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Yosemite Valley Charter School

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Central Testing Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher Maria Theoni Central Testing Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher
Central Testing Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher

Maria Theoni

Central Testing Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher

My name is María Isabel Thoeni. I live in Salinas with my husband, Nick, whose free time is spent practicing archery and getting sooty over his blacksmith’s forge. I have three children under 10 who live with us too (thank goodness!). Tristan loves to explore nature and engineer things. William delights in anything that involves counting or cheese. Liliana spends a lot of her time playing with her dollhouse and pretending to be a cat. My favorite pastimes are gardening, yoga, baking, reading, hiking… actually, I enjoy a lot of things!! Our gift of life together is a joy.

I value family and the individual gifts we have all been given. When our gifts are nurtured, we can use them to spread a community of love and improve our world. This philosophy has guided a lot of my career and life choices. I began working in education as an inclusion aide to serve students with special needs. I did this for two years before I pursued a teaching credential. I worked as a teacher in a “brick and mortar school” for 2 years in East San Jose, then 2 years in San Francisco’s Western Addition in a Spanish bilingual program. Finally, I spent 5 years teaching in Soledad.

For the next three years, I homeschooled my son, Tristan, and served homeschooling families through a different independent study style charter school. Inspire Charter School is the first place that I have worked where family and student learning truly seems to be at the forefront of every choice. I will do my best to support you in realizing your hope for your children’s education.

Homeschool Teacher Sheila Walsh Homeschool Teacher
Homeschool Teacher

Sheila Walsh

Homeschool Teacher

Hi, I’m Sheila, and I’m thrilled to be starting at Inspire. I live in Santa Cruz with my husband and children, Taegan, Lazuli and Juliet. I homeschooled them for ten years, and I like to consider myself a “guardian of childhood.” I believe in homeschool because it creates a strong family culture while allowing children to be children. Children learn at different paces, and giving them the space to learn creates so many amazing possibilities. I am grateful for the experiences I have had both in the home and in the classroom, because before I was a homeschooling mom, I was a high school history teacher for six years in Gilroy and Scotts Valley. I received my single subject teaching credential from Dominican University in 1997. In addition to education, I am also passionate about nutrition, conscious parenting and nourishing healthy families. I have combined these passions into a podcast, The Moms I Know, as well as a website which supports healthy families. Besides the literature, road tripping was the highlight of our homeschool journey. We are an adventure family, and homeschooling allowed us to be on the road and take advantage of our national parks and our beautiful state. I am looking forward to supporting families in San Benito and Monterey Counties to be successful in homeschooling. I want to inspire families to know that homeschooling is a possibility in changing the world because when children are valued they will contribute positively to our world.

Homeschool Teacher Sara Maguire Homeschool Teacher
Homeschool Teacher

Sara Maguire

Homeschool Teacher

Hi there! Throughout my teaching career, my focus has always been on developing thoughtful and positive relationships with students and families. I believe in nurturing the whole child while encouraging critical thinking and creativity by finding the best paths for growth and achievement. I have a B.A. in Art Studio from UC Santa Barbara (1995) and a Multiple Subject BCLAD Teaching Credential from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (1997). I have taught at a Monart Drawing School, Title I schools, and a Spanish Immersion charter school. After eight years as a full-time public school teacher, I started a family and became the most important kind of educator of all--a parent. Since then, I have been a classroom volunteer and a substitute teacher for the Carmel Unified School District. Joining Inspire, I am excited to be working with families to create wonderful and meaningful learning experiences! I enjoy running, hiking, reading, writing, and making art. I learn something new every day with my husband and two children.

