With WTMA Since 2020
Bonjour à tous, I am really thrilled to be joining the Well-Trained Mind Academy.
I was born and raised in the outskirts of Paris and have been living in Nebraska for the last 23 years. At a very early age I knew I wanted to learn languages. I went on learning English, German and Spanish in high school and had many opportunities to travel to different countries inside Europe.
During college, I studied abroad in Scotland for one year. I loved the experience so much that I decided to come to the US as an exchange student and I have been living in Lincoln ever since.
As a Graduate student teaching French, I soon realized that it was my true passion. I have been a lecturer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for over 20 years teaching French as well as Spanish.
On teaching: During class time, I encourage the use of the target language as much as possible. I also find that talking about culture is a great way to stimulate curiosity and exchanges which are a source of enrichment for both the learners and the instructor.
I am so glad to be a part of the Well-Trained Mind Academy. I have been an educator for more than twenty years; at different times I have taught high school in both traditional and classical environments, and classically homeschooled my own kids at different ages and stages. History is my greatest passion but I enjoy all of the humanities. I’ve taught middle and high school history, literature, composition, grammar and rhetoric. Before coming to WTMA, I was teaching medieval and US history and US government at a classical high school. I absolutely love the benefits that online schooling can provide and am very glad to be in this environment now. I completed my Master of Arts in Government with a concentration in Political Theory in an online environment and was so impressed with the quality of the experience. I am currently an online student in a Great Books program at Faulkner University pursuing my PhD in Humanities with a concentration in history.
A semester overseas in my undergraduate years sparked my love of history. I had the unique privilege of attending Keble College at Oxford University for a semester at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. I enjoyed the most excellent and qualified lecturers and tutors while studying Medieval and Renaissance history and theology, and political philosophy. Even better, every week, a professor took a group of us on field trips all over the UK - professors make excellent tour guides! It was quite an adventure to discuss Shakespeare in Shakespeare’s home and to debate the rule of Henry VIII while meandering through Hampton Court Palace, among other things. I’ve also traveled to historical sites throughout Europe, and spent another semester overseas studying in Russia. I now get to share similar experiences with my own kids; we like to plan our vacations around historical sites throughout the US.
Along with my husband, four kids, and ridiculously stubborn and goofy dog Chip, I live in our native Southern California. My kids play volleyball competitively so I am often found cheering court side, but we also love to go on adventures in the great outdoors enjoying the abundant sunshine. But most often, we are at home with our noses in books and that’s the way we like it.
On teaching: I guide my students to the summit of a classical education: we read (grammar), we think (logic), and we communicate (rhetoric). In our quest to faithfully craft a historical narrative, we engage primarily with original sources. When we read secondary sources, we work to distinguish which are reliable, and identify perspectives or biases. I teach and implement historical thinking skills so that as students read, they develop their skills of analysis and interpretation, as well as an appreciation for the complexities of history. Class time is typically devoted to discussions or interactive lectures, and students will often engage with me and their classmates through essays or discussion boards throughout the week.
With WTMA Since 2023
I have a BA in Theater from the University of Virginia, where I won an award for playwriting. After graduating I moved to Chicago where I studied comedy writing in the conservatory program at Second City Chicago. While in Chicago, I wrote and directed several original plays and also self-published a fantasy novel. I then moved to Los Angeles and wrote and produced a series of short films with my production company, Rude Horse Productions.
In my time working for Well-Trained Mind Press, I have had the privilege of collaborating with Jim Weiss to create scripts for stage versions of some of his stories, which have been published as part of the companion reader series.
On Teaching: I’m really looking forward to teaching creative writing and covering as much as possible in terms of what the medium has to offer. In our class we will practice writing prose, poetry, plays, and even a little screenwriting. While everyone will get some experience in all the different kinds of writing, I also offer the option for students to do a longer project through the entire semester in whatever form appeals to them the most.
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 BS 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 PhD 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!)
I have always loved all aspects of learning and education. I started teaching piano lessons when I was fourteen years old, and have continued my educational journey since then! I completed a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy at Belmont University in 2013. After that, I moved straight to Houston, Texas to complete my Master of Music in Vocal Coaching degree at Rice University. In June 2020, I begin my journey at Columbia University as a part of their EdD in Music and Music Education program. I have always loved learning AND teaching.
Since 2017, I have been teaching music courses at Houston Community College and Lone Star College - Montgomery. I firmly believe in establishing a good foundation in writing, and I think this is especially important in young students. I also teach Introduction to the Arts at Lake Michigan College online. This course combines learning about all different forms of art - dance, music, drama, film, and literature - learning how to analyze them, and writing about them. My students are challenged to write different kinds of papers, from short informative paragraphs to scholarly research papers. Learning the different styles of writing required by formal papers, reflection papers, and more is an integral part of becoming an excellent writer. I look forward to teaching Expository Writing at the Well-Trained Mind Academy and exploring these ideas with my students.
My interests are not confined to music. I was fortunate to spend every summer from 2013 to 2019 in Italy, both studying the language and working as an administrator at a summer opera program. I love the Italian language, culture, and food, and I can’t wait to go back someday! I live with three adorable cats named Luna, Neville, and Tonks. Their names accurately reflect my love of the Harry Potter series. Recently, I have been experimenting with new recipes, including sourdough bread, falafel, and salted caramel brownies. I love trying new foods, being in the kitchen, and having friends over to help me eat the food I prepare.
On teaching: I believe in an involved, conversational approach in the classroom. I encourage students to ask questions whenever they have them. We will do many exercises in class together so students have the tools they need to complete assignments. My students are not the only ones learning in my classroom - I am always learning things from them as well!
Mattias CaroChair of Social Studies
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!). I subsequently spent a number of years working in both the United States and Europe. I took a detour attending law school and practicing full-time for a few years.
The reality is that despite my love for the law (and maintaining a part-time practice; once a lawyer, always a lawyer!), teaching is my vocation. 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.
My intellectual pursuits are diverse. including history, government, law, philosophy, kinesiology, and life skills. Social studies, indeed all classical education, are truly for every aspect of life!
On a personal note, I live with my wife and four children at the foothills of the Blue Ridge in Hamilton, Virginia. Together we garden, take care of several animals, and enjoy indulging in the beautiful outdoors.
My teaching style aims primarily to walk along with students as they learn and master a new skill and body of knowledge. 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.
My name is Kathie Mae Carwile; I was named for my mother and grandmothers. My love for teaching began as a child when I would sit my sisters and the neighbor’s children down in the basement and conduct classes! Over the years, I wanted to be a medical doctor, an archeologist and a teacher; as it has turned out, teaching won! It has proven to be one of my passions. My goal with instruction is to approach each student as a unique person with gifts and talents that, in many cases, are yet to be discovered. My teaching style is that of a mentor and guide, using modeling, example, and discussion about how things can be done with more expertise and precision to improve overall. To say I love teaching is an understatement.
I graduated with a master’s and a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Administration from the Curry School of Education at The University of Virginia. My licensure from the Commonwealth of Virginia is for Teacher and Reading Specialist. My research interest is Gifted Education, especially the twice-exceptional. I served for many years as a residential Professor in The Graduate School of Education at Liberty University, chairing doctoral committees and teaching Reading, Language Arts, Educational Philosophy, Curriculum, Study Skills and Assessment, as well as writing the curriculum and designing courses for the School of Education.
