Preparatory Academy

Desert Heights Preparatory Academy (“DHPA”) fosters college and career readiness with equal focus on academic excellence, social awareness and integrity of character. We build college resumes with competitive athletic programs, fine arts opportunities and clubs such as Honors Societies and Student Councils. Accredited by AdvancED, we backwards map our curriculum with a focus on readiness for Advanced Placement and dual enrollment coursework. Homework is also minimal due to the project-based instructional opportunities.

DHPA students are equipped with a school issued Office 365 account to access email and Microsoft Offce applications since technology is integrated into all curriculum units to prepare students for college and career expectations. Additionally, our school offers a bring your own device (“BYOD”) model while leveraging the use of iPads in all grade levels. With a 1:1 implementation for all 8th-12th grade students participating in high school courses, iPads are used to access coursework along with email and other collaborative, productivity tools like iWorks. We believe immersing students in technology not only assists them in the preparation for college, but also provides students with the hands on experience that benefits them once they enter the workplace.

Welcome to DHPA!

At DHPA, we focus on preparing all students for college and career readiness in several aspects. In 5th-8th grade students learn tools like using Cornell notes, conflict management and more to develop good study habits and build self esteem.  We also encourage students to participate in extracurricular activities to further develop leadership skills and teamwork.

As students enter high school, they begin to receive individual attention and access to an Academic Adviser to plan for their future, a rarity in traditional public schools. Advisory offers students an opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops designed to assist students in the development of their post-graduation plans.  From building resumes, learning interview skills, completing community service hours and applying for scholarships, students gain irreplaceable life skills.  In addition to the workshops, high school students frequently meet with their grade level adviser and attend several local college tours. College tours present an opportunity for students to explore options which helps them narrow down their preferences.

Click here to learn more about our College & Career Readiness program!

With programs designed to help students learn to manage their money, be ready to enter the workplace and to think innovatively, Junior Achievement of Arizona is the perfect partnership for DHPA.  While at DHPA, students have an opportunity to participate in the following activities:

DHPA has a primary objective of developing a community of learners, dedicated to the highest standards of academics and deportment. As such, a distinctive uniform is a unifying factor within our school community. It is also a visible signature of our school to the larger community, an indicator of our unity and of our pride of purpose. We utilize multiple school uniform providers so parents have a choice when making decisions about their child’s needs. Please review the approved uniform and dress code policy prior to making any purchases since not all uniform items must be purchased from these vendors.

Contact us with any questions.

Lands’ End is an online only uniform company that offers a variety of items that are DHPA dress code compliant. When using Lands’ End to purchase uniform items, please use our school’s number (900161795) and make purchases that are in compliance with the student’s grade level and gender.

The Perfect Touch does not provide online ordering, but offers DHPA uniform polo shirts, P.E. apparel, sweaters and high school blazers. Click here to access the summer order form.

French Toast is an online only uniform company that offers a variety of items that are DHPA dress code compliant. When using French Toast to purchase uniform items, please use our school’s source code (QS5PWKZ) and make purchases that are in compliance with the student’s grade level and gender.

DHPA provides an after school study skills program (aftercare), Monday-Friday, 3:30PM-6:00PM for $60/week per student. Seats are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here for contract details.

Although the school does not provide before care, these services are offered by a staff member starting at 6:15AM for $35/week per student. If you are in need of before care services, please contact Casey Morrell directly for assistance.

