Meet the Teachers and Staff!

Elizabeth Ricks

Science + STEM

Elizabeth Ricks earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 2011 from the University of Florida in Family, Youth and Community Sciences with a minor in Family Life Education. The 2019-20 school year will be her second at Micanopy Academy as our Middle School Science and Agritechnology teacher.

Mrs. Ricks lives not far from where she grew up in Hawthorne, FL with her husband Erik and their kids, Dalton and Fayth. When not spending time with her family her hobbies are photography, fishing, hunting, baseball, sewing and traveling.


Diana Kirkland


Diana Kirkland originally a

Miami, Florida Native went on a school campus tour and fell in love with Tallahassee, Florida.  FSU graduate in 1998 in Criminology and Social Work.

After ten wonderful years counseling children in need she decided to shift gears and begin teaching.

Diana earned a Masters of Education: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment from Walden University-2006

She lived in Ft Myers teaching at a top ten school South Ft Myers High School, but relocated to be near extended family.

Diana taught in Sumter county for 11 years- Wildwood Middle/High School opening an AP Literature and Composition course and an AP Language and Composition course.

Diana took a sabbatical in 2019 and completed a Specialization in Education Instruction, Curriculum and Assessment Doctorate from Walden earned January 2020.

She is looking forward to now being a Mustang at Micanopy Charter!

Jeffrey Kline

English + Reading

Jeffrey Kline earned a B.A. in History and a M.A. in Education from the University of South Florida. This will be his second year at Micanopy Academy and his seventh year teaching Middle School overall. He will be teaching high school History classes and is looking forward to having a positive and productive year with both staff and students. His hobbies include movies, books, sports, and nature/outdoor activities.

Tara Lowe-Phillips


Mrs. Lowe-Phillips earned a B.A. and M.A. in Art History from UF. Mrs. Lowe is certified in English 5-9, Integrated Curriculum 5-9, Humanities K-12, and has a Reading Endorsement for K-12. She has been with MA for 11 years as a teacher, assistant principal, and now principal. 
She is married to Dwayne Phillips and they live in Gainesville with their pet squirrel Rocky and Merican bulldog named Nitro. Mrs. Lowe enjoys traveling, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and being with the MA family. She is also a classic movie buff and enjoys showing movies from the 30's, 40's and 50's to her students.


Danielle DiMauro

HS Math + Science

Danielle DiMauro earned her B.A. in Psychology in 2014 from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and shortly after, began working as a substitute teacher for 3 years before she began teaching Biology at an LA Charter school. She earned her Masters in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University online in 2019. She moved from Los Angeles, CA to live in Marion County in 2020 to change pace from the hectic city life, and is loving the wide open spaces and farm-life. In her free time, she likes to play video games, research science, discover bugs or critters, and work with her various animals. She also enjoys spending time with her 5 year-old irish thoroughbred, Scotch, her 9 nameless chickens, her large cat, Barnaby, and her wonderful husband, Kyle

Ms. DiMauro is excited to be part of the Mustang herd at Micanopy Academy and looking forward to a great year!


Scott Hughes


Scott "Hughes!" is a native Floridian now living with his family in Gainesville. Growing up in Ocala, Hughes! studied art at Vanguard High School, later receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design and then a Masters of Art Education at the University of Florida. He and his wife, Susan, are both educators and UF alumni. They have two children (now adults), one dog (Oreo the bochi) and one cat (Rory the ninja). Hughes! enjoys music, research, skateboarding, kayaking, the outdoors, fossil finding, and of course, art!


Dakota Johnson

School Guardian

Dakota Johnson is a former student of Micanopy Academy who has volunteered to become our school guardian. He completed his rigorous guardian training with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office last year and continues to apprise himself of new information and best practices pertaining to the program and the safety of our students. He spends his free time tending to his wonderful flock of twenty one chickens and turkeys. He has always lived in Micanopy and loves his small town.


Maria Hurt


Maria Hurt earned her B.S. from University of Florida with a major in Exercise and Sport Science and minor in Physical Education.  In 2016, she returned to school and earned her Master of Education from University of Phoenix.  She previously taught Personal Fitness, Driver Education, and Algebra 1 in Ocala and Melbourne Florida. She is looking forward to her first year teaching Middle Grades Math at Micanopy Academy.  

Ms. Hurt is the youngest of 9 siblings, mother of three adult children, and grandmother of three boys (ages 17, 11, and 5).  For the last 15 years, her true passion has been tennis--playing, coaching, teaching, and officiating.  She enjoys virtually anything active and outdoors, especially biking, kayaking, pickleball, inline skating, and every imaginable type of yard work. When relaxing she loves to read and work puzzles.

Kristin Walker

Assistant Principal

Kristin Walker graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College with a major in History and a minor in English. She earned her Master of Education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction from Concordia University in 2014. 2021/22 will mark her ninth year with Micanopy Academy, where she serves as assistant principal and teaches History and Reading.
Ms. Walker enjoys spending time with her son, Sebastian, reading a wide variety of books, and testing new recipes in her kitchen.

Alene Williams


Ms. Williams graduated from Williston High School and has worked at Nationwide Insurance and the University of Florida. She joined the MA family in 2012 and enjoys working with the faculty and students alike. Her hobbies include reading and sewing. Alene is known for her smile, which earned her the nickname "Sunshine" by her coworkers at Nationwide. She was also told that it was her smile that helped someone make the decision to join her church. 

She enjoys spending time with friends and family and is looking forward to a great year with new and former students!