Meet our Team
Meet Our Teachers
Wyoming Virtual Academy's (WYVA's) caring and dedicated teachers are excited to make this a great year for your student!
Andrea Williams, K–6 Educator
Mrs. Williams began teaching with WYVA in 2009 and is a 1st and 2nd grade teacher. She has been teaching for 19 years. She began her career teaching 5th and 6th grades in brick-and-mortar school, coaching after-school sports, and running the student council. Mrs. Williams graduated from the University of Wyoming with a BA in elementary education and an endorsement in middle school.
Cary Laucomer, K-6 Educator
Mrs. Cary Laucomer joined Wyoming Virtual Academy in 2020 as an elementary teacher. She has 15 years of experience in education including three years as a technology director. In the classroom she has taught 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and a Master of Science in instructional technology, both from the University of Wyoming.
Christine Turner, K-6 Educator
Turner is in her first year with Wyoming Virtual Academy. She earned a BA in Elementary Education, with endorsements in Reading and Remedial Reading, from the University of Wyoming. She has worked in education for 30 years as a substitute teacher, after school coordinator, PTO president, volunteer, and 21CCLC grant program director.
Dakota Benoit, K-6 Educator
Mrs. Benoit is an elementary school teacher who joined Wyoming Virtual Academy in 2020. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, an area of concentration in early childhood education, and a year of in-depth guided reading training, from Chadron State College. She also earned her associates of science from Northern Wyoming Community College. Benoit currently teaches 3rd grade for Wyoming Virtual Academy.
Dea Kobbe, K-6 Educator
Mrs. Kobbe is an elementary teacher who joined Wyoming Virtual Academy in 2019. She is an enthusiastic, caring educator who believes that all children can learn and thrive in an environment that is stimulating, comfortable, and appropriate to the children’s abilities. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, an endorsement in ESL, and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with the emphasis in language development, from the University of Wyoming. Professionally Mrs. Kobbe has seven years of classroom teaching experience, including five years specializing in ESL where she worked with bilingual students as they learned and became proficient in English. She finds her strength to be the ability to establish a rapport with students, parents, and staff.
Eugenia Farinha, K–6 Educator
Mrs. Farinha is a Kindergarten teacher who began working with WYVA in 2009. She has over 14 years’ experience in education. Genia earned her BA in Education from Western Governors University in K-6 education.
Faye Hall, K–6 Educator
Mrs. Hall is an elementary teacher who joined the WYVA team in 2009. She brings more than 30 years’ experience in education and community service. She has served on a local school board and the Wyoming State Board of Education. She received her degree from the University of Wyoming in Elementary Education and an Early Childhood Associate Degree from Casper College.
Lyndsey Garhart, K-6 Educator
Mrs. Allbright is a Kindergarten teacher for WYVA. This is her first year with WYVA and 13th year in education. Mrs. Allbright has also taught 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades and has been a K-5 Computer Science specials teacher and technology facilitator in the brick-and-mortar setting. She earned her B. A in Elementary Education from Western Governors University and her M.Ed in Educational Technology from American College of Education. She also holds an endorsement in K-12 Computer Science.
Stacey Cass, K–6 Teacher
Mrs. Cass is a K–2 teacher who joined the WYVA in 2010. She brings more than 11 years of teaching experience in special education, elementary education, and ESL. She holds a degree in special education K–12 and elementary education from Black Hills State University. Her past experience includes teaching in developmental kindergarten, 2nd grade, as well as special education K–6.
Stacie Romine, K-6 Educator
Ms. Romine is a first- year teacher at WYVA. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Education from Western Governors University. She is thrilled to be teaching 4th grade this year.
Stephanie McKinney, K-6 Educator
Mrs. McKinney is an elementary teacher who joined Wyoming Virtual Academy in 2020. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Creative Arts. She is currently enrolled in a Master of Mathematics program. Professionally, Mrs. McKinney has been working in education for 14 years and has experience teaching K-5th grade.
