Abigail Adelsheim-Marshall

Abigail Adelsheim-Marshall is a graduate of Hamline University as well as a Planet Homeschool Alumni. She has a BA in Sociology and a BBA in Business Administration.

She has presented at national social justice theatre conferences and has lead numerous workshops in the Twin Cities area. She has worked with local schools, the Saint Paul Police Force, and has founded her own theatre troupe. 

Currently, she is the event coordinator for Mischief Toy Store, her family store which she helped to found in 2015.

Michelle Albrecht de Grados

Michelle Albrecht de Grados is a homeschooling mom of one who is passionate about eco-friendly painting, arts & crafts, writing and sharing holistic wellness resources. Having taken oil painting in college she quickly converted to acrylics then watercolor painting for the greater health of people and the planet. On any given day you will find her homeschooling, reading, researching/writing, sketching/painting, eco-crafting, gardening, taking pictures, enjoying local community adventures, traveling or exploring the latest holistic wellness pursuit with friends and family.

Maria Almli

As a journalist, Maria Almli has covered the arts, local history, race, and politics, including the Republican National Convention. She has worked in radio and print. Other endeavors include teaching adult English language learners and running a middle school book club. This coming fall will be her family's tenth year homeschooling. Her four children range in age from four to fourteen. Maria holds a B.A. in philosophy from St Olaf college.

Dr. Tom Anderson

Hamline University Chemistry Professor since 2005
Homeschool Parent

A Hamline University chemistry professor for over 10 years, woodworker, and long-time LEGO enthusiast, Dr. Tom brings a fascination with the natural world to help his students teach themselves how to learn and study.

Ann Angle

Ann Angle has been homeschooling for the past 12 years. In her free time, she enjoys reading, sewing, cross-stitch, playing board games and cosplay. She’s very excited to teach at PHS!

Jeanne Bain

Jeanne Bain has been helping people find their voices and tell their stories for most of her adult life. She holds a Masters Degree in Human Development with an emphasis in youth development and creativity. She employs her undergraduate degree and early work experience in theater to her facilitation, infusing her classes with energy, excitement, and movement.

Sarah Beggs

In 2018 Janet Lewis and Sarah Beggs launched Fiber Works MPLS, a textile organization in Northeast Minneapolis with a focus on engaging our community in the arts of sewing and knitting handcraft.

Sarah Beggs is a skilled coordinator and creator. In her work with the neighborhood children over seven years at the Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market, she organized a curriculum where each week the children explored the many aspects of agriculture through interactive projects and participatory events. Sarah believes that hands-on-learning for young children is the best way to engage their minds and learn new skills. Running the Children’s Tent allowed for just this kind of exploration. The neighborhood kids gained insight and understanding of community and agriculture though these fun activities including finger knitting, spinning, and hand sewing.

A lifelong hand knitter, Sarah was VP and then Treasurer of the Minnesota Knitters Guild for three years. Her knitting skills developed by way of training under one of the most creative, innovative teachers in the Upper Midwest, Susan Sari (Sisu Designs) of Ely, MN. Currently, Sarah is working on The Master Hand Knitting Program through The Knitting Guild Association. Sarah holds a BA from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and is a co-owner of Roadrunner Records in south Minneapolis.

Lauren Borer

Lauren Borer has worked as a naturalist since 1999 after earning degrees from Paul Smith's College and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) and a secondary science teaching certification from the University of Montana.

She started working as a Natural History Day Camp Teacher at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on Cape Cod, MA and stayed there for 3 wonderful seasons teaching day camp and leading a few other programs as well, such as night hikes (her favorite!). After traveling the country, she found work with the Montana Outdoor Science School (MOSS) in Bozeman, MT and was lucky enough to teach in Yellowstone National Park through MOSS. A summer was spent working as a naturalist on the Gunflint Trail and another summer was spent working as a naturalist at The Ridges Sanctuary, Inc. in Door County, WI.

Here in Minnesota, Lauren has worked many places since 2006 as a naturalist and a classroom teacher. She has worked at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Lake, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board as a Neighborhood Naturalist and the Education Coordinator at the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary. Currently, she works part-time as a naturalist at Eastman Nature Center, part of the Three Rivers Park District.

