Meet the Teachers! 

MELISSA ALLEN

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Archaeology, US History, Crafting thru: Colonial History, 50 States, Native American History; Wars of the World, Painting the Presidents, Craft your own Globe, Tanks Battleships & Fighter Planes, Dinosaurs & Paleontology, Indiana Jones Archaeological Adventures, Building Your Own Medieval Kingdom

Melissa was inspired to be an archaeologist when she was 8 years old after watching movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Mummy, and Tomb Raider. She grew up to become an archaeologist in San Diego and started her business 'Archofacts' so she could teach children about a fun and adventurous career. She teaches classes in archaeology, history, social studies, and anthropology by using real life archaeological methods and hands on activities.

PATRICK HINKE

Voice, Guitar Ukulele & other Strings

Patrick has been teaching music since 2005. At the age of 14 he started playing the bass guitar & immersed his world with music. Patrick studied jazz music & music theory in college. He has played in many local groups over the years and writes/arranges songs on a regular basis. Patrick's lesson & classes are fun, upbeat & judgement free! His motto is to laugh at mistakes and embrace challenges.

ELISE UNDERRITER

Art: Alphabet, Math, Under the Sea, Re-Purposing & Recyclables, Zoology;  CA History, Farm Exploration, Recorder, Choir, Meet VanGogh & Other Artists, Exploring Ancient Egypt, Early Literature through Reading, World Geography, Dr. Seuss Learning Library, Wild West Exploration, Famous American Heroes  

 Elise thoroughly enjoys educating children and finding a unique avenue for each of them to express themselves in a meaningful and enriching way. She believes that working in a single medium is restrictive to a child's artistic process because each idea a child has manifests in its own individual style. Elise is looking forward to working with and getting to know your kids!

TONI BROOKS

American Sign Language,  Fairy Tales & Folktales Reading & Writing

Toni Brooks has been teaching for almost 17 years! She received her bachelors degree and credential from California State University, Northridge with an emphasis in Language and Diversity. She has enjoyed teaching many students from Kindergarten through 12th grade in a variety of settings including public school, private school, charter and homeschool. Most recently, she taught ASL and unit studies at Dehesa Charter school's Chula Vista campus. She lives in San Diego with her husband, two children, and their dog Zuma. When she's not teaching, Toni loves making new friends, reading, traveling and discovering new restaurants and coffee shops in San Diego!

REGINE SWIM

French

Regine has been teaching and tutoring French for over 20 years, dedicated to helping children learn the language and the culture, focusing on the conversational skills.

NATALIE ANN

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Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap, Ballet

Natalie began dancing recreationally at the age of 3 and became a competitive dancer at the age of 7. When she reached high school she explored the world of competitive cheer. Natalie's teaching career began in 2007 at a local recreation department in East County San Diego. She specializes in Tap, Hip Hop and Jazz instruction for all ages. Natalie became a competitive dance choreographer in 2017. Her routines have won multiple choreography and overall awards. She currently teaches at multiple studios throughout San Diego County and even has a business of her own. Above all, Natalie's main focus as a dance instructor is the well-being of the students. She ensures each student leaves class feeling empowered and confident.

ELIZABETH BLACKMORE

TK Enrichment Academy, Pokemon Writing, Learn 2 Read,  Kinder Math,

1st grade Math, Language Arts 2-3, Language Arts 4-5, Multiply & Divide, Kinder Academy- TK

Elizabeth received a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education, with an emphasis in children with exceptional needs, from Idaho State University. She has extensive training in children’s literacy and teaching English as a second language. As the mother of 6 children, Elizabeth has been homeschooling for 11 years. Elizabeth enjoys working with children of all ages and looks forward to working with your child, as they learn through exploration and child centered activities. Elizabeth insists that almost anything can be taught through a game and that every child is capable of absolutely incredible things. 

LAURA BUENO

Theatre & Ballroom Dancing

Laura owns and operates Edudance Classrooms in Motion and Playground Players Productions, a musical theater program for public and private schools to introduce children to the world of theater by participating in live theatrical productions and choral concerts. She has performed extensively with San Diego Opera for 17 years and has been seen in several musical theater productions in leading roles and ensemble roles with Lyric Opera San Diego, San Diego Musical Theater, and others. Laura Bueno has been an Edudance instructor since 2003 and took over the company from Anne Krantz and Christian Wasinger in 2018. In her career as an instructor, she has taught well over 10,000 students with the program. A dancer of 30 years, Laura has a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. 