In addition to teaching at the Academy, I serve as Vice-President of Academic Affairs at the Virginia University of Lynchburg, a historically Black college in my home town of Lynchburg, VA. I live in the beautiful city of Lynchburg with my husband and “fur children”: two black pugs called Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennett, and Miss Kitty Bennett, their sister, a Tuxedo cat (like the cartoon cat, Sylvester). My greatest joy is to be with my family, my husband, my daughter and son-in-law and my three grandsons and soon to be granddaughter-in-law! I love to read, I don’t watch much TV (although I am fairly entranced with a British TV show called Time-Team, that follows a three-day archeological excavation on sites around the UK; you can find it on YouTube). I am a true Anglophile, and as my DNA places me solidly there, I go as often as I can save up the airfare! I love doing word puzzles, reading British authors (particularly those who write mysteries), and sailing with my husband.
For over thirty years, I’ve taught mathematics at the high school and college level. Now, I am excited to join the WTMA math program and share my love of mathematics with WTMA students.
I hold a Bachelor of Science of Mathematics and a Masters of Education and Administration, and I’ve also earned an Educational Specialist degree in Administration Supervision. My educational experience has enabled me to keep one foot in the classroom, working with students, and to also train and support a team of mathematics teachers.
My first career was teaching high school mathematics but after 5 years I went to work as an analyst for the engineering department at Bridgestone tires, based out of Nashville, Tennessee. In this position I used the data from the field engineers to analyze the off-the-road tires coming out of the field. This data would help improve the tires going into future production.
When I started a family, I moved back to high school teaching so that I could be more available to my children. In that first teaching position, I drew on my experience as an analyst and statistician and brought real-life examples to the classroom. These examples helped drive home concepts for my students, so that they could see real-life applications to the mathematical concepts they were mastering. Since then I’ve taught everything from Algebra 1 to Advanced Placement Statistics. I have been an adjunct for colleges and universities teaching College Algebra to Basic Calculus. Starting in 2007 I added distance learning and online teaching to my resume. As an educator, I believe in professional development throughout my career which has added to the richness of my love of mathematics. I have done consulting work for ACT Inc., Collegeboard, and recently Pearson Education.
I now reside in Memphis, Tennessee. My hobbies include reading, listening to podcasts, walking, and visiting my three adult daughters. All of my children have gone into STEM-based careers, from engineering to medical school.
In the classroom: My classes are structured to build student relationships and confidence, and to check for understanding. A regular class session starts with a task that activates student learning and prepares the stage for the rest of the lesson. Lectures typically last fifteen to twenty minutes, and then students build on the knowledge presented. Students get into the driver’s seat and present problems they’ve solved, as well as work on other problems. At the end of class, I check for understanding with exit tickets, and after class, I provide students with notes, so that they can review their own work from the session and correct misconceptions. As a teacher, I work hard to meet students where they are. I do this by analyzing where they’re comfortable and where they need additional support to be successful. I then adapt my instruction and feedback to the student.
I am excited to share my passion for German with my students here at the Well-Trained Mind Academy.
My relationship with German began when I was just 16 years old and decided I would become a year-long exchange student somewhere in Europe. I was matched up with a wonderful host family in Potsdam, Germany, where I first learned German and had my first experience with a culture other than my own. When I returned to America as a senior in high school, I was a changed person. I knew that German was something that would be in my life for a long time. I went on to major in German at Drew University, where I double-minored in Linguistics and Anthropology, and studied a semester abroad in Berlin at the Freie Universität. After graduation, I won a fellowship with DAAD to continue to study Linguistics in Germany at the Humboldt Universität in Berlin, exploring the persisting dialect differences in spoken German between former East- and former West-Berliners since the Reunification.
I continued living in Berlin for several years, and then realized that the best way for me to share my love of German with others was to become a World Language teacher back in the United States. I earned my teaching certification and dove right into teaching middle school in the public school system, earning my Master’s degree in Education a few years later. Over the past 17 years, I have taught every level, from young learners in German 1A all the way to Juniors and Seniors in the International Baccalaureate program at the STEM Academy in Downingtown, PA. I live in Southeastern Pennsylvania with my loving husband, our two incredible children, our sweet dog, and our 13 adorable chickens. For most of my career, I have taught German in person, but several years ago, I switched to teaching German virtually so that I could also homeschool my own kids. I am excited to be able to continue along that path of homeschooling and teaching German to the students at WTMA.
On teaching: I believe that language learning should be enjoyable and fully interactive. We learn best when we *want* to learn, and that is only possible through high quality instruction in a safe and inspiring environment. I teach as much as possible through a combination of clear explanations and fun activities, incorporating as many modalities as I can in an effort to reach each and every student. I love introducing my students to modern day young German culture in the classroom, helping my students to expand their worldview. It is that immersion in a totally new culture that shaped who I am today, and I am thrilled to be able to share some of that with you.
Bonjour! My name is Madame Dawes. I look forward to sharing my knowledge of French language and culture while also getting to know my students individually.
After being introduced to French in high school language courses, I was inspired to take a gap year between high school and college as a Rotary Club exchange student. I lived in a small alpine town in southeastern France called Annecy. Three French families took me in as I attended a French high school. Some might have teased that I spent most of my time in boulangeries (bakeries), rather than studying. I am very thankful to have been thrown in amongst non-English speaking families and classmates so as to speed up my fluency. Upon returning to the US, I earned a BA in Modern Languages while attending The University of Texas at San Antonio where I worked as a French Teaching Assistant and served as the Vice President of the French Club. It was a privilege at UTSA to once again be able to study abroad in Annecy, France for a summer to increase my knowledge of French grammar and vocabulary.
Following college I moved to Perth, Australia to marry my husband Ben. We have three young children under the age of four that we are excited to homeschool once they come of age. In Australia I conducted homeschool French classes in person and online for students of all grades. Currently, we have relocated from Australia to Pennsylvania and I am excited to teach French with the Well-Trained Mind Academy!
In my spare time you will find that I am enjoying time with my husband and children, baking, playing piano, reading, or re-watching Father of the Bride.
On teaching: I remember what it is like to not understand one word of French. My first French teacher encouraged us to pronounce words to the best of our ability and that provided the freedom to speak without fear of failure. I aim to provide the same welcoming atmosphere for my own students. “Cent percent des choses qu’on ne tente pas échouent.” (You will fail at 100% of the things you don’t try.)
Elizabeth Weber EdwardsChair of World Languages
I continued learning German in college, and I had the opportunity to spend a year abroad at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster. That year, I expanded my academic abilities, and also enjoyed using German to communicate in my daily life. I was able to have conversations with German students, and also fellow exchange students from around the world. Speaking a language other than English fostered relationships and opened doors to more opportunities. One such opportunity was pursuing my doctorate in German Language and Literature at Vanderbilt University. While working on my degree, I got to study literature, translation, and theology at the Freie Universität Berlin.
As Chair of World Languages, I support our teachers as they help students acquire another language. My hope is that students learn to engage with people and ideas they might not otherwise have access to, so that they expand their worlds and learn to be global citizens--and good neighbors.
I live in rural Virginia with my husband and sons. When I'm not outside in the garden or riding my bike, I'm reading the latest German novel or cooking the recipes my Swiss mother taught me.
On teaching: In my 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, songs, texts, 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.
Hello! I am very excited to join the amazing team at the Well-Trained Mind Academy. I have a BS and a MS in Mathematics Science, and a MEd in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in Mathematics Education. I have been a high school teacher, a college professor, and a mathematics tutor. I’ve had the opportunity to teach a wide range of education levels with classes comprised of traditional face-to-face instruction, hybrid, and online formats.
I never knew I wanted to teach mathematics until a former teacher of mine offered me a job before I finished my degree--I was planning to be an engineer. I realized, after the job offer, that I had more math classes completed than engineering courses and that from all the classes taken, what I enjoyed the most was learning the math part. But a teacher? Almost twenty years later, I can’t see myself doing anything else.
