• Aaron Wells
    Aaron Wells Instructor

    View my teaching sample.

    I have a B.A. in Liberal Arts from New St. Andrews College (class of ‘05), but my roots in classical education go back to high school and some of the first online classics-based tutorials with Wes Callihan and Fritz Hinrichs. I have since taught a variety of classes at the junior high and high school level, including History, Literature, and Latin. My teaching has been both local (including 3 years at Logos Christian Academy in Fallon, NV and various opportunities with homeschoolers both there and in my current residence of Moscow, ID) and online for nearly a decade.

    I have been blessed to see the rise of interest in classical schooling go hand in hand with the rise of technology that makes the study of the classics easier and more attainable than ever. Now my love of Virgil, Augustine, and Dante can be shared across the globe with students just as eager as I was to lay hold of and read the foundational books of western culture.

    Outside of classes about long deceased authors, you’ll usually find me introducing my four children to some of the other joys in my life: things like baseball, mountains, good stories, the music of the spheres, and sleep. I’m going on faith that they’ll figure out that last one in time, as it has yet to take.

    On teaching: I use a lecture-based format for my literature courses that mixes in questions and conversation with the lecture period. The questions are intended to guide the students into a deeper conversation of the readings and stimulate creative and critical thinking. Students are also invited to ask their own questions or share observations on the reading. Most evaluation takes place through written submissions (including papers and short summaries) and tests. All submissions are considered final, unless an exception has been specifically provided.

    • Alicia Knickerbocker
      Alicia Knickerbocker

      View my teaching sample.

      Hello all! My name is Alicia Knickerbocker. I am happy to be joining the Well-Trained Mind Academy! I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Biochemistry and have taught science, mostly Biology and Chemistry, and math courses to homeschoolers for the last 12 years. I also provide seminars for science instruction both locally and nationally. My classroom is adaptive to student needs; I have many years of experience working with students with learning disabilities, varied learning styles, and diverse family backgrounds. In addition to teaching I run a local nonprofit STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) academy for middle and high school students.

      Outside of teaching science courses, our family operates a small farm with sheep, geese, ducks, chickens, and rabbits.  You wouldn’t believe how often a Biology and Chemistry background has benefited this endeavor! I also enjoy boxing, international travel, camping, hiking, and modern quilting.

      On teaching: My classroom is a delightful blend of lecture, illustrations (as I will often draw to explain concepts), and question/answer periods.  Student interest and inquiry help to guide lecture and discussion, as I work hard to create an engaged classroom.

      • Amy Samuelson
        Amy Samuelson Instructor

        View my teaching sample.

        While I have always loved writing, my path to becoming a writing teacher has been a winding one. I earned dual bachelor’s degrees in engineering science and civil engineering from Manchester College and Washington University in St. Louis, respectively, before deciding to pursue my interest in cultural anthropology in graduate school. For my master’s degree at Colorado State University, I conducted household surveys on Pine Ridge Reservation and ranches in South Dakota. As part of my doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), I spent a year in Moldova on a Fulbright grant doing ethnographic fieldwork among environmentalists. I also did a year of research in Romania, and after graduating in 2013, I returned to Moldova and later moved to the country of Georgia.

        In all of these places, I spent time writing, editing, and teaching. In addition to my own writing, I edited papers for colleagues as well as non-academic clients. At UWM, I worked as a teaching assistant, taught a course on ways of life in different cultures, and worked as a tutor at the university’s writing center. In Moldova and Georgia, I taught English as a foreign language. For some of my advanced students in Moldova, this included a writing course and workshops where we covered many of the basics found in WTMA’s courses. Working with writers from different cultures with their own writing traditions, both at UWM’s writing center and in Moldova, gave me a new perspective on Anglo-American academic writing.

        On teaching: Now that I’ve relocated to Chicago with my husband and our young daughter, I’m excited to continue teaching writing in the U.S. As a teacher, I tailor my classes to the interests and temperaments of the students. I try to create an atmosphere in which students feel comfortable asking questions and participating in discussions. I strive to give clear explanations in lectures and useful feedback on written assignments to prepare students for success in their future academic endeavors.

        • Ashlyn Bowden
          Ashlyn Bowden Tutor

          New Tutor (no lecture sample available).

          My love for writing has been an ongoing theme in my life, beginning with dictating creative stories to my mother before my hands could actually form letters. Now, I continue to pursue my love of writing as a private tutor and blogger. I love being able to work one-on-one with a student, leaving behind the pressures that come with the formal classroom. I serve as a companion who comes alongside a student when difficulties arise, rather than as an instructor who grades assignments. During a tutoring session, I want the student to gain a genuine understanding of the concept under consideration.  Sometimes, that means moving slowly, ensuring that the student is well-equipped in their knowledge of one concept before progressing to the next. My ultimate goal for my students is to bolster their confidence so that they write with ease and confidence.

          I primarily tutor within the homeschooling community.  Being homeschooled myself from preschool through 12th grade, I am familiar with a variety of curriculums and I am well-connected to home-educators in my community.  I tutored as a college student and continued to do so after receiving my Associate’s Degree in Social Science from Thomas Nelson Community College.

          • Cindy Biondo
            Cindy Biondo Tutor

            New Tutor (no lecture sample available).

            Hello! I am excited to have the opportunity to tutor mathematics for the Well-Trained Mind Academy! Excited for two reasons–one, I am grateful for WTMA and the impact classical education has had on my homeschooling journey, and two, I love math! For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed math both as a student and a teacher. My desire is to help kids see the big picture in mathematics and understand the connections between concepts. Mathematics is a language and it really does make sense!

            Being a former homeschooling mom, I came across numerous math curriculums, utilizing many of them to some degree or another. However, I found Singapore Math and Math Mammoth to be my two favorite curriculums. These mastery based programs teach mathematics with a ‘concrete to visual to abstract’ approach. In line with this approach, I often had my children use manipulatives and draw pictures to “see” concepts before attempting to write them with mathematical symbols. Like the alphabet, numbers are symbols. When a child understands the how and why behind the what, math is less of a foreign language and confidence grows.