School Administration


Mark Jiles


Courtney Martin
High School Dean
Advisory Program Administrator
Athletics Director


Neeru Verma
Junior High Dean
Head of Math Department
Assessment Coordinator

Darna Davis
Middle School Dean
Head of English Department
English Language Coordinator

Administrative Support Staff


Cynthia Jordan
Director of Front Office
State and Federal Data Reporting


Yolanda Ruiz-White
Office Manager


Carolynn Shives
Office Assistant


Darlene Darney
Food Service Director


Marissa Robles
Events Coordinator


Ruth Doyle
Health Assistant


Beth Gue
Federal Programs Director


Annie Diaz
Student Advocate
C.U.T.S & 504 Coordinator

Troy Dorsey
Behavior Coach

Alexandria DeFlorio
Health Coach Liaison

Ashley Munson


Nancy Parra
Human Resources


Krissi Elliott
Director of Technology


Shaun Toomey

Mark Nunez Sr.
IT Support Specialist


Brandon Hartley
Substitute/Advisory Support

Percy Kincaid
Director of Security

Celina Salgado
Aftercare Teacher
Lunch Monitor

Robert Jordan
Lunch Monitor

Anastacia Larimore
Lunch Monitor

Brian Wicker
Lunch Monitor



Patricia Aguirre


Otilia Dominguez


Lawrence Vilhauer


Rafael La O Garcia

Adam Perez


Jay Jiles
Transportation Director & Maintenance


Debbie Hamza
Transportation Support

Sarah Williams
Bus Driver

Joe Schmelz
Bus Driver

Middle School (5th & 6th Grade)


Olivia Gurney
Middle School Teacher


Jennifer Rogers
Middle School Teacher


Casey Morrell
Middle School Teacher

Ilysia Murray
Middle School Teacher

Heidi Divis
Middle School Teacher


Deborah Hendrickson
Middle School Teacher

MarJahn Scales
Physical Education


Annie Diaz
College Prep

Angie Cooper


Stephanie Delion


Linda Waymire
Fine Arts/Electives

Junior High (7th & 8th Grade)

Brenda Virden
7th & 8th Grade English/Language Arts

Chad Looney
7th & 8th Grade
Social Studies

Angie Cooper
7th Grade Math


Vesna Terzic
8th Grade Math


Morgan Harris
7th Grade Science


Julie Hatton
8th Grade Science

Keely Gilbreath
Video Productions

MarJahn Scales
Physical Education
Sports Management


Annie Diaz
College Prep

High School


Stefanie Haldiman

Darian Miller

Amber Brunner

Kira Okray


Neeru Verma
College Math 151


Morgan Harris


Julie Hatton


Dan Johnson
Weight Lifting


Amanda Brownlow
Social Studies

Marty Feess
Social Studies


Susana Zaragoza


Hannah Kramer


Linda Waymire
Fine Arts/Electives


Amber Cepkauskas
Fine Arts/Electives


Stephanie Delion
Physical Education


Annie Diaz

Exceptional/Supplemental Student Services


Beth Gue
Federal Programs Director
Speech & Language Pathologist


Liane Kilmain
Dean of Special Education


Stacy Tucker
Special Education Teacher

Special Education Teacher

Kristina Washington
Special Education Paraprofessional


Danelle Clark
Special Education Math Assistant


Hannah Kramer
Title I Reading


Vesna Terzic
Title I Math

Darna Davis
English Language Coordinator

5th-8th Grade Curriculum

Middle School (5/6) and Jr High (7/8) students participate in the following core curriculum with opportunities to advance grade levels in mathematics.

*Desert Heights Charter Schools’ curriculum adoption, review, and revision cycles are available upon request to the site Principal.

High School Curriculum

High school students participate in courses intended to build their college and career resume.  Students are encouraged to participate in Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment course which provide opportunity to earn college credit while in high school.

Note: Excelling 8th grade students may also be invited to participate in high school courses.

  • English 1
  • English 2
  • English 3
  • English 4
  • AP English Language & Composition
  • AP English Literature & Composition

Applicable High School Math courses leverage the Great Minds Eureka Math curriculum.

