Meet AFE’s Main Campus Leaders

Here in Gilbert, AZ we’ve got the dream team made of leaders, parents and students, working together to create the ultimate environment for purpose driven community learning!

Local Directors

Recommended for 2-3 members. Back Office Running Smoothly, enrollment, communication, finances. New family enrollment process, reporting campus budget at monthly family councils, organize orientations , communicate with all participating families via emails and texting app, report and organize accounting, on campus during academics, receive receipts, make deposits, receive budget reports from other councils, pay out commissions, reimburse expenses and credit tuition for council members.

Daniel Higgins

Daniel has the heart of a teacher. He attended the College of Education at ASU as Secondary Education major with a desire to impact young lives, however his experience quickly revealed that the current educational systems were skewed and not inline with his educational philosophy. He then transitioned to pursue a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development at ASU. For years he worked full-time as a Professional Project Manager in the commercial arena but missed the personal contact he had in residential real estate so he pursued his entrepreneurial desire and eventually created Canyon State Real Estate which combines his professional experience and passion to help families and investors alike. For the last few years Daniel has been instrumental in AFE’s real estate needs. Recently representing us in an initiative to build a campus and surrounding community (including a community/event/education center) in Snowflake, AZ.  

Continuing with his passion for working with youth, over the last decade Daniel has impacted and coached young student athletes at Youngker High School, West Valley Juniors Volleyball Club, and Mesa Youth Volleyball.  In 2014, he was elected a School Board member for the Liberty Elementary School District (covering Goodyear & Buckeye). When Daniel was first introduced to AFE’s principle based education the summer of 2015, he voted with his feet and resigned his 4 year term to move across the valley and enroll his children into an education that fit his ideals here at AFE. He has participated in executive planning and training AFE’s staff and teachers in higher level thinking with emphasis on setting a culture in the pursuit of excellence.

Daniel is excited to take on a more active role as Local Director and share his vast talents with the entire AFE community and has already started many initiatives. Including professional, multi-generation, and business engagement.

Kathryn (AFE Founder & CEO)

Kathryn, as the founder of American Family Education and mother to her 5 children, is anxiously engaged in helping people see their worth, identify their purpose and break through limitations. AFE was organized to be a gathering place where individuals and families could find true community and improve every aspect of their lives. Purpose driven education is her passion and she gets joy from connecting families to a holistic leadership, entrepreneurial education. Over the last 5 years, her vision to establish a real Opt-Out for conveyor belt education has blessed many lives and changed the landscape of education forever. For more, see Kathryn’s resume HERE.

Electives and Events Director

Recommended for 1 member. Coordinate building and support electives programs. Be the connecting point between the Local Director(s) and the Electives Programs or others who are renting the campus facilities.

TBD

Developmental Level Classroom Leaders/Teachers/Mentors

Recommended for 2-3 members. Lead & Teach one Developmental Level. Teachers at AFE are advocates for the parents to their children, working with parents and seeking to unify that most important relationship. Teachers do not assign arbitrary homework or label children with grades. Teachers keep the communication lines open between the classroom and the family. Teachers may give recommendations for optional activities at home. Teachers take input from parents and adjust their lesson plans to better serve the individual students. Teachers are seen as mentors and guides to inspire the students to accomplish the things that their parents expect. Because we are a private institution, we are not subject to teacher certification or accreditation requirements of the government. This enables us to have classes taught by industry professionals with actual experience in their area of expertise, dedicated and inspired parents, or anyone who has an interest and talent for inspiring youth and sharing their talents. (More details on Teacher Contract.)

Junior Foundations

Two hours, once per week, 3 weeks per month program for parent(s) and child(ren). Flexibility to include a working parent in a once per week, 3 weeks per month, evening discussion group. Build this most important relationship with the support of mentors who help with connection and early literacy skills! After each class, each family will have a kit to extend the play/learning in their own homes, then return the following week for follow-up and new games/skills. This program set-up has been the dream of American Family Education since the Foundations program was initially created.

This is the perfect opportunity to set up your homeschool to be a dream come true or to establish a solid foundation in your family relationships and your skills to prepare for participating in later educational programs.

