Middle School Campus

Name: Heather Berginc
Grades: 7th/8th Math/Art of Argumentation
B.A, Philosophy (NAU)
Email: heatherberginc@fjacademy.com

I have been a part of the FJA family since 2013. I moved from Phoenix to flagstaff in 2009 to study philosophy at NAU. After graduation I settled into teaching mathematics and supporting our local student council. My first goal as an educator is to support the students, what ever level they are at, to find their niche within the school system and to grow into happy and successful young adults.

Name: Matt Bingham
Grades: 5th-8th Grade Guitar Elective
Email: mattbingham@fjacademy.com


I have been a part of FJA since 2015. Getting to work with the students on music has been very rewarding experience for me! When I’m not teaching guitar, I love spending some time outside in this amazing outdoor friendly town of Flagstaff, practicing yoga, and writing and recording music. 

Name: Elii Chapman
Grades: 5th
Courses Taught:
Mathematics, Science
AA General Education, Cerro Coso Community College
BS Sociology (NAU)
M. Ed. Elementary Teaching and Learning (NAU)
Elementary Education Certification K-8
Art Education Endorsement K-12
Email: eliichapman@fjacademy.com

My teaching career began further down the trail of my life, so I bring with me experiences from parenting, creating and teaching art, traveling, and serving as a social worker for at risk youth and families. To this I have added 7 years of teaching. The learning community environment that I work to design is dedicated to students as individuals with adaptations for each that include: tangible proof of academic growth on a regular basis, opportunities for student choice and self expression, collaboration, parent communication and involvement as well as connection to the community outside our school. I began the Masters in Liberal Studies program when the principal goal for each student was to determine the most effective ways they could make the world a better place. I wanted to explore the meeting of the needs of kids and families at risk through art education. As a result, I changed majors and pursued a degree in education so that with certification, I could use my knowledge and skills to do just this.

In those years of teaching since then, I have made connections with students by helping them overcome math fear, find strength in written, spoken and artistic expression, as well as find their natural connection to the beauty of the world around them. I know that being part of the learning community at FJA will add some more wonderful experiences on trail of my life as I keep working to make the world a better place, every day.

Click here for the Chapman class blog.

28000Name: Matt Clark
Grades: 7th-8th
Courses Taught:
Fine Arts
Get Rad club
B.A. in Studio Art (U. Georgia)
Email: MattClark@fjacademy.com

Originally from Georgia, I moved out to Flagstaff for the outdoor sports. Following the inspiration from my high school teacher, in 1999 I started working at FJA Middle School as a part time art teacher. The following year I became the full time art teacher and have been lifting students from the muck of mediocrity ever since…

09928Name: Tony Cola
Grades: 6th
B.S. Wilderness Rec. Leadership
Email: TonyCola@fjacademy.com

Class Website

At NAU, I studied Parks and Recreation Management with an emphasis on Outdoor Education. I graduated in 2000, and traveled working seasonal jobs. In the summers, I worked as a whitewater kayak instructor, raft guide and backcountry ranger in Glacier National Park. In the winters, I worked as a counselor at several youth at risk facilities and also as a group home support staff member for adults with disabilities.

After travelling around for three years, I finally moved back to Flagstaff in the fall of 2003. I decided that I loved working in the outdoor industry, but I wanted something more stable. I loved working with kids and that is when I started working on my Master’s Degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Biology.

When I am not working I spend my time traveling and being outdoors with my dogs. I also enjoy my time restoring air-cooled Volkswagens. I am looking forward to a great school year. Please feel free to stop by the classroom to see what we are doing.

Name: Priscila Gutierrez
Grades: Spanish
Email: priscilagutierrez@fjacademy.com

I am a Costa Rican native, fluent in Spanish and English, with several years of experience teaching Spanish and English to students of multicultural backgrounds. I have worked with the Environmental Education Division at Grand Canyon National Park providing language learning with environmental education and using the outdoors as my classroom.  I am passionate about communicating, connecting, and working with people from diverse backgrounds. I love traveling and getting to know new cultures. Therefore, I am very happy to share my experiences with my students and to help them become curious about the world.  I find passion in opening my students to other realities and perspectives. I enjoy and employ drama, poetry, storytelling, and music when teaching to promote artistic expression, social capacities, and critical thinking.

12121Name: Lou Haiduk
Grades: 6th
Courses Taught:
Language Arts
Social Studies
Student Council
B.A. English Language Arts
B.A. Theatre Arts
Texas Secondary Teaching Certification
Email: louhaiduk@fjacademy.com

I am from White Deer, Texas and earned my degrees at Texas Tech University.  After college, I served two years in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps where I traveled across the country maintaining trails, tutoring students, building homes, removing invasive species, and developing a knowledge and appreciation for project based learning.  I joined the FJA team in 2013 and hope to be here for many years to come.

My goal as an educator is to provide an atmosphere for students to share and learn from one another. I use journaling, class discussion, cooperative learning, and much more! Feel free to stop by or email me to see what we’re up to this week.

2600Name: Steph Jackson
Grades: 7th/8th grade Science
Email: stephaniejackson@fjacademy.com

Name: Jocelyn James
Grades: 5th-6th grade Art
MEd SpecialEducation
BFA Painting
BA Liberal Arts
Email: JocelynJames@fjacademy.com

I grew up near New York City and had the opportunity to see lots of art, music and dance as a child and to witness the transformational nature of the arts first hand. It is my goal as an artist and art teacher to encourage and support students to gain a lifelong interest in art and confidence in making art. I believe Arts Education is as important to our students as math, science, English or Social Studies. Arts Education supports creative and critical thinking and helps students to consider issues of social justice in their world.