  • Algebra I
  • Geometry
  • Algebra II
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Calculus I & II
  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • College Algebra 151
  • Biology
  • AP Biology
  • Chemistry
  • AP Chemistry
  • Anatomy
  • Physics
  • AP Physics 1: Algebra Based
  • AP Environmental Science
  • Forensic Science (Elective)
  • World History
  • United States History
  • AP United States History
  • Economics
  • AP Macroeconomics
  • AP Microeconomics
  • Government
  • AP Government & Politics
  • AP European History
  • German/Spanish I
  • German/Spanish II
  • AP Spanish 4
  • College Spanish 101

Elective courses change from year-to-year, but below are a sample of classes typically offered.

  • Physical Education/Health
  • Sports Management
  • Intermediate Dance
  • Advanced Dance
  • Acting 101
  • Improv
  • Monologue
  • Video Production
  • Weight Lifting
  • Yearbook


As a member of the Canyon Athletic Association, we offer competitive athletics at both the Junior High (5th-8th grade) and Varsity levels (High School).  With many championship titles, the Coyotes are a disciplined group of student-athletes with a strong work ethic.

Come check us out! Click here to access the Athletics website and game schedules.  YOTES UP!


Offering tackle football at both the Junior High and Varsity levels, our championship program is undeniable.  With 4 state championship titles for Varsity and 1 for Junior High, this program builds champions by instilling commitment and work ethic in its athletes.


Volleyball is also offered for Junior High and Varsity level athletes.  We couldn’t be more proud of the Junior High for making the playoffs last year and for the Varsity program for working hard to win their back-to-back state championship!

Boys Basketball

This band of brothers is a family of hardworking athletes. Our Junior High program continues to build while the Varsity team is leaving a legacy of championships. In 2017, they won another state championship giving them an unprecedented “3-Peat”!

Girls Basketball

The Lady Coyotes basketball program is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with! Making the playoffs last year, both the Junior High and Varsity teams have some unfinished business in 2018. Looking forward to the season!


The Coyote Spiritline brings energy and school spirit to all events! With a variety of performances, the pep assemblies and games would not be the same without this team!


Available at the Junior High and Varsity level, baseball continues to develop into a competitive program. Varsity was state runners-up in 2017 so we can’t wait to see what this team has in store for 2018!


Don’t miss an opportunity to come out and watch our softball teams! Junior High made it to the playoffs last year and Varsity brought home their first state championship! Next season will be one you don’t want to miss.


As the newest program, Soccer continues to develop into a program of hard working athletes.  The Junior High team is full of young, hungry athletes and Varsity is excelling in their play. Expect great things from these teams next year.

Clubs & Activities

We encourage all students to be involved in clubs and activities.  If you don’t see something you enjoy, find a staff sponsor and petition for a new club to be created!

Competitive Dance Team

Throughout the school year Dance Team attends and competes at many dance conventions including Dance Masters of Arizona.  They learn a variety of dance styles while also developing the skills to work as a team.  Dance team also performs at many school functions including pep assemblies and dance shows.  If you love to dance, this team’s for you!

Drama/Musical Performances

Those interested in the performing arts are encouraged to tryout for our annual drama/musical performance.  Learn acting skills while increasing your dance and singing abilities in performances like Hairspray Jr., Alice in Wonderland and Annie Jr.

Student Council/Government

Participating in Student Council/Government allows students to have a say in the activities that occur on campus, but also provides leadership opportunities to hold a position on the board. This student-led organization is responsible for the organization of pep assemblies, school dances, annual activities like Mr. DHPA and much more!

Honor Societies

Being inducted into the Honor Society is a prestigious award and earned by those students that excel academically. Additionally, Honor Society candidates exhibit leadership characteristics and have a heart for serving the community.  This student-led organization facilitates our annual food drive, Christmas Angel program and much more! Nominations for Honor Society typically occur in January and students must apply to be considered for the annual induction.

  • National Junior Honor Society
  • National Honor Society

Other Clubs

Each year new clubs are considered and offered by staff members so keep an eye out for club information in August. Additionally, students interested in creating a new club can find a staff sponsor and submit a petition to Marissa Robles for consideration!