Teachers

Team Up with Professional, State-certified Teachers

Teachers at the Idaho Virtual Academy are among the best in the state for virtual education. They consider themselves your partners in your children's education and are available every school day to help you and your children through any challenges you may face. Here are many of the K-5, middle school, and high school teachers you'll get to know at the Idaho Virtual Academy.

K-5 Teachers

Joan Baillie attended Boston State College and graduated with a B.S. in elementary education in 1981. She has held teaching credentials and taught at the primary level in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Mexico. She received her initial Idaho education credential in 1999. Mrs. Baillie enjoys interacting with students and partnering with their families as they explore and learn in the online environment.

Keri Brown, K-5 Master Teacher, has worked for IDVA since 2005 and is currently the master teacher for grades K-5. Keri holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Boise State University and has an endorsement in K-8 reading. Before joining IDVA, Keri taught for eight years in the Nampa and Vallivue school districts and has teaching experience in first, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms. She was also a reading specialist for intermediate Title 1 for two years, working with struggling readers. Keri has continued studying best educational practices through post-graduate courses.

Susan Carns has been with Idaho Virtual Academy since 2003. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from the University of Montana. She then enrolled in University of Phoenix and earned her master's degree in education, curriculum and technology. In addition, she is endorsed in library media, K-12. Her work history includes eight years as a classroom teacher in Montana prior to moving to Idaho.

Jennifer Dorris has been with IDVA since 2003 and works with families in Northern Idaho. Raised in Coeur d'Alene, Jennifer graduated with a degree in elementary education from the University of Idaho in 1997, with an emphasis in early literacy. She has taught first and second grades for five years in the Coeur d'Alene School District. She has also been involved in curriculum alignment for several years. She has taught IDVA's summer reading program and the extended year reading program for the past several years. Jennifer loves working with IDVA families and teaching in a virtual setting.

Erin Edwards has a bachelor's degree in elementary education with endorsements in reading and special education from Lewis-Clark State College. She continues to challenge herself academically with continuing education courses. Mrs. Edwards taught Title 1 and first grade with the Coeur d'Alene School district prior to joining the IDVA team. She has worked as the K-7 start-up specialist, middle school math teacher, K-5 teacher, and is currently a K-2 teacher. She loves the opportunity to work in an online environment where she can provide support to both learning coaches and students.

Sara Grove graduated with a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Idaho. She has been with IDVA since 2012 and she enjoys being a part of the virtual schooling model and helping students achieve the skills and confidence necessary to be successful.

Jill Gudgell has been teaching since 2000 and has been a teacher in the virtual setting since 2009. She graduated with her bachelor's degree in human and community development from the University of California, Davis, where she earned highest honors. She holds a K-8 Idaho education credential, a Gifted and Talented certification, and a master's degree in computer-based education. Mrs. Gudgell has a lifelong passion for mathematics and teaching, and she could often be found "instructing" her stuffed animal students in arithmetic as a child.

Kristi Poole came to IDVA with varied teaching experience. For 11 years, she taught elementary music, intervention, general education in an elementary classroom, and high school special education. Mrs. Poole is excited to be a part of the teaching staff at IDVA. She has a passion for teaching and she can't wait to work with her students!

Jill Schmoll earned her B.S. in education from the University of Idaho. Jill came back to IDVA in 2013 as a K-5 teacher after teaching middle school here during the 2008-2009 school year.

Tami Waski earned her bachelor's degree from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego along with a Master of Teaching, Learning, and Technology. Prior to joining IDVA, she taught in the San Diego area for six years at a Title 1 school that serviced a large population of military families. Utilizing district grants, those classrooms had a computer-to-student ratio of 1:2. She led staff development in her district in the area of technology, and she worked with teachers one-on-one to implement technology-rich practices in their classrooms.

