Promoting Academic Excellence ~ Nurturing Friendships ~ Glorifying God

Compass Community

A vibrant and growing
homeschool group
in Athens, GA

Maureen Altman

Teacher

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. 

Danielle Bailey Miller

Drama Teacher and Volunteer Coordinator

Danielle will begin her fifth year with Compass Community in August 2019. 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. She was last seen in the Athens Downtown Development Authority's holiday commercial in December 2018. 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 (at) yahoo.com

Monica Bidwell

Teacher

Monica has been married to her husband Scott for 15 years and they have 3 children, two of whom attend Compass.  Their family is active in their church where Monica also leads a discipleship group called Moms Connect.  She served with her husband as a missionary in Haiti for 2 years and loves to share her enthusiasm for global missions with students.  She also has a passion for adoption as God grew their family by two amazing children through the adoption process! 

She previously served as the Director of Children’s Ministry at Hardin Baptist Church in Hardin, KY, and has teaching experience in both public and private schools.  She earned her undergraduate degree in Music Education K-12 from Murray State University in Murray, KY.  She teaches private clarinet lessons in her home studio in Winterville.  Monica is currently pursuing Level 1 certification as a trainer with Equipping Minds, a cognitive therapy program, based in Frankfort, KY.  

Monica enjoys being outside, camping, music, and laughing at daily life with her crazy, fun kids!

Sarah Craig

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.

NeeCee Delk

Teacher

NeeCee Delk, a Summa cum Laude graduate of the University of Georgia, spent the first 15 years of her career as a public school educator, with the majority of those years as a reading/language arts specialist in K-5 classrooms. As a second career professional musician, Mrs  Delk has over 15 years of experience in the fields of music and music education.  Along with teaching, she spends much of her time working with local theatre companies and schools as music director for musical productions.  Mrs. Delk is an accomplished pianist,  performing often for weddings, parties, etc. and  in pit orchestras.  She has also performed in several piano concerts in the Athens area.  Mrs. Delk is currently Organist at Bethlehem First UMC.  She lives in Athens with her husband, Steve Hulsey and their homeschooled daughter, Abbey.  For more information about Mrs. Delk's music or educational services, please contact her at delkpiano@gmail.com


Contact NeeCee at delkpiano (at) gmail.com

Kristy Dennis

Director and Teacher

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 has three children, ages 9, 13, and 15 and has been homeschooling since 2007.  She is very passionate about homeschooling and so thankful that she has the opportunity to teach her kids!  She and her family have been involved in co-ops in Florida and Georgia, and Kristy enjoys teaching homeschooled students. She assumed the role of Director at Compass Community in Fall 2015.

Contact Kristy at dennisfam2000 (at) gmail.com

Jessica Ham

Teacher and Volunteer Coordinator

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 four years ago. 
Jessica has homeschooled Abby (15) and Jacob (14) 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.

Nancy Hartgrove

Music Teacher 

Nancy received an undergraduate and graduate degree in music education from Samford University.  Nancy taught elementary general music and middle school choir for eight years before staying home full time with her children.  During that time, Nancy also served as a choral director for a church in Flagstaff, AZ and directed the Flagstaff Children's Chorus.  Nancy has remained active with music while not teaching through church involvement. She currently serves as a preschool choir leader at her church, Athens First United Methodist.  Along with this responsibility, Nancy home schools her children, Anna and Liam.

Joshua Hartgrove

Guitar Teacher

Joshua Hartgrove teaches Beginner and Intermediate Level Group Guitar with Compass Community. His teaching combines sixteen years of experience as a music educator with a life-long passion for the guitar. He taught band, orchestra, percussion and guitar in public school settings in Alabama and Arizona, working with students from 6th grade through undergraduate. Joshua holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, summa cum laude, from Samford University (2001) and a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting, with honors, from Northern Arizona University (2008).

Joshua developed his philosophy and curriculum for group guitar instruction while teaching 60 guitar students per year and serving as Performing Arts Department Chair at a large high school in Phoenix, Arizona. He started guitar at age 14 and strives in his teaching to serve that curiosity-fueled desire he experienced when first inspired to take up the six-string. He presented his approach in a professional development clinic at the Arizona Music Educators Association annual conference in 2015, entitled, So I Have To Teach Guitar, Now What?

