Heckman grew up in Cambridge. She earned her bachelors degree in teaching from St. Cloud State University in 1995. Heckman has been teaching art in the Sartell schools since 1996. She earned her masters degree in education from Southwest State University in 2003. She currently teaches photography, yearbook and drawing at SHS. Heckman also owns a photography studio in Rice, AJHeckman Photography. She lives in Sartell with her husband, Josh, and three children. Heckman started as a freelance photographer for the Newsleaders in 2015.