She has also taught in middle and high school classrooms as she was a licensed Minnesota teacher in 5-8 general science and 9-12 life science.

Since 2012, she has been working with homeschool groups, scout troops, and SciGirls to offer natural history and STEM programming throughout the Twin Cities through TCEEC. The same quality educational programs will be offered through Naturally Curious Education, LLC.

Lauren has taught at Planet Homeschool since the fall of 2015.

Lukas Brasherfons

Lukas Brasherfons is a dramaturg and violence designer based in the Twin Cities. He is a regular teaching artist as well as Resident Dramaturg for Shakespearean Youth Theatre (SYT), based in Saint Paul. His dramaturgical endeavors in Chicago include work with Northlight Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co., Raven Theatre, Next Theatre, the Den Theatre, and Writers Theatre. Lukas holds a BFA in Acting with a minor in Stage Combat from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA in Dramaturgy from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop at the University of Iowa.

David Brokken

David Brokken has taught math from 4th grade through college calculus. He's also spent decades as a secret agent (spy) for various governments, but he can't really say too much about that. (However, he will point out that the Panama Canal is still operating … )

Julianne Bruce

Julianne Bruce, whose favorite class to teach is Improv, holds degrees in Theatre Arts and English Literature and Writing from Bethel University. Her passion is youth theatre. She's taught and directed kids from ages five to 18—both onstage and behind-the-scenes—most notably spending seven years as the managing director of Debut Theatre Company in Colorado. In addition, she is a published playwright of numerous skits and one-acts for children and teens, as well as the co-author of a musical for teens.

She was taught at Planet Homeschool since Spring Semester 2019.

Suzanne Burke

Suzanne Burke enjoyed Japanese in high school and continued language studies at the U of MN as well as two years of study at a university in Japan. She feels very fortunate to have been able to continue using her skills working with Japanese tourists in Hawaii as well as through keeping in touch with friends worldwide.

Kim Chase-Kozak

Kim Chase-Kozak has degrees in math and computer science from the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. She worked as a software engineer for many years before becoming a homeschooling parent to her own two kids. She has worked with groups of kids from preschool age to college leading and teaching in many ways over the years and think it is especially fun working with homeschooled kids! 

Cinema Ballroom

Yvette Harvieux is a ballroom dance instructor at Cinema Ballroom in St. Paul. She teaches kids' Latin/ballroom group classes and private lessons. Yvette has been performing, competing, and teaching dance for over 40 years. She also teaches competition tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, and contemporary for Larkin Dance Studio. She loves teaching and watching as kids grow in skills, confidence, and leadership through dance. Highlights of Yvette's dance career include: performing as a featured dancer in the Super Bowl XXVI halftime show, competing through to the semi-final round on the nationally-televised show Star Search, dancing with and coaching for the Minnesota Timberwolves Performance Team, as well as performing professionally for other local and national industrials, shows, and events. She taught a dance course at St. Catherine College while obtaining her B.S. in Food Science from the University of Minnesota. Yvette currently continues to perform and is also a competitive mountain biker, Ironman triathlete, marathon runner, and rock climber. Yvette and her husband have three girls, all of whom are avid readers and proud math/science geeks; one each in middle school, high school and the eldest is in college at the U of MN, College of Science and Engineering.

Barbara Crist-Nepp

Doug Nepp and Barbara Crist-Nepp are married with three adult children who all love to cook. Faced with an empty nest this fall, Doug and Barbara decided they needed to teach How to Boil Water again. Doug Nepp dreams of retiring and going to France to study at Le Cordon Blu. In the meantime, he practices law, watches cooking shows and cooks fabulous meals for family and friends. Barbara Crist-Nepp has loved to cook for others since she was 14 and made her first family dinner. She works at a co-op, reads cookbooks like novels, loves cooking with Doug, and has decided that spending retirement time in France is a sacrifice she's willing to make.

Riley Davis

Riley Davis (They/Them or He/Him pronouns) is a graduate from Hamline University with a degree in English Literature and Anthropology. He is an Assistant Manager at an independent bookstore in Saint Paul. He has an expertise in Science Fiction and Children's literature.

