Staff resumes are available in our office.
Julie Jongsma – Director
Ms. Julie is an Arizona native who grew up right here in Prescott. She earned her Bachelors in Social Work from Northern Arizona University and went on to receive her Masters in Business Administration. She served as the La Tierra Governing Board President for several years prior to accepting the position as La Tierra’s Operations Officer. In the Summer of 2019 she transitioned into the position of Operations Director. This year she is honored to begin serving the community as the LTCS Director. Julie has a deep commitment to and love of the La Tierra mission and the entire La Tierra community. She loves facilitating exploration, fostering the courage to ask why, and inspiring a sense of wonder in the students of LTCS. Outside of school she can usually be found spending time with her 2 beautiful children who have attended La Tierra for 8 years. She is continually amazed at all the beauty in nature to be found in the Southwest and is always on the lookout for her next adventure. Some of her outdoor favorites include hiking, biking, backpacking, bikepacking and camping. Stop by and say hi anytime!
Heather Sheetz – School Secretary/Administrative Assistant
Heather grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and moved to Prescott in 2003. Her first two years in town Heather worked in various child care settings and as a family nanny. After leaving child care, she entered the downtown restaurant scene for several years before meeting her husband, Will, and having 2 children- both La Tierra lifers! Heather joined the Bill’s Pizza family in 2012, eventually managing the front while taking community college courses in accounting on the side. In 2017, Heather joined the La Tierra Family! You will find her in the front office taking phone calls, juggling files, offering hugs and bandaids to our students, and helping parents and families find what they need! Outside of the La Tierra office, Heather loves spending time with her husband and children- you’ll find them out in nature near water, taking road trips, cooking, baking, and often cuddled up to movie nights at home with their 3 crazy cats!
Dawn Klaiber – Academic Program Coordinator
Dawn has been with La Tierra as a classroom teacher for the past nine years, and is looking forward to supporting the school in her new role as Academic Program Coordinator for the 2022-2023 school year. Dawn spent her early years living on the east coast and in middle school moved to Nebraska with her family. She received an elementary education degree at Minnesota State University in 2010 and went on to study Experiential Education there for her graduate degree which was earned in 2012. As a lifelong learner and with a desire to improve her teaching practice, Dawn worked to earn her National Board Teaching Certification in 2020. She believes in an active, engaging, and rigorous pedagogy, setting high and attainable expectations for each student and is excited to work with students and teachers school wide. In her free time you can find her spending quality time with friends and family, traveling, dancing, and playing outside.
Tricia Arnts – Kindergarten Teacher
Tricia is thrilled to be part of the LTCS family. She loves to travel and perform with the Prescott Chorale, hike, sing, and spend time with her macaw. Tricia began her teaching career in Kindergarten where she taught for three years. She then taught Pre-K for four years. She has great respect and admiration for the learning process of young children and is inspired by watching her students grow and achieve small goals along the way. Tricia is entering her third year as the La Tierra kindergarten teacher. She is passionate about La Tierra’s mission and is excited to be part of our expeditionary learning inspired community.
Mary Layman – 1st Grade Teacher
Miss Mary grew up in Arizona, starting life in Prescott and then living in Tucson from 5th grade through high school and part of college at the U of A. She is the mother of three young men and grandmother of two. She earned her teaching degree with an environmental science minor from NAU. She has 25 years’ experience engaging learners of all ages, first as an environmental educator and director of Willow Bend in Flagstaff, and later as lead teacher in traditional and non-traditional classroom settings, grades K-5. She taught Kindergarten at La Tierra for six years, and is happy to be returning to the La Tierra Community School family and to her children and grandchildren after living in California with her husband and mother in law for 4 years. She is fascinated by how brains grow, and especially loves learning with young children. Mary approaches life with curiosity, a growth mindset, and a playful spirit, hiking and exploring the world in her free time.
