Valley Leadership Academy Huntsville Alabama Our Team

Meet Our Team

Our Founders

Laura and Alex Cazier

Laura loves learning, and she loves kids! Trained as a medical doctor with board certification in Emergency Medicine, she currently works part-time as an emergency physician in the pediatric emergency department. After completing 20+ years of schooling and training, she just could not get enough school, so she decided to homeschool her (now 4) children. From that background of homeschooling sprang a desire to create a school that would integrate the best parts of traditional school with the individualized, flexible nature of homeschool. Before medical school, Laura earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology, and she has a fascination with the field of positive psychology. She finds tremendous joy and satisfaction in her volunteer position as administrator at VLA, and feels honored to be a part of such a special and unique school.

Alexandra (Alex), now in 12th grade, left traditional school after kindergarten and has not looked back. She has thoroughly enjoyed being able to follow a customized course of study and pursue a variety of passion projects, including helping launch Valley Leadership Academy. Helping to create a school where being kind is rule #1 has been her most meaningful accomplishment (so far!). She can be found doing a variety of leadership tasks at school--leading Chinese club, conducting Student Council meetings, mentoring younger students, or helping run carpool. Above all, she loves helping other kids see how amazing they are and develop their own leadership skills.

Administrative Team

Amber Stifflemire

Amber is a question asker, intentional listener and a lover of history. She believes that everyone has a story to tell, and wants to be the first in line to hear it! Amber received her Bachelor's degree with honors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She majored in Social Psychology with a minor in History. Amber started down the path of receiving a Master's degree in History, but found her life being pulled in a different direction. Homeschooling her 3 children (ages 12, 9 and 6) is something she never planned to do, but she has found no greater joy than helping develop her own mini question askers! 

Amber also has a fierce love of travel (what better way to learn history than to be there in person!) and interior design. Amber loves Valley Leadership Academy and the positive environment that the school offers. She is excited to help develop the next generation of question askers in your children!

Rachel Lawrence

Rachel heartily endorses the pledge of Valley Leadership Academy: “We are people of purpose, power and potential. We speak life, love and light to everyone we meet.” She believes that children learn what they live and enjoys watching them thrive in a healthy, safe, fun environment. She has been a homeschool mom for 13 years, since her oldest daughter started Kindergarten. She has three children: Katie (18), who attends Auburn University, Isaiah (14), who is an 9th grader, and Ethan (11), who is in 6th grade. Her degree is in early childhood education from Auburn University, where she had the opportunity to learn the constructive theory of education. She taught preschool and kindergarten for four years in Michigan before staying home to raise her own children. She is passionate about helping the students at VLA learn and grow each day!​

Alice Vosahlik
Alice loves kids of all ages. She has been homeschooling her 3 children for the past 12 years, and has enjoyed teaching other Huntsville homeschooled kids in various capacities during that time. Her passion for books and writing didn’t develop until she was an adult, which gives her a special appreciation for reluctant students. Her degree in Social Work from Auburn University and her experience working with the National Children’s Advocacy Center and in inpatient
psychiatric care have fostered her love of empowering young people and their families. When Alice isn’t at VLA or taking care of her family, she enjoys her work as a certified life coach. Coaching teens, parents, executives, and people with chronic illness is a source of great satisfaction. She loves helping people find their unique power and live out their potential. As a lifelong learner, Alice is right at home with her colleagues and students at Valley Leadership Academy.

 

Brandy Worthy

Brandy knows education can be fun and rewarding for all. Each child has amazing potential; the key is finding that potential! Brandy’s life has been full of teaching. She began as a preschool teacher before getting her undergraduate and masters degrees in special education with a focus on behavior analysis. She then went on to complete her doctoral coursework in the same field and taught graduate level courses in autism and positive behavior supports. She still enjoys leading positive parenting/teaching courses and workshops while seeing the changes made by leading others (children and adults) with positive approaches. She believes that modeling appropriate behavior is important for learning and that is what she likes to bring to the students at VLA. She has always homeschooled her teenage children with the support of her husband of 28 years. She started the first campus of another homeschool program in Huntsville and directed there for ten years prior to VLA. Teaching is deep within her. She believes that we all learn by teaching others. We all grow by being around others. At VLA, learning and growth go hand in hand when surrounded by such kindness from the children and adults.

Elective Instructors

Silvana Taylor

Spanish 

Silvana is a passionate learner that loves children and never ceases to be amazed at their potential, capacity and resilience. Born in Montevideo, Uruguay she emigrated to the United States for love... the things you do for love! She loves math, soccer, cats, traveling and road trips with her family which consists of her husband and 2 daughters (12 and 4). From the land of the Tango, Silvana loves dancing, singing, and is eager to teach her culture and language to all those that show interest. Besides teaching Spanish at VLA Silvana works as a Medical Interpreter at the local hospital. Lo que mas le gusta a Silvana de VLA es el amor y respeto que los niños se tienen y las ganas que tienen de aprender! Ella ama divertirse tanto con los niños en el salón de clase.

Rachel Grice

Music Appreciation/Choir

Rachel enjoys teaching children. She is a wife and a mother to five children. She has been homeschooling for the last seven years and loves it! It is a joy to watch her children grow and flourish learning new things. That is one reason why she loves VLA. It is such a positive, encouraging environment that fosters a love of learning! It is a joy to watch her own children and so many others grow in confidence and happiness. 

 

Rachel has a Bachelors degree from Brigham Young University in Family and Consumer Science. She taught high school in Montgomery, AL before starting her family. Rachel also has a love of music and it has been a huge part of her life.  She has a classically trained voice and has been a private voice instructor for 17 years. She is also a member of the Huntsville Community Chorus and enjoys singing in many concerts throughout the year.  Rachel has experience conducting choirs and looks forward to teaching your children to sing and enjoy music! 

Natasha Nashadka

Art Instructor

Natasha has had a love affair with art since basically dinosaurs roamed the earth (or at least since the first Jurassic Park movie was released). She believes that anything that we can do to make our environment just a little more beautiful is well worth doing, and believes that art, like life, should be a little messy. She earned her degree in visual communications, exploring a wide array of mediums (or media? - her degree wasn’t in English). She has spent the last seven years teaching budding artists in all stages of their lives, and she has developed a passion for helping to shape the next generation of creators.

 

She has four children, two of which are dogs. Of the two human children, Tatjana is graduating from college this year and Sonja is graduating high school. The two four-legged children (Gypsy and Rocket) spend much of their days creating collages by arranging, or possibly spilling, their food into various abstract arts. Also, there is a husband in there somewhere.


Take a look at what our art class is doing!