Academic Team

Gateway’s academic vision is to inspire and engage.
We seek to spark our students’ attention, awaken
critical thinking and make learning come alive.

Casie Buckner-Munteanu, B.A., M.Ed.

Casie Buckner-Munteanu, B.A., M.Ed.

Academic Director

"Education in the 21st century must adapt to the challenges students face in today’s world.  Scientific research on cognitive development has revealed exciting discoveries about the way adolescent brains function and ways to teach the way the brain learns best. The most convincing data show that students learn in a variety of ways and that different learning styles need to be considered when developing curricula and conducting assessments. At Gateway, we design our students’ academic plans to meet all of their unique and individual needs. We also sustain a dynamic balance of challenge and support between teacher and learner to form the basis for a strong and honest relationship that guides the learning process."

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CREDENTIALS

  • Master of Education, in Educational Leadership, Concordia University
  • Master of Arts, in Political Science, University of California Davis
  • Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Whitman College

PHILOSOPHY

Casie is dedicated to holistic education where students, teachers, parents and administrators work together to provide the support students need to succeed. As an educator, Casie seeks to incorporate brain-based research in student learning and, therefore, values constant re-evaluation of standards and curricula to achieve academic excellence. Casie believes we are all a community of learners and that some of the most educational activities happen outside the traditional classroom. As Gateway's Academic Director, Casie strives to inspire a passion for learning and enthusiasm for critical thinking in order to empower the students she serves. Casie leads Gateway's talented and dedicated teaching team. Together, they provide outstanding academic direction, services and growth to Gateway students and their families.

PROFESSIONAL

Casie joined Gateway in 2015.  Her love of teaching began in 1998 when she worked at the American International School of Bucharest, and taught ESL courses in Romania. She taught for several years at the college level, and has also worked in private secondary schools and programs. Casie has taught English, political science, government, economics, and debate. She strives to inspire a passion for learning, self-discovery, and intellectual creativity. Aside from teaching, Casie has worked with students outside of class, through academic advising and college counseling. In her spare time, she also works as a free-lance instructional designer and technical editor, where her fascination with details and grammar are truly appreciated! Casie has coached debate teams, directed summer camps, and provided mentoring and writing assistance to prepare high school seniors for college. 

PERSONAL

Casie loves to be in the outdoors and take in nature.  She has lived in Utah, Oregon, Washington, Northern and Southern California, Hawaii and Romania. As a lifelong learner, Casie enjoys reading, traveling, and exploring new adventures. 

CREATING STUDENT SUCCESS

Learning about current events is a 21st century skill students need to succeed in an ever-changing world. Casie has found that students become more engaged in critical thinking exercises by learning about current events. During a research methods course at Gateway, students were asked to develop opinion papers based on evidence found in current topics in the news. Casie enjoyed watching the “lightbulb go on” when students’ eyes were opened to the world around them.

Kelli Hansen, B.A.

Kelli Hansen, B.A.

Assistant Academic Director and Senior Student Advisor

“I believe we are capable of more than we give ourselves credit.  Once we build a relationship of trust with our students, we can challenge them to find their potential and see the talents within themselves.  I am honored to be part of the team that pushes students to learn their capabilities, discover their talents, and use those skills to create a better future for themselves and others.”

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CREDENTIALS

  •     Bachelor of Arts in English and Italian, University of Utah
  •     Secondary Education Teaching Certificate, University of Utah
  •     Utah Level II Certified Teacher
  •     Licensed to teach secondary English and Italian


PHILOSOPHY
Through her years of experience, Kelli has learned that if a student has the right motivation, the right tools, and the right team on their side, any student can learn. A teenager's "job" is to go to school so success in school is critical to a student's self-esteem. Many of our students, though very bright, have experienced failure at school. This failure has contributed to the emotional difficulties our students are facing. Kelli believes that education has to be part of the cure for our students to achieve long-term success. They must learn to excel in the classroom as students and learners so when they return to their "job" they have the confidence to know they can be successful.

PROFESSIONAL
Kelli joined Gateway in 2014.  She has taught in a variety of settings from elementary school to adult education, but the majority of her experience comes from working with high school-aged students in residential and day treatment programs, which she has been doing since 2000.  She has taught Language Arts and Italian where she enjoys challenging students and preparing them for college or other future plans.
 
PERSONAL
Kelli enjoys biking, running, and swimming, and trains and participates in triathlons.  She also treasures the time she has with her husband and two children.
 