LARRY EVANS

Beginner & Advanced Chess

International Chess Master, Larry Evans, is a widely published chess author with over 40 years experience teaching chess at all levels. In 1992, Larry founded Mountain Lake Chess Camp to help train his own son (Cory, who would go on to be a US scholastic Chess Champion) and other strong young chess players in afterschool clubs, chess camps, and private lessons. Former students include Fabiano Caruana (the current world rank #2 chess player) and other top chess players.

KARIN LEONARD

Piano K-12

Karin is a homeschool mom and classically trained pianist. She started taking private piano lessons when she was six years old. At age 13, Karin began teaching her neighbor’s two children at their mother’s insistence that Karin be their teacher. Within two weeks, Karin began teaching their friends, too. Soon, Karin’s Saturday’s were booked with students. She was hired as the pianist at Cayucos Community Church when she was 16, and she assembled a praise band and began conducting the church’s choir about a year later. After Karin got married in 1977, and moved to San Diego, she was invited to perform at a local church where she was hired as their music director. She soon began teaching music lessons teaching beginner to advanced level music ages 5 to 95. Karin feels blessed to have shared her love and knowledge of music both in person and online with hundreds of people over the years.

BILL LEAVENS

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WEDO/ Ev3/ Master Robotics Using LEGO'S®, Engineering w/ LEGO'S®...

Bill has been a Play-Well instructor for over 3 years. He consistently brings his A-game and has the ability to excite students about everything STEM, from engineering to physics to coding! Bill has a passion for engineering that is contagious and he looks forward to meeting all of your future engineers.

ALISHA CURTIN

CPR & First Aid, Life Skills & Career Paths, Homesteading, High School Biology w/ Lab, Dissecting, Hands-on Human Anatomy, Forensics Science, Dungeons & Dragons, Junior Gardeners

Alisha is a law enforcement wife and a homeschooling mother of 4 with a passion for teaching. She has her CPC credential, currently owns her own medical billing and coding company and is an American Heart Association CPR & BLS Instructor. She previously worked at UCSD in OSHA training and taught Basic Life Saving (BLS) courses to the university's med students. In order to maintain her credential for medical coding, she keeps up to date on medical advances and has a great understanding of anatomy and physiology. She has been teaching Science classes for four years including high school & junior high science, teaching Physical Science, General Science, Life Science & Biology. Her experience has provided a solid foundation for all things science and life saving. She also loves math and all of her free time is spent making memories with her husband and kids.

MARY YORK

Spanish grades 3-12th, Ancient Hebrew, Middle School Spelling & Vocabulary

Mary York majored in Spanish at San Diego State University, with a minor in linguistics. She has spent time in Mexico and Spain, and has worked in multiple Spanish-speaking contexts in San Diego. She is also an award-winning journalist, garnering local, state and national awards for her work in print, broadcast and photojournalism. She has taught elementary, junior high and high school for the last ten years, two of which were in a State school in the Czech Republic. She also worked as the editor for the East County Californian newspaper for two years. York's time in the community, in local politics, in journalism, and in travel has equipped her in the classroom, and she takes pride in the accomplishments of her students every year.

MARY LONGBOTTOM

Lapbooking, Creepy Crawlers, Botany, Anatomy through Living Books, Earth Science through Living Books, Geology through Living Books, Water Colors, Geography thru Animal Art, Tk-2nd Spanish & Story of the World.

Mary graduated from San Diego State with a Liberal Arts degree specializing in Science in 2009. Right after college she got a job teaching Art at Art with Larisse where she taught children and adults how to draw and use soft pastels, watercolor, and oil paints. She also has worked for Dehesa at their South Bay Resource Center where she has taught Art, Spanish, Science, Math, and History. In addition to working at this Center she has done private tutoring for kids that Homeschool (Dehesa and Inspire), go to private school and public school in multiple subjects. She likes to bring Art into all the different subject she teaches to make learning a little more hands on and get children to learn the material in different ways.

