Maureen Altman earned a B.Ed from Heriot Watt University, in Edinburgh and a PGCE, from Dundee University. She has taught in schools in Dunfermline, Scotland for nearly 30 years, working with children, aged 3-12, and their families. In 2001, she married a good ol' Southern boy from Georgia, and they lived in Scotland for the first seventeen years of their married life. Since moving to Athens in October 2018, they are learning a lot about themselves, the American culture, and homeschooling their two teenagers. Maureen is glad to be part of the Compass homeschooling community where she can continue her passion to inspire youngsters to learn and grow in all that God has for them.
Contact Maureen at mrsaltman123 @ gmail.com
Dance Teacher and Choreographer
Heather Arnold is an Athens native whose passion for all things performing began at a very young age. She began taking dance classes at age 2 and a half and fell in love with the art, receiving training in tap, ballet, jazz, contemporary and musical theatre styles, with her favorite quickly becoming tap. Heather took the stage often as a child in church musicals before trying her hand at community theatre at age seven and becoming absolutely smitten with it. She has performed with several theatre companies in the area over the course of her life and is currently on staff at Brightstone Productions where she teaches dance classes, performs, choreographs and directs for shows. Heather earned two associate degrees, one in Early Childhood Education and the other in Psychology, and is currently working on her bachelors degree in Sociology. She has worked in the childcare field for many years, nannying and teaching preschool, and is always eager to see kids learn and grow through artistic outlets. Aside from being a dance and musical theatre nerd, Heather is also an avid reader, a creative writer, a lover of people (and game nights), a random fact generator, and a huge Disney and Marvel nerd.
Contact Heather at heathernarnold92 @gmail.com
Karyn Artz is originally from Chicago. She moved to the south over 25 years ago and loves calling GA home. She is recenlty married to Jason Artz and lives in Flowery Branch with their dog, Abby, and cat, MaryBelle. Karyn has two boys: Kole (19) and Lige (16). Both boys have been homeschooled since 2008. Over the last 13 years, Artz was a Classical Conversations director for four years and a tutor for two years. She has lead a co-op teaching grades K-8th. During the co-op years, she managed the day to day operations too. The time her boys were students with CC, she also managed and taught a science club for grades K-8th. This is her third year teaching science at Artios Academies of Sugar Hill. As a homeschool mom, she understand the importance of building community. This belief motivated her to provide opportunities for students and children to be in relationships with others. Therefore, she has volunteered with the Georgia Force High School Athletic Association (GFHSAA) for over 6 years. The GFHSAA provides sports for homeshool families, thus allowing families to continue homeschooling even through high school. This past 2020 season, even through the chaotic wake of covid, the Force football team won the homeschool national championship. God truly blessed, provided, and protected the team.
Artz has a Master's degree in non-profit administration and has successfully completed many prerequisite science courses including biology, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, physical science and medical terminology. At one point, she thought God was pointing her toward nursing school. Recently, though He provided another plan, and this plan includes becoming a staff member with Compass Community, which Artz is looking forward to joining
Danielle Bailey Miller
Drama Teacher and Performing Arts Coordinator
Danielle will begin her seventh year with Compass Community in August 2021. She has been teaching theatre in various arenas for over fifteen years including Rose of Athens Theatre Academy, Masters Academy of Fine Arts, Athens Creative Theatre, and more. Danielle is the former Artistic Director of Rose of Athens Theatre and the former Director of Rose of Athens Theatre Academy. She received her B.A. in Theater from Piedmont College in Demorest, GA in 2007. Danielle has participated in many theatrical ventures and has worked every job from backstage to onstage. She has performed at the South Eastern Theatre Conference in the Fringe Festival and in the 10-Minute Play Festival, as well as in the Georgia Presenters Showcase hosted by the Fox Theatre Institute. Danielle is a three-time Irene Ryan Award nominee, an honor presented by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Locally, she has been an invited guest speaker for the Classic City Rotary Club, Athens Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club of Athens, and the Oconee Civitan Club, as well as appearing in several radio spots on WUGA and a few televised WUGA broadcasts. Recently she was seen in the Athens Downtown Development Authority's holiday commercial in December 2018 and ACT’s October 2020 production of Live Drawing: A Portrait of the Mona Lisa. Danielle enjoys working with the local theatre scene- Athens Creative Theatre, Rose of Athens Theatre, and Town & Gown Players. You can follow her theatre adventures at daniellebmiller.wordpress.com
Contact Danielle at jdaniellebm @ yahoo.com
MAP Science Teacher
Donna Brown is a homeschooling veteran with 2 grown kids. With a degree in education, she homeschooled her children for 20 years. One is now in school at UGA majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife and the other is married with kids). Science is Donna's favorite academic subject, and she started teaching science in co-ops when her oldest was in second grade. Through the years she has taught classes in just about all the areas of science, including biology, chemistry, physics, ecology, and more. She has coached Lego League, Science Olympiad, Ocean Bowl, and Envirothon teams. She believes in teaching using hands-on and project based methods, engaging the student and hopefully creating a love for science at the same time!