"Hi, my name is Riley (they/them). I’m a former frontline activist from Black Lives Matter and #NODAPL from 2014-2017 who now lives a quiet life as a bookseller and avid reader. I like to use books to understand how the world sees people like me and to explain the history of how people like me have been seen. Oh? Did I say books? I meant all forms of literature including movies, graphic novels, theater, music, and memes. I believe these are all important for understanding the world we exist in and the people who are a part of it. Rest assured you will interact with each of these literary forms in this class where we learn and discuss how blackness and the subsequent anti-blackness Along with colonialism shapes the world we live in and how we can combat it for something better."

Engineering for Kids

Engineering For Kids brings science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), to kids in a fun and challenging way through classes, camps, clubs, and parties. Engineering For Kids is proud to inspire children to build on their natural curiosity by teaching engineering concepts through hands-on learning. Engineering is, after all, one of the fastest growing industries in the world!

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education is something that is critically lacking in our nations schools. In a globally competitive economy, employers of all shapes and sizes are increasingly seeking workers skilled in science, technology, engineering, and math. Supply is low and demand is high. There is a mismatch between projected future jobs requiring STEM skills and the projected supply of qualified workers to fill them. Engineering For Kids seeks to be a major part of the solution to this problem by fostering these skills in kids.

Engineering For Kids has 145 locations in 21 countries. Over 150,000 students have gone through programs worldwide. Engineering for Kids Minneapolis is proud to partner with Planet Homeschool to bring their programs here.

Joe Filipovich

Music Teacher Joe Filipovich teaches students of all ages and experience levels. Joe enjoys breaking down the challenges of playing music into a fun step-by-step process so students can learn their favorite songs. He teaches group classes throughout many community education districts around the Twin Cities as well as private lessons for kids and adults at the Cyprus Music Academy and the Chanson Music Academy. Classes include an instruction book filled with chords, scales, songs, and other music instructions. The instruction book is for the student to use during lessons, practice, and keep after the course is complete.

Brady Geary

Brady Geary has a degree in music from Augsburg University with many courses in piano and teaching theory. He has taught through the Boy Scouts of America Base Camp Youth Programs.

Valerie Geary

Valerie Geary has been homeschooling for 12 years and has four kids (one that is in college now). Before all that, she spent 3 years in college as a drawing/art history major then switched to nursing and graduated with her RN. She could teach a class about how not to do college but who would sign up for that (plus it is the journey and learning that matter not the amount of debt collected … right?).

Her first experience as a teacher was starting a nursing assistant program co-sponsored by Osseo Senior High and an intermediate school district. This class had both straight "A" students who were becoming nursing assistants to gain experience before going on to nursing or medical school and struggling students looking for a skill to get them a good job right out of high school. She not only enjoyed teaching but loved adding to the state curriculum to make the class more interesting and fun for this wide variety of students.

Once she started homeschooling she quickly learned that if a class or group doesn't already exist it is easy to start your own. She started a homeschool book club which ran for 6+ years covering over 60 novels. Building on that success she added a homeschool art club where she introduced students to various artists and art projects. In addition, she has been involved with the Minnesota Homeschoolers' Alliance board for many years but her favorite part was creating the MHA 5K, an event where she could share her love of running.

Carlos D.D. Grados

Carlos D.D. Grados is a native Spanish speaker who picked up English watching TV and playing with his friends. In college, he majored in both French and Business Administration, and he has his Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota. He has taught in Minneapolis public schools as a Spanish and French teacher for over 20 years. He currently works as a Spanish interpreter in our community. He has enjoyed learning the French language since middle school, through college where he spent a year studying in Avignon, France enjoying the French culture and language. He is now and forever will be the proud father of a homeschooler. He looks forward to working with PHS students with the love of learning and a curiosity for the world.

Tim Hereid

Tim Hereid is a licensed teacher, homeschool educator, dad, geek and passionate learner who has worked with homeschoolers in Maine, New York, Wisconsin, and Minnesota over the past fifteen years. He grew up in south-central Wisconsin, attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his Master’s in Education from Hamline University in St. Paul. He is a passionate homeschool advocate, a proponent of project-based learning and a great lover of teaching, learning, technology, and nature.

