Our People

Grant Beckwith, Principal of American Heritage School

grant_with_shadow E-mail: gbeckwith@ahsmail.com | (801) 642-0055 ext. 302 Grant 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.

Peter Knecht, Director

peter.000_with_shadowE-mail: pknecht@latterdaylearning.org | (801) 642-0055 ext. 306 Peter joined American Heritage School in early 2011. He left BYU as a Senior studying Business Management in 1999 to build an online service business for local Utah colleges. That business led to another and so on until 2011, when he connected with American Heritage School. He is happiest when working to discover and build creative solutions where and when value intersects with needs and is happily working as the Business Director for the Latter-day Learning Program to do just that! Peter loves the principles, values and mission of American Heritage School and considers it a personal mission to help the school export beyond its physical walls the school’s extensive and refined resources and programs in order to serve the rapidly growing number of LDS homeschool families worldwide. When he’s not at work, he is doing what he loves most—working, playing, learning, and just being with his wife, Amber, four boys and one long-awaited daughter. Amber loves using The Family School with their three youngest, while the two oldest boys attend AHS.

 Diann Jeppson, Customer Relations Manager

Jeppson Family Christmas 2015 4E-mail: djeppson@latterdaylearning.org | (801) 642-0055 ext. 306
Diann Jeppson joined American Heritage School in December 2012. She serves as a program coordinator for Latter-day Learning, where she enjoys helping families learn about options for high schoolers, teaching online courses on homeschooling, for parents, and serving as event planner for the Latter-day Learning Retreat. She is the creator of Liberty Girls Clubs and Retreats, and Simulations Week events for youth. She is a parliamentary procedure trainer and consultant. She and her husband Adam live in Mount Pleasant, Utah and have four daughters, two handsome sons-in-law and four delightful little grandchildren.

Hannah Stoddard, Assistant Project Manager

E-mail: hstoddard@latterdaylearning.org | Hannah Stoddard joined the Latter-day Learning Team in the summer of 2014. Initially her work centered on managing the development of http://thefamilyschoolonline.org—a work she was uniquely qualified to do. By 19, she had already worked as a graphic design artist, software developer, videographer, project manager and research assistant; and was exclusively home and private educated. Hannah has authored and edited hundreds of articles on the Web, and is the producer of the documentary video, For Our Day: Divinely Sanctioned Governments and the director of the videos For Our Day: Covenant on the Land and Statesmen & Symbols: Prelude to the Restoration. Hannah directs Joseph Smith Foundation projects including Joseph Smith Forum, Joseph Smith Academy and ZionVision. She is also the co-founder of the online youth organization, Maidens with a Mission.

 Annalee Barajas, Project Manager

analee (2)_with_shadowAnnalee Barajas was born and raised in Southern Nevada. She graduated from BYU in Elementary Eduation with extra major in Math and Spanish. She served a mission in the Pusan, Korea. She has taught grade school in Mexico, English in Korea and preschool to 6th grade in the United States. She married her favorite Mexican and they have adopted 5 children. One of the best parts of being an educator is teaching her own children. She was able put together a history and Spanish curriculum for age two through sixth grade and as a music teacher, organize the music programs in the schools where she worked. Annalee also has an interest in publishing. She has worked as a production graphic artist since 1985 in a variety of companies. In that capacity, she also helped her family publish several books, set up websites, and produce short videos about her ancestors. Now she is able to combine her love of teaching and publishing in her work at the Family School.

 Avalie Muhlestein, Observer Record Developer

avalie.000_with_shadowAvalie is a former public-educator who embraced the world of homeschooling in 2010.  She graduated from BYU and then earned her Master’s in Education at Pacific University (Oregon), specializing in curriculum development.  Avalie worked as a Reading Specialist in Hawaii, a Seminary Teacher in Oregon, and a dance teacher in Utah.  Avalie is now grateful to be a full-time homeschool mom with five exceptional children (ages 6-13).  She strives to provide fun and meaningful learning for the children in her home, some who have significant learning challenges.  After searching for three years, Avalie and her husband Trent were delighted to discover Family School Curriculum.  Avalie loves teaching one quality lesson each day to all five of her children, with Gospel Principles aligned with the academic content. She is thrilled with the depth and breadth of the Family School content and is inspired by its flexibility.  Avalie is humbled and grateful for the opportunity to work with LDL and works to provide resources for early, emergent, delayed, and kinesthetic learners in what is now called the “Observer” level. She also conceived the idea for Latter-day Learning to provide handwriting worksheets as a compliment and review of the gospel principle and academic concepts taught in each lesson plan!