Middle School Teachers

Esther Adcock has had the amazing privilege to be a middle school math teacher at IDVA since 2010. She was born and raised in Boise but traveled some right out of high school, winding up in Oregon and graduating from Eastern Oregon University in 2009. Every year she continues to see IDVA students and families thrive in unbelievable ways in our unique school setting, and she is grateful to be a part of this team!

Lisa Frost, Middle School ALP Teacher, has been with IDVA since 2003. She leads the middle school advanced learner program and teaches math and English/language arts.

Samie Hartney joined IDVA in 2013. She graduated from Whitworth University in Spokane, WA many moons ago (1998). Samie began her teaching career with nine years in a fifth grade classroom, pursuing technology in education. Since then she has taken an interest in teaching mathematics with a bang and has been teaching for more than 16 years.

Amber Hatrock, Middle School Master Teacher, graduated from Lewis-Clark State College with a B.S. in elementary education and a K-12 endorsement in special education. Amber is passionate about education. She is experienced with the school-at-home model, and she strives to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for learning with students and parents.

Kellsie Kater teaches middle school History. This is her sixth year with IDVA, and in previous years she taught ELA/English middle school classes. She received a bachelor's degree in elementary education with a full literacy endorsement from Boise State University in 2004. She went back to Boise State and earned a master's degree in literacy in 2011. Before joining IDVA she worked as a substitute teacher in the Meridian School District and spent six years teaching first and second graders in an arts-based charter school.

Megan Moran taught for six years in Caldwell prior to joining Idaho Virtual Academy in 2014. Megan graduated from the University of Idaho in 2003 with a degree in crime and justice studies. In 2005, Megan graduated from Heritage University with a master's in teaching, which is her passion.

Lisa Percifield grew up in Oregon. Her family moved to Astoria, Oregon, located on the coast, where she finished her high school years. She graduated from Eastern Oregon University (EOU) in 2003. After graduating from EOU, Lisa moved to Marsing, Idaho to teach middle school reading and language arts. She taught at Marsing Middle School for nine years before joining IDVA. Every year, Lisa looks forward to getting to know her students and their families and an exciting year of learning!

Carrie Stuart is in her seventh year as a Middle School teacher with IDVA.  She graduated from Boise State University in 2002.  While there, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education (K-8) and a full endorsement in Special Education (K-12).  Carrie taught elementary special education in the Meridian and Boise School Districts, for several years, before coming to IDVA.  During her time at Idaho Virtual Academy, Carrie has taught Pre-Algebra and Language Arts.  She loves working with middle school students and is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Idaho Virtual Academy community.

High School and Vision High School Teachers, Support Specialists, and Counselors

Maeli Bastian has been teaching online at the high school level for six years and for two years at the collegiate level. She also taught in-building for seven years. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Idaho State University and continued on to earn her master's degree in health education from there. Health is a topic she loves, and it was the driving force that motivated her to make teaching her career. She quotes and lives by Count Rugen's statement in The Princess Bride, “If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything.”

John Benson has been with IDVA since 2012. He has a Master of Education degree in secondary education. His field of expertise includes: business technology education, economics, English as a new language (ENL), marketing technology education, and middle school mathematics.

Becky Bermensolo taught middle school Spanish for nearly six years before coming to work for IDVA in 2005. She holds an education degree from the University of Idaho with an English major and Spanish minor. She loves the intricacies of all languages and is grateful to have the opportunity to teach both languages for IDVA.

Michelle Boggs came to Idaho Virtual Academy with nine years of experience teaching science including earth science, biology, AP biology, environmental science, integrated science, physical science, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology. She earned her B.A. in biology from Wittenberg University (Ohio) and a master's degree in earth science from Wright State University (Ohio). She taught in Ohio, New Mexico, and California prior to moving back to her home state of Idaho.

Susan Davies earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Idaho in secondary math education with an endorsement in psychology. Susan has taught traditional high school courses in addition to adult education courses at Boise State University and college courses at Brown Mackie College. She has 6 years of experience tutoring high school students and 18 years of experience as a homeschooling parent of 6 children.