Peter Hoh

Peter Hoh grew up taking things apart and building forts in his backyard. He graduated college with a degree in English. As a 4th grade teacher in the early 1990s, Peter redesigned the science curriculum to make it hands-on and textbook free. He left classroom teaching to be a stay-at-home dad. For the past 20 years, he's been leading science and engineering programs in informal educational settings (museums, libraries, and after school). He's an active volunteer and occasional instructor at the Saint Paul Tool Library.

Prudence Johnson

Prudence Johnson has been a full-time performing, recording and teaching artist working in musical theater, film, radio and on concert stages across the US, Europe and Canada for more than 30 years. She’s been a music director at Stepping Stone Theatre for Youth Development since 1996 and has taught private voice lessons as well as group singing classes in Community Education at MCTC. Camden Music School proudly welcomed Prudence on staff a year ago. She teaches individual voice and group singing lessons at CMS.

For more information on Prudence see www.prudencejohnson.com.

Dawn Keenan

Dawn Keenan has a 34-year background in design, including experience with electronic and Internet publishing. She has previously worked for Macy's, Target, and HOM Furniture marketing departments as a writer, designer, and project manager. She has also worked as a youth coach, tutor, and trainer in professional settings.

Benjamin Klein

Ben is a professional musician, educator, and composer based in the Twin Cities. He received a PhD in music composition from the University of Minnesota, an MA in music composition and experimental music from Wesleyan University, and a BMus in music theory and tuba performance from Lawrence University. His primary instrument is the tuba; as a composer and a performer Ben specializes in contemporary, experimental, and electro-acoustic music. He has taught music theory, composition, music technology, and tuba performance at a number of institutions including: the University of Minnesota, Lawrence University, Anoka Ramsey Community College, Concordia University, and the St. Joseph School of Music. He is also active as a educator and arts advocate through the 113 Composers Collective.

Michelle Lehman

Michelle Lehman fell in love with learning as a child and has spent her life looking for new challenges and adventures. Her hands on approach to learning developed during her years at Mahtomedi Middle School where creating a challenging and rewarding learning environment for students with special needs required thinking outside the box. A strong believer in project based learning, Michelle has been a Destination Imagination team manager for multiple teams over the past eight years. This program stresses creative problem solving, innovation and self development in a team environment. Michelle has brought this practical and rewarding style to her PHS classes.

Janet Lewis

In 2018 Janet Lewis and Sarah Beggs launched Fiber Works MPLS, a textile organization in Northeast Minneapolis with a focus on engaging our community in the arts sewing and knitting hand craft.

Janet Lewis is passionate about teaching and sharing her love of sewing with young children. She has taught summer camps for kids in St Paul and Chicago over the last three years. Janet’s eleven years of work with Macy’s 8th Floor Christmas and Spring Flower Shows displayed to the public her skills and professional excellence. Additionally, her work sewing costumes for the Houston Ballet Company offered a unique opportunity working with children and young adults. She continues to help both large institutions and small companies alike meet their performance deadlines working with both the prop and costume teams.

Janet maintains her own side business, Neighbor Lady Creations, featuring aprons from vintage patterns which she sells at local gift shops and the No Coast Craft-O-Rama. Opening a community-based Fiber Arts center where she can both teach sewing and engage with the local sewing community it the natural evolution of her passion.

Megan McNinch

Megan McNinch holds a BA in Studio Arts with a focus in drawing and printmaking, and has taught art classes for homeschool students of various ages. She enjoys watching students develop both their skills and their creativity through art. Megan is also a homeschooling parent of two teenagers.

Minnesota Sword Play

Minnesota Sword Play's owner and main coach Maria Los Angeles Hechavarria Benford is an International trained ranked fencer. Member of the United States Fencing Association, and taught fencing at the College of Saint Catherine in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Maria served as the President of the U.S.F.A. Minnesota Division and Vice President. She is very competitive and has taught and coached fencing to both men and women for more than 16 years during which time her students have often gained regional distinction.

Doug Nepp

Doug Nepp and Barbara Crist-Nepp are married with three adult children who all love to cook. Faced with an empty nest this fall, Doug and Barbara decided they needed to teach How to Boil Water again. Doug Nepp dreams of retiring and going to France to study at Le Cordon Blu. In the meantime, he practices law, watches cooking shows and cooks fabulous meals for family and friends. Barbara Crist-Nepp has loved to cook for others since she was 14 and made her first family dinner. She works at a co-op, reads cookbooks like novels, loves cooking with Doug, and has decided that spending retirement time in France is a sacrifice she's willing to make.