Homeschool Teacher - Regional Coordinator Linda Empleo Homeschool Teacher - Regional Coordinator
Homeschool Teacher - Regional Coordinator

Linda Empleo

Homeschool Teacher - Regional Coordinator

Hello! My name is Linda Empleo, and I am very excited about beginning this new journey with Inspire Charter School. I will be serving as a Homeschool Teacher and Regional Coordinator forMonterey and San Benito Counties. My deepest, heartfelt desire is to further build and create a trusting and supportive fellowship of homeschooling families in this area. I hold my BS in Communication Disorders and Sciences from SanJose State University, a M.Ed in Multicultural Education from National University, and a CLAD Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential. I’ve worked with families through the home-based charter school option for almost 20 years. Prior to earning my degrees, I was a homeschooling mother to my own children, to whom I taught all grade levels at different times. When I was new to the homeschool world, I hoped and prayed to find a mentor to guide me along the way. It was difficult to find others who had walked this path. I have made it my goal to become that person for others. I am a Monterey Peninsula native, and it continues to be my home. I have five wonderful adult children,and four adorable grandbabies who I love to spend time with. In my downtime, I enjoy gardening, reading, hiking and traveling. I consider myself a lifelong learner, and am currently learning to play ukulele. I am hoping to add some art classes to my schedule in the near future. I truly love the homeschooling community and consider it my “baby.” I hold great pride in seeing my students develop to their greatest potential, as would a mother to her child. My aim is to build trust and mutual respect for each student, parent, and family. I strive to assist my charges in developing and nurturing a love of learning. My goal is your educational success.

Kristen Rhodes - Homeschool Teacher Kristen Rhodes Homeschool Teacher
Kristen Rhodes - Homeschool Teacher

Kristen Rhodes

Homeschool Teacher

Hello I am honored to be writing this bio for prospective parents to read. I have a long educational career including teaching preschool, working with a wide range of special needs students, reading tutor, outdoor education teacher, and homeschooling my own four children. I have taught every grade from preschool through 7th grade many times over. I have a Liberal Studies degree, Child Development minor, and a Multiple Subjects CLAD-certified Teaching Credential. Three of my four children are also dyslexic and I understand the constant struggle to find the right curriculum and assistance. Believe me when I say we have tried them all. When I am not teaching, I love to be outdoors creating. My specialty is wood working and making specialty signs. My husband and I are currently remodeling our home room by room. We are a multigenerational household navigating the world of toddlers, teenagers, and grandparents. I understand how crazy busy this season of life can be. I took on this position because it is my passion to help others navigate the homeschooling world. It has been an unbelievable blessing in our family's life and I want to help you achieve the same. I am an out-of-the-box thinker who loves a challenge and homeschooling is just that every single day.

Regional Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher Kim Souder Regional Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher
Regional Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher

Kim Souder

Regional Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher

My name is Kim Souder and I am a teacher, homeschool mom, and Regional Coordinator for Inspire Charter Schools in Central California. I earned my degree from Fresno Pacific University and went on to teach 6th grade for many years in a traditional school. My family is currently living in Chowchilla where my husband is the Worship Pastor at Valley Harvest Church. Since my roots are in the Fresno area and my home is in the Madera/Merced area, I work in both regions. Inspire has provided me with the opportunity to homeschool my own children while keeping a teaching job. My husband and I have three children. Twins who are graduating this year and a son who is starting junior high in the fall. We are pursuing adopting a fourth child sometime this year. As a teacher and a mom, I desire to provide educational experiences for my children that are unique to their individual needs. On this journey, I have tried many different elementary and high school curriculums and learning options with my kids on the quest to find what works best for each of them. I have seen, firsthand, how homeschooling has made a difference in my son, who has ADHD, and provided extra time for my kids to pursue their individual interests. My passion is to find a learning path for each child which values who they are and inspires and equips them to grow and to learn. As an Inspire teacher, I desire to join my families on their journey and offer encouragement and support as they seek to meet the individual needs of their own children.

Homeschool Teacher Katie Millikan Homeschool Teacher
Homeschool Teacher

Katie Millikan

Homeschool Teacher

Hi, I’m Katie! I graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2008 with a BA in Psychology. After graduating, I spent a few years working as a Flight Attendant and traveling which was so fun! However, I always felt called to teaching so I went back to school and received my Teaching Credential. I have five years of public and private school teaching experience and I’ve spent the last few years home with my babies. I am married with a blended family with five kids ages 15, 13, 11, 3, and almost 1! It’s a busy but very sweet life! God is good!