On teaching: I like to teach the way that I learn -- I like to know every single step I need to take to arrive at a solution before I start a problem, and I need to see where things come from or why they get eliminated. I like to use visuals to support my learning, so when I solve a problem, I use a calculator or the application called desmos to get a visual representation of the problem at hand when possible, and I keep a formula sheet or use index cards to write down formulas/information I must remember. Students can expect lectures, the use of a white board, document camera, and calculator/desmos to further present concepts and clear up any questions that might remain from the lecture. I give one homework assignment per week, one quiz every two weeks, and an exam every four weeks to assess progress. Students will get three attempts at every question in their homework, two chances for every quiz, and be allowed to submit corrections on most exams for partial credit. My main objectives as an instructor are to maintain a learner-centered environment that accommodates the different needs of the students; to allow for mathematical skills to be developed; and to encourage students to take ownership of their education.
Greetings to the WTMA families! I am excited to be joining you this year. I am a chemical engineer with a passion for exploring our world and explaining how things work to the next generation of scholars, engineers, and enthusiasts. I earned my Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Delaware and my Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. I have taught chemistry and math at the University of Puget Sound, Barton Community College, and Pikes Peak State College. My focus at the Well-Trained Mind Academy is teaching science and mathematics.
In addition to teaching, I have spent considerable time researching the world around us. I spent several years as an undergraduate researching proteins and their structures. I spent my graduate years producing next generation adsorbent materials to be used for air filtration (gas masks). I also spent two years developing new consumer products at Kimberly-Clark Corporation.
My diverse research experience proves that there is much you can do with a STEM degree. I love getting my students excited about science and math and the applications of these subjects in the real world. With every class I teach, my goal is to show students how their education can be used to help them make the world a better place.
I live with my husband, two children, and dog in Colorado Springs. We move often because my husband is a member of the U.S. Army, so we have no idea where we will be living next year! I love to live as a tourist with each place we move. In my spare time, you’ll find me hiking in the mountains, gardening, and exploring whatever area in which we currently live.
On teaching: I will lecture from slides to introduce new material which will be available to students so they can take notes. There will be plenty of time during each lecture to ask questions and discuss new topics. We will also take a few breaks in each class to solve problems in small groups or individually to reinforce the new material. I will include relevant demonstrations throughout the year. My goal with every class is for students to understand how the STEM concepts they learn in my class can help them make their world a better place.
Given a tenacious intellectual curiosity, I view education as a life-long pursuit. One of my primary roles as an educator is to pass on a love of learning. With over a decade of teaching experience in French language, society, and culture as well as comparative health policy, my training in multiple disciplines allows me to draw on broad foundations to offer a richer student experience.
After doing undergraduate work in International Studies at Pepperdine University, I lived and worked on a farm in southern France. This turned out to be a crucial formative experience and a decisive moment for me that allowed me to master the language and become deeply connected to the culture. France would forever thereafter be a second home.
Although I went on to earn a Master’s in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School at Tufts University with a specialization in environmental policy and European politics and history, rural French life retained its appeal, so I went back to Provence to raise goats and make artisanal cheese. Though the comparison may not at first glance seem obvious, I often joke with my students that they remind me of a herd of bleating goats.
Later, after pursuing graduate studies in French language and literature at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, I obtained my Ph.D. in French Studies and Politics from New York University where I wrote my dissertation on the French health care system. Finally, I landed in the Tarn region of France in study abroad management and teaching where I developed courses in language and culture as well as comparative health care systems for both American and French university students.
Having spent half of my adult life living in different parts of France (Provence, Paris, the Tarn Valley), I divide my time often between France and Las Vegas where I grew up and still have family and friends.
On teaching: My aim as an educator is to impart a passion for learning, deep study, and academic rigor. That being said, I still recall being a student myself sitting in foreign language class with all the anxieties that often accompany second language learning. Therefore, I make it a priority to put the learner at ease. I think we can hold high expectations all while having fun. In my language classes, I am accustomed to the immersive approach and believe firmly in remaining in the target language as much as possible from the outset. My interactive style makes for a lot of participation on the part of students. Whatever the subject, my goal is always to stimulate further interest, to challenge preconceptions and assumptions, and to promote critical thinking and analysis.
Salvete! (Hello!) I am very excited to teach Latin at the Well-Trained Mind Academy! I have been a Latin teacher for seventeen years, and can’t wait to share my love of ancient languages and civilizations with you. I started learning Latin as a seventh grader in Louisiana, and my first teaching job was at my alma mater. I earned a BA in Classics and French from Middlebury College, and then pursued graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I earned a Master of Arts in Teaching Latin and Classical Humanities. I’ve taught all levels of Latin, from elementary school to college, and have experience teaching in private, public, and online schools.
I also have enjoyed participating in many extracurricular activities for Latin students such as Latin Club, Junior Classical League, Certamen (Latin quiz bowl), and contests such as the National Latin Exam and the National Mythology Exam. A highlight of my experience has been traveling with students and their families to Italy, Greece, and Roman Britain. We’ve explored Roman forts, climbed Mount Vesuvius, and have even run a foot race in the original Olympic stadium! It’s been so rewarding to see my students flex their passion for the classics outside of the classroom. When I’m not moderating a Certamen match or writing a geography test for Latin convention, I like to spend my free time exercising, hanging out with my husband and our yellow lab Simone, baking, and watching LSU football and gymnastics. Geaux Tigers!
In our class, we’ll learn grammatical topics through brief lectures, but most of the time will be spent reading, writing, listening to and speaking the Latin language, with the ultimate goal of being able to read and interpret Roman literature. We’ll learn what the Romans themselves tell us about their culture, which has so significantly shaped our own! We’ll also strengthen our English vocabulary through studies of etymology and Latin mottoes, and explore Roman culture and civilization. Finally, students will have the opportunity to delve into cultural topics that are of particular interest to them, such as mythology, art, architecture, or history; students will have a great deal of choice in completing projects in these areas.
Regular vocabulary study, reading practice, and active participation in class will be the keys to success in Latin. I pledge to help my students be successful by giving prompt and constructive feedback, and by making our classroom environment a safe and positive place where it’s okay to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them. I’m looking forward to seeing you in class!
I have been tutoring students in math and science courses from Pre-Algebra through AP Calculus BC, Differential Equations, Chemistry, and Physics for over 20 years. I am a lifelong learner myself and I continue to take courses in math, science, and the arts for the joy of learning something new. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in atmospheric science with a minor in mathematics, chemistry, and physics from Arizona State University; a Master of Fine Art degree in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry from Arizona State University; and a diploma in botanical painting from the Society of Botanical Artists in London. When I’m not working with students in academic subjects, I enjoy classical still life and botanical painting. I live in Arizona with my husband and son.
On teaching: I believe that students learn best when they are actively engaged in their own learning. My goal is to be a guide for students venturing into higher levels of thinking. I strive to provide clear explanations and answers to students’ questions. I provide students the freedom and independence to experience success and learn from their mistakes. I consider it part of my job as their teacher to model a love of learning and I truly enjoy seeing my students gain the confidence that comes with true understanding.
Hello! I think of myself mostly as a lifelong learner who’s been granted the privilege, for over twenty years, of teaching students how to write and think. I love the journey of learning and sharing that journey with others.
I have an MFA in Creative writing, with an emphasis on fiction writing, and an MA in English. I’ve spent most of my career teaching undergraduate students how to write clearly and creatively, with some brief stints teaching high school students. I’ve also spent the past four years homeschooling my own child through the middle school years.
With my teaching, I emphasis the community of writers and the value of learning how to fail. Writing is a process of trying things out, making mistakes, and trying again. In the classroom encourage students to value their own voices and listen well to others.
I live in Western New York with my husband, my child, and many animals, from dogs and cats to beetles and frogs! I look forward to helping other homeschooling families and students achieve their goals.
