Meet our Instructors!

Pierian Springs teachers are carefully chosen based on their subject knowledge as well as their ability to connect with the students.  Each is teaching subjects they know and love.  They encourage each student’s natural curiosity and inborn enthusiasm for learning and offer constructive positive feedback to support the student.  Teachers encourage parents to be active partners to support their student and are available in person, by email or telephone.

Megan Baxter - biography forthcoming Email:

Mindy Carter is a professional singer and voice teacher. She offers private voice lessons at Sandy Springs Music. She has a Bachelor in Vocal Music Education from James Madison University and has performed all over the world on cruise ships and in many theaters. More information is available at Email:

Lina Ellis graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Vanderbilt University with a double major in mathematics and economics.  She initially worked as an information systems consultant for Andersen Consulting before returning to Vanderbilt to complete her masters degree in secondary mathematics education.  She taught for eight years at Hume-Fogg Academic High School in Nashville, TN where she was the Mathematics Department Chair.  Then, she moved to Atlanta where she taught at The Westminster Schools for six years.  She has taught Algebra I and II, Geometry, Precalculus, AP Calculus AB and BC, Multivariable Calculus, Discrete Math, AP Statistics, and Dynamical Systems/Chaos/Fractals.  She is a workshop consultant for the College Board as well as an exam reader for AP Statistics.  She is also a past president of the Georgia AP Math Teachers Association and is currently their newsletter editor. Email:

Freya Fitzpatrick has  Bachelors of Arts in Education, Bryn Athyn College and a Masters of Education, Temple University.  She has been recognized with the Joseph B. Whitehead Educator of Distinction in 2005, Who’s Who Among American Teachers in 2003, 2004, 2005, NASA Science and Technology Journalism Teacher of Distinction in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, Civil Air Patrol Regional Brewer Aerospace Educator Award in 2001, and the Commanders Commendation Civil Air Patrol in 2001, 2002.

Ann Fortenberry has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Education Magna Cum Laude) from North Carolina State University and a Master of Arts, Georgia State University.  She taught Civics, Geography, Economics and AP Psychology at Dunwoody High School and also coached the swim and dive team, and sponsored the Student Government Association as well as previously teaching at South Point High School, Belmont, North Carolina Peachtree Junior High, Dunwoody, Georgia. Email:

Brooke Collins Hamilton (Company Manager/Education Associate) has been a staff member since the fall of 2006, and works in and out of the classroom for Georgia Shakespeare.  During the school year she directs residencies and teaches workshops and classes.  During the summer she directs Camp Shakespeare for elementary and middle school students.  Brooke has worked in education administration and/or taught with The Alliance Theatre, The Center for Puppetry Arts, Art Station, and Imagine It!  The Children's Museum of Atlanta.  Brooke is also the Company Manager for Georgia Shakespeare and assists with the audition process.  Previous stage management experience includes The Alliance Theatre, The Center for Puppetry Arts, Actor's Express, and Virginia Stage Company.  In past years with GA Shakespeare, she has been the Asst. Production Manager for Georgia Shakespeare’s annual performance at Piedmont Park, Shake at the Lake. Brooke is also involved with professional volunteerism, as she just finished co-chairing the national conference for the American Alliance for Theatre and Education in the summer of 2008. Brooke received her BA in theatre from Brenau University. Email:

Jessica Henley is the Founder of Henley's Haven Workshops for Kids.  Jessica has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Media Arts and Animation from the Art Institute of Atlanta, and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Science. She has worked as a Project Lead and Animator Generalist on an 3D Animated DVD, target age 6 to 8, for TyeCan, Inc. She has managed staff members in Atlanta Georgia, North Carolina, Europe, and India, as well as mentored to interns at TyeCan, Inc. Jessica also worked for 3DH Communication in Georgia as a Production Rotoscoper turning movies, commercials, and other media content from 2d to 3d content. She's also done logo animations for RSN, a national broadcasting station. Email:

Judy Herrera is a native of Barranquilla, Columbia where she completed her studies in languages. She is fluent in English, Spanish and French. She has studied in Geneva, Switzerland and Ottawa, Canada and has been teaching Spanish for 10 years.                  Email:

