Our Teachers

The Fusion Program started in 2009 when a group of students gathered to seek out the brilliant, praiseworthy, uplifting and powerful contained in the literature, art, theater, music – really all the humanities around them.  Since then the influence has spread to hundreds of students.

The purpose of the Fusion Program is to bring that spirit to many students and fuse it with their academic learning to create a vibrant culture of growth and life-long learning. In short we hope to emulate the spirit George Frideric Handel expressed about his own artistic endeavors when he stated:

“I should be sorry if I only entertained them, I wish to make them better.”

We hope to bless the lives of those who participate with us through the power of the Fusion Program

Fusion Program Teachers

joni-bio-picJoni Newman

Joni was born in Utah but raised in Iowa, so she considers herself a proud Midwesterner.  She moved back to Utah in 2005 to attend Brigham Young University where she graduated with a degree in English Education and an enormous love of travel after a study abroad in the spring of 2007 that involved hiking through the English countryside for two months.  Her travel obsessions have continued and she makes semi-annual European trips and enjoys exploring different corners of the United States as well.  Some of her favorite places to visit include Prince Edward Island, Maine, Boston, Seattle, the English Lake District, Salzburg, Berlin, London, and Disneyland.  While at BYU, Joni was awarded several scholarships, including scholarships in Creative Non-Fiction Writing, which she continues to do in her spare time (especially when traveling.)

In addition to travel, Joni enjoys performing in local theaters.  Some of her favorite roles include Marian in The Music Man, Catherine Simms in The Foreigner, Shelby in Steel Magnolias, Beth March in Little Women and Fairy May in The Curious Savage.
She is also a passionate reader (look her up on Goodreads), a film analyst, and a landscape photographer.

Joni is a firm believer that teaching is one of the greatest callings in her life.  She enjoys helping students to find passion and purpose in what they do.  Teaching Fusion and the connections and friendships gained over the years has given her incredible joy.  She considers it a great honor to work with these amazing classes.

Joni is a current resident of Spanish Fork where she lives with her cat, Izzy.


greg-bio-picGregory Duffin

Greg has grown up with an intense fascination with the creative arts from when he was a child.  From a young age he’s loved writing music, designing shows, and looking for ways to creatively use the resources around him.  He grew up in an environment where it was customary to participate, discuss, analyze and search for the best in the arts around him.

Since then Greg has gained vibrant experience in performing as an actor and musician, writing music, teaching, and continuing to use his skills to design beauty in the things around him.  He earned multiple music degrees from BYU, studied at the University of Arizona in a DMA program for music composition, and developed innovative teaching techniques for over a decade.  He’s written music for worldwide broadcasts, served as the writer and director for the world broadcast Payson Temple Cultural Celebration with 13,000 performers, performed in many leading theatrical roles around Utah Valley, worked as music and technical director for many theatrical productions, and works as an effect designer for public events.  He’s worked as a teacher for almost 2 decades and currently works in the innovative Fusion education program at American Leadership Academy which he co-directs with Joni Newman.

He lives in Spanish Fork with his wife, Nicole, and their 3 kids.  He’s the one in the relationship that drags his wife to the ballet.  He loves traveling, particularly to Europe which he has visited 7 times.  He also loves creating beauty with his garden in the Summer and hopes to soon build his own small version of a World of Color pond in his yard with programmable fountains and lights.  He loves the creative culture built by Walt Disney and is inspired by his principles as well as those of Ed Catmull and the Pixar tradition.  He finds a yearly pilgrimage to Disneyland helps lift his soul.


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