Joshua currently works in church administration at Athens First United Methodist Church, serving as Assistant to the Executive Pastor. The Hartgroves are a Compass Community family: Nancy teaches general music and piano classes, and Anna (9) and Liam (7) are in their second year of classes. They look forward to welcoming their third child in March of 2019

Nanette Heckler

Teacher

Nanette is a local and prolific artist whose work is colorful and intense.  She continually pushes her boundaries, creates works that are dynamic and alive, and strives to overturn fresh perspectives.  She has recently delivered her art into God's hands, which has opened up her art to new and interesting expressions with all manner of mediums.  Her work may be found on Facebook, Instagram and her website, http://www.nanetteheckler.com.  She has collectors all over the country and in England and Canada.


 Nanette is a formal trial attorney.  She has been a lobbyist to the US Congress, a lawyer for the Nevada Legislature and has won moot court competitions.  She earned her law degree from Washington and Lee University and her BA in political science from the University of Nevada-Reno.  She has edited a novel, has worked as a news reporter, and has been an editor of a Sunday newspaper supplement.

Nanette has been a homeschooling mom and a teacher to homeschoolers for 16 years.  She has been teaching at Compass since its inception.  She has taught Bible studies in churches and courses in community colleges.

Nanette has been homeschooling her children for 16 years.  

Contact Nanette at nanuart (at) aol.com

Alicia Holman

Teacher

Alicia Holman is a Georgia native who currently resides in Loganville, 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

Abbey Hulsey

Dance Instructor

Abbey Hulsey is an accomplished dancer and performer.   She was a founding member of the DanceFX Xcel Elite Competition team and  performed around the south as a member of that team.  She also performed with the Senior Edge Elite Dance Team at Rhythm Dance Center in Marietta at many dance conventions with a team that took top honors at every event.  She has studied closely under some of the most sought-after national choreographers such as Twitch, Chebar Williams, Kevin Maher, Andrew Winghart, Jaci Royal and many more.

She is also an accomplished soloist, holding a First Place Platinum National Title for her solo, "The Weight" at Hall of Fame Dance Challenge in July 2015. 

Locally, she has been involved in many of the theatre programs, performing with Brightstone, Rose of Athens, and Town and Gown.  She is the choreographer for Malcolm Bridge Middle school Theatre Program.

Contact Abbey at abbeyhulsey (at) gmail.com

Helen Hunsinger

Teacher

Helen has lived in Georgia all of her life.  Born to a family of public and homeschool educators, teaching has come naturally to her.  Mother to 2 girls, she has been homeschooling her family for the last 9 years.  She owns her own small cosmetology business and enjoys knitting and crocheting.  

Brenda Kaes

Teacher

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

Christi Leach

Teacher

Christi Leach is the mother of two boys, ages 14 and 16.  She has been homeschooling since they were young, and they have been a part of Compass Community since 2014.  Christi enjoys teaching students of all ages.

Jenny Liedberg

Archery Instructor

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. She has been a horseback riding instructor for 17 years and archery instructor for 3 years.   

Tara Massey

Teacher

Tara earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Hospitality from the College of Charleston. As a former event planner, now travel concierge, Tara is excited to bring her love of planning and creating memorable events to the classes she teaches at Compass!

Tara and her husband, Chris, have a love for travel and have lived all over the U.S. from Charleston, SC to Park City, UT. Five years ago they decided to settle down in Athens where they could raise their children in a supportive homeschool community. Tara has enjoyed homeschooling her 9-year-old and 7-year-old since the beginning of their school career and cannot wait to see where this journey leads them!

In her spare time Tara enjoys spending time with her family, planning events for Athens Homeschool Edventurers, and volunteering with her children at Sweet Olive Farm.

Sherri Michelle Mills

ASL Teacher

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 smmills6 (at) sbcglobal.net

Dr. Jonathan Mosley

Science Teacher

Dr. Jonathan Mosley earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry at the University of Florida in 2007.  After a multidisciplinary internship at the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate at Eglin AFB, FL, he went on to earn his Ph.D degree in chemistry at the University of Georgia in 2014.  Since 2011, he has authored over a dozen articles in international peer-reviewed chemistry journals.  He is currently employed by the Environmental Protection Agency in Athens, GA, where he is a research chemist on a multi-disciplinary team investigating the impacts of environmental chemical contaminants on aquatic species (e.g. fish).  He is the father of Jude, Amos, Penelope,  Sebastian Mosley, and Desmond, three of which are current Compass students.

Rebekah Nunez

Spanish Teacher

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

Meredith Raiford

Art Teacher

Meredith has a degree in painting from UGA. After graduating in 2015, Meredith felt a call to the mission field and left for a yearlong trip around the world using art as missions. Upon returning to the states (Norfolk, VA), Meredith focused in on her love for teens and the underserved by plugging into her former youth group and working as a supervisor at a homeless shelter for families. She has returned to Athens and serves as the interim youth director at Oconee Heights Baptist Church. Her art specialties include portrait painting and murals.   On any given day Meredith can be found painting at her art studio, doing office work at Ike and Janes, or walking the greenway next to her house.

