High School Mentors

Katie Perry

2023-2024 Mentor: Earth Science (live and self-paced)

Katie Perry earned a B.S. degree in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Brigham Young University in 2004. After graduating from BYU, she worked as a GIS Specialist for five years, first for a county government in Maryland and then for an environmental engineering firm in Utah and Massachusetts. Katie’s GIS work involved analyzing and processing geographic data and producing maps for a variety of reports and public and private projects.

Katie and her husband have six children, and they currently live in the Syracuse, New York area. For four years, Katie served on the board of a local homeschool cooperative with approximately 150 students, and during that time Katie taught a variety of courses at the co-op, including Math Art, Forensic Science, and more. Katie also teaches English as a second language online, and this year will be her eighth year homeschooling her own children.

Katie loves traveling, especially if the destination involves camping or hiking. She has a passion for cooking and gardening, and enjoys working on family history.

Avalie Muhlestein

2023-2024 Mentor: Family Science (live and self-paced)

Avalie Muhlestein is an enthusiastic lifelong learner who loves connecting with others and sharing knowledge. She earned a BA in English from Brigham Young University and a MA in Education from Pacific University.  She met her husband Trent at BYU, they were married in the Mt. Timpanogos, Utah Temple in 1998. She has completed more than 100 hours of professional Family Science trainings and certifications including parenting, brain development, addiction, eating disorders, suicide, trauma, attachment, special needs, foster care, adoption, loss and grief, caregiver support, and relationship communication. 

Avalie is passionate about the sanctity of the family and parental choice in education, she is active in promoting legal policies that support and protect children and the family. She is a strong defender of the Constitution and believes that liberty is a sacred responsibility.  She and Trent served as Utah Foster Parents, have worked with abused children and youth and have experienced the Foster-Adopt process. Trent and Avalie are proud parents and grandparents and live on a homestead surrounded by a rotating menagerie of livestock and pets.

Avalie has worked as a teacher in public school, Seminary, and homeschool groups. She volunteered as a tutor for student-athletes taking collegiate and high school level courses in Family Science, Psychology, Communications, English, Humanities and Social Science. She has homeschooled since 2011, and has mentored youth and written curriculum for various organizations. She loves to read, her current favorite authors are CS Lewis, the Apostle Luke, Brandon Sanderson and Timothy Ballard. She loves to serve in the temple, she is currently serving with her husband in their local temple as ordinance workers. She loves to travel and meet people. She has traveled to Central America, Europe and the South Pacific. Her happy place is under palm trees next to the ocean. She has lived in Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, England, Hawaii, Washington and Utah. 
Avalie believes that every person is born for a unique purpose, and that there is somewhere meaningful for everyone to serve in God’s kingdom. She loves to connect youth with true principles and watch as they discover their unique talents and partner with the Savior to find their path to a meaningful life full of service. She loves Ensign Peak Academy and is honored and excited to be working among such excellent mentors and students.

Kursten Mason

World Language Program Director, 2023-2024 Mentor: Senior Capstone Project, French (Live and Self-Paced)

Kursten Mason has been an educator her entire life, from teaching ‘summer school’ to her siblings at a young age to teaching and mentoring in public, private, and homeschools. She attended the University of Utah, served a church mission in France, Paris and returned to finish her degree in French Teaching with a double minor in Psychology and Special Education from Brigham Young University. Years later, she was homeschooling her three children and helping to found Commonwealth Schools while teaching LEMI projects such as Key of Liberty and Sword of Freedom. She’s been a mentor at Paradigm Schools for the past eight years and is excited to join the staff of Ensign Peak Academy.

Her educational passions are languages and history with a special love for French culture and our Founding Fathers and mothers, especially George Washington, John and Abigail Adams. There is power and inspiration in learning about great men and women. She believes that the most rewarding experience is to share that passion with youth and to watch their eyes light up as they find something that excites and encourages them to learn and do hard things.