Will Hinton received his BA in Geography from Auburn University where he focused on Geography Education and GIS (Geographic Information Systems). Over a 15 year career, Mr Hinton  has used his education and love for geography in the private sector, working for companies such as Nielsen Claritas where he consulted with companies such as Starbucks, The Gap, and CVS on retail site selection He now owns his own consulting firm where he advises companies on site selection, strategic planning, and online marketing and he is excited about sharing his passion for Geography with students at Pierian Springs. Email:

Myrricia Holmann graduated with distinction from Stanford University with a degree in Computer Systems Engineering. After graduation, she started working in industry as a software developer for XEROX in Palo Alto, CA. She then transitioned to teaching high school mathematics, specializing in coursework for gifted students. She has taught in California and Idaho, has worked in both public and private schools, and holds a valid teaching credential. She also spent several years living and working overseas in Germany, Japan, and Argentina. Most recently, she taught at an International Baccalaureate school where she was the Math Department Chair and the IB Higher Level teacher. She was recognized as a Rotary Distinguished Educator in 2006. She enjoys helping prepare students for mathematics competitions and will be working with the Atlanta International School Math Team in the fall.

Karen Howes received her BA in Philosophy from The College of William and Mary and has worked as an educator and writer for over 20 years. In the field of education, she wrote educational television programs for The Center For Excellence. Many of the programs and documentaries were aired on PBS and acquired by school systems throughout the country. She also worked with subject area experts to author in-service training books for the Virginia Department of Education. As an investigative journalist, Ms Howes is the author of hundreds of feature articles on science and technology and she has been published throughout the world and translated into several languages. She is also a playwright, finalist in the Maxam Mazador National Playwright Conference, and she has appeared on stage and in television as an actress. Email:

Kendall Howes received her degree in classical studies and anthropology at the College of William and Mary with a focus in Latin, archaeology, and art history. Her teaching experience includes working for the Muscarelle Museum developing curriculum for elementary and middle school students and students in Latin and ancient history. In related experience, she worked in marketing and public relations and has had many articles published. When not in the classroom, Kendall is a passionate high school softball coach and has spent the past spring establishing a new varsity softball program at Warhill High in Williamsburg, Virginia. Academic recognition includes graduating Summa Cum Laude and membership in Eta Sigma Pi (Classics Honor Society), Golden Key International Honour Society and Phi Beta Kappa (top ranked honor society). Email:

Sarah Huff has her BA in English and History with a minor in Art History from Kennesaw State University. She holds a Post Baccalaureate degree in Secondary English Education from Kennesaw State University and has worked as a graduate assistant in the English writing lab. She has lived in France, studied at L'Alliance Francaise at the Sorbonne, and has completed Art History courses at the Louvre. For several years she worked as a proofreader, copy editor, features writer and special section editor for Creative Loafing newspaper. She has worked as a freelance writer and editor and has written several book reviews. She is passionate about homeschooling and the mother of two teenagers who attend Pierian Springs.  Email:

Leah Hughes earned undergraduate degrees from Oglethorpe University and GSU, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University in Charlotte, NC. Ms. Hughes has taught classes at Oglethorpe University, Georgia State University, The Art Institute of Atlanta, and Gordon College. This semester, she is teaching research writing and world literature at Bauder College. She tutors students in college application and assists students in identifying scholarships for college admissions. Her book reviews will be featured in The New Southerner and Nantahala Review this fall, and she has published poems in Slimstream, Southern Hum, and Bloomshen Review. This year, Ms. Hughes has been invited to read her poetry at the Southern Womens Writers Conference at Berry College. Email:

J* started his acting career on the stage his grandfather built for him in his childhood basement. He's come a long way!  After returning to Atlanta from New York in 2000, J* began studying improv with Laughing Matters.  The improv bug bit hard and never let go. He soon joined 2nd Base Improv in Roswell. Then in 2003 he began his own troupe in the basement of 175 West Wieuca. Since then he has travelled the country performing and seeking out the wisdom of the improv greats.  J* has studied extensively around the country with Annoyance Theatre (Chicago), iO (Improv Olympic, Chicago), Loose Moose Theatre Co.(Calgary), Second City (Chicago, LA, & Las Vegas) UCB (Upright Citizen's Brigade, NYC).  Email:,

