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About Us



Stephanie Watson

Stephanie is the Founder and Director of Vero Beach Academy. She has a passion for helping students succeed academically and strives to provide an educational atmosphere where everyone involved can thrive.

She was a public school teacher before starting a local tutoring company here in Vero Beach. Grade-Aid Tutoring exists to provide high quality, low cost tutoring to families. There is also a weekly homework center available to students. Realizing the need for a coop that bridged the gap between traditional education and homeschooling, Vero Beach Academy was born!

Stephanie has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is certified to teach all subject areas Kindergarten through 6th grade and specializes in reading through 8th grade.


Bev Karas

Bev has been teaching for over 25 years and brings incredible experience to VBA. For the last ten years, Bev taught in a school very similiar to VBA which gives her the knowledge to guide the staff and parents toward success!

Academic Coach

Samantha Lecher

Samantha has her degree in Elementary Education and has been a teacher for 12 years. She has experienced grade levels from Pre-K through 5th grade including teaching Kindergarten at Vero Beach Academy! She has been involved in curriculum and teacher development as a math coach in the public schools before joining the VBA family.

Mrs. Lecher’s role as Academic Coach is to effectively impact the instructional practices of the teachers and parents at Vero Beach Academy. She gives support to specific student needs through the curriculum and individual learning plans. Her goal is to support students and teachers on their journey through the school year. She also provides parental support and strategies to effectively homeschool.

4th and 5th Grade

Kristi Long

Kristi received her degree in Elementary Education from the University of Florida. She has 8 years of experience teaching all in elementary school. For the past 3 years, she has been teaching a 4th and 5th grade split at a local public school.

Kristi enjoys teaching all of the subject areas, but Science is her true passion. She loves watching students light up as they make discoveries and see what an amazing world God has created.

As a parent of a child with special needs, she is also passionate about using a variety of strategies to help all children succeed and reach their full potential.

3rd Grade

Sarah Jones

Sarah bring over 10 years of classroom teaching experience and years of privated tutoring experience to Vero Beach Academy. She has taught children from preschool age through 12th grade.

As a former English teacher in middle and high school, she is looking forward to novel studies with my students and making learning come alive with hands-on activities. Her focus is meeting students where they are and encouraging their unique potential.

Sarah earned an English Literature degree from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. She then attended Indian River State College and earned her Professional Teaching License in 6th-12th grade. She is ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) certified and is working toward her elementary certifiation.

2nd Grade Teacher

Macayla Mondragon

Macayla attended Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL where she graduated in 2006 with a degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages.) Upon graduating, she accepted a position in the Academia Los Pinares, a bilingual school in the mountains of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. At ALP, she spent four years teaching Kindergarten and spent her weekends working with impoverished children belonging to a child sponsorship program. The majority of her students were Honduran, however, nearly all of the students who entered without being able to speak in English graduated kindergarten reading, writing, adding, subtracting, and most importantly, doing it all in English.

Since moving back to the United States Macayla has had the privilege to teach first and second grade, most recently at North County Charter School. She is a new mom to her first child, Elias, and is excited to have the opportunity to stay at home with her son and work with the kids at Vero Beach Academy.

She loves stimulating a high-energy classroom where the students can feel like they are a part of something more than worksheets and assignments. She take a creative, hands-on approach to teaching and seeks to accommodate all learning styles and personalities. She strives to make learning fun without compromising the high academic standards needed to allow each children to reach their full potential.

1st Grade

Heather Matthews

Heather has taught at Master's Academy for ten years and in the public schools. Heather is a very hand's on teacher that enjoys seeing children learning in a positive environment. She strives to make sure that each student is engaged in learning. She looks at each individual student to identify their learning styles are and makes sure that each child is learning to the best of their ability. Heather also incorporates technology to enhance her lessons. Heather provies a safe place to learn that where students feel welcomed and loved.

Heather has a degree in Elementary Education and is certified to teach Kindergarten-8th grade in the State of Florida.


Lindsay Zehr

Lindsay is excited to be a part of the Vero Beach Academy family. She has been an elementary school teacher for 7 years. Lindsay began her career as a special education teacher in Lake Worth, Florida for students in grades 1st-5th. When she moved to Vero Beach in 2012 with her husband, she taught at Rosewood Magnet for 4 years as a first grade teacher. She is now a mom to her toddler son, Cabe, and loves that this learning environment allows her to pursue both her passions - teaching and motherhood.

She strives to help her students reach their full potential through hands-on learning in a safe, welcoming environment. Her students learn to demonstrate understanding by making their thinking visible. Lindsay desires to instill in her students an excitement and love for learning.

Lindsay believes that each learner is unique. She makes every effort to ensure that each child receives the guidance and support needed to experience success and growth. It is her priority for her class to become a family where ideas, support, and encouragement are freely given and embraced.

Lindsay has a degree from Palm Beach Atlantic University in Elementary Education with a specialization in Exceptional Student Education and is certified to teach grades Kindergarten-6th in the state of Florida. Additionally, she has received multiple trainings through the Learning Alliance on integrating the arts into all subject areas.


Danielle Prue

Danielle is a very enthusiastic teacher and her goal is to challenge and engage students through hands on learning and a positive environment. She encourages them to reach their potential and help build their confidence.

In her classroom, learning will come alive through lots of fun and educational songs and games. She works closely with the parents to help her students feel loved, safe, and excited to learn.

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