(Looking for an email directory? Go to the Contact Page.)
Abby Alley | Mentor
I attended Brigham Young University and graduated with a BA in History with a secondary education certification. I studied abroad in London, England where I met my husband, Addison Alley. I spent two years teaching World and Utah History to 6th and 7th graders in an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. While there, I participated in the accreditation process as well as the creation of curriculum for the World and Utah History programs. In late 2012 my husband and I welcomed our first child, Alice, into the family. We moved to Washington D.C. in the summer of 2013 so Addison could attend medical school at George Washington University. We currently live in Arlington, Virginia. I am super excited to be a part of the Williamsburg team!
Laura Baker | Mentor & Leadership Coach
I first learned that I love to teach when I began teaching Taekwondo at the age of 15. I haven’t stopped teaching since. It doesn’t matter if I am teaching Martial Arts, music, fitness, cooking, typing, or photography; I love the process of guiding an individual as they learn until they know how to teach and guide themselves. If I become obsolete, I have done my job right! My favorite part of teaching is having the privilege to observe the “Aha!” moment that comes when everything finally clicks in a student’s mind.
As I child, I loved reading, and I still do! I would read any chance I got because I treasured the opportunity to explore different countries, different times, and different realities through the eyes of another person. When it came time to go to High School, I attended Williamsburg Academy, and I understand what it means to be a “burger” (I also know where the original llama came from)! On top of teaching and reading, I also love hiking and exploring in nature, jumping in rain puddles, watching black and white movies, and climbing trees. Bonus fact: As a kid, I had two pet skunks!
Emily Duncan | Leadership Coach
I have always had a great passion for music. When I turned 5, my parents put me in a local children’s chorus and then in middle school, I started learning to play the french horn. I decided that singing was where I wanted to focus, so I began my studies in vocal performance at college, learning as much as I could about art song and opera. As I began teaching, I realized I loved helping others reach their musical goals. Many teachers I had pushed me, supported me, and truly believed in me. I want to be that for someone else.
My husband is a fellow opera lover, so we love to sing together, although we sing more songs from “Frozen” than any opera right now because of our two beautiful and sassy daughters. I love spending time with them — going on walks, checking out the local library, and finding new ice cream shops to sample. We currently live in beautiful Montana, so I’m learning to be an outdoors person by going on lots of hikes and planning camping trips.
Liz Franklin | Mentor
My passions in life are family, the great outdoors, and making connections with students. I was born and raised in the outskirts of Philadelphia. My parents were determined to instill an appreciation for nature in me and my two older brothers by exposing us to numerous vacations of hiking, sailing, river swimming and mountain climbing. I guess some of that nature loving stuck, as I attended Humboldt State University–the home of the redwood forest–and received a bachelor’s degree in Botany. In college I took a particular interest in mycology, the study of mushrooms. After earning my undergraduate degree and working as an enologist in central California, I returned to Philadelphia to be closer to my family and complete a master’s degree in Education. It was there I not only accomplished my two greatest creations, my daughter Rae and son Vincent, but also fell in love with teaching.
As a mentor, I get great satisfaction learning how students think and in turn teaching them to critically assess the world as scientists. My approach to teaching and learning reflects my beliefs, as it focuses on instilling in students the skills needed to be life-long learners. As students analyze, evaluate, and engage in critical thinking and problem solving, they become better prepared to understand and solve complex problems in real life situations. In addition, I hope to instill an appreciation of the natural world to those I mentor.
Last summer my husband Wil and I relocated our family back to Northern California. Here we enjoy going to the beach, hiking in the redwood forest, and mushroom hunting with our kids and “Wolf-a-mute” Chewbacca. I am an avid runner, snowboarder, apiarist and cancer survivor. I love to read (especially books by Annie Dillard), needlepoint, and practice yoga. I believe each day is a gift and should be lived to its fullest.