SARA MUSICK

Fun w/ Spanish Level 2, Spanish Conversational Immersion

Learning w/ ASL

Sara has over five years of experience interpreting, teaching and tutoring for both Spanish and American Sign Language. She is very enthusiastic and loves working with kids because she thinks they are so fun and sweet to spend time with. Sara specializes in managing students and maximizing learning opportunities in diverse classroom settings. She has a Bachelor of Arts – Spanish Language Degree and a minor in Linguistics.

LEE TAYLOR

Archery, Fencing

Lee is the Archery Coordinator and lead instructor at LionHeart Academy. Lee has participated in both local and National archery events. Her first career included teaching and coaching swimming, training lifeguards and swim instructors. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education from Southern Connecticut State College.

LYDIA DICOLA

Spelling & Vocabulary, Middle School Essay Writing, Book Clubs: Phantom Tollbooth & Hunger Games, Organizational & Study Skills, Creative Writing,  Greek & Latin Roots, Historical Figures, BizTown, Math Games: Decimals, Fractions & Percents.

Lydia DiCola is a former public school teacher turned homeschooler. She earned her BA in just 3 years and recieved the Education Department's Award for Academic Achievement. Originally from Chicago, she married her high school sweetheart before the Navy sent them to south Texas, where she taught 1st and 5th grade. Lydia also organized several of her school's extracurricular activities, including the Science Fair and competition Science club, and served on a committee to rewrite the district's Science standards. After school, she coached Varsity softball at a local high school and 7th grade vollyball at the middle school. After moving to Pennsylvania, she decided to dedicate her time to raising their family. Lydia began homeschooling in Northern Virginia when her eldest was in 2nd grade, and they both loved it so much, she kept all three children home the following year! She is excited to share her passion for learning with the homeschool community!

LARA SHERIDAN

Lunch Duty Aide

Lara has been working working with kids for over 15 years and now has 5 of her own (all attend HEC). She ran multiple different kids church ministry programs, including summer camps, for different ages many of which had over 100 kids in attendance. Much of her free time is spent with family at the beach, watching baseball and camping. Lara is sure to provide a safe and fun environment for kids on the playground.

MARY RESENBECK

Friendly Neighborhood Helpers Through Theatre

Mary has twenty-two years combined experience as a lead Montessori teacher for ages 6-9, elementary theater director for ages 5-12, a reading resource specialist; a private homeschool tutor, educational manager, and Master IEP Coach, and parents advocate. Mary is excited to be teaching a class at HEC this semester.

LESLIE ERICKSON

2nd-5th Grade Math,  Middle School Earth & Astronomy Science

Leslie has served as an educator across multiple grade levels since 1999. Leslie graduated from San Diego Christian College with a degree in Human Development. She received her multiple-subject teaching credential from Point Loma Nazarene University, and clear credential with CLAD from San Diego State University. She believes that a teacher’s job is to instill a love for learning, so that students will become lifelong learners. Her mission is to create a classroom full of FUN and creativity where every student feels successful. She is the director and founder of SHINE, a community based program for children ages 7-12 that provides students with the tools needed to become their best selves. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Erickson enjoys traveling, hiking, drinking tea, and reading great books.

SIFU MARIO MAYORGA

Kung Fu, LightSaber Combat, Escrima & Filipino Martial Arts

Sifu Mario, owner and head instructor of 5 Elements Martial Arts & Wellness Center, has trained in various forms of martial arts since 1993, including Taekwondo, Kung Fu, Aikido, Tai Chi, and Chi Gong. He earned his black belt in Kung Fu in 1999 and has specialized in teaching Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and Zhaobao and Yang Tai Chi Chuan ever since. He has taught kung fu at martial arts studios and public schools throughout San Diego County and has extensive experience at teaching children’s martial arts. In 2010, Sifu Mario opened 5 Elements Martial Arts and Wellness Center with Senior Instructor Keith Jacobson. In addition to his martial arts training he has spent extra time exploring activities such as yoga, gymnastics, ballroom dancing, hiking and bike riding.

SAM NEARY

Marine Biology

Samantha Neary is an Aquatic ecologist with expertise in both marine and freshwater ecosystems. She is a West Coast native, who didn’t let her family’s move to land-locked Chicago at a young age deter her from finding her way back to the water. Whether it was mornings spent rowing crew on Lake Mendota as a member of the University of Wisconsin women’s crew team, working at the Hasler Center for Limnology (UW) during the afternoons and evenings, or eventually deciding to make the move back to Southern California for graduate school. For the past five years, Samantha’s days have either been spent underwater studying local fish communities (on SCUBA), on the beach elbow-deep in washed-up kelp studying local beach invertebrate communities, or in the classroom or conference room of local businesses bringing her knowledge and passion for marine science to the community.