Shirly Hall, K-6 Educator
Mrs. Hall is an elementary teacher who joined Wyoming Virtual Academy in 2020. This is her first-year teaching with WYVA, but has taught for the past 17 years. She has taught 2nd, 5th, and 6th grades. Mrs. Hall attended Northern Arizona University and earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education K-8. Also, she completed 2 years of Animal Science coursework at Rick’s College. For 12 years, she has facilitated an after school, and summer campout programs, where outdoor skills and positive teacher/student relationships and activities were fostered. Mrs. Hall has 3 children and 2 grandchildren. She enjoys hunting, hiking, and being outdoors. Mrs. Hall’s passion is helping students find success in their educational journey.
Ana Junker, Spanish Teacher
I grew up in Monterrey Mexico where I completed my Industrial Engineering undergraduate degree. In 2009 I met my husband on a climbing trip and decided to move to the USA to start a family. Shortly after, I started my journey of becoming a teacher. Therefore, I pursued a Master’s degree in Spanish at University of Wyoming and then a Master’s of Education at Montana State University. Through my years of teaching, I have discovered that I am passionate about teaching my native language and culture. Currently my husband, daughter, and I live in Lander, WY where we enjoy our time in the mountains and our farm animals that we love so much.
Caolon McNamee, Social Studies Teacher
Mr. McNamee is a middle school history teacher who joined the WYVA team in 2010. He tries to teach history in an upbeat way from the perspective of global connections and cycles or events, rather than the memorization of battles and names. Caolon earned a BA in history and a BA in psychology from the University of Wyoming, before completing his post-baccalaureate in teaching.
Cecelia Ihnat, Social Studies Teacher
Mrs. Ihnat is a high school social studies teacher who joined the K12 team in 2009. She brings with her over 20 years’ experience. She has taught in the brick and mortar setting and now the virtual setting. She has taught 6 through 12 grades and an array of social studies subjects. Cece earned her BA in Secondary Education from the University of Wyoming. She holds certificates in Social Studies and is endorsed in Sociology, Psychology, and Middle School.
Christian Littlejohn, Art Teacher
Mr. Littlejohn is the art teacher for the middle and high school. He has been teaching at WYVA since 2011. Prior to that he taught an additional 5 years in various art teaching positions in Arizona and Florida. Most notably, he taught sculpture at an Arts Magnate School in Florida. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the school with an Associate’s degree in Illustration from BYU-Idaho, a Bachelor’s degree in Art Education from BYU-Utah, and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University.
Elizabeth Olson, English Teacher
Mrs. Olson has been with WYVA since 2017. She teaches high school English and is the WYVA High School Yearbook Advisor. She earned a BA in English in 1994 from Virginia Commonwealth University, and four years later, she moved to beautiful Wyoming. In 2012, she earned a second degree – a BS in Secondary Education – from Chadron State College. She is currently working toward a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction and hopes to be finished by early 2022. Mrs. Olson has been in the education field since 2008 working with students in grades 6 through 12. She believes the best part of teaching is watching her students learn and grow both personally and academically.
Fabrizio Ladu, Science Teacher
Mr. Ladu is a high school Science teacher who joined WYVA in August 2020. He is currently our Biology and Honors Biology teacher. He earned his BS in Applied Bioecology and MS in Marine Biology in Italy at Universitá degli Studi di Cagliari. In 2013, Fabrizio arrived in USA as a research scholar at NYU-Tandon School of Engineering, where he collaborated with a team of engineers in the analysis of fish-behavioral studies in response to robotic stimuli. He moved to Wyoming in 2016, and after spending almost two years as a technician in the fish laboratory in the Zoology Department at University of Wyoming, he went back to school to earn his teaching certification. He holds 6-12 Biology, and 6-12 Earth and Space Science certificates.
