Instructors

Megan Bailey

Megan Bailey is a classically trained musician and music teacher, with a degree in biochemistry. While these two fields seem to be at opposite ends of the educational spectrum, Megan feels that they are more related than not. In the science world, she worked in Research and Development for the advancement of testing supplies for people with diabetes. During her time in Denton, TX, she taught rocketry, kitchen chemistry, and remedial math for the county's summer school program. After dabbling in the science world, Megan switched gears to explore her first love - music. She has taught violin, piano, ensembles, and various music classes for over 15 years - the last seven in the Charlottesville area. She currently serves as Treasurer of the board of directors for the Youth Orchestras of Central Virginia, and appointed Chairman of the Community Outreach Committee. Megan has recently jumped, head first, into the homeschooling world with her two children - one of whom has special needs. Homeschooling has allowed her to feed her many passions: music, science, and math, to name a few!

Jennifer Borishansky

A homeschooling mama, Jennifer has been teaching at CHEC since our doors first opened over 10 years ago. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology, minors in Classics and Archival Management/Community Documentation, and a deep love for West African drumming, astronomy, and Harry Potter. Jennifer offers a wide range of classes including Quidditch, the Classical Origins of Harry Potter, W. African drumming, astronomy, archaeology, archaeoastronomy, physics, math, percussive dance and more! Her primary goal as a teacher is to spark a passion for learning in kids using a creative dynamic learning environment that allows for open discussion of ideas and strengthens community using free movement, games, hands-on activities, patience and a good sense of humor.

Claire Chandler

A theater educator by day and a performer by night, Claire Chandler has been immersed in the world of theater arts for many years. She studied voice and movement at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and holds a BA from MBU. She has taught theater for over six years and thoroughly enjoys its unpredictable energy. She has also taught language arts, Shakespeare, dance, and art. She loves learning from her students and tailors each course to match the specific needs and make up of the class. Claire has experience teaching in both traditional and nontraditional classrooms, and believes that the foundation of a life-long learner starts with creative exploration. Other passions include British literature and history, early 20th century book illustration, ballet, her lady arm wrestling sisters in CLAW, and her tubby, yet dapper looking cats.

Ingrid Cordano

Ingrid is driven by curiosity and finds joy in experiencing and learning new things. She is now a homeschooling mom of two daughters, ages 9 and 11, but has worn many hats in her life. Ingrid was born in Finland, grew up overseas on US military bases, received her B.S. in Systems Engineering from UVA, worked in web development, and went to culinary school. Recently she has taken an interest in teaching children about science and teaching herself to tap dance.

Rachel DiLuciano

I have been an occupational therapist for 20 years but currently spend most of my time homeschooling my two teens. They might say I spend most of my time on never ending home renovations and hiking or running in the woods, preferably with a dog. I earned a B.S. in Health from the University of Richmond and a M.S. in Occupational Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University. I appreciate that each student brings to the class a unique mix of experience, skills, and interests. I aim to facilitate a learning experience that is fun for everyone, with opportunities for further learning for those interested in digging deeper.

Monica Farrell

I have been a teacher since around 14 years old when I was hired to teach horseback riding at a local riding school. In High School I taught Spanish speaking kids English with the Big Sister program. As an adult I taught Comparative Literature as a TA in Grad School at UCLA and then in the Freshman Writing Program at The American University in Cairo. I've tutored high school and home schooled kids in various subjects and helped them prepared for GCSE exams (high school exams in the UK). I have a Master's Degree in Comparative Literature (ABD) and currently teach yoga and mindfulness in Charlottesville in addition to teaching Yoga Teachers in my annual retreats around the world.

Sam Gormon

Sam started as a student at Light House at the age of 13. From there they earned a BFA from the Film Conservatory at SUNY Purchase, a four year program focused on film production and theory. During summers Sam would return to Light House to work as a mentor, and continued to do so after graduation. After college Sam performed various roles as a freelancer, from helping manage a professional camera rental house to working as the editor at a commercial production company. Sam has since returned to Light House full-time, bringing everything they’ve learned back to where they started. When not teaching Sam continues to write and direct their own films.

Teela James

I love learning about new things and finding connections between diverse topics. This tendency has lead to a rather wandering career path that has included programming, technical training, writing short stories, designing parks, teaching, and guiding wilderness camping trips. I am currently able to share my enthusiasm for these topics with my two custom educated children. I feel that my role as an instructor involves engaging students by presenting fun material and then supporting them in delving into the parts they find fascinating. Students with learning differences are welcome in my classes and I enjoy working with them to find effective accommodations. I have a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Saskatchewan and a MLA from the University of Georgia.

Dannielle Lamison

Dannielle Lamison is CHEC's head site manager. She manages Supervised Stay.

Davette Leonard

Davette Leonard is an artist, calligrapher and art educator. Ms. Leonard's paintings are reminiscent of 16th to 18th century European still lifes which reflect exacting draftsmanship and old world techniques. With her students she teaches methods of observation, problem solving, drawing, understanding color and looking to nature and human imagination for inspiration. Residing in Rappahannock County, Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ms. Leonard teaches art, calligraphy and art history at the Hearthstone School in Sperryville and at Belle Meade School in Sperryville, Virginia. She has been teaching at CHEC since 2008. Other teaching experiences include private art lessons, the Headwater’s Summer Workshops, Rappahannock County Adult Education Classes, Rappahannock County Elementary School International Day’s workshops in Chinese Calligraphy, after school Curriculum Enrichment classes. She also worked as Artist in Residence at Rappahannock County Elementary School teaching puppet making, painting, figure drawing, calligraphy and stage sets creations. Davette Leonard has a BLS in studio arts from the University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA and was a student at the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY. Exhibitions include: the Artists of Rappahannock Studio and Gallery Tour, The Berkley Gallery in Warrenton, VA, The Gay Street Gallery in Washington, VA, The Riemer Gallery in Nashville, TN, The McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville, VA, The Caulfield Gallery in Washington, VA.