            I earned my BS in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Ursinus College and received my teaching certificate for secondary mathematics from Towson University. I taught math for three years to Baltimore County Maryland middle and high school students. While educating my kids at home, I taught high school chemistry and physics, as well as elementary science at our local homeschooling co-op. I also worked for eight years as a statistician for T. Rowe Price Associates. 

            Other things to know about me: I am an avid tea drinker, I enjoy most anything outdoors, I love to play games (Scrabble being one of my favorite), and I swim twice a week.  I live in Baltimore with my wonderful husband and two great kids, who are now finishing out their education at a local classical school. I’m excited to enter into this new season and look forward to helping your child achieve their full potential in math!

            • Colleen Sharpe
              Colleen Sharpe Tutor

              New Tutor (no lecture sample available).

              Hello!  I’m excited to be tutoring for the Academy!  I have been tutoring since 2003.  I started homeschooling my own children, and then I started teaching other students the foundational skills of reading and writing.  I also spent a five-year period teaching creative movement and drama skills to children, teens, and adults in various multicultural and socio-economic settings part-time.

              While homeschooling, I’ve used The Well-Trained Mind book as an overall guide. The idea that one could methodically learn a set of academic skills and then use those skills to learn content subjects just blew me away! I finally understood the concrete meaning of the phrase, “learning how to learn.” In my kids’ early schooling years, I used TWTM ideas with blind faith simply because the book made practical sense to me. In their recent high school years, I have seen the fruit of all that skills-teaching in their lives. All of this inspired me to expand my tutoring reach.

              I love teaching fine details that I believe are going to help a student overcome any learning obstacles. I love figuring out what a student needs. And I love seeing the light go on when a student realizes that the skill being practiced can be mastered and used.

              My general background includes communications and performing arts training courses with an international organization; a wide variety of volunteer work locally, in inner-cities, and internationally; seminars for self-education (including the Well-Trained Mind Tenth Anniversary conference in Virginia!); and various administrative jobs.

              I grew up in the state of Maine, lived in a few other states, and came to Canada in 1993 for a three-month training course. Here I met my guitar-playing Canadian husband, and here I stayed. We live in the Maritime province of Nova Scotia, and we’ve happily raised two children in this beautiful place. When I’m not tutoring or acting as guidance counselor to my younger child, you’ll find me designing and making handcrafts, photographing and blogging about my creations, refreshing my high school math and reading skills (using The Well-Educated Mind book!), or spending time with friends. My goal is to pass on my enthusiasm for learning to my current and future students.

              I look forward to helping your children in their educational journeys!

              • Corinna Sherlip
                Corinna Sherlip Instructor

                Hola! I am excited to be joining the Well-Trained Mind Academy! I was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia and attended La Universidad de Antioquia in my home city. I have a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education. I am currently finishing a graduate certificate in Teacher Licensure Preparation at the University of Richmond.

                One of the greatest achievements in my life has been the ability to communicate in a second language. In many ways, math is like a second language because it forges the same cognitive path as language learning. Learning a second language has opened opportunities socially and professionally. It has enriched my life, as I can navigate comfortably in multiple cultures. Language learning has transformed my perspective on life’s essentials, and humanity.

                Since my teenage years in Medellin, Colombia, teaching has been my passion. Helping others learn brought self-fulfillment, a sense of purpose, and it created a platform for creativity. Over the last ten years I have developed elementary and secondary level classes that are fun, engaging and relevant.

                On teaching: I look forward to courses full of excitement and learning. Students encounter Spanish vocabulary through arts, crafts, songs, movement, and performances. I introduce cultural connections to the language through interactions with guest speakers and community members. The overall aim is for the students to gain an appetite for learning and develop a love for the language. From dancing to cooking to theater, each activity is intended to stoke interest and keep students challenged and involved. My personal goal as a teacher is to inspire students to take their knowledge beyond the classroom and to cultivate enough curiosity so that my students blossom into lifelong learners.

                • Courtney Ostaff
                  Courtney Ostaff Instructor

                  View my teaching sample..

                  I have been teaching online since 2000, including college algebra from 2006-2013. I enjoy teaching so much that I went back to school to earn a second master’s degree in secondary education. Now, I am certified to teach social studies, general science, and students with visual impairments from birth to adulthood. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, and sewing. I live in wild, wonderful West Virginia with my husband, our two children, and my mother. Our menagerie currently consists of two leopard geckos, a cichlid tank, a dog, assorted cats, and a guinea pig.

                  On teaching:  My courses are primarily lecture style, although I do call on students to ensure attention to the lecture. Students are not required to present work to the class for peer review, and are not encouraged to critique each other’s work. That said, they are required to participate in online, written, weekly discussions with thoughtful, substantive participation. Revision of assignments is standard in my classes.


                  • Dale Scott
                    Dale Scott Instructor | Tutor

                    View my teaching sample.

                    I graduated from the College of William and Mary with a BA in Social Psychology. It was there that I recognized my love of writing.  After choosing courses in the education department for my electives, I realized that I also loved to teach. I have been involved in homeschooling since 1975—my first teaching experience was helping Jessie Wise with the homeschooling of her three children! In the early 1980s, I accompanied Jessie to Richmond to the General Assembly when she testified on behalf of homeschooling, as the General Assembly was creating and voting on the homeschooling laws we have in Virginia.

                    I homeschooled my three sons from kindergarten through twelfth grade.  My youngest has severe dyslexia and ADD.  In seeking answers and solutions for him I learned about different learning styles, different ways of thinking, and impediments to learning. I enjoy connecting with my students, finding out where the glitch is, determining the exact nature of the stumbling block, and then correcting it and bringing the student forward. I enjoy seeing the student’s confidence grow as he or she masters what previously caused frustration. For the last few years, I have also been working directly with Susan Wise Bauer in tutoring Writing With Skill students.

                    I taught literature and composition classes at homeschool co-ops for ten years, and I have taught in public school.

                    On teaching: I present themes and concepts in lecture style, accompanied by slides.  Students will be engaged through question and answer and practice times. There will not be any peer review or workshop style feedback. Students will be invited to share their work with the class on a voluntary basis. All feedback will come from the instructor. I am most comfortable with an individual approach, and I am willing to meet individually with any students needing extra help.

