Our Faculty

Tesa Briles

Senior Director

Masters Level Certified Barton Reading Specialist, Certified in Educational Remediation, Certified Dyslexia Screener

Tesa is one of 39 Master Level Barton Tutors in the US.  She has extensive experience working with students of all ages who cope with learning challenges. She has worked with public and private school students for the last 25 years. With credentials in Linguistics (UC Irvine), Art Therapy (Tobias School of Art England UK), Waldorf School Remedial Education (Steiner College), and Orton Gillingham based Reading Remediation, she considers the most important of all her learning experiences to be the raising of her three children.  Dyslexia is an integral part of her life, both personally and professionally.  Tesa successfully designed and implemented Full-Time School Programs, After-School Programs and Summer Programs in 2009 to help dyslexic students rejoice in their success with reading.  Those same programs are as successful today as they were from the start.

Stuart Demmy

Executive Director

Certified Educational Remediation Specialist, Certified Dyslexia Screener, Waldorf Class Teacher.

After graduating from Reed College with a B.A. in Philosophy, Stuart taught for some time in the Portland Public Schools.  Not finding quite what he was looking for, he began a music distribution company that specialized in recordings of Classical Music (a lifelong passion of his).   Years later, after selling that business, Stuart decided to give teaching a try again.  He received Waldorf Teacher Training and worked for many years as a Class Teacher in schools in Oregon and California, teaching many subjects to children in Grades 1 – 8.   But a common experience during these years was encountering children still unable to read well after years of instruction.  What was wrong?  Schools did not have an answer to this question.  Fortunately, research by his wife Tesa led them to the Barton Reading System, an Orton Gillingham approach to teaching reading and spelling.  Trying it out, Stuart became convinced of its efficacy, and taught reading to numerous students over a four-year period.  

Stuart has been a beloved math teacher for decades.  Having taken almost all of the Making Math Real Courses through Algebra,  he uses its strategies and procedures enthusiastically in all classes.  He finds David Berg’s approach as beneficial to students struggling with math as the Orton Gillingham approach was to students struggling with reading.  It’s pure magic!

Melissa Emerzian


After graduating from Harvard with a BA in Biological Anthropology, Melissa worked under a grant from NASA developing and teaching science lesson plans to elementary school teachers and students. This experience was the catalyst that led her away from medical school and into the world of education. She worked in the Governor’s office of the Secretary of Education and implemented the California Academic and Volunteer Mentoring Program throughout schools in California. From there, she took a position lobbying for public education associations. Motherhood inspired her to say home with her children and take an active role in their education, which eventually led straight to Loomis Gateway Academy. Her son and daughter entered the program 8 years ago, thus beginning her own association with, and love for, LGA. Seeing firsthand the success of the Barton Method and the Making Math Real program with her children, she wanted to help give other children the same opportunities. She returns to LGA as a math teacher and is now fulfilling that wish. She looks forward to working with your children, to help them gain a sense of accomplishment in learning.

Andrea Sivillo

Director, Reading Instructor

After leaving the business world to stay home with her children, Andrea discovered and cultivated a passion for language and literacy.  Having gained many years of practical experience teaching her own dyslexic children and tutoring in a well-known homeschool program, she is dedicated to providing help and encouragement to other parents as they navigate their children’s learning difficulties.

Seeing firsthand the difference that the Barton Reading and Spelling System makes in the lives of children with dyslexia, she is a devoted follower of the Barton method.  Having guided her children through educational challenges, she has developed the patience, empathy, and spirit of encouragement that children with dyslexia and those who love them need.  She is enthusiastically supportive of Loomis Gateway Academy’s mission and finds immense joy in helping children with dyslexia thrive educationally.


Lisa Welsh

Office Manager

Lisa joined our team late October, 2020, bringing 20 years of office operations experience to our school.  She is responsible for Invoicing, Student Files, HR and so much more. She is a welcomed asset and addition to LGA and we are very pleased to have her on our staff.