Kim Lohan

Kim Lohan is a homeschooling mama who loves exploring ways to use all our senses to engage with learning and especially loves hands on activities. She and her family are beekeepers with a passion about the outdoors. She graduated with a Bachelor in Science from Minnesota State University.

Tom Lynch

Tom Lynch is a software engineer and musician. Nearly 20 years of computer programming has required him to be a lifelong learner to keep up with the rapid pace of changing technology. He believes the best way to learn new technology is to use it, even if you don't know what you're doing, by working through projects that challenge you to figure out how stuff works and learn from your successes and mistakes. Tom aims to inspire students to learn programming as both a practical skill and a way to have fun through video game-based programming activities that offer opportunities to learn from their own process of trial and error with a new technology. He currently works for the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia where he builds custom software applications to support the pedagogical, research, and administrative goals of the academic side of the UVA Health System. Tom is also a performing member of two bands, playing music described as experimental electronic and electro rock. His music has taken him on the road to several states as well as to local theatre productions at Live Arts and PVCC. Tom holds a B.A. in Literature and a M.S. in Library and Information Science.

Erin Quinn

I have a B.A. in English and have been homeschooling my two kids for four years. Homeschooling is my third "career." I previously worked in not-for-profit associations in the membership and communications departments, and then I became a certified language arts teacher in Colorado. I also teach online classes for Brave Writer. I love finding the fun in learning and think that games and play are essential in education.

Erin Riley

Erin Riley, also known as the Magician of Life, is a performer, speaker and teacher based out of Virginia. She is a member of the International Juggling Association and is passionate about spreading the Art of Juggling. When leading a workshop her teaching technique leaves you feeling energized after a fun physical and mental workout. Erin’s creative approach to living an out-of-the-box life often takes her traveling, allowing her to live her motto: Whoever has the most fun wins!

Alena Solenne

Alena Rose Solenne, M.Ed, is an independent teacher based in Charlottesville, VA. She has been teaching and tutoring children and teens in the homeschooling community over the last three years. She has recently been focusing on the teen community as they bridge out of the offerings of the homeschooling coops, and become ready for a more academic setting in a local community college or high school. She has her Masters in Education from Antioch University, and has completed additional training in both Integrated Learning and Waldorf teaching modalities. She has a love and appreciation for each unique developmental stage, including those that we continue to experience as adults. She has a passion for exploring culture, history, geometry and art, and then finding the interesting connections and patterns hiding within them. In each class, there is a focus on aesthetics and beauty, while also gently integrating social, developmental, and academic skills.

Louis Torkornoo

My name is Louis Torkornoo and I'm originally from Ghana in West Africa. I'm a proud alumnus of the University of Virginia (Go Hoos) where I began as an Engineering student but graduated with my Masters in Math Education and Bachelor's in Religious Studies. As a result of my unique background, experiences, and numerous talents, I've been gifted with the opportunity to serve the youth in more ways than one. I've been in the states for 21years and during that time, I've encountered and shaped lives of young students through different forms. I taught middle school students as a licensed, professional Algebra 1 and Pre-Algebra teacher. I've also served as a Math tutor, Karate instructor, Guitar and Piano teacher, Soccer coach, Sunday school teacher, Christmas Pageant coordinator, Computer coach, SAT Math and college prep instructor, Summer camp counselor, and Talent Show coach. I've also experienced several volunteer opportunities in Charlottesville such as Madison House's Big Sibling Program, Computer 4 Kids, and free tutor. I'm currently part of the folk music team at my church and have been a guitarist and back up pianist for 16yrs. I'm excited to join the CHEC team where I can share my talents and skills with the community's youth help more young students grow as well-rounded individuals.

Lou Volpendesta

Lou Ann has worked professionally for 20 years directing, performing, and writing for young audiences. Under the auspices of Young Audiences of Virginia Inc., she has toured schools all over the state, performing for elementary and high school audiences in productions ranging from story theater to Shakespeare. She has also conducted drama residencies and workshops in schools, museums, and community centers throughout Virginia. She studied dance, theater, and movement at New York University and Old Dominion University, as well as stage movement and pantomime with Mina Yakim in New York City. Lou Ann homeschooled her son (now in college), and has taught classes at CHEC for the last six years – writing, adapting and directing plays, as well as using the dramatic arts, creative movement, and storytelling to teach history and literature, and geography.

T Williams

I have been teaching and coaching children and families through Westcity Soccer in the Cville area for the past 10 years. As a former Division 1 College Coach and former 2 Sport College athlete, I provide students with insight and training into what it takes to compete at the highest level. I implement a personalized coaching and training approach with each student. I follow a curriculum for teaching technique, tactics, fitness and mental aspects of team sports with emphasis on American football and soccer. I support each player in the moment, aiding in their complete development over time. I provide a teaching and learning environment where each student can succeed.