Clare Gardner Nieto

Clare Gardner Nieto grew up in New Jersey on a 56-acre farm with a big garden and a healthy dose of horses, sheep, chickens, cats and dogs. She spent hours roaming the rolling hills and exploring the streams. Her naturalist mother taught her about the useful plants that surrounded them. Yet, it wasn't until later that she became fully aware of their medicinal qualities. Clare graduated from the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in European Studies. She studied photography at Rockport College in Maine and Marketing at New York’s New School. In New York City, she pursued successful careers in photography, stage management, and marketing/project management. Clare moved to Minneapolis in 2005 and worked as an Interactive Project Manager for large website installations. She left the corporate world in 2016 to follow her passion for helping others. She is a full-time herbalist and flower essence specialist based in Northeast Minneapolis. Clare’s herbal medicine training spans Traditional Western Herbalism and Flower Essence Therapy. Clare has studied herbalism with Lise Wolff and Matthew Wood. She studied flower essence therapy with Martin Bulgerin in Minneapolis and the Flower Essence Society in California. She is currently training as a Life Coach through CTI. Clare is passionate about sharing her knowledge with young people and helping them to connect to themselves and the world. Her main focus in clinic is anxiety, depression and trauma/PTSD. She also works with a wide variety of conditions such as nerve + muscular pain, headaches/migraines, allergies, PMS, fertility, menopause, digestive issues, insomnia, low energy/fatigue, lung and circulatory issues. www.claregardnernieto.com.

Judy O'Neill

Judy O’Neill shares her enjoyment and knowledge of mathematics through teaching courses at Planet Homeschool, neighborhood schools and private tutoring. Over the past six years she has taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and II, Geometry and Pre-Calculus. Judy has a BA in Mathematics and a BS in Computational Mathematics from Eastern Illinois University, along with a MS in Computer Science from DePaul University and a PhD in the History of Science and Technology from the University of MN. She homeschooled her two daughters and was active in the homeschooling community, having served on the Board of the Minnesota Homeschoolers' Alliance as Treasurer for four years and taken a turn running the (now defunct) Twin Cities Learning Coop.

Michael Oachs

If you're looking for a friendly, skilled, patient, and experienced guitar teacher - a teacher that tailors the approach to help you reach your goals faster - look no further than Michael Oachs. Lessons are well balanced and fun, with the student's needs a priority. Areas of focus include chord studies, tablature, reading standard notation, music theory, performance, songwriting, singing with guitar, reading 'fake' music, guitar gear, and much more. A good deal of Michael's material for his students is self-produced and he is currently in the process of publishing his own series of guitar method books. His styles of expertise include Blues, Rock, Pop, Country, R&B/Funk, Rockabilly, and Slide Guitar.

Outside of being an in-demand guitar teacher, Michael 'Otis' Oachs is a highly skilled lead guitarist and studio musician. He's performed in countless local ensembles, most notably the Rock quartet The Skydogs and the Country Soul band The Copperheads, completing a total of 4 full-length independently-released CDs. His current group, The Mirabelles, combines his many talents with vocalist and songwriter, Brandy Runyan. Their album, Turbulence, is a Pop/Rock tour de force winning the 2007 Women In Music Minnesota Songwriting Competition.

Michael earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from St. Olaf College in 1989 and has been teaching at Schmitt Music since 1991.

See Michael's Schmitt Music Bio to check out Michael's video examples.


Kathy Oaks

Kathy Oaks is a photographer, author, and educator who is passionate about travel and learning. She and her husband Tom live in Saint Paul with their three boys, ages 8, 13, and 16. Kathy is dedicated to helping parents and kids who want to take a non-traditional approach to education. She has written two books on homeschooling, including Homeschoolers Are Not Hermits, to support families as they make the transition from conventional schooling to the adventure of homeschooling, and Roadschooling to bring her family’s joy of travel to others. She and her family have been both students and teachers at PHS since 2016. She teaches photography and public speaking to homeschoolers in the Twin Cities.

