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.
Ryan Anderson, Biology Teacher & Human Anatomy & Physiology
Jill Atkinson, Reading Intervention Teacher
From a young age, teaching young children has been one of Jill’s dreams. She attended Brigham Young University and received her Bachelors 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 and has been married 19 years. 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.
Kathy Birks, 3rd Grade Teacher Aide
Kathy is a musician and educator. She comes to American Heritage School with 23 years of experience teaching piano and working closely with youth across the valley. She is excited to be a part of the school community and a support to teachers and students in her new position as classroom aide. She and her husband Ric have five children, who are all married, and eight grandchildren.
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.
Brooke Brockbank, First Grade Teacher Aide
Lisa Brodie, Symphonic Strings Orchestra Conductor
Kayson Brown, Orchestra
Lynette Carver, 1st/2nd Grade Teacher
Mena Childs, Middle School Teacher Aide
Jay Clark, Technical Director
Autumn Cook, 12th Grade Teacher Aide
Chris Culver, Art
Alex DeBirk, Physics, AP Physics and Intro to Engineering
Holly Dunn, Kindergarten Teacher Aide
LauraLyn Eberting, Music (AHYC)
Suzanne Gallup, Second Grade Teacher Aide
Kimberly Gibbs, Kindergarten 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.
Camille Heiner, MS/HS Math Teacher
Laurel Hill, K–2 Science Teacher
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 Aide
Michelle Jorgensen, Music (AHYC)
Shawnell Larsen, MS/HS Math Teacher
Karen Logan, Science 3-7
Carolyn Lundberg, Orchestra
Karen Matsen, 1st/2nd Grade Teacher Aide
Barbara McOmber, Ballroom
Jeff Meade, Math Teacher
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.
Deborah Otteson, Music K-3 Teacher
Jan Parker, Art (K-5)
Donna Patten, Music (4-6)
Johanne Perry, Drama/5th Grade Teacher Aide
Amanda Peterson, 1st Grade Teacher Aide
Graham Rasmussen, Girls MS Soccer Coach
Sariah Reed, Kindergarten Teacher
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.
Brooke Rowe, Reading Intervention Department Chair
Brooke was born and raised in Provo, Utah. She attended BYU and graduated in Elementary education. She taught language arts at Springville Middle School and later first grade and computer skills at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. She received a Masters degree as a Reading Specialist at the National College of Education in Chicago. Literacy is central to learning and functioning in life and Brooke loves seeing young students gain reading and writing confidence. She has lived internationally with her husband and five children in many countries including Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Bosnia, Belgium and Croatia. She relishes being near family again in Utah and enjoys hiking, skiing, sewing, and of course, reading.
Brian Smith, Athletic & Wellness
Lindsay Smith, 6th Grade Teacher Aide
Lindsay returns to American Heritage having previously served as an aide at AHS. She has been married for almost 23 years and is a mother of 2 boys, ages 12 and IS months. She studied at Southern Utah University. Lindsay was born in Alaska and raised primarily in Arizona, Utah, and Washington. She enjoys spending time with family, close friends, and visiting the great outdoors. She is glad to be back at American Heritage and looks forward to another great year!
Mattie Smith, French / Photography Teacher
Mattie June Smith spent most of her life moving around the world because of her father’s job. During elementary school they lived in Taiwan and in high school they moved to France. Ms. Smith graduated in France and then went to BYU-Idaho to study music and French. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she served a mission in Geneva, Switzerland, and her first assigned area was her home ward! She moved to Utah for a teaching position in a French dual immersion program in North Salt Lake. Ms. Smith loves photography and is a volunteer with an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, which provides bereavement photography for families who have lost newborn babies. She also loves to sing and has been involved locally in performances at Hale, Eccles, Centerpoint, and Playmill theatres. She is thrilled to join the American Heritage family and looks forward to enrolling her daughter in kindergarten next year!
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).
Robert Swenson, Music (Dept. Chair)
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.