Meet the Faculty
Linda Lacey - Founder
A graduate of Slippery Rock University, with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education, Linda founded Lee Academy in 1983. She has made numerous presentations on gifted education at national and international conferences. Linda is a member of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, the Florida Association for the Gifted,
and the National Association for Gifted Children. She is presently studying nutritional health and fitness as it relates to enhanced cognitive, emotional and physical growth and development in children.
Jennifer Deitz - Director
Jen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in German and French, a Postgraduate Diploma in Education, a Postgraduate Diploma in the Law of Educational Management, and a Master’s in Education, specializing in Curriculum Design and Assessment, all from the University of Leeds in England. Jen has taught in both England and Germany and has many years of experience in a variety of subject areas, including languages,
math and information technology. She is responsible for all aspects of the program and is the focal point of communication for parents, faculty and the world outside Lee. Along with the Upper, Middle and Lower School Coordinators, Jen is responsible for curricula. She is also our go-to person to keep computer systems up and running on a daily basis.
David Deitz - Upper School Coordinator and Foreign Languages
David holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in languages and a post graduate diploma in education from the University of Leeds in England. He taught high school in France, Germany and England for many years. In addition to being Upper School Coordinator, David directs our Latin, French and German programs. He takes the active participation approach to foreign language learning, encouraging students to converse in the language as much as possible. David also works
with our Upper School students on career and college planning. He liaises closely with USF and area colleges with regard to our Upper School Dual Enrollment program. David is experienced in leading student trips abroad.
Jeff Floyd - Middle School Coordinator, Robotics, Physical Education and Lower School Math
Jeff received his Bachelor’s degree from Manchester College and has strong experience individualizing curriculum and preparing individual education plans. His teaching style is very hands-on and visual, encouraging students to be active during experiments, field trips, projects and class discussions. In Jeff’s physical education classes,
he emphasizes teamwork and fair play. Jeff and Lou Ann work together on Middle and Lower School responsibilities, including working with students and parents.
Lou Ann Willis-Fraser - Lower School Coordinator, Guidance Counselor, & Group Dynamics Teacher
Lou Ann has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Guidance, all from the University of South Florida. She also obtained a gifted endorsement from the State of Florida Department of Education. As Lower School Coordinator, Lou Ann helps students, parents and teachers work together effectively and successfully. The group dynamics classes that Lou Ann designed teach many critical skills in the affective domain. Some of her goals for the guidance program are to support students in conflict resolutions, relationship-building and generating respect for themselves as well as others.
Caroline Karp - Early Childhood
Caroline earned a BA from Florida State University, a Master of Arts in Elementary
Education Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado and completed
the Educational Research Foundation’s “Trainer of Teachers” program. An accomplished artist, Caroline has provided art and music instruction to young children
for over 20 years. Caroline is excited to build a hands-on active learning classroom
community with the Early Childhood students again in the fall. Artwork from
her class receives high acclaim.
John Hendrix - English, Literature and Theater
John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Jacksonville State University, with majors in English and Music. He has extensive experience in working with high ability students. During his teaching tenure, John has been chairman of English, Humanities and Drama departments at private schools in Georgia and Florida. John is constantly augmenting curriculum in ways that enhance educational skills, keeping classes interesting and relevant. John successfully produces a school play each year.
Marina Benova – Lower School Language Arts
Marina earned a Master of Arts degree in Teaching English and Literature in Slovakia and previously taught language arts to middle and high school students in private schools in Maryland. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins University, where she focused on effective teacher leadership skills and adult learning strategies. After completing her graduate internship at Johns Hopkins School of Education, Marina worked as an Academic Specialist at Notre Dame of Maryland University. She believes the understanding of the grammar components along with the writing processes is crucial for young learners to become finer writers and readers. When discussing and analyzing the works of literature, Marina welcomes a plurality of perspectives, encourages empathy, and guides her students to see a character’s story as a story of humankind.
