Computer Science, Robotics & Engineering, and AP Physics
Tayson Holzer completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and has worked as an engineer developing and programming electrical systems, including gas and oil pipeline inspection technologies, missile launch systems, microfabrication of a novel chemical process called micro circulatory gas chromatography, and a 3D laser scanner. He believes that all students, including those not pursuing a technical career, can be inspired by greatly benefit from learning the patterns of searching for truth that science provides. He also believes that technically minded students who do plan to pursue scientific or engineering careers should be strongly encouraged to keep their roots firmly planted in faith, history, literature, and law. These priorities are reflected in his other interests, which include reading and podcasting about great literature; researching his family history and writing the stories of his ancestors; and studying European and American history to learn from the repeating patterns of history. He enjoys reading with his three young children, baking and talking with his wife, and going on early-morning jogs in the quiet of pre-dawn. His principle loves are the Gospel of Jesus Christ, his family, and teaching in a way that invites others to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and powerfully engage in the compelling work of the last days.
History, English, Economics, and International Relations
Dr. Michael Murdock holds a PhD in Modern Chinese history from the University of Michigan. For 30 years he taught history, international relations, and political science courses at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Bowling Green State, Brigham Young University-Provo, and Brigham Young University-Hawaii. His primary expertise lies in the history and contemporary developments of Asia, but he also enjoys European and North American history and politics. Raised by educator parents, Michael saw examples of exceptional teaching from his youth. He believes that good teaching is an act of Christ-like love. He loves using models and examples from history to explain conditions today.
Kara Bloomer holdes a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering from Arizona State University. She worked in semiconductor manufacturing as a Process Engineer, where she designed and refined processes for wafer-level bonding, mask lithography, and nano-imprint technology. Her experience ranges from small unique research and development projects to yield optimization in high volume manufacturing. She researched materials science including metal to metal bonding, direct bonding, and bonding with polymers and glass frit. She also researched photoreactive chemistry, spin coats, and metrology. Mrs. Bloomer also had a Juris Doctorate from J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. With her law degree, she now works in Intellectual Property, Data Analytics, and Privacy. Mrs. Bloomer is the mother to three children, all of whom attend American Heritage School in Salt Lake City. Mrs. Bloomer enjoys reading, playing the piano, hiking with her family, and games. She especially loves learning and is always trying to learn whether it is by listening to a podcast, reading a book, or watching documentaries on YouTube. She is grateful to continue this love of learning by working with the students at American Heritage and she hopes to inspire their hunger for learning.
Lisa Machen Fifield earned a BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of Utah. Upon completion of her studies, she became China’s first-ever American ballerina! Touring and performing more than one hundred performances throughout China as well as the United States.
Lisa has helped pioneer Chinese language instruction in the state of Utah and has taught Chinese to every grade from K–12—traditional, immersion, and on-line. She has worked as a translator and interpreter for the State of Utah’s Governor’s Office in Foreign Relations, Samsung’s Utah Olympic Games in 2002, and as a liaison for Utah China-Harvard Business Group. She has been fortunate to host numerous foreign dignitaries and delegations from Taiwan and China.
Lisa is the mother of two children, Kate, and Jane, who are her greatest accomplishments. Her husband Nathan is the love of her life, and she recognizes the hand of God as the source of their strength. She is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work at American Heritage Academy teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Mandarin-Chinese—her dream come true!
Calculus, Precalculus, Algebra 2, Algebra 1, AP Statistics
Erich Gott holds a B.S. in Physical Education with a Minor in Mathematics, and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from BYU. Erich has taught mathematics for 40 years in Utah, Colorado, Dubai, and India. His teaching experience spans from the middle school and high school levels through college. Erich has been recognized with a National Board Certification in mathematics and early adolescence. He has developed curriculum for elementary through college level math courses. Erich and his wife have 4 children and 12 grandchildren.
English and History
Paul Farrell received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University Idaho, where he studied social studies education with an emphasis in U.S. history. He has previously taught AP Human Geography for IDEA Kyle College Prep, in Kyle, Texas. Teaching social studies is a passion. Paul also has a love of music. He plays the acoustic guitar, violin and viola. In addition, he received classical voice training for nearly four years while in college. Paul and his wife have two daughters and a son.
Jen Shurtz received her Bachelor of Science in Home Economics Education from Brigham Young University and loves researching and instructing on how to strengthen families. Jen has taught high school seminary and at the Missionary Training Center. Jen and her husband, Russ, have been blessed with six wonderful children. She loves teaching, traveling, and being outdoors, and incorporated all three by spending a couple of years homeschooling her family while road-tripping through the U.S., visiting national parks and historic sites. Her two youngest children are thrilled to be American Heritage Patriots!
Financial Literacy and Business Fundamentals
Sarah Costa has a B.S. from Utah State University. She has more than two decades of work experience in the financial services industry and in owning and operating small businesses. In addition to her current work at AHS, Sarah owns and operates a tax preparation company, works in financial services, and has taught countless seminars and workshops on financial matters over the years and is looking forward to bringing her real-world experience to the AHS classroom and a younger generation.
Algebra 1, Pre-Algebra
Mirabela Eliason holds a bachelor’s degree in business management with emphasis in tourism’s economy and international trading. She is a state licensed economist. From Deva, Romania, Mirabela immigrated to the United States at the age of 26. Mirabela has spent the last few years volunteering at her children’s schools, and her favorite has been being a math substitute teacher for middle school and high school students. She has two children attending American Heritage School, and she is looks forward to being a part of such a wonderful organization.
Keisha Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in Family Science from Brigham Young University. She has taught at AHS’s American Fork Campus and is excited to transition to the Salt Lake City campus. She is the mother of three AHS graduates and notes, “AHS’s approach to education creates an atmosphere where learning and character development are nurtured, and the exceptional can unfold. AHS is an extraordinary place to teach and learn.”
Amy Robinson has taught with the Arts in Education program of Utah through Tanner for several years, teaching children of all ages creative movement in the schools and in the studio. She loves the connection of curriculum and movement which facilitates deeper layers of learning! At BYU she danced and traveled with the the International Folk Dance team as well as the Modern Dance team. She was delighted to help bring together the first Folk Festival for the AHS Salt Lake campus in 2023 and is looking forward continuing that tradition. Being a wife and a mother of 6 are Amy’s very favorite things!
Nichole Larsen holds an A.S. in Recreation Management. Prior to joining American Heritage School, Nichole was employed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Scheduling Office for the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Nichole and her husband Phil are the parents of five children, all of whom attend the school. Nichole is excited to help the school be the best it can be.