Facetime November 2013 - 2000s

Ryan Hengl, ’01 BS

Three generations of Lumberjacks! Ryan Hengl, ’01 BS, shows off his Lumberjack spirit with his son Harrison (born May 24) and father Harry Hengl, ’76 MAED.

Daniel Lufkin, ’02 MED, joins Thomas Nelson Community College of Hampton, Virg., as vice president for student affairs, where he will oversee enrollment, student services and student life.  Daniel will manage admissions and registration, ensuring that tools and programs are in place to ensure students’ success, both academically and personally. He was formerly dean of enrollment management at GateWay Community College in Phoenix, Ariz. 

Jeffrey Birthwright, ’04 BAILS and ’06 MED 

Santa Cruz Valley Union High School of Eloy, Ariz., welcomes Jeffrey Birthwright, ’04 BAILS & ’06 MED (above photo), to its faculty roster.  The special education instructor brings eight years of experience in the classroom. “I wanted to get into education because I saw a lack of enthusiasm with young people going to school,” he shared. “I wanted to change the face of education by improving learning while enjoying it, too.”

Asa Watt-Hall, ’04 BSED & ’08 MED, is principal of Payson Elementary School in Payson, Ariz. The former elementary teacher is excited to once again influence an impressionable age group for the future. He was previously a district principal in the Phoenix area, and is excited to return to a small-town atmosphere like the one he grew up with in Vail, Ariz.

Cosmetic dentist Dr. Kate Hareid, ’04 BS, has introduced a new, patient-focused website designed to improve the user experience and educate the public on dental health.  “The Internet is a great tool for dentists who are looking to reach out to patients online who are looking for information about specific procedures and treatments,” Kate said. “Having a good website also facilitates our role as educators and allows us to provide a great resource to our communities.”

Jennifer Minor, ’04 MED 

Legend Springs Elementary welcomes Jennifer Minor, ’04 MED (pictured above), as its new principal of the Deer Valley Unified School District in Phoenix, Ariz.  An adjunct professor at ASU West and the University of Phoenix, Jennifer was previously principal for Paradise Valley Unified School District. She rejoins Deer Valley, where she was formerly employed as an assistant principal.

Anne Quick, ’04 BA & ’13 MED, begins her first year as a social studies teacher at Vista Grande High School in Casa Grande, Ariz.  Prior to her current role, Anne taught instructional classes at Michaels. Seeking to help prepare students for their adult life, she decided to become a high school teacher.

Kara Decker, ’05 BSED

Kara Decker, ’05 BSED (above), joins Eloy Intermediate School in Eloy, Ariz. The first-time teacher is no stranger to children – as a mother of three she knows what it takes to inspire. She is finally fulfilling her high school dream of becoming a teacher.  Her favorite part of the day is greeting her students in the morning on the playground.

Composer George Sweet, ’05 MM, received a Special Citation for his submission in the 2013 American Prize in Composition competition for his 2009 band piece entitled “Encomium”. Designed to recognize performing artists, ensembles and composers, this United States-based contest drew submissions from across the country.  George’s work has been performed worldwide, and he has received commissions from performers, public schools, university ensembles and even a video game.  His music can be heard on his website.

Holly Harper, ’06 MED, joins the Peoria Unified School District as principal of Sky View Elementary School of Peoria, Ariz. Formerly an assistant principal of Sandra Day O’Connor High School and West Wing Elementary School for the Deer Valley Unified School District, Holly brings generous administration experience to her new post, as well as more than five years of experience instructing math and special education.

Tara Finch, ’06 MED, is principal of Benson Middle School in Benson, Ariz. She has spent the last two years at the school as director of special education.  “My family and I live in the Benson community, and this will be my third year with the district,” Tara said. “I am very excited about starting the new school year. We have a great staff and a great group of kids at the middle school.”

The proud parents of Whitney Grovenstein, ’08 BSED, were featured in an article in the Prescott Daily Courier, highlighting the military service of their three children. Whitney, who attended Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, flew helicopters in Afghanistan after his graduation from NAU.  He returned home safely in 2012, and now is stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

Patrick Whitehurst, ’08 BSJOU

Former reporter Patrick Whitehurst, ’08 BSJOU, has released his first novella, entitled Monterey Noir, about an homeless detective, Barker,  who must honor the last wishes of his only friend.  The novella explores themes of heroism, both human and canine, offering a glimpse into the life of a man who knows only dogs as his friends. Patrick has also released two non-fiction works: Williams and Grand Canyon’s Tusayan Village. He is working on another Barker story, which is to be set partly in red rock county.

Michelle Mallett, ’09 BS
Photo credit: Jing Wang 

Interior designer Michelle Mallett, ’09 BS, was featured in the Arizona Daily Sun for her work specializing in kitchen and bathroom design. The owner of Mallett Design Works, Michelle is a National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) certified member. Her understanding of local building codes and, construction processes and remodeling projects has allowed her business, which was formed in 2009, to take off. Currently she is the only NKBA-certified contractor in Flagstaff.  Whether she’s designing projects in AutoCAD or putting the finishing touches on a remodel, Michelle pushes her clients and herself to “come up with a design they never thought was possible.”

Thespian Vanessa Vaché, ’08 BS, appeared in her third stage production with The Amoralists 50-member company ensemble in Rantoul and Die. A Lawrence Langner Award recipient, Vanessa is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.