Gabriel Joyes, Social Studies
Gabe Joyes has been teaching high school social studies with WYVA since 2018. Gabe is currently the coordinator for WYVA High School Student Council, and in the past was also the leader of the K12 Blogging and Creative Writing National Club. He holds a B.A. in Geography and a minor in Sociology and Anthropology from Gustavus Adolphus College, and has a teaching endorsement from Prescott College. Previously he worked as a high school teacher in Fort Washakie and Lander, Wyoming, and as a middle school teacher in Mancos, Colorado. When not teaching for WYVA, you can usually find Gabe running somewhere in the mountains or mixing up a batch of waffles.
Jennifer Holden, Math Teacher
Mrs. Holden is a middle school math teacher who joined the Stride team in 2014. Jennifer earned a BS in Education with endorsements in Mathematics and Physical Education from Chadron State College in Chadron, NE in 1995. She completed her Middle School endorsement for the state of Wyoming in 2000 and her Master of Science in Teaching Mathematics degree at the University of Wyoming in 2013. She has been an adjunct professor at Sheridan College and a concurrent enrollment instructor for WYVA through Eastern Wyoming College.
Jill Miller, English Teacher
Mrs. Miller joined WYVA during the great hiring boom of August 2020. She’s been a middle, high school, and college level English instructor since 2011, and spent several years as a K12 Librarian as well. She studied Anthropology and English as an undergraduate at Washington State University, hoping to have an Indiana Jones-like career in Forensic Anthropology. When she found out she was no good at using a bull whip (and that’s not really what the job required, anyway!), she finished her English teaching certification at the University of Wyoming and started teaching students about reading and writing. In 2017, she graduated again from the University of Wyoming with her Master’s Degree after spending a year writing her thesis about one of her favorite literary characters: Mr. Sherlock Holmes. As you may have guessed by this point, Mrs. Miller really loves books, so you can often find her reading or writing novels.
Joey Moore, Math Teacher
Jordan Graves, Math Teacher
Julie Erickson, ASL
Kimberly Dillon, Science Teacher
Mrs. Dillon is a HS science teacher and HS Lead Teacher who joined the K12 team in 2009. She currently teaches Biology and Physics. She earned a BS in Biology from the University of New Mexico. She continued her education at Eastern New Mexico University where she earned an MA in Secondary Education. She holds certificates in 6-12 Physical Science, 6-12 Biology, and 6-12 English.
Lorena Veal, Science Teacher
Mrs. Veal is a middle school science teacher who joined the K12 team in 2011. She brings 10 years of experience in education. Lorena earned a BS in Secondary Education from Chadron State College, and a BS in General Biology from Chadron State College. She also holds a certificate in Secondary Science.
Lyndsey Garhart, K-12 Computer Science
Lyndie Larson, Health/Physical Education
Mrs. Larson has been with WYVA for nine years teaching high school physical education, health, and nutrition classes. She has been in teaching for 14 years, formerly teaching P.E. in Arizona and wellness in Gillette, WY. She holds an Associate of Science degree in exercise science from Western Wyoming Community College and a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology from the University of Wyoming with coaching endorsements in basketball, volleyball, and track.
Rachel Kerr, English Teacher
Dr. Rachel Kerr joined WYVA in 2009. She started teaching in 1995. She has taught in Illinois, Hawaii, Guam, and Wyoming. She earned her bachelor's and master's degree from Western Illinois University in 1994 and 1996 respectively. She earned a doctorate degree from Capella in 2014. She currently teaches high school English classes.
Ray Swanson, CRE Teacher
Selena Pope, CRE Teacher
Mrs. Pope joined Wyoming Virtual Academy in August 2020 teaching 7th grade Life Science. She holds a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education, a Masters degree in Secondary Science – Biology and a Masters degree in Secondary Science – Chemistry from Western Governors University. In the past she has taught 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades as well as high school chemistry, anatomy and physiology, physical science and biology. She also holds a middle school science endorsement in the state of Wyoming.
Terry Riggle, Math Teacher
Mr. Riggle is a high school math teacher who just joined WYVA this year after sixteen years of teaching in California. He began teaching in 2004 after earning his BA in Mathematics from San Jose State University and an M.Ed in Cross-Cultural Teaching from National University. While in California, Mr. Riggle was a member of the California Partnership for Math and Science Education (CAPMSE) and the Delta Sierra STEM Collaborative.