Andrew Greenman | Leadership Coach
Who am I? I am someone who loves to learn. Education is a life long journey, and I believe that it’s an uphill one. It’s an elevating, enlightening, and empowering adventure. Because it is difficult at times, we need inspiring people to look up to in our lives. I feel blessed to have those role models.
I was public schooled for the majority of my childhood. After my ninth grade in high school, I discovered a new online high school. It was called Williamsburg Academy. Remember the elevating, enlightening, and empowering thing I mentioned earlier? I found this at Williamsburg Academy. I graduated in 2011, and am now thoroughly excited to be part of this great team.
I’m from Burley Idaho, surrounded by great outdoor opportunities. Mountain biking is one of my greatest outdoor passions. I’m a backpacker. I grew up backpacking in the high Uintas and the Sawtooths.
I love to connect with people. When I was in Mozambique Africa for two years, I learned on a deeper level why it is important to connect with people.
Someday soon I will to go back to Africa and help the people there. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
This brings me back to my love of learning. I really believe that education changes the individual, the family, the community, and ultimately the world. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?
N Peter Jensen | Co-Founder
I grew up studying the Liberal Arts, and later earned an MBA at Acton School of Business in Austin, Texas. After business school I wanted to combine my passion for Socratic learning, educational entrepreneurship, and the outdoors. This led to my work as co-founder of Williamsburg Academy Online High School, and Elevation Outdoors. My own education during the intermediate years lacked a positive learning community, with interesting projects and excellent mentors. Williamsburg Intermediate provides students with the kind of education that I desperately needed at that age. My goal is always to provide the best possible education for my children, and yours. My other interests include cycling, backpacking, climbing, reading, and building Lego creations with my boys.
Peter A. Jensen | Mentor
I grew up in rural farm country in Riverside Utah. I come from a family of nine brothers and one sister. After school I spent two years in London, England. I then attended Utah State University, ultimately receiving my degree in Political Science. While at school I met and married my wife Tammy. After graduation, I received my commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and proceeded to spend six years on active duty. While serving I have had the opportunity to deploy three times, twice to Iraq and once to the former Yugoslavia. After leaving active duty, I ran a private school in Northern Utah for two years. I currently live in St. George, Utah and have three girls aged eleven, eight and six. I still do reserve work for the military, spend lots of time reading and studying, but mostly love being with my family.
Alec Johnson | Mentor & Leadership Coach
You could probably best describe me by calling me a philosopher, but many people think of philosophers as old men with bushy mustaches who sit in armchairs and rehash 2,000-year-old debates that are too complicated for anyone to figure out and too abstract for anyone to care. I’m not like that. As I see it, a good philosopher is someone who can see through ordinary assumptions and illusions to see the world as it really is, and it turns out that the world is a wonderful and beautiful place. I love discovery. I love nature. I love laughing. I love understanding people. I love teaching. And it’s all because I really believe that if you can just see and understand the world, you realize how great and how exciting it is. That’s what I mean when I call myself a philosopher.
I live in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley, where I recently graduated from Southern Virginia University with majors in philosophy and politics and a minor in business management and leadership. I spend my spare time reading or studying, and exploring the world by making new friends and getting out into nature. I also enjoy creative writing, web design, and Rubik’s cubing.
Liz Kirk | Co-Founder & Assistant Director
When I was in middle school, I longed for my summer break all year. Summertime meant exciting projects, true friends, great books and real choices. Williamsburg Intermediate is a place where the summertime ideals from my childhood are alive all year round! In the years since those summer days, I have been working to help students receive a quality education. I studied English Literature in my undergraduate program, and earned a master’s degree in Education a few years later. I also taught at a charter school, mentored adults in the classics and ran a colloquium group for over 5 years. In my last job I helped run a corporate/government educational program where I helped 600+ staff members expand their business education. Working in Washington DC gave me the chance to watch political issues from my agency land in the newspaper, on television and on the floor of Congress. In the last 10 years I’ve also enjoyed learning through travel. I’ve explored China’s political history and Italy’s magnificent artistic history while in those countries. These experiences have helped prepare me for the rich discussions we’ll be having in the classroom, as well as the exciting journey we’ll be taking together this year! I’m so excited to be working with the exceptional students at Williamsburg Intermediate!
