1st through 5th Grade

The Gig Harbor Academy elementary grades see a greater definition of the core subjects of Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science. Valuable programs such as Junior Great Books and CAFÉ 5 and Scratch Programming are seen throughout the grade levels for continuity and progressive learning. Each grade has its unique approach to each subject while adhering to GHA’s high standards of academic excellence. Third, Fourth and Fifth Grades begin to explore the world around them in greater detail, with increased exploration of the campus wetlands and our Pacific Northwest environment. Fifth Grades’ end of year trip to Colonial Williamsburg and Washington, D.C. brings history to life for the students as they prepare for the next step in their educational career.

Stefanie King

LaVon Newby, First Grade Teacher
LaVon has a B.A. in Liberal Arts and American Studies with an Elementary Education Emphasis from Lesley University, Boston MA. Her certificates include Washington State Elementary Teaching Certificate K-8, Paraeducator Certificate, and a Management of Early Learning Certificate. While raising her two daughters, her additional experience included working in Yelm School District as a Teacher’s Assistant for 5th Grade, Kindergarten and the Art Department. She was also a tutor for students attending the Yelm Extension School and the Yelm Middle School.


Shelia Walther

Shelia Walther, Second Grade Teacher
Shelia has a Masters in Teaching from City University and a B.A. in Elementary Education, Liberal Arts Education from Humboldt State University. Mrs. Walther believes that with the right introduction, scaffolding, and the use of different teaching modalities, children can do anything. In her spare time Sheila loves spending time with her husband of two children.


Julie Meyer

Julie Meyer, Third Grade Teacher
Julie Meyer graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a Master of Arts in Education. Prior to teaching Julie spent eight years in the medical profession, serving as a corpsman in the United States Navy where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Management from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Julie has over 5 years’ experience teaching second and third grade students in China, Alaska and most recently Gig Harbor. Julie loves to travel and when she isn’t busy planning her next adventure, she enjoys reading, swimming, and spending time with her family and nephew.  


Veronica Vanslyke

Veronica Vanslyke, Fourth Grade Teacher
Veronica Vanslyke shares fourth grade teaching reponsibilites with Mrs. Kingsbury.Veronica has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Central Washington University. She has a minor in Middle Level Mathematics and Science and taught these subjects from grades sixth through eighth. Mrs. Vanslyke, is an avid Crossfit athlete who loves spending time with her family.


Shelia Walther

Laurel Kingsbury, Fourth Grade Teacher
Laurel Kingsbury shares fourth grade teaching reponsibilites with Mrs. Vanslyke. Laurel graduated from Western Washington University in 1997 with her BA in Political Science and spent the next several years working in Olympia at the state legislature and Washington DC working for congress. In 2004 she graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with her Master's in Education, and taught for several years in various capacities, but primarily in sixth grade at Sumner Middle School. Laurel loves travel and exploring new places, and spending time with her husband, daughter and son.


Jeff Funk

Jeff Funk, Fifth Grade Teacher
Jeff Funk graduated from Western Oregon University with a secondary teaching certificate in social science and language arts. Jeff’s first teaching position was at a middle school in Salem, Oregon, where he worked with seventh and eighth graders. After moving to Washington, he taught fifth grade at Charles Wright Academy for six years before landing at Gig Harbor Academy in 2004. On campus, he can often be seen lending a helping hand to just about anyone who needs it.