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 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.
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.
Hamline University Chemistry Professor since 2005
A Hamline University chemistry professor for over 15 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 has been homeschooling for the past 12 years. In her free time, she enjoys reading, sewing, cross-stitching, playing board games, and cosplaying. She’s very excited to teach at PHS!
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 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 through 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.
Minnesota Sword Play’s owner and main coach Maria Benford has been fencing for over 30 years. She is a rated fencer who has won many national competitions. Coach Maria is a member of the United States Fencing Association and has served as the President and Vice President of the U.S.F.A. Minnesota Division. She has taught and coached fencing to both men and women for more than 20 years during which time her students have often gained regional distinction.
Séa Blake is an avid maker and nerf modder. They’ve been part of Planet Homeschool since Fall 2015 and they began homeschooling in 2006. As a teenager, they hosted, the Dragonwood LARP. Séa has been a YDSC pilot since 2020, flying as Eclipse. They won the overall Advanced YDSC Flying Fall ‘21 Sim Season and took first in the YDSC Individuals and second in YDSC Pairs with their Tiny Turbines teammate Squirkit at the YDSC Flying Fall ’21 Regional Championship at Target Field.
The co-teaching team of Krista Boos and Barb Martinez specializes in teaching classes for teens and tweens that are experiential, engaging, interesting and fun. You’ll find less lecture and more discussion in their classes as they believe that engaging directly and deeply with a topic allows for great learning. Their philosophy is: “We believe learning happens by living, experiencing and doing; by asking questions and seeking answers; by nurturing curiosity; and understanding and embracing that it doesn’t always happen in a straight line.” For example, in their Big Juicy Questions series of classes students dive into ethical topics that encourage them to articulate and define their beliefs about each topic. They learn to have mature conversations about big things in a safe, respectful environment. In their Living Math classes, students engage with math concepts that are all around us. They learn about how and why nature makes patterns such as fractals, tessellations, and spirals, and then students create a piece of art that expresses each one of the math concepts. Students learn about the Black Plague by being transported back to the 1300s and taking on the role of an elder in an Italian city where the Plague is fast approaching. How will you protect your town? Additionally, they teach classes on Minnesota History through research, games, and activities, STEM Challenges get students thinking about how to solve a problem, Building Big Brains teaches critical thinking, logic, and reasoning through riddles, games, activities, and mysteries. Over the years they have developed dozens of classes on a variety of topics and they are constantly creating new, high-quality ones to share with their students.
Krista has a business degree from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. They both worked in their fields for a time before deciding to stay home with their children. Together, they have been teaching classes for homeschool students for over 10 years and homeschooled their own children for many more. During that time, they have developed their engaging, hands-on approach to teaching. They believe that the more students engage with a topic or problem, the more they get out of it. They have been trained in the Socratic method of questioning and discussions and employ it throughout their classes. They are both naturally curious about the world and are avid learners themselves which keeps them engaged with learning and makes them better teachers. Their authentic excitement about learning and teaching is what helps them create such great classes.
Krista has been married for 22 years, has 4 boys and has homeschooled all of them. 2 are grown and the other 2 (twins!) are teens. She loves to travel, cook, read, play games, is a Nutritional Consultant and Life Coach, and has been a yoga teacher for the past 11 years. She loves Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Hamilton, and when she goes to the Renaissance Festival, she dresses up in a gorgeous gown and hat…with a wand, of course
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 is a director/dramaturg based in Minneapolis. With Shakespearean Youth Theatre, he has directed As You Like It, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, as well as the Dream Project audio dramas of Romeo and Juliet, Troilus and Cressida, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His dramaturgical endeavors include work with American Players Theatre, Writers Theatre, the Iowa New Play Festival, the Den Theatre, Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co, Next Theatre, Raven Theatre, Mercury Players, Broom Street Theater, Chicago Dramatists, and Northlight Theatre. Lukas has a BFA in Acting with a minor in Stage Combat from Columbia College Chicago, as well as an MFA in Dramaturgy from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.
