Grant Beckwith, Principal

Mr. Beckwith joined American Heritage School as principal in 2005. In addition to serving as the head of school, Mr. Beckwith also serves as the director of the school’s Family Education Center and enjoys teaching a high school seminar each year entitled “Principles of Leadership.” Mr. Beckwith serves in a number of volunteer organizations including on the Board of Governors of the Northwest Association of Independent Schools and the Board of Directors of the Younique Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to inspiring and empowering children and women who are victims of sexual abuse. Mr. Beckwith is an active member of the LDS Church and a life-long member of the Boy Scouts of America. Prior to joining American Heritage School’s administration, Mr. Beckwith was a practicing attorney for the Washington D.C. office of Nixon Peabody LLP. A member of the Utah Bar, the Virginia Bar, and the District of Columbia Bar, Mr. Beckwith is a graduate of the BYU Law School and also holds bachelors and masters degrees in accountancy and information systems from the BYU Marriott School of Management. Mr. Beckwith has lived and worked in Moscow Russia, New York, New York, and Washington D.C., and grew up in various parts of the United States including Utah, California, Texas, Florida and Wisconsin. Mr. Beckwith served an LDS mission in Russia (St. Petersburg) from 1993-1995. He and his wife Candice live in Alpine, where they are raising four children (kinder through high school, all attending AHS), goats, chickens, ducks, snakes, dogs, and cats, as well as a few wild foxes and raccoons, who seem to stay well fed by the chickens and ducks. The Beckwiths are deeply honored and grateful to be involved with the mission of American Heritage School, and to associate with the many extraordinary families who are drawn to it.

Blaine Hunsaker, Athletics and Fine Arts

When Blaine Hunsaker was first introduced to American Heritage School he was impressed with the principles taught at the school that develop the Christian character of each child. Mr. Hunsaker is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a bachelors degree in secondary music education and a minor in history. He was delighted to accept a position as a music teacher when first coming to the school in 2002. Later, he would also teach science, and in the summer of 2005 he joined the administrative team. In the summer of 2006 he completed a rigorous certification in the Kodaly methodology of music teaching at BYU. He has performed as a singer in such places as New York, Hawaii, El Salvador and Italy. Though he is grateful for these gifts, his true desire is to work with and bless the lives of children. He and his wife Adrianne are the parents of five sons and one daughter, and consider American Heritage School to be a wonderful blessing to their family.

Elizabeth Acuná, Assistant Principal, Middle and High School (7-12)

Elizabeth Acuná was privileged to attend American Heritage as a student for grades 1-6 and is a granddaughter to H. Verlan Andersen, one of the original school founders. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University and is a mother to six children. She has been involved heavily with education for many years in such capacities as homeschooling her own children and teaching orchestra at Meridian School in Provo. She wrote the charter and served as a co-founder for Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy, a charter high school located in Lindon, Utah, which was ranked the best high school in Utah by Newsweek in May 2010. She served on Maeser’s board as Curriculum Chair for five years where she was later employed as Accreditation Chair, assisted with administrative duties and taught a Music History class. She currently has three children attending American Heritage and is grateful for the opportunity her children have to enjoy the same educational experience she values so much from her childhood. She especially appreciates the unique mission of American Heritage to teach religious truth while expecting academic excellence.

Charné Adams, Assistant Principal, Elementary (K-6)

Charné Adams has over 25 years of experience as an elementary school teacher and principal in private and public schools. Mrs. Adams was born and raised in South Africa. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in South Africa and began teaching in 1994. She immigrated to the United States with her family in 2002 and continued to teach elementary grades. With a deep love for children and education, Mrs. Adams graduated from Idaho State University with a Masters in Educational Administration and Leadership, and has K–12 administrator’s and teacher’s licenses in the states of Utah and Idaho. More importantly, the mission of American Heritage envelopes everything Mrs. Adams holds dear to her heart. She feels honored to be a part of American Heritage School. Besides teaching, Mrs. Adams has directed a school production, created and designed school yearbooks, coached fast pitch softball, field hockey, netball, and swimming, and above all else, is passionate about quality education and the power in realizing one’s potential. She and her husband are the proud parents of five children. Three of their sons and their only daughter are all married, adding three wonderful daughters and one more son to the family, as well as six beautiful grandchildren.

Chase Hale, Business Officer

Chase Hale was drawn to American Heritage by the values and priorities signaled in its mission statement. After completing a bachelors degree in general accounting and a masters degree in financial accounting (BYU Marriott School of Management), Chase began his professional career with Deloitte & Touche. Chase specialized as a financial-statement auditor in Deloitte’s Raleigh, North Carolina, where he was exposed to a wide array of clients across a diverse spectrum of industries. Chase made the jump from public accounting to industry when he accepted an offer to work for MasTec Network Solutions, a project-management company specializing in wireless-telecommunications infrastructure; Chase’s last position before leaving MasTec was as the Regional Finance Controller for the Mid Atlantic market. Chase and his wife Laura enjoy the positive impact the school has on their family as their five children attend as students and as the prescribed literature, history lessons, and other aspects of school curriculum become a starting point for dinner-time and other-family discussions.

