- 1 Michael Farley – CEO / Superintendent
- 2 Mark Smith – Principal and Chief Administrative Officer
- 3 Nathan Justis – Chief Academic Officer
- 4 Jennifer Humphries – High School Director
- 5 Janae Powell – Middle School Director
- 6 Jessica Tsu – Elementary Director
- 7 Kate Youmans – Director of Project-Based Learning and CTE
- 8 Erica Glenn – Performing Arts Director
- 9 Ashley Satterthwaite – Math Director
- 10 Karen Kendall – Special Education Director
- 11 April Todd – Academic Coordinator
Michael Farley – CEO / Superintendent
AISU Superintendent Michael Farley is responsible for the conceptual development of AISU’s public/private hybrid international school model, he wrote the charter application for AISU, and is functioning as the School Developer for AISU. Mr. Farley has extensive experience with charter school start-ups. While serving as a charter school authorizer at Central Michigan University in 1994-95 he assisted more than thirty groups navigate through the challenges of opening new schools. He later served as the founder and administrator for the Woodland School in Traverse City, Michigan, a K-8 school that opened in 1996. While serving as the Director of Education for the George C. Marshall Foundation, Mr. Farley led the design and implementation for Phoenix Military Academy, one of the first “Gates Small Schools” in Chicago, which opened in 2002. In 2006 Farley served as the Founding Director for Entheos Academy, Utah’s first Expeditionary Learning school. In 2008 he received a Masters in Educational Administration as a National Fellow in the Leadership for Educational Entrepreneurs Program at Arizona State University, a program designed for charter school leaders that combined MBA courses with courses in educational administration.
Mark Smith – Principal and Chief Administrative Officer
Mark Smith had a successful business career adapting technology to solve critical business problems. He led the Wall Street engineering teams that automated trading at the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the American Stock Exchange. He was part of technology startups that focused on the first solutions for ATM machines, the job search software for Monster.com, and on Internet security encryption. Before changing his focus to education, Mark was the President and Co-Founder of CentrePath Software, which managed optical networks for some of the largest companies in the world. His expertise in technology took him all over Europe and East Asia, working with people in many different cultural settings.In 2006, Mark began his focus on education from the student and teacher’s perspective. He joined the team led by Michael Farley to found Entheos Academy, a Utah charter school based on expeditionary learning. During the last eight years, as a mathematics teacher and in administrative positions, he has focused on developing student-centered pedagogies and earned a Master’s in Instructional Design with research on student self-management and blended learning. He feels that blended learning gives students the opportunity to develop critical thinking and group collaboration skills while they are acquiring a great set of practical tools to be successful in college and in their 21st century occupations. Mark believes in letting students be responsible for a learning environment where they feel safe and respected, where they expect to be challenged, and where they hold themselves truly accountable.Mark and his wife Pam enjoy walking, hiking, and bike riding and keeping track of their three adult children and two grandchildren. Mark is an avid cyclist and swimmer and likes to relax by reading (mostly non-fiction) or playing the guitar. He plays basketball on a regular basis and coached middle school hoops for over 15 years. Mark graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with a B.A. in Liberal Arts with minor studies in economics and mathematics.
Nathan Justis – Chief Academic Officer
Nathan Justis has worked in public education for ten years. After studying physics teaching and math education at Brigham Young University, he began his career teaching physics and astronomy at Riverton High School. He was named “Outstanding New Teacher of the Year” for Jordan School District in 2005. While teaching at Riverton, Nathan also completed a master’s degree in physics teaching at Arizona State University and served as student government advisor. He was then asked to create the physics and student government programs at the newly opening Herriman High School. After opening these programs at Herriman, he taught advanced mathematics and coached teachers in Canyons School District. Insistent upon pursuing innovation in education, Nathan left Utah to complete a second master’s degree in school development and school leadership at Harvard University. While at Harvard, Nathan worked as a leader in an urban school in Boston and joined a strong national network of school innovators. He’s thrilled at the chance to return to Utah and put his skills and experience to work for AISU.In addition to his passion for education, Nathan’s interests include: outdoor sports and recreation such as cycling, swimming, triathlons, fly-fishing, hiking and camping; national and international travel; and music in the form of guitar and vocal compositions and performance.
Jennifer Humphries – High School Director
Jennifer Humphries has worked in education for 19 years. She spent the first ten years of her career working as a public speaker and adult educator. It was during her work with adults that she saw clearly the impact a positive childhood educational experience has on self-confidence and a successful adulthood. With a commitment to childhood education, she began teaching kindergarten for Challenger School in 2004 where she enjoyed using creative ways to inspire every unique learner. Throughout the last decade Jennifer has taught students in kindergarten, college and many ages in between. As an administrator dedicated to teacher and parent education, she has had the privilege of training hundreds of teachers and parents throughout her career. She attended the University of Utah and has since returned to pursue a Master’s Degree and Certificate in Positive Psychology. Jennifer is dedicated to providing adolescents with a High School environment where each individual student feels valued. She is committed that every AISU student develops an unshakable sense of self-worth and the skill to design and live a life that inspires them.
