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 20 years - the last ten in the Charlottesville area. In addition to teaching at CHEC and private music lessons, she currently runs her own bookkeeping business and teaches full-time for PVCC's Kids College program. 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!

Janet Beals

Janet Beals Orejudos is a process artist, teacher, and facilitator. She has taught in summer camp, year round programs, and Adaptive Recreation with C'ville Parks & Rec, offering 3-14 year olds classes in Beginning and Youth Sculpture, Collage, Home School Art, Paint Like Picasso, and Open Studio. Janet comes from Chicago's Open Studio Project, offering process art and social emotional skills through art to disadvantaged and other diverse populations. Process art, unlike traditional art, focuses on the experience of artmaking rather than the final product. Therefore, there is no "bad art," just a piece with a story or a message. Although classes may have a theme (Dinosaurs, Self Portraits, Dia de los Muertos, Martin Luther King), each child is free to express it in her own way. We honor each child's artistic vision. Classes use unusual materials and techniques when possible, and aim for creativity, learning, and self determination. Janet is open to students with special needs and communication disorders, and children outside the age parameters of the class.

Gwendolyn Bright

Painter, poet, and mama to Matilde Zadie and Gideon Apollo, Gwen is a California native full-spectrum doula with an insatiable need to plug into storytelling of all kinds. She is the founder of Bright Birthing and has attended many births in and out of hospital since 2010 (close to 90 at last count). Gwen's first work with editing literary magazines began in middle school, continued through high school, and led to her founding of The Empty Set literary magazine at New College of Florida. Gwen went on to work as an intern at McSweeney's Publishing (home of McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, the Believer Magazine, and many wonderful books). Along with a BA in literature and religion and work toward a Masters in traditional Chinese medicine, Gwen's additional studies have included Prenatal Yoga Teacher training; Prenatal Massage; Trauma to Triumph with Nurture in Richmond; and Penny Simkin's When Survivors Give Birth. In 2018 Gwen completed postpartum doula training with Nearby Baby. Most recently Gwen has completed coursework through San Francisco Zen Center in chronic pain and chronic illness, and is studying with Yolonda Coles Jones in a program called Design Your Family’s Education Reality. Gwen is working on a second collection of poetry, homeschooling her kiddos, and helping to coordinate the Novo Collegian Alliance.

Leah Craig

My name is Leah Craig an I am enjoying my retirement years after 35 years of teaching. Before my retirement in 2020, I spent my days running a State Licensed childcare home. For the first 16 years I lived in Charlottesville and in 1996 I moved to Albemarle County, where I still reside. During those teachers years, craft time was my favorite part of the day. Watching a child create something with their hands and witness the glowing smile that creeps across their faces as they look at their art piece, is the best treat in the world. I picked up leather crafting 15 years ago and started teaching leather classes 7 years ago.. In my spare time, I throw on my running shoes, put in my earbuds and hit the running trail with my sweet golden, Tinkerbell. I am looking forward to seeing how much I learn from my students this time around!

Arianne Dallas

My name is Arianne. I’ve been a gymnastics, dance and art instructor for over 5 yrs for parks and Rec and other gyms in the area. I taught for an early childhood development center in Washington DC and Philadelphia. Fun fact I was a competitive gymnast by the age of 10. I competed at level 7. I love teaching because I love to help build confidence in my students. I love to challenge my students and see them grow! I’m all about building confidence! I’m originally from Boston, I have a B.S in Design and Merchandising from Drexel University and in my free time I love cooking with my daughter, painting and roller skating.

Amy Eachus

Amy Eachus is a former public school teacher who took a different path and now homeschools her three children. She loves learning beside them. She’s passionate about nature, art, and children’s literature. She also enjoys gardening, watching science documentaries, and crocheting. She feels her primary role as a teacher is to assist her students in making their own discoveries. As Socrates said, “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”

Monica Farrell

A lifelong teacher of English, French, Writing and Mindfulness, I have taught writing in the Comparative Literature Department 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 subjects including English, World Cultures, Critical Thinking and French and helped them prepare 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.