She lives in Herriman, Utah with her husband, their youngest son (leaving soon on a mission to Montreal Canada, French speaking), their cat and a flock of chickens. She enjoys time with family, babysitting their grand-puppy, walking, hiking, Yoga, reading, and playing games.

Victoria Rutherford

2023-2024 Mentor: American Literature (LC 4), English: Writing Dynamics (LC 4)

Victoria Rutherford has a master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of Utah where she specialized in German Romanticism, and a master’s degree in the Classical Tradition from the University of Reading, UK where she focused on Greek tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides and the uses and abuses of classical tropes in general Western literature.  She has been teaching reading, writing, and literature courses in various academic settings for over 15 years, and she currently teaches at Lane Community College in addition to Ensign Peak Academy.  Her favorite writer (at the moment) is John Steinbeck. 

Victoria loves to hike and to commune in nature. She also enjoys choral music and performs with a local community choir. A lover of humanity as well as the humanities, Victoria has worked closely with children in foster care and has done extensive training in trauma-informed education practices and the cognitive and developmental effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on the learning process. Victoria resides in Eugene, Oregon with her jovial husband and two mischievous sons. 

Jennifer Shaw

2023-2024 Mentor: Chemistry (live and self-paced)

Jennifer Shaw is a passionate person who loves people and experiencing life!

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and has had various amazing jobs from air quality monitoring (at an air force base where they exploded bombs and tested rocket engines), to making semiconductors and running multi-million dollar projects.

Jennifer “retired” from engineering and started her favorite job, which is being a mom!  Her passion and devotion are to her family and to the other kids in her life, whether they are known through 4-H clubs, Boy Scouts, Heroic Youth, mentoring, teaching, or educational travel.

In addition to homeschooling her own kids, Jennifer has taught math, science, chemistry, ballroom dance and sign language in various homeschool co-ops, Benjamin Franklin Academy, Liberty Hills, Paradigm Charter School, Overture Learning and now Ensign Peak Academy.  Jennifer loves to inspire scholars as they explore this awesome universe together.  She has discovered first hand that it is much more rewarding to watch a person’s face, heart and mind light up when they discover something new than it is to complete million dollar projects.

Jennifer likes all sorts of experiences and adventure.  Her favorite hobbies include: scuba diving, riding 4-wheelers, hiking, camping, traveling, cruising, audiobooks, creating things and being with people–especially her husband of 27 years, her three amazing kids, her new son-in-law and her extended family.

Laura Waite, Mentor at Ensign Peak Academy

Laura Waite

K-12 Language Arts Specialist

2023-2024 Mentor: American Literature (LC 2, 3, Self-Paced), English: Writing Dynamics (LC 1, 2, 3, Self-Paced), Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature (Self-Paced), English: Writing Essentials (Self-Paced), High School World Literature (Self-Paced), English: Writing Adventures (Self-Paced), British Literature (Self-Paced), English: Writing Skills (Self-Paced)

Laura Waite grew up in California, earned an Associate Degree from Ricks College (Brigham Young University-Idaho), married a very handsome and talented man, and raised six children (all girls except five!) After 20 years, she went back to college at Grand Canyon University online and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English Education. She has also earned endorsements in business and marketing and gifted and talented education.

Laura just moved to Richfield, Utah where she and her husband are planning to build a house. She has two granddaughters and one more on the way! She loves walking on the beach, hiking to waterfalls, and paddling her kayak. Her favorite activities include writing, traveling, reading, watching movies, and playing games with her family. One of her more ambitious goals is to visit all of the temples in the United States. She also loves to learn and teach and is excited to do it every day!

Heidi Anderson

2023-2024 Mentor: American Literature (LC 5, 6), English: Writing Dynamics (LC 5, 6)

Heidi Anderson attended Brigham Young University-Idaho where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English Education. She did her student teaching in Gilbert, Arizona and then taught reading and writing in the public school system in Arizona for four years. After that she focused on teaching private piano lessons out of her home, and has been doing that for the past 11 years.