I began my study of Japanese at the age of fourteen. After a semester abroad living with a host family and attending a Japanese high school during my senior year, I made up my mind that I would spend the rest of my life immersed in this beautiful language and culture. While majoring in Japanese at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I spent another year in Japan, beginning at International Christian University in Tokyo. However, my time there was cut short due to the catastrophic earthquake and nuclear disaster of 2011. I transferred to Kwansei Gakuin University in western Japan, where I completed the year. I returned to UMass Amherst for master’s studies, and then worked for two years as a translator, interpreter, and cultural liaison in the prefectural capital of Kochi, Japan. Eventually, family circumstances brought me home to Massachusetts, where I began teaching Japanese on a private basis. I now divide my time between homeschooling my two children and teaching Japanese.
In the classroom, I make extensive use of memorization, particularly at the beginner level. Each day, I assign my students a small amount of vocabulary to commit to memory, as well as written homework. Once per unit, students take the floor to perform dialogues they have memorized in advance. This technique ensures that students have grammatically-correct, formal sentence patterns in their minds, providing useful “frames” on which to build their own polite, original sentences. I encourage them to use their Japanese in class as they gain confidence in their ability to “use the right words at the right time”– an essential element of Japanese culture!
When it comes to the immense complexity of written Japanese, I take time to build a strong foundation, giving students a full year to learn the primary phonetic writing system, hiragana, before introducing the secondary phonetic system, katakana. I teach kanji (Chinese characters) with a focus on connecting pronunciation, meaning, and shape, paying close attention to easily-confused look-alike kanji.
Hello! I am extremely excited to be joining The Well-Trained Mind Academy! I am an Iowa boy who, like Huck Finn, grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River, where my life-long love of writing began. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from The University of Iowa in 1981 and a Master of Science in Education in Reading from Western Illinois University in 1988.
In the fall of 1984, I walked into an Illinois public high school classroom to teach English and remedial reading. I thought I would stay a year or two while I figured out what I wanted to do in life. Who knew that I would walk out of that room for the last time in May of 2019—thirty-five back-to-school nights, Christmas vacations, Spring breaks, homecomings, proms, and graduations.
In that time I’ve taught thousands of students The Declaration of Independence and The Gettysburg Address—The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet—Hamlet and Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice—The Rubaiyat, The Bhagavad Gita, and the books of Genesis and Ruth. I’ve taught The Good Earth, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Separate Peace—the stories of James Joyce’s Dubliners, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s jazz age, and Hemingway’s lost generation. I’ve shepherded students through the poetry of Dickinson, Whitman, and Frost, of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Neruda, and Garcia-Lorca. In addition to all the literature, there were the years I spent preparing our students for the expository writing exam in the Illinois Goals Assessment Plan and later the Prairie State Achievement Exam. And did I mention the sentence diagramming? My goodness, can there be any deeper joy in life than diagramming sentences?
But my desire to write had been percolating just beneath the surface for all those years—so in 2014 with an empty nest, I put all my extra duties aside and set off to pursue an MFA in fiction writing. In July of 2016, I graduated from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. In my time there I studied under some of the finest fiction writers and poets in the United States, including Antonya Nelson, Charles Baxter, T. Geronimo Johnson, Lauren Groff, Lan Samantha Chang, Joan Silber, Peter Orner, Eleanor Wilner, Stephen Dobyns, Ellen Bryant Voigt, and so many others. Warren Wilson brought me to the tribe I had sought for a lifetime and finally found. The experience has left me here hard at work on my first collection of stories. And now, just as I no longer have a school to call home, I find myself joining The Well-Trained Mind Academy. I am so grateful that I do not have to say goodbye completely to my life working with young learners, and I so look forward to meeting you and your families in my classes. It is a chapter I can’t wait to begin.
On teaching: I rely on direct instruction of skills and methods, involving definition, demonstration, and then guided and independent practice. In class I tend toward Socratic questioning, which over time sharpens reasoning and encourages what we usually mean by critical thinking. The balance between Socratic discourse and direct instruction is always pitched to the task at hand and to the age and development of the learners.
I am a happy, goofy extrovert - a people person - who sings along in the grocery store and dances in the rain. I love art, music, dance, meditation, Taekwondo, and flowers. And I have a passion for working with young people. My students are all fun, challenging, and fascinating. I truly enjoy helping them learn academically and grow emotionally, and to gain the confidence they need to navigate life’s challenges. Every student deserves to feel confident in their ability to learn.
I homeschooled my three Autistic children K-12 for 20 years. Currently adults and navigating their own choices, they continue to build on the foundation that we laid through those years of home-education. While I was homeschooling my kids, I also tutored individual students in grades 6 - 12 with learning differences and mental health struggles in Phonics, Reading, Writing, Math, Art, History, and Study Skills, both in-person and online. I also tutored groups of at-risk youth to prepare them for entrance to college through the AVID program. During our sessions, I helped them with homework and facilitated opportunities for them to engage in higher-learning activities and Socratic discussions.
On Teaching: My classes are highly interactive. Students will listen to short lessons, and then work together in class to analyze examples, acquire skills, and put them to effective and creative use. Learning activities include listening, note-taking, analyzing, sharing, questioning, games, peer-reviews, and guided practice, and building a class writing gallery. Students will cooperate with each other and offer suggestions to improve their writing. Both their guided practice in class and their homework assignments will include elements of imitation and creativity.
Michael Lo PianoInstructor
With WTMA Since 2023
The Classical Tradition, as a concentrated and hard-won treasury of human experience and insight in the full range of its many didactic forms, has served humanity as perennial governor and guide amid the vicissitudes of our journey through life and the world. I, therefore, consider it my highest good to help others understand the applicability of this tradition to our own lives and the daily requirements of our pathways into the future.
I have a combined PhD in History and Renaissance Studies from Yale University and a BA in History and Italian Literature from Johns Hopkins University where I have specialized in the study of the humanistic tradition, its perspectives, and its deployment as a pedagogical and formative philosophy and practice. I have taught numerous lecture courses and seminars in history, philosophy, literature, and religious studies at the university level in the United States and English language classes abroad in Poland.
Outside of classes, I enjoy exploring the beauty of the outdoors with my wife as a means to flourish in our health (mens sana in corpore sano, ut Seneca dixit) and to expand our education beyond the world of the words. In keeping with my penchant for the Renaissance, I am particularly fond of singing polyphonic motets when company allows.
On teaching: As a student of the Renaissance humanistic tradition, I find that much of what we know of learning is confirmed by contemporary neuroscientific insights into cognition. I believe the most effective learning happens when we account for our initial emotional reactions and our learned responses to any bit of information or situation, and then we move to developing higher level thinking. In the classroom, this translates to active student engagement through lecture periods involving dialectical discussion, seeking responses, and interaction and interpretation with respect to a variety of textual, visual, and auditory (musical) sources.
With WTMA Since 2023
Since 2002, I’ve dedicated my professional life to helping young people discover the beauty and awe of language, books, and ideas. I’ve taught and tutored in universities, community colleges, private homes, and homeschool co-ops. This journey began in my native Texas, where I graduated from Sam Houston State University with both a Bachelor and a Master of Arts in English.
I’ve taught most recently at Southern New Hampshire University. My favorite teaching role, however, is the one I do at home. I'm a homeschool teacher to my two children, and I guide them through every subject including Latin, math, history, science, and reading and writing. We still live in Texas, and are very active in the homeschool community.
On teaching: In my writing and reading classes, my goal is to challenge students, promote academic rigor, and help them view language as an ally. I believe that young people can meet higher standards and flourish if we--parents and teachers--allow them to. My classes are lecture-based and teacher-guided, but students are expected to actively participate by asking questions, offering insights, and making critical connections with real-world examples.
