Meet Our Team

The Founders

Lisa Ristuccia

Founder | 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 | 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.

Our Teachers

Deborah Miller

Kindergarten K-2

Ms. Deb has been teaching for 8 years in classes ranging from preschool to high school in both the public and private sector. The majority of her teaching career has been spent in early elementary. She always strives to create a classroom environment where students feel loved, encouraged, and engaged in their learning.

Lisa Ristuccia

Elementary 3-6

Ms. Lisa has been in the education field for over 20 years. She has her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education, her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education, and graduate-level courses in gifted education and education administration. Ms. Lisa has her Arizona Teacher Certification K-8, and additional endorsements for teaching middle grades.

Jessica Miller

Middle | High School 6-12

Ms. Jessica has been in education for 6 years. She has worked with students from preschool to high school. Most of her teaching has been with middle school and high school students. She works hard to cultivate a loving, engaging, and encouraging environment for her students. Her goal is to prepare her students for the world and ensure they reach their full potential.

Vanessa Vargas

Spanish Teacher

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.

Our Support Staff

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.

Alex Penick

Teaching Assistant

Ms. Alex is excited to be part of the team at The Inspiration Academy. She has always had a place in her heart for kids, and she enjoys helping them succeed and watching them achieve the activity they’ve been working on. Alex enjoys horseback riding, volunteering at Reigning Grace Ranch, paddle boarding, floating the river in the summer, and spending time with family.

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.

New Staff Member

Science Teacher

Bio of our new staff member is coming soon...

Brittni Thyfault

Teaching Assistant

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.

Brett Silberman

Teaching Assistant

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. In addition, Brett is an alternative practitioner with various certifications, having graduated from the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts.

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.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top