Heidi has lived in many different places, but currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and three children. They love the climate and seasons in Raleigh as well as escaping to the beach when they want some relaxation.

Some of Heidi’s favorite things are reading, sewing, and playing piano. She also enjoys traveling and has done so extensively. She can’t wait to add more places to her list of where she’s been.

Kimberly Bingham

2023-2024 Mentor: Human Geography (self-paced), Computer Technology (live and self-paced), Financial Literacy (live 2nd Semester and self-paced)

Kimberly Bingham is an online educator and homeschooling mother of four.  She currently teaches English as a Second Language through an online platform, and has worked as an international relations consultant.  Prior to educating her children at home, Kimberly served as a Logistics Officer in the United States Marine Corps, successfully completing deployment missions to Afghanistan and Iraq.  She received commendation for providing seamless logistics support to 5 forward-deployed operating bases simultaneously in support of global operations.  She enjoys volunteering with the Red Cross, and Kimberly is the Illinois State Ambassador for Home School Legal Defense Association Compassion, which allows her to serve homeschooling families in need.  Kimberly believes deeply in integrity, diligence, and service to others.   She is a life-long learner with a passion for foreign languages, music, and Brazilian martial arts.  Kimberly is excited to be part of the Ensign Peak Academy team!

Madison Maxwell

2023-2024 Mentor: Biology (live and self-paced)

Currently residing near Olympic National Forest in Washington, Madison Maxwell is a science educator in the virtual world and in person, with a love for both. She graduated from BYU – Provo in Biology Science Education and loved doing field research on endangered Utah fish while studying there. Before working for Ensign Peak Academy, she started broadening her skill set by undertaking personal creative projects, like coding and animating for video games, and recently wrote and illustrated a children’s book with hopes of creating more in her spare time.
She also enjoyed educating kids about marine science for the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington. She and her husband have one son, and together they can be found exploring the pacific northwest, finding cool rocks and taking pictures of the wildlife. She also has two cats (who sometimes like to make appearances while teaching) that she loves snuggling while playing video games. Madison believes that hands-on learning and games go hand in hand to create a more joyful school experience. She’s had a great experience teaching the students of Ensign Peak Academy and is glad to be a part of the team!

Nellie Johnston

2023-2024 Mentor: Health (live and self-paced)

Nellie Johnston has a strong foundation in health sciences. She graduated with both her BS and MS in Athletic Training from Brigham Young University. Her degrees helped her develop a strong testimony of the creation and the sacredness of the human body.  Upon graduation, she taught health and PE at a private middle school for several years before she had her oldest child. About five years ago, she started Little Sprouts Cooking, now Growing Thyme Cooking. She has spent the last five years teaching over two thousand kids how to cook and how the nutrients in our food affect our bodies. She is a certified Kids Nutrition Specialist and is passionate about educating families about the benefits of healthy eating and the importance of taking care of our bodies.

Nellie lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and four kids. When she isn’t in the kitchen with her students, she is outside in nature. She loves gardening, hiking and camping with her family.

Jeff Jensen

2023-2024 Mentor: American History (LC 2), Ancient World History (LC 1, 3), Senior Capstone Project

Mr. Jensen’s enthusiasm for the Gospel and teaching will knock your socks off! He has been described as “ultra cheery in an almost unhuman way” by many of his former students. Mr. J sees the light of Christ in all and tries his best to teach to that divine potential and to help all feel the spirit which draws out that spark of amazing awesomeness we all possess.  He is a beloved mentor for youth and has taught history, geography, and government and economics courses for ten years.  He has been with Ensign Peak Academy since it was first established. He was recognized by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as a noteworthy Reagan historian and invited to address them in September 2018. He has published articles in peer reviewed history and academic journals on the RMS Titanic and served as an assistant editor and historical consultant on three BYU publications in the “Saints at War” program. He graduated from BYU with a BA in History and a BS in Child & Human Development. He hopes to one day launch his dream project, “Highways of Heroes,” honoring our nation’s veterans. He enjoyed serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Korea and has spent time as a service volunteer at two orphanages in Thailand.