CREATING STUDENT SUCCESS
Shakespeare, for many, is an author that students decide they do not understand right away and then often disregard.  One particular student struggled to understand Shakespeare's stories, but was willing to try.  Kelli retold Shakespeare's stories and helped him understand.  Kelli was then told that this student one day shared in his group therapy session and had compared himself to a character from Hamlet.  He had grasped that the joy in literature is connecting it to the world around them.

Adrienne Noakes, B.S.

Adrienne Noakes, B.S.

Science Teacher

"The study of science encourages natural curiosity which then aids in further motivating students to become proactively involved in their education. As an educator, I strive to find a balance between the technical knowledge, hands-on activities, and real-life application of science. I believe a classroom should be a place where questions and explorations are welcomed in a safe, nurturing, and comfortable environment."

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CREDENTIALS

  • Bachelor of Science, University Studies with emphasis in Chemistry, Microbiology, Zoology; Brigham Young University
  • Teaching Credential, California State University, East Bay
  • Utah Level II Certified Teacher
  • Licensed to teach secondary science

PHILOSOPHY
Adrienne’s teaching philosophy evolved as she spent time in the classroom, not only as an educator but also as a student. The result is the discovery of three principles designed to enhance a student's learning experience: 1) facilitate an appreciation for science, 2) encourage curiosity and 3) provide fundamental knowledge and tools for life-long learning.

PROFESSIONAL
Adrienne joined Gateway in 2013. She has taught in both Middle School and High School settings including residential and day treatment programs since 2002. She’s taught Biology, Chemistry, Earth Systems, Physics, Algebra, and Geometry. Adrienne especially enjoys incorporating creative projects into her curriculum and witnessing the "aha" moment when a student recognizes that he/she actually likes science.

PERSONAL
Adrienne enjoys travel, reading, interior design, ballroom dancing, spending time with her children and spoiling her grandchildren.

CREATING STUDENT SUCCESS
During a challenging Physics lessons, a student approached Adrienne with the comment that before attending Gateway Academy he would just shut down and give up if he received a failing grade on an assignment or exam. Now he recognizes the value of doing well in school and knows that it is worth it to keep trying, and that he can be successful.

 

David Brooks, M.S., M.Ed.

David Brooks, M.S., M.Ed.

History and Social Studies Teacher

“As a teacher of the humanities, I understand there are challenges a student faces when trying to comprehend historical concepts - both within the curriculum and at the individual level. I believe attention to each student’s various learning styles, interests and struggles lends to the most complete model for instruction on how to express and transfer that knowledge. Gateway provides its staff and students with that careful, individualized attention so that each facet of the program is geared toward a consistent approach to each youth academically. I am proud and excited to be a part of the Gateway community." 

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CREDENTIALS

  •     Bachelor of Arts in History and Journalism Education, University of North Texas
  •     Master of Science in History and Secondary Education, University of North Texas
  •     Master of Art in Education with Specialization in Teaching, University of North Texas

PHILOSOPHY

 David believes that each student represents a different learning style, processing speed and expressive abilities. Attention to that type of detail helps to build his relationship with each student. The main goal in his classroom is to provide an open and safe arena for exploring historical concepts; thus providing students with the opportunity to express their opinions and the ability to research and reinforce their theses.

 

PROFESSIONAL

 David joined the Gateway staff in August 2016. He taught in public schools in Texas the previous two years. He has lived in Utah, California and Colorado previously where he worked in outdoor education jobs for the Americorp VISTA program and Real Food Rising (now a subsidiary of Salt Lake Community Action Program). Prior to that, David worked in various educational capacities while he was in graduate school at the University of North Texas. His experience in outdoor education and with students of various abilities translates well into Gateway’s integrated academic, therapy and outdoor education programs.

 

PERSONAL

 David was born and raised in a small town in west Texas, Big Spring. Although one would not easily ascertain he was from Texas through meeting him. He plays Ultimate Frisbee rather religiously and believes that participating in the sport, mainly the conflict resolution naturally adherent to the rules (it is self-officiated at almost every level) has made him a better person and more empathetic. He also enjoys farming/gardening, disc golf, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, yoga, kayaking and just being in natural settings.

