Lauren grew up in Smithfield, Virginia and received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with a concentration in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Fine Arts. Upon graduation, Lauren traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica to study Advanced Modern Dance, Choreography, and Lighting Design. There, she had the opportunity to perform choreography by Scott Puttman as well as present her own choreography at the National Auditorium in San Jose.
After returning to the U.S., Lauren performed and premiered with the modern dance company, Amaranth, under the direction of Scott Puttman. Lauren has been teaching the art of dance for over 10 years and has judged regional dance competitions. Her choreography has won several awards, such as most entertaining, judges' choice, and overall best choreography in regional and national dance competitions. Lauren finds vitality and fulfillment in life through the artistry of dance and choreography.
Molly Brown is a graduate of ODU and is passionate about teaching youth about how to better themselves with finding a job, post-secondary options, financial literacy, and career exploration. She has worked with the Youth Career Center of Hampton Roads for 2 years as a Career Coach.
Katharine Brownfiel graduated from the College of William & Mary in 2020 with a major in English in Secondary Education. While she was a student, she worked as the assistant to the former Poet Laureate of Virginia, Henry Hart, held internships with Blue Dragon Publishing and Penguin Random House, and had her award-winning writing published in college publications. Katharine has taught English for three years and has additionally completed a development internship with a mental health nonprofit. She has run a blog since 2019 in which she reviews books and interviews authors.
Barbara Cooper-Pabis, "Cooper", has a B.S. in biology with a minor in geology from Texas State University. At Southwest Texas State, she was a teaching assistant and taught geology labs. She also has 30 credits of graduate coursework in computer science at Norfolk State University. She has been a research mentor to interns a nd also worked as the lab tech and research assistant at Norfolk State University's BESTLab Center of Excellence.
Cooper has always enjoyed science and math, but since childhood has also been exploring the arts through dance, crafts, sewing, painting, music, photography and jewelry making/designing. She owns her own small photography business and enjoys also capturing performing arts of all ages as many of her past clients have been dancers. Cooper has taught all ages skills used/found in th art & industry of jewelry making. Cooper has taught multiple levels of jewelry making at RSA for several years.
She moved to Hampton Roads from Texas with her husband in 2000 to start graduate school classes after receiving a full scholarship first from the BESTLab at Norfolk State University and then it's graduate program in Computer Science (computation tract). Her family was started in 2005 and later she started on the home educating path in 2012/2013, first with her youngest daughter and in later years with both her daughters.
Michael Creech is a seasoned professional singer/songwriter and musician who has available music on Apple Music, Spotify, and other streaming services! He has performed in various shows at Busch Gardens Williamsburg including Celtic Fyre, which was voted #1 Amusement Park Entertainment for 2015, 2018, and 2019 by USA Today and 10Best readers! He has been performing at colleges (e.g., VCU, College of the Albemarle), festivals (e.g., Old Towne Portsmouth Holiday Festival, Suffolk Peanut Festival), and popular venues (e.g., Virginia Beach Amphitheater, The Norva) for several years on the East Coast. He has also shared the stage with several national recording artists including Hal Ketchum and Rascal Flatts. Michael writes jingles and performs voice-over work as well. “With faith, creativity, and knowledge, you hold the key to success.”
After teaching 2nd grade in public schools for 14 years, Lori chose to become a homeschooling mom for her 4 kids. She has led and participated in various homeschool co-ops involving natural discovery, farm education, and collaborative learning. Lori believes in learning through living. She incorporates real-life scenarios and play-based explorations into interactive learning experiences. By integrating movement, literature, music, games, and art into her lessons, Lori hopes to develop curious, holistic learners.
Linda Dyer is a Norfolk native whose love of music has been evident since she was a very young child. A professional violinist and violist for over 45 years, her biggest joy comes from watching her students discover that same joy. Ms. Dyer has studied with Linda Rogers Althoff, Gregory Barnes, Dr. Alice Lindsay and has been a regular section violist with Symphonicity (formerly the Virginia Beach Symphony) for over 25 years.She also performed with the South Orange (NJ) and is the founder and violist for the Botanica String Quartet. Ms. Dyer teaches a combined curriculum of Suzuki and traditional methods. Ms Dyer has served as a coach with the Hampton Roads Chamber Players with Jorge Aguirre and Lesa Bishop,the Governor's School for the Arts (where she also serves as a Foundation Board Member) and serves as a regular adjudicator in the public school system for the annual Solo and Ensemble Festival and has served as the Guest Conductor for All-City Orchestra.in Virginia Beach. She loves to create performance opportunities such as playing in assisted living facilities and other community groups for her students. She was the first teacher to her two daughters, Ashley and Elizabeth who continue to play as young adults with their own families. Daughter Ashley and husband Mark are musicians in the Columbus Symphony. Music is truly a family affair, and Ms. Dyer's students remain a very special part of her life for years to come and many come back to play during college breaks and free time!