Shakespearean Youth Theatre, 2300 Myrtle Ave, Suite 240, Saint Paul, MN 55114
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, whose first love is directing, 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's taught at Planet Homeschool since Spring Semester 2019.
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!
PHS Clubs are overseen by the parents, guardians, and caregivers of the enrolled students.
Leah Crain is the originator of and teen facilitator for the PHS Coding Club.
Barbara Crist-Nepp and Doug 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 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 (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 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.
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.
Jennifer Floyd received her BA in Studio Art from UC San Diego, and her teaching credential from San Diego State University. She has a single subject (K-12) credential in Art, Language Arts, and Social Studies, and taught in private and public schools for 14 years before beginning her homeschooling journey after her two children were born in 2006 and 2007. She has many diverse interests, having raised sheep, rare breed poultry, livestock guardian dogs, and fiber goats; trained horses, dabbled in gardening, spinning and crochet, enjoys photography, and is an avid reader.
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 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 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.
Trina Greene started teaching in 2005 as a Kindergarten teacher. After spending many years in the K-12 setting (4th, 6th, 7th GT) she searched and found her passion in Higher Education. She currently is a Faculty Dean and Instructor at Southern New Hampshire University. She enjoys working with freshmen as they start their journey into higher education.
In 2005, she graduated from the University of Minnesota (GO GOPHERS) with her B.S. in Elementary Education and in 2008 with her M.Ed. in Mathematics Education. She is ABD in Higher Education Administration.
She lives with her husband who is a Software Engineer for Microsoft (Github) and her 11-year-old daughter, Ella, who participates in PHS. Oh, and don’t forget her two adorable siamese cats, Russell and Burn-E (she promises they are not like those siamese in Lady in the Tramp). She loves all things nature so you will find her 95% of the time enjoying the great outdoors. Most days during PHS she uses the time to go for a long run. Marathon training is a passion of hers. She loves spending time with her family traveling, biking, skiing (downhill and XC), hiking, climbing mountains, canyoneering, swimming, scuba diving (she is a rescue diver), a multitude of water sports, birding, and camping. She loves challenges and never stops moving.
Kimberly Guedes has been homeschooling for the last nine years. Kim lives on a hobby farm and enjoys caring for animals, making art, and working with children. She is looking forward to teaching at PHS!
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.
Tim Hereid is a licensed teacher, homeschool educator, private tutor, writer, 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 absolutely loves teaching and learning.
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.
Daniel Hoisington is a Twin Cities maker and home educator.
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.
Rebekah Jorgensen is a homeschooling mom who has taught music, math, and German in some combination since 2006, both online and in the classroom. She loves learning new languages, travel, board and video games, and trying new things.
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.
Ben Klein is a professional musician, educator, and composer based in the Twin Cities. He received a Ph.D. 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. 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. Ben is currently active as a composer, educator, and arts advocate through the 113 Composers Collective.
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 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 to work 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 is the natural evolution of her passion.
The co-teaching team of Barb Martinez and Krista Boos specializes in teaching classes for teens and tweens that are experiential, engaging, interesting, and fun. You’ll find less lecture and more discussion in their classes as they believe that engaging directly and deeply with a topic allows for great learning. Their philosophy is: “We believe learning happens by living, experiencing and doing; by asking questions and seeking answers; by nurturing curiosity; and understanding and embracing that it doesn’t always happen in a straight line.” For example, in their Big Juicy Questions series of classes students dive into ethical topics that encourage them to articulate and define their beliefs about each topic. They learn to have mature conversations about big things in a safe, respectful environment. In their Living Math classes, students engage with math concepts that are all around us. They learn about how and why nature makes patterns such as fractals, tessellations, and spirals, and then students create a piece of art that expresses each one of the math concepts. Students learn about the Black Plague by being transported back to the 1300s and taking on the role of an elder in an Italian city where the Plague is fast approaching. How will you protect your town? Additionally, they teach classes on Minnesota History through research, games, and activities, STEM Challenges get students thinking about how to solve a problem, Building Big Brains teaches critical thinking, logic, and reasoning through riddles, games, activities, and mysteries. Over the years they have developed dozens of classes on a variety of topics and they are constantly creating new, high-quality ones to share with their students.