 

Sam has a BA in Zoology & is in the process of completing her masters degree in Marine Ecology from San Diego State University, and hopes to continue this passion for outreach and community education in her future endeavors. She is presently a Co-Chair & Outreach coordinator in the Marine Ecology & Biology Student Association

MICHELLE MAGARIAN

Ceramics, Art of Story Animation, Mixed Art Media, Print Making Art with Wood & Glass, Fine Art.

Michelle is proud to be working  for Creative Creatures owned by Kameron Campbell. Michelle's passion & focus is encouraging creative confidence in youth through community workshops, school programs, special events, and art shows. Creative Creatures & Co, is founded upon the basis of traditional art techniques, yet aimed to expand upon these processes. We are not a step by step brand; we believe that no two children are alike so no two art pieces should be either. We specialize in individual art making, encouraging our young artists to be inspired by fine art techniques all the while creating pieces they can be excited about and confident in. 

JEREMIAH WILSON

Parkour Fitness, Sports Rotation,  Playground Games & Sports, Basketball,  Ninja Fitness,  Mad Scientist, Creative Design & Engineering, Survival Engineering, Grossology, Space Explorers, Tinker Toys, Wood Working,  Wild Weather & Natural Catastrophes, Ancient & Medieval War Inventions

Jeremiah was a Lifeguard for the City of San Diego for eight years. During his time as a Lifeguard he taught swim lessons to all ages and instructed others in how to do so. He was a manager for two years where he oversaw the operations and training of at least 10 staff members at a time. Graduating from San Diego State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Recreation Tourism Management, he has continued his education by most recently becoming certified in California as a Nationally Registered EMT. Jeremiah has found a love for knowledge and shares that love by passing it on to his students.

SUSIE BALISTERI

Preschool Little Learners

Susie is a retired kinder-second grade teacher. Her passion is seeing young kids light up while exploring their world and learning new things. Even after retirement she has continued teaching in different environments like preschools and Sunday School. Susie loves taking her dog, Jack, on walks at the beach, spending time with her grandchildren, gardening, crafting and reading. With over 30 years experience with young children, Susie is excited to bring a fun, hands on learning experience to preschoolers at HEC.

TAMBERLY SLAGLE

Baking & Decorating, International Cuisine, 50 States Cooking, Life Skills,  Photography & Yearbook, Zoo Friends Raw Cooking, Tea Time

Tamberly is a mom of 4 (Galilee 17, Owen 15, Felicity 12, Quinn 10) and one fur child Grizzly, our very busy Husky. I absolutely enjoy every moment of seeing students grow in knowledge and explore creativity in the fine arts of photography and baking. I have almost 10 years of experience with running a photography business and owning an in home bakery (Tam's Treats).

LACHRISHA RANDLE

IEW Writing, Narnia IEW, High School US History & Literature, Middle School US History & Literature,

Fun & Fascinating IEW

Mrs. LaChrisha, of Classical Integrated Courses, is certified with Institute of Excellence in Writing to officially teach the IEW process and has been teaching IEW for over ten years. In addition, she teaches grammar as well as Integrated history/literature/writing centered around ancient, world or American history. She is also an 18-year home schooling veteran, homeschooling her own children from kindergarten to high school graduation, therefore fully understanding the homeschool process. She has taught in homeschool co-op settings, private classroom settings and charter school class day settings, as well as organed and run large co-ops throughout her homeschooling years. In addition to maintaining vendor status for several charter schools and seeking to add more, LaChrisha teaches at numerous class day sites.

TINA KAUFMAN

Hula Dance/Fitness

Tina has been dancing Hula since she was 5 years old and teaching for 20 years. Tinas passion is sharing her love for the Polynesian culture while sharing much ALOHA to all. Tina is also a personal trainer & has a gym in her house where she loves to workout & train others to

become their healthiest they can be.

KIERSTEN SMITH

Music and Movement &

Beginning Violin

Kiersten is a violinist and violist. Kiersten holds a master’s degree in violin performance from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in music education from BYU-Idaho. Kiersten currently teaches private violin lessons and group music classes for the SDSU Community Music School, as well as beginning orchestra at Carmel Valley Middle School. Kiersten has taught orchestra, band, and general music to students of all ages.

