know the excellent students, teachers, and administrators at Ascent Academies of Utah.

Email:  jpeterson@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/jpeterson/

1st Grade Teachers

Mackenzie Lester

1st Grade

Mackenzie Lester

Mackenzie Lester

1st Grade

Hello! My name is Mackenzie Lester and I am so excited to be on the first grade team this year at Ascent Academy! This is my first year teaching first grade, and I couldn’t be more excited to meet my students. I want to teach my students to love learning, develop a growth mindset, and develop their talents. I hope to show my students the value of becoming a life long learner. 

I was born and raised in Bountiful, Utah, I am the second of four children and the only girl! I graduated from Brigham Young University in 2014. I married my husband Brady in 2016. In my free time I love to enjoy the beauty that Utah has to offer. I love to hike, and to spend time in the mountains. I love to travel, play tennis, and to read. I look forward to getting to know you and your children! 

Email:  klester@ascentutah.org

Michelle Miller

1st Grade

Michelle Miller

Michelle Miller

1st Grade

Hi, my name is Michelle Miller and very happy to be apart of the Ascent Academy team, teaching 1st grade.

I was born and raised in the Provo/Orem area.  I am the youngest of 3 sisters and 3 brothers.  I have been married for 14 years to an amazing husband who supports me in my journey of teaching.  We have two daughters ages 12, 10, and a son age 7.  I am lucky to have them attend at Ascent Academy as well.  I graduated from UVU in 2015.   Before becoming a teacher I had the opportunity to work as a teacher’s aid for a couple of years.  In all these experiences in education I have worked with students in grades first through sixth.

Before teaching I moved around lot with my family due to my husband’s job.  We lived in Idaho, New Mexico, and Eastern Utah.  When we moved back to Utah County, I choose to work in retail for many years helping my husband finish his schooling.  In my free time I love to spend time with my family, hiking, camping, playing games, and gardening.  I love being creative.  I crochet and have made blankets, scarfs, hats and even dolls.  My favorite subjects to learn about are, mathematics, geography, and animal sciences.

I am very excited to meet your children.  I love to get to know their personalities, to laugh with them, and get them excited to learn.  I like to bring the best out in them, give them a sense of self-worth, and to help them develop hopes and dream for their future.  I look forward to another amazing year at Ascent Academy!

Email:  mmiller@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/mmiller/

Shannon Santos

1st Grade

Shannon Santos

Shannon Santos

1st Grade

I am a California girl from the San Francisco Bay Area. I have only lived in Utah for about six years. I love living so close these beautiful mountains but I sure do miss the ocean!

I have four beautiful children who all attend the West Jordan Ascent campus. I have been working with children for over 15 years with a strong background in Special Ed. I have attended Salt Lake Community college and Western Governors University.

In addition have been through several trainings on behavior analysis and specifically spectrum disorders. I have taught fourth grade and first grade at the West Jordan campus.

I am thrilled to be working here in Lehi teaching second grade. When I am not at work I enjoy spending time with my children, we like to swim, dance and we love hiking. Looking forward to a fantastic year!

Email:  ssantos@ascentutah.org

2nd Grade Teachers

Maria Fifield

2nd Grade

Maria Fifield

Maria Fifield

2nd Grade

My name is Maria Fifield and I'm excited to teach second grade at Ascent Academy this year! I taught 4th and 5th grade at Hawthorn Academy in West Jordan for the last five years. I look forward to getting to know you and your child.
I graduated from the University of Utah with a BS in Elementary Education. I love to read and do arts and crafts in my spare time.

Education was extremely important to my family growing up. I was born in Mexico and raised in the U.S., and I was the first member of my family to go to and graduate from college. My goal as a teacher is to pass on to my students the value of education, so that they can be lifelong learners.

Email:  mfifield@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/mfifield/

Paige Kroff

2nd Grade

Paige Kroff

Paige Kroff

2nd Grade

I was raised in Manti, Utah and am currently living in Orem. I graduated from UVU in December of 2014. I have always had a passion for teaching as well as learning. Throughout the past few years, I have been fortunate enough to teach in Guatemala and​ Tonga and have always felt right at home in the classroom.
When outside of the classroom, on a nice day, I love to get together with friends and family to go on outdoor adventures such as hikes, boating, and traveling. However, if the weather doesn’t agree with me, I can always entertain myself with my sewing machine or by comfortably settling down in front of a screen to watch a movie or play a game.

