Empowering Education Through Technology for over 15 Years
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About Backbone Communications

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Our vision is empowering education through technology. Our mission is to help students succeed in school and life through the use of our products and services.

Backbone Communications has been providing educational software tools to schools in the Southwest for over 15 years. Our headquarters are located in Phoenix, AZ with regional offices in Nevada, California, Utah, and New Mexico. Our staff includes many years of teaching and technology experience and we are proud to partner with over 500 schools to provide solutions that help all students whether they are below grade level, on grade level, or above grade level.

Our vision is “Empowering Education Through Technology”. Our mission is “To help students succeed in school and life through the use of our products and services”. These principles drive our decision making. Backbone’s solutions are respected by industry experts as the best technology tools available. All technology and software tools are scientifically proven, research-based programs that help students succeed. Superior customer service and proven implementation strategies are reasons why Backbone Communications continues to be schools’ source for software tools to increase student achievement.

Management

California

New Mexico

Educational Tech Consultants

Arizona

Nevada

Utah

Special Projects

Executive Assistant

Leah Dines, M.Ed

President
(602) 791-6138
Leah started Backbone Communications in 1999, believing that making the up-to-date and proper learning tools available to larger numbers of students would be doing the most for the most students. She has an undergraduate degree from Arizona State University in Political Science and a Masters Degree from Northern Arizona University in Educational Leadership. She is a member of the following organizations: Women & Philanthropy – ASU Foundation for A New American University, Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi at NAU, and NAPEW, National Association of Professional & Executive Women.
She has experience in the classroom as a Job Developer/Placement Teacher working with adults with Learning Disabilities as well as with Foster Care students. Before that she worked as a Client Care Worker with violent offender boys age 12-18 years old. Leah had the honor of working with Senator Jon Kyl while in college at ASU, and followed that with a job with the Arizona Board of Supervisors. Using the tools that Backbone Communications represents will enable students to reach goals and dreams they may not have thought possible.

Josh Leitz

Regional Director
(602) 770-9152
Josh Leitz has been with Backbone Communications since January 2005. After receiving his Concurrent Degree from ASU in Business Marketing and Business Management he pursued his K-8 education certificate. He was a classroom teacher for grades Kindergarten through 8th grade and usedThe A+nyWhere Learning System® with his 5th & 6th graders in order to differentiate the curriculum and provide appropriate content to his many students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).
When Josh joined Backbone, he began meeting with schools, assisting in implementation, and training teachers and administrators on various software tools.  With today’s competitive marketplace, Josh is passionate and committed to helping students realize success and achieve permanent gains by providing the students the right content at the right time.

BJ Dines

Technology & Training
(602) 369-3120
BJ joined Backbone Communications in 2001. He has a CIS & Marketing Degree from NAU. BJ has experience working with technology and training with schools providing Internet solutions. His determination and drive in training teachers, consulting administrators and supporting the BBC Account Managers stems from his true goals – to help make schools successful. His experience has taught him the keys to a successful software implementation.
Learn how to avoid the common mistakes and make your investment worthwhile. By following Backbone’s implementation plan, Administrators and Teachers know what is expected of them and can now measure its effectiveness.

Brian Snyder

Regional Manager
Arizona, California
(602) 614-0226
As a teacher, Brian used The A+nyWhere Learning System® software in schools in Arizona and Nebraska and taught various classes in grades K-12. He spent four years at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center (Y.R.T.C.) in Kearney, Nebraska. After his tenure at Y.R.T.C., Brian was offered a position to teach a self-contained 7th and 8th grade class as well as the Independent Study teacher in their credit recovery program at Perris Union High School District in California. In 2004, Brian was selected as the 2003-2004 Teacher of the Year for the Community Day school as well as the 2003-2004 Teacher of the Year for all of Perris Union High School District.
After three years, Brian was given the opportunity to start an alternative school in Pierce, Nebraska. While teaching for Pierce Public Schools, Brian used A+® as his core curriculum software in the alternative education program. As well as being involved in the alternative education program, Brian also taught Strength and Fitness and was an assistant varsity coach for football and boys and girls basketball. He was also the head strength coach for a very successful athletics program at Pierce High School. Brian is a graduate of the University of Nebraska, B.A.E., K-12.

Matt West

Regional Manager
Southwest Arizona
(602) 349-3693
Matt has been in education since receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University in 2000. He was a certified teacher and taught for 7 years in the Phoenix area. Outside of the classroom Matt served as Technology Coordinator, Curriculum Specialist, and AIMS Test Coordinator at different schools. He also coached various girls and boys sports before joining Backbone Communications.
He is currently finishing his Masters Degree in Educational Leadership. Matt uses his classroom and leadership experiences to help schools implement and use software as a powerful educational tool.

