High School Mentors

15542Elizabeth Smailes

2018-2019 Live Program:  Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, English: Writing Essentials; Senior Capstone Project

Dr. Elizabeth Smailes is a mentor for serious readers. She believes that edification and education can, in the right setting, support and build on one another. As a seminary teacher for over 15 years she has a broad gospel base. She believes that when this gospel base is used to judge all other literature, the result is electrifying. Dr. Smailes is a graduate and former mentor from George Wythe University. This educational background enables her understand how students can see themselves and the world through the lens of great leaders and thinkers of the past and present. She studied Logotherapy and received a certificate of completion from the School of Logotherapy, located in Dallas, Texas. Logotherapy was developed by neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frank. It is founded upon the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one’s life that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. She believes that we are here to inspire one another and receives her most tender inspiration from her grandchildren, as she sees hope and joy in their eyes.

Chris HeadshotChristopher Jones

2018-2019 Live Program: Senior Capstone Project

2019-2020 Live Program: Senior Capstone Project

Christopher Jones (alias Mr. C) has for several years taught classes on history, civics, and Defense Against the Dark Arts both on- and off-line as part of the growing private/homeschool movement. This will be his third year teaching full time. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.A. in Classics (Roman History) and minors in English and History, and has a lifetime in politics—including running a presidential campaign–to go with acting, singing, and writing. A sought-after speaker on education and history, he is also a working writer, with four published books, dozens of articles and essays, and a long-running popular blog. Mr. C resides in Lehi, UT with his wife Mrs. C, their eight children, two cats, and a growing flock of free-range finches.

Jeff Jensen

Jeff Jensen

2018-2019 Live Program: Modern World History; Senior Capstone Project

2019-2020 Live Program: Ancient World History; Senior Capstone Project

Self-Paced Program: Modern World History, Ancient World History

Mr. Jensen is a beloved mentor for youth and has taught online history, geography, government and economics course for over 6 years. He is a popular speaker and has logged over 3000 public speaking hours, most in classroom settings across the state as a guest lecturer on the Titanic and U.S. history. He was recognized by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as a noteworthy Reagan historian and invited to address them in September 2018. He is currently working towards publication of his first book, a history book called “The President’s Pages.” He has published articles in peer reviewed history and academic journals on the RMS Titanic and serves as assistant editor and historical consultant on 3 BYU publications in the “Saints at War” program.  He enjoyed serving an LDS mission in Korea and Hong Kong, and as a service volunteer in two orphanages in Thailand. He stays politically active and has taken leadership roles in local politics.

Paul HinksonPaul Hinkson

2018-2019 Live Program: Chemistry

Paul graduated from UVU with an Associates of Science and is currently working on a Bachelors in Physics Education and Masters in Education. He is a foam sword enthusiast and plans how to terraform Mars in his spare time. Paul will respond to the names Paul, Beardy, Brother Beardy and ‘you.’ He lives in Mt. Pleasant, UT with his wife Christine (Sister Brother Beardy) and a flock of chickens and ducks.

Samara StarchmanSamara Starchman

2018-2019 Live Program: Financial Literacy

Samara earned her Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in 1994.  Since then, she has had many adventures in education and business.  From managing car dealerships to teaching High School Algebra to managing commercial high rises, she lives by the motto “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.”  [Helen Keller]  Currently, she is homeschooling her children, teaching English to children in China online, and taking on creative projects in graphic design and video editing.  She lives in Avondale, Arizona with her sweetheart Ray and her two favorite children.  If you ask her why they are her favorite children in the whole wide world, she’ll tell you it is because she made them.

Kaleb AlbeeKaleb Albee

2018-2019 Live Program: Computer Technology

Kaleb graduated from Eastern Washington State University with a Master of Science in Computer Science and two minors in Math and Physics. During his studies, he concentrated on AI, hacking, and Databases.  His main professional career has focused on computers, but his first love had been physics and math.  He loves to look at new technologies, read about what is going on in the world, loves to play RPG video games, action games, reading to his kids, and hang with the family.  He lives in Farr West, UT with his wife Sheri, children, and a bunch of dogs and cats.

Rachel SniderRachel Snider

Self-Paced Program: Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, English: Writing Essentials

Rachel Snider has had her nose in a book ever since kindergarten. This habit led to her eventual graduation in 2001 from Brigham Young University with a degree in English Literature. She homeschools her 5 children and has taught various classes for Kaplan. She has also mentored classes at Front Range Liberty Commonwealth in Broomfield, Colorado, and acts as a writing mentor and coach whenever she gets the opportunity. She always has quite a tower of books on her nightstand which she loves to read and discuss.

Diann Jeppson Portrait 2017Diann Jeppson

Self-Paced Program: Health

Diann Jeppson is devoted to creating fulfilling learning experiences for students. She is the former program manager for the American Heritage School Online Middle and High School Program. With 25 years experience teaching her own children, 15 years experience as a family education coach, and having produced 18 annual education conferences, Diann is delighted to put her expertise and experience to work, as the director of Ensign Peak Academy.

Her background in health education includes 7 years management of Westside Natural Food Co-op, 18 monthly presentations on health given at a local fitness center, production of 18 monthly health newsletters, former certified La Leche League Leader, and service as a former Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Midwives College of Utah.

Diann’s experience also includes 18 years as producer of an annual youth civics conference called “Simulations Week,” 23 years as producer of the Liberty Girls program (history-based experiential learning for children) and 5 years experience teaching and directing American Youth Leadership Institute, a youth civics education organization. Diann has fulfilled numerous speaking engagements at education conferences and seminars in the US and Canada. She has chaired four non-profit educational organizations and has 10+ years experience as a parliamentary procedure consultant and trainer. She is a certified tour guide for the State of Utah.  She has a BA from a private, classical liberal arts college.

Diann enjoyed performing for 8 years in a family bluegrass ensemble called “The Wildflowers” (guitar and vocals). She and her husband Adam live on a 2.5 acre homestead in Mount Pleasant, a small Central-Utah town in a secluded high-mountain desert valley. Adam is the town gunsmith. Adam and Diann have four delightful daughters, two handsome sons-in-law and six terrific little grandchildren. Connect with Diann personally on Facebook. View Diann’s work and service experience profile on LinkedIn.

Leah_JeppsonLeah Ellis

Developer for the High School Music Appreciation Course

Leah Ellis was born and raised in West Valley City, Utah. She and her husband Spencer Ellis currently resides in Rexburg, Idaho where she is on track to graduate in July of 2019 with a BA in Music with a string emphasis and a minor in Marriage and Family Studies. She has been playing music since she was five years old, when she received her first violin. Leah enjoyed 19 years of private violin lessons, including 8 years under the instruction of Emily Day-Shumway, former member of the Utah Symphony and Concert Mistress of the Utah Chamber Orchestra. Leah performed in the Utah Youth Philharmonic for 6 years, and in the BYU-Idaho Symphony Orchestra and ensembles for 3 years, along with multiple community orchestral and choral events. Leah attended the Lyceum Music Festival in 2011. Leah also performed with her family bluegrass band “The Wildflowers” as a fiddler and vocalist for 8 years, which brought her much joy and sparked her desire to perform and share music with others. While violin is Leah’s main instrument, she also enjoys playing the piano, guitar, and singing in home activities and numerous events. Leah has 2 years’ experience as a private tutor in elementary level reading, literature, art and music theory, and has 10 years’ experience teaching private violin lessons to students of all ages. She has taught two previous online Music Appreciation courses. Leah served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission, Portuguese speaking, which was one of the great joys in her life. Along with music, Leah also enjoys drawing, painting with watercolors, reading, and being with her friends and family.