Jennifer has volunteered extensively throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Most recently she partnered with the YWCA Women’s Shelter of Utah where she helped to develop and implement the Summer Bridge Program, which works to bring homeless children in residence up to current grade level. Consistent with her passion for service, she will be taking a group of AISU High School students on a humanitarian trip to the Dominican Republic in May 2016. These students will have the opportunity of a lifetime to be part of a team of volunteer physicians, dentists and AISU students serving the global community. They will volunteer in a clinic, distribute hygiene kits and teach English.
You can contact Ms. Humphries by emailing her at Jennifer.Humphries@AISUtah.org.
Janae Powell – Middle School Director
This is Janae’s 24th year in education and she loves her profession. Janae had the opportunity to teach in Utah, New York, Miami, Singapore and Jakarta, Indonesia. Her expertise in education is Middle School Social Studies and she has taught everything from Kindergarten Music to 12th grade Comparative Government. Janae was raised and educated in Utah and graduated with a BS from Brigham Young University in 1988. During her education, she worked for Senator Harry Reid, studied in Vienna, and earned extra major skills in Dance, Orff Music and Chinese History. At AISU Janae has worked as a Success Coach, Literacy Teacher and Middle School Director.
Janae has a wonderful husband of 23 years and 3 phenomenal teenage children. She has lived in 4 countries, traveled to over 46 and is always planning her next adventure. Janae is currently a member of the Assistance League, where she helps support several local children’s charities. She also works with the Andes Educational Fund, which provides support for 3 underprivileged schools in Peru. In her free time she enjoys traveling, reading, quilting, and being outdoors. You can usually find Janae with a Diet Coke in hand and a smile on her face.
You can contact Ms. Powell by emailing her at Janae.Powell@AISUtah.org.
Jessica Tsu – Elementary Director
Jessica has been teaching for over 8 years. In that time, she has taught, third, fourth, and fifth grade, and has been named, “Teacher of The Year,” on two accounts. She has helped successfully open a charter school, has had training and experience in Expeditionary Learning, writing curriculum, and Project-based Learning. AISU’s model for Upper Elementary follows the successful Acton Academy Model, which is similar to Project-based learning and Expeditionary Learning. Jessica’s experience with creating curriculum, Project-based Learning, and Expeditionary Learning will deepen the level and quality of Quests (Science and Social Studies units created in the Acton model). Jessica will not only be conquering the task of directing, creating, and implementing a successful Upper Elementary Program, but will also have the opportunity to be one of the Upper Elementary teacher-guides.
Jessica is excited to direct the Upper Elementary and still have the opportunity to teach because she enjoys teaching. Teaching gives her the chance to inspire and help shape young minds positively. She also loves the opportunity to ignite a love for life-long learning within children, and help them realize their individual worth within the context of their peers and outside of their family. She works every day to ensure that each student feel loved, accepted, and safe when they come to school. She creates an environment where students can be themselves and yet understands the value of success and failure. Jessica creates an environment where students choose to persevere and revise when necessary.
She believes that within each child lies a genius; and to help fully reach this genius, each child needs to be supported by parents, teachers, and community members, as well as students taking an active role in their own responsibility to learn. She truly believes, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Jessica enjoys nature, photography, traveling, the arts, family time, different cultures, reading, sports, community events and festivals, and learning. She has a 130-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback named Simba, who she has taught many fun tricks to, including turning off the lights, giving high-five, playing dead, and holding treats on his nose.
Contact Ms. Tus at Jessica.Tsu@aisutah.org
Kate Youmans – Director of Project-Based Learning and CTE
Kate is thrilled to be joining the innovative team at AISU as the Director for Project-Based Learning. Prior to joining AISU, Kate spent 7 years working in the medical device industry after completing her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Working for leading companies such as Johnson and Johnson, she developed a variety of surgical instruments from initial conceptualization to product launch. In her role she had the opportunity to work with international surgeons and industry thought leaders to establish cutting edge surgical treatments. In her time outside of work Kate actively worked to develop students’ interest in STEM careers through informal education programming with the National Science Foundation and the Society of Women Engineers. In 2010, Kate decided to pursue her passion in a more formal way, joining the Office of Engineering Outreach Programs at MIT as their Manager of Middle School Programs. In this capacity, she led two academic enrichment programs serving over 120 students from Boston and the surrounding communities. During this time she built collaborations with undergraduate students, top leaders in the field of education and university staff to implement a culture of hands-on and experiential learning for students. In 2014, Kate earned an M.Ed. in Science Education from Boston University and completed her student teaching in an 8th grade Physical Science class. Kate is passionate about providing students with the inspiration and 21stcentury skills needed to be successful in future science and engineering careers.
Kate is excited about relocating to the Salt Lake area and all the outdoor adventure opportunities it provides. She has traveled extensively including expeditions to the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica and many of the National Parks. In her spare time, Kate enjoys exploring the outdoors, swimming competitively and cooking/baking for friends.