Sydney Maucotel | Mentor
Rob Noorda | Mentor & Leadership Coach
I’m a committed jack-of-all-trades with a wide variety of interests, from astronomy to beekeeping to bookbinding. I run a few websites and own a small publishing company with my wife. I speak Chinese and really bad Spanish. I travel a lot, but mostly in search of Mexican food.
I grew up in Las Vegas, but am currently living in Scotland, where I am constantly freezing and often cry myself to sleep because I can’t find a Taco Bell. I live right by a castle, but haven’t seen the sun in months.
I studied Chinese and Business Management at Brigham Young University, including lots of travel around Asia working with and learning from international businesses there.
My one weakness is my hardcore red-green colorblindness, so I can easily be bested in a game of Uno.
Erin Reynolds Mwanje | Co-Founder & Director
I was raised in the Rockies. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around spending time in the desert biking, building sage-brush forts, and digging hide-outs. I dreamed of being part of a school where projects like these were tied to real-life skills entailing academic rigor, where friends and I could talk about what we’d learned, challenge ourselves, and grow together. Years later, when my experiences teaching in a traditional classroom left that long-ago dream hollow, I entered Harvard’s Graduate School of Education in pursuit of a second master’s degree. There I studied project-based learning, neuroscience and education. I returned again and again to the question, “What about online ed?” My work at Williamsburg Intermediate is a fruit of my youthful dreams and many years teaching and asking, “How can I make education more effective, more rigorous, and more fun for more kids?” I hope you’ll join me in this adventure! When not teaching, I love spending time with my amazing husband Dan hiking, camping, traveling, reading, cooking or listening to music.
Lucas Reynolds | Mentor
Besides teaching, I have many other passions. I love running with my wife, backpacking, and playing with little kids. I also get a lot of satisfaction from taking apart machines and seeing if I can fix them. Oh yeah, and I also really enjoy making homemade Argentine food, where I lived for two years. I believe in living life to its fullest and in finding someone to help every day. In 2013 I graduated summa cum laude with a BA from Southern Virginia University in Politics and a minor in Spanish. My wife and best friend, Catherine, and I currently have one child, a new baby, but plan on someday having enough kids to warrant a large kitchen table. We currently live in Buena Vista, Virginia.
David Rees | Mentor
I have been tutoring math and science for over six years and have been a student of science my entire life. I love explosions, unpredictable chemical reactions, figuring out why stuff does what it does, and eating hot slices of Hawaiian-style pizza. My greatest award in science was being voted “most likely to be a mad scientist” by my classmates at Carbon High. I’m close to finishing a BS degree from Southern Utah University in Physics, Chemistry and Biology, with an emphasis in classical scientific thought. My wife, children and I live in Cedar City, Utah. My background in computer technology helps me find fun and unique ways to make math and science come alive in Williamsburg’s online courses.
James Ure | Co-Founder
When I was thirteen, I began home schooling. I raised animals, built stuff, destroyed stuff, and explored the desert on my dirt bike. I also read and wrote quite a bit. I worked hard, but didn’t have a good system for measuring my progress. I missed studying with friends and yearned to work on fun projects with others my age. Since that time, I have helped create Williamsburg Academy and Elevation Outdoors. Williamsburg and Elevation nurture the kind of learning my parents and I yearned for when I was thirteen. I have gone on to graduate from BYU in English and to study constitutional law at South Texas College of Law. If my parents and I had had an organization like Williamsburg on our team, I would have been better prepared! Now I have three children of my own whom my wife and I hope can benefit from these exciting resources. Williamsburg and Elevation fill up my life with meaning because I love learning, teaching, and exploring. My hobbies include rock climbing, running and taking pictures. I also love watching movies with my sweetheart, Angela, and telling stories to my three children.