I have high hopes for this year and can’t wait to meet my students!

Email:  pbradley@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/pkroff

3rd Grade Teachers

Stacy Aldridge

3rd Grade

Stacy Aldridge

Stacy Aldridge

3rd Grade

You should do what you love and love what you do and that is why I am a teacher! I am thrilled to be joining the staff at Ascent Academy and looking forward to an amazing year!

My journey began in California but I grew up outside of Washington DC, the middle of five children. I later attended Brigham Young University and received my Elementary Education degree and this is also where I met my husband. My life’s dream was to be a teacher and mother and I am so blessed I can do both. I have five children of my own including three teenagers.

After living in Missouri and Virginia, we settled in Lehi about 7 years ago. I taught for two years at Learning Dynamics Preschool and am now beginning my fourth year of teaching third grade.

I love teaching third grade because we get to dance, sing, and learn so many fun things like multiplication and division! My class motto is “We can do hard things” and we do! We also learn as a class that education is thrilling, engaging, and miraculous because we grow and become more confident when we learn new things!

 

Email:  saldridge@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/saldridge/

Amber Nelson

3rd Grade

Amber Nelson

Amber Nelson

3rd Grade

I am excited to start my teaching career with Ascent Academy! I am from West Jordan, Utah and have enjoyed being a Utah resident throughout my life. I recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from BYU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a minor in TESOL K-12 (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages).

I am the oldest of four and love spending time with my family. I also enjoy any and all things music—I took piano lessons for 12 years and violin lessons for 8. I taught violin lessons during high school and enjoyed playing violin in BYU orchestras while I was a student. I also enjoy running, reading, waterskiing, and baking.

I have always wanted to be a teacher and am excited to start this journey with you and your children!

Email:  anelson@ascentutah.org

Catherine Wickham

3rd Grade

Catherine Wickham

Catherine Wickham

3rd Grade

My name is Catherine Wickham, and I love teaching. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the light of understanding sweep across a child’s face. Anne Sullivan Macy stated it best when she recorded, “ My heart is singing for joy this morning! A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil’s mind, and behold, all things are changed!”

I am delighted to be part of the third grade team. Third graders are brimming with aha moments. Reflecting on my own childhood experience I recall a moment of third grade enlightenment. The class was asked to begin at the number one and write. Write as far as we could count. Around number 235 it dawned on me, I was never going to finish this assignment. Numbers don’t end!

I received a BS of Elementary Education from the University of Utah. It was here I learned the value of putting a little “wonder” into education. Ask yourself why more often. Then get to work and find out. Following graduation I worked in many schools as a substitute teacher. I have also worked as a private tutor and a math assistant.

Some of my favorite teaching moments are with my family. My husband and I are the proud parents of eight wonderful children. We enjoy reading with them , going on outings and spending time outdoors. A few of their accomplishments include DECA and FBLA state championships. I am proudest of them when I see them work hard to accomplish something challenging.

It is a pleasure to serve at Ascent Academies Lehi Campus. I look forward to many moments of change.

 

Email:  cwickham@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/cwickham/

4th Grade Teachers

Hannah Austin

4th Grade

Hannah Austin

Hannah Austin

4th Grade

Welcome to a new adventure!

I have always thought life was an adventure, and I love every new one I come across. I always want to be prepared, which is why I've always had a soft spot for education and for children. I think children are going through one of the most exciting parts of their own adventures. I believe the more prepared they are, the more they will feel they're somewhere safe where they can explore and ask questions, and the more enjoyable their adventures will be! It is my goal to help all my students meet their goals, and enjoy their journey!

I have lived in Utah County my entire life. I graduated from BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and a TESOL minor (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). In my spare time I love to read, cook, hike, swim, travel and have adventures!

Email:  haustin@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/haustin/

Elora Clark

4th Grade

Elora Clark

Elora Clark

4th Grade

Welcome to my classroom, where learning and excitement go hand in hand! I love children and their energy, passion, creativity, and desire to learn. I believe in a hands-on and exploratory classroom where students have the chance to be an active participant in their learning. As a teacher, I care about my students not only in an academic sense, but also personally. In my classroom, students will not only obtain knowledge, but will develop their innate capacities to work with others, their social skills, abilities to problem solve, and they will develop a real enthusiasm for learning.