Janalee Fish

Janalee Fish is a passionate believer in parent-led education. She has been involved in American Family Education almost from the beginning, and in the last two years has developed the incredible garden and grounds of the Gilbert Campus. She is a mother of five, four amazing girls and one spunky incredible boy and you will often see her and her children on campus, gardening, discussing, and in general, being an incredible part of AFE. Her kids are spread out from 5 to 15, and last year, she had a student in every class.

This year, she is heading up her dream of helping parents truly connect with their children. She will be leading the parent classes of the Junior Foundations class, leading them to build a strong connection and foundation with their children. She is a strong proponent of the principles in the book, “Hold onto your Kids.” Her passion is building those family relationships and helping parents and children truly connect.

She has lived in several states, both in the west and the east, and after her husband finished law school, followed her family into Arizona where she has lived ever since.

In the afternoon, she teaches the incredible music class, “Lets’ Play Music,” bringing a love and understanding of music to young children. It is the favorite class of many of the students here at AFE.

In short, when you see Janalee, you see a part of the heart of American Family Education. She has the best hugs and has invested much of her heart and soul into turning this into the best experience for children and adults alike.

Xyleene Macdonald

Xyleene is in her 2nd year of student teaching. She has a passion for early education, family connection, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is a pursuer of truth and follows principles centered in faith that acknowledge the divine worth of the individual. Her experience includes serving as a youth camp leader, a nanny, teaching preschool, and promoting a networking company for entrepreneurship selling products on leadership and financial freedom. 

She is a great example of continuing her education with mentors and is receiving certification in Conscious Discipline and a degree in marriage and family through BYU pathways.

Senior Foundations

This group is appropriate for students who are not yet independent readers. Student ability may range from little/no knowledge regarding literacy, to being fairly confident decoders that need to sharpen their fluency or comprehension. Foundations students are focused on learning the following character values: Individual Worth, Unconditional Love, Patience, Honesty, Diligence, Obedience, Compassion, Courage, Gratitude, and Courtesy. Academic learning at this level is focused on literacy basics, foundational math and science concepts, beginning writing skills, and learning to conduct themselves respectfully in the classroom.

Sicely Bradshaw

Sicely is a master teacher. She has been teaching children for over 15 years and teaching is her passion and calling in life. She has a degree in Marriage and Family Studies, Family Life Educator Certification, Community Health Worker Certification, and is currently studying behavior at ASU. When she discovered American Family Education, she knew she had found a home and place to share her talents and experience. She is excited to learn and grow with this amazing family of teachers and leaders.

Morgan Bradshaw

Morgan is Sicelys daughter and loves her family. She was a gymnast for 11 years and now coaches at team of female gymnasts. She has a lot of experience and a great love for children. Morgan also has a talent for capturing moments as a photographer. “I love what AFE teaches and am excited to help kids learn.”

Junior Explorers

This group is appropriate for students who are confident and independent readers. These students are developing a true love of learning as we provide experiential, hands-on opportunities to learn academic skills, explore new thoughts, discover interests and talents, and to learn how to ask meaningful questions. The academic focus for this group includes character building leadership principles, Language Arts (grammar and communication), Math (numeration, fractions/decimals, algebra, geometry, statistics, percents/ratios), Science (scientific method, research, health & nutrition, botany and other natural sciences), History (geography, government, culture, legacy).

Vickie Hall

Vickie is an incredibly energetic, experienced, and connecting teacher who loves her students and creates adventurous activities and lesson plans that help children love learning. Vickie is amazing at making math fun and interesting, while helping each individual. She is a mother of 5 children, ages 17 to 9. She loves teaching and is excited to be serving the Junior Explorers at American Family Education again this year. Vickie is also getting a degree in Marriage and Family Relations.

Rebecca Noble

Rebecca had the opportunity to grow up overseas, living and traveling in many different countries. This gave her a great love for different cultures and people. It also gave me a unique perspective and passion for principles of liberty.

She is a mother of 6 children and have homeschooled for 13 years. Being connected to strong communities of like minded people who value freedom and independence has been important for my family’s homeschooling experience.