Steve Leitz

Regional Manager
Arizona, California, Nevada
(602) 614-8626
(702) 442-1108
After receiving his B.S./B.A. in Marketing & Management from The Ohio State University, Steve spent almost 20 years in the Fashion Eyewear Industry. As Vice President of Sales and National Accounts Manager, Steve was responsible for building Liz Claiborne, I-Ski, Suncloud and private label programs for Dillards, Foleys, J.C. Penney, and the Ski Areas throughout the Southwest United States. Upon the sale of his company, Steve was approached to help the owners of Backbone Communications to help students and teachers in Nevada.
After four years of expanding into 12 Districts in Nevada, Steve was asked to work with Scottsdale and Paradise Valley Unified School Districts in Arizona along with 5 counties in California. Steve’s enthusiasm for healthy self esteem for kids, his volunteer work in that area for over 20 years, and his excitement in seeing his oldest son Josh succeed as a teacher and educational software professional helped Steve decide to join the Backbone Team. Steve looks forward to working with each one of you, to specifically tailor an Education Implementation Plan to help meet your goals.

Danielle Connolly, M.Ed. MAT.

Regional Manager
New Mexico, Utah
(505) 228-8009
(801) 699-9213
Danielle Connolly M.Ed, MAT is a certified teacher and principal in the state of Arizona with 16 years of experience. Danielle received her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education as well as her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas. Her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership is from Argosy University.  Danielle is currently working on her Doctorate at Grand Canyon University and is passionate about technology in education as well as education as a whole.

LaRae Kendrick, M.Ed.

Certified Educational Technology Consultant
(602) 471-7392
LaRae Kendrick, M. Ed., is a native of San Jose, CA now living in Gilbert, AZ. She earned her master’s in Education Administration at ASU and holds an Arizona Principal’s and Teaching Certificate. She is an experienced educator specializing in Language Arts instruction and integrating technology into the classroom. As the former Director of Curriculum Development for A+ Educators, she oversaw the design of interactive whiteboard lessons for Digital Nation. LaRae has presented countless workshops nationwide on a variety of topics such as the Common Core State Standards, the Six Traits of Writing, interactive whiteboard strategies, the A+nyWhere Learning System, the Writing and Technology Connection, and iPad integration.
As a former classroom teacher, she understands the need to master standards while being realistic about life in the classroom. She is also the author and creator of Our Six Writing Friends™ that has helped thousands of students become better writers. LaRae is a teacher’s teacher, energizing and inspiring her fellow educators. A participant in one of her professional development writing workshops recently stated, “Your workshop was so motivating for me…I couldn’t even sleep last night because I could not wait to get back in the classroom and start teaching writing. You have inspired me.”

Michael Bidlack

Certified Educational Technology Consultant
(602) 430-9734
Michael was a certified high school English instructor for eight years in Phoenix, Arizona before joining the Backbone Communications team. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Arizona State University in 2005. Additionally, Michael is currently finishing his Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from ASU. Michael is excited and passionate about working with K-12 schools to implement educational software that furthers the academic success of students throughout the southwestern United States.

Gordon Gower

Certified Educational Technology Consultant
(602) 690-7056
Gordon Gower has worked in education since receiving his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Arizona in 2001. Gordon earned his middle school endorsement from the University of Phoenix in 2004.

Gordon is passionate about using technology in the classroom. Having worked in Title I schools in Tucson, he witnessed first hand student enthusiasm for interactive technology in the classroom.  ”Kids absolutely love the opportunity to put their hands on the interactive board and show what they have learned.”

A veteran Title I schoolteacher, he spent most of the last ten years working as a 6th and 7th grade language arts teacher.  Gordon is excited to be a part of Backbone Communications and is looking forward to helping other teachers implement smart, technology based solutions to increase student achievement!

Frank Kitchen

Special Projects
(602) 576-2199
Frank has been helping individuals and organizations grow personally and professionally for over 15 years. He received his Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Myers University in Cleveland, Ohio. A career in the retail industry evolved into nine years of training and advising students and organizations at Lakeland Community College in Ohio. He left his college position to pursue a career as professional speaker and coach.
Frank has delivered numerous presentations to major corporations, schools, colleges and universities, professional associations, conventions, and leadership conferences. To date he has spoken in 28 of the 50 United States, as well as performing for audiences in Australia and Canada.

Frank enjoys spending time with his wife Kelly and son Elijah, traveling, reading, blogging, teaching and raising money for charities.

Debbie Hinds

Executive Assistant
(602) 505-7337
Debbie joined Backbone Communications as an executive administrative assistant in 2009. She assists the President and Vice-President in the office with invoicing, payment collections, mailings, filing, emails, phone calls so the back office runs smoothly. Being available for the staff is also a plus in helping them with various issues that may need to be resolved or verified so they can focus time with their clients.
Debbie also takes care of registering the sales staff for many of the conferences and conventions throughout the year. Taking the time with customer service is important in building good relationships from the schools’ accounts payable department, vendors, or a parent. This is what Debbie thrives on, what she loves and what has always had her coming back to her customer service type positions. She has a drive and a commitment that every customer can see from emails, phone calls and texts.

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