Kat Freeman

Kat Freeman’s degree and professional experience is in Commercial Interior Design, though prior to beginning teaching, she spent several years at home with her children, Roxie, Nora, and Thomas. She began teaching at the Highland Park Montessori Schools, in Illinois, where she taught art to children ages 2-8, for twenty-two years. After moving to Charlottesville a year ago, she currently teaches at Charlottesville Parks and Recreation, and is loving learning a whole new way to be creative at a local florist. Kat believes that art experiences increase self-confidence – allowing the child the opportunity to hear “Do it your way, not mine.” A feeling of confidence and power is gained by making something out of nothing. Art with this open-ended approach develops an appreciation for the individuality of self and others as the child realizes there is more than one right way to do something. We’ll engage in “gallery walks” to look at each other’s work, to discuss all the different “right” ways.

Katie Harper

I have always loved learning environments that feel like home. This is what led me to teaching preschool for years at Free union country school with a cozy little log cabin feel and then eventually to homeschooling. I enjoy learning projects that feel joyful and hands on. My goal is to stimulate natural student curiosity in our subjects and help them to build personal connection to our learning. I have a Masters degree in teaching and have taught a variety of grades and environments from preschool to 4th and 5th grade in both public and private schools. Students with learning differences as well as highly sensitive students are all welcome in my classes.

Laura Henley

Laura Henley is a homeschooling Mom to three girls. Laura has a B.S. in Horticulture from Virginia Tech, as well as a Professional Certificate in Landscape Design from the University of Richmond. In addition to her passion for plants and gardens, she enjoys art, painting, embroidery, nature, reading, gaming, snow sports, water sports, and spending time with her family. Laura also teaches kids at the Central Virginia Learning Community in Palmyra, VA, She has been involved with the CHEC community since 2019 as a parent, volunteer, officer, and now teacher!

Wes Iseli

Wes Iseli has been a full time Magician & Illusionist performing all over the country since 1996. He currently performs over 400 shows a year and has performed at resorts, theaters, private shows, company parties, family shows & has even performed for MGM Grand Casino and resort as well as the British Embassy. He worked as a magic consultant and animal trainer on The Carbonaro Effect on TRU tv. He has been teaching magic since 2003 at resorts and schools when his schedule allows.

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.

Amber Jones

I’m an artist with a BFA in Painting & Printmaking from VCU and a specialty in drawing and 2-D media. Throughout the post-college years, I’ve worked in many art supply stores and am familiar with a wide range of art making techniques and materials, including intaglio etching, welding, fiber spinning, encaustic, plaster, and woodworking. Currently, I own and operate a small farm which specializes in goat milk soaps. I homeschool my three children whom you may have seen running around the playground at CHEC. We’ve been with CHEC for several years and absolutely love this community!

Melissa Kirkpatrick

My goal is to contribute to the education of small humans in a way that meets their individual needs while keeping the group moving forward towards the main goal of the class. From 2009-2014, I worked with the middle and high school kids in our church youth group, and appreciate their growing minds and strong opinions. I'm also very comfortable with littles, as my own kids fall into that category. Each age group has much to offer as long as we approach ready to listen, respond, and challenge them accordingly.

Owen Lamison

Owen is in his final year of homeschooling and has been involved with CHEC for the last 7 years, since he was 10 years old. He has been a student and assisted in several different classes including Playground Potpourri, D&D, and Dino Dig. He is now ready to take on the role of teacher. Owen loves games of all sorts, be it board games, card games, video games, or athletic games. He is looking forward to introducing more kids to one of his favorite games, Magic the Gathering.

Kim Lohan

Kim Lohan is a homeschooling mama who loves exploring ways to use all our senses to engage with learning. She especially loves hands on activities and crafts as a way to anchor the information in a tactile way. She and her family spend their time hiking, studying bugs, gardening and exploring the outdoors. Her love for all things nature lead her to train as a master naturalist. She finds that when she slows down she sees so much more. She graduated with a Bachelor in Science from Minnesota State University.

Susan Maccarelli

I recently moved to Waynesboro and have enoyed teaching several classes at CHEC, including board and card gaming classes and an all about me class. When I am not teaching classes at CHEC, I am filling the roles of CHEC Registrar and planning CHEC field trips. I have a Masters degree in Education from JMU, and figure that if I am too old to take all of these great CHEC classes myself, at least I can teach some!