                    Apart from teaching I enjoy reading, working out at the gym, running, church activities, and playing with my grandchildren.

                    • David Thompson
                      David Thompson Tutor

                      New Tutor (no lecture sample available).

                      Hello! I am a retired Latin professor that just can’t stop teaching! My experience includes teaching university, high school and middle school students. Until my retirement, I was a Senior Instructor of Latin at Portland State University. Before that I taught Basic Latin at the Centre for Medieval Studies (University of Toronto).  In my retirement I have taught at Xavier College Preparatory High School and Arizona State University.

                      Latin is a good foundation for learning languages and literature.  It has the added benefit of exposing students to the roots of Western thinking and artistic expression. These broader cultural issues are incorporated into my classroom.    

                      Latin can be fun!  Latin Scrabble has become something of hit on the internet. There is everything from crossword puzzles to Elvis songs to sing in Latin. Even as you’re having fun, the most important thing, however, is to appreciate the knowledge of grammar and vocabulary that the language of the Caesars can teach students today. A majority of the words in English either come from or are related to Latin words.

                      When working with students, I use a steady approach, so that I am challenging without being too demanding. I am also ready to help students wanting to learn about ancient, medieval or modern European history, as I have years of experience teaching these subjects.

                      I look forward to helping your student learn and enjoy a great language!

                      • Dorothy Yoo
                        Dorothy Yoo Instructor

                        View my teaching sample.

                        I am excited to be joining the Well-Trained Mind Academy! I was born and raised in Virginia, and attended James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I loved JMU so much that I stayed an additional two years to further my education while working as a web developer for the university. My undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Information Systems with a minor in Spanish. One summer, I was given the opportunity to teach computer classes to adults and fell in love with teaching. After graduating with my BBA, I decided to pursue a BA in Mathematics and an educational Master of Arts in teaching with a concentration in secondary mathematics.

                        My experience with teaching ranges from middle school to high school, and I have also taught as an adjunct professor at a community college. The classes I’ve taught include a variety of mathematics and computer programming courses in Virginia and California.

                        Besides teaching, I love traveling and exploring different cultures. I have traveled to a variety of countries including India, Ghana, Italy, Spain, Greece, Germany, Peru and Ecuador. I had the awesome opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu — what an amazing time I had exploring these fascinating places! If I’m not teaching or traveling, I enjoy spending time with my husband, two sons, and my English bulldog.  I also like watching movies, cooking, baking, and running. One of my greatest physical accomplishments was completing a marathon in San Diego.

                        On teaching: I love walking alongside students to help them make discoveries about mathematics in their everyday lives. When teaching mathematics, I like approaching concepts using problem-solving strategies. In my classes, I will be using PowerPoints, lectures, and a white board to solve problems and present ideas to my students. As a teacher, my goal is to build problem solvers who are passionate about learning. I would love for my students to grow to love mathematics and confidently use their skills to solve problems.

                        • Elizabeth Weber Edwards
                          Elizabeth Weber Edwards Foreign Language Chair

                          View my teaching sample.

                          With a Swiss mother and a German-American father, I didn’t have much choice about living between three cultures. Summers spent visiting my grandparents, uncle, and extended family in the Swiss Alps and German countryside sparked my interest in German literature, hiking, and chocolate.

                          I graduated summa cum laude from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where I majored in English and German. A junior year abroad in Germany at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster sparked my interest in Comparative Literature, where I participated in seminars on German translations of Shakespeare’s sonnets, literature and painting, and early American writing. The unique perspective available to me as the only native English speaker in the German college classroom, where I got to share with and learn from my colleagues, got me excited about cultural and literary exchange. While pursuing my doctorate at Vanderbilt University (2012), I had the opportunity to study literature, translation, and theology at the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany.

                          Most recently, I’ve worked as the Associate Director for Graduate Student Development at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. There, I helped graduate students to improve their teaching in the classroom, consulted on grant and fellowship applications, wrote a blog on career and professional development, and had the privilege of working with the McNair Scholars as an academic support specialist. In this capacity, I helped Scholars with planning and writing research papers. I also worked with exceptional graduate students who were applying for fellowships and grant funding, helping them refine personal statements and hone their messages.

                          I am soon to return to Virginia with my husband and son (my very favorite Nebraskan), where we plan to enjoy the beautiful countryside, good food, great art, and wonderful friends.

                          On teaching: In my foreign language classroom, language is a tool students use to navigate meaning and encounter new ideas. I provide an input-rich environment, where students are immersed in the language through videos, song, text, and stories. Through these different sources, students see language as it’s used in daily context. From there, they grow their vocabulary and grammatical abilities, and gain confidence communicating about an ever-growing range of topics and ideas.

                          In my writing courses, short lectures introduce themes, vocabulary, and grammar. Students then gain confidence constructing their own sentences sharing them with the class, building the skills they need to talk about their world and encounter new ones. All students must be active participants–there’s no other way to learn language than to make it your own!

                          • Erica Schauer
                            Erica Schauer Instructor

                            View my teaching sample.

                            Bonjour mes amis! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to become a part of the Well-Trained Mind Academy. I love nothing more than seeing the light go on in students’ eyes when they discover how vast their world is, thanks to their new language. I’m eager to share this experience with your students.

                            I began learning French at an afterschool program offered at Ruth Hill Elementary when I was twelve years old, and have been going strong ever since. I continued with French throughout junior high and high school, majored in French at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, then worked abroad as an English lecturer in Paris. There, I taught elementary-level English to second and third grade students, conducted conversation workshops with high school students, and expanded my own understanding of French language, art, cuisine, and pop culture. While working on my master’s degree in French Literature at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I returned to France to teach at the university level, taking a job as an English Lecturer at the Université de Franche-Comté in Besançon.

                            Since completing my doctorate in French at the University of Virginia, I have been working as a French lecturer at my alma mater here in Lincoln, Nebraska and as an online adjunct French instructor for Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. These teaching experiences have revealed to me just how deeply the need to teach runs in my veins—and how valuable the opportunity to hold regular face-to-face class sessions (be they in person or online) are to both the academic ambiance and the overall learning experience of the students.