Sean Dorris has taught at the Idaho Virtual Academy High School since 2008. He is currently teaching government, economics, AP history and senior project. Before arriving at IDVA, Sean spent ten years teaching in a traditional format. He earned a B.A. in government and economics from the University of Montana with a secondary education endorsement. Currently he is working to complete his M.A. in educational administration from the University of Idaho.

Carolyn Fabis has been teaching in the alternative high school social studies program since its beginning. She holds a Master of Education in technology from University of Phoenix where she also earned her secondary teaching credentials. Her undergraduate degree is a B.A. in marketing communications with a minor in psychology from Columbia College Chicago.

Kristy Green teaches English for the IDVA high schools. Her undergraduate degree is a B.A. in secondary education, with a major in health and a minor in English. Prior to joining IDVA she taught in Pocatello for four years. She is excited to be a part of the online learning community.

Teresa Henry graduated from Northwest Nazarene University with a degree in biology education in 1988. She taught oceanography and geology at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Kansas, for one year and at a private school in Lawrence for three years and has been teaching in various capacities ever since. In addition to her duties at IDVA, Teresa has served as a long-term substitute teacher in the Nampa School District.

Tamara Hutton holds a master's degree in reading from Northwest Nazarene University. Her undergraduate degree is a B.A. in English teaching. Tamara began her career for the Vallivue and Notus school districts as an English teacher, advisor, and coach before moving to IDVA.

Becky Ipsen taught at Skyline High School and Taylor View Jr. High in Idaho Falls before moving to Idaho Virtual Academy. She holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife management from Utah State University, and her secondary teaching credential was obtained from Idaho State University. Before going back to school to receive her teaching credential, Becky worked for the Idaho Falls office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and for the U.S. Forest Service, and she served as a biological technician for the Utah State University Water Lab.

Christine Lake has been with Idaho Virtual Academy since 2012. She has served as a high school teacher in the science and math departments. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Health Education from Idaho State University.

M. Quinn Lindsay has been with Idaho Virtual Academy since 2010. She held the advisor position when she first came to IDVA and currently is teaching social studies. She taught at Snake River High School and Idaho Digital Learning Academy before coming to IDVA. She earned her B.A. in secondary education, majoring in history, from Idaho State University in 2006.

Michelle Mattson began teaching for IDVA in 2006. She graduated from Idaho State University in 1998, and has been a physical education and health teacher since 1999. She began teaching in Pocatello at the Teen Parent Center. In 2001, she and her husband moved to Paris, Idaho, where she taught elementary physical education and health for several years before coming to IDVA. Michelle loves interacting with the students and learning about each one of them.

Megan Orias has been with Idaho Virtual Academy since 2008. She taught high school and middle school in the brick and mortar setting for six years prior to coming to IDVA. Megan earned her bachelor's degree in math education from Northwest Nazarene University in 2003.

Adrienne Shilling is an Idaho native. She taught secondary science in the classroom in California and Idaho prior to joining Idaho Virtual Academy. For 11 years she taught classes such as biology, chemistry, physical science, ornithology, environmental studies, and anatomy. She has a B.S. in both biology and secondary education from Idaho State University. She really enjoys being a teacher at IDVA where she can continue to share the importance and joy of learning. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked as a research technician on a variety of ecology projects throughout the United States. One of the most exciting places she worked was on Prince William Sound in Alaska, where she was part of a project funded by Exxon to rehabilitate salmon habitat.

Dennis Smith has been with IDVA since 2011. He teaches Algebra 1, Honors Physics, and Physical Science. He has a Bachelor of Science in physics from Humboldt State University and a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from the University of Idaho.

Noel Tew attended Ricks College where she also studied abroad for a summer semester in Europe. After getting her associate's degree from Ricks (BYU-Idaho), Noel completed a bachelor's degree at Idaho State University in secondary education. She majored in history and minored in mathematics and is certified to teach both at the high school level.