I was born in Logan, UT but raised near Seattle. My love of the ocean and the rich greenery of the Northwest combined with a love of Utah’s mountains and desert places makes me feel like I have (at least) two homes in the world. When I was 14, we moved back to beautiful Cache Valley where I have been ever since. I graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and an emphasis in Science. While in college, I volunteered at the English Language Center of Cache Valley, where I taught English as a second language. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, drawing, kayaking, and reading. I also enjoy martial arts and am a black belt in both Taekwondo and Karate.

If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hoper, a pray-er, a magic-bean-buyer,
If you’re a pretender come sit by my fire.
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in! 

Come in!*

 I look forward to spinning new tales with you. Come in!

*Poem by Shel Silverstien

 

Email:  eclark@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/eclark/

Andrea Wiley

4th Grade

Andrea Wiley

Andrea Wiley

4th Grade

I have lived in Utah my entire life and attended elementary through high school in Ogden. I have three awesome daughters, Chelsea, Lauren, and Ryann. Once my youngest child was in kindergarten, I returned to school to pursue my life-long dream of becoming an elementary educator. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Weber State University with degrees in both Early Childhood and Elementary Education.

My deepest passion in life is learning and I believe that children should have the opportunity to discover the magic of learning for themselves. I firmly believe that when children are interested in, and see the relevance of what they are learning, their natural curiosity takes hold and provides a deep motivation and inspiration to learn. For me, there is nothing more exhilarating than seeing a child discover the joy of learning!

I love Ascent Academy! Our mission is my passion! I deeply care about meeting the diverse learning needs of all of my students and helping them to learn what they love, and love what they learn!

My hobbies include reading, gardening, writing, and learning about the incredible diversity in our world. I also enjoy problem solving and critical thinking, which is likely why I adore math and science.

I am so fortunate to work at Ascent Academies and I look forward to teaching and learning with your child this year!

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken

joy in creative expression & knowledge.” ~ Albert Einstein

Email:  awiley@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/awiley

5th Grade Teachers

Natalee Bernardo

5th Grade

Natalee Bernardo

Natalee Bernardo

5th Grade

Hi, I am Natalee Bernardo. I am so excited to be starting with Ascent Academy. This is my first year teaching 5th grade. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Utah in 2012, making the Dean’s List. I was inspired by my sister, who also teaches 5th grade at Ascent’s West Jordan Campus, to come work at this great school. I am thrilled to move into this new opportunity and see my students learn and grow. I am so excited to be a part of Ascent’s educational philosophy and culture!

 

I am a fan of Real Salt Lake, the Utah Jazz, and most importantly the University of Utah. Go Utes! I love cheering on the U of U whether it’s football, basketball, or gymnastics I am there for the Utes. I love to spend time with friends and family and to play games with them. I also play the viola. I have played since I was in 5th grade and have played with the Murray Symphony and Taylorsville Symphony. I love dogs, Disney, Harry Potter and history. I love American history and graduated with a degree in Political Science which is why I am so excited to teach 5th grade. I am so excited to dive in to the interesting and exciting history of our country with my students this year.

 

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City and love Utah, but also enjoy traveling with my family. Together, we have visited Italy, England, Ireland, France, Germany, Taiwan, and Brazil. I believe my experiences and interactions with other people and cultures has enriched my own life. A piece of my heart belongs in Brazil since I am half Brazilian and I can speak a little Portuguese. I love classic VW bugs, Brazilian food, and gummy worms!

I know that we are going to have a great time learning together this year! I like to keep an open line of communication with students and parents. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please feel free to contact me.

Email:  nbernardo@ascentutah.org

Alice Johnson

5th Grade

Alice Johnson

Alice Johnson

5th Grade

I am so thrilled to be kicking off another year at Ascent Academy teaching the 5th grade. I love 5th grade and all this age group can brings to the table of learning and education. Not to mention, they are hilarious.