Barb has a BFA in design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. They both worked in their fields for a time before deciding to stay home with their children. Together, they have been teaching classes for homeschool students for over 10 years and homeschooled their own children for many more. During that time, they have developed their engaging, hands-on approach to teaching. They believe that the more students engage with a topic or problem, the more they get out of it. They have been trained in the Socratic method of questioning and discussions and employ it throughout their classes. They are both naturally curious about the world and are avid learners themselves which keeps them engaged with learning and makes them better teachers. Their authentic excitement about learning and teaching is what helps them create such great classes.
Barb has been married for 26 years and has a son and daughter who are both grown and both of whom she homeschooled. She loves gardening, reading, cooking, playing games, and animals of all kinds. She and her daughter have rescued a crow, squirrels, a hedgehog, a mourning dove, a quail, a rabbit and several other lucky creatures. She is the queen of research and loves going down learning rabbit holes where she digs up amazing information and facts about really interesting things. In addition to being an Art Director and teacher, she sells heirloom garden plants every spring, raises chickens with unusual personalities, and loves dressing her dog up in very dapper and sophisticated outfits.
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.
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 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 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 has been sharing her enjoyment and knowledge of mathematics through teaching homeschool math classes and private tutoring in the Twin Cities for over 12 years. She teaches/tutors elementary and high school math through Pre-Calculus and enjoys working with all levels of math learners, meeting students where they are and helping them to move forward. Judy earned a BA in Mathematics and a BS in Computational Mathematics from Eastern Illinois University, along with an MS in Computer Science from DePaul University and a Ph.D. in the History of Science and Technology from the University of MN. Homeschooling is personal for her, having homeschooled her two daughters through high school and served as board treasurer for Minnesota Homeschoolers' Alliance for several years.
Michael Oachs has 30+ years of compassionately leading students to reach guitar goals faster by creating lessons that are inclusive, well-balanced and fun, while also prioritizing the student's individual needs and interests. Areas of focus include chord studies, tablature, reading standard notation, music theory, performance, songwriting, singing with guitar, reading/creating charts, understanding 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 taught at Schmitt Music for 31 years, from 1991 until 2022.
Benjamin Oaks is a teen facilitator for the PHS Game Club.
Kathy Oaks is a photographer, author, and educator who is passionate about travel and learning. She has a degree in Psychology from Rice University, teaches photography and public speaking to homeschool students, and is currently the Communications Director and Member Liaison at Planet Homeschool. She's written several books on homeschooling, which can be found at HomeschoolersNotHermits.com/books.
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 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.
Mariana Petersen relocated to Minneapolis after living in Los Angeles and Buenos Aires. She completed her studies as a musician (piano and voice) at the Conservatory of Music of Buenos Aires and dance (jazz and ballet) at the Instituto Universitario Nacional de Arte. She has taught piano, dance, English, Spanish, and theater to children and adults. She was a bilingual musical theater performer in the children’s theater company “The Performers” and toured around Latin America in recent years. She also works as a Spanish teacher for “Chispa Language Services”, a theater coach for “Hollywood Academy of Performing Arts”, and as a musical theater instructor/director for “Musical Theater MN”. Mariana loves teaching and is thrilled to bring her knowledge and enthusiasm to the team!
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 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 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.
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.”
