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Gail williamsen - executive director

Gail Williamsen, along with her husband Thom, founded Elizabeth Academy in 2008. Gail was born and raised in Salt Lake City and attended public schools, graduating from Highland High School. She began her undergraduate studies at the University of Utah while designing women's apparel and producing the catalogs for LeVoy's Lingerie. Interrupting school and career, she paused to focus on what she considers to be the most important of her life's work--the rearing of her seven children. Gail returned to the University of Utah in 2004, continuing her formal education and earning her BA in English.

She completed her Master of Education degree and American Montessori Society (AMS) Administrative credential through the Institute for Montessori Innovation at Westminster College. Gail has a passion for lifelong learning and particularly enjoys great art, music, and literature.

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katie hedman - head of school

Katie has over 12 years of experience in the field of education. She has a Masters degree in Counseling with a focus in applied behavior analysis a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, Natural Sciences and Special Education. She has a Lower Elementary Montessori credential and is a Level 2 Licensed Special Education Teacher, has MANDT training and is a Wilson level 1 reading instructor. 

She spent the first part of her career in Special Education, working with all different age groups. In 2011 Katie moved to Utah where she found Montessori. Shortly thereafter, she was able to complete her Lower Elementary Math, Language, and Philosophy studies in Montessori. In addition to her love of Montessori, Katie also saw a need for behavioral support in schools and gained her Masters in Counseling, with a focus in Applied Behavior Analysis. Throughout her educational experiences Katie has worked with students and parents at the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels, in both clinical and home settings.

Katie comes to us from the American International School of Utah (AISU) where she worked as the Special Education Director and then as the Elementary Director. Katie believes in meeting every child where they are in their educational path and fostering a growth of love and learning. She recognizes the importance of parental involvement in ensuring each learner’s success.

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mandy fuhriman - inclusion director

Mandy has a Master's Degree in Special Education, Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation and an AMS Early Childhood Montessori credential from the Institute for Montessori Innovation at Westminster College. Prior to joining the Elizabeth Academy staff in 2012, she worked for two years as an adaptive physical education instructor and for three years as a special educator for the Gilbert Unified School District in Gilbert, Arizona, and at Highland High School.

Mandy also has experience teaching in an inclusive preschool classroom at the Garfield Learning Center. She has worked as a volunteer with the National Ability Center, the Kiwanis Felt Community Recreation Center, the Highland Cove Retirement Center, and Evergreen Junior High.

Mandy has coached soccer and basketball, and was an NJCAA Women's Basketball Academic All-American in 1995. She enjoys physical activities such as sports, running, boating, and competing in races and triathalons. Mandy and her husband Josh have four children.

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lisa fels - business manager

Lisa has been a Montessori school administrator for over a decade and holds a global MBA with distinction from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BBA in International Business and Spanish. She completed her American Montessori Society (AMS) Administrative credential through the Institute for Montessori Innovation at Westminster College. 

Prior to joining the Elizabeth Academy administrative team, Lisa was the Co-Director of Montessori Community School, where she was instrumental in the growth and development of the school’s elementary and middle school programs, with a focus on sustainability and authentic Montessori best practices.

Lisa is originally from Wisconsin and has lived in and traveled to many places in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational in Portuguese. She is on the Board of Directors of Elk River Foundation and volunteers with Elk River, helping to guide adolescents in juvenile justice system programs through Native American talking circles and sweat lodges. She loves hiking, camping, reading, yoga, traveling, and spending time with her family. Lisa has two sons.

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laura van hook - school counselor, Elementary & Secondary integrated services

Laura brings 16 years experience as a clinical social worker, including leading a team of 13 medical social workers and working in the neuro-trauma unit at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City. She also has experience as an inclusion teacher in the Tulsa public schools, developing individualized education plans for students with disabilities and collaborating with classroom teachers to implement those plans, and as a self-contained teacher at Parkview Elementary.

Laura has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from Brigham Young University.

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Katie Buydos - executive assistant to the executive director

Katie has 18+ years of administrative support experience.  She has supported several CEO's as well as the City Manager, City Council, and Mayor of Bloomington IL before coming to Garfield Academy.

Katie grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago.  In her spare time she enjoys being active! Her favorite activities include mountain biking, ice hockey, indoor bouldering/climbing, hiking, and working out.  She currently lives downtown Salt Lake City and enjoys the urban life-style.

Katie is married to her husband Jeff and they have two dogs, Peanut and Molly.

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cindy gardner - receptionist

(Vacant position) - administrative assistant/receptionist

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paige helotes - admissions specialist

Paige has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (K-8) and holds her Utah State Teaching license. After teaching for one year she is again a member of the Elizabeth Academy administrative team, where she has developed a passion for Inclusive Education and the enrollment process at Elizabeth Academy. Paige loves the social and emotional aspect of growth and development in the classroom.

Paige loves spending time with her family and has found so much joy, growth, and love in being a mother to her children. She loves being physically active and growing emotionally and spiritually.

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jessica collins - controller

Jessica has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Grand Canyon University. She has nearly a decade of accounting/bookkeeping experience and joined the Elizabeth Academy team in 2016.

Jessica and her husband Robert have seven children. Her hobbies include camping, hiking, yard work, shopping and sewing.

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jodi lutkin - bookkeeper

Jodi is working on her Masters of Motherhood with her 5 children, ranging from ages 7-18. She was born in Utah but spent most of her childhood in Texas. Her husband Mark is from England where they lived abroad before moving back to Utah. They have lived in Murray for 17 years. Jodi worked in the banking industry for 17 years before she came to Elizabeth Academy as the bookkeeper. She is actively involved in the Down syndrome community serving as a community group leader for the moms’ of the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation. She also serves as a support leader for the organization Reece's Rainbow. She loves spending time with her family and friends and enjoys bringing people together.

She enjoys music, singing, writing, baking and the sun, with many freckles to prove it. Outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and boating are some of her favorites. She loves her dog Harriet as much as she loves mashed potatoes and gravy and she LOVES mashed potatoes and gravy. She enjoys to travel, Hawaii being her top pick. Jodi is happy to be a part of the Elizabeth Academy team.

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branden hodges - events coordinator

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dave horn - facilities manager

Dave has a Plumbing Trades degree from Salt Lake Community College and experience operating and supervising a residential plumbing company called Core Water Solutions. He also worked as a foreman for V&S Plumbing and as an apprentice electrician for Mott Electric. Prior to joining the Elizabeth Academy staff, Dave worked as a material logistics technician for Caterpillar and as a lead skilled trades technician for Lozar Apartments. He also has experience in the security industry, having managed a twenty man security detail for Andrews International and having worked as a security officer lieutenant for CBI Security.

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KRISTIN DEHERRERA - INCLUSION SUPPORT & CARSON SMITH SUPPORT

karen zabriskie - lunch program coordinator