I have a huge heart for homeschooling. Growing up I experienced private school, public school, and homeschooling. This gave me a unique perspective on the different choices and the benefits of homeschooling. In addition, dyslexia runs in our family so I have done extensive research on how homeschooling can be a perfect option for students with special needs. Personally, I have more of an eclectic homeschool perspective (whatever works!), but I do favor Charlotte Mason a bit. Researching different curriculum and finding a perfect fit for each individual student and family is one of my favorite hobbies! Working for Inspire and getting to support families on their own homeschool journey is pretty much my dream job!

Homeschool Teacher Leslie Nebeker Homeschool Teacher
Homeschool Teacher

Leslie Nebeker

Homeschool Teacher

Greetings! My name is Leslie Nebeker and I live in Merced, the heart of the Central Valley. I began my career teaching reading in a middle school in Utah for just one year before dropping out of public education to raise a family. Six children and 20 years later, I completed the requirements for my California teaching credential. Since then, I have worked ten years as a reading clinician in Merced, eleven years as a virtual charter school teacher, and this is my second year supporting homeschool families for Inspire Charter Schools. Some of the things that inspire me are my husband and family (which now includes 13 grandchildren), teaching, traveling, good books, and the wonders of nature. As a teacher, my goal is to find a learning path for each child which values who they are and inspires and equips them to grow, to learn, and to meet their educational potential. I am very excited to be a part of the Inspire Central team and honored to have the opportunity to support you as you seek to meet the individual needs of your own children.

Michele Egorov - Homeschool Teacher Michele Egorov Homeschool Teacher
Michele Egorov - Homeschool Teacher

Michele Egorov

Homeschool Teacher

Hi, I’m Michele Egorov from the Fresno area. I am so excited to be working for Inspire Charter Schools. I taught second grade for four years and the last 17 years have been devoted to homeschooling my own children. I have graduated the three oldest and have quite a bit of experience in teaching the high school years, as well as preparing for beyond. I feel very strongly about the positive effects schooling at home can have on your child. I am also familiar with the various challenges that can crop up for you as a home school parent. For both of these reasons, I have a desire to nurture, encourage, and mentor families that have chosen to home school. You can do it!!!! I can’t wait to build new relationships and assist you on this journey.

Carrie Stumpfhauser - Regional Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher Carrie Stumpfhauser Regional Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher
Carrie Stumpfhauser - Regional Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher

Carrie Stumpfhauser

Regional Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher

Hello! My name is Carrie Stumpfhauser. I am a homeschool mom to four children who each hold their own strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and a piece of my heart. We started our homeschool journey 7 years ago. Our journey has had many twists and turns, taking me places that I would have never imagined and filling our lives with endless possibilities. Together we have created many precious memories and overcome many obstacles. As a homeschool mom, it has been my dream to help my children develop a thirst for knowledge. Each of my children have many things that they need to learn but they also have passions that drive them and need to be given the opportunities to soar. Before I started on this journey, my passions were scrapbooking, gardening, reading, sewing, and cooking. These days those passions have been put on hold for a few years and I’ve developed the passion of learning beside my children and encouraging/supporting other moms to do the same.

Before having children, I taught third and fourth grade for 7 years in Selma. I truly enjoyed that experience. Once our family started to grow, I decided to stay home with my little ones. I would have never guessed that I would have been led to homeschooling but when my oldest child was four we decided to give it a try and we have never looked back. Of course, we say that we take it year by year, child by child, but truly homeschooling has just been a blessing to our family. I started working at Inspire in 2017. For me, this has been an opportunity to encourage and support families on their homeschooling journeys. One of my favorite things that I get to do in this job is help families find curriculum that meet the needs of their children. I love being a part of the Inspire team!

Valerie Blackburn - Homeschool Teacher Valerie Blackburn Homeschool Teacher
Valerie Blackburn - Homeschool Teacher

Valerie Blackburn

Homeschool Teacher

Coming soon!

Melissa Ens - Homeschool Teacher Melissa Ens Homeschool Teacher
Melissa Ens - Homeschool Teacher

Melissa Ens

Homeschool Teacher

Coming soon!