Bob Vialpando has been with Idaho Virtual Academy since 2009. He has been an educator in Idaho for more than fourteen years. He has an undergraduate degree in mathematics and has completed all coursework for his master's degree in mathematics education. He is currently a data analyst for K-12, but he continues to teach calculus and pre-calculus for Idaho Virtual Academy.

Andrea Wells, High School Master Teacher, has been with Idaho Virtual Academy since 2009. She has taught many different English courses and fulfilled several different roles, including Middle School Language Arts Teacher, High School English Teacher, High School Department Head, and now Master Teacher. Andrea earned her B.A. in English from the University of California, and her M.A. in curriculum and instruction from La Sierra University. She is passionate about encouraging a love of lifelong learning in everyone she works with, from students to parents to staff.

High School Counselors

Jesse Altsuler, Vision High School Counselor, has worked with adolescents for the past fourteen years as a mental health specialist, psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, and as a licensed therapist at a residential school. He has been the counselor for the IDVA Alternative High School since 2013.

Jessica Lecertua, High School Counselor, has been with Idaho Virtual Academy since 2010. She received her Master of Arts in counseling from Boise State University, and she became a LPC in 2010. Additionally, Jessica holds a certification in PPS. Her undergraduate degrees include a Bachelor of Science in psychology and an Associate of Science in criminal justice administration. For her thesis, Jessica examined the relationship between various attachment disorders and at-risk behaviors in adolescence and early adulthood. Jessica has been an active participant on the board of directors for the Idaho School Counselor Association since 2011.

Special Education

Special Education Department

Gwendalyn (Gwen) Buthman joined IDVA in 2011. She graduated in 2001 with a degree in special education and elementary education. She also earned a master's degree in instructional design in 2013. She has worked as an education coordinator, fourth grade teacher, junior high teacher, and special education teacher specializing in behaviors.

Lori Ellesmere-Jones received her master's degree from California State University, Fresno. She has been a special education teacher with Idaho Virtual academy since 2005. Prior to IDVA, Mrs. Ellesmere-Jones taught in California. She has experience working with students who have various academic, emotional, and physical needs. She loves helping students with various needs develop their full potential.

Becky Fisher is a graduate of Utah State University with a degree in elementary and special education. She is excited to be working for IDVA! Before joining the IDVA team, Becky taught for four years in brick and mortar schools in Maryland and Pennsylvania and then worked for the Pennsylvania K12 school for eight years where she was a high school special education teacher.

Brittany Holloway has been with IDVA since 2008. She graduated from Boise State University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education, a master's degree in special education, and endorsements in special education and consulting teaching. She loves teaching at IDVA because of the close relationships she builds with the families and students.

Amanda Judd joined IDVA in 2009. She graduated from Lewis-Clark State College with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and endorsements in reading and special education. She enjoys working with students with a variety of disabilities.

Jody Liby graduated from Boise State University with a bachelor's degree in history in 2000 and later earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in special education. Jodi has many years of teaching special education and several years working in the private sector with individuals with disabilities. Jodi is very excited to get to know her students and to work collaboratively with their families.

Erika Oliver graduated from Idaho State University in 2012 with a degree in special education K-12, and she has been teaching for IDVA since 2013. She previously taught dance in a variety of settings and has experience as a developmental therapist.

Kayla Stookey was born and raised in Nampa. Upon graduating from high school, she went to the University of Hawaii, Hilo campus, for two years. Kayla then attended the University of Idaho, where she earned a master's in physical education and special education in 2011. Learning and teaching have always been Kayla's passions in life. She has been a coach and a referee since she was in high school. Kayla's philosophy has always been, “Everyone is a teacher, and everyone is a learner.” She lives and teaches by that philosophy.