She recently retired from the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and is a frequent TV and radio personality across the region as well as the author and owner of FInishing Touches, a company teaching etiquette and manners class across the country since 1984.. Her best-selling books and classes, Finishing Touches for Girls, Finishing Touches for Teens and Boys have been enjoyed by over 18,000 students nationwide.
I have taught English literature and composition at ODU off and on for a dozen years. I have homeschooled my six children since kindergarten (though only four are school aged currently), and I have taught at another homeschool co-op we attended. I have a passion for making literature interesting and for creating an experience that helps my kiddos/students remember the details and nuances of each book we read together. I’m also the assistant editor for the Marine Corps Gazette.
I attended 6 years of college with emphasis is telecasting and digital image creation. I worked for 12 years professionally in the tv/film production industry, including digital image creation, & video compression for computers. My employers have included; GE Medical Systems Business TV, PBS, NBC, ESPN & UCLA Student Technology Center. I have had my film teamwork air on M-TV, performed as talent in music videos, & worked as a make-up artist for The Nutcracker Ballet performances at Sandler Hall. Finally, I earned an Emmy award for Best Technical Remote Team during my employment with ESPN on the X-games water sports events.
I am also a writer. I have won a Sliver Award for my poetry in a Vincent Price sponsored contest, & have published with AARP. I've enjoyed perfoming at many of our community venues that offer poetry reading events. I like to shoot photo/videography. My photography has won as a finalist for Slover Library 2017 Earth Day selection.
Most currently, with my musical education, I have provided instruction in recorder, piano, guitar & songwriting for students in private, & group lessons (in-person & virtual). Since my children started Kindergarten, I also have taught as a lead teacher in their home-school co-ops: History, Drama, Music Appreciation, Language Arts, & Math, as well as an assistant & substitute teacher in other classes. Also, I have had my own math tutoring business, as I have passed through college level Calculus. It is very rewarding to be a part of a child's learning experience, & I would like to continue that here with RSA.
Educational background-BS in Biology, and French, with linguistics focus, BSN in Nursing. I’ve taken courses in cognition and early childhood development
Personal background-Years of experience with caring for young children (babysitting and my own children). I’ve been homeschooling my children for six years. I have a personal interest in early childhood and have been studying the science of reading/literacy skills in young children.
Benedict Harucki is a past president of the Hampton Roads chapter of the Virginia Association for the Deaf, by profession is a draftsman/CAD designer, and has taught ASL for decades to both children and adults, including for TNCC and the city of Hampton. RSA is excited to have this opportunity for our families to learn ASL and Deaf culture from a member of our local Deaf community.
I’ve studied art and poetry for years and majored in English. I’ve not only taught my own children various art forms, techniques and the history of famous artists as well as poetry, formats and famous poets but have also taught at RSA.
I’m a certified children’s mindfulness instructor and love teaching children to find beauty and joy in all that surrounds them while being aware of how they’re feeling and how art and poetry can aid them in self expression.
Kathryn Johnson is an RSA alumna. A self-taught fashion historian, whose main focus is on the apparel and accessories of 19th century Northern Europe, America and Japan, she has handmade a number of reconstruction articles in knit, crochet and sewing, using original patterns from throughout the 1800’s.
As a dancer, she began at the age of two, and has taken lessons in ballet, jazz, character, Irish-step and ballroom. Being a member of the Regency Society of Virginia, Kathryn has been doing English Country Dance for over ten years, and has traveled with the RSV dance demonstration team to multiple events.
With a love of history and handcrafts, her repertoire of skills includes crochet, knit, cross-stitch (Berlin work), hand-sewing, embroidery, bead-weaving, calligraphy and sketching.
Her most recent escapade has been as assistant costume designer for Kings Players Community Theatre’s production of “Pride & Prejudice”.
Shannon Johnson has a bachelor's degree in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University, where she was also actively involved in the Cornell Japanese Animation Society. She has attended many anime conventions across the country from 1994 to the present, studied conversational Japanese, and hosted exchange students from Japan. Shannon studied Latin for five years, and has experience teaching Latin I to III to her older children and other homeschoolers. The Johnsons have been members of RSA since 2010.
Lisa Lewandowski completed her associate’s degree in early childhood development in 1991 through Macomb Community College in Macomb County, MI. She has been homeschooling her children since 2012, with two having graduated from RSA. Lisa has experience teaching the early elementary ages through various church programs, and is excited to work with the youth at RSA for a fourth year.
Joe is a college student and RSA alumnus who enjoys playing D&D and teaching it to others. As someone who has worked through communication challenges, Joe recognizes the importance of having a space in which to practice communication, and role-playing games are wonderful, low stress way to do this. Joe enjoys gaming when he's not studying or working.
Jordana Luck holds a BA in Secondary English Education and a M. Ed. in General Education. She has experience as a school teacher as well as teaching for various local co-ops, providing PoP evaluations and consultations, and homeschooling her own family for 15 years. Jody does freelance writing on a variety of topics from parenting to grief.
Jody lives with her family on their little homestead with chickens, ducks, pet pig and bunny, a gaggle of guinea pigs, and her fish. Jody is also an accomplished handcrafter and fiber artist.