Hello! My name is Jeanne McGill and I’m excited to be teaching German for the Well-Trained Mind Academy. I am currently working on my doctorate in non-native language acquisition at Indiana University Bloomington. Even though growing up my family only spoke English, I always loved exploring other languages and cultures. I have a BA in German with a Spanish minor, and a master’s degree in German literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While I was there, I continued studying Spanish and became interested in linguistics as well. After graduation I began homeschooling my oldest child. I have seven children, all teens or adults now, who have followed a variety of educational paths.
As I homeschooled my children and taught various German and Spanish classes, I found myself becoming more and more fascinated by the language learning process itself. So, almost 20 years after earning my MA, I returned to grad school for my doctorate. My dissertation is about third language acquisition, more specifically what happens when German/English bilinguals begin learning a third language, Swedish. In the 2019-2020 academic year, my four children still at home and I had the opportunity to live in Berlin, where they attended a bilingual school and I worked on my research and attended a class at Freie Universität, until the pandemic shut everything down. At IU, I began learning Finnish and from 2020-2022, I received two Foreign Language Area Studies fellowships from the Department of Education to study the Nordic region and continue my Finnish. Post-PhD, I plan to do some literary translation from both German and Finnish to English.
Over the years, I’ve taught a lot of subjects (German, Spanish, English, Finnish, linguistics, creative writing, and an interdisciplinary course on words that I designed) to a wide variety of students (middle school, high school, community college, small liberal arts college, large state university, returning adults, international students, and homeschoolers). I love getting to know my students and helping them to achieve their goals! When I’m not teaching, working on my dissertation, or studying languages, I like hanging out with my children, exploring with my dog (he went to Berlin too!), writing fiction and poetry, and reading.
On teaching: I strive to help my students feel comfortable in class, because anxiety interferes with learning. Learning a new language is fun but also stressful! I like to design content-based, interdisciplinary lessons where students use the target language to complete tasks and incorporate lots of review to build confidence.
I am excited to be joining the Well-Trained Mind Academy! I received my BS in Mathematics from Penn State University in 2001, after which I taught mathematics in public high school for a decade. Along with this, I have spent thousands of hours tutoring for the SATs in one-on-one and classroom formats. I enjoy giving students the confidence to succeed in math.
I have been a homeschooling parent for over a decade, and I have read and reread The Well Trained Mind every year! I love learning along with my children, and it gives me joy to see how homeschooling develops their interests.
When not teaching, I enjoy reading, cooking, and spending time with my family. I have a particular regard for the work of Flannery O’Connor, along with the great Russian Masters.
On teaching: My teaching style focuses on problem-solving and is skill-based. When I teach a new topic, I try to draw out conceptual knowledge from practical, problem-solving ability. Once students have developed conceptual knowledge, I like to explore the different ways that students will see the concept, coming at it from different angles. I use a combination of tests, quizzes and homework to assess student progress. I believe students should be given the opportunity to fix work and retry assignments until they can fully understand the concept being learned. Like poetry or art, mathematics is meant to be pondered, explored, and played with.
¡Hola! My name is Señora Mengle, but my students call me Señora Mango. I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas where I had my first experiences with diverse Hispanic cultures and the Spanish language. I attended the University of Maryland, College Park (Go Terps!) and earned my bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language, Literature, and Cultures and Secondary Education. I fueled my love for this subject area while studying abroad in Salamanca and Barcelona, Spain. I hold a teaching certificate in Maryland, but at the moment I am living in South Korea with my husband and enjoying a new cultural environment with many opportunities for adventure and travel. I also recently finished my Master’s program in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in Bilingual Education from the University of Texas at El Paso (Go Miners!).
My journey to become a Spanish teacher began in seventh grade when I took Spanish 1A. After one semester worth of classes, my parents sent me to Spain for the summer to live with an unfamiliar Spanish family. Suffice it to say, I could only confidently produce one sentence in Spanish: “Quiero una naranja, por favor.” I ate a lot of oranges that summer. I also learned the necessity of language to bridge the gap between different groups of people and cultures. That summer I discovered an addiction to world languages, and knew that this passion would be extremely useful as a teacher.
Since receiving my teaching certificate, I have been blessed with many opportunities to teach in various educational settings. I have taught Spanish at the elementary immersion level, the middle school level, and the high school level. I also taught English to students in China through online classes. Each experience has not only given me the chance to share my enthusiasm with a diverse group of students, but also an opportunity to learn from my students about their varied needs and interests as learners.
On teaching: As a non-native speaker myself, I know the intimidation that many students feel in a world language classroom. I encourage all my students to take risks, to celebrate mistakes, and to think of them as opportunities for growth. I believe students learn best when they feel emotionally supported and invested in what they are learning. A main characteristic of my teaching is the importance of student choice. Students have meaningful learning moments when they have real-world experiences that interest them. I also believe in highly interactive online learning experiences. Students should feel they have gained enough exposure to vocabulary and grammar concepts through our classroom experiences to produce their own language confidently and appropriately. Our main learning target is always to apply what we learn in class to the real-world. I look forward to seeing how my students display this goal in their work!
My love affair with science started in fifth grade when my teacher’s daughter dissected a shark with us while she was home on spring break. I was one of the few fifth graders that didn’t get sick or complain about the smell. I was enthralled and knew from that moment I would do something in the realm of science. As an undergraduate, I studied Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri (MIZ…..ZOU!) because I still wasn’t sure what path I wanted to take, and biology was my favorite subject coming out of high school. While I was there though, I got pulled in so many other directions because I’m also an avid reader, lover of history, and curious about all the different paths of science you can take. When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. So, I took a job as a teacher’s assistant for a former professor and continued to work in a biochemistry lab doing research. It was in the teacher’s assistant role that I found what I loved to do: teach. Luckily for me, Mizzou had a graduate program geared to science and math majors that allowed me to earn a master’s degree and teaching certificate. A little more than a year and a half later, I graduated with a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Science Education.
Ready to take on my first classroom and group of students, I was excited to look for my first job, until my hubby (who’s in the Air Force) informed me we were moving overseas to Italy (Ahhh, shucks ☺️). Unfortunately, there was never a position open in the science department at the DoD school, so I spent my time working in a medical clinic and subbing for the elementary school. It wasn’t until we moved back to the States that I finally got to teach in my very own classroom. Over the next seven years, I taught at both the high school (biology, chemistry and anatomy and physiology) and middle school levels in Colorado and Indiana.
I am beyond excited to take on this next teaching adventure with the Well-Trained Mind Academy. Currently, I live in Georgia with my hubby and our young son and daughter. We love all things outdoors, though maybe a little less due to the gnats here! When I have a few minutes of my own, you’ll find me doing one of two things, reading or cooking. I will read practically anything you put in front of me, but my favorite is historical fiction. When it comes to cooking, I’m constantly trying to figure out how to get my kids to eat healthy things, like their veggies, but also indulge in my love of baking.
On Teaching: My teaching style changes depending on the topic we’re learning. I might lecture for a topic that is brand-new or I know there will be a lot of clarifying questions, and then switch to a flipped classroom model to allow us more time to work with the topic together. I also love using doodle notes, demos, real-life applications or any other tool I’ve learned over the years to help my students connect with the material and add to their scientific understanding and critical thinking.
Science has been an interest of mine since grade school, and my love of animals led me to major in biology when I started college at Cleveland State University. With my first botany class, I discovered plants even more fascinating than animals, so I decided to focus my studies on botany, rather than zoology. I added a minor in education to my studies, so that I could teach science.
While researching how plants allocate their resources to different forms of reproduction for my doctorate, I taught plant biology lab, human biology lab, genetics recitation, Biology for Middle School Teachers lab, and Ecology lab. These experiences confirmed that teaching was the best career choice for me.