Melissa Weber, Special Education Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI) Specialist, graduated with a B.A. in psychology from George Fox University in 2004. She worked in Portland, Oregon at an inpatient psychiatric hospital for children until 2006 when she moved with her husband to Idaho. From 2006 until 2008 she worked as an IBI for a developmental disability agency in Boise. Melissa joined Idaho Virtual Academy in 2008 as the school's behavior interventionist.

 

Family Academic Support Team

Alex Zamora, Family Engagement Administrator and School Social Worker, has a Master of Social Work degree, post-graduate training in counselor education, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate.

Kelly Reinier, Family Compliance Liaison, joined IDVA in 2016. Previously, she worked in the Truancy Department for a local school district, and has worked with students in some capacity for roughly 20 years. Before devoting her time to working in education, she was a small business owner of a beautiful, fun home décor boutique. Originally from Santa Maria, CA, she now lives in Nampa with her youngest child. She also has three grown children and a grandchild. When she’s not knee deep in attendance issues, she enjoys being in the water, sunshine, garden, or just swinging on the back porch.

Amy Baranco, Family Engagement Coordinator, joined IDVA in the fall of 2015 working as a Family Support Liaison. She has a compassion and heart to love and lead her students and learning coaches as they build their success with IDVA. She attended Fresno State University as a nursing major before moving to Idaho and pursuing her love for children and opening a daycare, and now that her own children are starting school, she has found her passion at IDVA.

Bev Beals, Family Support Liaison, has been associated with IDVA since 2003 in various roles. She has been a learning coach, proctor, substitute teacher, special education assistant, placement specialist and now a Family Support Liaison. She enjoys spending time with her three grown daughters, reading, playing the piano, and doing yard work.

Janis Deneen, Family Support Liaison, joined IDVA in 2014. Prior to becoming a Family Support Liaison, Janis was a learning coach with IDVA for nine years. She looks back at that time as a great learning experience for both her and her son. She earned her bachelor’s degree in natural resources from Humboldt State University before she went on to earn a multiple subject teaching credential from Chico State University. She never used her teaching skills in a formal classroom, but did find other avenues to use them, including wilderness education, Cub Scout leader, soccer coach, and of course--learning coach. Janis now lives in Boise with her family.

Pam Montgomery, Family Support Liaison, is in her second year with Idaho Virtual Academy, and is happy to be helping families. She has been married 29 years. Pam has 3 dogs, 2 cats and 22 chickens. She also is the proud mom of two sons. Pam went to college to become a police officer, as she wanted to help people. Her hobbies include gardening, rock hounding, camping, canoeing and looking for Sasquatch.

Lisa Stein, Family Support Liaison, is in her fourth year with IDVA. She brings seven years of experience as an IDVA Learning Coach to the position. Lisa has a Bachelor’s Degree from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Lisa enjoys working with IDVA students and learning coaches and helping them to be successful in our school.

Cassidy White, Family Support Liaison, joined IDVA in 2016, and lives in beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho. Cassidy earned her bachelor's degree in Communication from Arizona State University. She moved to Idaho six years ago from Florida. Cassidy and her husband have been married a year and a half, and they just had their first daughter. In her free time, she loves being outside and spending time with family.

Jennifer Edwards, College and Career Advisor, has proudly been with Idaho Virtual Academy for over 6 years. She moved from Seattle, Washington to Boise, Idaho when she was 15 years old. Jennifer has since fallen in love with the great state of Idaho and is thankful to call it home. She graduated from Boise High School and attended Boise State University as a Psychology major. While attending college, she met her husband and they have been married for over 20 years. She is a mother to both a high school junior and a 7th grade middle school student, who also attends Idaho Virtual Academy. Jennifer has a Labradoodle and a Golden Retriever, Sunny and Harley. On the weekends, she enjoys camping and hiking up into many of the Alpine lakes around McCall. This school year, she looks forward to working with our IDVA families and helping our students take the next step toward a successful future.