Ana Lorente started her dance career in Havana, where she graduated with Honors from the Cuban National School of Arts specializing in Modern Dance and Afro-Cuban Folklore, her extensive training and dedication gave her the opportunity to win a scholarship in Choreography at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, USA, this scholarship, coming from a USA based institution, was a completely unique opportunity for a Cuban citizen. The Cuban National institution of writers and artist, also gave her a recognition as the best performer and choreographer of her age after a very important and only invitational dance festival in Havana.Ana has won numerous National and International Dance honors and titles. She is the World Mambo Champion, Argentine Tango  World finalist, Theater Arts runner up at Blackpool, World's Exhibition and USA Nationals winner, American Rhythm Canadian Champion, and American Rhythm USA finalist. Email:,

Dr. Michael McGinnis (Dr. McGene) – is a professor of biology at Spellman college who has a unique interest in developing and using science curriculum which motivates students to use analytical and critical thinking skills as their primary method of learning. Dr McGene recently published a paper concerning Models of Innovation in College Science Teaching. He employs hands-on and Socratic-based teaching techniques to empower students to learn subject matter content by first asking good questions and second by knowing how to probe, analyze and reason to discover the answers. Dr McGene earned his PhD at Purdue University and specializes in growth and regeneration of the nervous system.  Email:

Ben Mueller   Biography forthcoming.

Fabienne Nicolas was born in Normandy France and has spent most of her life in her native country. She has been teaching French for fifteen years in both the academic environment and for adults requiring mastery for business. She has a degree from the Agricultural College in Belleau, France and studied Spanish and German at the University of Tennessee from 1992-1995.              Email:

Derek Owen a B.S.E, 1988, Duke University, Mechanical Engineering and Physics.  He has taught AP calculus, AP physics, AP Computer Science, pre-algebra, Algebra I and II, and Geometry at the Westminster Schools.  In the summer of 1992, he was national Science Foundation Scholarship recipient and studied history and philosophy of science at L’Abri Fellowship in England.  He also taught Physics for the Talent Identification Program at Duke University.  Email:

Dr. R. Barton Palmer taught English and Communications for more than two decades at Georgia State University, where he founded the undergraduate Film Studies program, before accepting in 1995 the Calhoun Lemon Professorship of Literature at Clemson University, where he also currently directs the Film Studies program.  Palmer holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College in English and History, a B.A. Honours degree from the University of Durham in Medieval English Language and Literature, an M. Phil. and Ph. D. from Yale University in Medieval Studies (where he specialized in English, French and German literature), as well as a M.A. and Ph. D in Cinema Studies form New York University.  An internationally recognized scholar in two disciplines, Palmer is the author, editor, or general editor of more than forty scholarly books on various literary and cinematic studies, including most recently Joel and Ethan Coen, After Hitchcock and Hollywood's Tennessee;  The Williams Films and Postwar America.  He has published more than two hundred scholarly essays, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries and serves as the general editor for academic book series for Routledge Publishing, the University press of Florida and Edinburgh University Press.  An award winning translator and editor of late Medieval French poetry, Palmer is currently available to the academic community.  His several anthologies of medieval English and French works are widely used in university courses around the country, and his jointly-authored textbook, Traditions in World Cinema , enjoys a similar popularity in world film courses.  In 1983, Palmer was recognized by Georgia state as "Professor of the Decode" for his work in designing and teaching innovative courses for the Honors program.                                             Email:

Marc Porlier is a systems architect for a management consulting firm. He worked for the Wall Street firm, J.P. Morgan Investment Management, was a guest lecturer for the Philosophy Society at the Harvard Club in New York, and has a master's degree in music from Yale University. Email:

