Meet the Presenters of the Upcoming LDL Conference

Mar 22

Meet the Presenters of the Upcoming LDL Conference
Anderson,_Leland Leland Anderson is Principal of Grades 7-12 and Director of Home and Distance Education at American Heritage School. He joined AHS’s administrative team in July 2008. Prior to this, Mr. Anderson graduated from Harvard University with an Ed.M. in School Leadership and received K-12 administrative licenses in Utah and Massachusetts. He completed an administrative internship at Madison Park High School, the largest technical-vocational high school in Boston Public Schools. He was also a Visiting Fellow at Innosight Institute in 2008-2009 where he co-authored and published a paper entitled “Alpine Online School: A Utah school district’s move into K-8 online education.” Mr. Anderson taught English at Oak Canyon Junior High School and Provo High School. He earned a B.A. cum laude and with University Honors in English Teaching from Brigham Young University (BYU). He was a Trustees Scholar, ORCA Research Grant Recipient, and a Robert C. Byrd Scholar. He worked at BYU’s Center for Instructional Design, assisting in developing physical science, geography, and American history courses. He taught Spanish at the LDS Missionary Training Center and tutored at BYU’s Reading and Writing Center. He completed a full-time LDS mission in Mexico City. He and his wife, Gina, were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple and have four daughters and two sons. Among their favorite past-times, they enjoy gardening, baking, reading, blogging, scrap-booking, hiking, camping, and participating in family reunions. “After considering schools in several states,” Mr. Anderson says, “American Heritage School was right for me.”
Arnesen, Brian Brian Arnesen has been a homeschooling father for 28 years. His main roles in his home school is to assure his wife that she is doing a good job and to keep on going, making breakfast every morning so she could practice musical instruments with the children, and working with scouts with their five sons. He is a psychologist specializing in posttraumatic stress disorder and enjoys camping, scouting, and serving in the church.
Arnesen, Karen Karen Arnesen is the mother of seven children ages 14 to 28. She learned about home schooling before she was married and fell in love with the idea. All of her children have been taught at home until high school, where they take music and AP classes, but do not graduate. She taught 8th grade in public school and at UVU (then UVSC) and worked for the Ensign magazine before she got married. She currently teaches a 5-year honors and AP Literature class in her home for a wonderful group of home school students. Karen writes the history and literature portions of American Heritage’s Family School. She loves being with her family, reading, traveling, camping and hiking, knitting, crocheting. She does not love exercising, but she does it six days a week. She is looking forward to her first grandchild in June. She has daughter on a mission and a son and daughter leaving in May and June.
Beckwith,_Grant Grant Beckwith joined American Heritage School in 2005. Prior to joining American Heritage School’s administration, Mr. Beckwith was a practicing attorney for the Washington D.C. office of Nixon Peabody LLP. A member of the Utah Bar, the Virginia Bar, and the District of Columbia Bar, Mr. Beckwith is a graduate of the BYU Law School and also holds bachelors and masters degrees in accountancy and information systems from the Marriott School of Management. Mr. Beckwith has lived and worked in Moscow Russia, New York, New York, and Washington D.C., and grew up in various parts of the United States including Utah, California, Texas, Florida and Wisconsin. He and his wife Candice are the parents of four children and are honored to be involved with American Heritage School.
Bigelow, Jill Jill Bigelow and her husband, Rob, adore their ten children and thirty-four grandchildren.  With a love for children, learning, and teaching, she served many years as principal organizer and as a teacher for a home school co-op which has served over a hundred students and their families.  She develops curriculum, provides inservice training, and serves in her church.  They raised a musical family (and much of their own food), and Jill loves cultivating the gift of music in children.  But most of all, she loves nurturing her family through daily music mentoring, weekly “Grandma School,” annual reunions and Cousins’ Camps, and writing family history.
Blad, Angie cropped Angie Blad describes her key to sanity (and therefore happiness), as waking before her children, and using that time to get ready, pray, read scriptures, study, and indulge in any other worthwhile and “selfish” behavior (in that order)!  Although her degree is in Elementary Education, Angie’s first love is Early Childhood (birth to 3) due to the critical shaping of the brain, heart and spirit that takes place during those early years.  When it comes to homeschooling, the Blad Family is in their 3rd year, with 5 of the 6 children learning at home.  An exciting addition to their school routine has been their involvement in the LDS Commonwealth (Foundations of Liberty) that Sister Blad helped establish in their community in Omaha, Nebraska.
Cornell,_Jared Jared Cornell’s love of History and its capacity to build character in young students has motivated much of his life’s work. Prior to his career in education, Mr. Cornell worked in the steel fabrication industry as a manager and quality control inspector. Mr. Cornell has organized numerous different living history organizations in Utah, including Civil War groups, a Mormon Battalion company, a Pioneer Heritage group, and even a muzzle-loading rifle club. He and his wife Brenda were the originators and organizers of the Sesquicentennial Wagon Train that crossed the Mormon Trail in 1997 and he managed a horse and wagon concession at This is The Place State Park, giving tours and lectures on the history of the Pioneers. Mr. Cornell’s passion for history has also led to his involvement in various archeological digs such as the Camp Floyd and Tin War sites in Cedar Valley and Strawberry River, Utah. A life long resident of Utah, Mr. Cornell is the father of five children, and has 2 grandchildren.
