Aim Academy Online

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AAO Faculty

Debra Bell

Debra Bell is the founder and executive director of Aim Academy Online. A former high school and college English teacher, Debra and her husband Kermit home educated their four kids K–12, all of whom are college graduates with families of their own. She is a best-selling author and internationally-recognized expert on home education and online learning. Debra holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She is vice-chair of the Global Home Education Exchange (ghex.world). Contact: dbell[at]aimacademy.online

Vicki Dincher

Vicki is the Director of Student Services for Aim Academy Online and a member of the leadership team. Vicki holds a masters of science in biology. She is a former high school and college science teacher. Together with her husband, Jerry, they home educated their four, now adult, children. During their homeschooling years, Vicki taught science courses—including life science, physical sci­ence, biology, AP biology, chemistry, physics, AP physics, and anatomy and physiology—to home educated students in co-ops and online. Contact: registrar[at]aimacademy.online


Susan Habacivch

Susan Habacivch is the academic advisor for Aim Academy Online, a member of the leadership team, and a STEM teacher. Susan Habacivch earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from Washington University and a BA in French from Regis College. After working for several years in the fibers industry, she began homeschooling her four children in 2003. She has been tutoring and teaching science and mathematics in local coops since 2003 and has been teaching online since 2010. Contact: shabacivch[at]aimacademy.online


Sally Barstow

An interest in learning and my love of French have woven together in my life to feed my love of teaching.  I recall with fondness the 14 years I homeschooled my two youngest children.  Today I proudly continue working with homeschoolers, opening up to them the mysteries of the French language. My interest in French was birthed in my desire to connect with my family in Belgium.  I enjoy sharing with my students that I began learning French in high school, like many of them are doing.  Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of not only visiting my Belgian family, but hosting students from French speaking countries, only to later visit them and their families in their home countries.  I firmly believe that the purpose of learning a language is to broaden one’s experience with others and to help find one’s purpose and place in the world. Contact: sbarstow[at]aimacademy.online


Charles Baughman

Charles Baughman knew since childhood he was an artist.  His family always supported his endeavors and in 2004 he and his wife, Kate Pepper, made dreams come true when they opened their own studio, the Monart School of Art and The Art Park Enrichment Campus.  Charles is a contemporary, abstract expressionist painter, whose work is shown in several galleries internationally.  He received his bachelor’s degree in Studio Arts and Art History from Kearney State College in Kearney, Nebraska and his Master of Fine Arts in Painting/Sculpture from Wichita State University. Contact: theartparkwichita[at]gmail.com (more…)

Penelope Buchter

Penelope Buchter graduated from American University in 2016 with a BA in international studies, and having spent her study abroad learning Chinese immersion at Peking University, promptly headed back to China with the intention to stay a year or two… now, almost 8 years later, she is still in China, has an MEd in Educational Technology, and enjoys creating opportunities for students to engage with material in meaningful ways.

Penelope is herself a homeschool graduate who understands the challenges and benefits of being a homeschool student. She has also reaped the benefits of distance learning since high school when she took her first Chinese class online. She is passionate about language, speaking both Chinese and Spanish, and is currently working on an MA in English Literature from the University of Nottingham (distance learning at work again!). If you attempt to engage her in a conversation about languages or literature, settle in for a long conversation, and perhaps cancel your next appointment!

In her time abroad, Penelope has worked with British curriculums (IGCSE) and the International Baccalaureate.  It was also in China where Penelope met her now husband, Paul — another English teacher from the UK, and adopted her two dogs. Contact: pbuchter[at]aimacademy.online

Natania Cook

Prior to becoming a homeschool mother of four, Natania’s lifelong pursuit of knowledge led her to earn a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Texas Woman’s University and a BS degree in Education with a specialization in English from Baylor University. She is certified to teach English and English as a Second Language in grades 1-12 and Reading for grades 6-12. With over twenty years of teaching experience, Natania has served in both public and private school settings as well as in various homeschool forums where she has taught multiple grade levels and ages. Contact: ncook[at]aimacademy.online


Michele Diggins

My Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Liberty University shows that I know a little about mathematics. And my Masters of Education degree from American College of Education shows that I have learned something of education theory. However, my passion for learning and for helping others learn is what really drives my desire to teach mathematics. Contact: mdiggins[at]aimacademy.online


Lisa Duckworth

Hi! I am Lisa Duckworth, and I am super excited to teach science with Aim Academy! I have been an educator for 30 years. I have a Bachelor of Science in Science Education from North Carolina State University (Go Wolfpack!) and have taught science to all ages of students. I started teaching public high school science in NC – Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and AP Biology and then took time off to be a homeschooling mom to 4 fabulous kids. Over the last 20 years, I have been teaching in our homeschool coop, and my teaching repertoire has expanded to math, history, English, art, and science classes for all ages, you name a topic, and I have probably taught a course in it over the years. For the last seven years, I have been teaching science summer camp classes to kids ages 7-16 and teaching science classes at our local community college and I am an AP Reader for Environmental Science in June each year. But, as you can probably tell, I love science! Contact: lduckworth[at]aimacademy.online


