Meet our Instructors and see where to find them.
Anastasia Risley began teaching in high school, where she was active in Future Farmers of America and theater. In FFA, she excelled in horticulture practicums, helped manage a greenhouse, and integrated theater to teach children of all ages about agriculture, botany, and farm animals on a scientific level. Anastasia graduated magna cum laude with a BS in Environmental Studies: Ecology and Conservation from Southern Oregon University. She took great interest in Native American Ecology, community gardening, and recycling on campus, and volunteered to educate about local morphology and tectonics in public schools, ultimately designing and teaching lessons about earthquakes for her senior capstone at Southern Oregon University. She worked for the United States Forest Service in the Willamette National Forest as a field botanist where she surveyed, documented, and treated vegetation and habitat. Guiding high school students in a huckleberry habitat restoration project for weeks in this forest ultimately inspired her to pursue a life of teaching and sharing ecological and botanical knowledge. Some of her hobbies include identifying and researching plants, and creating art inspired by the vibrancy of the natural world.
Andrea Whitson When she was in second grade, child protective services threatened to remove Andrea from her home if her mother would not allow her to be placed in Special Ed because she was incapable of learning math. A seasoned educator, her mother insisted that Andrea be properly tested. She was immediately placed three grade levels ahead in math and later went on to earn two degrees from MIT, where she worked as a TA (lab and lecture). After 15 years of work in machine vision and engineering management, Andrea's current career is as a homeschool parent of a gifted daughter. She also teaches Hands on Science, Environmental Science, Biology through Horse Science, Computer Science, Python, and Robotics at the Pensacola MESS Hall and with a local gifted homeschool co-op. Many her students have been 2e or on the ASD Spectrum. She is married to a 2e husband. She believes the Joy Hakim series on The Story of Science is the best ever written for gifted and 2e children (and the most fun to teach). Andrea has been teaching for GHF for several years and is well loved by her students (and their parents)!
Christy Knockleby is a homeschooling mother of three. She has a BA in political studies, loves playing games, and enjoys learning new things. She’s been teaching Minecraft-based classes for three years now and greatly enjoys it. In fact, she enjoys it so much so that she has created Cobblestone Academy, a Facebook page dedicated to learning through Minecraft and highlighting the classes she teaches through GHF and other venues. She's especially excited to teach a Shakespeare Minecraft class this year, as her love of Shakespeare dates back to her teen years when she recruited her friends to enact Mid Summer's Night Dream in the attic of her house. She blogs at Houseful of Chaos.
Dori Koehler holds a MA/PhD in Mythological Studies with emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She has worked as a personal tutor for the past 10 years, both for children and for adults. Her passion for popular culture, particularly Disney Studies, led her to write her forthcoming book, The Mouse and the Myth: The Sacred Art and Secular Ritual of Disneyland. She writes a personal blog about myth and contemporary popular culture: Mythicbliss. She is a published poet and has also published academic essays related to film analysis. Most importantly, she is a devoted wife, pet mamma, auntie, sister, and friend who spends many hours walking, reading, and thinking together with Lucy, her cocker spaniel companion.
Jade Rivera is an educator, writer, and coach who specializes in designing innovative learning environments for gifted and twice-exceptional learners. Jade’s training in nonviolent communication and her Montessori credential inspire her educational philosophies and practices. She graduated from The Evergreen State College with a degree in chemistry in 2002. Shortly thereafter, she was awarded the renowned Fulbright Scholarship for study in Thailand. After a brief, successful, yet unfulfilling career as a chemist, she made a switch to alternative education. Jade consults with families and educators through coaching, speaking, and workshops to discuss the characteristics of neurodiverse children and how to develop strategies that best serve their education and social-emotional development. She teaches chemistry classes for GHF Online and is the author of Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget from GHF Press.
Josh Shaine has been working with gifted students of all ages for more than 35 years, including many years teaching, administrating, advising, and sometimes directing programs for 7th – 12th graders through MIT’s Educational Studies Program. He has taught at public, private, and alternative schools, as well as working with special needs students, either at home or institutionalized, for school districts in several states. He was the headmaster of a small 7th - 12th grade alternative school in Boston for gifted "disgruntled" students. In addition to teaching and consulting, Josh currently organizes the Beyond IQ conferences near Boston and serves on the board for Hoagies Gifted. He's more fun than this makes him sound!
Justin Schwamm, Director of GHF Online Classes, has taught Latin face-to-face and online for more than twenty years and was one of the first National Board Certified Teachers of Latin. He received his BA in classical languages, summa cum laude, with distinction in major, from Carleton College in Minnesota and his teaching credentials from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has a deep passion for helping gifted learners (and all kinds of learners!) soar to their fullest potential, frequently presents at regional and national conferences for Latin and Classics teachers, and co-founded the Tres Columnae Project, where you can learn Latin, Roman culture, and Roman history through collaborative creation. As the parent of two gifted teens, he understands the joys and the struggles first-hand, and he has truly enjoyed his work with the GHF "Latin Family" since the fall of 2014. He blogs regularly about teaching and learning at Joyful Latin Learning. He can be found on Twitter and Google Plus.
Madeline Goodwin received her Bachelor of Science in environmental studies and biology from Southern Oregon University, graduating cum laude, and earned her Master of Environmental Studies (policy track) from Evergreen State College with her thesis on Climate Change Education in the United States: An analysis of climate science inclusion in K-12 state science standards. She previously interned at the USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station and the Thurston Climate Action Team and volunteers for the WET Science Center in science education. Madeline began taking university classes at 13, enrolling full-time as a fifteen-year-old sophomore in the fall of 2011. She helped found Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, taught several classes about climate change at Grants Pass High School, and has provided testimony for the Washington state legislature on proposed climate mitigation legislation. She loves teaching and mentoring homeschoolers and young college students, especially when she has the opportunity to share her passion for science with them. She serves as Legislative Chair for GHF and is currently running for City Council in Lacey, WA. You can learn more here. Madeline can also be found on LinkedIn and Twitter. She blogs at EcoScienceGirl.
Lisa Fontaine-Rainen has been teaching gifted children in the public school system and working with homeschoolers for 15 years. She earned her MA in Gifted Education from William and Mary in 2001, and has been lucky to be able to work with these amazing young people ever since. Lisa relocated with her family to South Africa in 2014 and is excited about the opportunity to teach online. When she's not teaching she loves to read, play games, do puzzles, and experiment in the kitchen with her two year old. The two year old has been largely unscathed by this so far.
Lisa Baba, CPCC, is a self-taught artist and mother to two gifted kids, one of whom is twice-exceptional. Through her blog Artisan of Creative Miracles and as the co-founder and current leader of the Facebook group Brilliant Chaos, Lisa impacts others by inspiring them to create. She also has a passion for helping gifted people understand themselves and setting their brilliance free. When she doesn't have her arms up to her elbows in paint, you can find her teaching Taekwondo or Nia, a dance fitness program. She can be found on Twitter and Google Plus.