We have a fabulous Board of Directors. Their guidance, input and leadership are invaluable to ASA. These professionals ensure our school stays true to its mission in all its decisions. They always look out for the best interest of the school. We thank them for their commitment, their time and their ideas on how to continually improve our campus, and their efforts to help position ASA as one of the Valley’s most sought-after educations.
In a standardized environment where Arizona schools are pressured to be more alike than different, ASA is the most innovative school in the state. It is an empowering place where students can express their creativity through the arts and excel as scholars in the classroom.
Dr. David R. Garcia is an Associate Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. His academic publications focus on school choice, accountability and the factors that facilitate or distort policy implementation in public education. His research has appeared in numerous journals including Teachers College Record, Educational Policy and the Journal of School Choice. In addition, he was co-editor of Review of Research in Education and an associate editor for Education Policy Analysis Archives, both leading academic journals in education. In 2015 and 2016, he was recognized nationally as an influential public scholar according to the edu-scholar rankings. In 2018, he authored Essential Knowledge: School Choice (MIT Press). As an Assistant Professor, he was named a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. Prior to ASU, he served as the Associate Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Arizona, as a research analyst for the Arizona state legislature, and as a national peer consultant. He works with many community organizations on education policy issues and has been recognized for his contributions to public education. In 2018, David was the Democratic candidate for Governor. Dr. Garcia received a Bachelor of Arts and Honors Diploma from Arizona State University. He also holds a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Chicago in Education Policy, Research and Institutional Studies. He is a veteran who proudly served in the U.S. Army Infantry. He lives in Phoenix with his wife, Lori, and their two daughters who attend ASA.
The people, the culture and the commitment to the arts as a catalyst, a laboratory, a mirror for human development. I’m honored to be a part of this place.
Alex Laing began playing the clarinet at age eleven in his hometown of Silver Spring, Maryland. Mr. Laing is a graduate of Northwestern University, he received his Master’s degree in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, an artist’s diploma from the Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam and a certificate in nonprofit management from Arizona State University’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. In 2002 he joined The Phoenix Symphony as principal clarinet. An accomplished instrumental artist, Mr. Laing’s work represents a modern take on orchestral practice. Active in his community as a performing and teaching artist, he is committed to exploring how an orchestral musician and an orchestra navigates the push and pull between a legacy art form and its unfixed future.
A long-time believer in community engaged music making, he recently started The Leading Tone, a nonprofit after school program. The project brings music to young people and explores teaching artistry and creative youth development. Mr. Laing is fortunate to have garnered honors and awards in his career, most recently being recognized with a 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence and named one of Musical America’s Professionals of the Year for 2017.
Reflecting his belief that ‘music isn’t just sound; it’s sounds, words and people’ he is frequently sought as a collaborator. In addition to his work with The Phoenix Symphony, recent seasons have found him contributing his sound in a range of other projects including: as a soloist with the Sphinx Virtuosi at Carnegie Hall; with Lawrence Brownlee (in the world premiere of Tyshawn Sorey’s Cycle of My Being); with Thomas Hampson (as part of his Song of America: Beyond Liberty project); with the Re-Collective Orchestra (in the 2019 soundtrack recording of Disney’s The Lion King) and as a member of Gateways Festival Orchestra.
Alex has been an invited speaker to the annual conferences of both the Association of British Orchestras and the League of American Orchestras where, in 2019 he was a keynote speaker. As a teacher he has been a frequent collaborator with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) program, and a faculty member for both the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) and the League of American Orchestra’s ‘Essentials of Orchestra Management Seminar’. He’s currently serving as lead faculty for the 2019/20 YOLA National Institute and, in addition to ASA, serves on the board of directors for Gateways Music Festival.
Alex is particularly excited about his most recent collaboration: joining the creative team for From The Top (FTT) the nationally broadcast radio show and platform for young musicians. In addition to making contributions to the radio show, he will play a role in mentoring and supporting the development of FTT’s incredible young musicians.
Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC, is the Co-Founder and Chief Clinical Officer of WebPT, the leading software solution for physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Dr. Jannenga advises on the company’s strategic direction and product innovation, while advocating for the rehab therapy profession on an international scale. Since the company’s launch in 2008, Dr. Jannenga has guided WebPT through exponential growth. Today, it’s the fastest-growing physical therapy software in the country, employing over 500 people and serving more than 92,000 therapy professionals at more than 17,000 clinics. WebPT also touts seven consecutive appearances on the prestigious Inc. Magazine 5000 list and has ranked twice on the Inc. 500 list. Dr. Jannenga has been recognized as one of Health Data Management’s Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT, was named a Most Admired Leader and in 2018, was honored as the Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year at the Arizona Technology Council’s Governor’s Celebration of Innovation. She is also a proud member of the YPO Scottsdale Chapter.
Prior to co-founding WebPT, Dr. Jannenga practiced as a sports medicine and orthopedic physical therapist for more than fifteen years. Today, she regularly speaks as a subject-matter expert at regional, national and international technology, entrepreneurship, and leadership events, as well as at national and international PT industry and business focused conferences.
She serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Arizona Science Center, the Institute for Private Practice Physical Therapy, Conscious Capitalism AZ Chapter, Greater Phoenix Economic Council Healthcare Innovation and the Arizona Community Foundation. Dr. Jannenga also dedicates time to mentorship within WebPT (through her employee empowerment group PropelUs) and in the broader community (through her work with physical therapy students, entrepreneurs, and women in business). She is also a founding member of the Arizona chapter of Golden Seeds, an early stage investment firm focusing on women founders and leaders creating lasting impact.
Heidi’s most cherished role is mother to her daughter, Ava. Having been a college basketball athlete at UC Davis, she remains very active enjoying hot yoga, hiking, biking and world travel.
I truly believe that our future leaders will need both the critical thinking skills that come from academic excellence and the creativity that comes from the arts.
Dr. Tony Dietz, an engineer and entrepreneur, is the founder of Paxauris, a startup company developing innovative hearing protection products. Dr. Dietz received his undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Sydney and his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. After graduating, Dr. Dietz served with the Royal Australian Air Force at the Aircraft Research and Development Unit where he worked as a flight test engineer. Dr. Dietz then worked in the Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, first as a National Research Council Research Associate, and later as a senior research scientist with MCAT Inc. For the past fifteen years, he has worked at Creare, an engineering research and development firm in New Hampshire, where he led efforts to develop innovative solutions to a wide range of problems including improved hearing protection for Navy crews, superconducting systems for quieter and more efficient aircraft, and advanced sensors for autonomous aerial vehicles. The father of five daughters, Dr. Dietz has coached elementary-school soccer and skiing and he has also coached four middle-school robotics teams in the First Lego League. Two of his daughters currently attend ASA.
ASA offers a unique blend of rigorous academics and creativity. The teachers are passionate about the programs and the subjects they are teaching. This combination provides students with the tools they need to be confident, prepared and out-of-the-box thinkers.
Kevin Allen is the Chief Financial Officer of Wentworth Property Company, a commercial developer headquartered in Phoenix, AZ. He has over twenty-five years of real estate and development experience ranging from commercial to private clubs. He has worked for some of the more notable developers in Phoenix, namely Discovery Land Company, Opus West and SunCor Development. Mr. Allen is also a licensed CPA in the State of Arizona and provides his CPA services to other nonprofits such as Schools with Heart Foundation. He attended Purdue University and received his Bachelor degree in Accountancy from Radford University. Kevin is married and has four children, one of whom currently attends Arizona School for the Arts.
Dr. Ed Finn is the founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University where he is an associate professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. He also serves as the academic director of Future Tense, a partnership between ASU, New America and Slate Magazine, a co-director of Emerge, an annual festival of art, ideas and the future, and a co-director of the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative. Dr. Finn’s research and teaching explores how imagination works in creative collaboration and computational culture, as well as its role at the intersection of the humanities, arts and sciences. He is the author of What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing (MIT Press, Spring 2017) and co-editor of Future Tense Fiction (Unnamed Press, 2019), Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers and Creators of All Kinds (MIT Press, spring 2017) and Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future (William Morrow, 2014). He completed his PhD in English and American Literature at Stanford University in 2011 and his Bachelor’s degree at Princeton University in 2002. Before graduate school, Ed worked as a journalist at Time, Slate, and Popular Science.
An Emmy Award-winning journalist, Yetta Gibson is an Atlanta native who has reported news and entertainment for nearly two decades. Most of her airtime has been spent right here in the Valley of the Sun. You can watch Ms. Gibson weeknights on 3TV and CBS 5.
She started on her career path in the 1990s as a college intern and eventual radio news reporter for one of Atlanta’s hottest radio stations located inside the CNN Center in Atlanta. It was there that she landed a wonderful gig and was heard by millions of listeners on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show.
Ms. Gibson’s coast-to-coast career has given her the skill of versatility as a high-energy personality on Arizona’s Family. Her passion is telling great stories, getting out and about to meet and talk to people in the community, and making what she calls “that comfortable connection” with her viewers.
Yetta is a proud resident of the Valley with her husband and three daughters.
As President Obama said, “the future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create.” Stimulating creativity through the performing arts strengthens the ability to understand science, engineering, technology, and mathematics. Downtown Phoenix presents many challenges and opportunities to educate the diverse population of children who want to or are encouraged by parents to attend a charter school. ASA promotes the development of imagination, curiosity, leadership and the diversity of the faculty, administrative support, curriculum and school population broadens understanding for the collective future.
Betty Hum is currently an attorney consultant with AxiomLaw and a part-time photographer. She was formerly with Intel Corporation in the Legal Department where her team managed world-wide construction legal issues. She also developed and managed the Intel world-wide anti-corruption legal group as part of the Intel legal compliance function. Prior to Intel, Ms. Hum was in private practice where she specialized in construction legal issues, employment and immigration law. Prior to moving to Arizona, her community activities in the arts included the formation of a Board of Directors for a dance company in Minneapolis as well as the Board of Directors of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Since moving to Arizona Ms. Hum has served on numerous boards including, a life director to the Board of Directors of the Arizona Builders’ Alliance, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and the Arizona State University Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture. Betty provides photography services to several non-profits in the Valley, including the Scottsdale Center for the Arts and KJZZ.