Heather Eades

For as long as Heather Eades can remember, she has lived by the motto “Create GOOD things. Live a GREAT story.” And as both a maker and creator, her passion is equipping young creatives to do the same. Earning her B.A. in Visual Arts from Otterbein College in Westerville, OH and studies at the Columbus College of Art and Design helped launch her professional career in publishing where she helped create SRA/McGraw-Hill’s elementary art program, Art Connections. Contact: heades[at]aimacademy.online


Nate Gilbert

Nate Gilbert graduated from Cedarville University in 2002 with a B.A. degree in secondary social studies education. Since then he has taught and tutored many students, primarily in the subjects of history, government, and economics. Nate has worked in a variety of settings, such as teaching in Beijing, China, and at some local schools. He now focuses on utilizing his passion for social studies to teach online classes that stimulate his students’ critical thinking skills and understanding of society. Contact: ngilbert[at]aimacademy.online


Kathryn (Bell) Gomes

I was homeschooled K-12 and I loved it, but math was not the strongest part of my home education. I’ll never forget my first day in a calculus class at the University of Pittsburgh. I was so unprepared! I survived and was able to graduate with a degree in mathematics, but not without noting quite a few things I wish I had done differently in high school. Now that I am homeschooling my own kids, I’m committed to helping other homeschooled students enter college prepared and confident in their math skills. Contact: kgomes@aimacademy.online


Bonnie Gonzalez

The field of psychology is not only my career; it is also my passion. You might even call me a “psychology nerd.” Much of my free time is spent reading about new and interesting developments in the field. I have taught Introductory Psychology classes to homeschool students and college students and have taught AP Psychology for the past 13 years. My degrees include an M.ED. in Counseling Psychology and a B.A in Psychology, both received from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Contact: bgonzalez[at]aimacademy.online


Bev Graybill

Bev has known since she was in elementary school she’d become a teacher, having taught her one-year-younger brother everything she knew! After attending Millersville University and earning a B.S. in Special Education, a M.S. in Elementary Education, and a Reading Certificate, she taught for several years in both public and private schools and then left the world of teaching to start her own family.  From there, she discovered the amazing world of home schooling, teaching all of her four children for at least some of their years of school and teaching for more than 20 years at several different co-ops. Contact: bgraybill[at]aimacademy.online


Lisa Hawkins

I love history, I love teaching, and I love students. I put a great deal of thought and time into constructing courses that are engaging, challenging, and well-organized. I also care a great deal about humanizing the on-line experience, and you will see that priority woven into many aspects of my course. I majored in history at Swarthmore College, where I also earned my high-school teaching certification. I also did graduate work at Widener University with a focus on English and education. I am also an official grader of AP US History exams, receiving extensive training in the process and participating in College Board and ETS seminars. Contact: lhawkins[at]aimacademy.online


Sarah Jackson

After an idyllic childhood growing up in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, Sarah received her Bachelor’s degree from BYU and her Master’s from Temple University. Most of her adult life has been spent living in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Since 2016, she has been on the road with the Nomadic Professor, editing audio and video and assisting in the filming of on-location lectures in 48 US States and 35 countries (and counting). Sarah has 14 years of experience homeschooling her four children. She has also been teaching courses at the college level since 2018.

Dr. Karen Joseph

Dr. Karen Joseph earned her Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic. After working for several years, she began homeschooling her 3 children in 1989.  As a homeschooling mom, she has taught every subject at every grade level, but her favorite subject is science!  She taught science classes, ranging from Middle School Life Science and Earth Science to High School Biology to Honors Human Anatomy and Physiology at a Pennsylvania Public Cyber Charter School for 12 years. She was the recipient of the 2009 Pennsylvania Charter School Teacher of the Year. Contact: kjoseph[at]aimacademy.online


Dr. Terri Kanner

Dr. Kanner received a BS in Biology from the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio and a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from The Ohio State University. Following post-graduate work at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., she practiced full-time in Silver Spring Maryland. Dr. Kanner took a sabbatical from dentistry and dedicated the next sixteen years to homeschooling her children. When they reached high school age, the children transitioned to AP-level courses and dual-enrollment college classes and Dr. Kanner launched a career in online science education beginning with AP Biology in 2010. Contact: tkanner[at]aimacademy.online


Devon Kelly

Devon Kelly has taught writing and literature online since 2014, and she holds a BA in English from Thomas Edison State University. As a former homeschooler who understands the unique challenges homeschoolers face, she finds it rewarding to support homeschooling students. She strongly believes that each student has something valuable to say. Her goal is to encourage creative thinking while giving students the tools they need to communicate effectively. Contact: dkelly[at]aimacademy.online


Alicia Loran

Teaching has always been at the heart of who I am. I have been teaching in various forms for 20 years – from public school, homeschooling my own children, homeschool co-ops, online tutoring, and local homeschool outsources in my area. I have two sons who have graduated from homeschool. My oldest has finished college and my youngest is currently starting his sophomore year. I attended Texas A & M University and graduated with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in Reading in 1996 and then went to work in the public schools. Contact: aloran[at]aimacademy.online