After earning my PhD, I taught at Cleveland State and the local (Tuscarawas County) campus of Kent State University. I have taught a variety of in-person classes at the college level, including Human Biology; the Living World; Human Genetics, Reproduction and Development; Plant Biology; Environmental Science; Biology Seminar; and Life on Planet Earth. After taking a few workshops about online teaching, I taught an online version of the Living World course at CSU. I am excited to be teaching younger students now, and hope I can inspire a life-long love of science and biology in my middle school students!
I live near Ohio’s beautiful Amish Country with my husband, son, dog, and bird. For fun, I enjoy running, knitting and crocheting, reading, cooking, and going for walks and spending time with “My Boys” (husband, son and dog).
On Teaching: When I teach biology, I stress that biology, like all sciences, is a dynamic process, not just a stagnant pile of facts students have to memorize. I want students to relate the scientific processes they are learning about to the real world. I believe that students understand and remember biology better when they can see it working in their daily lives. During lectures, students are routinely asked questions, so that they activate what they’ve learned and work to synthesize knowledge. Interactions between students and hands-on activities play key roles in my classroom.
Courtney OstaffInstructor | Instructional Technologist
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 and a certificate in special education. Now, I am certified and licensed to teach Social Studies, General Science, Mathematics, and students with visual impairments from birth to adulthood. I have substantial experience in working with students who have learning differences or who are neurodiverse in some way.
In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, photography, cooking, and sewing. I live in wild, wonderful West Virginia with my husband, our two homeschooled children, and my mother. Our menagerie currently consists of a leopard gecko, two axolotls, a handful of chickens, and assorted cats.
In addition to my work with the Academy, I wrote The Teaching Online Handbook in 2020, and co-authored Homeschooling the Kids You Have with Jenn Naughton and Drew Campbell in 2022. I am also a co-host of a homeschooling podcast, Modern Classical Education at Home, and an administrator of the Inclusive Academic Homeschoolers Group, the Monongalia Area Homeschoolers Group, and the West Virginia Secular Homeschoolers Group. In addition, I am a past officer of the West Virginia Home Educators Association, and a current end-of-year academic assessor for West Virginia homeschoolers.
As Instructional Technologist for the Well-Trained Mind Academy, I collaborate with department chairs and Academy administrative staff to support new and current instructors with technical support related to the academy's online learning management system for online courses. This includes support for academic courses, learning modules, audio/video components, and other training resources for faculty to support active student learning, facilitate technology-rich teaching, and advance curricular innovation.
On teaching: My goal in teaching is to create a welcoming class atmosphere that enables all students to succeed. Classes are organized with daily and weekly assignments to help students practice the material in small, regular chunks. To help all students access the material in a way that works for them, I usually offer content in text and video in addition to live class lectures. Part of a warm class atmosphere involves interacting with other students, so I work to facilitate conversations between students both in live classes and in written discussion boards throughout the week.
Jessica OttoInstructor | Grammar Specialist
It was probably inevitable that I would study English in college (BA, 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 eleven 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 writing and grammar, 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.
In recent years I've co-authored three books on grammar: The Diagramming Dictionary, Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind, Yellow Workbook, and How to Diagram Any Sentence. I really mean it when I say I love grammar!
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.
Warm greetings to you and your family! My name is Amy Upperman and I am thrilled to be joining the Well-Trained Mind Academy. I consider it an honor and privilege to provide high-quality science instruction for homeschool families, and I look forward to working with you to provide the best experience possible for the growth and education of your student. To offer a snapshot of my background in science and education, I earned my BS in Biology at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, and subsequently earned my MEd in Curriculum and Instruction at The College of William and Mary’s School of Education. Through completion of the master’s program, I secured a postgraduate professional teaching license and have undertaken rigorous training in the most up-to-date research-based teaching practices.
My interest and commitment to education began early in my working experience—one of my first jobs involved providing intellectual stimulation and basic instruction to profoundly mentally challenged children in a hospital setting. This experience deeply impacted me, and offered me perspective on the spectrum of challenges presented in life, and spurred me to pursue a career in teaching. Other early teaching experiences include developing curriculum and leading instruction (primarily in the English language) for recent immigrant families to the USA, serving as an intern with the Marine Science Consortium (where I facilitated learning in outdoor marine settings), mentoring 14-17 year old students at a local Juvenile Detention Center in Williamsburg, VA, and tutoring middle school students in Toano, VA.
Since becoming a licensed science teacher, I have taught Advanced Placement Biology and Advanced Biology at the high school level. In addition, I have recently secured publication in Northeastern Naturalist as first author of an ecological research study completed in 2012 in collaboration with the Keck Environmental Field Lab through The College of William and Mary (“The Influence of Recreational Crabbing Regulations on Diamondback Terrapin By-catch”). In recognition of my commitment to creativity and excellence in science instruction, I was awarded the Mary Faust Galfo Teacher Scholarship Award, and have also been awarded the Robert Noyce Scholarship as a highly qualified STEM teacher in the USA. This scholarship afforded me the opportunity to collaborate with international leaders in inquiry-based science instruction at a professional teaching conference held in Europe.
As a teacher, I find that my mind is never able to completely turn “off” all the ideas to tweak an upcoming lesson I have in store for my students. However, in order to maintain my sanity (and not talk about teaching in EVERY conversation I have with my family!), I have a few interests I do enjoy on the side. When we’re able, my husband and I enjoy swing dancing and tandem biking. In addition, I find time each day to take a walk and appreciate the beauty and elegance of nature apart from my textbook studies of its science. I find these experiences energizing, and I hope that the coming school year will also be a source of inspiration and adventure for your student!
On teaching: I teach my courses with a seminar-style approach where I present information to students and then immediately open for class-wide discussion. In practical terms, this means my classes typically incorporate lectures with slides and other media along with interspersed question and answer periods. I am very responsive to student inquiry, and at times let the flow of student questions drive a portion of our learning together. Students are permitted to submit written work before the deadline to receive preliminary feedback before it is formally graded; however, students are not permitted to revise already graded assignments for a re-grade.
Art is not only my career choice, but it is also my lifestyle. I have taught art classes to grades 6-12 in the Virginia public school system for the past 6 years. In September of 2022, I stepped away from the brick and mortar classroom and started teaching art to the community at large. I love to be able to teach art to youth because my primary school education included arts magnet middle and high schools, and I’ve learned first-hand how much art can positively impact young lives!
I graduated from The Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking. I am knowledgeable in many different forms of art including drawing, painting, printmaking, papermaking, sculpture, fiber arts, and photography.
My artist husband Frank and I have two kids of our own (ages 3 and 6), and enjoy making art together as a family! Before becoming teachers, Frank and I lived in Boston and NYC and were on completely different career paths. I was an art gallery director and an art handler at Sotheby's Auction House. We moved to Virginia in 2015 and a series of unexpected life events led us to our current teaching career paths and we haven't looked back, because we love what we do!
On Teaching: I am passionate about teaching my students how to make and learn about art that is relevant and unique to each individual. I always encourage my students to express themselves through a creative outlet and to explore many different artistic mediums. I believe that making art is more important and relevant now than ever - art teaching through a pandemic has taught me that art will always prevail and that technology only makes it more accessible.
Bonjour! I am excited to be teaching French at the Well-Trained Mind Academy.
I was born and raised in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, and from the age of six was fortunate to get to spend time every summer camping in the south of France. It was there that I caught the bug for the French language and the people.
Following high school, I earned an associate’s degree in multilingual secretarial studies and moved to Belgium to work for two years. I ended up meeting my husband there and staying in Belgium for 15 years! In 2000 our family of six moved to Waco, Texas, where my husband taught at Baylor University. I returned to school and earned a BSEd with a concentration in French from Baylor, graduating summa cum laude in May 2010.
