Eastside Academic Studies



Robin graduated from Georgia Tech with a B.S. in Applied Psychology and had completed all coursework for an advanced degree in Industrial/Organizational psychology when her first son was born. Now with four sons, she has been homeschooling for 16 years and has graduated two from high school. She “strongly encouraged” her oldest son to participate in homeschool competitive speech and debate ten years ago, not knowing it would significantly impact his life and shape his career path. After becoming increasingly involved over that time period, in 2021 she and her husband, Josh, felt led to start a new club in the Atlanta area–Dynamis Speech and  Debate, which competes in the Stoa league. Both she and her husband are passionate about competitive debate (and speech) and the incredible influence it has on our students and through them, our world.


Our family actively worships and serves at RISING Church in Buford, GA.


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Beth Bacon has taught life science and biology for over twenty years. She currently teaches at Metro Academic Studies. Beth was Teacher of the Year for Daniell Middle School, Marietta, Georgia in 1999. She was listed in Who’s Who Among Teachers 2002. Beth graduated with a degree in Education with concentrations in math and science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 1990. Beth has a Master’s Degree in Education with concentrations in math and science from Georgia State University, 1998. She attended the Institute for Chemical Education at the University of Wisconsin the summer of 1991. Beth has been a presenter at National Science Teacher Association Conferences, Georgia Science Teacher Association Conferences, and many local schools. Beth has Level T-5 Georgia Teacher Certification. She has completed over 500 hours of biblical training and received a Certificate of Completion from the BTCP (Bible Training for Church Leaders). Beth and her husband Kevin and their three children Kate, Olivia, and Jackson attend Genesis Bible Church of Dunwoody. Beth teaches Sunday School there and is on the Children’s Ministry Team.


Grace has always loved history, even as a child! She earned her BA in History from Geneva College and has taught junior and senior high school in several Classical Christian schools in various states. In college as an undergrad and graduate she was a Teaching Assistant in the Humanities Department. During her years as a TA, she graded college essays, created exams, led discussions and attended college faculty meetings. Her students are important to her and she believes it is important to educate the whole student. Grace has lived in several states, including the Midwest and California, but considers herself an honorary Southerner. She is married to Ryan and together they have 3 young children who are homeschooled and 3 dogs who like to sit and listen to the kids "doing" school! When she isn't driving the children to sports and music practice, Grace enjoys reading, acting, singing, dancing, traveling, learning about new cultures, board games, the beach, spending time with Ryan and watching her children create and dream dreams. They are members of Westminster Presbyterian and enjoy worshipping and growing there very much!


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Noelle Bandy has been teaching and tutoring high school and college level math for over 25 years since she moved to the Atlanta area to attend Agnes Scott College and later Georgia Tech where she earned her Masters degree.  She taught one year in public school and then several years of freshman and sophomore level classes at Georgia Tech and Agnes Scott.  Since 1997 she has also been homeschooling her own five children and has successfully launched three of them into college and beyond.  She has been teaching math to other people’s homeschool kids for the last several years.  What she loves best about teaching mathematics is the opportunity to share the never-changing, easily accessible yet infinitely complex aspects of God’s creation.  Did she mention she loves math?

Noelle and her family attend St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church where they are involved in pretty much everything.  She loves to cook and knit and read and drink coffee.  She is married to a structural engineer named Brent.


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Xiomara (Xio) Castro was born in New Jersey; however, she considers herself a “southern girl with an accent.” Born from a Colombian mother and a Dominican father, her first language was Spanish. Her family moved to the Dominican Republic when she was 10 years old and then  moved back to the United States when she was 18 years old.  At age 19, she joined the military and served in the Army for almost 7 years. She then went to work in Corporate America in different roles, including Director of Operations for an Atlanta financial company for 10 years. However, she felt called to homeschool and decided to let go of her corporate career. Xio taught Spanish for five years to both adults and students including those in the Fayette County home school community.  As a graduate of Colorado Technical University, she earned her BS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Human Services and is looking forward to pursuing her masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in the future.