Bird Dunn, Shauna Shauna Bird Dunn and her alter egos: The Book Fairy, The Book Diva, and The ‘Book-aneer,’ work hard to create ravenous readers out of children in and near their home in American Fork, Utah. Her husband Brent claims that she suffers from OTTD (Over The Top Disorder), a condition that prevents her from doing things “the boring way.” A mother of five home schooled bookworms (ages 6-17), Shauna earned a Bachelor of Science in Business from Eastern New Mexico University, a Juris Doctorate from the J. Reuben Clark Jr. School of Law, and a Master of Public Administration from the Brigham Young University Marriot School of Management. A nationally published author, she has served on the American Fork Library Board of Trustees, as the 2010 Utah Young Mother of the Year, and she currently serves on the Children’s Literature Association of Utah Board of Directors.
Jenet Erickson Jenet Jacob Erickson is a graduate of American Heritage School, and currently serves on the board of directors as chair of the Teacher Development and Curriculum Committee. Her early educational background includes several years of homeschooling, private schooling at American Heritage, and public high school. She completed a bachelor’s degree from BYU in Nursing with a minor in harp, and then after completing a PhD in Family Science at the University of Minnesota returned to teach at BYU. Prior to the birth of their first child, she was a full-time assistant professor for three years in the School of Family Life at BYU.  She and her husband Michael Erickson are the parents of a 2 ½ year old daughter and a 3 month-old son. In spare moments now Jenet enjoys teaching part-time at BYU and doing editorial writing for the Deseret News.
Gentile, Nick 2 Nicholas Gentile has absolutely loved helping students to reason and relate principles in his on-campus and Home and Distance Education American History and World History courses at American Heritage School, where he has received the Rosalie J. Slater Award for instructional excellence.Prior to teaching at American Heritage School and The Fenn School in Concord, Massachusetts, Mr. Gentile earned a 4.00 GPA and a Master of Arts (MA) degree in American History at Brandeis University, where he was a Crown Fellow in the PhD program and mentored by the Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian David Hackett Fischer. He earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in History from Brigham Young University, where he graduated summa cum laude as the valedictorian of the History Department, the recipient of the Outstanding Undergraduate in History award, and an Edwin S. Hinckley Scholar. He has published several articles in scholarly journals, including one about Thomas Jefferson’s philosophical sympathy for Native Americans in the May 2010 issue of We Proceeded On. He is also the author of “Would He Calm My Storms?”—an article about the Lord’s hand in his battles to stand for truths about marriage and family during his years at The Fenn School—which was published in the September 2012 Ensign.  He is currently a full-time instructor for Seminaries and Institutes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and also enjoys teaching an after-school directed readings seminar—“The Minutemen and Their World”—for American Heritage School.  He and his eternal sweetheart, Christina, are passionate about teaching their soon-to-be four children to see gospel principles in the world around them and believe that, regardless of where children learn,education should be—first, last, and always—a stewardship of heart and home.
Haymond,_Ruel Ruel Haymond is the husband of Tresa Marshall Haymond and the father of seven blessed children, with ages from twenty to six. He and his wife began homeschooling their children when their oldest was six years old and have experienced just about every combination of educational practices and experiences possible. From Commonwealth schools to personal mentors to private education to public education, they have diligently sought the Lord’s guidance to know what is best for each individual child. Ruel has been teaching at American Heritage School for six years and considers himself greatly blessed to teach there.
Jeppson,_Diann Diann Jeppson is wholeheartedly engaged in the grand adventure of family building and community development. She is the owner of Family Forum,chairman of the Family Forum conference and co-creator of the Family Builder Program. She is the founder and former President of the American Youth Leadership Institute. She has served on a number of non-profit Boards, and enjoys administrative work. She and her husband Adam live in West Valley City, Utah and have four daughters and one grandson. She enjoys working as the business manager for her husband’s gunsmithing business. In her leisure time, she enjoys singing with her daughters and hiking in the Wasatch mountains. She is delighted to be a part of American Heritage School team, and for the opportunity to assist with the success of Latter-Day Learning.
Knecht,_Peter Peter Knecht comes to American Heritage School with extensive background in sales, marketing, and business operations. While attending BYU business school, he started his first of many contract sales companies for various telecommunications companies. The last of which, he grew to become the largest nationally of its kind. Recently, after visiting with a friend and Board Member of the school, Peter began volunteering his services in support of the school’s new homeschool and distance education program. Four months later, he officially joined the school as the Assistant Director of Home & Distance Education. During his first year at AHS, Peter helped research and develop what has cometo be known as The Family School, a Pre-K to 6th grade level homeschool curriculum now blessing over 1000 children and parents. Peter and his wife Amber, where married in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple in 1998, and stay busy in their house of four boys, and long awaited daughter. They enjoy competing together as a family in local triathlons and love Utah and all the wonderful recreation it provides.
