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!

Elementary Teachers

Andrea Williams photo

Andrea Williams, K–6 Educator

Andrea Williams is a 3rd grade teacher for the Wyoming Virtual Academy.  Andrea earned her BA in Elementary Education from the University of Wyoming and began her teaching career 2000. In 2009 she switched thing up a bit and started teaching virtually for WYVA. Andrea has a passion for teaching. She enjoys providing engaging lessons for students and watching “her kids” make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and then make great strides academically. Learning is a process and Andrea is here to support students and families throughout their educational journey.

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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.

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Christine Turner, K-6 Educator

Mrs. Turner joined Wyoming Virtual Academy in 2020 and loves teaching 6th grade. 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.

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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.

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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.

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Faye Rankin, K–6 Educator

Mrs. Rankin 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.

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Genia Farinha, K–6 Educator

Mrs. Farinha is a 1st grade teacher who began working with WYVA in 2009. She has over 19 years’ experience in education. Genia earned her BA in Education from Western Governors University in K-6 education.

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Lindsey Garhart, K-6 Educator

Mrs. Garhart is a computer science teacher for WYVA. She works with all students from kindergarten to 12th grade. This is Mrs. Garhart’s 4th year with WYVA and 15th year in education with prior teaching experience in as a classroom teacher in kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th grades. She earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from Western Governors University and her M.Ed in Educational Technology from the American College of Education. She also holds an endorsement in K-12 Computer Science.

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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.

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Stacie Romine, K-6 Educator

Ms. Romine teaches 4th grade. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Education from Western Governors University.

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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.

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Shirley Hall, K-6 Educator

Mrs. Hall is an elementary teacher who joined Wyoming Virtual Academy in 2020. This is her 4th year teaching with WYVA, and is starting her 20th year of teaching. She has taught 2nd, 5th, and 6th grades. Mrs. Hall attended Northern Arizona University and earned a BA in elementary education K-8. For 12 years, she facilitated an after school, and summer outdoor adventure program. Mrs. Hall’s passion is helping students find success in their educational journey.

Middle School Teachers

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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.

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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. He is the Visual arts CTE Advisor and teaches photo, visual arts technology courses, as well as traditional art classes.

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Jennifer Holden

Jennifer Holden became a part of Wyoming Virtual Academy in 2014, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the virtual classroom. Her journey in education began at Chadron State College, where she graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Education, specializing in Mathematics and Physical Education. Relocating to Wyoming in 1996, Jennifer committed to continuous professional growth by achieving her Middle School endorsement and earning a Master of Science in Teaching Mathematics from the University of Wyoming in 2000 and 2013, respectively.

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Jordan Graves

Mr. Graves teaches middle and high school math.  He’s been with WYVA since 2022.  Mr. Graves earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education in 2004 and a Master of Science in Mathematics Education in 2009, both from Montana State University in Bozeman.  He taught for 16 years in Reed Point, Montana before coming to Wyoming.  He taught for two years at John C Schiffer Collaborative School in Sheridan before joining WYVA.  Mr. Graves loves coffee and sandwiches.  Sharks have a week dedicated to him.

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Lorena Veal

Mrs. Veal is a middle school science teacher who joined the WYVA team in 2011.  She tries to teach science as an investigation. Using content and previous knowledge to solve science problems.  Lorena earned a BA in general biology from Chardon State College before her post-baccalaureate degree in secondary education. In 2023 she earned her master’s degree in online education from SNHU.

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Selena Pope

Mrs. Pope joined Wyoming Virtual Academy in 2020. Currently, Mrs. Pope teaches the Programming Pathway courses at WYVA. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s degree in Secondary Science – Biology and a Master’s degree in Secondary Science – Chemistry. In the past she has taught 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades as well as high school chemistry, anatomy and physiology, physical science and biology.

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Wesley Rice

Mr. Rice is teaching 7th and 8th grade English at WYVA. He is from Casper, but is currently living in Laramie with his wife, Emily, and their cat, Kimber. He loves discussing ideas and helping students. In his free time, he likes playing board games and riding his motorcycle.

Secondary Teachers

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Ana Junker, Spanish Teacher

Mrs. Junker grew up in Monterrey, Mexico where she completed her Industrial Engineering undergraduate degree. In 2009 she moved to the U.S.  and shortly after, she started her journey of becoming a teacher, pursuing her Master’s degree in Spanish at the University of Wyoming and then a Master’s of Education at Montana State University. Through her years of teaching, she has discovered that she is passionate about teaching her native language and culture. Currently, Mrs. junker and her family live in Lander, WY where they enjoy their time in the mountains and with their farm animals that they love so much.