I am excited to be working as FJA’s Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) Coordinator. As part of my Master’s level training I was awarded a Positive Behavior Support Certificate from Northern Arizona University. Here is a link to information about PBIS in case you want to know more!

I look forward to working with Students, Staff and Families as FJA implements this exciting program at our school

80088Name: Ben Jefferies
Grades: 5th-8th
Courses Taught:  Wellness, Health, Physical Education
Athletic Director
BA in Economics from the University of Kansas
Minor in Sociology also from KU
Elementary Teacher Education Certification – currently enrolled
Email: benjefferies@fjacademy.com

I grew up in rural Kansas exploring the hills and creeks, biking and hiking, and generally enjoying the outdoors. My passion for adventure eventually led me to Guatemala, Utah, and Arizona, where I have worked for wilderness therapy and guiding companies backpacking, rock climbing, and cycling. I believe that staying healthy is a product of discovering physical activities which are fun for the individual. I strive to introduce my students to a broad spectrum of healthy activities while empowering them to seek out their own passions. We get only one life and one body and it is vital that we develop healthy habits from a young age.

I also know that within the context of a wellness curriculum learning across the academic subject areas is possible. I hope to align my lessons with the greater FJA community to create a cohesive educational experience for our students.

On my free time I enjoy reading, rock climbing, cycling, trail running, backpacking, and beach volleyball, amongst other pursuits. I am excited about this great opportunity with FJA in the 2015-16 school year.

Name: Nate Joe
Grades: 7th-8th Special Education Aide
Email: natejoe@fjacademy.com


Name: Ron Kuzara
Grades: 7th/8th Social Studies

I grew up just outside Minneapolis, Minn. and got my bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. I’ve compiled a litany of work and living experiences (e.g. computer hardware and network sales in Mpls.; distribution manager for a wholesale bakery in Seattle , WA; youth hockey coach in Oslo, Norway). In Dec. 2000, I moved to Flagstaff and began working toward a career as a social studies teacher. This year (2017-18) will be my third at FJA. Prior to working here, I spent 11 years in the Flagstaff U.S.D., all in middle schools teaching social studies (my first three years were at the FUSD school in Leupp, on the Navajo Reservation). I enjoy all sports, play organized hockey and softball here in town, and coach the wrestling team here at FJA. My photo is on the Verde River with my dog, Petey.

Name: Brooke Langley
Grades: Special Education Teacher
Email: brookelangley@fjacademy.com

I was born and raised in Phoenix and then moved to Flagstaff to attend NAU. I graduated in the Spring of 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education (grades K-12) and Elementary Education (grades K-8th). I am passionate about helping students reach their full potential. My goal is to build my students’ confidence and help them achieve success every day. I am so excited to be a part of the FJA community!

Name: Carrie Nicklason
Grades: 5th-6th classroom aide
Email: carrienicklason@fjacademy.com

Name: Stephanie Page
Grades: 5th-8th
Courses Taught:
5th/6th General Music
7th/8th grade Band
BA Music from NAU

I was born and raised in Flagstaff. I began learning the piano at a very young age and stuck around to attend Northern Arizona University for my degree in Music. I currently own and run a small music studio where I teach private piano, guitar, and brass lessons to students of all ages. I’m very excited to join the team here at FJA!

2300Name: Neil Ross
Grades: 5th & 6th
Courses Taught: 
Social Studies, Language Arts
Mountain Biking
Fossils of Flagstaff
M.A. in Elementary Ed.
M.A. in Anthropology/Archaeology
B.A. in Anthropology/Archaeology
Email: NeilRoss@fjacademy.com

After a year of teaching Spanish on both campuses, I have been teaching English and Social Studies for quite a while at the Middle School. During the 2018-19 school year, students will learn about American history from the first inhabitants thousands of years ago through the Civil War, and perhaps beyond into modern times. In my class, students develop their reading, writing, note-taking, and organizational skills; utilize critical thinking, problem-solving, and cooperation; and put their creativity into projects that let them apply their unique talents as well as what they’ve learned. I try to pass on my love of history and archaeology and help students appreciate the diversity of cultures and points of view in the world.

Check out the class Facebook page to keep on top of what’s going on in class.

I’m proud of the Mountain Biking Club, which I started my first year at FJA. Flagstaff’s amazing trails are what drew me here from New Jersey, and I’m glad to play a part in the future of mountain biking here.

1800Name: Matt Sarnoski
Grades: 7th & 8th
Courses Taught:
Language Arts
Lives of Music
B.AiL.S in Music/Psychology (NAU)
Email: MattSarnoski@fjacademy.com

I have been a Flagstaff resident now for over 14 years. After graduating from NAU in 2000, I helped found a non-profit after-school program and began working with FJA. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work in many capacities at FJA: before/after care; music instruction; Middle School Language Arts; 4th-6th classroom teacher; and substitute teacher. Outside of school, my time is filled with family life, farming, kung-fu, and even riding my bike into work from Doney Park. My goal as an educator is to empower every student to believe in their own personal value, and to give them various tools with which they can successfully negotiate the chaotic world around them.

Name: Michael Walsh
Grades: Special Education Coordinator