Samuel Luna – Middle and Upper School Spanish, Music and Science
Samuel was born and raised in Southern Spain where he went on to college to study Environmental Sciences and Marine Biology. Soon his passion for music took over and he began a new career teaching at various educational academies in Spain and the United States. Prior to joining our faculty, he was a teacher and administrator for private schools, focusing on developing Athletic and Fine Arts programs. He also served as adjunct professor and Spanish curriculum designer at Florida State College. Samuel is very excited to be part of the Lee Academy mission. He believes in the importance of education and seeks to bring out the inquisitive nature of others.
Patricia Florez – Lower School Spanish, Nutrition & Computers
Patricia Flórez was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia where she completed a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Upon moving to Atlanta in 1998, she attained a Master’s degree in Spanish Literature from Georgia State University and taught Spanish in grades K-8. In 2013, Patricia decided to go after a lifelong dream and became a Certified Holistic Nutritional Therapist. After gathering several years of experience working as a Health Coach in the Wellness industry, she moved to Tampa to be closer to her family and work in the area of Nutrition. In 2018, motivated by the passion to educate and enlighten younger minds, she returned to the educational field as a Spanish teacher EC3-8th grade and Bilingual Lead Teacher in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
Chinh Nguyen - Upper School Science and Mathematics
Chinh holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and has completed all core graduate levels of Chemistry courses for his Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry. He taught at Mentoring Academy where the mission statements and philosophies are very similar to Lee Academy. Additionally, Chinh has been a private tutor for over 15 years in Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics from elementary level all the way to undergraduate level.
Caroline Sakla – Middle & Upper School Mathematics
Caroline earned a Master’s Degree in Teaching – Middle School Mathematics from the University of South Florida and has taught a variety of middle school Mathematics classes over the years in Pinellas County, including Algebra Honors and pre-IB curricula. Caroline also started her own business and developed a curriculum for her education-based indoor play area. She is excited to bring her real-world experiences into the classroom to showcase the importance of mathematics in everyday life. Caroline believes that all students can excel in mathematics when equipped with the right tools, the right environment and taught with patience and enthusiasm.
Robert Emmett– Middle and Upper School Social Studies
Rob holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Dayton, where he also earned a Post-Graduate License for Adolescent to Young Adults 7-12 Social Studies. Prior to joining our faculty, Rob worked at Dayton Early College Academy, where he taught social studies, started a debate club, organized a Washington DC field trip and worked as an academic advisor. Rob also served as a Congressional Intern for Congresswoman Judy Biggert. He is presently working on arranging a field trip to Washington DC for our upper school students.
Krista Lakin - Lower School Science, Social Studies & Music
Krista graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the State
University of New York at Brockport. She has taught in both public and private
schools, was an English instructor in Taiwan and South Korea and served as director
at a private school in Tampa. Her philosophy: when students feel safe and
heard, when questions and ideas are not only accepted, but encouraged, they become
free to reach their potential. She looks forward to extending lessons beyond
the classroom by taking advantage of the many enrichment opportunities Tampa
Bay has to offer.
Danielle Fellerhof – Lower School Language Arts, Social Studies & Theater
Danielle holds a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Theater from the University of South Florida. A former Early Childhood teacher at Lee Academy, Danielle was the faculty advisor to the Lee Academy Chess Club for a number of years. She is rejoining the Lee Academy faculty to teach Language Arts & Social Studies and to introduce more Theater to our younger students.
Paula Allen - Art & Animation
Paula has a B.S in Art Education from the College of St Rose and an MFA in Animation/ Film from Vermont College of Fine Art. She has served as an art instructor in public and private schools in New York and Florida. Paula is also the former director of the Teco Children’s Gallery of Art for Hillsborough Counties Children’s Board, a program that created large touring public art created by local artists and children. She received a Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2011 from the Tampa Florida Human Rights Council for her work in the arts with Children. Paula was nominated for Woman of the Year in Community Service in 2008 by the St. Petersburg Florida Chamber of Commerce and was logo artist for St Petersburg’s First Night celebration in 2007. She recently created an animated film with over 200 children participating that is winning recognition in youth film festivals.
Lisa Ortiz - Health & Life Skills
Lisa received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of South Florida and has been licensed as a registered nurse in the State of Florida for 19 years. She has Master’s level training in physical assessment, child development and epidemiology. Lisa has a heart for her students and her classes reflect this through discussion-based, developmentally-appropriate and student-driven design.