Sarah Greene – 2nd Grade Teacher
Sarah Greene (Ms. Sarah) comes to us with five years experience teaching art and elementary age children. She was raised in Tempe and relocated to Prescott 5 years ago with her husband and two children. Sarah earned her master’s degree in Art and Visual Culture Education from U of A, and her K-12 Arizona Teaching Certificate. This will be Sarah’s first year at La Tierra and she is so excited to embark on the 2nd grade expeditions! Sarah loves to bring art activities into her lessons, along with hands-on learning and the outdoors. In her spare time, Sarah hikes the trails of Prescott, spends time with her family in the mountains, creates art, practices yoga, and completes DIY projects in her home.
Angelica Brady – 3rd Grade Teacher
Angelica (Ms. Angie) was born in Washington and raised in California. In 2011, she moved to Prescott, where she attended Prescott College and completed her Bachelor of Arts in Education in 2013. This will be her first year at La Tierra Community School, though she has been involved in education and elementary school programs since her early undergrad years and formally entered teaching in 2019. She enjoys encouraging creativity and curiosity in her students, and loves to watch them take brave leaps and grow in their self-confidence. When not in school, she spends most of the time with her daughter and rescue dogs living as magically as possible – out in the mountains, tending the garden, dancing + singing like a Disney princess, and curling up to read the biggest books she can find.
Barbara Braswell – 4th Grade Teacher
Ms. Barbara has been an educator and worked with children for most of her adult life. She is committed to engaging the whole child in meaningful learning and feels fortunate to work in a school that shares that commitment. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and this will be her eighth year teaching at La Tierra Community School. Her passion for social justice is woven throughout her life. Her fourth grade class motto is “treat people the way you want to be treated”. Barbara lives close to school with her husband, Charles. She has four grown children, four amazing grandbabies and one step-daughter. She enjoys traveling, music, playing tennis, hiking, and reading.
Logan Smit – 5th Grade Teacher
Ms. Logan is excited to begin her fourth year teaching the 5th grade at La Tierra Community School. After growing up in Dallas, Texas, she moved west to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Studies and Spanish. She also completed English teacher training at that time and earned a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate. This allowed her to work internationally with students widely ranging in age and level, train volunteer English teachers, and manage adult education programs. She is now married to an Arizona native and settled with a dog and home surrounded by boulders. Logan looks forward to teaching and learning with such an adventurous and creative community!
Teri Lynn Stout – 6th Grade Teacher
Teri Lynn was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. She moved to Prescott in 2017 looking for fresh air, hiking trails, and easy access to the great outdoors. Along with elementary and secondary education, her studies include science, Spanish, middle eastern dance, yoga, and she is a licensed aesthetician. Elementary Education is the degree she finally decided to put a frame around. This will be her fifth year teaching at La Tierra Community School and her third year teaching sixth grade. Teri Lynn loves inspiring students to move through the world with kindness and confidence, and she encourages creativity, independence, and the use of wild imagination along the way. She is a lifelong learner and is passionate about education. Outside of La Tierra, Teri Lynn can be found adventuring with her two kids, writing while her tea gets cold, conducting delicious science experiments in her kitchen, or completely lost in a book.
Samantha Westphal – 7th Grade Teacher
Miss Sam is thrilled to be back at La Tierra for her second year of teaching. She grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and traveled around quite a bit before finding a home in Prescott. She graduated from Prescott College earning a degree in Education with an emphasis in Environmental Education. Miss Sam has helped create curriculum for The Arizona Trail Association and The Community Nature Center here in Prescott. She is always looking for opportunities to bridge the gap between education and the outdoors. She is looking forward to deepening curiosities and empowering learning experiences. In her free time she loves to get outside, hike, swim, and road trip with her boyfriend and pup.
Tasha Weeks – STEM Teacher/Math Interventionist
Tasha is an Arizona native who grew up in Phoenix and moved to Prescott at the end of 2017. She loves the outdoors and access to water that the Prescott area provides! She loves to go camping, kayaking, hiking, and road trips, pretty much any adventure she can go on with her family! Tasha has a husband – Marty, 2 amazing children – Olivia who is in 4th grade at La Tierra and Christopher in 7th grade, 2 loveable dogs – Penny and Milo and a gangster cat – Fat Tony! Although this is her 2nd year teaching at La Tierra, she has been part of the LTCS family for 5 years. Tasha is entering her 5th year teaching and first year as the STEM teacher and Math interventionist. She is extremely excited to start the year!