                            I love cooking—French cooking, of course—though I have been focused on Thai food of late. I thoroughly enjoy reading fiction late at night when no one expects me to be researching 19th-century French gestural culture (think spy novels by writers like David Baldacci and adventure stories by the likes of Dan Brown). I have become quite the active woman in my thirties, which came as a surprise to many—myself included. I now walk at least seven miles a day, do exercise routines ranging from calisthenics, MMA and kickboxing, cardio and weight training at home, and swim laps in the pool at my local gym.

                            In my French classroom, students are introduced to language structures in a natural, conversational format before receiving a formal lecture explaining the underlying linguistic rules of the grammar topic. Once students have learned why a specific part of language functions the way it does, we walk through typical conversations that one might have using these grammar points in pairs or in groups. Students will then be exposed to the language via texts, stories, short videos and music. Student work always receives feedback—both before and after receiving a grade, and I provide students with the opportunity to revise graded work.

                            Student participation is key to soaking up French and letting it become a sort of sixth sense. With the primary goal of instilling foreign language into the everyday cognitive functions of each student, my classroom is set up to encourage gradual, natural absorption of foreign language in an amicable and enjoyable atmosphere. Over time, students will no longer need to reference their rulebooks of French grammar—they will be able “feel” when their French is en pointe.

                            • Erin Kennedy
                              Erin Kennedy Instructor

                              View my teaching sample.

                              I have always enjoyed learning a variety of subjects in various settings, from Montessori school in Dallas to college outside Philadelphia, to homeschooling my children today! I also find myself teaching others wherever I am-this was true even in elementary school. I earned my B.A. in Religion at Haverford College in 2001 with a minor in Music and a specialization in Math (I also took a lot of Spanish!), and then I earned my teacher’s certificate in Secondary Mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania. I have taught and tutored math on all levels from third to twelfth grade in public, private, and online schools.

                              I have been homeschooling my children since 2011, and I really enjoy following the philosophy laid out in The Well-Trained Mind. I love homeschooling because I get to explore with my children myriad subjects and make connections among them…plus I have the opportunity to learn things I never did before!

                              Music has always been an important part of my life. I took over ten years of piano lessons, and I have enjoyed singing in multiple choirs in high school, college, and beyond. Most recently, I sang soprano in the Choral Society of Montgomery County. In college I developed a love of composing and music theory. I also enjoy gardening, reading, and laughing. Our family lives outside of Philadelphia.

                              On teaching: I primarily employ a lecture style when presenting material in my classes, but students are by no means passive in this process. Typically, I try to balance the class between periods of my direct instruction (presenting new material), opportunities for students to practice new skills or respond to questions, and times of reinforcement or demonstration.  In general, I am directing the class.  At some points, however, students may have the responsibility to present a research project to the class and help lead the discussion for that day.  Overall, I try to balance clear, direct instruction with students’ opportunities to practice and respond.

                              • Heather Quintero
                                Heather Quintero Instructor

                                View my teaching sample.

                                More than 20 years of experience in math and science education has given me a passion for logic and mathematics. After teaching Pre-Algebra and Physical Science in Virginia’s public schools, I began teaching my own children at home using The Well-Trained Mind as a guide, while also working as a private tutor. I have taught mathematics ranging from Kindergarten to advanced high-school level. After working with both accelerated and remedial students, I remain convinced that a strong start in pre-algebra will allow students to experience the beauty and logic of upper-level mathematics without anxiety and confusion.

                                I am possibly one of the oldest home school graduates you will ever meet! I was homeschooled when home-education was barely legal, and, yes, my family did own goats. I live with my husband Josh, three sons, and three unruly dogs in Lynchburg, Virginia. I enjoy mystery novels, watching my sons compete in rock-climbing and baseball, and occasional headache-inducing logic puzzles.

                                On teaching: My math classes primarily follow a seminar approach. Algebra topics are briefly introduced then explored through student questions and comments and problem-solving. During class, work is often completed in small groups with discussion of techniques and methods afterward. Because of the challenging nature of the class, students have three attempts on every assignment to complete and revise work. Each attempt is graded and then students have the option of resubmitting the work to bring up their grade with no penalty, as only the highest grade is recorded.

                                • Jeff Jones
                                  Jeff Jones Instructor

                                  View my teaching sample.

                                  Hello! I’m excited to join the Well-Trained Mind Academy as a writing teacher.
                                  Can writing be taught? Personally, I resist the notion that some of us are born writers and others of us are simply left out in the cold. As a teacher of writing and literature at the University of Idaho for more than a decade, I helped hundreds of students become stronger writers. Classes that I taught included persuasive writing, composition, personal and exploratory writing, literature of western civilization, and creative writing. Based on this direct experience, I affirm that writing—and by this I mean good writing, writing that connects and convinces readers of its worth—indeed can be taught.
                                  My teaching style is student-centered. I create a learning environment where students feel comfortable participating and sharing ideas. As a facilitator, I provide students with the tools and techniques of good writing, then guide them to find the topics or angles they’re most passionate about. And as I get to know a student’s work and interests, I tailor my comments, calculating what is the thing this student most needs to focus on at this point. I challenge students by responding to the ideas in their work as a way of letting them know that I’m interested in the quality of their thinking as well as the mechanics of how they express themselves.
                                  I grew up in Denver and earned B.A. degrees in English writing and anthropology from the University of Colorado at Denver. My M.A. in International Studies from the University of Washington focused on Russian culture, where I analyzed images of Stalin in Soviet and Russian film. In 1997, I began to write fiction and published my first short story that year. In 2005, I received my M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Idaho. My debut novel Love Give Us One Death appeared in 2016, having won the George Garrett Fiction Prize, and my debut short story collection is scheduled for release in 2018.
                                  I live in northern Idaho and enjoy reading, fly fishing, and ice hockey, as well as spending time with my family. One of our favorite activities is hiking and bike riding on the nearby trails. I look forward to seeing you in class!