Since then, I have been teaching middle and high school French, first at Robinson Junior High and High School and then, most recently at Midway High School.
Recently, my husband Jeff, Nellie the golden retriever and I moved out to the countryside and built our dream home. We have started working on building our menagerie with the addition of six chicks. Our children have all grown and flown the coop, and we are now the proud grandparents to our beautiful granddaughter Evie.
I believe that communication and culture are the key to learning a language, and they are central to my teaching. To this end my classes are very interactive and I use a lot of music and authentic readings and video clips.
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.
Heather QuinteroChair of Mathematics & Science
More than twenty years of experience in math and science education has given me a passion for STEM topics. After teaching math and 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 and science ranging from kindergarten to advanced high-school level. After working with both accelerated and remedial students, I remain convinced that a strong start will allow students to experience the beauty and logic of upper-level courses 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, my youngest son, Sushi the cat, and Seamus, the unruly dog, in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. I enjoy mystery novels, attending the theater, live music, and occasional headache-inducing logic puzzles.
As Chair of Mathematics and Science, I support our instructors in providing instruction that highlights the beauty and excitement in these fields. Our goal is to inspire students by showing them their potential and fostering a love of the beauty of the natural world. My hope is that students see themselves as capable mathematicians and scientists who are part of a global STEM community.
On teaching: My 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 classes, students have at least two 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.
Jennifer RoudabushChair of Language Arts
I’ve been a reader and a writer since I was young enough to pick up a book. As a child, Roald Dahl spoke directly to me through the description of his eponymous heroine, Matilda, when he wrote how her “strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” As an adult, I continue to find myself taken with the power of writing and reading, and still find myself most at home in the spaces between the words on a page. Guiding students in their own reading and writing journey, then, is a true privilege that I do not take for granted.
Prior to joining the Well-Trained Mind Academy in 2016, I held teaching positions at Virginia Commonwealth University and The College of William and Mary. I hold a BA in English from the University of Virginia, a MA in English Literature from Virginia Commonwealth University, and PhD in Media Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University.
As Chair of Language Arts, I work with instructors to inspire confidence in students who are developing and honing their reading and writing identities — identities that will likely stay with them through their academic lives and into adulthood. As a department, we encourage students to see writing and reading as active processes rather than passive ones, and we hope to develop each student’s sense of their writing and reading selves into positive ones, so that they know themselves as capable actors in the meaning-making process who seek out engagement with the written word in both academic and pleasure pursuits.
On teaching: My classes rely on student engagement and participation in guided, in-class activities, readings, and discussions. It is especially important that students remain present and active in my classes, as they never know if they might be called on to help fill in an outline, answer a pop-up question, or parse a compositional element. Students in my classes usually complete one graded assignment per week, which are most often submitted without additional options to revise for a grade adjustment. My reading and writing classes encourage quite a bit of Socratic discussion based on shared readings and assignments, while my history classes rely on a more lecture-based format, with short opportunities for student engagement offered during each class as well.
My seemingly small decision to take German in junior high after my aunt married a German has led to the happiest moments of my life: meeting my husband in a college German class; making lifelong friends; living, studying, traveling and working abroad; hearing my daughter sing along to the theme song of Unser Sandmännchen every night; and sharing my love of the language with my students.
I graduated from Saint Joseph’s University with a BA in German. During my time at SJU, I studied abroad at the Philipps-Universität Marburg in Marburg, Germany. After graduation, I received a Fulbright Grant to teach English at the Friedrich-List-Schule in Darmstadt, Germany. Upon returning to the US, I earned my MA in Foreign Language Pedagogy from the University of Delaware.
I have taught German at the middle school, high school, and university levels. I was a founding faculty member at a STEM Academy high school where I started an International Baccalaureate German program from the ground up and where I also established a successful exchange program with a Gymnasium in Germany. I regularly present at conferences, work as a textbook author, and love learning about new technologies and approaches to make language education relevant in today’s modern world.
On teaching: I create a learning space in which every student feels safe and valued. I believe in second chances and trying until you succeed. My lessons encourage the use of the target language through authentic, meaningful interactions. I often put a STEM spin on the activities to help students make connections between their language learning and future opportunities in German-speaking countries. Cultivating international-mindedness is always at the forefront of my courses.
In my free time, you can find me trying out new gluten-free recipes, crafting, traveling, spending time with my family and friends, kayaking, reading, and listening to podcasts (especially auf Deutsch!)
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 a thousand fountains.” I continued on to complete a MA 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.
I absolutely LOVE teaching! I have taught 6th-12th grade ELA and Social Studies in the private and public sectors and come to the Well-Trained Mind Academy with several years of experience in the classroom (in person and virtually). One of my goals for your child is to expand their depth of knowledge through inquiry to expand on facts and add to concepts being presented to them as they hone in on their critical thinking skills. As an educator, role model, facilitator, and lifelong learner, I implement various research-based best practices to assist students in understanding how our units of study transfer to everyday life.
I am a native of Georgia. After traveling extensively as a military spouse, we’ve now settled in the Metro-Atlanta area. During my travels around the world, I developed a true passion for all things humanities. My husband has retired, and we decided to make Georgia our permanent home. I have a B.S. in Social Science and a Master's in Education with a specialization in Instructional Technology from the University of Maryland University College. I also have a Master of Arts in Teaching for Middle Grades from Mercer University, and a Talented and Gifted endorsement from Metro-Resa. Currently, I am a doctoral student at Liberty University. Professional development and life-long learning are important to me. Over the summer, I often attend some form of professional development to sharpen my skills.
On Teaching: My classes are interactive and engaging. I begin with a warm-up activity, recap our learning from previous sessions, and then go into the day’s lessons with active note-taking. From there, I often facilitate activities that require processing the new information, researching to find out more, and then interacting with the knowledge. Lastly, there is a check for understanding and an opportunity to share. I always give my best and expect the same from my students. An expectation is that my students will actively participate in authentic learning experiences. You can expect a warm, consistent, and safe classroom climate in which students can share their ideas, opinions, and thoughts via a positive classroom culture.
With WTMA Since 2020
Hello! I am excited to join the Well-Trained Mind Academy. I have a MA in English, and I am a New York State certified English teacher with over twenty years of experience teaching students from middle school through college. I began my teaching career at SUNY New Paltz where I worked as a Teacher’s Assistant while I completed my graduate degree. At the time, I had no plans of becoming a teacher. Yet once I stepped into my first classroom as an instructor of Freshman Composition, I knew that I had found my vocation.
It has been a long time since my first teaching experience, but I still feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with students in order to help them develop as writers and thinkers. As I like to tell my students, “Writing is thinking. And writing is hard because thinking is hard.” Of course, the challenge is what makes it worth doing. I believe that when students master the fundamentals of writing, they gain confidence in themselves in every academic area. To this end I strive to help students achieve fluency in writing and thinking, and to understand the art of writing as a process that can be continually improved. It is essential to me that my students embrace mistakes as opportunities for learning, and that they see each draft of writing as another chance for revision.
I live in the Hudson Valley of Upstate New York with my husband and son, our dog and our chickens. When I am not teaching, reading, or writing, I enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities including hiking, gardening, and kayaking.
On teaching: My approach to teaching is rooted in considering each student’s specific set of interests, talents, and concerns. My students find that I set high standards, but through scaffolding and individual instruction I offer them the support they need in order to succeed. My goal as an instructor is to foster an environment where all of my students can feel simultaneously challenged and supported. My hope is that they enjoy the process as they develop their skills in writing and reasoning.
Hello, WTMA students and parents! I look forward to working with you!