Shelley Marshall

Hi, I'm Shelley. I have one daughter who has been home schooling all along. We became part of the CHEC community in 2019. At home school, I teach according to my daughter's attention span. I strive to choose a variety of subjects and spend time on those in which she is most interested. When I was younger, I won my very first job, newspaper deliverer, at age 13. I was continuously employed thereafter (until becoming a stay-at-home mom). I mostly worked as an administrative assistant and performed tasks such as bookkeeping, database management, and retail. I have worked at a movie theater, a blacksmith's shop, a garden center, the SPCA, a vet clinic, and as a massage therapist. I have a strong work ethic and I pride myself in a job well done. I expect my students to apply themselves too. I am a graduate of Berea College with a degree in Philosophy (the love of learning). I went back to school and earned a Massage Therapy license in 2010. I used to teach adults at the Virginia School of Massage where I had to organize my lessons and teach all the relevant information in an allotted time. This experience has been useful to me a home school teacher. Between 2017-2019, I was heavily involved in the Religious Education Committee at Charlottesville Friends Meeting (Quakers). I have spent many hours teaching children in Sunday School. I selected and presented lessons for the children and even chose and directed the Christmas Pageant in 2019. These experiences have helped me understand what kids enjoy and how a classroom of children behaves. For fun, I enjoy baking, crafting, reading, playing games, swimming, walking, visiting animals of all types, and hanging out with our two cats (always with my kiddo by my side). I enjoy watching kids grow-up and seeing them succeed. I still love learning and hope that my excitement will be passed on to those I teach.

Rebecca Muller

Hello everyone, I am an experienced educator & as of Jan. 2020 a small business owner here in Charlottesville. I got my start teaching private music lessons in late 2006 in the Washington DC/Baltimore area after making a much needed career change. I teach voice, piano, guitar, bass, music theory, & songwriting. I also have one FT & two PT employees who work for me as travelling teachers. Rebecca Muller Music, LLC has been nominated 2 years in a row, 2022 & 2023, by C-Ville Weekly for "Best Music Lessons" in Charlottesville. My business also sponsors MusEdAF- Music Education Assistance Fund, which raises money to help those who otherwise could not afford instruments and/or a music education receive one. To date I have donated over $3000 from my charity to help local kids in underserved communities. I am twice degreed, more recently graduating with highest distinction with a Bachelor's from UVa. I am a member of both the MTNA & CMTA ( ) organizations. In addition to my private lessons which run year-round, I also hold summer camps for girls ages 10-16 in topics such as performance, songwriting, and recording. I have a load of amazing ideas for enrichment classes, and with my experience in curriculum development for my own private students, I am excited to create classes in anything / everything from journaling & creative writing, health & nutrition, budgeting & finance for teenagers (I was an Algebra tutor for high school and community college students), to volunteerism & community engagement...and the list goes on! I am also happy to take on homeschool kids who are looking for private music lessons (when I don't have a waiting list at my studio, which is often!) in addition to teaching group classes on Mondays at CHEC. My other interests include: Gardening and cooking with the food and herbs I grow (cooking, yes; baking, no! My partner Scott is the baker in the family). I also enjoy taking care of pets, I just adore the magic of cats & dogs. I also love to travel, especially for concerts. I lived in France for a short time in 2004, and two of my favorite places in the world are Ireland & Belize. Walking and staying in touch with my friends are also part of my weekly routine. I am very excited to be a part of the CHEC community!

Rebecca Reilly

I've been teaching piano lessons in Charlottesville since I was a student at UVa 20 years ago. At UVa, I majored in Music and earned my Master's of Teaching in Elementary Education. I taught 6th grade math at JJMS after graduating. I feel like I've been homeschooling my kids since they were born, but we truly started "school" in 2019. My family loves CHEC and I can't wait to get to play with more of the community through our classes together :)

Aaron Reilly

Hi there! I graduated from Charlottesville High School in 2002 while taking side classes at PVCC and then from JMU in 2006 with a degree in Philosophy. After that I stumbled into a 13 year STEM career where I used physics, chemistry and microbiology on a daily basis while operating on and innovating with heavy machinery. Now I am a proud full-time homeschool dad and am loving spending my time teaching my kids, Gus and Iris. I consider my endless curiosity to be my superpower, which can sometimes lead me down rabbit holes when I teach. At its core, studying philosophy is studying how to learn and love learning and I enjoy encouraging that love in others as I learn with them.

Torey Schultz

Torey Schultz is a homeschooling momma to 2. Born and raised in Southwest Michigan, she has relocated to the Cville area in 2020 to be closer to family. As a registered nurse with a background in Obstetrics and Community Health Education she has a passion for education and preventative health. She is a firm believer in the "more we know, the better we can do." Homeschooled from K-12 herself, she loves reading and challenges herself with finding new hobbies to develop her creativity.