 

CREATING STUDENT SUCCESS

 David believes that creating student success is an endeavor not necessarily exclusive to the work a student produces. He feels that an inclusive model of academics, physical outlets, mental exercises separate from schoolwork and relationships built through interacting with peers, teachers, parents and the community build a healthy member of society.

 

Angela Roe, B.S.

Angela Roe, B.S.

Math Teacher

"Teaching mathematics has a been a privilege for me.  Math tends to be a feared subject and making it accessible to my students by teaching in ways they learn best is my goal.  I provide them with the support necessary to to be successful and overcome their math-related anxiety.  I love seeing my students develop an enjoyment for learning and feel more confident and capable."

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CREDENTIALS

  •     Bachelors of Science, Composite Mathematics and Statistics Education, Utah State University

PHILOSOPHY 

Angie likes to create challenging, enriching, and innovative activities and experiences that help peak the interests and needs of the students.   She believes in forming connections with the students and helping them believe in themselves. 

 

PROFESSIONAL

Angie joined Gateway in 2015 as a Math teacher.  She has experience teaching basic math, algebra, geometry, and algebra 2.  She also has years of experience working with students with disabilities and being their case manager.  She has worked at various schools throughout the Salt Lake Valley.  Angie is very excited to be working at Gateway and loves to see her students succeed and progress.

 

PERSONAL

Angie loves to play all sports and is into Crossfit.  She loves to travel and experience other cultures.  She has also done some humanitarian work in Ghana, Africa and in Naples, Italy.  She especially loves to spend time with her family. 

 

CREATING STUDENT SUCCESS

Math is a hard subject for most.  Angie believes all of her students can learn and gives individual attention to help them achieve their personal best.  Angie loves to see her students grow and develop an enjoyment of math.  

 

 

Hunter Lombardi, B.A., M.Ed.

Hunter Lombardi, B.A., M.Ed.

English Teacher

As an avid climber, I appreciate working in a school that emphasizes the connection between movement and learning.  In my life, I have learned to enjoy the arbitrary nature of climbing and I relish its simplicity.  It is an activity that teaches you about fear, failure, and confronting your own limitations in a beautiful and unforgiving environment.  If you can climb 100 feet using just your toes and fingertips, then an essay for English class is not so intimidating!  Whenever possible, I utilize my outdoor experiences to assist my students to face their fears and limitations in order to achieve academic success."

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CREDENTIALS

  •     Master of Education, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York
  •     Bachelor of Arts, History, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York

PHILOSOPHY

Hunter believes that teaching is both a science and an art.  It is a science in the sense that it is backed by research-based pedagogical theories and strategies, and an art because each individual teacher has his or her own style and personality within the classroom.  Learning is not much different.  Students are individuals first.  Each student has his own intelligence, learning styles, likes, and interests.  It is the teacher’s job to develop a lesson that speaks to each student’s background and experience.  Because of this, Hunter is a firm believer in differentiated instruction and individualized education.  There are no cookie-cutter lessons.  For Hunter, appealing to the unique nature of each student is imperative to ensure that teaching is accompanied by learning.


PROFESSIONAL

Hunter’s early career has been characterized by his effort to become a more holistic educator.  He began student teaching high school Social Studies as a senior at St. Lawrence University.  After completing this program, he moved into a Graduate Assistantship where he taught wilderness and environmental ethics, and rock and ice climbing systems and skills to college students enrolled in Outdoor Studies classes.  Hunter appreciated the change from formal classroom education to non-traditional and field-based teaching, and saw it as a challenge to adapt his teaching to a new environment.  Upon completion of his graduate degree, Hunter transitioned to teaching elementary education focusing on literacy and language development while continuing to instruct outdoor ethics.  These experiences have made Hunter unique in his ability to adapt his instruction to the needs of the school and his students.


PERSONAL

Hunter is an avid outdoorsman.  He focuses most of his free time on rock and ice climbing, and enjoys the mental focus that he achieves while climbing.  He believes that it is a moving meditation that allows all other things to figuratively and literally fall away as he climbs. When he is not climbing, Hunter is mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding, or paddling with Kanati, his Siberian Husky, at his side. 


CREATING SUCCESS

Hunter believes in creating an environment that encourages self-confidence and a love of learning. The discussion-based nature of his classroom is designed to help students feel comfortable sharing opinions and analysis of the texts they read. Hunter’s approach connects each text with student life at Gateway.  Class discussions adopt a personal tone, which allows students to open up about their own experiences and helps them realize that they are not alone.  By connecting therapeutic and school goals with one particular student, Hunter was able to form a relationship that helped turn the student’s frustration and self-doubt into a greater level of comfort and support in the classroom.  