She has been married to her best friend for 23 years and they have two children. A 27-year-old daughter, whom she homeschooled part-time during her high school years, and a son that was homeschooled until graduation and now attends Baylor University in TX. She volunteers with her husband at a ministry for homeless men in Atlanta and is active in her community.  When she is not spending time with her family, teaching, studying, traveling or serving, you will find her hiking at different state parks with her hiking club. 

One of her biggest passions is to work with kids, especially teens. She loves sharing her love for God with them, as well as her Spanish language and culture. Xio’s number one priority for her students is that they not only learn Spanish well enough to be successful in the next level, but that they learn to love the Spanish language and the culture. She is extremely excited about this opportunity to get to know your students and work with you, as a partner, in your... (more)

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David earned the Master of Music degree in conducting from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Texas. His extensive study of solo and chamber repertoire placed him under the coaching of Janos Starker, Lynn Harrell, Claus Adam, Leonard Rose and Samuel Mays. David received a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance degree from Indiana University, where he studied with Fritz Magg.


Since coming to Atlanta, David frequently performs in the Southeast as soloist, and chamber musician where he also serves as pedagogue, composer and arranger. He regularly plays with the Atlanta Opera and has recorded as soloist and chamber musician on several CD recordings and has also recorded with Trey Anastasio, Steve Green, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant and others.  

Currently, David is the Director of Orchestras at His Masters Voice School of Music and Art in Stockbridge, GA. He has completed his seventh year in that position and, for the past two years, has been the Director of Orchestras at Joyful Noise Band, a homeschool music school in Marietta, GA. David also conducts private lessons.

David has two daughters who are now grown. His eldest, Sara, plays the harp and has graduated from Columbus State University.  His youngest, Ana, works with neglected animals and has recently joined the police force in Gwinnett County. He attends a new church plant, Tucker Presbyterian Church, and is head musician there composing and arranging for string quintet, flutes and piano weekly.


More information may be found on CMA website here: https://chambermusicatlanta.com/atlanta-musicians/david-hancock/




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Teresa Hatten is a graduate of Fisk University with a BA degree in Applied Mathematics. For more than 26 years she worked in the corporate sector in various assignments and Management positions including Engineering, Planning and Analysis, Human Performance Technology, Course Development and Instruction. She became interested in learning sign language in the 1980's after seeing it expressed during church worship services. Her journey into the Deaf world began through a small sign language class offered by the church. In 2004, after completing and accomplishing ASL skills training courses in the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Georgia Perimeter College (now, Georgia State University), she transferred to Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Services. She received a degree in Mortuary Science, became a licensed Mortician and took the helm as General Manager of her parent's funeral services establishment in the state of Tennessee after the passing of her mother. Teresa is an ordained Minister; Served as an Assistant Pastor in Louisville, KY, Associate Minister in Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA. For the past 4 years, she served at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf (AASD) as Assistant Librarian three days a week.  Until recently, she provided a service through WOHL Communications Services as a Reader, Scribe or Proctor for candidates with disabilities who are required to take national, state and local examinations and certifications.  Teresa has completed continuing education courses in American Sign Language (Basic and Advanced) at the University of Georgia.  She and her husband Jiendesha "JD" Hatten have been married 42 years. They have two children and three grandchildren.  Teresa and "JD" worship and fellowship at Buckhead Church Online (due to COVID-19 precautions).


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Julie Hull has been in ministry with her husband for almost 20 years after graduating from Bob Jones University with a BA in Children’s Ministries. She was certified by the GACS to teach elementary school and then taught 3rd grade for 3 years before beginning their family’s homeschool journey. She has now been homeschooling her children, as well as tutoring others, for 11 years. She has also been actively involved in the local homeschool community, serving as the director of Berean Homeschool Group.

She has always been interested in science, especially horticulture, chemistry and physical sciences. She has been teaching science classes for middle and high school for the last 4 years at local homeschool co-ops and online for a school in China. Julie enjoys gardening, event planning, singing, drawing, digital art and watercolor painting. Her husband serves as the youth pastor for their church, FHMV Baptist Church in Snellville, GA, where Julie also actively serves with the teen, children, and music ministries.