Erica Shackelton

Erica Shackelton is a passionate educator with a B.S. in Elementary Education from Weber State University in Utah. With experience teaching 4th grade at two public schools in Virginia, Erica transitioned to a full-time Educational Nanny role for a wonderful family, dedicating many years to personalized educational support and enrichment. After starting her own family in Charlottesville, Erica and her husband moved to New York City, where she began homeschooling their children. Her commitment to innovative education led her to co-pilot a cooperative forest school in Prospect Park, fostering a love of nature and learning in young minds. Following six enriching years in the city and an adventurous year of nomadic travel through the western states, Erica and her family returned to Charlottesville in 2022. They have since become active members of the CHEC community, where Erica is excited to bring her diverse experiences and enthusiasm for education. Her journey reflects a deep dedication to nurturing curiosity and growth in children, and she is thrilled to contribute to the vibrant learning environment at CHEC.

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 since 2014. In addition to her work at CHEC, she runs a variety of pods and academic programs for homeschool students. She also supports the homeschool community by offering end-of-year homeschool evaluations, and curriculum support sessions for families who need some help refining or developing their homeschool practice and schedule. 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.

Kristen Steege

I have a B.S. in Mathematics and worked for many years as a software developer before deciding to homeschool my two children (now 12 & 16). I have been exploring more of the arty side of life since having especially artistic kids, and am excited to share some of the cool things I have been learning. I personally learn by doing (sometimes over many iterations) and love that moment when a new skill or technique really clicks!

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. I recently earned my Education Specialist degree in curriculum and instruction from UVA. 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 25years 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 for 13yrs. 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.

Reed Weatherill

Born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, I've lived in Charlottesville for the better part of the last 6 years. I started dabbling with rock climbing with friends in high school, scrambling around the boulders and cliffs in the Hickory Nut Gorge. My passion for climbing solidified during my time as a student at UNC Chapel Hill, where I worked at the campus climbing walls while earning a BA in Linguistics. Over my 12 years of climbing and traveling since then I have bouldered all across the US, worked as a zipline guide in Alaska for two summers, coached a youth climbing club in NC and have spent the last year working at Rocky Top Climbing. Climbing is a beautiful and difficult sport that requires strength, flexibility, creativity and problem-solving. In this class we'll cover fundamental climbing techniques and safety while playing games, doing drills and developing specific challenges for each child as they gain a better understanding and appreciation of climbing. All levels of experience and physical ability are welcome!

Casandra Wendell

Hello all! My name is Casey and I cannot wait to see your family in one of my classes and around CHEC! Here is a quick blurb about me: Previously-I have been a preschool teacher, an elementary classroom teacher, and a self-contained special education teacher. Professionally-I am a licensed teacher here in Virginia and am working towards obtaining my BCBA licensure. I currently work with children as a Registered Behavior Therapist. Personally-I am a homeschooling mom of three and have been a part of the CHEC community for the last three years. I am so excited to join the community of amazing CHEC teachers!

Coach West

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.

Cara Leigh Williams

Hello CHEC community! My family and I moved to Charlottesville in the summer of 2022 after living our whole lives in the Northern Virginia/DC Metro area. I am married and have three children and have been homeschooling since my oldest was in third grade totaling 8 years now. Before having kids I worked in public and private schools as a teacher in elementary and special ed. In 2020 I founded a homeschool co-op with a friend in Northern Virginia which is still running to this day serving over 25 children. I am currently transitioning to serve as the AM Site Supervisor. I look forward to meeting you all this coming school year!

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson-Segar is a homeschooling mother of two, originally from Midwest. Sarah has a passion for the outdoors; hiking, foraging, camping, mushroom cultivating, and exploring our world. After over a decade in the world of corporate finance, she left to focus on what she truly loves, her family. She has been teaching children for the last five years, with a background in Developmental Psychology and Level 3 Forest School Leadership certification.

Cindy Young

In addition to being an instructor at CHEC, Cindy is also the administrator. In her life before kids, she earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UVA and a law degree from WLU. She has worked as a patent examiner, lawyer, lobbyist, blogger, and business owner. In her current life, Cindy is a homeschooling mom of two children, ages 10 and 16, and considers herself an amateur naturalist and artist. She loves painting, drawing, hiking, nature photography and all things outdoors.