Erica Glenn – Performing Arts Director
Erica Glenn holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music Theory and Composition from Arizona State University and the Longy School of Music and an Ed.M. in The Arts in Education from Harvard. While at Harvard, Erica presented at the 2013 Arts in Education Conference, engaged with cutting-edge research from Project Zero (the country’s pre-eminent research center for arts education), became a semi-finalist in the BRIDGE Educational Enterprise competition, worked in the Educational Outreach Department at the American Repertory Theater (a frequent launching pad for Broadway shows), studied with the designers of Multiple Intelligence Theory and Universal Design for Learning, partnered with the creators of Sesame Street to create a digitally-based learning platform for children, and conducted empirical research under the guidance of Howard Gardner. At Longy, she served as an Experiential Education Assistant, establishing a children’s musical theatre and private piano program in a low-income area of Boston.
Erica has taught music privately for over a decade and has been faculty at Dean College (MA), the Franklin School for the Performing Arts (MA), and the Soul Arts Academy (NYC). She is also a co-founder of various arts organizations, camps for children, and choral groups throughout UT, AZ, Boston, and NYC. She studied both choral and orchestral conducting at ASU, Longy, and Harvard. Erica has performed lead roles in over a dozen musicals, and she directs, music directs, and produces at the community, professional, and college levels. As a vocalist and pianist, she has given recitals internationally and has sung with the Brighton Festival Chorus and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Tuscany International Children’s Chorus (among others). In 2013, Erica participated on scholarship in the ASCAP Marvin Hamlisch Broadway Conductor’s Program which culminated in a performance with cast and orchestra members from Broadway’s Wicked.As a composer, arranger, and playwright, Erica has worked with Charles Strouse (composer of Annie, Bye-Bye Birdie), Richard Maltby (writer of Miss Saigon, Miss Potter), Jason Robert Brown (composer of The Last 5 Years, Songs for a New World), and the music directors of several Broadway shows (Newsies, Wicked, Cinderella, Annie, Lion King). Her choral compositions have been commissioned by choirs across America, and her first opera won the international Opera-in-a-Month competition sponsored by VocalWorks. Erica’s chamber works have won the Chanticleer Student Composer and Longy Graduation Composition Competitions and have been performed under the direction of Sam Pilafin (founder of the Empire Brass Quintet); Steinway Artist, Walter Cosand; Longitude conductor, Paul Brust; and St. Lawrence String Quartet cellist, Christopher Costanza. In 2000, her full-length musical, Dancing Shoes, was awarded “Best Play of the Year” at a Utah theater, and four years later, her children’s musical, Between the Lines, placed first in the VIP Arts Competition. Her most recent musical, The Weaver of Raveloe, received both a developmental reading at the 2012 New York Musical Theater Festival and a 2014 world premiere at the American Repertory Theater’s second stage, OBERON. Erica currently publishes with LazyBee Scripts, and her shows have been performed throughout the US, the UK, and as far away as Germany, Australia, and Hong Kong.
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Ashley Satterthwaite – Math Director
Ashley Satterthwaite received an MA in Mathematics Education from Teachers College Columbia University, and a BS in Mathematics from Weber State University. She joins the AISU faculty with a decade’s worth of experience teaching mathematics in independent schools to students in grades 4-12. She has taught nearly every course ranging from elementary enrichment mathematics to post-AP Calculus BC courses. While Ashley loves exploring mathematics with students of all ages, it is not the course that she had intended to take in her life; upon entering college, she was a journalism major with aspirations to one day be the Press Secretary of the United States (boy, is she glad that didn’t work out!).
Karen Kendall – Special Education Director
Karen Kendall has been a special education teacher for 26 years and continues to be engaged, excited and enthusiastic about education. Karen has a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education and a Masters of Arts degree in Guidance and Counseling. Originally from Michigan, Karen taught a variety of age levels, beginning with elementary education in a self-contained setting working with students with emotional impairments. From there she moved into the middle school and then high school. During that time, Karen co-founded a youth mentoring program called Common Ground where highly successful upper class students mentored at risk freshmen students. Karen also helped to design, implement and facilitate BEHL (Building Educated Healthy Lives) camps for students in the Common Ground program. These programs carried on for many years. Karen was honored with the Teacher of the Year for the state of Michigan for her work with emotionally impaired students.
In 2002, Karen and her husband moved to Salt Lake City when her husband accepted a position at the University of Utah, and she accepted a position teaching high school special education and has continued to do so. AISU will be the third school that Karen has opened from the ground up as special education director.
As a special education teacher, Karen believes in inspiring her students to be the best that they can be, to find their strengths and to build on those. She teaches students that they are capable of far more than they may think they are. Karen has designed her own curriculum to meet the demands of the state core standards while making it accessible to all of her students; even so far as taking a 12th grade AP course novel and making it one of her students favorites. She teaches her students that they can do hard things with positive support and high expectations.
In addition to her love of teaching, Karen loves mountain biking and is a coach for one of Utah’s Youth Cycling high school mountain bike teams. In Michigan, she was the director of the state mountain biking association’s Mountain Kids program providing a positive outdoor experience, on bikes, for kids that may not have access to riding and being in the woods. She is an outdoor enthusiast enjoying camping, skiing, hiking and backpacking and has completed numerous marathons and half marathons, and is an art enthusiast enjoying oil painting and photography.