AboutBoard Of Directors
Neil Walter – Board President
Neil has served on charter school boards for six years and written a book on charter school facility finance. He has also written a number of white papers on school and governmental finance. Neil is both partner and CEO for Brokers Holdings, which operates commercial and residential brokerages in Utah and Nevada as NAI Excel and ERA Brokers Consolidated. He taught economics and upper-division finance courses as an adjunct professor for nine years at Dixie State University. He is a CFA charter holder and earned his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.
Steve Hurst – Finance Committee Chair
Steve serves as the chair of the finance committee at SGA, and works as a consultant in the area of enterprise software and IT infrastructure. Steve holds a BS in Materials Science and Engineering and an MS in Computer Science. Steve is one of the founders of Clear Horizons Academy, a non-profit private school for children with autism, and served on the board of trustees for 9 years. Steve and his wife moved to St. George in 2014 with their 3 children, the youngest of which will attend SGA
AmiJo Comeford, Ph.D. – Board Member
Dr. Comeford is a professor of English and Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Dixie State University. She serves as a student mentor and advisor at DSU and was appointed as one of 3 Ombuds. She originally chartered the DSU Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the student English Honor Society in 2007, and has served as the adviser since then. She serves on the national board for this organization. Ami has been selected as Dixie State University’s Advisor of the Year multiple times and Teacher/Faculty Member of the Year for 2009-2010. She served on the board for Utah Humanities from 2011-2017. She is also currently serving on the board for Arts to Zion.
Matt Smith-Lahrman, Ph.D. – Board Member
Matthew Smith-Lahrman is a Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Applied Sociology program at Dixie State University, where he has worked since 1998 when it was known as Dixie Community College. He grew up in San Diego, received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Northern Arizona University in 1987, a master’s in Applied Sociology from NAU in 1990, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University in 1996.
He is a board member of Saint George Academy because he believes in its mission of teaching and learning. He sees the SGA as not only giving students a solid foundation in the sciences and humanities, but also as imparting to them the skills necessary to be flexible learners for life. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills, once internalized, give people the ability to learn many things in many settings. He hopes that as a member of the board he can help faculty, staff, and students at the SGA attain their educational and life goals.
Carol Vallejo – Board Member
Carol was born and raised in Utah and began living in Saint George in 1983. She has a Bachelors of Social Work from the University of Utah and is currently looking forward to Graduate School where she will be pursuing her Masters in Social Work. She has been working as a paralegal for the last 16 years and has extensive legal and bookkeeping experience. Carol is a passionate advocate for special education programs and first started working with the SPED program as a volunteer in high school. She has two beautiful children the youngest of which is attending SGA.
A Chris Ostler, CPA – Board Member
I have been a Certified Public Accountant and tax strategist for nearly twenty-five years. My primary focus has been helping small to medium-sized businesses maximize cash flow through tax-efficient planning. My background in financial planning and tax planning allows me to merge related strategies for the good of my clients.
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 1993 with a major in accounting. I then went to work for Deloitte & Touche, LLP, one of the four largest public accounting firms in the country. There I was trained in both audit and tax, serving a varied list of clients, including state and local governments, banks, gaming establishments, real estate developers, manufacturers, and retailers. This breadth of experience adds to my ability to assist small business owners with any financial concerns they may have.
I am a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. I have served in the communities in which I’ve lived in various capacities, including volunteer work for Junior Achievement, a youth volunteer at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America. I am an Eagle Scout and a native of Pocatello, Idaho. I have lived in Saint George since 2011. My parents have lived in Saint George since 1985, the year I graduated from high school. My father Dave is a retired home builder and my mother Rita has served two tours at Tuacahn, one as office/company manager and the other at the retail store. I enjoy politics, baseball, and being outdoors. I also speak fluent Brazilian Portuguese, as well as some Spanish and French. I’m married to Michelle Badham, a 37 year resident of Saint George.