Educational Specialist Tuesday
I graduated Cum Laude from Utah State University with a dual major in Special Education and History. I started out wanting to teach History with Special Education as “my back up plan”, but as my career went on, I discovered Special Education to be my true love (with history as a close second ;). I love the challenge of figuring out how each child learns. It is the best feeling to see “the light go on”, as something finally clicks in a child’s mind. I have had the opportunity to teach children in many different settings. My experience ranges from teaching communication skills to children with severe autism, to instructing young children on how to do a chaise in dance class. When I am not chasing my own 5 children around, I can be found coaching a team, volunteering at church, running (sometimes for exercise, and sometimes to save my four-year-old from yet another disaster), reading, or eating a huge bowl of Lucky Charms. I am so excited to be a part of this program, and your child’s education experience.
Educational Specialist Thursday
Traci Folkersen is beginning her fourth year at Davinci Academy. She graduated from the University of Utah in Elementary Education. She worked for Jordan School District, at the district office, in Curriculum and Staff Development for 10 years and then returned several years later to work in the testing department. She then taught at DaVinci for 2 years. She has loved working with both the students and parents in the Distance program. She has been married for 28 years and has one daughter and three boys. She enjoys traveling, decorating, camping, spending time with her family, learning new things, and doing all sorts of art/craft/painting projects.
Teacher and Event Planner
Cydnee Peterson graduated from Ricks College with her family science degree specializing in professional preschool education. She then owned and operated her own preschool/daycare that served more than 150 students from age 6 weeks to 6th grade. She continued her education and was licensed to work with early intervention programs assisting families of children with special needs. Following a family move to Indiana she took a position with a private school where she was not only a classroom teacher but also develop curriculum and implemented enrichment activities. She has been happily married to her husband for 24 years and they are the parents of 5 children. She enjoys cooking, kayaking, hiking, reading, writing, and has a special fondness for Disney Land.
Morgan has always loved kids. Ever since she was a young girl she couldn't wait to grow up and have a family of her own. She's been married 10 years and has 4 beautiful children with her husband Chris. Homeschooling was a big dream of hers and having the opportunity to teach at the distance program has been the cherry on top. Her children have attended Davinci Distance for 4 years including the upcoming school year and this will be her 2nd year teaching. Her favorite part of teaching is really getting to know each one of her students and trying to make every lesson fun and memorable. Some of her favorite things to do include reading, thrifting, watching movies, and playing at the lake with her kids.
Debbi Anderson has always loved children and working with them. She graduated from Utah State University in Family and Human Development with an emphasis in Early Childhood education. She worked on Capitol Hill in the Education Committee. She was the president of the children's group at her church for 3 years. Debbi has 4 wonderful children. She loves to travel and spend time outside. She loves reading and going to book club each month. She absolutely loves teaching at DaVinci Academy.
Elise Jensen is thrilled to be a teacher at DaVinci Academy! She has always loved working with children and especially enjoys helping them discover new concepts, develop their talents and self-esteem, and reach exciting goals. Elise and her husband are the proud parents of five crazy kids who keep her very busy and always entertained. Some of her favourite things include travelling, action movies, rainstorms, music, Sunday naps, laughing, Mexican food, and a really big drink from Fiiz.
Melissa Howell has been teaching for 25 years. First as a private piano and voice teacher, then as a homeschool Mom to her 4 children. That changed her life! She went on to teach in Homeschooling co-ops where she received training through workshops and taking classes wherever she could. She served as chairman of her teen's homeschool co-op and taught history and drama classes. She helped start a homeschooling support group in Davis County and taught and helped train other Moms at homeschool workshops and meetings. Melissa eventually began writing curriculum for and teaching for Harmony Education. She then came to Davinci Academy to teach and has loved every minute! She especially loves instilling a love for drama and music in her students. She is a huge history buff and loves teaching that subject on Epic day. Melissa started her education as a Theater major at SUU where she performed at the Utah Shakespearean Festival and then went on to receive her Bachelor's degree in Music from the University of Utah. Some of the things she enjoys doing is spending time with her family, going to the mountains, reading, watching movies, going to concerts and plays, baking, walking/hiking (when the weather is fine) and playing piano and singing. She is currently singing Soprano with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir where she performs regularly and goes on tour. Within a 4 year period, she has sung in the cities of Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., New York, Boston, Amsterdam, Munich, Frankfurt, Zurich, Vienna and Paris. So now she likes to Travel as well! She and her husband, Bryan are now starting a new adventure: They just became grandparents in 2016!
I have been with DaVinci for 4 years and I absolutely love my job! I have been married to my husband Dustin, who is a protective services officer for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department, for almost 22 years. We have three sons (20, 19 &15) and a daughter (7) who are my heart and soul. Before Davinci I worked as an office manager and apprentice to a real estate appraiser until I quit in 2001 to foster a 4-year-old child with special needs who now has become a permanent member of my family. I was a stay-at-home-mom from 2001- 2014 when I got back into the workforce and began teaching for Davinci. I also have two dogs who I love (almost) as much as my kids, Willow who is a standard poodle and Lucy who is a goldendoodle. In my spare time, I love to decorate! My poor husband never knows what changes he’s going to come home to and has learned to “expect the unexpected”. I enjoy finding old pieces of furniture and redoing or restoring them. I love to go to movies and get more excited for the popcorn and soda than the movie itself. I love to read and hope that some of my passion for books can be passed along to my students. I love the friends I’ve made while teaching for Davinci and I am truly blessed to be part of the lives of all these amazing students
Thursday E.S. Assistant
This is my second year working for Davinci. In 2015 I retired from Zion’s Bank where I worked for over 30 years. Prior to that I was a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines and based in New York. This was a fun time in my life but I knew that New York was not where I wanted to live forever so I made my way back to Utah where I met my husband, Gary, and married him in 1974. Gary and I have three beautiful daughters and seven amazing grandchildren who are our whole world. We also have two standard poodles, Roxie and Flynn, who keep us company when the grandkids aren’t around. I have a passion for Ford Mustangs and owned my first one in 1966 (sure wish I still had that one!).