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Cecelia Ihnat, Social Studies Teacher

Mrs. Ihnat has been a social studies teacher at K12 since 2009 and leads the CTE Law Enforcement Pathway. 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.

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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 BS in Secondary Education from Chadron State College, and she earned an MS in Curriculum and Instruction from Western Governor’s University in 2023. Mrs. Olson has been in the education field since 2008 working with students in grades 6 through 12. She loves working with her students and believes the best part of teaching is watching them learn and grow both personally and academically.

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Fabrizio Ladu, Science Teacher

Mr. Ladu is a high school Science teacher who joined WYVA in August 2020. He is currently our Biology, College Biology, Earth Science and Astronomy teacher. He earned his BS in Applied Bioecology and MS in Marine Biology in Italy at Universit¡ 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.

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Gabriel Joyes, Social Studies

Mr. Joyes has been teaching high school social studies with WYVA since 2017. 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 WYVA, you can usually find Gabe running somewhere in the mountains or mixing up a batch of waffles.

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Jeanie Stukey

Ms. Stukey (rhymes with cookie) has served Wyoming students as a HS Counselor since 2005 and joined WYVA in 2020.  She was raised in Alaska and currently lives in Powell, Wyoming. She earned a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Montana State University-Billings, and a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.  She is passionate about helping students plan and prepare for college, and advising students as they pursue graduation and eligibility for the Hathaway Scholarship program.

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Jessica Garus

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Jillian Miller, English Teacher

Mrs. Miller joined WYVA in August of 2020. She has taught middle, high school, and college English, as well as been a K12 Librarian. She studied Anthropology and English 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 isn’t really what the job required, anyway!), she finished her teaching certification at the University of Wyoming and started teaching students about reading and writing. In 2017, she earned her master’s degree in English from UW after spending a year writing a thesis about a favorite literary character: Mr. Sherlock Holmes. When she’s not teaching, Mrs. Miller is often found reading or writing a novel, chasing her two sons around, or out riding her horses.

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Joey Moore, Math Teacher

Joey Moore has been teaching high school math since 2004, and has been with WYVA since 2020. She holds a M.A. in Secondary Education, a B.A. in math education and a minor in psychology.  In addition, by taking addition graduate class from UNL, she has been certified to teach mathematics concurrently through Eastern Wyoming College.  Previously she worked as a high school teacher in ND, SD and Buffalo, WY.  Joey lives with her family near Sundance, WY where she stays busy ranching with her husband and 3 children.

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Julie Erickson, ASL

Julie is an ASL and math teacher.  This is her second year working for WYVA. She has 27 years of experience in education. Julie earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Wyoming.  She enjoys being with family and friends, sports, beaches and lazy rivers. Her favorite part of teaching is helping students be successful and gain confidence.

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Kimberly Dillon, Science Teacher

Mrs. Dillon is a HS science teacher and Data Manager who joined the K12 team in 2009. She teaches HS Science.  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.

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Lyndie Larson, Health/Physical Education

Mrs. Larson joined WYVA in 2012 and teaches physical education, health, and nutrition classes. She started teaching in 2007, 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. In addition to endorsements in physical education and health, she also holds endorsements in virtual education and coaching for volleyball, basketball and track.

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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.

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Ray Swanson, CRE Teacher

Mr. Swanson has been teaching at WYVA since 2019. He teaches the Concurrent Enrollment Personal Health and Personal Fitness courses. He also leads the Therapeutics Pathway where he teaches Med Terms and Sports Med. He has a Masters Degree in Physical Education from Idaho State University and a Masters in French from Horizons University in Paris, France. He loves golfing in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. He also loves to read, eating great food, and traveling throughout the world. He and his wife Lisa have 5 children and 4 grandchildren.

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Terry Riggle, Math Teacher

Mr. Riggle is a math teacher who joined WYVA in 2020 after moving with his family from California to Wyoming.  He began teaching in 2004 after earning his B.A. 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.  In 2023, Mr. Riggle earned his M.S. in Mathematics from Shawnee State University.  He currently teaches high school mathematics courses for WYVA.

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Whitney Cloward, CRE Teacher

Whitney is the High School Family & Consumer Science teacher. I have been teaching for 7 years and have been teaching for WYVA since August 2022. Originally, from Utah then moved to Wyoming in 2020. Received my BS from Utah State University in Family & Consumer Sciences Education. I am currently pursuing my MS in Curriculum and Instruction from Western Governors University. I enjoy teaching Culinary Arts, Interior Design, Fashion Design, Career Planning as well as the CRE related concurrent enrollment courses through Eastern Wyoming College.