Drama and Literature Teacher
Sarah is a classically trained actress who has studied and worked with both Georgia Shakespeare and The North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. She holds a BA in Theater Performance and English Literature and has taught Shakespeare to all ages over the past 15 years. She and her husband are covenant partners at Alps Road Presbyterian Church and her son Britton attends Wednesday classes at Compass. They enjoy hiking at the Botanical Garden, and Living History exhibits. They also have a 2 year old daughter, Lillian who keeps them on their toes.
Contact Sarah at craigcompass4 @gmail.com
Director of Compass
Kristy Dennis earned a B.A. in English and Secondary Education from Stetson University in DeLand, FL. and taught middle and high school English in the public school system. Kristy also served as the Children's Ministry Director for six years at Calvary Chapel Tampa.
After living in Florida for over 30 years, Kristy and her husband decided that the joys of the sunshine state were lost on them, and they moved to Athens, GA in 2012. The family attends Oconee Heights Baptist Church and is actively involved in several areas of ministry.
Kristy and Chris have three children, ages 11, 15, and 17 and have been homeschooling since 2007. Kristy is very passionate about homeschooling and teaching and is so thankful to have the opportunity to teach both her kids and others. She and her family have been involved in co-ops in Florida and Georgia, and Kristy assumed the role of Director of Compass Community in the fall or 2015.
Contact Kristy at dennisfam2000 (at) gmail.com
Billie Jo Fouts
Billie Jo Fouts is a Kentucky girl born but raised in Georgia . A pastor's daughter, she loved teaching children’s church and children’s drama and working with missions work.
She attended Athens Technical College for Early Childhood Education and then interned and assisted at local Montessori schools before deciding to earn her Masters from Kennesaw State in Montessori education. Her teaching experience includes 5 years at Old Peachtree Montessori School as Primary Assistant and Elementary Assistant for lower and upper; 4 years teaching at Lifespan Montessori, and 4 years teaching at Athens Montessori School.
She believes children are naturally eager for knowledge and capable of learning and looks forward to creating an environment where students learn from discovery.
She has three children and has been homeschooling for the past 5 years. She stays busy with children's ministry and drama work and being part of Christ's hands and feet to do His work.
Contact Billie Jo at foutslady @ gmail.com
Michelle Graham has been homeschooling her two children, Clint and Chloé, since 2015. She was also homeschooled herself in the mid 80's and early 90's but completed high school in the public school system. She did dual enrollment during her senior year with Dekalb Technical College in electronics and met her husband in the lab. After finishing the first year of her electronics major she changed course and finished her degree as a Business Administration major with a legal specialty. The degree was not put to use however as she and her husband, Tom, decided to focus on building their house and starting their family. They now reside in Arnoldsville in Oglethorpe County and Michelle has filled her days with kid's and women's ministry for Crawford Baptist and now Southside Church and teaching her kids, who are now in 5th and 7th, to love God first and use their talents for His glory. In her spare time she enjoys reading, growing flowers and vegetables, and day dreaming about being on the beach.They have been a part of Compass since 2015 and love the friendship, support, and fun it provides for them all.
Jessica Ham was born and raised in the Athens/Oconee area, but when she married her husband, Dave, she moved to North Carolina where both their children were born at Fort Bragg/Pope AFB. Then they moved on to San Antonio, Texas for ten years with the United States Air Force. Although Texas still has her heart, Georgia is her home, and they decided to move back to the area.
Jessica has homeschooled Abby (17) and Jacob (16) since the first grade and has never regretted a second of it. She has tried just about every curriculum and way to homeschool out there in order to find what was best for each of her children. Her philosophy of teaching is to teach children to love to learn and how to find out anything they want to know.
Jessica has a passion for teaching, whether it be children in children's church when she was the Nursery and Childcare Director at their church in Texas, homeschooling her two kids and starting a small co-op in Texas, or leading women in studying their Bible as their source for all knowledge through her Bible study classes at her home church, Grace Fellowship.
