Annalee Johnson

Beginners Teacher

Melissa Smith

Early Kindergarten Teacher

A longtime teaching veteran with over 25 years of experience teaching preschool and kindergarten students, Ms. Smith brings a wealth of knowledge and drive to set PNA Early Kindergarten students on the path to starting kindergarten ahead of the game. Melissa is a Leadership Award winner and frequent community volunteer with talents in music, literacy, and kindergarten skills

Saania Ali

Kindergarten Teacher

To many of our rising kindergartners, they will feel right at home as their EK teacher, Saania Ali, graduated with them to kindergarten. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Houston, Mrs. Ali brings four years of experience in Texas and Beijing, China to PNA and is fluent in three languages. Mrs. Ali has attended training in both Responsive Classroom and Project Based Learning this summer. 

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Laurie Hoefer

Head of School

Laurie Hoefer has been a part of PNA for the last 17 years. She is most well known for her years in 5th grade, introducing students to the wonders of American History through interactive experiences, her unconditional love of Elvis Presley, and her passion for being a lifelong learner. She earned a Bachelors of Science in journalism from the University of Georgia and worked in public relations for four years before returning to school to pursue her true love of teaching. She earned her teaching certificate and Masters of Education from Georgia State in Atlanta.

Linda Shepherd

Admissions Director

Linda Shepherd joins PNA as our new Admissions Director. Originally from Australia, Linda has lived in Anchorage for over 15 years and has served as Director of Enrollment for another Anchorage independent school. Most recently, Linda was the Director of Managed Technology for Pango Technology where she developed a new division and handled all operational capabilities and marketing for this division. 

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Home > About PNA > Faculty and Staff


Qualities of a pna Teacher


Pacific Northern Academy is a school where the child comes first. Respect for the child, both as individual and learner, is paramount at PNA. Teachers at PNA strive to ensure that the developmental, social, emotional, and cognitive needs of students are met to the fullest. Each teacher at PNA creates a learning atmosphere clearly marked by energy, joy, and dedication to the child in the learning process. Sharing their enthusiasm for teaching and learning, teachers inspire their students to seek knowledge and understanding daily.


Teachers at PNA demonstrate the following characteristics:

A Deep Understanding of Child Development

  • An understanding of the cognitive, physical, emotional, social, and behavioral ranges appropriate for each stage of child development.

  • The ability to teach to the strength of each child.

  • The ability to motivate students to be respectful, responsible members of the PNA community.


A Robust Awareness of the Teaching and Learning Process

  • The ability to recognize the developmental readiness of each child and to develop appropriate and challenging lessons and assessments.

  • An awareness of the importance of hands-on learning to stimulate and engage students.

  • The differentiation of content (what students learn), process (how students make sense out of ideas and information) and product (how students demonstrate and apply what they have learned).

  • The encouragement of critical and creative thinking and problem-solving.

  • The integration of appropriate technology into the teaching and learning processes.


A Well Developed Knowledge and Demonstration of Subject Matter and Curriculum

  • An understanding of subject matter, current research and best practices that are consistent with PNA’s mission, philosophy, and culture.

  • The ability to integrate concepts, skills, and content across the curriculum.

Classroom Management Skills

  • The organization of safe and orderly classrooms where teaching and learning are paramount.

  • The maintenance of high standards for all students.

  • The expectation of classroom behaviors that are fair and consistent with the school culture and community building (PNA uses the Responsive Classroom program).

  • The implementation of reinforcements that support collegiality and collaboration in the classroom.

  • An understanding of behavioral expectations in the school for all students.



  • Demonstrate active support for and positive engagement with colleagues.

  • Exhibit positive energy and motivation.

  • Commit to professionalism, teamwork, collaboration, flexibility and proactive communication.



  • The ability to articulate the curriculum, program, and expectations to parents.

  • The frequent assessment of student progress.

  • Clear and concise information to parents regarding student progress.


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Monday-Friday 8:30 am to 3:15 pm

Extended Day Program: 7:30 am to 6:00 pm

Front Office 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Contact information


2511 Sentry Drive, Suite 100

Anchorage, Alaska 99507

Tel: (907) 333-1080 Fax: (907) 333-1652


Pacific northerN academy is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization
tax id: 92-0145501