Karen Lugosi is a trial lawyer who advocates for patients and families in medical malpractice, wrongful death and traumatic brain injury cases. Mrs. Lugosi has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Juris Doctorate from Arizona State University. She clerked in the Arizona State Court of Appeals, worked as an Assistant Attorney General, and served as a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem. She has argued before the Arizona Supreme Court successfully creating new law to protect patients. In addition to receiving top ratings for ethics, recognition in U.S. News and World Reports Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms and Best Female Lawyers, Mrs. Lugosi was selected by her adversaries to be a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a bipartisan group that protects our citizens’ right to trial by jury. She is on the Board of the Arizona Association for Justice and has worked with Lawyer Moms of America to alleviate the refugee crisis in our Country. In addition to managing her own law firm, Mrs. Lugosi also has founded The Edible Apothecary, and created whole-food plant-based meals and nutrition education. Karen is certified in whole-food plant-based nutrition through e-Cornell, and Rouxbe Culinary School. Karen is married to Dan Klein and they have two grown children and a son who attends ASA.
John O’Neal grew up in Arizona, attending Our Lady of Perpetual Help elementary school and then Saguaro High School before venturing out of state for college at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He returned to the Phoenix area in 1991 for law school at ASU, where he met his wife Rhonda. Mr. O’Neal is a partner at Quarles & Brady, LLP, where he serves as the Chair of the Phoenix Commercial Litigation Group. John and Rhonda have two daughters, Sarah and Riley. Both are graduates of ASA, and Sarah currently attends Tulane University while Riley, a recent graduate in the Class of 2020, attends the Honors College at University of South Carolina.
For his hobbies, John enjoys the outdoors, hunting, and fishing. He and Rhonda are a little nervous about being empty-nesters, but are using the budget increase for dining out.
Allison Otu is the first Executive Director of Marketing and Communications at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School and Arizona PBS, a position created in November 2021. Previously with the University of Arizona Department of Health Sciences as Executive Director for Corporate and Community Relations since 2012, this is the natural next step in a career with 18 years of experience in strategic communications and brand management.
Recently appointed by the Mayor of Phoenix as a member of the Phoenix Women’s Commission, Allison also serves as a Board Member of Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Charter 100, Hance Park Conservancy, and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. She was the founder and organizer behind Connect2STEM – the largest STEM outreach event in Phoenix – which celebrates Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine. Connect2STEM has attracted over 30,500 attendees and generated 1 million media impressions over the last several years.
Mrs. Otu received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and her Executive MBA from University of Arizona Eller College of Management.
It is such an honor to have been part of the ASA family for over a decade. I never cease to be amazed to see how ASA’s academic and arts programs and culture enable students to both become self-directed scholars and artists, while ever building and sustaining a safe and accepting school community.
John Snider is a Managing Director at RBC Capital Markets where he heads its national Charter School Finance Group. Mr. Snider joined RBCCM in 1989 and in his current role coordinates and oversees the firm’s investment banking efforts for charter schools across the country, with over $2.25 billion of facilities funded since 2000. In his time at RBCCM, Mr. Snider has been involved with a number of other notable public financing projects, including funding of the University of Phoenix Stadium home of the Arizona Cardinals. In addition to his service on the ASA board, Mr. Snider is also a current board member and finance committee chair of the Arizona Charter Schools Association and previously was a board member and President of the Phoenix Boys Choir Association. He received his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Chicago. Three of John’s children graduated from ASA.
Honorary Arts Faculty Member
I love the way ASA partners the arts and academics. I have watched students transform into true artists in all areas of their education.
Jessica Elder earned a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Arizona in 2000. Her professional career began on the operatic stage, performing leading roles with reputable opera companies and as a guest soloist with many symphonies and choruses in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has also been a director of youth choirs and musicals, and a teacher of voice lessons, piano lessons and singing classes since 1996. Her experience as a music educator includes a position as master voice teacher for the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and she has served as a guest technician for several community and symphony choruses. Mrs. Elder moved from the Bay Area to Phoenix in 2011, and became a member of ASA’s choral faculty in 2013.
B.M. Vocal Performance – University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music, 2000
M.M. Vocal Performance – University of Arizona, 2002
Honorary Alumni Member
Amara Washington-Bess is a recent graduate from the Class of 2022 who previously served as an Honorary Student Board Member. She is an excellent student who received early acceptance to Fordham University in New York City; and they are lucky to get such a well-rounded person! While at ASA she played violin in the Chamber Orchestra and served as a Strings Teaching Assistant. Amara was also Vice President of her class, President of the Black Student Union, and a member of Coalition.
We are so pleased that Amara will be continuing on the Board of Directors as our Honorary Alumni Board Member. Her voice has been an important one at ASA and we are lucky to still have a share of her time while she simultaneously makes her mark at Fordham.