                                  • Jennifer Roudabush
                                    Jennifer Roudabush Instructor

                                    View my teaching sample.

                                    I joined the Well-Trained Mind Academy in 2016. Prior to that I held teaching positions at Virginia Commonwealth University and The College of William & Mary. I earned my doctorate in Media Studies and my master’s in English Literature from Virginia Commonwealth University, and I received my bachelor’s in English from the University of Virginia. I love getting to know my students and their unique backgrounds, cultures, and skills throughout the year.

                                    On teaching: My classes here at the Academy include expository writing, history, and reading, and span several levels of instruction. My class style varies according to content. Writing and reading classes tend to rely heavily on student engagement and participation in guided, in-class activities, readings, and discussions. It is especially important that students remain present and active in these classes, as they never know if they might be called on to help fill in an outline or parse a narrative element.  Students in my writing classes tend to complete one graded assignment per week, and these assignments are typically submitted without additional options to revise for a grade adjustment. Occasionally, for larger projects, students will share their work with their peers inside or outside of class, and be asked to revise and edit in response to feedback from classmates, although this is not the standard. In that regard, while my classes do incorporate some “workshop” days (otherwise known as peer-review or editing days), I would not consider them to be workshop-style. Students for whom my writing and reading classes might be an especially good fit are those who are able to stay focused in online environments and who enjoy group interactions when solving problems or learning new modes of writing. My history classes tend to be organized around a lecture format, although I also try to engage students with questions, activities, or polls within these lectures. Students who might be a good fit for my history classes are those who like to sit back and listen to a good story (and can begin to take it in while listening/taking notes), who enjoy challenging readings, and who are unafraid of engaging in both traditional scholarly assignments (essays, tests, and discussion boards) as well as some more creative ones (recreate models of archeological artifacts or participate in a reenactment of a historical debate, for instance).

                                    • Jessica Otto
                                      Jessica Otto Instructor

                                      View my teaching sample.

                                      It was probably inevitable that I would study English in college (B.A., University of West Florida…go Argonauts!) From the time I was a child, I was an incurable reader, re-reader, and scribbler-downer.

                                      I have homeschooled my three children for the past 11 years, in settings ranging from urban Florida to dirt-road Virginia. For four years, I taught English as a second language in Guatemala. I love teaching English, not only for the solve-the-puzzle delights of diagramming (not everyone gets as excited about that as I do), but also for the sake of seeing a student learn how to better express herself in clear written communication.

                                      When I’m not teaching, I can most likely be found running the back trails of our Virginia county, or searching for the nearest Starbucks.

                                      On teaching: My classes utilize a great deal of interaction with the students, including frequent in-class exercises, review games, and discussions. I strive to make the classroom feel as “real” and “live” as possible, and I craft each lecture to that end, using slides and practice sessions during each class to engage the students. In my writing classes, I prefer to utilize instructor-led feedback rather than a workshop model.

                                      • Kathleen Brian
                                        Kathleen Brian Instructor

                                        View my lecture sample.

                                        I am a historian whose research and teaching interests are located at the intersection of histories of U.S. culture and society; histories and philosophies of the democratic state; and histories of philosophies of science, medicine, and technology.

                                        I earned my BA with honors in History and English Literature from Indiana University—Bloomington, and my MA and PhD in American Studies at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. My work has appeared in the History of Psychiatry, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, and The Historian, and I have devoted more than seven years to teaching U.S. history with students at the secondary and postsecondary levels.

                                        I have held positions as Research Fellow with the Pennsylvania Area Center for the History of Science and as Historian with the National Park Service (NPS). During my time with the NPS, I collaborated on educational materials for the Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, among others.

                                        On teaching: My primary pedagogical goal is to assist students in becoming empowered, independent, flexible learners who are enthusiastic not only about the specific material that they encounter in my classroom, but, more generally, about the world around them. Knowledge and its acquisition, we find, is a dynamic process of exploration and misadventure, exaltation and frustration, creation and attainment. While I carry these goals into each classroom I enter, the process of moving toward them is necessarily dependent upon who and what I encounter when I arrive. My teaching is thus structured by a deceptively simple caveat: it depends. Students can expect to encounter a heterogeneous style that combines discussion, collaborative analysis, lecture, and other modes of learning.

                                        • Kayla Meyers
                                          Kayla Meyers Instructor

                                          View my teaching sample.

                                          I earned my B.A. and M.A. in American Studies from the College of William and Mary. The writing-intensive environment fostered my passion for expository and creative writing. As a shy undergraduate, I felt my growing confidence as a person was inextricably bound to my writing abilities. Teaching for the Well-Trained Mind Academy allows me to share my enthusiasm for writing as central to students’ academic growth and empowerment.  

                                          Besides teaching, I love watching movies and hiking. I also take spoiling my pug, Odie, very seriously!

                                          On teaching: My classes are a healthy mix of lecture and discussion, as students are encouraged to respond to questions throughout our time together. Occasionally student writing is workshopped in class, but most written work is completed independently and is reviewed privately. Students are encouraged to revise work for participation credit or extra credit throughout the year. I also offer to provide feedback on work before it is submitted for a grade.  All larger assignments are broken down into smaller parts that allow students to submit work for feedback to improve the final product, and ultimately understand the writing process.


                                          • Kumari Nallakumar
                                            Kumari Nallakumar Instructor

                                            View my teaching sample.

                                            I was born and raised in Malaysia, where I completed my Bachelor of Science in Biology, with a major in Botany, at University Science Malaysia in Penang. I stayed on at University Science to finish my Masters in Applied Entomology. I was then awarded a full graduate scholarship to Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of London in the United Kingdom where I obtained my Ph.D and Diploma in Conservation.  I am also an associate of the Great Explorations in Math and Science program from the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California in Berkeley.

                                            Thanks to my science education and vast research exposure, I have had the good fortune of studying, working and living on three different continents: Asia, Europe, and North America. Currently, I live in Texas with my husband and daughter, who is homeschooled. I previously worked as an adjunct college professor and a forest entomologist. Since the birth of my daughter and my journey into homeschooling, I have taught and tutored public, private, and online elementary, middle, and high school students in General Science, AP Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Dissection Labs, as well as Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus. I have also prepared students for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT tests.

