Star Tutors

Stacy Barnwell ~ English

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 homeschooled my children, 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.

Linda Henderson ~ Math

Associate of Science, concentration in mathematics, from Collin County Community College District

Throughout my early education, I was “not a math person.” In college I discovered that mathematics was so much more than memorizing a set of nonsensical algorithms. With this new perspective, I discovered not only was I capable of understanding math but that I truly loved the challenges found there. I completed an associate degree with a concentration in mathematics.

I have spent the last fifteen years cultivating ideas from prominent educators to create a math-rich environment within my home and foster deep mathematical understanding in my children. Working together to find answers to big questions, exploring topics normally reserved for upper-level mathematics, and playing games centered around math skills have been foundational in achieving this goal. Over the last five years, I have expanded my focus to private tutoring and have supported learners in topics ranging from elementary concepts through Algebra II.

I believe everyone can learn mathematics by building on demonstrable examples that generalize to more abstract concepts. I view mathematics as a cooperative endeavor through which we discover life-long skills in logic and reasoning. I look forward to working with your students in developing these skills.

David Petershack ~ Social Sciences, Drama

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. David has been happily married for almost thirty two years and lives in San Antonio with his wife Jean and his family.

Marla Ripps ~ Chemistry, Physics, Junk Wars, Art

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.

Deanna Wilks ~ Consumer Math

Bachelor of Science in Education from Texas A&M

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 and currently home schools her daughter who is a senior. Deanna has taught various subjects over the years including English, art, yearbook, photography and math. Deanna has worked in Children’s Ministry for eight years and is a member of three homeschool organizations.