Meet Our Team

The Founders

(The Ristuccia Family)

Lisa Ristuccia

Lisa Ristuccia

Director | Lead Teacher

Ms. Lisa has been in the education field for over 20 years. She has worked with students of various ages and in different schools and organizations. Ms. Lisa created The Inspiration Academy to give students an engaging alternate learning environment. She believes that families deserve to have educational options for their children because a one-size-fits-all type of education definitely does not fit all.

Billy Ristuccia (IT Director Admin)

Billy Ristuccia

IT-Director | Web-Designer

Billy is married to Lisa, and is the co-founder of the school. Billy is the IT Director of TIA and handles all technical and security matters. He is a professional web-designer by trade and is responsible for our school’s beautiful website. Billy helps coordinate all our learning excursions and fields trips. Billy is also a martial arts instructor, practitioner of Japanese medicine and bodywork, professional photographer, and graphics designer, owning his own business Kaydev Media Productions.

Devon Ristuccia SA

Devon Ristuccia

School Assistant

Devon is the son of the founders of the school. He will be helping our teachers and support staff. Devon will help guide and supervise students while on campus and during learning excursions. Devon is also part of our tech-support staff. It is thanks to Devon that our school is structured the way it is as a private school.

Foundations K-2

Suzy Cox

Kindergarten K-2

My name is Ms. Suzy and I am delighted to be a part of the TIA family! I have worked in education for over 18 years and recently completed my role as Director of Education, working specifically with foster youth here in Arizona. Supporting and inspiring youth has always been my passion, and I am grateful to still be in this field working with today’s generation of youth. I love spending my weekends with my own kids, playing board games, hiking and gardening are a few of my own personal joys!

Emily Compton

Teaching Assistant

Ms. Emily moved to the valley from South Central Kentucky. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Western Kentucky University and has a plethora of experience within the social work and mental health fields. Ms. Emily has a 6 year old and loves helping her learn in a fun and positive family environment alongside her peers at TIA. Outside of school, Ms. Emily enjoys spending time with her family at the park, ranch, on the ball field, gymnastics gym, swimming, and traveling.

Brittni Thyfault

Teaching Assistant

Ms. Brittni is a registered nurse, legal nurse consultant, and small business owner. Educating has always been her favorite part of being a nurse. Before moving to Arizona, she traveled her home state of Louisiana, educating community members of all ages and backgrounds about various medical, health, and safety topics. She brings that love of teaching to TIA and regards her work with our youth as an invaluable investment.

Elementary 3-6

Kerry Jacobs

Elementary 3-6

Ms. Kerry has been in education for over 30 years. She has her education degree from Arizona State University and a Masters in Educational Counseling from the University of Phoenix. Ms. Kerry prides herself on engaging students in various subjects while assisting them in meeting curriculum requirements.

Stephanie Penick

Teaching Assistant

Ms. Stephanie and her family moved from Washington State to Fountain Hills, AZ. Stephanie has five children ages between 25 and 5 years old. I have always loved being part of positive education, and I have been helping in the classroom for 16 years now. Stephanie’s favorite things to do are spending time with her family, hiking, going to the gym, and any type of fellowship at our church.

Jasmine Chow

Speech Therapy

Ms. Jasmine graduated from ASU with a speech and hearing science degree. For the last 5 years, she has been primarily working with children with special needs in various settings, including home, clinic, and school. It is most rewarding when she sees the progress and growth among the kids.

Middle School
High School 6-12

Frank Coomaraswamy

Middle School | High School 6-12

Mr. C retired from teaching in 2017 after 35 years in the Connecticut public school system, working mostly in the Math and English departments. This is his fourth time returning to teaching since then. “I guess I wasn’t quite ready to read my days away”. Mr. C has four grown children: three boys and a girl. A few months ago, they all lived here in Fountain Hills; now they are spread out coast to coast. I’m very happy to be working at The Inspiration Academy and have enjoyed getting to know your children and working with them. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking with my dogs, swimming, music, and reading.

Lisa Ristuccia

Lead Teacher | Middle School | High School 6-12

Ms. Lisa has been in the education field for over 20 years. She has worked with students of various ages and in different schools and organizations. Ms. Lisa created The Inspiration Academy to give students an engaging alternate learning environment. She believes that families deserve to have educational options for their children because a one-size-fits-all type of education definitely does not fit all.

Vanessa Vargas

Spanish Teacher | Art

Ms. Vanessa has 26 years of experience as a psychologist and a masters in Human Resources. During these years, she was responsible for training more than 2,000 employees. Vanessa has also been a university teacher in Costa Rica. As a psychologist, she has had experience with children with multiple intelligences, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and dyslexia. She is also certified in Mindfulness and Brainspotting.

After-School

Brett Silberman

After-School

Brett graduated from ASU with an educational studies degree. He has been a summer camp counselor at various locations throughout Arizona. Brett will be instructing lessons in creative writing, public speaking and presentation techniques, sports and recreation, character education, goal-setting, and leadership initiatives.

Funding

Ann Tropeano

Scholarship Manager

Ann is our “Scholarship Manager”. Her responsibilities include making sure that all our families are registered accurately and on time. She will also ensure that they are receiving the maximum amount of scholarship funding that they are entitled to from our STO and ESA partners. This process involves meticulous coordination and communication, tasks that she is well-equipped to handle. Through her dedicated efforts, she will ensure that our families are well supported in their educational journey at TIA.

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