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Tim brings extensive business, corporate and entrepreneurial experience to our staff.  He has a strong background in leading training, sales, marketing and operations organizations, as well as founding his own training and consulting firm.  Tim graduated from the University of Tennessee with a BS in Business Administration.  Tim’s love for teaching began when he taught navigation systems while serving in the US Air Force.  Later he managed AT&T’s Sales Leadership Training Center where he oversaw the development and delivery of training courses to their Business Sales Division across the Country.  After leaving AT&T Tim founded his own company which provided Corporate Training Programs and business consulting.  He later taught in a small Christian school and at a Gwinnett County public school.

Tim and his wife Laura worship at Decatur City Church.  They have two children, Andrew and Elaine, both of whom were homeschooled before going on to graduate from the University of Georgia and UCLA. Go Dawgs!


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Vanita is an exercise enthusiast. She enjoys swimming and reading when not working out. She received her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St Louis and her Doctorate of Podiatric Medicine from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine.  The mother of two and wife for more than two decades lives in DeKalb County.  Vanita is also a healthcare provider, studio owner, and insurance professional when not shaping young bodies and souls.  She looks forward to working with your youth.  I Corinthians 6:19

“You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which
you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.“


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Jennie Jones attended two Christians schools for her primary and secondary school education. Growing up with a father as a professor and a mother who was a librarian, she has always had a love of history, a concern for our country, and a passion for educating others about history, government, and literature. She particularly realized the importance of freedom after meeting a Russian art dealer who had been imprisoned in the Soviet Gulag for resisting the Communists. Through the years, she saw that many Americans (including our elected officials—and Christians!) did not know our history and the foundations of our country’s freedom and prosperity.  So, she decided to go back to college and pursue graduate coursework in history, government, and literature.

Jennie earned her Bachelor’s in program management from Northwest Florida State College and her Master’s in American Studies (history, government, and literature) from the University of Dallas in Irving. Before embarking on her master’s degree, she studied European history and American history at Texas State University in San Marcos. 

While working on her bachelor’s degree, she ran a local judicial campaign in Northwest Florida and worked on a gubernatorial campaign in Georgia. She also worked in civil service for the Air Force and for a non-profit organization before working for an internet technology firm while pursuing her master’s. While pursuing further graduate studies in Literature, she taught Federal Government and American History I as an adjunct at Collin College in McKinney. She has spent the last four years teaching Federal Government, Texas Government, American History I and II at Weatherford College.

Jennie recently moved to Marietta, and is excited to be teaching American Literature next year! During her graduate studies, she particularly appreciated learning about the historical context, themes and storytelling methods. She is looking forward to helping students make connections... (more)

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Mrs. Jones has been a homeschooling mother since 2009.  After receiving a B.S. in Accounting and an M.Acc., with a concentration in Information Systems, from the University of Tennessee in 1993, she enjoyed a consulting career with Deloitte and Touche, LLP.  During her consulting tenure, she developed an interest in the human side of information systems and developed expertise in organizational development, employee continuing education, team building, and leadership training.  After staying home with her first-born child for two years, Mrs. Jones became a certified Myers-Briggs consultant and led leadership classes and retreats for youth and adults in ecumenical and business settings.  Her goal was to help participants identify their unique vocational gifts, using Myers-Briggs as one tool in developing that understanding.  In 2010, Mrs. Jones received an M.Div. from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, with certificates in Religious Education and Women in Theology and Ministry, where she continued to examine how our unique vocational gifts impact our learning styles, our vocational choices, and our interactions with and contributions to the communities in which we work, live, and serve.  Bridging two of her passions, Mrs. Jones wrote her thesis on spirituality in the context of popular children’s literature. After graduation in 2010, Mrs. Jones served on church staff or in lay leadership positions related to spiritual formation, finding particular joy in creating interactive, multidisciplinary, multisensory, and multigeneration programming. She previously taught AP Psychology in 2015-2016. All students from her class who chose to take the AP Psychology exam received grades that would indicate proficiency and could be accepted for college credit, where applicable.


