Cathleen Drake Nelson, director & instructor, has been homeschooling her three children for about 12 years, ever since her first was born. She earned a BA in English & American Literature from Brown University, an MA in Curriculum & Instruction from The University of Colorado at Denver, and an MFA in Poetry from Cornell University. She has over 20 years of teaching experience. Before homeschooling, she taught in multi-age classrooms, as a literacy specialist, and as a writing instructor to college students.
Kathryn Adeney recently relocated to Lakeland with her family from Seattle, where she earned her Master of Public Health and doctorate degrees in Epidemiology at the University of Washington. In graduate school she discovered her passion for teaching mathematical and statistical reasoning to future health care professionals, helping them to interpret medical research findings accurately. She currently homeschools her four children full-time and delights in teaching to their unique interests and learning styles.
Drew Arnold earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida Southern College majoring in Theatre Arts. With her focus in Stage Management and Acting, she gained instructional and performance experience within the central Florida area. She has been a part of award winning technical teams, shared the stage with several applauded casts, served as an adjudicator for theatre competitions, and served as a contract acting instructor. She has participated in educating children since 2005. From serving as a the supervisor of children's ministries at Beymer United Methodist Church to mentoring high school students in technical theatre, she has thoroughly enjoyed observing and guiding the discovery of learning throughout many age groups.
Mike Barickman has a BFA in studio art, an MFA in sculpture, and over 20 years of experience teaching children, including his own, and adults. As a professional artist, he works primarily in wood, and designs and builds multi-rationale, multi-functional, object-oriented conceptual art.
Katherine Bates is a Florida native, nutritionist counselor and educator. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics & Nutrition where she studied anatomy & physiology, food science, advanced nutrition and dietetics management. She practices a holistic approach to supporting the whole person. Nutrition education is key, support is essential. Katherine also has a Health Coach Certificate in Nutrition & Wellness. She works primarily as a supportive advisor and wellness consultant, helping clients feel their best through food & lifestyle changes by customizing a personalized wellness program to meet their needs. With dedication to improving the lifelong eating habits of children and teenagers, she believes that learning by doing the things they enjoy is best. As a proud mother of two boys, she enjoys engaging children in food science and helping them discover nutrition through fun, memorable activities.
Nancye Blair Black, MA is an award-winning certified educator and edtech consultant. With her background in technology, gifted, and mathematics education, she has a wealth of knowledge and ideas to share with students and parents alike. Nancye is the president of the Florida Society for Technology in Education, a board member for the Lakeland Montessori Schools, and a mom to two great kids.
Dr. Francis Drake has a BS (Physics) from The Virginia Military Institute and an MD from The University of Maryland. He completed a four year residency in pathology at Case Western Reserve University. He was a pathologist in Lakeland from 1974 until 2007 and was Florida district 10 medical examiner from 1976 to 1996.
Jennifer Garcia is a Florida native, artist and educator. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from the University of South Florida where she studied both design and performance. She holds a Florida Teaching Certificate in kindergarten through sixth grade and spent time at Polk State College studying early childhood education. Jennifer works primarily with wool and up-cycled fabrics to create a modern twist on primitive crafts.
Jesica Gasser is one of Lakeland School of Music's newest instructors, passionate about all things music, and a mother of two boys who also both love to perform! Born in Indiana, Jesi began studying piano at age 6, and voice at age 7, and was one of the few students chosen into Indiana University's Performing Arts music program. She later studied musical theater performance at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, where she studied all genres of voice, theater dance, auditioning, and performance. She's taught piano and voice lessons to students of all ages, was a team leader for youth worship teams, has directed many musical performances, and has also performed professionally as a lead in several Musical Theater Productions, worship solo/duet/team performances, and vocalist for numerous weddings and National Anthem performances.
Kim Grieves is a musician, educator, and homeschool mom of 3 boys. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education at Florida Southern College, and she thoroughly enjoys sharing her love of music with children. Kim has experience teaching elementary and middle school music classes as well as private voice, piano, guitar, and ukulele lessons. She believes that the study of music is beneficial to the educational experience of all students, and she makes learning music fun by incorporating a variety of methods, including games, movement, and learning to play instruments.
Amber Grubb, founder of GRUBB Arts, LLC, is an artivist and performing arts director with 12 years experience teaching and directing children and adults, in school and community theatre settings. “The Art of Dialog Delivery,” a lesson from curriculum she wrote, received favorable reviews when used by a former student, in a micro-teach, as part of her application for a Teacher’s Assistant position at the University of South Florida. Another former student cites the public speaking skills he learned from Grubb as the leg-up he needed to earn a promotion in the U.S. Military. It is the goal of GRUBB Arts to use performing arts to help people find their voice and engage in the greater human conversation. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – MLK Jr.