Long,_Gail Gail Long has an innate love for learning and teaching. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, with a minor in education, from the University of South Florida. She received her master’s degree, graduating with honors, from Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has significant classroom experience at the junior high, high school, and college levels, including with the Saxon Math curriculum. Mrs. Long has recently been serving as a math instructor for the AHS Home and Distance Education program. One of her greatest strengths is connecting with her students in the classroom, which she even managed to do over the internet and by telephone. Mrs. Long includes a variety of activities in her classroom and has successfully received grant monies for math manipulatives, computers, and robotics. She and her husband John have three children and six grandchildren. Gail has worked with youth and adults in both the Church and community. She has a passion for preparedness and has taught whole wheat cookery, canning and dehydrating classes at Colorado Mountain College, and participated in community preparedness fairs. She enjoys collecting fabric, sewing, designing quilts, and eating chocolate.
MCCORMICK_SARAH Sarah McCormick came from California to BYU in hopes of becoming a marriage and family therapist. As a senior, having already applied to graduate, she added an elementary education major with the intent that she would be better prepared to be a mother and teacher to her children. During her time at BYU she was asked to teach seminary at Timpview High School and later taught institute. She began teaching 4th grade in Heber, Utah and then moved to Pleasant Grove so she could teach at American Heritage where she could combine her love of teaching the gospel with her love of teaching children.
Sarah has an angel for a mother who has homeschooled all of her children at various times and also homeschooled children from the ward. Currently Sarah’s mother is homeschooling her seven-year-old adopted sister. Sarah was homeschooled for four years and for three years she missed every Friday of public school so she could drive to Washington D.C. for music lessons. The trip provided a different type of homeschooling.  Sarah is passionate about protecting the family and the power of education in influencing lives.
Phillips, Jenny Jenny Phillips began singing and writing religious music when she was six years old. After she graduated from Brigham Young University, Jenny began writing and recording professionally. Jenny combined her love of music and the love of the gospel as she traveled to 21 different countries putting on more than 1,000 firesides. Jenny has released more than 30 albums. Her music has been translated into 15 languages and has been performed by thousands of young women across the world.  Jenny was with Desert Book’s music label for many years before leaving her record label and all retail stores and releasing music solely on her website in order to focus more on her growing family–which she feels is by far the most important work she’s every done! Learn more about Jenny and her music at
Powell, Don cropped Don Powell has spent the last 14 years working in the College of Fine Arts and Communications at Brigham Young University. He is currently the Manager of Information Systems. In that position, he enjoys helping the faculty of his college better use technology in their daily work and especially in the classroom. Don and his wife Sylvia have been using the “Principle Approach” to home school their nine children since Don first attended a conference at the old American Heritage School in Pleasant Grove back in 2000.
Strong,_Linda Linda Strong began teaching at American Heritage School for 19 years. Having graduated from BYU, she has a composite bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. A longtime resident of Utah, she has traveled as far as Korea and New Zealand but has always called Utah County home. After teaching Kindergarten for three years in the public school system, Mrs. Strong retired for several years to raise seven children. During this time, she also conducted a preschool out of her home. Her family is unique in that it is multi-cultural. Of her seven children, four are adopted – two from Korea and two from India. She and her husband Mark are now the grandparents of 14 and they have enjoyed the experience of blending different backgrounds in their family. “Words cannot express my gratitude for the blessings that I have received from being at American Heritage School” Linda says. “I love teaching and cherish my association with the children, patrons, and faculty of this wonderful school.” Mrs. Strong has captured the beauty of AHS and love and experience of her teaching in a wonderful Pre-K to Kindergarten program by publishing online herLiterature, Language, and History courses.
Updike,_Lauri Lauri Updike was born in Alberta, Canada. She is the oldest daughter of Wilson and Idona Lauritzen. She graduated from BYU in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in English and German. She is the mother of three sons, four daughters, and six beautiful grandchildren. Mrs. Updike is passionately involved in church, politics, civic affairs, and education. For the past 35 years Mrs. Updike has been an advocate of principle-based education. She home schooled her own children from 1985-1999, took part in a High School Co-op – Christian Co-operative Learning Center from 1999-2002, has been a Teacher Trainer for Utah Boys Ranch, and the in-service Director for American Heritage School. She enjoys the privilege of teaching her scholars at American Heritage School. Each summer she conducts American Heritage Tours for students and their families to Virginia and Washington, D.C. Mrs. Updike loves to read, research, hike, travel and eat cookies.

To learn more about the LDL CONFERENCE click here

Three Ways to Register:

1. Register Online

2. Register by Phone: 801-450-5016
(When calling, be prepared to provide name(s) of registrant(s), which session(s) you are registering for, contact info, and credit card info)

3. Register by Mail, with this form: 2013 LDL Conference Mail-in Registration Form


American Heritage School
736 North 1100 East
American Fork, Utah 84003

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