I grew up in Littleton, Colorado and moved to Utah where I attended Brigham Young University where I received my Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in Acting. This led my professional career (in between plays and film projects) to teaching drama. I loved being in a school setting so much I just couldn't stay away! After teaching drama and aiding in elementary grades for 2 years I went on to teaching at a school for children with Autism. My time with these awe-inspiring kids and parents taught me so much about patience and individualizing teaching toward each student's needs.

Elementary School students have so much energy and that is right up my alley. I believe that learning sticks when students are engaged and having fun. On top of building a solid knowledge of core standards, I also have a very strong desire in aiding their development into well-rounded humans. In our class this will include confidence, building others up, and showing kindness and respect not only other classmates, but to themselves. I have great expectations! Every student is capable of achieving their best and part of doing their best is trying their hardest. I will be helping my students to learn what their best is. As a teacher and a parent team, we together can help our students achieve great things! My students should be prepared to work hard and give their all in my class with a good attitude!

About Me: I love all things entertainment.  I have an adorable French bulldog puppy named Sir Chauncey Wentworth. He’s my baby. My favorite places in the world are Rome, Italy and Harry Potter World. We will be learning about the ruins of Pompeii during our Earth Surfaces unit in Science. Harry Potter...I'm sure will come up eventually! Harry Potter is what made me love to read and discover that reading can be just as exciting and fun as the best movie. I can't wait to try and help your child find their Harry Potter.

Email:  ajohnson@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/ajohnson/

Denise Mott

5th Grade

Denise Mott

Denise Mott

5th Grade

These past two years I taught 5th grade at the West Jordan Campus and had a great experience! I am now excited to teach 5th graders at the Lehi Campus! I was born and raised in Spokane, Washington and currently live in Lehi, Utah. I graduated from Brigham Young University in Elementary Education. After graduating, I served an 18-month church mission in Hong Kong. Later, I received my Master's Degree from Western Governors University in English Language Learning. I have taught 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in district, private, and public charter schools--in Utah and Arizona. I love teaching and I love learning!

One of my favorite hobbies is reading and I hope to spread this enthusiasm to my students. Knowledge is power and I want my students to become confident, educated, and responsible citizens. Through our social studies curriculum, I hope to introduce the students to many heroes who helped establish this great nation. I know every student is capable of learning and progressing. I believe study skills and organizations skills are very important and I will help my students to develop these tools in order to become successful students.

It is very important to me that everyone treats one another kindly and respectfully. I will do all I can to create a happy and safe space for my students in my classroom. We can all learn from each other; we all have something worthwhile to offer one another.

On a personal level, some of my top priorities and interests are family, friends, dogs, BYU football, and reading--to name a few.

 

 

Email:  dmott@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/dmott/

6th Grade Teachers

Jon Mohlman

6th Grade

Jon Mohlman

Jon Mohlman

6th Grade

Greetings to all students and parents at Ascent Academies! I am so excited to be a part of the team, and to get to work with the wonderful students in Lehi. My name is Jonathan Mohlman. I was born and raised in the Seattle, Washington area (GO SEAHAWKS!). I relocated to Utah Valley in junior high, but Seattle will always be considered my first home.

I graduated from Utah Valley State College (Now Utah Valley University) as a member of the Dean’s List, with highest honors, and as a member of Phi Theta Kappa with an Associates Degree in pre-elementary education in 2000. I then graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Utah Valley in Elementary Education in 2002.

I’ve been an elementary school teacher since 2002 and currently I am a certified Level II teacher in grades 1-8 in the state of Utah. Through the years I have had many wonderful experiences teaching and working within the education system. I’ve taught fourth and sixth grade, as well as worked as a teacher mentor, an intern supervisor, an assistant administrator, a leader of teacher professional development, along with working on many other fun and interesting committees and special projects along the way. My proudest moment in teaching was winning the PTA Golden Apple Award and receiving the recognition for my work as a dedicated professional.

I love to spend my free time traveling with my wonderful family. I spend evenings during the fall coaching sixth grade youth football. On the fall weekends the whole family loves to get together and cheer on our beloved Seattle Seahawks. Some other things I love doing are reading with my daughter Melina, listening to music, exploring the back roads and 4x4 trails throughout the state in an environmentally responsible manner, and I especially enjoy spending any spare moments we may have tinkering on, teaching about car restoration, and driving my restored 1972 Ford Mustang Mach 1 with my son Ben.