Laura Rupers

Teacher

Laura Rupers, a Kentucky native, became a Georgia girl 10 years ago. Her teaching background includes Bible, band directing, K-5 elementary music, chorus, drama & musical theatre, writing, arts and crafts. and homeschooling her three children. She holds a bachelor's degree in Music Education (K-12) from Western Kentucky University as well as a master's in Elementary Education with Reading Specialist endorsement. Laura believes that learning should be FUN and as hands on as possible! 

The need to create and perform are like itches for Laura; she "scratches" these by acting in plays; doing storytelling; creating themed cake pops, cookies, candies, and other treats; designing and making costumes and props for theatre; doing theatrical makeup; and writing. Laura's other hobbies include studying the Bible, cooking, volunteering, making music, dabbling in French, volunteering, and being active in her T.O.P.S. club. She also plans to get back into scrapbooking; she only needs pages covering the last 16 years to get caught up. Laura lives in Hull with her husband, Dan; three children: Cubby, Tiger, and Bunny; and a menagerie of animals that includes 2 cats, a bearded dragon, 2 betta fish, a tarantula, an Eastern box turtle, a red-eared slider, and an untold number of dust bunnies.

Contact Laura Rupers at (remove spaces and use "@" and ".") rupers family at gmail dot com

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Paula Semple

Teacher

Paula is a 15 year homeschooling mom of six kids. She and her husband Jim moved the family to the Athens area in March of 2016 and actively serve in their home church, Nations Church. She is internationally certified in training and development through City and Guilds in London and has spent nearly 30 years teaching and training in non-profits and other organizations. She loves to write and teach and is a published author of four books. She loves all things crafty and finds her best therapy to be in the Bible or in the kitchen. Paula and her family serve as weekend managers at the Ronald McDonald House in Macon as well as serve on the volunteer team for Thumbs Up Mission, an extraordinary organization that provides weekend retreats for cancer families. She and her family reside in Watkinsville.

Erin Steele

Teacher

Erin Steele is a homeschooling mama of three kids and wife to Brian. They live in Winterville with two crazy dogs and nine crazier chickens. A native Georgian from Lilburn, Erin graduated from the University of Georgia in 2008 with a B.A. in Spanish. She taught Spanish at Tucker High School for two years post college. After the birth of her first son, Caleb, Erin began working for Parkview High School Young Life, a high school ministry aimed at reaching students with the love of Jesus. She also trained to become a birth doula, and continues that work, as she is passionate about supporting families through the journey of pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

The Steeles have a passion for travel and have visited many countries in South America, Africa, and the Middle East, including a three-month stint at mission's school in Mozambique in 2015. It was after this trip that the Steele family relocated to Athens in the summer of 2016, and they've been enjoying the amazing community and all it has to offer ever since.


Contact Erin at ejeffre1 @ gmail.com

Tiena Thacker

Teacher

Tiena Thacker is a homeschooling mom to four amazing children, a wife, and the Children and Youth Director at her church. Her passions in life include loving and serving the Lord, her family, and working with children and teens.  She has been working with children for 30 years as a teacher, day care worker and owner, and in children, youth and family ministries. She has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Central Washington University and worked as a Head Start teacher in Colorado before moving to Georgia 22 years ago. She sees is as a blessing to have the privilege of being with her children every day, to be the one that leads and guides not only their education but their character as well. In her  “spare” time, she enjoys being creative, baking, singing in the church praise band and being outdoors.

This will be her third year teaching at Compass, and she absolutely loves teaching at Compass! She looks forward to working with your children this year as they create, learn, think, problem-solve, discuss, explore, laugh and just have fun!

 
 

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Brianne Baine

Brianne Baine is a California girl by heart but has been living in Georgia since moving from CA as a teenager. She is married to Michael Baine, and they have five children, three of whom attend classes here at Compass Community. Her family is very active in their church: serving in the children’s ministry and the special needs ministry. 

She obtained her BSEd degree in Exercise & Sport Science as well as Health Promotion from the University of Georgia before going on to get certified as a school teacher.  She taught for many years in the public school system before she began homeschooling her children and teaching at Compass. This will be her 6th year as a Compass Community teacher, and she has enjoyed every year! She loves to make learning fun by creating an environment that gets her students excited and reaching their full potential before they even realize they are working hard. She is excited about the classes she is teaching this year and looks forward to another great year at Compass.


