Trust the Dedication of California's Foremost Educational Leaders
The administrative staff for the nine California Virtual Academies is composed of professionals and specialists dedicated to making an online academy a very real learning experience. Here are some of the people who work behind the scenes at the CAVA public schools to keep responsive to your needs:
Head of Schools
April Warren first joined CAVA in 2004 as a teacher. Over the last 16 years, she has served in various roles including supporting teachers and parents with curriculum and instructional strategies, developing processes and procedures to ensure compliance with various state and federal agencies, and working with teams to continue to increase the instructional programming and support offered to students. Under her leadership as the Academic Administrator, the elementary team developed a transitional kindergarten program, the middle school implemented a model more in line with the unique needs of middle school students, and the high school programs have seen increased growth in both passing rates and student engagement. April became the Head of Schools for the California Virtual Academies in 2016 and has worked with the administrative team to increase the offerings of the California Virtual Academies including a CAVA2College program and Stride Career Prep. April graduated with honors from California State University, San Bernardino in 2002. She resides in Southern California and enjoys spending time with her husband and five children.
Amy Maxwell received her teaching credential from Chapman University
and started her teaching career in 1996. In 2000, she completed the administrative credential program at the University of California, Irvine. During her years in the brick-and-mortar classroom, she taught upper elementary and worked at the district level in the areas of GATE and history/social science. Amy started her career with California Virtual Academies in 2007 with the high school program. She has served in various roles at CAVA including a K-8 teacher and leader. In the 2013-2014 school year Amy began her role as the director of the elementary program where she served until she became the Academic Administrator in January of 2020.
Director of Engagement and Community
Leah Fellows received an associate's degree in child growth and development and taught pre-kindergarten while completing college. She received a bachelor's degree and multiple subject teaching credential from California State University, San Bernardino. Leah taught first and second grade in a traditional school setting where she worked with English language learners, served as a mentor for new teachers, and was part of various site and district leadership teams. Leah has been with CAVA since 2003 and has served students, families, and staff in various capacities. Leah is currently in the role of director of engagement and community. This includes our Compass team, as well as coordinating community development and WASC study. Leah has a Master of Arts in educational leadership and administration from Brandman University. Leah enjoys spending time with her husband and their two college-age daughters.
Compass Program Coordinator
Melisse Burns received bachelor's and master's degrees in anthropology from the University of Montana, Missoula. After earning her degrees, she spent time as a researcher and instructor in Montana, tutoring and advising at-risk college students. Melisse also worked with special needs high school students, helping them achieve their learning goals. She began working for CAVA as a family academic support liaison in 2015, helping high school students and families achieve success in our online school environment. Melisse subsequently served as a compliance liaison for students in TK–12 before beginning her role as the FAST Program Coordinator in 2018. Melisse resides in northern California, where she enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and many pets.
Director of Academics
Amy Chadez received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Boise State University. She received a master’s degree in learning and technology, and an education specialist degree in educational leadership from the University of Idaho. She spent the first 8 years of her teaching career teaching in 1st and 2nd grades in a traditional school setting. She had the opportunity to teach in two K12, Inc. supported schools, and spent five years as an Academic Administrator before moving into a Regional Academic Director role with K12, Inc. Amy joined the CAVA team in March of 2020 as the Director of Academics. This role allows her to work collaboratively with our academic teams to continually strive to improve our academic programs for our students and offer professional growth opportunities to our faculty. Amy enjoys spending time with her husband and her three children.
Director of Accountability
Sarah Neuenschwander received her teaching credential from Azusa Pacific University and started her teaching career as a 6th grade teacher in 2001. Sarah Neuenschwander joined California Virtual Academies in 2006. During her time at CAVA she has been a K-8 teacher, Elementary Principal, Testing Coordinator and most recently the Director of Accountability. Sarah oversees all state reporting and state testing.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Coordinator
Karli Thompson graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She began her career by teaching 7th grade Language Arts until 2004 when she embarked upon her virtual education career working with K-8 students at the Idaho Virtual Academy. She was instrumental in implementing and building the Gifted and Talented Program at Idaho Virtual Academy and in 2011 received an Endorsement in Gifted Education K-12. In 2015 she began working for the Utah Virtual Academy as an Instructional Coach. In 2016 she received her master’s degree in education administration and leadership and was subsequently promoted to K12’s Western Region Instructional Specialist. She supervised the Western Region Instructional Coaching team supporting teachers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and California. Under her leadership, the Western Region Power Standards and vertical alignment were created. She transferred to California Virtual Academies in December 2019 as the Instructional Coach Coordinator. Her current role has taken her into the field of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) which is an area of learning that is close to her heart. She will be focusing on providing professional development for administrators and teachers at CAVA as the SEL Coordinator and growing the SEL culture at CAVA. She will also be providing SEL awareness and strategies for parents and students. Karli enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children waterskiing, snowmobiling, and snow skiing.