Nora Parker Cox

Nora Parker Cox has been teaching writing to homeschoolers for eight years. As a homeschool graduate herself, she loves finding different ways to teach so that students of all learning styles can understand and enjoy her classes, especially writing. Nora graduated from Planet Homeschool in 2006 and went on to get a B.A. in English and Philosophy from Albion College, MI in 2012. Since graduating, she has been teaching and tutoring the humanities through her secular business, The Light Academy.

Amy Pass

Amy Pass holds a BA in Psychology from Bethel College and an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Bethel Theological Seminary. She is currently the board secretary for the Minnesota Homeschoolers Alliance and has been homeschooling for 12 years. Her life experiences include doing family therapy with families involved with child protection, cross-cultural adoption, teaching natural childbirth classes, co-founding the non-profit knitting & crocheting group Team Yarn, and working in film and sound production as part of her family's small business, GAPMEDIA. She enjoys camping, skiing, and talking theology/philosophy/psychology with anyone who's willing.

Tesha Christensen Pettit

Tesha M. Christensen Pettit is a freelance writer and photographer with over 16 years of experience in the journalism industry — more if you count the little newspapers she wrote, designed, and published on her family's first Macintosh computer when she was a kid. In college, she worked for the Bethel College Clarion.

Christensen Pettit served as the assistant editor for 10 years of her hometown newspaper, the STAR newspaper in Cambridge, Minn. She currently writes for the Longfellow/Nokomis Messenger, the St. Paul Monitor, and Twin Cities Daily Planet.

She has taught journalism classes at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and is currently teaching at Planet Homeschool in Minneapolis. She has been thrilled to receive awards for both her articles and photographs from the Minnesota Newspaper Association.

She is a journalist because she loves journalism, and believes it is essential to a free society. You will almost always find her dining room table littered with newspapers.

See more at teshamchristensen.blogspot.com.

Carrie Pomeroy

Carrie Pomeroy holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas and has published her writing in The Silent Film Review, The Twin Cities Daily Planet, The St. Paul Almanac, Life Learning, Literary Mama, and more. She has homeschooled her son and daughter for almost sixteen years and has taught writing t the University of Arkansas, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and Metropolitan State University. She loves using writing as a tool for exploration and understanding and helping students recognize their own strengths.

Theresa Redfern-Hall

Theresa Redfern-Hall graduated from a women’s liberal arts college. She has a Bachelor's in Paralegal Studies and has spent time working on an MA in Library and Information Science at the College of St. Catherine. Over the years, Theresa has worked as a legal assistant in a law office, an advocate for battered women, a court reporter and bailiff for county court judges, and a volunteer coordinator for a women’s shelter.

Theresa has taught at Planet Homeschool since 2008. She loves working with the students and helping them make connections between their lives and history. Since not every student learns in the same way, her goal is to present information in a variety of forms and mediums that appeal to all types of learners. She has even been accused of making history “fun.” Currently, she is involved in freelance work, teaching classes for homeschoolers, learning to weave, genealogy, and gardening. Theresa and her spouse live in S. Mpls with their three children ages 20-24, a Newfoundland, a Cavalier, and a cat. She loves learning and teaching about history and loves to buy lots of history books. Her motto for life and learning is “Question everything.” Find out more about her classes at her website www.homeschoolingclasses.com.

Ms. Dorothy Rose

Dorothy Rose began her dancing career at the age of three. Subsequently, she has studied, performed and taught dance classes throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Dorothy Rose has spent a lifetime devoted to teaching students of all ages. Academically, she has a MEd. Degree in Education, having graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota. French, Spanish, English, Teacher Education are among the subjects she has taught here and abroad. She has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including membership in Phi Beta Kappa, recognition by the MN council of Teachers of Foreign Languages, nomination for MN Teacher of the Year. Her teaching philosophy is, “If they don’t learn the way you teach them, teach them the way they learn.”

Ben Scruggs

Ben Scruggs is a singer/songwriter currently living in Burnsville. He has played and taught guitar for eleven years, including this last year at Planet Homeschool. His band is currently working on their debut record. He is married with a one year old son.

