key Academica West Team Members
In August 2002, Jed Stevenson established Academica West, LLC to provide superior business and management services to the fledgling Utah charter school movement. Since that time, under Mr. Stevenson’s leadership and direction, Academica West has steadily grown to serve 17 client schools throughout the state. Mr. Stevenson was appointed by Utah Governor, Gary R. Herbert, to serve on the Utah State Board of Education Nominating Committee and also served as a board member of the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools. In the community, Mr. Stevenson is the former chairman of the Davis Chamber of Commerce and served as an honorary deputy commander with the 388th Fighter Wing stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Northern Utah. Mr. Stevenson is a graduate of Weber State University and earned his JD from California Western School of Law.
Sheldon Killpack serves in the critical role of training and counseling governing boards. Drawing on his experience as a founding board member of North Davis Preparatory Academy, Mr. Killpack helps each charter school’s governing board achieve autonomy and control over its school’s academic program, staffing needs, and curriculum. Mr. Killpack served in the Utah State Senate for six years, during which time he served as Assistant Majority Whip and Senate Majority Leader. In addition to serving in state government, Mr. Killpack served as chairman of the Davis Chamber of Commerce and as a board member of the Davis Convention and Visitor Bureau, the North Davis Hospital and Medical Center, the Utah Defense Alliance, and the United Way of Salt Lake Executive Steering Committee. He has served as a member of the Utah Transit Authority appointed by the Speaker of the House and on the Executive Committee of the Utah Center for Digital Arts. Mr. Killpack is a graduate of Weber State University.
President, Chief Education Specialist
Ms. Dohrer is the President and Chief Education Specialist for Academica West. With 33 years of public education experience, she provides valuable counsel to boards and administrators in all aspects of charter school operations. Ms. Dohrer graduated with a BS in Public Administration from the University of Arizona and received her MA in Counseling from Wichita State University. In addition, she has teaching endorsements in Mathematics, English as a Second Language, and Reading. Ms. Dohrer’s experience includes teaching mathematics, K-12 counseling, and administration. As an administrator, she worked as a school leader at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. As a district administrator, Ms. Dohrer has experience in family literacy and adult education.
Vice President, General Counsel
As general counsel for Academica West, Gabe Clark advises boards, principals, and employees of the charter schools we serve on a variety of issues, including employment law, public law issues (e.g. open meetings act, public records, procurement), education law, civil rights law, risk management issues, contractual issues, and corporate governance issues. Prior to joining Academica West, Mr. Clark worked as a shareholder in the law firm of Durham Jones & Pinegar. Most recently, Mr. Clark practiced primarily in areas of corporate law and financial/estate planning. Mr. Clark is experienced in nonprofit corporate law, taxation issues, securities, corporate finance and real estate issues. Mr. Clark was an original board member of Quest Academy, a charter school in West Haven, Utah. In addition, he has been involved in the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Northern Utah program as a participant, co-chair, and chair, and also served as a member of the board of directors and board president for Enable Utah, Inc.
Vice President, Director of Compliance & Business Development
Mr. Fairbanks’ duties and responsibilities focus on supporting governing boards’ and school administrators’ efforts to remain in compliance with the laws, rules and regulations applicable to Utah public charter schools. With over 12 years of experience advising Utah charter schools, Mr. Fairbanks has developed a specialized expertise in Utah charter schools. He provides regular training and works closely with boards on governance, operational, and contractual issues. Mr. Fairbanks’ background in commercial litigation, corporate law and real estate law provides valuable guidance and insight to schools as they navigate through the challenges of operating a public school. Mr. Fairbanks is a licensed attorney and earned his undergraduate degree and law degree from Brigham Young University.
Chief Financial Officer
Brad Taylor is considered one of Utah’s most experienced charter school finance experts. Mr. Taylor has been with Academica West for over 12 years and oversees the financial and accounting activities of the company’s client schools. In addition to overseeing the general school financial operations, Mr. Taylor advises board members and school directors on budgeting, financial forecasting, annual state and federal reporting requirements, and state charter school funding rules. In 2015, Mr. Taylor was appointed by the Utah Senate President to serve on the Charter School Legislative Task force, which is charged with making educational funding recommendations to the Utah State Legislature. Prior to joining Academica West, Mr. Taylor was a staff auditor with Deloitte in Salt Lake City, Utah. During this period, he spent much of his time working on audits involving the banking industry and non-profit organizations. Mr. Taylor earned his BA and MAcc degrees from Weber State University.
Mr. Brown’s responsibilities focus on identifying and addressing the host of non-education issues that consume charter school administrators’ limited time. Mr. Brown’s expertise lies in a variety of areas from technology and advertising to school lunch programs and facility maintenance. He works to create and implement efficient procedures to ameliorate school operational issues. In addition, Mr. Brown provides client schools with valuable guidance relating to procurement of goods and services in accordance with applicable laws. Prior to joining Academica West, Mr. Brown spent 17 years at Lagoon Amusement Park where he served as Marketing Director. Mr. Brown graduated from Weber State University with a BS in Botany and Chemistry and obtained his MSML from Western Governors University. He maintains an active membership in the Utah Facilities Operation and Maintenance Association (UFOMA) and in his community, Mr. Brown serves on the boards of the Davis Chamber of Commerce and Enable Utah.
Chief Operations Officer