2016-2017-Teachers

Deanna Wilks - English
email: wilks.deanna@yahoo.com
Deanna is a graduate of Texas A&M University. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. She is state certified to teach all subjects through Middle School. She struggled in her early academic years because of a learning disability in reading. But through continuous study and perseverance she overcame her disability to become a successful educator. Her desire is to teach children that English and Writing can be a powerful tool for success. Through her own struggles, she has learned that with the right tools students can overcome learning obstacles and she wants to share those tools with her students. She currently home schools her two children who are in high school and middle school. Deanna has worked in Children’s Ministry for eight years and is a member of three homeschool organizations. She is also the director of Special Spaces San Antonio, a non profit charity that provides dream bedrooms for kids with a life threatening illnesses.

Dave Crockett ~ Photography
email: ardorephoto@gmail.com
Dave Crockett has been a world-traveled photojournalist, photographer and graphic designer for more than 25 years. Dave graduated as a Distinguished Honor Graduate from the Graphic Design Course and the Journalism/Photojournalism Course at the Defense Information School as a United States Marine. He then spent 14 years as a graphic design and photojournalist in the Marines. During his time in the Corps, Dave was editor for two news papers as well as an editor for Marines magazine. He as traveled the world as a photojournalist and, as he likes to say, has "covered everything from war to whimsy." He has also earned a degree in photography and is working on a degree in video production as well. Dave Crockett is now a full-time self-employed photographer/videographer specializing in portraits, event photography and commercial photography. He has won numerous awards including four Thomas Jefferson awards as a photojournalist. Dave and his wife have been a homeschool family for more than 13 years and Dave has taught photography and Photoshop design for homeschool students for years. Dave's passion is to guide his students to see the world in a whole new and creative way. His mission is to provide them the skills to they'll need to capture that artistic vision by the use of photography and Photoshop so they can share it with others. Dave's hope is that each of his students will leave his class with a vigorous passion for photography and the skills to enjoy it for a lifetime.

David Petershack ~ Social Sciences, Drama
email: david.petershack@gmail.com
In the words of the late great actor, Jack Lemmon, “It’s magic time!” This is the attitude that Mr. Mr. Petershack likes to convey to all of his Theater students. That and the need for a great sense of humor make for great theater. If you cannot lose yourself and magically create a character, you are not acting, but reciting. Of course, we have a lot of fun as well! Mr. Petershack has directed plays for the Homeschool Academics and Arts Class day (HAACDay), including a winter production of “A Christmas Carol”. He has also recently played the role of the Tin Man in a production of “The Wizard of Oz”. He is currently leading an improv group and directing a group of high school students in a production of “Much Ado about Nothing”. In addition to this, he also applies his love of creativity, learning and laughter to other classes which include History, Geography, and Government/Economics, all of which he has taught at various levels over the past three years. He is a graduate of the University of Texas in 1985 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing. He spent 14 years in corporate sales and sales training before becoming a homeschool dad. His corporate experience includes teaching Professional Skills and technology training classes, and working as a computer teacher at Rolling Hills Academy. In addition to this, he has done Web Design, edited professional newsletters, and homeschooled his children for the past eight years. David has been happily married for twenty-five years and lives in San Antonio with his wife Jean and his family.

Dwayne Puckett ~ Art, Logic
email: dwaynekpuckett@gmail.com
Dwayne received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Texas Tech University with a major in Printmaking and Drawing. While there he also minored in Sculpture, Ceramics, Painting, Art History. Archaeology/Paleontology and Geology. After graduation he continued his studies with two years of post-graduate work in Art Theory & Criticisms, Advanced Art History, and Theories on Complete Presentation (ie how to present an art piece in its entirety from the work to the frame and/or environment). In 2001 Dwayne started a business with his wife in leather craft, constructing knife sheaths, holsters and various leather art carvings. Dwayne looks forward to continuing studies and work in art focusing on drawing and sculpture and the combination of the two. 

Elizabeth Tapley ~ Spanish - Foreign Languages
Growing up in Austin, I studied Spanish with enthusiasm, then earned a BA in Spanish Language from UT and an MA in education from Stanford. I taught for five years in a California public school, teaching all levels of Spanish from beginning to AP. I expected teaching to be a short-term career for me while my husband was getting his PhD at Stanford, but I discovered that I love to help people learn! Since then, while homeschooling our three kids, I've taught Spanish to people of different ages in both group and tutorial settings.
Now that our oldest two are grown (one a college student and one a college graduate), I am excited about taking on more students. I love seeing learners' skills and confidence grow with time, and I constantly seek to improve my methods and materials to make learning languages as efficient and as exciting as I can arrange. I find it especially helpful to be continually studying new languages myself, so that I never forget the struggles of a beginning language student. Over the years I've dabbled in Japanese, Polish, Farsi, Hebrew, Russian, French, and Mandarin.
In my free time, I cook, study, read, play the piano, and laugh with friends—when I'm not working to improve my command of Spanish and German.