David Buer, Advancement Director

David Buer comes to American Heritage with a broad background in public and media relations, marketing, content creation, event management, and non-profit operations and fundraising. After receiving a bachelor’ s degree in communications from Brigham Young University in 2002, Dave spent several years in the Atlanta area doing communications work for a youth-focused sports non-profit while also running a multimedia startup. Dave has worked with clients throughout the country, and has extensive experience in the Utah market after spending seven years as the communications director for a Salt Lake City-based non-profit devoted to public policy and citizen engagement. Dave also spent two years as an elementary school teacher prior to his career in marketing and communications. David and his wife, Jessica, are the parents of five boys, all of whom have been involved at times with the American Heritage Worldwide and Family School programs as the Buer’s conducted homeschool throughout the country.

Kris McKinley, Recruiter – Registrar

Kris McKinley joins American Heritage with great enthusiasm and anticipation! She spent her growing years in Arizona and West Texas after which Kris attended Texas Tech and later BYU where she met her husband. After marriage Brent and Kris resided in Minneapolis and San Francisco but they proudly call Utah “home” and have lived here since 1991. Kris has always felt strongly about her responsibility to be involved in her children’s schooling and the community and has served as President of the Parent Organization and a member of the School Community Council in the Alpine School District. One of her favorite aspects of education has been the opportunity to rub shoulders with children while helping teachers in the classroom. Her most recent employment was at Noah Webster Academy in Orem where she was the Director of Human Resources and Operations for the school, giving her plenty of student and parent interaction, an area that she loves! As difficult as is was to leave the students and staff that she had grown to love over the past 4 years, Kris is excited about working in a faith-based environment at AHS. The McKinleys know that this opportunity is a direct answer to sincere prayer. Kris has been a life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint and has served in many stake and ward leadership callings. Her favorite calling is teaching, especially children and youth. Kris and her husband, Brent have 4 children and reside in Orem.

Melisa Hendrickson, Admissions Manager

Melisa has spent the last year in the AHS Admissions office and the last 7 years at AHS as a classroom aide, parent, and volunteer. She graduated from Utah Valley University where she worked at the University Institute as an Administrative Assistant. She loved her time there and enjoyed the process of supporting the Institute’s teachers, students, and student council.  Melisa and her husband Adam have been parents at American Heritage for the past seven years and consider it a blessing and a privilege to have their two children attend. Melisa has thoroughly enjoyed being able to be with her children at school every day. When she is not at school, Melisa enjoys serving in the primary in her ward, and also loves spending time with her family, baking, and snuggling up to watch a movie.

Kristen Jansen, Admissions Office / Front Office

Kristen Jansen comes to American Heritage School as a recent Utah transplant.  Kristen was born and raised in central Texas and is the oldest of two children.  She attended Texas Tech University and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and Marketing.  Kristen has worked in the financial sector, as well as founded her own photography business.  She is the mother of three daughters and one son.  Kristen’s passions include hiking, traveling, and being with her family and dogs.  She especially loves working with youth in helping them learn to lead.  She feels strongly about giving youth opportunities to fulfill their potential in environments such as school, church, extracurricular, and in families. Kristen is excited to be associated with such an inspiring and faith-based academic institution as AHS.

Nancy Morrill, Admissions Office

Nancy earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Brigham Young University, and has been a teacher for many years including at American Heritage School, Highland Elementary, and in the Franklin, Massachusetts school district. She has also been actively involved with the Utah State Office of Education’s efforts in the areas of accelerated learners, special education, and accommodated learning. Prior to her work in teaching, Nancy was a high-tech recruiter and also worked in public television. She has taught and led in LDS primaries and Young Women organizations for many years. In her spare time, Nancy enjoys quilting, family history work and spending time with her family. Nancy and her husband, Greg, are the parents of twins, Chloe and Ethan, both of whom attended American Heritage School, as well as the host parent for international students.

Peter Knecht, Business Director of Home & Distance Education

Peter Knecht comes to American Heritage School with an extensive background in business development and operations. He dropped out of the BYU Marriott School of Business as a senior to start his first online software business and never made it back. He later sold the business and went on to build various sales companies for a number of telecommunications providers around the country—the last of which became the largest of its kind in the nation. In 2011, Peter was invited by a friend and AHS board member to volunteer his services in support of the school’s new distance education program, which he did for six months before coming on full-time as the American Heritage Worldwide Business Director. In 2012, AHS Worldwide launched Family School, which has served more than 30,000 children all around the globe, and Peter continues to put his heart and mind to work for this important mission outreach. Peter and his wife, Amber, stay busy in their house of four boys, and “bookend” daughter. Of all the things they enjoy, just being together as a family has always been their highest priority. Whether at a soccer match or church activity, working in the garden or racing in a triathlon or 5K—family time is sacred time for the Knechts!