Lakeland School of Music is the leading music school in Lakeland with over 14,000 lessons taught annually, and a 100% success rate for students auditioning into the Harrison Art's Music Program. Their instructors are some of the top music teachers in the area, all with either college training or professional performance experience. Dedicated to helping students to achieve their personal musical goals, Lakeland School of Music’s instructors have warm personalities, and are extremely friendly.
Jaime Lamar earned a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Design from Auburn University and spent 15 years working in the industry. The majority of her career was spent as an Environmental Designer at Publix Super Markets Inc., where she developed solutions for points of customer contact. She began homeschooling her son full-time two years ago and has enjoyed working with students in a variety of homeschool co-ops.
Suzanne (Hayashi) Lovely has a BA in Dance from the University of Texas at Austin and over 20 years of experience teaching children and adults dance. Some of her favorite performing credentials include Broadway National Tours of A Chorus Line and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Suzanne is currently the Homeschool Dance Program Director at Ultimate Dance Center where she teaches ballet and contemporary dance. She enjoys sharing her love of movement with all ages.
Kelly Lyle has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of South Florida and MBA from Southeastern University. She completed the Educator Preparation Institute program at Polk State College where she gained experience teaching grades K-6. Kelly has homeschooled her son and daughter for the past four years, and she has taught in church and homeschool co-op settings. With an eye for detail and a heart for encouragement, she enjoys engaging children and helping them discover their unique gifts and talents.
Carmen Martinez graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with honors, and is certificated as a secondary school teacher. She has two children and has been homeschooling since her 9th grader was in preschool. For the past two years has been teaching Spanish to homeschool families.
Jeannie Pond has a Bachelor of Science in Art with a minor in Marketing. She has over 15 years of experience in advertising with agencies and newspapers. Her love for ceramics, music and photography began in high school. She enjoys teaching those mediums because they allow her to encourage students to not only express their artistic abilities but to learn about the science behind their craft.
Emily Rodriguez is a 200hr certified yoga instructor from Auburndale, Florida. She has taught everything from prenatal to senior yoga classes, but has a special place in her heart for kids' yoga. Emily teaches yoga classes at a couple Montessori schools in Lakeland, and is so excited to bring yoga to Main Street Homeschool Auxiliary!
Jessi Rodriguez is a 5th Dan black belt in Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan. He has practiced Taekwondo for 26 years, with sixteen years of teaching experience at his Taekwondo school, Team Praise Force TKD. He is an undefeated Grand National Champion in Extreme Forms and Weapons, as well as in Poomsae (traditional forms). He is excited to share his love for Taekwondo with our students.
Megan Samadi earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, SC. She became a Chef for Walt Disney World in 2000, working at many locations, her favorite being Disney's Grand Floridian. After having her first daughter she became a stay-at-home Mom who fell in love with homeschooling. She says that having three girls and being able to learn along with them is the best job in the world!
Luanne Sener comes to us with 30 years of experience working with young children in preschool, VPK, and child development settings. With certifications from Polk State and CT in preschool education and child care center management, she is both a talented facilitator and a valuable resource for families. Luanne was fortunate to spend two years working under the direction of Dr. Stanley I. Greenspan, pediatrician, writer, and developer of the well known "Floor Time" approach. She is drawn to young children for their curiosity, compassion, and enthusiasm, and loves to encourage those traits through hands on learning experiences and a close classroom community.
Corey "Rocco" Stevens is a graduate of the Dell ‘Arte School of Physical Theater where he studied mask making and mask performance. He worked as a puppeteer for seven years producing and performing over 17 original puppet plays throughout the United States and Asia. Rocco has built masks, puppets and sets for numerous productions. He received the award, Best Performance Mask at the Ink People Center for the Arts Maskabition in 2002.
Colleen Vann has been homeschooling her two children, ages 8 and 10, since their birth. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Boston College, and has been a firefighter/EMT for 17 years. She has several years of experience teaching children both as a firefighter and as a facilitator in homeschool co-ops.
Kimberly Wyant is a local artist and creator of KRaP Art Kimberlys’ Recycled Art Projects. In its six years, her business has allowed her to serve the community through art in a variety of ways, including holding art classes for children to adults, working with home school groups, hosting art shows and concerts, and selling her own work. Previously, she worked in the film and television industry as a scenic artist and special effects costumer, and helped to build Islands of Adventure in Orlando. She has always had a passion for art and has made it her life's work.