Marissa Lewis

Administrative Assistant

Marissa is currently studying Business Administration at Sierra College and will be graduating in the spring of 2021. Upon graduation, she will be studying Business Administration at a four year university to achieve her bachelor’s degree on an academic scholarship. Marissa will then move onto graduate school to complete her master’s degree in Business Administration. Marissa has taken on many roles throughout her two years at LGA. Marissa feels there is no greater reward than helping a child believe in themselves. She finds joy in building a bond with each student at LGA. Whenever Marissa is not doing school work or at LGA, she is spending time with her family and friends, drawing, traveling, or playing with her baby nephew!

Maddie Lewis

Administrative Assistant. Reading Aide

Maddie graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education in Health Sciences and is currently completing her Master’s in Business Administration, also at Baylor. She has been working at LGA since her junior year in high school, in 2015, and has served many roles. She loves building relationships with the students, and helping them grow in their confidence and abilities. She makes every effort to ensure her students feel understood, and to equip them with tools to handle life situations appropriately. When not a LGA, she is either playing with her nephew, learning new recipes/crafts at home, or spending quality time with her family and friends.

Megan Welsh

Math Aide

Megan started her college career in Yakama on a softball scholarship, returning home after the first year due to an injury. She is currently working toward transferring to Sacramento State University to get her degree in Education and her teaching certificate. She joined LGA end of 2020 as a Math aid and is currently tutoring a few math students as well. She loves to see the joy in a child’s eyes when they get a concept, it’s priceless. When Megan is not working or going to school she spends time with family, friends and her dogs.

Aimee Scribner

Reading Instructor

California Credentialed Public Education Teacher

Regular Ed K-8

Aimee Scribner’s experience in education began as a classroom teacher in 1996, and over the years has included everything from serving as elected School Board Member for the Eureka Union School District, working as Senior Education Consultant for the assembly Education Committee, lobbying on behalf of California school districts, teaching a classroom of third graders, implementing reading intervention for Kindergarten to sixth graders, and serving a s the President of the Parent Teacher Club at her daughter’s junior high.

Aimee’s entire career has focused on education and children because she believes education is essential to every person realizing their full potential.  She is a life-long learner, which is why after graduating from U.C. Berkeley she went back to school to earn her teaching credential, and then to Stanford University to get her Mater’s in Education Policy Analysis and Evaluation.

Stephanie Sparrow

Reading and Writing Instructor

15 years experience as a Substitute Teacher with RUSD

Social Studies, Science and Writing Teacher

Stephanie brings a comfortable atmosphere to her classroom.  Her years of teaching experience coupled with being a parent of Middle School aged children has allowed her to fit right in to Loomis Gateway Academy.  She has a gentle presence with the students and has an enthusiasm for teaching Social Studies, Science and Writing.  She is a wonderful addition to our faculty at LGA!

Achante Broadnax

Reading and Writing Aide

Achante is currently enrolled at Sierra College where she is majoring in environmental sciences. She plans on transferring to Sacramento State College in 2022. In the past, Achante volunteered at various after school programs and currently acts as a peer mentor and teaching assistant at Sierra College. Although she has not been at LGA long, she finds much joy in being a part of the writing program and helping students achieve their academic goals. If not studying, Acahante can be found painting or spending time with her family.

Tina Sweeny

Writing Instructor

22 years experience 

My journey in education began in 1998 when my son started preschool.  There, I discovered a passion for teaching to developing minds, and thus, my journey in education began.  Currently, I hold a Masters of Art Degree in Education with a Specialization in US Education in a Global Context.  Throughout the years, I have had the most fulfilling opportunities of teaching in grades second through eighth.  Teaching in each grade has afforded me the latitude of studying grade specific leaning dynamics.

When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family, going on road trips, cooking and I love reading mystery novels.

Lori Hale

Writing Instructor, Science and Social Studies Instructor

Bio Coming Soon!