Heather Noell holds a B.S. in Integrated Science and Technology with concentrations in energy, environment, and biotech from James Madison University; a M.S. in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University; a M.S. in Science, Technology, and Society from Virginia Tech; and is currently working on completing her dissertation for her Ph.D. in Science, Technology, and Society from Virginia Tech. She has enjoyed a variety of diverse STEM-related careers in academia, non-profit, and for-profit settings, including being a futurist, analyst, and project manager, among others. She has worked with virtual reality; modeling and simulation; human factors; engineering; environmental issues; biotech; sustainable energy development; emergency management; pandemic planning; wetland delineation; distributed work; and experimental design. She enjoys teaching, and has had the opportunity to share her love of STEM fields with children and adults in various settings, including several years of teaching at RSA. She also homeschools her children, who just completed third and sixth grades. She lives with her husband, children, and cat in Suffolk.
I was a Chinese Language Analyst in the Air Force for 20 years. I also held teaching certifications in Chinese and taught adults Chinese for 5 years. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies from Excelsior University and I have an AA in Chinese from the Defense Language Institute and Monterey Peninsula College, as well as an AA from the Community College of the Air Force. I have also tutored childen in Chinese.
I have homeschooled by own children for 7 years, preschool through high school. I have served with children in church settings, scouts and co-ops. My degrees are in education, psychology and child advocacy. I am experienced in working with children with ADHD, dyslexia and sensory processing disorder. I am an avid reader and crafter which would make me a good candidate for teaching creative writing, literature and simple art classes.
1) US Army Veteran (1988-1991)
2) Literature Degree from CNU, Dec. 1996.
3) Karate Master, 8th Degree Black Belt in Shorin-Ryu Karate, Nov. 2016
4) Martial Arts Weapons Master, 8th Degree Black Belt, Nov. 2016
5) Shihan Certificate (International Teaching License.) Shorin-Ryu Karate, Nov. 2012
6) Shihan Certificate (International Teaching License.) Kobudo, Nov. 2016
7) Owner/Operator of Mt. Everest Karate Studio
8) Master Rivas has been teaching the art of Karate-Do throughout the state of Virginia for over 30 years.
Sabrina Sasser has been teaching flute for 26 years to students of all ages and learning levels, and has taught beginning piano and guitar, chorus, voice, and preschool and baby music and movement classes in various homeschool settings over the last 15 years. She graduated from Governor’s School for the Arts with a major in flute performance, and went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts and Design with minors in Graphic Design and Music Industry from James Madison University. While there, she interned with internationally renowned recording artists Everything, and worked as an intern at live music venues, learning the ins and outs of live music production, including sound and lights, artist contracts and riders, the legal aspects of the music industry, and studio recording/sound engineering. She is licensed in Kindermusik, and worked for the Virginia Children’s Chorus as chorus manager until devoting all of her time to homeschooling her two children. In addition to teaching music, Sabrina has participated in various chorus and choirs over the years, played flute in several chamber ensembles and rock bands, played guitar and sang in a bluegrass band, and has done studio work for several rock and electronic music producers. She loves playing guitar on her front porch, writing songs that maybe no one will ever hear, and soaking up as much music as she possibly can in every moment of her life. Her children have come to know music as a way of life, with the house being filled with all sorts of instruments and a ‘Hands ON, Please Touch!” policy. Her family has been actively involved with RSA since her oldest (now a rising HS sr.) was 3! RSA is so important and integral to the family that they still commute twice a week, despite having moved to Richmond two years ago! Sabrina believes that music and art are just as essential to learning and growing as reading and math, and she loves the challenge and excitement of instilling a life-long love of music and art in young people!
Patrice Sawyer lives in Carrollton with her husband Matthew of 27 years and their daughter Rachel. After obtaining her BA degree in Music Media, she worked for several years at radio and television stations in the Hampton Roads area. She has taught private voice & piano lessons as well as etiquette and public speaking. In her spare time, she enjoys composing music, cooking and being an avid volunteer with over 40 years of experience. She is currently a board member for Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia and a member of the Governor's School for the Arts PTA.
Let your voice change the world, but don’t let the world change your voice.
Kristin Stephens is an Accredited Financial Counselor and Certified Educator in Personal Finance. She holds a Master's degree in Financial Planning from Oklahoma State University and wrote her thesis on how youth financial education and early influences influence the future attainment of financial capability in adulthood. Kristin has taught numerous classes, workshops, and camps on personal finance to all ages, ranging from Kindergarten to adults.
Kristin is also a homeschool mom who taught previously at HomeConnection, a parent-partnership program in Washington state, where she taught numerous project-based classes in STEAM and life skills areas as well as coached their FIRST Lego League Robotics team and TedEd club. She is the founder of Okinawa Teen Leadership Conference and Whidbey Island Homeschoolers, a program focused on creating homeschool learning opportunities and field trips in the western Washington area. She has been an instructor at RSA for the past year.