2018-2019 Classes (MAP): Literature grades 8-9, 10-11, Chemistry
2018-2019 Wednesday Classes: Human Anatomy, Chemistry Lab, and Crafting

Contact Brianne at briannebaine (at) gmail.com

Blake Ivey


Blake Ivey is the worship pastor at Oconee Heights. His passion is to lead the people of God in passionate and authentic worship. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2013. Outside of music, Blake is passionate about discipleship and the study of scripture. Blake met his wife Maddi in Rome, GA where she attended Berry College. They welcomed their first son, Ezekiel in August of 2017. They also have two dogs, Hope and Chewbacca. They love the Atlanta Falcons, Hawks, Texas Rangers and they’re learning to cheer for the Bulldogs (it’s a process). Additionally, Blake enjoy video games, movies, and music (obviously)!


2018-2019 Classes: Guitar

Contact Blake at blakeivey1(at) gmail.com

Renée Jackson


Renée earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health from the University of Georgia and her Masters of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at UGA, she met her husband Doug, who is now a chemistry professor at UGA. She spent six years at Prince Avenue Christian School in Athens, teaching high school chemistry as well as middle school earth science and physical science. She also taught keyboarding and Microsoft Office skills. For the past two years, Renee has spent most of her time at home with her two-year-old daughter, Hannah, but she has also worked part-time as a chemistry tutor. In her spare time, Renee enjoys traveling, baking and running.


2018-2019 Classes: Computer Microsoft Office Skills and Intro to Baking

Contact Renee at reneejackson2 (at) gmail.com

Carolyn Kaes

My name is Carolyn Kaes. I am a native Athenian with a BS degree in Early Childhood Education and a minor in International Studies.

Growing up, I attended Master’s Academy, a fine arts school for homeschoolers, where I took piano and violin lessons and participated in the drama company, show choir, and various musical theatre productions. I have 10 years of piano training and currently play piano in the worship team at Living Hope Church.
Post high school, I attended Liberty University and have enjoyed teaching children in a variety of settings including music and piano lessons, Compass classes, and horse back riding camps.

I am passionate about serving the international community in Athens and seeing the unreached areas of the world reached with the Gospel, so learning about other countries and cultures is one of my favorite hobbies. My other loves include being outdoors (especially in the mountains!), singing with my sisters to Broadway soundtracks, reading a good book, completing DIY projects, and drinking coffee.

2018-2019 Classes: Piano all levels, World Culture and Geography, Health and Fitness, Missions, Music and Chorus

Contact Carolyn at ckaes93 (at) gmail.com
Jeni Pittard

Jeni Pittard is mom to four children ranging from preschool to high school. Born in Germany to a military family, she considers Georgia home. After college at Augusta State University, Jeni and her husband Jeff ended up in the Athens area about 15 years ago. She loves reading a good mystery, traveling whenever possible, developing new recipes, and incorporating coffee into all of those things. She and her family are members at Beech Haven Baptist Church.

2018-2019 Classes: Cooking

Contact Jeni at jeni.pittard (at) gmail.com
Maryanne Romano

Maryanne Romano is a homeschooling mother of four and has dedicated her life to Christ and to her family.  Homeschooling was always their family's intention.  The privilege to teach her children has renewed her love for learning, and she tries to inspire her students to experience the same love for learning in their own lives. She enjoys creating a rich learning environment full of opportunities for hands-on activities, and she encourages active class discussions.  It is her desire to infuse life and joy into what might otherwise be considered dull and dry academics. 



2018-2019 classes: Weird Science, Apologia General Science, Apologia Physical Science


Contact Maryanne at 4maryanneromano (at) gmail.com


Rhonda Smith


After growing up in central Kentucky, Rhonda earned a BS in Wildlife Biology from Murray State University and an MS in Raptor Biology from Boise State University.  She has taught science in a variety of settings including 3 years as an outdoor education instructor for elementary and middle school aged students and 3 years teaching college-level biology labs.  She volunteers for church ministry in several positions with youth and children including camp counselor, nursery volunteer, preschool teacher and VBS leader.  She and her family moved from Rhode Island to Athens in 2015.  She has 3 children, ages 10, 7, and 4, and has been homeschooling for 4 years.  She loves homeschooling and learning something new every day.  She spends her precious free time reading C.S. Lewis, knitting legwarmers, watching Star Wars, and birding.  She loves hiking, owls, mountains, cooking, and her family.


2018-2019 classes:  FUNdamental Math grades 2-4 and 4-6, and Science Deconstructed

Contact Rhonda at owlbiology (at) gmail.com