Gary Seastrand’s public school career spanned 36.5 years where he taught elementary school, was an elementary principal, and served as deputy superintendent, all in Utah’s Alpine School District. After retiring he was appointed as the director of the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling at Brigham Young University. In that role he also served as the executive director of the BYU-Public School Partnership. In addition to his professional career, he has participated in many community activities and boards. He advocates for literacy, public education, and individuals with special needs.
Gary holds a BA in. elementary education, an MEd in school administration, an EdS in school leadership, all from BYU, and an EdD in educational administration from the University of Utah. Gary and his wife, Denise, are the parents of five sons, two of whom are public school teachers. They enjoy 11 grandchildren.
Jennifer Beech is an ESL Pre-K teacher in Plano, Texas. Her students come from all over the world, and most have never been in a school environment. She teaches the youngest learners in the district and helps their parents navigate new lives in the US. Her students are diverse—some have come as refugees from war-torn countries and others from Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. Beech loves learning and hopes to instill in her students a love for and curiosity about the world. She trains administrators and teachers in her district and districts across North Texas. Beech holds a BS in elementary education from Brigham Young University (‘94) and worked on her MS from the University of Alabama.
Jennifer met her husband, Kevin, at BYU. They have four children. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, camping, horseback riding, baking, kayaking, family game nights, Formula 1, Texas Rangers, and BYU everything!
Charlotte, North Carolina
Amanda C. Cox holds a BS in elementary education from Brigham Young University (’96) and an MEd in early childhood education from the University of South Carolina (’12). Cox has had a diverse career in education from being a teacher at Richland School District Two and Spartanburg Day School, to head of Early Childhood and Lower School at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, and adjunct professor at Spartanburg Community College and the University of South Carolina. She holds a realtors license in both North Carolina and South Carolina, and currently manages her family’s real estate investments while also teaching as an adjunct professor at Cleveland Community College.
Cox met her husband, Matthew, at BYU. They have three children: Elliott, Alex, and Chacey. She currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, sewing, golf and time on the lake.
Shannon Evans is a world language teacher at a middle school in Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, located west of Washington, D.C. Her student population is very diverse with students from around the globe speaking numerous heritage languages.
Evans graduated from BYU in English education with a minor in French, and she received her master’s degree in literacy with an ESOL focus from George Mason University. Recently, she returned from a Fulbright TGS Fellowship Program in Morocco. Evans hopes her students can understand and communicate about their unique background heritage and values, and are able to embrace the differences, languages, and wonders of peoples around the world.
Codi Galloway is a wife, mother of four children, and striving follower of Jesus Christ. Professionally, Galloway has worked as a public school teacher and owner/administrator of a technical training school for adults. She currently directs workforce development in the Galloway family business, OEC. She is passionate about backpacking, working on Idaho family policy, and volunteering in many roles to help keep kids physically active. Galloway graduated from Brigham Young University (’99) with a degree in elementary education and is currently working on a master’s degree at Northwest Nazarene University.
Mission Viejo, California
Tuly Penaranda Huntington is from Mission Viejo, California. She has served in many capacities including PTA president for La Tierra Elementary, PTO president for Mission Viejo High School, and council president for the Saddleback Valley Unified School District PTA, where she also served as district homeschooling mentor. With over 35 years of experience mentoring homeschooling families and promoting adult literacy in Orange County, Huntington is known for her children's literature workshops.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Patrice Johnson, EdD, began as the superintendent of Jordan School District in 2011 and served as superintendent for eight years. She previously served for twenty years in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her more than four decades in education span a diverse spectrum including elementary school teacher, postsecondary teacher, elementary, middle, and high school level principals as well as associate and area superintendent. Johnson has demonstrated strengths in building consensus and unifying stakeholders, in addition to her extensive expertise in teaching and learning of both young people and adults.
Johnson completed her undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University, holds a master’s degree from Fresno Pacific College, and a doctorate degree in public administration from the University of Southern California. Born and raised in Southern California, Johnson has been married to her high school sweetheart, John. They have five children and 16 beautiful grandchildren! She is currently serving either as a board member or a liaison to several non-profit organizations within the Las Vegas community.
BYU McKay School of Education
Michael Leonard joined the McKay School of Education in 2019. He leads the external relations team with responsibilities for outreach initiatives including donor, alumni, and public relations, recruitment, mentoring, and data/website development. He has spent most of his career in education, most recently serving as Executive Director for the nonprofit Launching Leaders Worldwide, Assistant Vice President of Marketing at the University of Northern Colorado, and Director of External Relations at the University of Northern Colorado’s Monfort College of Business.
Michael received a bachelor’s degree in communications, and a juris doctor degree, both from BYU. He loves all things BYU, especially his family, who are also all BYU blue.
Jenny Richardson was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona, where she quickly developed a love of reading. Graduating from BYU in 1990, Richardson taught elementary school in Utah and Southern California for several years before leaving the profession to raise her family. She has served her children’s schools in a variety of ways in California, Kentucky, and Texas, before returning with her husband, Randy Richardson (BYU ‘91), to their beloved hometown. Together they have six children and six grandchildren.
In addition to involvement at her own children’s schools, Richardson has worked to educate voters on various local education bond and override issues. She served on the Governing Board for Mesa Public Schools from 2014–2022 and spent three of those years as the board president. She believes literacy is currency in today’s world, and the most important key to unlocking academic success.