Wesley Rice, English Teacher
Whitney Cloward, CRE Teacher
Special Education Teachers
Becca VanOrden, Special Education
Mrs. VanOrden is the special education teacher for 7th grade. She grew up in southeast Idaho, where she still resides with her husband and dog. Mrs. VanOrden graduated with a BS in Special Education K-12 from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. She enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, and eating good food.
Chelsi Pantle, Special Education
Mrs. Chelsie Pantle is one of our speech-language pathologists. This is her second year with WYVA. Mrs. Pantle holds a B.S. in Speech-Language and Hearing Sciences and a M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Wyoming. She lives in southcentral Wyoming with her husband and two young daughters. She has worked in a variety of settings including early childhood intervention and largely works with elementary-age and middle school students at WYVA.
Jennifer Corbett, K-6 Special Education Teacher
Mrs. Corbett is a Special Education Teacher who started with WYVA in 2020. She holds a BA in Elementary Education, a master’s degree in Special Education, and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wyoming and Western Governors University.
Mandi Williams, Special Education
Mrs. Mandi Williams is our lead Speech Language Pathologist. She joined the WYVA team in 2014. Her entire career has been centered on combining her love of language with her love of teaching. Mrs. Williams holds an A.A. in Foreign Language (Persian Farsi) from Monterey Peninsula College, a degree pursued while serving as a cryptologic linguist in the US Air Force. She also holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Montana State University, Billings and a M.S. in Communication Disorders from California State University, Northridge. She was awarded her bachelor’s and master’s degrees through online programs and has a lot of experience on the student side as well as the teaching side of virtual learning. She has worked in a variety of settings including national security/intelligence, early childhood education and elementary education. She now works with students at WYVA from Kindergarten through 12th grade, empowering students to gain enhanced communication skills.
Michele Thompson, Special Education
Mrs. Thompson is a K-12 special education teacher, and a Nationally registered, Wyoming licensed occupational therapist who joined WYVA in 2014. She works primarily with students in the K-8th grades. A Wyoming native, Mrs. Thompson graduated in 1991 with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State University. She then began her career as an occupational therapist in North Carolina with adults with developmental disabilities, K-12 schools, and adults in nursing homes. When she returned to Wyoming in 1995, Mrs. Thompson continued as an occupational therapist in the school settings, acute rehabilitation, and contract therapist for adults with developmental disabilities. From Grand Canyon University, Mrs. Thompson completed a Master’s of Curriculum and Instruction in Special Education and Instructional Technology. She expanded into an education career professional in schools as a special education teacher and occupational therapist. Mrs. Thompson completed Specific Autism training in North Carolina in TEACCH Level I, II, and Shadow Training, training in sensory integration client support, including SIPT certification; training in neuro-developmental education and therapy; and trauma-informed care and reactive attachment disorder.
Samantha Miller, Special Education
Samantha Miller is a Special Education Teacher at WYVA. She received her BA is Special Education K-12 at Regis University in Denver, Colorado.
Sheila Georgen, Special Education
Sheila Georgen, known by her students as Mrs. G, started at WYVA as a K-6 special education teacher in 2020. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Chadron State College and then her K-12 special education certificate through the University of Wyoming. Mrs. G has taught for 6 years in a traditional school setting but loves teaching virtually even more!
Yvonne Stewart Perry, K–12 Special Education
Mrs. Perry is a Special Education teacher who joined WYVA in 2009 as a Middle School Social Studies teacher, but soon moved to Special Education for grades K-6, and currently at the 9-12 grade level. Mrs. Perry earned her BA in Education from the University of Wyoming, her BS in Criminal Justice and an endorsement in Special education. Mrs. Perry has been teaching since 1998 and is endorsed in the areas of Special Education K-12, Social Studies Comprehensive 6-12, and has a Middle School endorsement.