Callie Kent – P.E. and Art Teacher
Callie grew up in Watauga, Texas, and moved to Arizona to attend Prescott College. She has her BA in Psychology and Art with an emphasis in Early Childhood Development. This is Callie’s fifth year teaching. She has a background in Waldorf education and previously taught preschool, first grade, and facilitated Art Therapy. She is passionate about inclusion and diversity. When Callie’s not working, she enjoys spending time outside and doing art.
Cyndi Reynolds – Special Education Coordinator and Teacher
Cyndi Reynolds is embarking upon her 10th year as both the Special Education Director and Special Education Teacher of La Tierra Community School. Ms. Reynolds received her B.A. in English, Special Education Teaching Credential, and M.A. in Applied Psychology from schools in California where she was born and raised. She has been a special educator in various public school settings for 17 years, with 10 additional years working with adults and children with unique abilities in pre-vocational and social/play settings. With this diverse background, Cyndi brings a unique outlook and instructional style to the students at La Tierra Community School. She is passionate about fostering a sense of confidence in unique learners while teaching these students the importance of knowing their strengths and resources. When she is not teaching, Cyndi can be found on local hikes and walking trails with her dog, reading a good book, or spending time with friends.
Martin Weeks – SPED Aide
Mr. Marty has 30 years of experience working with people with unique abilities. He has been a part of the La Tierra community for the past 5 years, you might have seen him volunteering at various activities prior to becoming an employee last year. He is passionate about working with people and making sure they are safe and their voices are heard and respected. In his free time, you can find Mr. Marty doing anything outdoors with his wife, Ms. Tasha, two children and their two dogs!
Cora Fry – Title 1 Instructional Aide
Cora Fry is the Title I instructor for the 2022-2023 school year. She became a member of the LTCS community last year as a Specials Teacher and is excited for her next journey in education. Cora is originally from New Jersey, where she spent time volunteering at Bankbridge, a school for students with special needs. Before joining the La Tierra family, Cora worked as in-home support for children with special needs, then as a one-to-one specialist at Northpoint. She also has experience in fields including the service industry, veterinary work, and the medical field. When she is not working Cora can be found on a variety of outdoor adventures with her toddler son and puppy. She loves learning or mastering a new skill like making jams, pickling, and crocheting.
David McNelly – School Wide Support Staff
Mr. Dave is a native Arizonan who grew up in Tucson. He is a certified teacher who graduated from Prescott College with a BA in elementary education in 2006. He is the founding classroom teacher of La Tierra Community School and brings over 16 years of experiential teaching in the primary grades. David believes in understanding children as individuals with their own strengths and interests. He enjoys teaching children to appreciate themselves and the world around them. He loves to teach positive ways to be in the world. David brings his love of reading, music and the outdoors to share with his students. The rest of his time is spent managing the Walnut Creek Center for Education and Research and being with his family of dogs, cats, chickens, best friend wife, six children (two still living at home), playing guitar, carving wood, forging and gardening.
Cristal Barko – School Social Worker
Ms. Cristal is a northwest Ohio native who moved to Arizona in 2015. She graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2005 and started her first job in children’s mental health shortly thereafter. She then graduated from University of Toledo in 2008 with a Masters in Social Work. Since then she has continued her work in children’s mental health and has worked in residential, in-patient hospitalization, partial hospitalization and outpatient mental health settings. Cristal started working in the schools in 2017 under the auspices of the Yavapai County Education Service Agency and has enjoyed every minute of it! In her free time Cristal loves to spend time with her husband and two children hiking, crafting, watching movies and reading books. She especially loves the Arizona weather and exploring the beautiful landscapes of the state.