For 20 years, he has been active in the Sunday School organization, serving as a teacher multiple times and as Sunday School president on both the Ward and Stake level on multiple occasions. Currently he works with YSA and special needs youth as a High Councilor in Saratoga Springs. Harmonizing his faith with his teaching talents is one of his greatest joys, and one he feels blessed to share with your children. He is currently working to help youth in financial need receive scholarships for educational travel to the Holy Land and other spiritually significant sites with the Gather-NOW program.

Jeff’s greatest passion is for his faith and family. He and his wife have welcomed three enthusiastic and passionate boys into their family who always keep them entertained and on their toes. Hiking by day and stargazing by night, being outdoors surrounded by nature is Jeff’s happy place. He also loves relaxing to movie scores, occasionally escaping to Middle-earth, chatting with complete strangers, and finding beauty and meaning in cultures across the world.

Jennifer Whiting

2023-2024 Mentor: Physics (live and self-paced)

Jennifer Whiting achieved an M.S. degree in Physics from Brigham Young University in 2018, in addition to her earlier attainment of a B.S. in Physics and Physics Teaching in 2013. Following her graduation from BYU, she dedicated herself to the full-time care of her family. During her pursuit of a Master’s degree, Jenny’s research involved measuring, analyzing, and processing acoustical data for the directivity of the spoken human voice. Additionally, she used signal processing techniques to enhance a real-time convolution system, and used it to study vocal effort within simulated acoustic environments. Jenny, along with her husband and three beloved daughters, has recently embarked on a new adventure in the Syracuse, New York area.  She pursues many hobbies, from baking and quilting to reading and playing the piano and organ. She also enjoys biking, hiking, swimming, snowshoeing, and photographing snowflakes. Beyond these interests, Jenny is dedicated to clarifying basic physical concepts, consistently striving to make physics accessible, exciting, and delightful to all who encounter it.

Molly Anderson

2023-2024 Mentor: Entrepreneurship (live and self-paced)

Hi Ensign Peak students and parents, my name is Molly Anderson. My family and I live in Sanpete county. We love our valley! My husband Matt and I have been married for 30 years. We have 3 great kids! We have a grandmother we care for, we have lots of pets, and are currently trying to run four businesses, along with taking care of normal family life. It gets crazy sometimes! Or, all the time, like I’m sure your families are too! I am the mentor for entrepreneurship. I have been teaching this class for two years and have thoroughly loved this experience. I love this class and always think I can never love the new students like my older ones. But, somehow I do!  I have been very passionate about entrepreneurship and have done this for more than 20 years. If you know, you know! Hopefully, we can get to know one another and you can join my class! Much love 


– Molly

April Brede

2023-2024 Mentor: Studio Art (live and self-paced), High School Art Appreciation (live and self-paced)

April Brede earned her B.A. degree in English from the University of Utah in 2001. After graduation, April taught high school English in private institutions for nearly a decade. Most recently she has taught English as a second language for an online platform (VIPKID) for the past eight years. Despite an obvious background in English, April is also passionate about art. 

April made it a point to curate a fabulous art education through continuing education courses, in person courses and online courses along with years of hard work and practice. For the past two years, April has been instructing in-person classes at Art Nook. Her students range from five year olds through adults. April feels that art is a skill that can be learned and believes that anyone can create art with the right instruction. She believes that because we were created, we have a divine need to create! April wants to inspire young artists to create art that gives hope, celebrates God’s beautiful creations, and bears witness of individual worth.

April and her husband currently live in Aiken, South Carolina where they enjoy the outdoors with their Shelties and horses. They have two return missionary sons and a daughter-in-law, all whom currently live in Provo and attend BYU. 