Contact Jessica at djajham @ gmail.com
Alicia Holman is a Georgia native who currently resides in Monroe, GA with her husband and three children. She has a BA in Sociology with a minor in Women's Studies. Alicia is a self-taught artist and photographer. In addition to owning her own photography business, she also paints and draws. Community projects and volunteerism are extremely important to Alicia as she actively supports the local arts and sports programs in her community. When given free time, Alicia enjoys a good baseball game, dark chocolate, and lots of snuggles with her kiddos.
Contact Alicia at wintergroveacademy (at) gmail.com
Brenda Kaes was born and raised in Northern CA and earned her B.A. from CSU Chico. After marrying Ron, a naval officer, in 1991 they relocated to Athens Ga, where Ron was an instructor at the Navy Supply Corps School. They liked the area so much that Ron resigned at the end of his tour and they opened a pizza shop in Madison County. She has now lived half of her life in each state.
The Kaes live on 7.5 acres in Danielsville where Brenda has spent the past 20 yrs homeschooling her 9 children, ranging from 7 to 24 years old. With 11 yrs of homeschooling still to go, Brenda enjoys being part of the community at Compass.
Contact Brenda at brendakaes (at) windstream.net
Kevin Kaes is the middle child in a family of 9. A homeschool graduate, he attended Compass Community all throughout his four years of high school.
While he was a freshman, he began working for his dad at their family owned pizza shop and is still working there now. He has also worked at Camp Little Light, a Christian Youth Camp, for two years and enjoys working with and teaching young children.
Kevin played organized soccer from the age of 12 to 18 and continues to play through adult leagues. He looks forward to teaching soccer classes at Compass Community and sharing his love of the game with young kids.
Kathryn Kaes is a middle child in a family of 9. A homeschool graduate, she attended Compass Community from 8th to 12th grade.
While she was in 8th grade, she began working for her dad at their family owned pizza shop. She has also worked at Camp Little Light, a Christian Youth Camp, for three years and enjoys working with and teaching young children.
Kathryn has been twirling from the age of 11 to 18 and has competed for the last 4 years. She looks forward to teaching baton classes at Compass Community and sharing her love of twirling with young kids.
Allison Keeling grew up in Canton, Georgia and moved with her husband and 3 kids to Monroe in 2017. She has a BS in Psychology (concentration in Child Development) with a minor in Public Relations from Berry College. Her homeschooling journey began in 2015 when her oldest child was in First Grade. Before that, Allison worked with children on the Autism Spectrum for 8 years as a Behavioral Therapist and volunteered with High School Youth at her church for 5 years. These roles founded her value of individualized and relationship based education, the approaches is she excited to bring into her classes at Compass. When she isn’t busy homeschooling or advising her husband in the running of their small business, Allison can be found watching documentaries and spending time with family and friends.
Contact Allison at ad.keeling01 @ gmail.com
Jenny Liedberg is a wife and mother of 3 and lives on a farm in Oglethorpe County. She has a true passion for working with children and helping them become the best version of themselves both in her class and outside of it. Jenny earned a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University in animal science with a minor in equine studies. She worked as a vet tech for 7 years and has been a horseback riding instructor for 18 years and archery instructor for 4 years.
Contact Jenny gunsmokesfancy @ yahoo.com
Sherri Michelle Mills
Sherri Michelle learned to sign in her freshman year of high school. She made a deaf friend who taught her sign language.
She has earned a BA in American Sign Language and Interpreting for the Deaf from Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee. She has worked as a freelance interpreter for the deaf as well as an educational interpreter in public schools in Texas, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina.
Sherri Michelle is married to David Mills, pastor of Beech Haven Baptist Church. She is the mother of four children.
Contact Sherri Michelle at 129mills @ gmail.com
Rebekah Nunez grew up in Lawrenceville, GA, where she was homeschooled all the way through high school. She attended Georgia College & State University, where she earned her B.A. in Spanish and Master of Arts in Teaching. Rebekah has spent time in Spain & Mexico, where she developed her love of Spanish language and culture. She enjoys bringing Hispanic culture into the classroom, from making the best guacamole to celebrating birthdays with cascarones (confetti eggs) to making piñatas. Rebekah taught high school Spanish for six years before teaching at Compass. She lives in Athens with her husband Alex, son Kendrick (3), daughter Darcy (1), and orange tail-less cat, Murray. She attends Redeemer Presbyterian Church with her family and enjoys cooking, hiking, and watching Star Trek. .