Randy Stumpfhauser - Homeschool Teacher Randy Stumpfhauser Homeschool Teacher
Randy Stumpfhauser - Homeschool Teacher

Randy Stumpfhauser

Homeschool Teacher

Hello, my name is Randy Stumpfhauser and I am really looking forward to working at Inspire Charter Schools and supporting homeschool families this year. I have spent the past seven years teaching a 9th grade transition course at Selma High School. It has been both rewarding and challenging, and now I look forward to being more involved with the homeschool community. I have a single subject teaching credential in the area of mathematics along with a degree in Industrial Engineering. My family has been homeschooling for about seven years and it has been an amazing blessing to watch my children become excited about learning. My wife has done a fantastic job of implementing creative and challenging ways for our children to learn. I have four children ages 12, 10, 9, and 7. The learning opportunities that they have been involved with are amazing and I also enjoy learning with them. One of their favorite subjects is history, and when I see their excitement, it makes me want to learn right along with them. Each year we homeschool, I become more excited about what the next year might bring and I am very grateful to be able to share that excitement with other families. I live in the Sanger area where I went to high school. My family really loves the outdoors and we try to make sure we get our fill of camping, hiking, biking, and other activities every summer. We really value being involved in our local community and sharing our passions with other families. I hope to continue to meet more homeschool families to encourage and learn from.

Vikki Shumaker - Homeschool Teacher Vikki Shumaker Homeschool Teacher
Vikki Shumaker - Homeschool Teacher

Vikki Shumaker

Homeschool Teacher

My name is Vikki Shumaker and I am very excited to be teaching with Inspire Charter Schools this year. This will be my seventh year working in the online and homeschool environment. I have fallen in love with this career and feel truly blessed to be able to connect with so many children and families through teaching. Homeschooling has opened so many new opportunities for little learners and I love being a part of that. I knew that I wanted to become an elementary school teacher, even when I was younger than your young student. I look forward to being a part of your academic learning and helping your students achieve their goals! I was born and raised in Fresno and love connecting with others from the Central Valley. I now live in Clovis, California with my two teenage children that keep me very busy. We love to travel, mainly to the beach, and just spend quality time together. I look forward to meeting other local families to connect and explore this amazing academic journey together!

Katie Torosian - Homeschool Teacher Katie Torosian Homeschool Teacher
Katie Torosian - Homeschool Teacher

Katie Torosian

Homeschool Teacher

My name is Katie Torosian and I live in the Clovis area. I have been teaching for 17 years; 6 in Clovis Unified, 10 with another charter and now with Inspire! Kindergarten through 4th Grade are my favorite grades, but I embrace and love all ages! I truly love working along the side of my families. Guiding and encouraging them with their homeschooling journey. I have 4 kids who each have their own learning style so I love helping families figure out what homeschool style will work for them. My husband and I have been married for 17 years. I have 4 kids ages 14, 12, 10 and 8. I have a few hobbies like reading and running. I teach the kindergarten class at our Fresno Enrichment Academy which truly is my favorite day of the week. I am enthusiastic and optimistic which contributes to a classroom that is full of joy while learning the content and building success in school. Welcome to Inspire!!

Jenny Plumb - EA Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher Jenny Plumb EA Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher
Jenny Plumb - EA Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher

Jenny Plumb

EA Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher

As a mom and homeschooler, I have three kids in 9th grade, 6th grade and 3rd grade. My youngest is dyslexic and I understand navigating education to fit your child’s specific needs. I grew up in a homeschooling family and have homeschooled all of mine at different times in their education. My husband is a pilot and we have sometimes homeschooled for the freedom to travel with them around the world. I think that the best gift I can give my children is the desire to explore, create, play, and become lifelong learners -strong in who they were born to become. I have always taught my children a variety of curriculum as each one is an individual and we take schooling year by year for each one. I craft, do photography, garden, and am up to my eyeballs with my husband renovating our old house.