Rebecca is a traditional naturopath by profession and discovered she enjoyed teaching while teaching at CGCC for 3 years as an adjunct professor, teaching alternative medicine. She has taught/mentored Shakespeare, speech, and creative writing while serving in the Thomas Jefferson Leadership Academy. One of the most rewarding and fun experiences for her was directing 3 Shakespeare plays. Rebecca looks forward to bringing her passion and gifts to American Family Education’s Junior Explorers.

Senior Explorers

This is for the more advanced students at the Explorer level who are finishing up their academic goals and gaining in maturity so they can learn advanced levels of discussion and critical thinking.

Sarah (Decker) Russel

Sarah is a passionate teacher, writer, and person. In the past two years, she has taught both the Junior and Senior Explorer program at American Family Education and is excited to return to the Senior Explorers this year. She brings a love of literature, history, and leadership principles to her teaching.

As a homeschooler, she was fascinated by education, and when she was fifteen, she learned about Thomas Jefferson Education and helped create a co-op in the Boise area.

Throughout her education, she has studied education methods, reading works by John Dewey, John Gatto, Montessori, Rafe Esquith and others.

She has a wide and varied experience, studying English with Honors at BYU, and taking breaks to attend George Wythe University, serve an LDS mission, study abroad in Jerusalem, and intern in Washington DC. After graduation, she taught English at a Basis charter school for a while, and realized that although she absolutely loved teaching, she was right about the system, and disliked it even more than she thought she did. After she left teaching, she started working online, living first in Utah, and then traveling around Europe and Morocco.

Now, she is so excited to be back with the Senior Explorers, to discuss books, create projects, and teach leadership principles. She will also be teaching Film-making, Creative Writing, and creating the first AFE Europe trip as electives. In her spare time, she is  usually reading, going to cultural events, and mountain biking or hiking.

Miranda Clements

Miranda is a homeschooling mother of 2 teenage boys, CEO, holistic wellness mentor, freedom advocate and perpetual student with a deep love of learning.

She joins the AFE leadership team with 9 years of experience teaching and homeschooling her own children, and also with many years of experience in business management & leadership in the consumer packaged goods (CPG)/ natural food & beverage industry, marketing, finance, photography, elementary & special education and holistic health including nutrition, herbal medicine and fitness.

Miranda has a true passion for education and enjoys teaching both children and adults. She understands the importance of building up the next generation of leaders with a strong foundation on Christian values combined with principles of liberty and freedom. She is excited to work with the Senior Explorers this year making math meaningful and helping them examine all ways math is a part of their daily lives from music and art to nature to economics and finance, and all the other ways in between! Miranda will also be offering PE and Functional Fitness classes for ages 6 to 18.

Miranda is looking forward to partnering with you and child(ren) on your family’s educational journey!

Science Mentor

Available to all Developmental Levels to teach and demonstrate science.

Allan Wade

Mr. Allan Wade is the Science Wizard at AFE for all ages and classes. His passion is to help students do experiments to learn the truths of nature. 

He founded “Do True Science” to encourage everyone to explore with experiments. You can follow on Facebook, YouTube and DoTrueScience.com. He also started Family Home Science and the Home Science Fair to give more students, including homeschoolers, the opportunity to participate in and practice science. 

He has been teaching elective science classes at AFE since the Spring of 2016. Since January 2010, he has been teaching various levels of students from community college to elementary. He has taught courses in Biology, Chemistry, Principles of Technology, Earth Science, Physical Science, Integrated Science, Biology Laboratory and Physiology, Chemistry, General Math, Special Education Math, Financial Literacy, (Computer Lab and other courses). 

He has a bachelor’s degree in Natural Science/Mathematics and a master’s degree in Physical Therapy. He worked eight years as a Physical Therapist before returning to his passion of teaching. He even went back to school for some additional math credits, so he could be recognized by the state as “highly qualified” to teach both math and science. 

The Universal Model – A New Millennial Science (or UM) helps people comprehend nature as never before. Mr. Wade specializes in developing experiments that adapt this college level book for younger students. As one of the leading teachers for the UM, he is united in the goal to restore truth to science with new natural laws. 