Stacey Price

Science and Social Studies Instructor

Stacey Price has been teaching for almost 20 years, including when she was working as a rocket scientist!  Stacey received degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from UC Davis and then went on to get a Masters Degree in Engineering Management at Santa Clara University.  Stacey has taught in the classroom and as a private tutor.  She specializes in math, science and engineering and got her teaching credential in  2014.  In her free time, Stacey likes to work with her husband and her two boys on their small farm at home.  Stacey is certified as a Master Gardener and as a Master Beekeeper through UC Davis.

Dayna Wicks

Art Teacher

Dayna developed a passion for working with children very early on in her life, and first came to LGA as a Barton Reading tutor in 2018. Having been born and raised locally, she has enjoyed amazing opportunities instructing in schools and learning centers all over the surrounding area. She is currently working toward her certification in Wilson Reading Systems. When she isn’t at school, you can usually find her in the garden, or in search of an adventure with her young daughter.

Tyler Grinager

Health, PE, Nutrition

Tyler Grinager is our Fitness/health teacher.   He is currently attending college to become a credentialed Teacher.   He has worked with kids ranging in age from 5 – 18 for the past 3 years and loves his new position at LGA.  Tyler had dreams of becoming a professional NBA player but his teaching career is more rewarding and within reach.  Tyler is very good at balancing safety with fun in all of his classes.  We are very fortunate to have him!

Jennifer Taketa


Tutor since 2019, love working with my students B.A. in Communicative Disorders – Fresno State University Forever a SF Giants fan. In 2019 I got to be a balldudette.

Mia Leisten


My name is Mia Leisten and I am greatly excited to be a part of the Loomis Gateway Academy Tutoring team! I am a recent UC Davis alumni and received my B.A. in Linguistics in 2020. I am currently a post baccalaureate student at Sacramento State University and am getting a second degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. In the Fall of next year I will be starting my graduate studies to pursue a career in Speech and Language Pathology. If I am not studying or teaching you will probably find me cross country skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountains or spending time on a beach somewhere along the Northern California coast

Jess Jones


Jess Jones has been a tutor for Loomis Gateway Academy for 1 year.   She is a student at Sacramento State University studying Social Science.   A few fun facts about Jess is she has a cat named Twinkie and loves puns, her personal motto is “Jess do it!”   

Natalie King


Natalie King is an after-school dyslexia tutor at LGA. She’s working toward a future in anything that involves showing others the incredible power of words. She holds an Associate degree in English and she’s working on finishing her double Bachelor’s in English and Creative Writing. Whenever possible, she makes sure to wear mismatched socks — she loves to make learning fun and is armed with an eclectic sticker box to prove it!

Kim Malta


My passion has always been to teach, and fortunately, I have had many opportunities in a variety of settings to do this.  During my time homeschooling my children, I learned about Dyslexia and subsequently, the Barton Reading and Spelling System.  My daughter struggled in reading, writing, and spelling which led me to begin using Barton.  I quickly realized that dyslexia ran in our family as I witnessed similar challenges in my sons’ learning. After working with my children for a time, I was eventually able to come work at Loomis Gateway as a Barton tutor. I have enjoyed working at LGA because I believe students are respected for their individuality and given the tools needed to achieve academic excellence.   I enjoy encouraging my students in their learning and helping them reach their potential.  

Sophia Thomasson


Sophia graduated from The Master’s University with a degree in Liberal Studies in 2019 and then went on to teach fifth grade in Cameroon, Africa for the next school year. Now, she is currently loving the opportunity to teach her Barton students how to read and spell like champions! Having always been a bookworm and having competed in spelling bees in middle school, she loves sharing her passion for words and language with her students and hopes to inspire and enable them to unlock the joy of reading and writing well themselves. When she’s not teaching or reading a captivating book herself, you can find her baking in the kitchen or enjoying a walk or hike with family and friends.