Contact Rebekah at rebekah.c.nunez (at) gmail.com
Paula is a 16-year homeschooling mom of six kids. She grew up in central Florida, has been in Georgia since 2000 and moved with her family to Watkinsville in 2016. She is a graduate of Georgia School of Ministry and a licensed pastor with the Assemblies of God. She is currently a part of Nations Church. She is internationally certified in training and development through City and Guilds in London and has spent 30 years teaching and training in non-profit organizations. She loves to write and teach and is the author of four published books. She loves all things crafty and finds her greatest therapy to be in the Bible or in the kitchen. Paula serves on the board of trustees for the Athens College of Ministry and works with their fund development team. She and her family serve as volunteers for Thumbs Up Mission, a ministry designed to give retreats to families walking through cancer.
Contact Paula at pdsemple @ aol.com
Diane is a native of northeast Ohio and spent the long winters with a drawing pad in hand. She married her husband in 1997. After the birth of their first son, they moved to the New England area. This is where Diane began to perfect her love of art by attending the New Hampshire Institute of Art. After their second son was born, warmer weather was on the horizon and they ventured to Georgia. One more son to add to the mix, and homeschooling seemed like the perfect plan. This is when Diane took her love of art and began to teach painting and drawing. Along with fine art instruction, she has been teaching arts and crafts in Loganville for the last seven years. When Diane isn’t creating visual art, you will find her writing, as she has three published novels. Besides loving all things creative, she has a passion for the Lord, hiking and football!
Contact Diane at momcreates3 @ gmail.com
Olivia Synan earned a B.S. in Communication with a minor in Theatre from Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, GA. Since then, she has pivoted to a focus in music education through Brightstone Productions in Watkinsville, GA. In the 2020/2021 season, she enjoyed music directing Seussical Junior. She strongly believes in the power of music education and how it can enhance a student’s life in all other academic areas.
When she isn’t at Brightstone Olivia enjoys hiking, going for runs, and spending time with her family!
Contact Olivia at .
Tiena Thacker is a homeschooling mom to four amazing kids, a wife, and the children, youth and family ministries director at her church. All four of her children have attended Compass at one time, with her two oldest now graduated and the younger two attending Wednesdays. Her passions in life include loving and serving the Lord, her awesome family, and teaching and working with children and teens. She has been working with children for more than 30 years as a teacher, daycare worker and owner, and in children, youth and family ministries. Originally a coffee-drinking girl from Seattle, she earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from Central Washington University and worked as a teacher in Colorado before moving to Georgia 25 years ago. In her “spare” time she enjoys being creative, reading, baking, singing in her church praise band and being outdoors. She considers is it an extraordinary blessing to be able to be with her children every day and be the one that has the privilege to lead and guide not only their education but their character as well. This will be her fifth year teaching at Compass. Wednesdays are her favorite day of the week! She loves teaching and working with the amazing children at Compass as they create, grow, think, explore, discuss, problem-solve, laugh, learn, and have fun!
Contact Tiena at email@example.com
Paige Wheeler has her masters degree in Early Childhood Education. She spent three years in private education and twelve years in public education. Paige and her husband live in Jackson County with their three children eleven, nine and six. They spend additional time supporting their children In Trail Life and American Heritage Girls activities. In her spare time she enjoys camping, reading and farm chores.
You can contact Paige at hpaigewheeler @ yahoo.com
Lydia earned her B.A. in Spanish & her M.Ed. in Teaching Additional Languages from the University of Georgia in 2003 and 2006, respectively. Lydia is married to Matt and they have three awesome kiddos (also, a dog, a cat, and a fish). Lydia has over 13 years of experience working with students (PreK-8) and their parents. She has worked as a public & private school classroom teacher, private tutor, children's ministry director, online ESOL teacher, curriculum coordinator, and coach (cheerleading & cross country). She enjoys working with children IMMENSELY - helping them discover and experience the world around them more fully. She makes a point to help students feel comfortable in the classroom and confident in their abilities. She loves art, languages, reading & writing, history, music, sewing, knitting, baking (and eating), cooking (and eating), and moving through nature as often as possible. She basically loves life...and fountain Coke.
Janie Zeigler got a roaring start in Satellite Beach, FL, where she was homeschooled and participated in many co-ops herself. Janie earned her B.S. in Molecular Biology from Florida Tech in 2014, when she also married Howard Zeigler. After college, Janie worked as an Instructional Assistant in Chemistry and later Research Technician before diving into teaching. Janie has been teaching English virtually for VIPkid for four years, and earned her teaching license in 2019.
Janie is passionate about homeschooling and will begin homeschooling her son Jack this fall. She also has an infant daughter, Valentine. Outside of teaching, she enjoys swing dancing and board games. See you in the classroom!
jgriffin2011 (at) my.fit.edu