Benjamin Muhlestein

2023-2024 Mentor: American Literacy (LC 1), American History (LC 1, 3, 6 and self-paced), Principles of Leadership (live and self-paced), Senior Capstone Project

Benjamin S. Muhlestein resides in Overton, Nevada and is a husband and father of a beautiful wife and six wonderful children. He served a Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission. He received his Bachelor’s of Paralegal Studies from Utah Valley University in 2002, and earned his Master’s Degree in Classical Liberal Arts from George Wythe University in 2016. He has mentored youth and adults nationally and internationally for many years. He taught Seminary for an entire school year as a student teacher.  He is the Founder of Illuminating the Light Within, Restoringthefounders.com, The Quintilian School of Oratory, and The George Washington Character Curricula. Benjamin has a deep passion for learning and teaching principles of liberty and freedom, and has great faith in the rising generation of youth to rise to the full potential of who God needs them to become.

Meredith Beard

2023-2024 Mentor: Career and College Prep (live and self-paced), Let Peace Prevail (live)

Meredith is the mother of three homeschooled children. She has a great love of learning and enjoys studying a wide variety of subjects, including the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is currently living in Utah, after a recent move from Hawaii. She has loved living in many places, including Michigan, California, Nevada, Indiana, Idaho, Hawaii, and Utah. Each place increased her love for the geography of the United States. Her hobbies are spending time with her family, knitting, and traveling. After nearly finishing a bachelor’s degree as a young woman, she returned to her college studies a few years ago, and completed a BS degree from BYU-Hawaii in Elementary Education with minors in Science and History. Meredith loves serving in the gospel of Jesus Christ especially among the youth of the church. She served a mission in California. Her favorite teaching opportunities have included teaching early morning seminary and serving in the Primary.

Genevieve Peterson

2023-2024 Mentor: High School Music Appreciation (live and self-paced), Music Theory (live)

Genevieve Peterson has spent a lot of time on stage, but her favorite roles are being a wife and mother of six children. The arts have always been an important part of Genevieve’s life. She has carefully orchestrated opportunities to study music and theater. She attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts as a Vocal Performance major. She then studied Humanities with a music emphasis at Brigham Young University. As a homeschooling mother, she wanted to give her children meaningful, quality opportunities for artistic education and performance. In 2015, she founded the Sweet Harmony Performing Arts Group, a nonprofit organization that serves homeschooled youth in Davis County, UT. She has led choirs, directed multiple musical theater shows, and coached an award-winning Shakespeare competition team. She loves to teach and inspire others to create! She is thrilled to be a mentor at Ensign Peak Academy where students can combine education and faith into a beautiful duet.

To relax, Genevieve enjoys playing the piano, singing, hiking, swimming, and crocheting. Her family has lived in California and Texas but they currently reside in Kaysville, UT.

Running Class at Ensign Peak Academy

Megan Anderson

2023-2024 Mentor: Running

Mother, Wife, Nutrition Coach, Ultrarunner, Triathlete and CrossFitter

Growing up I was an avid basketball player. I dabbled in other sports, nothing too serious.

10 years ago I started running and haven’t stopped since.  I have run everything from a 5k to a 100 mile ultramarathon (yes all on my own 2 feet and yes without stopping). In the last few years I became a Nutrition Coach, began CrossFit and completed my first 70.3 Ironman.  Fitness has given me not only physical health but mental health and strength as well.

Laurence Hill

2023-2024 Mentor: Yoga

Hi, I’m Laurence. I grew up in Quebec, Canada with my 7 siblings and parents. I was homeschooled for most of my childhood, and absolutely loved it. Being homeschooled gave me the chance to go to many different countries to perform with my family and to testify of eternal families. I served my mission in French Polynesia, Tahiti in 2016-2018. I got married last year and now live in Texas. I have been practicing yoga for the last 10 years, and teaching for 1 year. I love doing yoga. It helps me to build strength, flexibility, and to connect with myself. It also helps me to feel peace and to feel my Savior’s love. My hope and desire is that as we do yoga together, you can build physical and emotional strength, as well as come closer to Christ.