                                            On teaching: When teaching Biology, Chemistry, or Physics, I present information and concepts to students and follow up with demonstrations or experiments to further enhance the concept. I believe that science is best taught and understood not by laboring over texts but by exploring the concept through experiments and discussions. This will enable students to discover the connection between concepts and the experiments that demonstrate those concepts. This provides a fluid and lively science experience for the students.

                                            • Marissa Henry
                                              Marissa Henry Instructor

                                              View my teaching sample.

                                              Salut à tous! I am truly looking forward to joining the Well-Trained Mind Academy and sharing my love of languages and writing with your child.

                                              My passion for French and online learning started when, sick with mono, I was homeschooled for a few months. My French teacher encouraged me to find a penpal who wanted to learn English so that we could practice each other’s languages. Chatting away online with my French friend allowed me to practice new structures and vocabulary, and take risks in a stress-free environment. When I returned to school, my French teacher couldn’t believe how much progress I made. This experience sparked a life-long love of French studies and showed me that the virtual learning setting is beneficial for all types of learners.

                                              I studied French and Spanish at Pace University. During that time I was able to be a student interpreter at the United Nations, and I studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France, known as the “city of 1000 fountains.” I continued on to complete a M.A. at the University of Georgia and took a special interest in female writers. While pursuing my PhD at the University of Virginia, I fell in love with French as a global language while learning all about Francophone African and Caribbean writers. It amazed me (and still does) how learning a language can teach us empathy by allowing us to experience the world from another’s point-of-view. Since earning the PhD, I have taught at the college-level and for high school students, in both traditional and online settings. I’ve also taught writing courses and served as the faculty advisor for the school’s newspaper. I worked closely with students interested in journalism and helped them to lead a team of editors and writers, develop leads for stories, conduct ethical interviews and research, and write in an interesting and engaging way.

                                              On teaching: Culture is a very important part of my language classes and provides the backbone for grammar and vocabulary lessons. I like to incorporate authentic material such as songs, news articles and short stories into my lessons to contextualize grammar points. I try to get students to speak as much French as possible, and I offer a lot of positive reinforcement in order to build confidence.

                                              I teach writing in much the same way; by having students read and analyze examples of great writing, I help them to develop the critical thinking skills needed to be a sharp reader and writer. Also, by teaching students how to edit their own work, I empower them with the skills needed to hone their writing and produce the best compositions possible.

                                              • Mary Brinkerhoff
                                                Mary Brinkerhoff Instructor

                                                View my lecture sample.

                                                I was born and raised in central Ohio, where I was homeschooled through high school. In high school I took several online courses, such as Rhetoric, Church History, Astronomy, and 4 years of Great Books from Schola Classical Tutorials. I then attended Cedarville University (located in the middle of cornfields in central Ohio), graduating in 2011 with a B.A. in Chemistry (with a pre-med emphasis) and Music (piano with a piano pedagogy emphasis). During my time at Cedarville I started teaching piano and tutoring organic chemistry, and so found out that I loved explaining new concepts to students.

                                                Given my experience with online classes in high school, I knew I wanted to teach at a private school or for homeschoolers, so I went on to Wright State University, completing an M.S. in Chemistry in July 2013. While there, I worked as a graduate teaching assistant for two years, teaching pre-lab lectures and labs for a variety of chemistry courses. I started teaching online immediately after graduation, in part so I could move across the country to northern Idaho for a year. Since then I have continued teaching online (chemistry & piano!) as I enjoy the challenge of learning the most effective way to help students learn in a long distance setting.

                                                I spent my favorite semester of college in Strasbourg, France, studying French, French history, and traveling as much as possible. So I am very excited to now be living in France with my husband. We are living just across the border from Geneva at the base of the Jura Mountains and in sight of the Alps for a few years. In my free time I still enjoy playing the piano, torturing whichever longsuffering friends and relations are nearby with interminable practice sessions. I also read as many books as possible and then some. Why sleep when I could be reading? Favorite authors include, but are not limited to Alexander Schmemann, Dorothy Sayers, St. Augustine, G.K. Chesterton, St. Athanasius, C.S. Lewis, N.D. Wilson….When not reading or teaching or grading, you can find me taking long walks with my husband, baking, cooking, playing the piano, or reading some more.

                                                On teaching: When I was in college, I always appreciated the professors who wrote on the whiteboards as they taught. As a result, they tended to lecture at a slower pace, and I was able to write with them and keep up with their lecture speed. So while I do use PowerPoint slides in my lecture, I treat them more as an outline, still writing and drawing the majority of my lecture material on the slides as I teach. In order to help students stay engaged during classes, I ask a lot of questions, some based on the reading and some intended to help students think through the new idea logically. When I teach new calculations in chemistry, I always conclude with calling on the class to help me solve a few practice problems. I do encourage students to ask questions as we go, but also pause between topics to give students a chance to ask questions. In regards to homework, I do not typically allow students to revise graded homework, though I welcome questions on assignments. Whenever a paper is due, I do require students to submit a rough draft so that they can hear my initial thoughts before they submit their final draft.



                                                • Mattias Caro
                                                  Mattias Caro Instructor

                                                  View my teaching sample.

                                                  My passion for history and writing began during my time at the College of William and Mary, where I had outstanding professors (including Susan Wise Bauer!) who cultivated in me a passion for learning. After graduating with my BA in history, I spent a year in Lugano, Switzerland teaching at an international boarding school and visiting many of the historic sites of medieval Europe. History lived is history loved. Soon thereafter I worked with various not-for-profits in the United States and in Central Europe. The latter opportunity brought me to a medieval castle in Vienna, Austria where I worked closely with central and eastern European college students, as they struggled to develop their own ideas in rebuilding their country’s identities following the fall of communism.

                                                  While I in law school, I continued my passion for teaching by tutoring in a variety of subjects and leading Sunday school courses for middle schoolers and high schoolers at my local church. The reality is that despite my love for the law, teaching is not just my passion but my vocation. I want to pass on what was given to me, and more importantly, I want to plant, water and nurture the seeds of life-long learning in my students. I believe in providing the virtues and tools necessary for every student to make learning a life-long endeavor.