My professional background is in media and communications. I worked as a television news anchor, reporter, and producer for a decade and have also worked in non-profit public relations. Before my communications career, I engaged in public speaking as a teen pageant contestant and won both state and national titles. A California native, my undergraduate degree is in Mass Communications (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of California at Berkeley. Recently, the State of Hawaii granted me a teaching license in Elementary Education.
When I’m not teaching I enjoy time with my children and husband as well as our cat and two guinea pigs. I also love travel, trapeze, and modern art.
On teaching: My classes are dynamic and exciting; participation is a must. We will strive to speak as much as possible. In class we will connect course content to real-world situations, and we will work on communication apprehension (a.k.a. nerves!) as part of the public speaking process. My classroom is a safe space where students may take risks and where we support one another as we work to improve our public speaking skills.
With WTMA Since 2023
I credit my parents with instilling in me a love of learning and teaching me the value of a rigorous education. Raised in one of the most magical cities in the world, St. Petersburg, Russia, I was surrounded by great conversations, literature, art, and architecture from my early years. I brought my curiosity about the world with me to the United States when I moved here as a teenager. At Hunter College, I majored in history and international relations—the two related fields that gave me tremendous appreciation for the diversity and yet interconnectedness of our world. Wishing to gain more technical expertise, I then went on to earn an M.A. in International Economics and Policy Analysis at the University of Denver, followed by an M.S. in Finance at the University of Colorado. In addition, I continued to study multiple foreign languages, including French, Latin, and Japanese, which gave me tremendous appreciation for the importance of formal grammar instruction!
I spent the first thirteen years of my professional career as an analyst in the consulting and international banking sectors. I was charged with monitoring, analyzing, and forecasting economic, financial, and political trends for a variety of countries to evaluate international investment and lending opportunities and to qualify the risk. Thirteen years ago, however, a series of unexpected events led our family to homeschooling, and I threw myself into a new, even more demanding, yet even more rewarding career—a homeschool teacher to my two sons. Homeschooling them through 12th grade allowed me to indulge my inner lifelong student! Throughout all these years, I tutored students in elementary school through college in math, reading, writing, history, and economics.
I live in Colorado, and in my free time I love reading and discussing books, trying new recipes, going on long walks with my husband and our dog, watching theater performances, skiing with my family, or volunteering. I enjoy a variety of books, but most often I gravitate towards novels in translation, as they not only allow me to travel vicariously but also to encounter different storytelling traditions. My family loves to travel together; we have visited over 20 countries and are nearing our goal to visit all 50 US states.
On teaching: I believe that good education is reliant on ongoing conversations between a mentor and the students. Therefore, I strive to make my classes as interactive as possible with extensive student participation and a variety of learning activities that permit us to examine the material from different angles. New material is always connected to the previously learned concepts, allowing for review and creating a wider context for new knowledge. Detailed, individualized feedback is crucial for learning; I strive to provide such feedback and offer my students ample opportunities for revising their work to master the material.
With WTMA Since 2023
I am thrilled to join the WTMA faculty! An inveterate reader, writer, and rhetorician, I am also a life-
long student, and my purpose, I am sure, is to inculcate a love of learning in others. I received my B.A.
from Smith College – with majors in English literature and psychology and a minor in neuroscience - and
my J.D. from Boston University School of Law. For over twenty years, I was a trial attorney in Boston.
After a stint working as a prosecutor, I specialized in representing architects and engineers. However,
after I began homeschooling, using the Well-Trained Mind as my invaluable guide, I realized that my true
passion is for teaching - there simply is nothing as fulfilling as watching a student’s “lightbulb moment.”
I have taught in Grades K-12, both in person and online, and everything from honors-level biology to AP
US History, AP English Language and Composition, and AP English Literature and Composition. I also
have taught writing and rhetoric at the collegiate, graduate, and professional levels. While I will happily
teach just about any subject (because it always presents a new opportunity for me to learn!), I
particularly love teaching literature, writing, and rhetoric. Literature affords the opportunity to explore
the depth and breadth of the human condition, while writing and rhetoric afford opportunities to learn
the critical thinking and communication skills necessary to live in our ever-more-complex world. All
three speak to the heart of “being human.”
When not teaching, I still practice law from time to time. I also have extensive experience in gifted
education, differentiated learning, and curriculum development, and consult in these areas. For fun, I
am avid theater-goer, book-lover, and adventurer, and look forward to sharing these passions with my
students. In addition, I am an avid speech and debate coach, and have coached a two-time state
champion and Nationals finalist. I look forward to introducing WTMA students to the thrill of speech
and debate as well.
On teaching: I believe that there are certain “essential” lessons beyond subject matter curriculum that a
teacher should strive to instill. These include, first and foremost, instilling a life-long love of learning. In
addition, I believe it important to encourage and aid in the development of analytic and problem-solving
skills; to foster creativity and “thinking outside of the box;” and to challenge students while providing
scaffolding as necessary to allow students to find their own strengths and to develop new ones. To
those ends, I serve as a guide and facilitator, encouraging independent learning and fostering
independent responsibility for learning, while providing feedback and guidance as appropriate.
Depending on the subject matter, lessons might be “deep dives” or “big picture,” and are frequently
both, with a focus on project-based interdisciplinary learning opportunities. My classes are highly
interactive and, particularly for the higher levels, Socratic in nature; students are expected to participate
in class discussions. Both my literature and writing courses have written assignments of varying lengths;
I provide extensive feedback, and anticipate that students will learn to hone their writing throughout
the year. I also encourage independent inquiry – if there is an abiding interest, it is worth investigating
and sharing. I love demonstrating that there is no greater joy than the acquisition and sharing of
knowledge, and I look forward to sharing that with WTMA students.
I have a BA 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 three 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.
Greetings everyone! I am a 20+ year math educator full of energy and excitement about joining the Well-Trained Mind Academy. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, followed by a master’s degree in teaching from Marygrove University. I believe whole-heartedly in the adage, “victory lies in the classroom” and have dedicated my career to helping and supporting students to learn and love math. More recently, my career has expanded to writing training materials that support math teachers in delivering impactful instruction.
On teaching: I facilitate classroom learning experiences that create a sense of belonging for every student. In my classes, students work with me, and together, to learn and understand our math lessons. I encourage students to ask questions and I provide timely feedback to aid in their math learning. I foster a positive classroom environment and I am committed to providing engaging lessons and giving students individualized attention. My goal is to create a space where students are affirmed in their mathematical identity and feel empowered to learn and explore more. I look forward to welcoming and working with students in the WTMA community.
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.
I am very excited to join the Well-Trained Mind Academy. I have a long history of working with homeschoolers; I homeschooled my son (now a college junior) from preschool to 5th grade. Back then I didn’t have as many educational choices as there are now. I did love our co-op, where homeschooled mothers shared teaching responsibilities. I taught Chinese to a range of ages.
Since homeschooling my son, I have taught all levels of Chinese to students from kindergarten to college, and adults both in person and online. I have taught at a high school full time for 4 years before my current position as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Chinese at University of Texas at Arlington. I will be serving as a Board of Director at Chinese Language Teachers Association of Texas starting this fall.
I hold both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Chinese language. Before moving to the U.S., I taught at China Women’s University and also worked as a columnist, editor and journalist for a national newspaper in Beijing, China. I moved to the states in 1998 and have two beautiful children. They have grown into wonderful adults.
Besides teaching Chinese language, I am also a certified Holistic Wellness and Nutrition Coach and Tai Chi and Qigong Instructor. I am grateful that I can help people with all my specialties.
On teaching: I strive to create an inclusive and safe class culture. No student is left ignored or unheard regardless of one’s gender, race, or socio-economic background. I use authentic materials such as live videos, songs, texts, stories and current publications to connect students to the language used in daily life. I provide various opportunities for students to practice and build up their communication skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Making learning fun is alway my goal. Rich Chinese culture is our resource and we never run out of fun.