Maren Katz is a native German and moved with her family from Germany to the US in 2007, after living 1.5 years in the Netherlands. With the birth of her first son in 1999, she left the corporate world (pharmacy and pharmacy IT) and became a stay-at-home mom for her 3 children. Always interested in foreign languages and being fluent in English, French and Dutch, she successfully started a kids’ English club for her children and their friends in 2002. Since in Germany it is illegal to homeschool, Maren and her family took her husband’s job opportunity to move to the US with a stopover in The Netherlands to be able to homeschool. She’s excited to share her joy of learning different topics and opening the door to understanding another culture through sharing her German roots. Looking at science from a Christian perspective is a different way to worship the Creator!  Maren enjoys reading and sewing to relax. Being able to create with a sewing machine is so much fun, that she can't keep it to herself but loves to inspire others in different age groups to get started, too, with her either individual or group classes. She has also supported her daughter’s love for animals by helping her raise a Canine Companion for Independence guide dog puppy, who is now a skilled helper to a former police officer. She loves to worship at Northlands Church.


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Derek Owens graduated from Duke University in 1988 with a degree in mechanical engineering and physics. He taught physics, honors physics, AP Physics, and AP computer science at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA from 1988-2000. He worked at the TIP program at Duke for two years, teaching physics and heading the Satellite Science Program. He received a National Science Foundation scholarship and studied history and philosophy of science at L'Abri Fellowship in England. He worked as a software developer for six years before returning to teaching. Since 2006, he has been a full time teacher for homeschoolers in the Atlanta area. He and his wife Amor and their two children Claire and David attend Dunwoody Community Church.


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Tom Robinson graduated from Michigan State University in 1985 with an Electrical Engineering / Computer Engineering degree. At MSU, he was a 2-time letter winner on the football team and was recognized with the Potsy Ross Award for leadership scholastically and athletically. He served as president of Eta Kappu Nu, the Electrical Engineering honor society, during his senior year. Mr. Robinson has over 25 years of business and technology experience with leading companies including IBM, Gartner, and Computer Associates. He and his wife successfully homeschooled their three daughters who are all college graduates. Mr. Robinson will use Derek Owens` curriculum to teach Prealgebra, Algebra 1, Geometry, and Computer Science. Mr. Robinson and his wife Lisa are members at Church of the Apostles in Atlanta.


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Kathy Romanoff has an MEd from Georgia State University and a BS in Education from the University of Tennessee. She enjoyed teaching students in the Metro Atlanta Area for eighteen years and has maintained her teaching certificate. During her tenure as a public school teacher she taught various math and science classes, but chemistry was her love. Numerous levels of chemistry, including Advanced Placement, permitted her to develop a thorough - learner based program. Kathy stepped out of the classroom in 1995 and into the home to care for her children . Shortly after this transition, she began to teach chemistry within the home school community. Bruce and Kathy enjoy fellowshipping at Westminster Presbyterian Church.


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Eastside Director

Michelle Shaw received her B.A. in Economics from Harvard College in 1985 and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1989. She practiced law in Massachusetts for six years before she chose to focus on homeschooling her five children.  Three of her children have graduated from college and the last two are currently attending college.  Michelle has taught teenagers in various capacities for over 20 years. She has taught at Eastside for nine years and has been the director since 2016. She is married to Dr. Alan Shaw, a tenured Professor in Computer Science at Kennesaw State University and the pastor of Christ First Community Church in Snellville.


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Margaret Shuman earned a secondary English education/German double major and a renewable, 7-12 GA teaching certificate at Berry College. She went on to get a master's degree from Bowling Green State University, OH, in speech and theatre, where she also took graduate level courses in literature and theories of teaching writing. Since graduation, she has taught in two public schools, two private schools, and the home education world. The College Board has officially approved Margaret to teach both AP Literature and AP Language, and has hired her to score SAT essays. She has also led seminars in drama, AP English, speech, and writing at professional development conferences. Margaret and her family worship at Passion City Church. You can find out more about Margaret at www.MargaretShuman.com.


