Alexine Fink, Founder / Director
Alexine Fink is a homeschooling mother of two active boys. After relocating to Murfreesboro in January 2015 she started Murfreesboro Homeschoolers Cooperative & Tutorial to bring new resources and exceptional educational opportunities to the homeschooling community. Alexine completed her BA in Political Science from the University of Washington in 2007 and worked in marketing until 2012. She coaches recreational soccer at Murfreesboro Soccer Club and also enjoys organic gardening in her own backyard micro-farm. Alexine’s passion for children, education, and community are the inspiration behind the countless hours of organizing and facilitating MHS.
Heather Rodgers, Community / Clubs
Heather Rodgers is a second generation homeschool mom to three amazing daughters. She has been with MHS since its inception and has been homeschooling for eight years in all. She moved to Murfreesboro to attend MTSU where she met her husband. Heather loves being at home in cozy pajamas, reading, drinking coffee and spending her days with her three girls and their five cats, bunny and dog. Heather’s passion is facilitating a fabulous community experience at MHS and encouraging others in their homeschooling journey.
Jessica Nelson, Academic / Tutors, Public Speaking & Debate, Preschool
Jessica Nelson is a homeschooling mom of two and former preschool teacher. She has a BA in Communication, emphasis in Public Relations and Marketing, from George Mason University. Jessica worked in operations for over 15 years in hospitality and broadcast media, her last position being with PBS, Public Broadcasting Service. She is a published photographer and has worked locally on non-profit and commercial marketing campaigns. She was selected as Cultural Arts 2017-2018 Photo Laureate. She is a community volunteer as well as a Girl Scout Assistant Troop Leader. Whether in public speaking or in preschool, Jessica’s passion is building the confidence of learners and providing educational tools that last a lifetime.
Amber Douglas, Social Studies
Amber Douglas is from Murfreesboro and a homeschool mom to her daughter, Lily. She has a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Museum Studies from Kent State University, and a BA in History from Middle Tennessee State University. Amber interned with the Rutherford County Archives, Historic Sam Davis Home, and Arts Center of Cannon County, where she worked to bring history to the public. One of Amber’s greatest joys is when she gets to share with others how to ‘do history’ and help make history relevant to them. She focuses on this element of personal relevance in teaching homeschool history classes and in leading HERstory and social activism workshops at the Southern Girls Rock and Roll Camp. Amber also stays active in the community by being a Girl Scout Leader and Service Unit Manager.
Bekah Dawson, Language Arts
Bekah Dawson is finishing her MA in Sociology at Middle Tennessee State University, where she also earned her BA in English. She has taught college sociology and women’s and gender studies courses as a graduate assistant and will continue to teach sociology as an adjunct for MTSU this semester. Bekah is passionate about encouraging others to share their voice and listen to a diversity of other stories. This passion shaped her course work and research, as well as her teaching. Additionally, Bekah’s undergraduate coursework in teaching, writing, and literature across age groups has given her the skills to teach with diverse groups of people. She is passionate about inclusion in the classroom and engaging in various teaching styles to suit each student. Her past work in the Adaptive Technologies Lab at MTSU and her course work on diverse learners has equipped her with the tools to reach learners of all kinds in the classroom. Bekah enjoys her free time reading with her partner, Eric, and their cats Remi and Tonks.
Jennifer Richardson, Art
Jennifer Richardson is the owner and resident artist of Golden House Studio. Jennifer got her B.A. in Art History from the University of Memphis and then went on to get her M.A. in Art History from George Washington University in Washington, DC. During her time in the nation’s capital, she interned with the Smithsonian Associates and became the Fine Art Specialist for Sloans and Kenyon Auctioneers. After the birth of her son, Jennifer and her family moved to her husband’s hometown Murfreesboro, TN. Once established in Murfreesboro, she began teaching art history at the Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville and working as the Arts and Outreach Coordinator for the Center for the Arts in Murfreesboro. Jennifer was also a board member of Artsy Mamas, a non- profit organization that provided art opportunities for mothers. To continue providing the residents of Murfreesboro with art education, Jennifer started Golden House Studio. In her lessons, Jennifer stresses individual application of the concepts the group is learning. In each lesson, she discusses elements of art and design often finding a way to relate the lesson to famous artists and masterpieces.