As a teacher, I have a BA in English and got my teaching credential at CS Monterey Bay and started teaching in 2000. I have taught in private, public, charter and homeschool classrooms. I have taught K, 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade and writing classes in traditional schools along with homeschooling my own 1st-6th. I have been a mentor/lead teacher in former schools. I love to help and support other teachers/parents find their own teaching style and couldn’t be more excited to be supporting families at Inspire!

Melanie Hemaidan - Regional Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher Melanie Hemaidan Regional Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher
Melanie Hemaidan - Regional Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher

Melanie Hemaidan

Regional Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher

My name is Melanie Hemaidan. I am so excited to be part of the Inspire team! It is an honor to be able to support families who have the opportunity to truly individualize each student’s learning, based on their needs and the desires of each family. Each student learns and grows in different ways, and homeschooling is a wonderful way to foster a love for learning. This will be my second year with Inspire and I am looking forward to supporting our families as a Homeschool Teacher and Regional Coordinator. I am also excited about continuing to teach at the Enrichment Academy in Fresno on Thursdays.

I have been a teacher for 14 years, with 5 of those supporting the homeschooling community. My teaching experience includes preschool, first grade, math and ELA intervention for 3-4 grades, and math intervention for 6-8 grades. I have been married for 22 years and have three children ages 18, 15, and 13. I enjoy being involved in each of their different interests from theatre to swim and water polo. My hobbies include traveling, going for walks, and spending time with family and friends. The relationships I have made through our Inspire community have been such a blessing to me. I’m excited about serving each of you and building relationships in the 2018/2019 school year.

Michelene Fitzgerald - EA Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher Michelene Fitzgerald EA Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher
Michelene Fitzgerald - EA Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher

Michelene Fitzgerald

EA Coordinator and Homeschool Teacher

Hi, I am Michelene Fitzgerald and I am happy to be a part of your educational journey here at Inspire Charter Schools. Working with families who choose to school at home is what I have devoted my career to and it has been a blessing to my family and me. I hope to return the JOY and grace that you all give to me each day. I am beginning my eighteenth year in charter education and have held a variety of administrative and teaching positions throughout my career. I have the most fun with families at our Enrichment Academy. I have been part of the development here in Central California and it has really nurtured my love for learning and serving the community. I have been married to Scott for 21 years and we have three awesome daughters, Savannah (19), Téa (12) and Elliana (11). The girls swim competitively year round while the oldest also plays water polo. The younger two take dance lessons and actively participate in school sports. Welcome to the school year, we look forward to an incredible year.

Michelle Elrod - Homeschool Teacher Michelle Elrod Homeschool Teacher
Michelle Elrod - Homeschool Teacher

Michelle Elrod

Homeschool Teacher

Hi, I am Michelene Fitzgerald and I am happy to be a part of your educational journey here at Inspire Charter Schools. Working with families who choose to school at home is what I have devoted my career to and it has been a blessing to my family and me. I hope to return the JOY and grace that you all give to me each day. I am beginning my eighteenth year in charter education and have held a variety of administrative and teaching positions throughout my career. I have the most fun with families at our Enrichment Academy. I have been part of the development here in Central California and it has really nurtured my love for learning and serving the community. I have been married to Scott for 21 years and we have three awesome daughters, Savannah (19), Téa (12) and Elliana (11). The girls swim competitively year round while the oldest also plays water polo. The younger two take dance lessons and actively participate in school sports. Welcome to the school year, we look forward to an incredible year.

Megan Kilgore - Homeschool Teacher Megan Kilgore Homeschool Teacher
Megan Kilgore - Homeschool Teacher

Megan Kilgore

Homeschool Teacher

Hello, my name is Megan Kilgore. I am the wife of Greg Kilgore and we have two children: Owen who is three and Cami who is almost one. I hold a degree in Biomedical Physics and a teaching credential in physics and general science. I love the freedoms that come with homeschooling and I hope to be a homeschooling mom to my kiddos when the time comes! We currently live in Oakhurst where my husband pastors a Southern Baptist church. We have two horses and three golden retrievers. I love to read, watch movies, ride my horse and spend time with my family.