 

Susan Keller, B.A.

Susan Keller, B.A.

Learning Strategies Teacher

“My goal is for each student to find success by addressing his individual challenges and discovering his personal strengths.  I help them understand the importance of augmenting executive functioning and developing lifelong organizational and study skills that will serve him now and in the future.”

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CREDENTIALS

  • Bachelors of Arts in Sociology, Valdosta State University

PROFESSIONAL

Susan has been with Gateway since 2013.  She worked in the Social Services for 20 years, but when given the opportunity to teach, she knew she had found her passion.  She has over 10 years of experience in education as a tutor, paraprofessional, and a substitute teacher and in 2016 was accepted into the State of Utah Alternative Route to Licensure for Special Education.

 

PHILOSOPHY

Susan believes it is important to instill a love of learning in every young man.  By developing a relationship with her students, she helps build the trust they need to face academic challenges and develop self-confidence.  Susan wants every student to leave her classroom with an expanded range of knowledge and critical thinking skills that will serve them the rest of their lives.  Her great sense of humor helps students feel comfortable, inspires lively discussions, and shows that learning can also be fun.  In the end, her goal is for her students to go out into the world more equipped to take on the challenges they will face as adults.

 

PERSONAL

Susan is originally from Georgia, but has lived all over the United States.  She came to Utah in 2005 and fell in love with the State. She enjoys the outdoors--running, biking, hiking, snowshoeing, camping, and gardening, but also likes to read, cook and bake.  Susan says she is a music fanatic and loves to attend concerts.  She enjoys spending time with her four children.  She and her daughter share an interest in art and computer animation.   

 

CREATING STUDENT SUCCESS

“Math phobia” is so common in high school students.  Susan insists that she will never allow a student to believe they “cannot do it.”  With one particular student, she set a goal to help him build the skills and the confidence to do math by showing him that practice is the key.  It was thrilling to help him to succeed in math and to see the joy in his face when he would tackle and successfully complete a difficult math problem.  Susan always wants to instill in her students the knowledge that with the right skills and practice, they can become confident in their capabilities. 

 

 

Pam Dorlac, B.A., M.Ed.

Pam Dorlac, B.A., M.Ed.

Art Integration Teacher

As Gateway's Art teacher I have a unique and exciting opportunity to help each student achieve their academic and personal best by expanding their learning experience through art.  As with any teaching position, it is vital to first develop a relationship of trust, and respect with each student. As each student/mentor relationship is formed, the opportunity for growth blossoms. As the students discover their creativity, through the process of making fine art, their self-confidence takes off and they carry that with them into their other core content areas. It’s so exciting to watch kids realize that they can succeed by learning and applying new skills in the classroom. It’s a thrill for me to open doors that lead not only to academic success, but interpersonal and entrepreneurial as well. 

 

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Credentials

  • Master of Education, Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, Southwest Missouri State University

Professional

Pam’s “path” to teaching began as a parent and progressed into the classroom. Raising children with very different learning styles inspired her to change careers. She wanted the opportunity to give young people the tools to acquire knowledge about themselves and how to learn, that may not have been provided for them in their previous academic experience. She taught language and fine arts in an alternative high school in St. Louis for 10 years before relocating to Salt Lake and finding Gateway.  She believes that first providing a safe atmosphere and getting to know each student individually, sets the stage to break old habits that were unsuccessful academically, and learn new ones that will empower students to not only to  succeed in school, but in all of life’s future challenges.

 

Personal

Pam loves the outdoors and hikes or snowshoes in the mountains with her dogs whenever she can. Family is a priority for her and her initial motivation for leaving the Midwest. Fine art will always remain her first love. She enjoys portraiture, sculpture and is currently collaborating on a children’s book with her sisters.

 

Creating Student Success

Watching “the light come on” cognitively for a young man that has experienced more academic road blocks than successes provides its own rewards. The general mood of the individual and inevitably the culture of the classroom can turn from bland to charged as today’s students re-discover their creativity.  My favorite student-teacher dynamic is with the young person who walks into the room declaring that they “hate art” or they “can’t do it.”  As trust develops, and the student begins to apply techniques learned, they often sit back and look at their work – and suddenly the light comes on because they realize that they can!