Nic Rosenau enjoys herding cats, getting ducks in a row, event organizing, and other futile attempts to establish a semblance of cooperative order in our chaotic world. She loves learning, creating, reading, long walks, and waxing philosophical. She's the lead volunteer at Homeschool Adventures, Imagination Fair, Makers Market, and HomeschoolRecess and uses Drupal to build and maintain their various websites. She began homeschooling her child in 2006. Her family joined Planet Homeschool in Fall 2015 and were members until her child’s graduation in Spring 2023. Prior to becoming a parent, she worked in interlibrary loan at Minitex with a pre-internet specialty in finding government documents for library patrons in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. She has worked as a scene shop carpenter and welder, costume maker, stagehand, prop runner, and stage manager for the Guthrie Theater, Sesame Street Live, Minnesota Opera, Theatre in the Round, and History Theatre. She's also worked as a tailor, waitress, and Kelly Girl. She studied Philosophy and Women’s Studies at the University of Minnesota with a special interest in ethics and how people use ideologies to justify doing what they ought to otherwise know is wrong. Nic also enjoys cooking and baking, writing, board games, video games, t'ai chi ch'uan, weight lifting, archery, and recumbent bicycling. Nic shares her home with her spouse and child, a very large fluffy dog, a diabetic cat, a polydactyl cat, and a former feral cat.
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.
A group of qualified professionals who love to teach and are dedicated to providing quality private education while getting students excited about learning science through a unique, hand-on class room experience that engages a wide variety of students.
Suzanne Sensei 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.
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. Joyce is a published author. She has facilitated Practice Writing Groups over the last 10 years. She is a practicing Artist and Author. Joyce currently lives on Lake Minnetonka with her Poshie, Teddybear and her Russian Tortoise, Dottie.
Maria Signorelli joined Shakespearean Youth Theatre as Managing Director in 2021. She has worked in the Twin Cities as a stage manager, actor, and theatre arts educator, including GREAT Theater Summer Camps, Red Bird Theater, Rough Cut Shakespeare Company, Collective Unconscious Performance, and The Grumble Theater. She has also taught creative writing for teens and adults at The Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art (through a partnership with Pathways), STAR Academy and Planet Homeschool Co-op. She is the co-founder of YAPride.org, a website dedicated to supporting and promoting Young Adult novels that feature LGBTQIA+ characters. Maria holds a BA in Theater from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
Shakespearean Youth Theatre, 2300 Myrtle Ave, Suite 240, Saint Paul, MN 55114
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
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 was Zeitgeist New Music Ensemble’s 2018-2019 Composer-in-Residence and a 2018-2019 McKnight Composer Fellow. She sings professionally with The Gregorian Singers and is Artistic Director of the 113 Composers Collective, an organization that produces concerts, festivals, and guest artist residencies throughout the world.
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.
An Engineer, Entrepreneur, Leader, Planner, Speaker, Tinkerer who loves starting, iterating, finishing, learning from and teaching others. Specialties: All things mobile. Apps, Games, and now Drones are Joel Stewart’s core. He can architect scalable cloud infrastructure. He’s managed and contributed to full physical product development (industrial design, mechanical and electrical engineering, manufacturing, Apple MFi, retail, logistics, etc.). Complete software lifecycle understanding: acquisition, retention, monetization, and more. Let’s learn to fly!
Angie Szyman has been a private piano instructor professionally for 12 years. In that time, she has taught all ages the gift of music at the piano, from four year olds to forty years olds and every level in between. She holds a Bachelors degree in piano performance with a pedagogy certificate from UW-River Falls. She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband and son, where she teaches piano from their home and plays piano actively for their church and other special events.
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 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.
Shakespearean Youth Theatre, 2300 Myrtle Ave, Suite 240, Saint Paul, MN 55114
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 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.
Mike Zugschwert has worked professionally in the Visual Effects industry and has experience with all sorts of software, hardware, and techniques related to computer graphics, animation, video production, networking, coding, and gaming.
A Minnesota native, Mike received a Media Arts and Animation degree from The Art Institutes International Minnesota. He then moved to New York City to work on animation projects for major league sports and events in Times Square. He returned to the Twin Cities to work for a local studio doing animation and visual effects for television commercials. He has taught as an adjunct instructor for a local college. In 2016, Mike quit his job to stay home and homeschool his two children, while continuing occasional freelance work on the side.
In his free time, Mike enjoys video games, movies, computers, cooking, indoor bouldering, and guitar.
Using his myriad of both professional and personal experiences, Mike is passionate about teaching technical and problem-solving skills to meet students’ goals and curiosity about what tech can do with their creative ideas.
A portfolio website with his demo reels can be found at www.MikeZFX.com.