Sheryl Johnson, Designer

sheryl (2)_with_shadowSheryl C. S. Johnson hales from West Jordan, Utah, where she loved sleeping in the backyard with her mother and counting stars. She graduated from Westminster College with a degree in finance, during which time she converted to the Church. She owns the digital scrapbook website GrannyEnchanted.com and loves writing fiction. She now lives with her favorite people in a wind tunnel, where she is blown back and forth between Ute and Cougar fans. Sheryl is the lead designer of the hundreds (soon to be thousands) of flashcards, timeline cards, and many handout pages that you enjoy and that supplement The Family School curriculum. Her creative mind and homegrown design talents bless the lives of thousands of children worldwide!

Heidi Boden, Author

heidi (2)_with_shadowHeidi received a Bachelors of Arts degree from Brigham Young University in Art Education in 1999.  She did her student teaching certification while her first son was an infant, and she has juggled being a mom and a teacher ever since.  She has taught in various private, public and home-school settings and loves nurturing the creativity in children of all ages.  In 2008, Heidi joined the American Heritage School faculty as the elementary art teacher. She also developed a kindergarten art course for the AHS Distance Education program.  Then in 2012 she transitioned from art teacher to art author for the Latter-Day Learning Program.  Heidi enjoys helping mothers and families appreciate the inspired beauty in the visual arts through out history. She hopes that during each art lesson in the Family School that the children will find joy in creating like our Creator.  When she is not writing, Heidi and her family are making gorgeous messes in her home art studio with a newly acquired ceramic kiln.  She also loves to be outdoors kayaking, hiking, skiing and of course, sketching the landscape with her children.

Karen Arnesen, Author

karen (2)_with_shadowAs a high school student, Karen remembers sitting on the couch in her living room, weeping over the sorrow of the protagonist in the play Death of a Salesman. Here was an example of one who sinned and suffered the consequences. For Karen literature has always been full of gospel lessons. She discovered the homeschooling world before her marriage while she was teaching 8th grade language arts in a public school and was immediately drawn to it. It satisfied all her desires to teach her children and to teach them in a setting that emphasized gospel and the family. After working for two years as an assistant editor for the Ensign magazine, she married and had her first boy. She left her job, and her homeschooling adventure began. She has homeschooled her seven children (five boys, two girls) from the beginning. She also teaches a five-year junior high and high school literature course in her basement, using the gospel as the foundation of all she teaches and preparing students for the AP literature exam. Karen is the only author that tackles two subjects in The Family School preparing 70 lessons per year (history and literature) that bless the lives of so many!

Jane Mack and Nannette Wiggins, Sisters, Authors and Content/Voice Editors

jane (2)_with_shadowJane Neubert Mack is a native of Orem, Utah. Her husband, Spencer, is a Financial Consultant, and has a specialty in serving families with children who have special needs, and they currently serve together in local branch presidency. At this time they have seven children and 22 grandchildren. Jane enjoys a good road trip, being with her family, gardening, doing family history work. Jane homeschooled her children for 22 years with much of that time spent alongside her sister Nannette Wiggins and her children. Nannette Neubert Wiggins lives in Orem, Utah. She is the mother of five and the grandmother of 18. Her husband Marvin is retired from 40 years of service as a librarian at BYU. She and her husband currently serve as missionaries in the LDS Addiction Recovery Program. Nannette graduated in elementary education from BYU. She loves to bike, swim, walk, write, and sing. She has been involved in homeschool for over 30 years. Together Jane and Nannette have great passion for home education. They desire to help others have the same wonderful opportunity and experience they had in teaching their children “family style,” using gospel principles. Jane and her sister Nannette are currently helping to homeschool their own grandchildren. They have teamed up to write The Family School Geography lessons and are also content editors for all of The Family School subjects. They feel very blessed and excited to be part of such an amazing team of writers, designers, and others who are moving this great work forward at American Heritage School. It is surely a dream come true!

Jena Flanagan, Handout Designer

jena (1)_with_shadowJena was born in Oregon, but has lived in several states including, Washington, Missouri and Michigan. She moved to Utah when she was 10 and considers this her “home state.” She married her high school sweetheart and currently lives with her husband and four incredible children in West Bloomfield, Michigan, but is planning to move again soon, hoping to add another state to her growing list.  Jena loves BYU, where she studied both Psychology and English, as well has had to opportunities to study in England and surf in Hawaii. Jena is a lifetime doodler, a yarn addict, a runner, a swimmer in progress and a biker–sounds like a budding triathlete. She loves that The Family School weaves the gospel into its curriculum and is excited to be a part of the LDL family! She current is one of the primary designers and developers of the thousands of handouts used to support and supplement each lesson plan. If you noticed an uptick in the number of “cute” handouts particularly for the younger children, you likely have Jena to thank!

FullRes-Gentile-22Nick Gentile, History Instructor

Nicholas W. Gentile is currently a full-time instructor for Seminaries and Institutes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and, in Fall 2015, will be teaching an after-school class—“American History”—for American Heritage School’s “Latter-day Learning” distance education program. He 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 efforts to stand for truths about marriage and family—which was published in the September 2012 Ensign. He and his eternal sweetheart, Christina, are passionate about teaching their one son and three daughters 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.