Special Education Teachers

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Andrea Osborne, Special Education

Andrea lives in Robertson Wyoming with her family of 4 boys, one of which is her husband of 18 years. She has been teaching special education for 7 years. Her hobbies include taking kids to rodeos, riding, beading, and designing shoes.

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Angela O’Leary

Angela O’Leary is a Special Education Teacher at WYVA. She double majored and earned her BS in Elementary and Special Education degree from Montana State University – Billings and her M. Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University. She enjoys coaching gymnastics and spending time in the mountains. Mrs. O’Leary as been teaching since 2007.

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Chelsie Pantle, Special Education

Mrs. Chelsie Pantle is one of our speech-language pathologists. This is her fourth 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. Chelsie lives in south central Wyoming with her husband and three daughters. She has worked in a variety of settings including early childhood intervention and currently works primarily with the elementary-age students at WYVA.

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Katy Lohse, K-12 Special Education Counselor

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Jamie Erskin

Mrs. Erskin joined WYVA in 2023 as a literacy coach.  She has taught K-5 special education for 23 years and has also worked as the district achievement evaluator.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degrees in elementary education and special education from Black Hills State University in SD.  She earned her master’s in special education from Grand Canyon University in AZ.  Mrs. Erskin has done extensive course work in the Science of Reading and looks forward to working with the WYVA teachers.

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Jen Farnes

Mrs. Farnes holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education K-12 and Elementary Education K-8. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a second Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership. She has over 11 years of teaching experience that began in Las Vegas, Nevada as a special education teacher grades 6-8. Mrs. Farnes and her family moved back to her home state of Wyoming where she continued teaching in the general education classroom working with fifth and sixth grade students. She is excited to be part of the WYVA team and looks forward to a rewarding year!

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Jennifer Corbett, K-6 Special Education Teacher

Mrs. Corbett is a Special Education Teacher who started 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. She has worked in a variety of settings including high school and middle school, teaching special education in resource rooms and daily living skills classrooms.  She was also a second and third grade elementary teacher. She is now a K-6 Special Education teacher helping students with academics, social, and behavior skills, while communicating with parents to help children be successful within WYVA.

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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 is a certified teacher of structured literacy and works with students at WYVA from Kindergarten through 12th grade, empowering students to gain enhanced communication skills.

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Michele Thompson, Special Education

Mrs. Thompson is a 16-year special education teacher and veteran occupational therapist who began working with special education populations thirty years ago. Mrs. Thompson earned her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State University in 1991 and Masters of Curriculum and Instruction in Special Education in 2007, and Instructional Technology in 2012 from Grand Canyon University. Mrs. Thompson is an active and collaborative team member with her general education partners in the virtual setting to implement robust data-driven instruction, enabling students in special education to reach their goals and close achievement gaps. She has contributed to the Wyoming Extended Content Standards revisions for the Wyoming Department of Education and the Wyoming alternate assessment review processes. Mrs. Thompson serves on the Wyoming Governor’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council. She is a passionate advocate for families in crisis explicitly related to adoption, early trauma, mental illness, and childhood neglect. She believes innovation and forward-thinking are critical to continuing success with all students. She is honored to be Niobrara County School District #1 2023 teacher of the year.

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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.

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Sheila Georgen, Special Education

Sheila Georgen, known by her students as Mrs. G, started at WYVA as a special education teacher in 2020 and has been co-teaching math at the high school level since 2021 and loving it! 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! She and her husband live in north central Wyoming with their two cute kids!

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Yvonne Stewart Perry, K–12 Special Education

Mrs. Perry is a Special Education Teacher-Post Secondary Transition Coordinator who joined WYVA in 2009 as a Middle School Social Studies teacher, but soon moved to Special Education for grades K-6, and currently working with students at the 9-12 grade level as the Transition Coordinator.  Mrs. Perry earned her BA in Secondary Education, BS in Criminal Justice, and a Special education degree all from the University of Wyoming.  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. Mrs. Perry lives in Sheridan, Wyoming with her husband, 2 grown children and 1 beautiful granddaughter.

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Susan Lang

Mrs. Lang joined WYVA the spring of 2023 as a Special Education Para.  She was a Special Education Para in brick-and-mortar school for 19 years.  Mrs. Lang enjoys being with the students and helping them.