JEREMY WILSON

Math 6/7, PreAlgebra, Algebra, Physical Science,  Elements of Chemistry, Auto Maintenance, Electrical Engineers, Electronic, Video Game Creators & Design, 3D Video Design, Hands-on Physics, Multi-Media, Block based Coding, Graphic Design, Arduino, 

Jeremy has a love for teaching and sharing information that will better equip our community’s children for the future. He was homeschooled all through high-school and believes in the value of character development in one’s youth to make wise life choices. Jeremy has been teaching in a classroom environment since 2008 he is a very popular, hands-on, effective instructor, in a variety of disciplines. Students in Mr. Wilson’s classes can expect a fun and playful learning environment where core character qualities are covered throughout his classroom curriculum. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and has several certifications from project management to web development. He is the CEO of JKW Innovations, a consulting business that develops learning and instructional aid videos on multiple platforms established in 2002. Mr. Wilson loves spending his free time with his wife, 8 kids, and 4 grandchildren.

DEBORAH FAKHRI

Middle School Ancient History,

High School Research & Writing,

Art of Speech, Latin through Songs & Games, Map Making for Kids,

Intro to Debate, Middle School

Creative Writing, World Religions

Deborah is passionate about education and helping each and every student achieve academic excellence. She has been an avid reader, writer, and history enthusiast for as long as she can remember. She was an active member of her school’s speech and debate team for seven years in junior high and high school, and often placed among the top debaters at tournaments. After high school she tutored English at Southwestern College, where she worked with both ESL and English speaking students to outline, revise, and strengthen their writing assignments. She graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor’s degree in History. She currently homeschools her two oldest children, and tutors at Classical Conversations, where she instructs elementary students in everything from science, to grammar, to Latin. She has a passion for making education, especially history, fascinating and accessible to students of all ages.

JIE WANG

Chinese, Chinese Calligraphy Art

Jie has accumulated rich teaching experience in tutoring art students and Chinese in the China Academy of fine arts. She has spent 25 years teaching arts and chinese in China before she came to America. She got her master’s degree in Lu Xun Academy of Fine Art. She graduated from Jilin University as Chinese Language and Literature

MIHO RAMIREZ

Japanese

Megumi has been teaching at BFLE for about two years, all of our students love her. She is a native Japanese speaker and she used to work at SDSU helping Japanese students study the English language. She loves children.

NICHOLAS WILSON

Assistant to JKW Innovations

Nicholas graduated from TCA (Tabernacle Christian Academy) as Valedictorian. Nicholas demonstrated outstanding character and was awarded an academic scholarship to further his college education.  Nicholas comes from a large family of eight siblings. Nicholas has a love for computer programming and coding, he is an avid gamer, and is working on finishing his degree in Graphic Design in Game Development at SDSU. Nicholas has found a love for knowledge and shares that love by passing it on to his students.

JAIMEE BRANT

Doll Making & Clothing Sewing, 

Crafty Creatures Hand Sewing,

Junior Sewers, Fashion Design, Beginning Sewing Machine

Jaimee, owner of Paint Box Art Studio & a lover of art, gardening, teaching and karaoke. After graduating from UC San Diego, she attended FIDM in Los Angeles and worked as a clothing and swimwear designer in the surf industry in Orange County, California, for 13 years. After her stretch in Newport Beach, San Diego was calling me back home. She is very happy to be back and teaching fine art and sewing to children and adults for the last 5 years and raising my daughter in the most beautiful city in Southern California! I have taught children’s fine art classes, arts and crafts camp, adult art, sketching, sewing and needle-craft for 20 years.

JESSICA DVORKIN

Teaching all classes with a Biblical Worldview: Financial Literacy, Government, Economics, Financial Literacy, Psychology 101, Middle School Civics

Jessica moved to San Diego in January, 2019 from a small town in New Jersey where she grew up and spent the majority of her life. She completed her studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA where she received her undergraduate degree in Psychology, with a certificate in Writing in 2014.

Jessica loves to make the most out of every moment, and you will likely find her close to the ocean or a body of water over the weekend. Miss Jessica is passionate about Leadership and serving the Lord in every way shape and form, and is eager to continue as God continues to shape her for His purpose!