Ana Abbott ~ General Science, Biology, Biology 2
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from The University of California
Anastasia (Ana) Abbott is a science geek, and an animal enthusiast. After spending most of her formative years in homeschool, she attended “The University of California, Irvine” where she graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry. Immediately she began using her love of science and every spare weekend to teach young children (ages 4-7) about basic scientific principles. Ana’s goal is to one day become a physician, but in the meantime she contents herself with saving animals through San Antonio Pets Alive, and expressing her love of science to anyone who will listen. She also loves rainbows and rock climbing.

Barry Watson ~ Archery, Photography
Associate of Art - Photography at the Houston Community College
Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Houston
Level III USA Archery Coach. Coaching since 2010. Began with 4-H archery and then founded Alamo Area JOAD in 2014. In addition to countless state championships, beginning in 2011, he coached medalists at 4H Nationals, NFAA National Field Championships, USAA National Indoor Championships, USAA National Field Championships and USAA National Outdoor Championships. Coached for Team USA at the World Field Championships in Bray, Ireland.
Barry is an award winning photographer winning several UIL awards for photojournalism. He was a photographer and photo editor for the Houstonian and the Daily Cougar at the University of Houston. He was also a freelance photographer for the Houston Chronical.

David Petershack ~ Social Sciences, Drama
Email: david.petershack@gmail.com
Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Texas
In the words of the late great actor, Jack Lemmon, “It’s magic time!” This is the attitude that 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 four 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
Bachelor of Fine Arts from Texas Tech University
Major: Printmaking 
Major: Drawing
Minor: Sculpture
Minor: Ceramics
Minor: Painting
Minor: Art History
Minor: Archaeology/Paleontology
Minor: Geology
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
BA in Spanish from University of Texas
MA in Education from Stanford
Growing up in Austin, I studied Spanish with enthusiasm. My first teaching experience was in the California public schools, teaching all levels of Spanish from beginning to AP. Later, as I homeschooled our three kids, I continued to tutor and teach Spanish (and sometimes German) in a variety of settings, experimenting with various approaches to language study. I have also spent many hours as a beginning language student myself, dabbling in Japanese, Polish, Farsi, Hebrew, Russian, French, and Mandarin. These experiences in language learning and teaching have taught me what works, and what doesn’t work, in many different settings.
I am committed to providing my students as interesting and efficient an experience as I can arrange. I constantly seek to improve my methods and materials to provide students with clear, pleasant, and effective experiences with the language. I love to see their skills and confidence grow with time, and I love to get to know my students as they tell me about themselves in Spanish!
I fill my free time with a never-static set of activities. My recent interests are studying Japanese, learning to draw, staying abreast of current affairs, taking walks downtown, sewing, knitting, camping, playing disc golf, learning shorthand, birding, traveling on Amtrak, and attending Symphony concerts.

Gwen Rigdon – Math, History, Public Speaking/Speech
Email: gwenrigdon@gmail.com
Bachelors of Science in Education at Ohio State University
Masters in Business Administration at the University of Houston
After graduating with a teacher’s certificate, Gwen started her teaching career with 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 traditional school. While she was teaching in public school, 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 homeschool. Gwen has been homeschooling her kids for 18 years now. Math has always been Gwen’s favorite subject in school, and she loves to inspire kids to enjoy it as well. Gwen also enjoys public speaking and has taught it for 3 years now at Star Academy. She has worked with 4-H kids as well as her own in entering and winning public speaking contests for 9 years. Gwen enjoyed teaching middle school Texas History at Star this past year and is looking forward to teaching middle school US History again in the coming year. In addition to teaching at Star Academy, Gwen 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.

Marla Ripps ~ Physical Science, Chemistry and Physics
Email: msrippsclasses@gmail.com
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M.

I have always loved teaching and have taught many varied subjects over the years, including but not limited to sewing, quilting, college workshops, Chemistry, Physics, and jewelry classes. I helped start a local co-op and ran it until the summer of 2004. In 2002, Irene Miller and I started Crystal Sea Drama Company, a Christian school for Theater Arts and Performance. My background includes:

  • BS in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M.

  • Civil Engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation for 6 years.

  • Technical Director and head of Costume Design, Crystal Sea Drama Company, 2003 to present

  • Teacher- Chemistry with lab for 16+ years starting in 2001

  • Teacher- Physics with lab, for 6+ years beginning in 2010  

My goal as a teacher is to prepare each of my students to be ready for college. In the many years I have taught Chemistry, both regular and Honors, I have had many students successfully attend a 4 year university, major in a science related field, and come back and tell me how easy college Chemistry was for them. Some said they should have followed my advice and CLEP out of the freshman level Chemistry course because they were bored, since I covered it so thoroughly in their high school class. Recently, I have had students tell me how the Physics class they took from me really helped them to understand and master their college level physics course. I have even had students thank me for being tough and strict in making them get their work done. It gave them the work ethic to succeed in college classes.

Roger Koss ~ Archery

Associates in General Education at Troy State University

Bachelor of Science in Technical Management with concentration in Project Management at Devry University

Level III USA Archery Coach. Coaching since 2014, he began with JOAD archery in Colorado. Currently ranked 6th in USA Archery Adult Barebow. Actively coaching wounded warriors as well as 4H and JOAD youth.

Stacy Barnwell ~ English

Email: 4sbarnwell@gmail.com
Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin
       Minor: Art History

As a kid, I asked a lot of questions. My family encouraged and nourished this, and it's a practice I value and have never outgrown. An important reason I'm drawn to homeschooling is the opportunity it gives to ask as many questions as we want! We constantly hear how important STEM skills are for our kids to develop and function well in modern life. I wholeheartedly agree. However, communication, writing skills, and the ability to think critically are crucial for success, both in education and in life.
I have a B.A. in English with a Minor in Art History from The University of Texas at Austin. I've homeschooled for 14 years, and I have had opportunities to work with kids through both homeschooling venues and youth groups during that time.
In addition to teaching traditional areas of study such as writing, grammar, and literature, I strive to help my students develop and exercise their critical thinking skills. I urge them to stretch beyond their normal, comfortable thought processes. It's important for them to be prepared and engaged, but I know they're learning when they are asking thoughtful questions! I'm passionate about sharing great writing, both fiction and non-fiction, with your kids and look forward to learning with and from them.

Stacy Puckett ~ Math
Email: puckettsmathclass@gmail.com
Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas Tech
Major: Management of Information Systems 
Minor: Mathematics
Stacy is a graduate of Texas Tech University.  While there she tutored 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 while taking Graduate level classes in math education.  In 2005 she left teaching at the school setting to homeschool her daughter only to return to teaching for homeschool class days in 2012.  Stacy volunteers with many different organizations and currently also teaches at HAAC.

Toru Nishikawa ~ Japanese - Foreign Languages
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at University of Texas at Austin
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 homeschooled 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, one of my former students was 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 this program. I truly believe that any student at Star Academy would be able to learn Japanese with great satisfaction.