Meet Our Staff



Mark Phillips | Jeremy Topp | Jeanette Big

Patti Hanson | Michele Sanders | Melissa Stauffer | Amy Fiske | Heidi Shapiro | Adriana Martinez | Beth Phillips





Mark Phillips - Director/Administrator
A native Arizonan, Mark had an interest in music from an early age. He grew up performing in a variety of ensembles and continues to play professionally when his busy schedule allows. He received a full scholarship from Eastern Arizona College and majored in Music Performance both there and at Mesa Community College. Mark directs our award-winning Jazz Ensemble as well as teaching beginning and advanced band and designing the curriculum for our elementary music program. In addition to driving the schoolís bus, he is also a certified streetcar operator and on weekends he can be found operating the historic streetcars of the Old Pueblo Trolley line.




Jeremy Topp - Principal/Administrator
Jeremy completed a Bachelorís Degree in Fine Arts in 2001 and recently earned his Masters in Educational Leadership. He has extensive experience as a counselor for children with special needs. His training includes Therapeutic Restraint Training, Behavior Management and individual/group counseling techniques. Jeremy loves music and art of every genre. Jeremy and his wife, Susannah, and their two children, Cree and Nia, live in Tubac.






Jeanette Big - Business Manager/Administrator
Jeanette was born and raised in California and moved to Sahuarita in 2005 with her husband Jay and daughter Jillian. She is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara with a Bachelors Degree in Biology. Her previous work history includes being a top executive with a major importing firm in California. She enjoys reading and hanging out by the pool in her spare time. This will be her 5th year working at Great Expectations.






Patti Hanson - Systems Manager/Registrar
Originally from El Paso, Patti arrived in the Tucson area by way of San Francisco in 1989. She has worked in many different industries but finds working in a school the most interesting of all. Patti and her husband Lance live with their children in a hand-built adobe home in Arivaca. Their three daughters all graduated from GEA and their son Skyler is not far behind. This is Patti's 10th year on the school staff.






Michele Sanders - Secretary
Michele grew up in various areas of the country before settling in Albuquerque, NM, where she graduated from the University of New Mexico. She moved to Sahuarita in 2005 with her husband, Clint, and two children. Her oldest child is a graduate of GEA and her youngest child is currently a GEA fifth grader. Michele has been involved at GEA in many capacities including classroom parent volunteer, secretary of the Gecko Parent Association, snack shack coordinator and lunch monitor. In her spare time she loves reading and camping and traveling with her family.





Amy Fiske - School Nurse
Amy grew up in California and New Mexico and moved to Sahuarita in 2007 with her husband Don. She graduated from Pima Community College in 2009 with a nursing degree and worked in community nursing until coming to GEA, where her two children attend school. Amy enjoys reading, swimming and traveling and is excited to be part of the GEA team!







Melissa Stauffer - Administrative Assistant
Melissa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She married her high school sweetheart and they have two children attending GEA. Melissa and her family moved from Denver to Yuma, then to Maine and finally back to the Southwest when they moved to Sahuarita two years ago. She enjoys watching her daughter swim competitively and her son play football and basketball, and she also loves to cook.






Heidi Shapiro - Attendance Clerk
Heidi is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach with a BA in Film and Electronic Arts with an emphasis in Screenwriting. During her senior year of college, she interned with the Long Beach Police Department as a Video Producer and was hired on permanently after graduation. After working for the police department for 5 years, Heidi moved to Sahuarita with her husband Dan in 2005. Heidi has two children at GEA, a second grader and kindergartener, and has helped in the library and the classroom as a parent volunteer, Box Top Mom, and anything else that the teachers asked! In her spare time, she loves reading, running, and scrapbooking.






Adriana Martinez - Office Clerk
Adriana is a native Arizonan. She moved to Sahuarita in 2007 with her husband and two children. Adriana started as a parent volunteer at GEA when her oldest started kindergarten, and is now part of the GEA office team. She enjoys being active and spending time with friends.






Beth Phillips - Director Emeritus
Beth is a long time resident (more than 40 years!) of the Sahuarita/Green Valley area, along with her son and grandchildren. She founded Great Expectations Academy in 1999 after a year of planning and working through the Charter approval process with the State of Arizona. She is a Reading Specialist with both her Bachelors and Masters degrees coming from the University of Arizona. Prior to founding GEA, Beth spent 17 years as an Administrator of Federal Programs for the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District in Rio Rico, Arizona. She also taught Masters level courses for Arizona State University and the University of Arizona and is a certified trainer for the Collaborative Literacy Intervention Project (C.L.I.P.)