Gabi van Tassell German - Foreign Languages
email: gabi@cochranhill.com
Bachelors degree in Agriculture, from Friedrich Wilhelm Universität, Bonn (Germany)
Computer Software Specialist Certificate, BfZ Institute, Augsburg (Germany)
Masters in International Business Management, Southern New Hampshire University, Nashua, NH
Born and raised in Germany, Gabi came to the United States in the early 1990ties. After working in the High Tech industry in Germany and the United States for almost 20 years, her husband and she decided to “try” homeschooling 11 years ago ... and they have enjoyed that privilege every since. Gabi’s family now resides in San Marcos, raising and homeschooling their three children.  
In her free time (if there is such a thing), Gabi enjoys instructing and tutoring German, including teaching classes for all ages at the German Texan Heritage Society (GTHS) in Austin and San Antonio.
Philosophy: Foreign language learning goes far beyond memorizing a list of vocabulary words, it’s a life skill. Gabi loves to see her students thrive when vocabulary, grammar, and conversation - as well as wits and common sense - are used to master overcoming language barriers to getting things done.

Gwen Rigdon – MS US History, Public Speaking/Speech, Archery
Email: gwenrigdon@gmail.com
Bachelors of Science in Education at Ohio State University
Masters in Business Administration at the University of Houston
Level 2 USA Archery Coach
After graduating with a teacher’s certificate, Gwen started her teaching career for the inner city public school system of the Houston Independent School District. She taught in this position for 11 years. Gwen never quite bought into the conventional philosophy of public school. After teaching for 5 years, she was given a chance to teach in a pilot program that included team teaching a group of multi-grade students. Because of such a positive experience with that pilot program, Gwen couldn’t see putting her kids in traditional school and decided to home school. Gwen has been homeschooling her kids for 16 years now. Gwen enjoys public speaking and has worked with 4-H kids as well as her own in entering and winning public speaking contests for 8 years. Additionally, Gwen has been involved with 4-H archery for 5 years. Both of her sons are competitive archers that have won state competitions.
Gwen currently works part time at Gatti’s Pizza teaching fractions and healthy choices for public/private school educational field trips. Gwen loves working with kids and believes that learning should be fun. She is looking forward to serving at STAR Academy.

Jennifer Strickland ~ Science
email: jen@stricklyscience.com
To study science is to seek out the character of God! It’s amazing to learn about His design, His attention to detail, His Love and His creativity that is evident from the tiniest atom to the eternal universe. This fire is the light I seek out in every child – the desire to learn more about creation through science.
My background in science consists mostly of my own research and interest. Since 1998, I've run a contract consulting business in the aircraft design industry, which involves mechanical, structural, aerospace, electrical and fluid engineering systems. I design most of these systems, organize large projects, hire out to other contract designers and engineers and work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Although I do not have a completed degree in my field, I've been accepted into the aerospace engineering community based on my experience and quality of work. I've completed thousands of design projects and am respected by my customers, designers and the engineers that I work with. I do have a Bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering through UTSA in the works with a GPA that is in good standing. I love school so much, I could be a professional student, but my family comes before those interests. I want to give my time to my children while they are still young, so completing my degree will come at a later time.
I began home schooling my two children in 2004. I’ve had experience working with children through the American Heritage Girl scouting program and various home school groups and cooperatives throughout our home schooling years. I held the position of AHG Troop Coordinator for four years and managed the Live Oak Dolphins Swim Team during the summer of 2012. I’ve also been teaching high school, middle school and elementary level sciences since 2005 with great success. I love teaching science classes at Star Academy and I look forward to holding your child’s hand to guide them through the fascinating world of science!