I relocated from Orem to Lehi two years ago, and I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to work in my own community. I look forward to assisting the wonderful teachers at Ascent Academies as they teach the students to reach their highest potential!

Email:  jmohlman@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/jmohlman/

Cathleen Rackley

6th Grade

Cathleen Rackley

Cathleen Rackley

6th Grade

I am so excited to be starting a new career here with Ascent Academy teaching 6th grade! I say new career because I am a retired law enforcement officer with Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake (formally known as the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office). I worked as a police officer for 21 years in many different areas in the department. During my time in law enforcement I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Psychology, Spanish, and Criminal Justice from Utah State graduating with High Honors. During my last two years as a police officer I had the opportunity to work in a junior high school where my love for teaching and working with youth was re-kindled.

I believe every child needs a solid foundation to build on. They need a well- rounded education but also a good self-esteem and confidence to know they can accomplish anything they set their minds to. I am looking forward to helping build that confidence and knowledge in all of my students and prepare them to advance to their next level of education. I believe students can learn to be contributing citizens to the classroom as they learn respect for each other and we build a community of engaged students while having fun!

I do have fun! I love to travel and have even been to Fiji! I was born and raised in Salt Lake City but moved to Idaho for high school where I graduated from West Side High School. I am a widow/single mom with one daughter who will be graduating from high school in 2017. My husband was also a law enforcement officer for Salt Lake City for 25 years before he passed away from cancer. My daughter and I have 25 chickens, 3 small dogs, 1 outdoor cat, and a bird. I play piano and teach beginning piano lessons. I love to garden, play games with my family, photography and playing music with our band. My daughter and I also love to go to the theater and watch old television series together. I have always had a great love for learning and I believe that we never stop. There is always something new to learn and adventures to be had. My motto is to keep pressing forward no matter what life throws at you, “Semper pergendum sin timore” (Keep moving forward without fear).

I am looking forward to getting to know the students and their parents and make this a team effort for a successful and fun year!

Email:  crackley@ascentutah.org
Website:  http://blogs.ascentutah.org/crackley/

Coree Rundell

6th Grade

Coree Rundell

Coree Rundell

6th Grade

I am so thrilled to be joining the team at Ascent Academy in Lehi and to teach 6th grade. I am married with 4 children and was blessed to become a grandma for the first time this past year.  Although I grew up in Gilbert, Arizona and have lived in many places around the world, Utah is where I call home.  After serving an 18 month mission in Portland, Oregon, I graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in Finance.  I went back to school to receive my teaching credentials from UC-Bakersfield and then my Masters Degree in Instruction and Curriculum from the American College of Education.  I’ve taught grades 3 - 8 in public, charter, and private schools for 17 years and look forward to many more years of teaching.

My husband and I wanted to take our family on an adventure overseas, so in 2008 we moved to Shenzhen China where I taught 7th and 8th grade for 3 years in an American International School.  Our adventure didn’t end there, we moved to Saudi Arabia in 2011 where I’ve taught 6th grade for the past 6 years at an international private school.  While living overseas we have traveled to many places throughout Asia and Europe where we have learned the diversity and beauty of our world.  My favorite places in our travels has been Eastern Europe, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.  As exciting as it has been being overseas, I’m excited to return back to Utah and continue my teaching career at Ascent Academy.

One of my favorite quotes is “Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.”  I love teaching and it is my goal to inspire, excite, and spark an interest in learning in my students.  It’s my job as a teacher to tap into each child’s interests and make learning an exciting experience for them. One of the joys of teaching is seeing the “aha” moment on students faces as they learn and experience new things in the classroom. My goal is to see that “aha” moment everyday in my classroom.

This is going to be an awesome year and I look forward to being a part of the Ascent Academy team.

Email:  crundell@ascentutah.org

Parents of registered and attending students have the right to request information regarding the professional qualifications of their student’s classroom teacher(s). Ascent Academy will provide, upon request, information regarding state qualification and licensing criteria, licensing status, degree and certification held, and other relevant qualifications and in a timely manner. Please contact Tricia Remington at tremington@ascentutah.org if you would like more information.

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