Meet Our Staff



Mark Phillips | Jeremy Topp | Jeanette Big

Patti Hanson | Erica Montoya | Tabitha Alegria | 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 school’s bus, he is also a certified streetcar operator. He has been with GEA since its inception in 1999.




Jeremy Topp - Principal/Administrator
Jeremy received his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts in 2001 at the University of Arizona, a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University in 2007, and a Masters in Social Work from Arizona State University in 2013. He enjoys music and art of every genre and has been at GEA for 14 years.






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 7th 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 son and three daughters are all GEA alumnae. This is Patti's 12th year on the school staff.






Erica Montoya - Accounting Clerk
Bio & picture coming soon!





Tabitha Alegria - Office Assistant
Bio & picture coming soon!





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.)