In modern society, a minority of people who reject God are pushing theories into science that deny the Creator. Mr. Wade claims that everything shows us that God is real. Laboratory experiments and man-made crystals show us how most rocks and fossils could only form during the Universal Flood of Noah or the Biblical Creation. Spontaneous generation of life was disproven in 1864 with an experiment that is still going on today. The intelligent design of DNA, falsifies evolution and requires programming by the Creator. True science harmonizes with eternal truths including the gospel and religious truth. Mr. Wade enjoys demonstrating these truths scientifically.

Jr. Scholars

Once a student demonstrates adequate self-discipline/maturity at home and in the classroom and has mastered the main academic building blocks, they are invited into the Scholar group. Initially, parents set the pace and focus for their student’s personal goals but over time, the Scholar transitions into setting their own goals while remaining accountable to their parents for mentoring and guidance. Parents and students participate in monthly mentoring sessions with their group leader/teacher. In these meetings, teachers may offer suggestions, ask questions, and encourage students to honor their parent’s direction.  Scholars use their academic knowledge to understand the world and their individual missions– applying their knowledge and skills as they discover their personal “Why.”

Sr. Scholars

As students master the AFE Scholar goal guides, these students have what they need to start personalizing their education to match their personal mission. Scholar level students are in the process of becoming life-long, self-motivated learners with a servant leader mindset and resolve. “Graduation” or transition from the Scholar level comes after mastery of academic skills and knowledge, completion of goal guides and any curriculum assigned or approved by parents, and can include the writing of a thesis explaining their purpose/mission. This group is for the completion of the Scholar level and introduction into Mission Phase. These individuals are self-directing their education, have the desire to take action towards living their purpose, and demonstrate a academic mastery equal to that of a college level associates degree in the areas of grammar, mathematics, and writing/research in the field of their interest. These people are preparing and living the Mission Phase of their education/life.

Brandy Whitmer

Brandy Whitmer is a Christian wife and mother of 7. Her oldest just graduated from High school and her youngest is 7. She has one family member, her son Owen, who graduated earth life as a little tiny man. Their family is very grateful for his special influence in their family. She loves teenagers! She has taught classes for our companion community, TJLA, for 3 years, those include Shakespeare, Key of Liberty, Hero Project, & Sword of Freedom. She was involved heavily in public school, previous to becoming a more full-time homeschooling parent, on several PTO boards and in service opportunities in Charter schools as well. She graduated from BYU Idaho with an Associate degree in Child Development.

Daniel Clements

bio

Building Maintenance Council

Recommended for 1-3 members. Council maintains a clean, functioning, stocked community area of our campus (library/kitchen/storage room/office). Weekly community areas cleaning, maintaining an inventory of cleaning supplies, washing hand towels weekly., Change out lights/filters/water jugs/smoke detector batteries, manage any needed pest control, plumbing maintenance, AC/heat upkeep, and other handyman jobs (as needed). Keep the Library organized, track  and communicate with families on check in, checked out books.

TBD

Grounds & Garden Council

Recommended for 2-4  members. Council maintains a clean, functioning, healthy, professional campus property. Care for chickens, develop gardens, maintain parking, weekly cleaning of porches and sidewalks, prune bushes and trees, harvest food as needed, reports at the Gilbert Board council. (Produce sold is added to this budget and shared with the full campus budget as approved by the Local Director.)

Janalee Fish

Sacia Webster

Annice North

Community Relations Council

Recommended for 1-2 members. Council maintains websites and social media outlets. Maintain and update the main website, Facebook page, member website, texting app, Twitter, Instagram, promote community events, network with local/related groups.

Julie Sagnimeni

Scholarship & Fundraising Council

Recommended for 1-2 members. Coordinates with Scholarship Organization(s) and leads and assists with planning and carrying out Fundraisers, Workshops, Field Trips, and other Events.

TBD

At least one representative of each of these councils meet together to report of their stewardship. This monthly meeting is called the AFE Gilbert Campus Council and is open to all members of this campus. All positions are compensated, but the individuals can choose to accept it as compensation or have their time/talents be donated to this community.

Where you see the note TBD is an open role. Would you like to provide time/talents/resources and be a compensated Council Leader at our AFE Gilbert Campus? Contact us about it HERE.