Joyce Nelson Shellhart

Joyce Nelson Shellhart received her BA in Art from Mount Mercy University with a minor in Education. After teaching Art in the public high school, she was forced to retire early due to Multiple Sclerosis. But as Joyce says, “I love teaching and working with students. I may not be able to teach full time — but I haven’t given up the joy of watching the creative light glow in a student’s eye.” She has spent the past years teaching Art to 4H groups, Community Education Classes to all age groups, Workshops at Art Centers, Homeschool Academies, and private students. She is a practicing Artist and Author. Joyce lives on Lake Minnetonka with her poodle, HoneyDew, and Russian Tortoise, Dottie.

Connor Skidmore

Connor Skidmore is a mathematics student at the University of St Thomas and a PHS alum. He has been interested in game development, computer programming, and music production and has been working on those things on the side for most of his life, with the intent to make them into a career

Dr. Tiffany Skidmore

Tiffany Skidmore earned a B.A. in Vocal Performance and Music Composition from Gonzaga University, an M.A. in Music Composition from Eastern Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Music Composition at the University of Minnesota, studying with James Dillon. Her work is regularly performed throughout Europe and the United States by acclaimed local and international musicians. She has sung for Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Opera companies, the Spokane Symphony Chorale, Hymnos Vocal Ensemble, the Minnesota Chorale, and numerous other ensembles and organizations. She is the Zeitgeist New Music Ensemble’s 2018-2019 Composer-in-Residence and a 2018-2019 McKnight Composer Fellow. She sings professionally with The Gregorian Singers, teaches music theory at the University of Minnesota, and is Artistic Director of the 113 Composers Collective, an organization that produces concerts, festivals, and guest artist residencies throughout the world.

Bill Smith

Teacher Bill Smith is an experienced dancer and teacher hand-picked by longtime teacher Dorothy Rose to lead the ballroom dance class. He has been a well-received guest teacher at PHS several times.

Marisa Vargas

Marisa Vargas grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has been teaching yoga since 2002. She has studied classical hatha yoga in the Himalayan Tradition of Sri Swami Rama since 1998, primarily at IHT in Saint Paul, MN. She has completed a 500- certificate in Yoga Therapy, teaching certificates in prenatal yoga, teen yoga, and kids yoga ( through Budding Yogis, Radiant Child Yoga, and Yoga 4 Teens), a certificate in Ayurveda Wellness coaching, as well as completed a mindfulness for mother's online course. Marisa is a Yoga Alliance Registered teacher at the Experienced 500-hour level and has led yoga classes for people of all ages.

Logan Verdoorn

Logan Verdoorn is artistic director of Shakespearean Youth Theatre (SYT), a youth performance company and education program based in the Twin Cities. He has worked nationally and internationally as an actor, director, and educator, with a particular focus on Shakespeare in translation, cross-cultural collaboration, physical theater and devised work. Before developing and directing SYT’s programs and productions, Logan was Theater Coordinator at New York University Berlin, where he conceived and implemented award-winning student programming while directing original, multi-lingual productions with students from NYU and local Berlin high schools. He also worked with Tisch School of the Arts to create ‘Stanislavsky, Brecht and Beyond’, NYU’s advanced actor training program in Berlin. Logan is a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts' drama department.

Deacon Warner

Deacon Warner is the Youth Programs Director for FilmNorth (formerly Independent Filmmaker Project MN). He teaches filmmaking residencies at high schools in St Paul and Minneapolis and directs an after-school filmmaking program as well as summer media camps at FilmNorth. Deacon also works as a freelance videographer and produced and directed a number of short documentaries.


Elise Duval Werger

Elise Duval Werger has taught students from first grade through college in both academic and informal settings. She developed a fascination with the everyday experiences of early Americans while employed as a historical interpreter at a New England living history museum. She is now in her twelfth year of homeschooling her three daughters. She enjoys the challenge of tailoring her lessons to the learning styles of her students and seeing them make new connections in their learning. 

Elise graduated from Holy Cross College in Massachusetts and has done graduate studies at Harvard University and the University of Tennessee. She holds a Master's Degree in Philosophy/Medical Ethics.

When not teaching, Elise enjoys making therapy dog visits with her rescue dog Frodo and being a foster "mom" to down-and-out doggies through Pet Haven of Minnesota.

Sample Zzinstructor

For training purposes only.