                                                  On a personal note, I live with my wife and daughter at the foothills of the Blue Ridge in Hamilton, Virginia. I work closely in the educational ministry of my local church and I also spend my time doing website development for a small company. I’m an avid sports fan—I spent a summer in college touring baseball stadiums in the United States (Camden Yards, Wrigley and Fenway are your three can’t miss spots). I love cats, corny jokes and books. My wife and I spend our time together on home projects (painting, building, dreaming), the garden and experiencing everything the Great Commonwealth of Virginia has to offer. And yes, I do consider myself a retired lawyer.

                                                  On teaching: My teaching style aims primarily to walk along with the student as he or she learns a new skill and works to strengthen the skills acquired during the semester and in other environments. As such, student assignments in my courses build on one another; the expectation is that a paper written in December shows significant improvement from one in September. Students should incrementally and steadily build their abilities to maintain confidence and interest in the subject through sustained success in challenging situations. Classes are dedicated to review key points of practice and to deepen subject-matter knowledge through interactive slides, media (including artwork, maps, and photographs), and directed discussion, suitable to the level of the class.

                                                  • Mindy Buller
                                                    Mindy Buller Instructor

                                                    View my teaching sample.

                                                    I knew that I wanted to be a teacher when I was in first grade and never looked back (unless you count the year I wanted to be a librarian and taped envelope pockets and index cards in the back of all my books!) I have a BS in math from Biola University and a master’s degree in online education. I taught for several years in a public high school and took a hiatus when my children were born. I started teaching math at a homeschool co-op when my children were old enough to attend and have been doing this for twelve years. I have taught everything from pre-algebra to calculus.

                                                    I consider myself first and foremost a homeschooling mom and I have followed the Well Trained Mind philosophy for all twelve years. (I have worn out all three editions!) When I’m not teaching, the things I love to do (other than cheering at theater productions for my daughter and soccer games for my son) are reading, gardening, Zumba, and going on long driving vacations (Our family has set foot in all 50 states.) I’ve been known to get pretty crazy cheering for the Seattle Seahawks as well.

                                                    On teaching: My classes are formatted primarily in the lecture-style, although I try to get the students talking and working as much as possible.  I will often pose problems and send them to their own blackboard room so I can interact individually with each student.  In a typical class period, I will spend about ten minutes going over homework questions that students ask, give lecture notes, give practice problems in breakout rooms or with the whole classroom, and have a quick wrap-up of the learning.  I have students correct their own Saxon work so that they have immediate feedback on whether they are doing it correctly or not.  When a student knows he missed a problem, my goal is that he will then ask me to help him with those questions.  I will always allow a student to make corrections and resubmit his work.  My philosophy is that any time a student revises his work he is learning, and I want to encourage learning!

                                                    • Monica Bennett
                                                      Monica Bennett Instructor

                                                      View my teaching sample.

                                                      I’ve always suffered from the problem of being interested in everything, especially anything I can find in a book. This made it hard to choose a major in college, but I managed to get it under control enough to decide on a B.S. in Physics at the University of Dallas. The combination of a science degree and a liberal arts university was fantastic for me, and I took full advantage of the core classes in literature, philosophy, theology, and language while pursuing the science and math I also love. After finishing my bachelor’s degree in 2010, I moved from Dallas to Nashville and earned my Ph.D. in Physics from Vanderbilt University. While working on my doctorate, I missed the eclectic options of my liberal arts undergrad studies, but I made it a priority to keep up my intellectual life outside of science, reading in other disciplines for fun whenever I could.

                                                      During my advanced studies, I focused not only on research, but also scientific communication and writing. I worked as a teaching assistant in undergraduate labs, and I led volunteer groups that taught science lessons in nearby schools. One of the highlights for me was teaching four semesters of astronomy labs; this was the perfect outlet for my lifelong fascination with the night sky and the vastness of the universe.

                                                      I am excited to be teaching at the Well-Trained Mind Academy! In addition to teaching, I am getting started as a freelance science writer in Corvallis, Oregon, where I live with my husband, a mechanical engineer. When I’m not writing and he’s not building robots, we’re both enjoying the natural beauty of the Willamette Valley and the wackiness that’s unique to every college town. I love walking, dancing, singing, reading, and writing, and try to combine those with being outdoors as much as possible. I’m also a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy—my imagination always needs feeding, and I can learn just as much from a good story as from a textbook!

                                                      One of the things that excites me most about the Well-Trained Mind Academy is the opportunity to synthesize what are often seen as totally separate branches of study. The same habits of thought serve us well in math, music, critical reading, science…so many fields have insights and skills that can cross over into others. They’re all valuable, and we shouldn’t have to choose between them!

                                                      On teaching: I’ll be giving lectures with slides made available to students afterward, with plenty of discussion and Q&A time built in. It’s very important to me that students learn to have confidence in their own ability to understand scientific material, and I’ll always do my best to find the specific angle that will really make things “click” for a student. I also want to help students learn critical writing and organization skills, not just the course material, so I encourage students to ask for feedback before submitting written assignments. (This process is built into our largest assignment of the year!)

                                                      • Rai d’Honoré
                                                        Rai d’Honoré Instructor

                                                        View my teaching sample.

                                                        In the struggle between having either la tête bien faite (Montaigne) — a well-developed mind — or la tête bien pleine — a mind full of information (Rabelais), I’ve come to the conclusion that, if all possible, it’s best to have both.

                                                        I’ve followed this through during my professional life by teaching a variety of subjects, including French, Spanish, German, English, Literature, Linguistics, History, Film, Politics, Philosophy, and Music in different colleges and universities in the US and overseas, including The American University, University of Maryland, Catholic University, University of the District of Columbia, Eastern Carolina University, Muğla Üniversitesi in Turkey, and the National University of Lesotho in southern Africa.