Lisa Frazier ~ Science, English
email: lisakelfrazier@gmail.com
B.S.Ed. Stephen F. Austin State University 
Major: Speech and Hearing Therapy
Major: Special Education
Minor: Educational Psychology
M.S. University of Texas-Dallas, Callier Center for Communication Disorders
Major: Audiology
Minor: Speech Pathology
I started college as a Pre-Med Major, so began taking some of those wonderful science classes before I decided that twelve years of college might be more than I wanted. My favorite courses in graduate school were the neurology and anatomy courses and I enjoyed my part time job as a Research Assistant at the Medical School researching the pharmacological and teratological effects of pharmaceuticals. This is when I began to think I should have stuck with Pre-Med, but God had another plan. After a 17 year career using my Audiology, Speech Therapy, and Special Ed backgrounds, I found that my real calling was to homeschool my children. After a while, I saw a need for Moms willing to teach science classes at “co-op” as many homeschool parents aren’t comfortable with lab reports and experiments. I have taught all of the Apologia Science courses from the Elementary Sciences through the Advanced Biology courses of Anatomy and Physiology and Marine Biology and I have LOVED them all (except Physics, sorry, I did not love Physics.) Some of the courses I have taught multiple times and I am looking forward to doing so again. I love Apologia Science as I believe them to be the most balanced and thorough high school curriculums available. Dr. Wile writes in a way that anyone can understand, yet at a level that is as challenging as any of the freshman and sophomore level college sciences I took. All of my three homeschool graduates have chosen science related fields and have tested for college credit in Biology. Teaching is my gift, homeschooling is my passion, science is my bag!
I always knew I loved science, but guess what I didn’t learn until I began homeschooling! I love history and literature and English too! I always thought those classes were a nuisance, but maybe that was because of the way I was taught! My education consisted of picking apart books (to death) and often, of reading only excerpts of them. History was taught by coaches and while I could write and make good grades, I often did not understand the difference between my A, B, or C papers. I LOVE GOOD BOOKS! And I want your kids to love them too. I think it is exciting when kids are surprised that classic literature and “school books” can be understood and enjoyed. I think it is exciting when kids improve their writing and understand how to improve it further. Feedback is so important to improving writing skills and my promise to students and parents is to give your students the input and the feedback they need to improve. Homeschooling is definitely my passion, but I know sometimes it gets hard. I know that kids can resist high school level literature and writing AND I know that outside accountability can really help. Let me help you on your homeschool journey, I’ll even grade the papers!
If you have questions for me, please feel free to email me.


Stacy Barnwell – Short Story Analysis
Email: 4sbarnwell@gmail.com
I have a B.A. in English with a Minor in Art History from The University of Texas at Austin. As a kid, I asked a lot of questions. My family encouraged and nourished it, and it's a pattern I never outgrew. Part of the reason I'm drawn to homeschooling is because we get to ask as many questions as we want! I've been homeschooling 12 years, and I've worked with kids through both homeschooling and youth groups. I've taught a shorter version of this class with a local homeschool group and at a co-op. I'm passionate about sharing some great stories with your kids and look forward to learning with and from them. I urge my students to stretch their thinking. Are they prepared and engaged, and even better, are they asking thoughtful questions?

Stacey 
Everett-Miller~ Math
email: tallgirl@rocketmail.com
Stacey completed her degree at UTSA, with a major in Math and a minor in Chemistry. She was a music teacher for 3 years, at a Pre-k 3 through 8th grade school. Then she became the Math/Science specialist for The Circle School until she began home schooling her children 3 years ago. She has also tutored students in Math, Chemistry and Physics for the past 9 years, topics including math, from elementary through Calculus, Chemistry, AP Chemistry, Physics, and AP Physics.


Stacy Puckett ~ Math
email: puckettsmathclass@gmail.com
Stacy received her Bachelors degree from Texas Tech.  While there she enjoyed tutoring all levels of Math.  Upon graduation she started teaching first at the junior high level then at the adult level in Lubbock.  After moving to San Antonio Stacy spent five years teaching all math levels (Pre-Algebra through Calculus) and both computer applications and computer science at Providence High School. In 2005 she left teaching at the school setting to homeschool her daughter.   2012 saw Stacy return to teaching math at Star Academy Class Day and HAAC in Bulverde.  Stacy is currently a member/volunteer of many local homeschooling groups and Girl Scouts.

Toru Nishikawa ~ Japanese - Foreign Languages
email: totto_san@yahoo.com
I received my bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at University of Texas at Austin after taking several courses at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to teach Japanese to home-schooled high school students and I feel very well-prepared for such a position. First, I have garnered invaluable experience teaching Japanese both in Japan and in the United States. In Japan, I was vice president of a private supplementary school and I taught Japanese for high school and junior high school students for eight years. In the United States, in 2014 I taught Japanese to high school students at the Japanese Supplementary School of San Antonio (JSSSA). Furthermore, I have been teaching Japanese to high school students at the Japan-America Society of San Antonio (JASSA) since 2014 and since 2015 I have been teaching Japanese for high school students in the LULAC National Education Service Center's summer school program. These years of experience have helped me hone my skills as a teacher and develop pedagogical insights that would definitely benefit your students. Second, I would emphasize that I genuinely love teaching and I believe that all students can develop their full potential if they have the right teachers and mentors. Every student has unique talents and obstacles, and I believe that my in-depth experience with students from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds has given me the patience, empathy, and tutoring skills to be a successful teacher. As an example, a current student was recently chosen to be one of only four Americans to represent the United States at the prestigious 2016 Junior Summit in Japan. I am proud of his achievement, and I feel that it exemplifies how my teaching can bring out the very best in students. Third, I take pride in my ability to communicate and work productively with students, parents, and administrators. Teaching is a team effort and I enjoy collaborating with others to assure that students have a wholesome, supportive, and challenging learning environment where they can flourish both socially and intellectually. For these reasons, I believe that I would be a very capable and caring teacher in your program. Thank you for your consideration.
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