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Instructional Staff

Instructional On-site Staff

Christine Burgess, 7th-12th Grade English

Mrs. Burgess earned her degree from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science in Education.  She went on to become highly qualified in both Middle School Language Arts and Secondary English.  Her teaching career began in Kearny, Arizona as she taught Middle School Writing for nine years.  While there, she sponsored the Yearbook Committee and started a tradition of taking students to the annual Pat Tillman Run.  She transferred to Florence in her tenth year of teaching and began work at the STEP program as the 7th-12th grade English/Language Arts teacher.  The STEP program was removed and replaced with the Leadership Academy.  She has continued teaching there and now focuses on 11th and 12th grade English.  As a member of the teaching team in Florence, Mrs. Burgess has sponsored the Community Garden efforts, led the PBIS committee, and earned the Teacher of the Year award for the Leadership Academy in its first year as a school.   


Mrs. Burgess has been married for 25 years and has two daughters.  Her husband is an engineer for Copper Basin Railway.  His career has spanned twenty-seven years.  Bethany, their oldest daughter, works for another school within the Florence district.  She is passionate about working with at-risk children.  Amber, their youngest daughter, is a certified dog trainer and works as both a trainer and in pet care.  She is going to be welcoming the family’s first grandchild into the world in early 2016.  Mrs. Burgess enjoys traveling with her family, spending quiet time with her two dogs she adopted from rescue organizations, and seeing the state from the back of a motorcycle.

Patti Edgemon, 9th-12th Grade Social Studies


Ms. Edgemon’s experience as a teacher includes five years of adult education while serving in the United States Marine Corps, two years of high school Social Studies in Jacksonville, North Carolina, one year of high school Social Studies in Kearny, Arizona, five years of middle school Social Studies at the Florence K-8 school, two years of middle school Language Arts at the Florence K-8 school, and two years of online education at the Leadership Academy of Excellence.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Middle East Studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Master of Arts in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix. She is currently completing her dissertation to obtain her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.  She has served on many school committees, sponsored student clubs and organizations, and she has coached several sports.  She has a passion for both learning and teaching.
Ms. Edgemon has two children.  Keri graduated high school in 2012 and has completed two semesters of college.  Tiffani is a sophomore student at Florence High School.  Ms. Edgemon’s children provide inspiration as she continues to learn as much from them as they learn from her. She is proud of her children and enjoys spending time with them both in and away from school.  Ms. Edgemon enjoys quilting, sewing, scrapbooking, traveling, and spending time with her fiancé, her own children, and her fiancé's children and grandchildren.  She loves to quote others, and one of her favorite quotes is, “We do not stop playing because we grow old.
We grow old because we stop playing.” (Quote by: Anonymous).

Monica Ramirez, 9th-10th Grade English and PD Trainer


Mrs. Ramirez is a native of Florence, and graduated from Florence High School in 2001.  She began her experience in education in 2006 while working for the Abstinence Education Program for Pinal County Public Health.  During this time she planned and implemented after-school programs, drama team performances, and conferences while teaching abstinence education throughout Pinal County.  She began working for FUSD
in 2008 as a substitute teacher, serving all schools in the district, while working to obtain her degree in Education.  In 2011, she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from Grand Canyon University in Secondary Education, with an emphasis in English, and was hired on at Florence High School to teach English and Dance.  In addition to these duties, she was also hired as the head coach for Dance and Pom for two years.  In her second year of teaching, she was awarded the honor of Teacher of the Year for FHS.  She began teaching for Leadership Academy of Excellence in 2014 and is currently teaching English 9 and 10, Dance, and actively serving as a representative for the Community Garden.
Mrs. Ramirez has been married for 14
years and has four sons named Gabriel, Adrian, Noah and Jude.  Her husband, Orlando, serves as a detective for the Gila River Indian Community.  In her spare time, Mrs. Ramirez enjoys spending time with her family, going to the movies, swimming, and attending sporting events for her children.       

John Schreur, 9th-12th Grade Mathematics


Mr. Schreur began his teaching career in 1975 as a Middle School Math and Science teacher.  Over the years he has taught General Math, Pre-Algebra, Consumer Math, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, College Algebra, Chemistry, Criminal Law, and Psychology.  He has worked with students in a myriad classroom settings ranging from traditional schools to Adult Education in a Maximum Security Prison setting.


Additionally, Mr. Schreur has served in School Administration as a high School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director, as a K-8 Site Principal, and as a High School Principal in schools ranging from 250 students to 2,600 students.


His hobbies include Residential Construction / Remodeling, Cabinet making and Landscaping.  He enjoys travel, visiting historical locations, and professional football.


His classroom at the Leadership Academy is organized as a hybrid of Direct Instruction and Computer Generated lessons.  Classes offered are Liberal Arts Math, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry and Calculus and Computer Applications.  Students are encouraged to progress at their own pace seeking help when they need it.  Direct Instruction is designed to cover the entire curriculum of each course within a 4 or 5 week period, and will be repeated regularly throughout the school year.  A link to Mr. Schreur’s Direct Instruction Schedule can be found below.  Please note the month tabs at the bottom of the file.


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Aubrey Smith, 9th-12th Grade Special Education


The 2015-2016 school year is Mrs. Smith’s first year as a special education teacher.  She has been with the Leadership Academy of Excellence since its start, however.  Mrs. Smith was our behavior tech, strategies teacher, and art teacher.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Phoenix.  Mrs. Smith is currently completing her practicum to obtain her Master of Art in Special Education from the University of Phoenix.  She has a strong desire to challenge our students while teaching them self-motivation and self-advocacy. Outside of the academic environment, Mrs.Smith’s favorite pastime is spending time with her husband and son. She also enjoys horseback riding, gardening, building rustic-looking furniture, and drawing with sketch pencils, oil pastels, and charcoal. 

Shannon Williams, 9th-12th Grade Science

Miss Williams grew up and graduated from Apache Junction High School. After high school she went to CAC on an academic scholarship and earned her A.A.  She then enrolled in the pre med program and received her B.S in Microbiology from ASU.  After graduating from ASU, Miss Williams decided against medical school, but instead went to work for a lab that focused on finding a cure/vaccine for HIV, but something was missing.  Fortunately, a long term sub position opened at Walker Butte and she fell in love with teaching.  Miss Williams transferred to Poston Butte high school the year it opened and taught Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Spanish, and Pre AP Bio while getting her Masters in Education from the University of Phoenix.  In 2013 Miss Williams transferred to the Leadership Academy where she now teaches Biology, Chemistry, and Spanish.

Zina Estrada, Para Professional


Zina Estrada, has ben with FUSD for the past 8 years. Ranging from Walker Butte campus monitor to the F-K8 Cashier in the food service program. Joining the LAE staff 2015-2016 she is looking forward to making connections with students and staff. Coming from California she was able to enroll her 3 kids into the Florence school system and each graduated as a Gopher. Her oldest son Armando Jr.joined the Marines , her daughter Jazmine completed Cosmetology school and is now headed for New York, and Pete enjoys his career close to home. Zina and family spend spare time with family outings, and road trips to California for family gatherings.