                                                        As dean, I started a graduate school at Mount Vernon College, now part of George Washington University; as executive vice president, I co-founded an international management consulting company focused on renewable energy, traveling the world and working on projects for the World Bank, US Trade and Development Agency, OECD, ABD, and country governments. As assistant general manager, I helped open a boutique hotel and marina on the Mediterranean; as executive director I advanced the legacy program at Creativity Foundation with students from Harvard, Wharton, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, winners of the Intel Science Search, and National History Day. I’ve also co-founded an animal shelter in Turkey, started a language academy at East Carolina University, and have just begun my own non-profit foundation called Occitan Cultural Initiatives, which promotes a remarkably advanced medieval society that very few people have ever heard of. I compose and perform troubadour-style songs, and my second CD — Pretz e Paratge — in French and Occitan will be out this summer. Apart from academia and business, two jobs that I really loved have been leading horse trails though the mountains of Lesotho and working as an archaeological guide for jeep safaris in Turkey. I love to ski, swim, hike, sail, cook medieval feasts, and travel. I love life, and I love sharing that enthusiasm with my students.

                                                        On Teaching: I bring my experience into the classroom, no matter what subject I am teaching, to encourage students to extend their potential beyond what they think is possible. Stephen Hawking said it best: “And however difficult life may seem there is always something you can do and succeed at. There are no limits to the human spirit.” Although I favor the Socratic method of questioning, I don’t have any one set format for classes; it’s a mixture of methodologies appropriate to the subject matter and adapted to the different learning styles of each class. I want my students to see education as a fun, exciting, and enlightening experience rather than as a boring, monotonous, and necessary drudge. I believe mistakes are opportunities to help one learn to succeed. Go for it!

                                                        • Sarah Palumbo
                                                          Sarah Palumbo Instructor

                                                          View my teaching sample.

                                                          Mihi nomen est Sarah Palumbo and I have been a dedicated Latinist since I was 14 years old. I began my Latin journey in a small town in Connecticut and was taught and inspired by my passionate and wonderful Magistra. She not only taught me the Latin language but also educated me about the daily lives of the ancient Romans. While in college, I was able to visit Italy many times and even study with Reginald Foster, one of the world’s top Latinists to this day.  After graduating from the University of Arizona with a BA in Latin, I taught in both public and private schools, and even had the opportunity to work with preschool children, special needs students, and homeschool students. During this time, I graduated with a MEd and then enrolled in graduate Latin classes at the University of Florida. Finally, along came my two children who have been reading Latin since they were young, and even have their own toga and stola!

                                                          When I’m not teaching I’m traveling. Before children, I used to spend my summers driving across the country to visit friends and family, or backpacking in Europe, spending time reading Latin in Rome. Now I take my children with me. We have visited most of the eastern US, the British Isles, Italy, and Australia. I also love to do yoga, run, and walk our two dogs. Finally, I am dreaming of the day when my oldest has his license and can start driving himself and his sister to their various activities!

                                                          On teaching:  As a teacher of Latin for the past 20 years, I have helped students achieve amazing awards at the Arizona Junior Classical League Latin convention and National Latin Convention.  I have inspired students to be successful and achieve awards on the National Latin Exam, National Classical Etymology Exam, National Latin Vocabulary Exam, Exploratory Latin Exam, and National Mythology Exam. I have aided students in receiving college credit via AP (Vergil, Latin Literature, and the new AP) and dual credit (in partnership with Rio Salado and Seton Hill). Finally, I have inspired students to make connections outside of the classroom either through community outreach, travel to Europe, or in college by working with the University of Arizona or Arizona State as state chair of the Arizona Junior Classical League. I truly believe that anyone can learn Latin and find some aspect of the ancient Romans with which they will fall in love.  I am hoping to do the same for your student.

                                                          • Thomas Hummel
                                                            Thomas Hummel Instructor

                                                            View my teaching sample.

                                                            For more than a decade, I have dedicated myself to teaching children and adults of every age, origin, and academic background. Whether in the primary, secondary, or post-secondary settings, I believe that true learning, and therefore true understanding, only arises when the student discovers his or her own way of thinking critically while remaining ready and willing to embrace, negate, synthesize, and appreciate any and all perspectives that may come their way.

                                                            Most recently, I have dedicated myself to teaching in communities that are economically, politically, or culturally marginalized. I have led classrooms for students with emotional disabilities, students entangled in the juvenile justice system, and students whose behavioral and academic needs exceed that which can be provided in traditional school settings. Which is to say: nothing surprises me. Except, of course, the beauty that arises when a student learns something new.

                                                            I have a B.A. in English from James Madison University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University. In my life outside of the classroom (if there is such a thing), I am a father, poet, and performing artist. My writing has appeared widely in national and international journals, and my first book, Letters & Buildings, was published by Subito Press in the fall of 2014.

                                                            On teaching: Allow me to be the first to acknowledge: it’s unusual for someone to teach both writing and mathematics. Not only are the two disciplines seemingly disparate in practice, but they are—frequently and quite literally— considered the very poles of the intellectual spectrum. Despite their illusory opposition, however, writing and math are all-too-similar in one crucial way: they can bore your child to tears.

                                                            This boredom is not inevitable, nor is it inherent to the disciplines themselves. Nor, for that matter, is it inherent to any one type of student. The frustration and limitations that are felt in writing and math classrooms across the country are, in many cases, the direct result of instruction. Process takes a back seat to product. Inspiration is secondary to memorization. As such, the excitement of self-discovery that accompanies critical thinking and analysis gets lost.

                                                            In my classrooms, I hope to engage and excite the students in ways they haven’t foreseen. I want the student who refuses to write to find a way to express her thoughts and ideas. I want the student who fears equations to see and understand the math all around him. I want students to take ownership of material; to make it work for them. As such, I try to create an atmosphere of openness and dialogue in all of my classes, regardless of the subject.

                                                            There will be times when I launch into uninterrupted instructional monologues, just as there will be times when I ask student inquiry to drive discussion. Additionally, student work will be discussed and evaluated in class to facilitate the synthesis of course material, while also posing great intellectual potential for new and unforeseen opportunities. No matter the class, it is my hope that students leave our time together feeling challenged, excited, engaged, and empowered.

                                                            Contact Us