Jim Watson, Science
Jim Watson is a science teacher with 45 years experience in the classroom teaching all levels of science from 8th grade Earth Science to Dual Enrollment Geology. Jim has a BA from UT in Natural Science Education and a MA from Glassboro State College, NJ in Environmental Education. Jim was the first President of the Tennessee Earth Science Teachers (TEST) and the first classroom teacher to be awarded the Ptero Award for his work promoting the earth sciences in Tennessee. Jim created a Geology curriculum for high school and then worked with the State Department of Education to create a certification for Geology so that the course could be taught in any high school in Tennessee. Jim has conducted over 75 overnight field activities for his students and over 15 professional development activities for his colleagues. Jim has received many grants for his personal professional development as well as over 200 preK-12 teachers. Presently Jim is teaching Marine Science and Geology at Ivy Academy in Soddy Daisy. He also is the middle school wrestling coach, the director of field studies, the creator of the Ivy Honors Program, and the coach of the academic team for the National Ocean Science Bowl.
Karen Johnson, Robotics
Karen has been an instructor at Sylvan of Murfreesboro since 2012. She is from Memphis, TN. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Davidson College. At Sylvan of Murfreesboro, Karen tutors reading, math, study skills, advanced reading, ACT prep, and homework support. Additionally, she teaches STEM programs, including robotics, coding, engineering, and math edge. Her hobbies include sailing, gardening, swimming, reading, and doing math problems.
Melissa Shelby, Science
Melissa Wadulisi Shelby Is an Indigenous-American Bioscientist who enjoys teaching and feels working with kids is great fun. She focused her work in green chemistry during her Masters’ education in Professional Science with a concentration in Biotechnology, accompanied with a Graduate Minor in Bioscience Research. Her research work spanned from biofuel development to natural products chemistry, and ethnobotanical pharmaceuticals, or medicinal plant, research. She continues research and development with private Life Science companies in the Natural Products and Healthcare industries. She supported her undergraduate and graduate programs at MTSU through teaching; she taught the University’s Physical Science, General Chemistry, and Honor’s Chemistry labs. Ms. Shelby has been active in the homeschooling community with her own children, and as a tutor, since 2002. She has taught K-12 Math, Science, Biology, Level I Spanish and French, and South East US History from the Indigenous Perspective. Melissa is an avid traveler and thrives in natural living, loves canoeing and sleeping under the stars. As a Cherokee person, she enjoys sharing her culture and produces many Indigenous American events for the community, including MTSU’s 2017 Powwow.
Morgan Farmer, Theater
Morgan Farmer is a theatre educator from Culleoka TN. In 2014, she received a BA in Theatre and Education from Middle TN State University, where she was a frequent performer and member of the Alpha Psi Omega honors society. Morgan has been performing in community, university and professional theatre since childhood, and has been educated in most areas of the art. Morgan’s teaching background includes various children’s theatre workshops, creating theatre curriculum for preschoolers, writing and touring an educational play in Central America, and student teaching in public elementary and high schools. She has most recently directed children’s productions and taught workshops for Bird’s Nest Theatre in Spring Hill TN. Morgan is also a full time mama of one energetic (and very theatrical) toddler, River June. Morgan believes that theatre is for everyone! It is not only a multi-faceted, exciting art form, but a means to build skills in responsibility, teamwork, and self expression!
Sarah Summar, Ph.D., Music, Strings & Piano
Sarah Summar is a composer, violinist, and music educator based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She holds a BMus in violin performance from Vanderbilt University and a PhD in music composition from the University of North Texas. Having over 20 years of teaching experience, she has taught a range of musical subjects including string technique, sight singing, composition, and music theory. Her teaching style is most strongly influenced by her studies with Bretislav Novotny of the Prague string quartet and the “Discover, Drill, Create” approach of The Walden School. Whether working with a 5-year-old violin student or a class of college music majors, Dr. Summar places a particular emphasis on the development of creativity and a collaborative spirit among her students. Dr. Summar lives in Murfreesboro with her husband who loves comic books, her toddler son who loves airplanes, and a dog named Cormac who just loves to be loved.