Bob Wheeler, Director of Health and Safety, Facilities and Security

Bob Wheeler comes to American Heritage School with a diverse background not only in facilities management but also significant experience in security, law enforcement, risk management, institutional emergency preparedness, and medical first responding. Originally from Southern California, Bob moved his family to Utah in 2002. He earned a BS in Criminal Justice Administration from San Diego State University, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. Prior to AHS, Mr. Wheeler had a 23-year career in law enforcement, and 7 years as a small business owner. Mr. Wheeler and his wife, Shari, are the parents of four children and live in Alpine, Utah.

Melanie McConkie, Librarian

Melanie is a Utah native. She was born and raised in Orem, graduated from Orem High School and then attended Utah Valley State College. She has three children who have all attended American Heritage School. Mrs. McConkie is an avid reader and loves education. She volunteered in her children’s classrooms and the library until she joined the American Heritage faculty as a third grade teacher in 2005. After teaching for four years, Mrs. McConkie moved from the classroom to the library. She loves assisting teachers and students with all of their media needs.

Jake Kennard, School Counselor

Jake comes to American Heritage as a graduate student and will be starting as a school counseling intern this year. Having worked in a number of high school counseling offices as part of his graduate coursework, Jake has completed degrees at Snow College and the University of Utah, and is currently finishing his Masters of Education at Utah State University with an emphasis in school counseling. Jake was raised in beautiful Heber City, the fourth of eight children. Jake played basketball, sang in the choir, and wrote for the school newspaper at Wasatch High, where he graduated in 2005. Jake served an LDS mission in Tokyo, Japan. Jake loves sports, music, and is a huge movie buff. More importantly, he loves working with students, and is excited to be joining the team at AHS. He and his lovely wife, Lara, were married in the Salt Lake temple in 2009 and currently live in Ogden with their little dog, Chester.

Adam Hendrickson, Finance Manager

Adam was born and raised in Richfield, Utah. He is the youngest of 4 children. He served a LDS mission in Florianopolis, Brazil from 1998 – 2000. In 2004 Adam started Peace of Mind Home Inspections LLC, a growing home inspection company in Utah County. He still enjoys inspecting homes today. Adam has also been extensively involved in the financial services industry and currently holds numerous insurance and investment licenses. He is also involved in the direct sales industry. Adam enjoys serving in his church calling, golfing, reading, and a good movie. Adam and his wife Melisa reside in Pleasant Grove, Utah with their two sons, Logan and Nathan. They have enjoyed their associations at AHS for the past 6 years, and love the mission of the school and dedication of the faculty and staff. Adam is thrilled to be a part of the American Heritage finance team.

Brooke Brockbank, Administrative Assistant – Front Office

Brooke Brockbank is the new lunch lead this year and is very happy to be here at American Heritage. She grew up in Utah, one of 8 children. During college she was able to travel with the BYU ILP program and teach English in the kindergartens in Voronezh, Russia. Upon returning home she married Steve Brockbank and they headed off to California for his schooling. After graduation they moved multiple times to multiple states with the last out of state home being on a farm in Pullman, Washington. This is where she and her husband started “Freedom Camp”. A 3-day camp that focuses on Faith, Family (ancestors), Freedoms (love of America and the founding fathers) and hard work! After moving to Lehi about 4 years ago they have gone on to host 3 more camps with the latest here in Utah County for nearly 100 of their extended family members. This is her family’s passion and last year they were awarded Lehi City’s “Family of Year” award. She loves American Heritage because the people here also have this same passion for Faith, Families and the Freedoms we hold dear in America. She is very excited to be working with the children here. She currently lives in Lehi with her husband and 6 children, where you can find her playing with her children, singing, cooking, working in the yard, and if you ask her 6 year old what she loves he’ll say her favorite thing to do is clean the house.

Kandace Goodrich, Front Office Manager

Kandace was born and raised in Kearns, Utah, but prefers the warmth of St. George where she lived for 9 years. While living in St. George she attended Dixie State University. She has worked in the front office of LDS Family Services for 5 years assisting therapists and clients, which has deepened her desire to educate others about emotional challenges. She loves faith-based therapy, and loves that American Heritage provides a faith-based education. The opportunity to work at American Heritage combines Kandace’s love for office administration work, education, family, and faith. Kandace plans on becoming a Family Life Educator after completing the online Family Life program at Utah State University. She also hopes to become more involved with two organizations she volunteers for – Utah Coalition Against Pornography and Operation Underground Railroad. She served a mission in Nauvoo, Illinois where she deepened her love of the gospel, church history, and teaching. Kandace is the 4th of 8 children, and the favorite aunt of 7. When not working or pursuing education, she enjoys hiking, reading self-help books, organizing, and spending time with two of her five sisters whom she lives with in Orem, Utah.