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Jessica Taylor has been teaching in various settings for 20 years. She received her B.A. in History from Hiram College, continued History and Education coursework at Case Western Reserve University, and has completed the Director's Training for the State of Georgia.   She works with ESL students during the summer and has completed the TESOL course through The Global Leadership Academy to teach English as a Second Language.  She currently offers tutoring & school break camps through her business, Thrive Academics. 

She loves all things that pertain to History, but thoroughly enjoys teaching all subjects! She and her husband have the awesome privilege of homeschooling their 3 children. She and her family are devoted followers of Christ at The Faith Church of Atlanta.


Email: allwriteacademy@gmail.com

During her 15-year tenure at CNN,  Valerie Vaughan encountered many enriching work experiences.  She was a video-tape editor, wrote news copy, served as an Associate Producer, and supervised and trained many new hires.  She spearheaded a campaign to heighten sensitivity and eliminate biased language in CNN story reports.  This action resulted in the production of a 30-minute internal training video. Valerie served as the project manager and executive producer of the program.  Ultimately, the tape was used for the training and orientation of all new hires.

Always a teacher at heart, Mrs. Vaughan says: “Whenever I learn something new, I feel compelled to teach it to someone else.”  In 2016, combining her writing skills and her passion for teaching, Valerie developed the All-Write Academy. She is excited to expand her program to Eastside students this year.  

All-Write uses creativity and critical thinking processes, to create better communicators.

Valerie Vaughan is a native of Chicago, Illinois.  She and her husband have an adult daughter and they live in Snellville GA.


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Malaika Wells graduated from Florida A & M University with a Bachelor's degree in English. She loves thinking, listening, community building, singing, exploring nature, reading, writing, facilitating, and learning about God, His word, His world, His people, and herself. Malaika has been married to Andrew Wells since 1999 and they are the parents of four children they have intermittently homeschooled since 2012. Her family worships at Godly Love Christian Fellowship and enjoys visiting with other congregations as time and the Lord allow. Malaika has taught adults and children. In addition to being Andrew's wife and the joyful mother of their children, Malaika is a marriage mentor with Coupled in Christ Marriage Ministry. She is also the President of the Stonecrest Citizens Coalition and the co-director of Global Ubuntu, a consulting firm that helps individuals and groups, companies and grassroots organizations increase leadership capacity and community engagement through the use of asset-based community development and popular education principles, and facilitated dialogues. 


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Sandra Williams is a graduate of Georgia Southern University.  She homeschooled her son from first grade to college (Auburn University).  He is now a mechanical engineer.  She has taught middle and high school, homeschooled students for the past 20+ years, in classes that included critical thinking, chemistry, and history.  She has taught at Vantage Point Education, LEAD, Dunwoody Homeschoolers, and AAEN.  She develops creative learning methods for her classes based upon the needs of students.  Her goal for every class is not just to teach the subject but to teach students to love the subject and to develop the confidence and curiosity to continue learning about it.


Sandra enjoys painting, sewing, reading, gardening for wildlife, and learning about history from outside-the-box. She provides books for a children’s free-lending library at a church in Grayson, primarily books by publishers and authors who often are not included in public school libraries because they write from a Christian point of view.  Her goal is to encourage children’s love of reading with “living books” that also have a moral compass.  When her son was a beginning reader, Sandra and her husband started “Booger Books,” a free-lending library at AAEN, in order to nurture an avid-reading peer group for him.  For the same reason, she held Readers’ Theater in her home, using plays written for readers from emergent to independent.  


Sandra and Jeff Williams, her husband of 32 years, are members of St. Martin's Lutheran Church (North American Lutheran Church).  They live in Tucker, where they garden and keep bees. Their household includes Jeff's 95 years old mother, two dogs, and one cat.  They have four adult children and 7 grandchildren.


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