Jennifer Sande has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Davidson College and a Master’s degree in Mathematics Education from Georgia State University.  She has taught all levels of mathematics from Algebra I through AP Calculus AB. Most recently Mrs. Sande taught for five years at Wesleyan School in Norcross teaching Algebra II, Geometry, and AP Calculus AB and also served as the 9th/10th grade girls’ chair and an advisor to the Honor Council. Email:

Christine Seelye-King Fashion design and costuming are influenced by elements from classical historical sources, modern culture, types of materials available, and many more factors. Class will cover basic sewing techniques and use of patterns, including drafting patterns from scratch. Textiles and other materials will be discussed and reviewed with occasional outings to Hancock Fabrics and Goodwill, both of which are walking distance from the school. Following the format of the hit TV show “Project Runway”, students will be faced with some quick challenges as well as other project challenges, including the discussion and design for theatrical productions. Students are encouraged to bring their own sewing machines to class, and space will be provided to store them at the school. There will be a few occasions when they will need to take them home to work on a project. A few extra machines will be provided for student use. A class fashion show will feature completed projects.

Daniel Sheerer - Biography forthcoming. Email:

Michelle Stinson received her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a major in Marketing from Mercer University, an MS in Management specializing in Production/Operations Management from Georgia State University, and an MS in Construction Management from Southern Polytechnic State University.  Michelle is an experienced manager and former magnet school teacher for the Atlanta Public School System's Entrepreneurship Magnet.

Prisca Strother- Trained in both classical and jazz, Prisca is a teacher and performer who's style reaches across boundaries and allows her to work with students of all ages and styles. Her passion in singing began at the age of four and led her to church choirs, talent shows, school performances and acceptance into the prestigious Kettering Fairmont Performing Arts School in Dayton, OH. She has acted in numerous musical theater productions, trained with such notables as the New York Voices, M-Pact, and Blessed Union of Souls, and she was a featured member of the traveling a cappella ensemble Up IN The Air which toured and performed across the New York area and Europe, as well as making a stop to perform at the Rock n' Roll Hall of fame in 2005! She has a BA in Pscyhology from the Atlanta Christian College.  Email:

John Terris is a nationally rated USFA epéeist and a member of the coaching staff at the Atlanta Fencers' Club, Cherokee Fencing Club, and coach of the Georgia Tech Fencing Club. John is a member of the United States Fencing Coaches Association and regularly competes locally, regionally, and nationally. Email:

Dr. Alison Umminger "Doctor U" has a Ph.D. in English, from Indiana University, a M.A. in English, University of Missouri,  M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Indiana University, Bloomington,  and a B.A., in History, cum laude, Harvard University, 1992.  She is currently an Assistant Professor at West Georgia College where she won the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2008.   She  teaches Freshman Composition courses as well as upper level Creative Writing and Literature courses. "Doctor U" has been published in a number of Creative as well as Scholarly publications. Email:,

 Tina Von Buseck earned her MA in Music Education from The Royal Music Academy in Stockholm, Sweden where she studied the Dalcroze and  Kodály methods of musical training. She also studied at the Musician's Institute in Hollywood where she eventually joined the faculty and authored the Sight-singing and Ear-training curriculum for the Los Angeles Music Academy. She teaches piano, flute and voice. 

Trella Walker Trella has a Bachelor of Arts in English, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY. Master of Arts in Liberal Studies James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA and a Jurisdoctorate in Law from  the University of West Los Angeles School of Law.  She is president and co-founder of LYLLS Enterprises, and Adjunct Online Faculty for Axia College of University of Phoenix.   Her teaching experience includes teaching at Tshinghua University, Beijing, China.

Lisa White has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Math Education from Auburn University and a Master’s degree in Chemistry Education from Georgia State University. She taught Chemistry and Physical Science at Brookwood High School in Gwinnett County for 8 1/2 years and then became private tutor to high school chemistry and math students as well as a consultant for Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. As a consultant, Ms. White co-wrote the GBP Classroom Chemistry course which will be used in our Chemistry class and then adapted the curriculum to be used by the DJJ.                                   Email:

Meet our Instructors!
Lina Ellis
Prisca Strother
Marc Porlier
Lisa White
Christine Seelye-King
Trella Walker
Jessica Henley
Judy Hererra
Meet our Instructors!