Karen McCloskey

Karen McCloskey received her Bachelor of Science degree in education from Messiah University and has spent the last 27 years teaching middle school students in public schools. She has experience designing and presenting lessons in mathematics for all level classes within the middle school grades – 6th, 7th, prealgebra, and algebra. She especially enjoys working with this age group and providing individualized instruction in a clear and engaging way to meet the needs of all students. Her goal is to help them grow in their understanding of math concepts and encourage them as they develop problem-solving skills. When not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family, expressing her creativity in gardening and many different forms of needlework, such as quilting, crocheting, and sewing. Contact: kmccloskey[at]aimacademy.online

Rachel Nance

Rachel has taught ASL with Aim Academy since the 2020–21 school year and also taught Spanish for Aim for many years.  She and her husband homeschool their five children, and since 2023, Rachel has taught at a small outdoor private school in Arkansas. Rachel is fluent in Spanish and ASL.  She studied ASL in college, but did not put it to use for many years after that, until a Deaf couple started coming to her church.  At that point, she rediscovered her love for the language and was an interpreter for them for several years. Rachel has a BS in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education.  She taught full-time prior to having children, and is now a full-time teacher again. Rachel loves to read, travel, spend time outdoors, run, do yoga and play tabletop games with her family.  Contact: rnance[at]aimacademy.online

David Nance

David Nance has been teaching Spanish since 2007. He, his wife, and their five children lived in Spain during the 2019–2020 school year, and he previously lived in Uruguay. He has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and Europe. David has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Teaching (2007), master’s degrees in Curriculum and Instruction (2013) and School Management (2020), and will receive a master’s degree in Architecture in May 2024. In addition to teaching, he also worked for seven years for the Arkansas Department of Education, as the World Languages Specialist and later as a Homeschool Specialist. David and his family love traveling, learning languages, playing games, and reading. Contact: dnance[at]aimacademy.online


Megan Newman

A caring and enthusiastic world language educator, Megan has been working with children all around the world for over 20 years.  Since she was a child herself, working with kids as Sunday school teacher and camp counselor throughout high school, Megan has always known she wanted to be a teacher.  After studying abroad in Belgium in 2002, her love of languages and cultures grew.   She continued her language studies, having opportunities to live in France and Ecuador.   Megan earned a B.A. in both French and Spanish as well as a K-12 World Language teaching certificate from Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA in 2007.  In 2009, Megan went on to earn a M.A. in French Language, Literature and Culture from Syracuse University and immediately began teaching in Maryland public schools until 2019.    Contact: mnewman@aimacademy.online


Nate Noorlander

In college, Nate Noorlander double-majored in philosophy and history education. After a stint as a project manager with a disaster repair company, he moved to Beijing, China, where he taught IGCSE and A Level history at the Cambridge International Curriculum Center of Beijing Normal University. He also spent time touring India and trekking in Nepal. Worn out by the Beijing air, Nate moved home with his family and taught English and history at Mountainville Academy and then the American International School of Utah. At AISU, he developed mini-courses in boredom and awareness (probably close to what many people call mindfulness) based on Heidegger’s ideas about technology and Nicholas Carr’s ideas about what the internet does to our brains, areas of study that he finds compelling. Contact: nnoorlander@aimacademy.online


Kate Pepper

Kate Pepper has been an artist since she could pick up a crayon.  Kate came from a large family with lots of nieces and nephews whom she enjoyed playing with and taking care of. Kate also spent many hours a week in her mother’s Pre-K classroom so teaching came naturally to her.  Before owning her own business she was a nanny in Tacoma, WA and then taught pre-school at a private school in Wichita, KS. Kate did not go a traditional route with her education – she was offered scholarships to several art institutes around the country, but felt she needed to take a different path.  Her parents supported her while she traveled to various art centers and took intensive art courses.  Kate has a wide range of interests such as large format photography, lampworking, drawing, Chinese watercolor, pottery and hand building, glass fusing, yarn spinning, mosaic, printmaking, fabric arts, batik, tie-dye, embroidery and assemblage.  Who knew doing all these different workshops would one day lead to opening her own art school? Contact: theartparkwichita[at]gmail.com


Kristen Roy

Kristen is a Colorado native.  She earned her teaching degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Northern Colorado.  Kristen has been a homeschooling mom for over 16 years and is now a proud grandma as well. She has enjoyed teaching in both public and private school settings. For the last decade she has been teaching at her homeschool co-op and has been teaching online since 2019 and loves helping students grow in their natural abilities to write. Teaching students how to analyze literature and poetry as well as create their own poetry, research papers, essays, short stories and analytical papers is one of her passions. She also enjoys riding bikes, meeting with friends and having family gatherings! Contact: kroy[at]aimacademy.online

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Lili Serbicki

Lili Serbicki is an experienced Advanced Placement English instructor with a professional background in writing, media, editing, and advertising. She is a 2009 graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville with a BA in Communication Arts and a Minor in Philosophy. She has over ten years of experience teaching high-level online courses, including AP Literature, AP Language, Creative Writing, poetry composition, argument and debate, and advanced test preparation classes. She has many years of experience providing student tutoring in areas of writing and mechanics as well as experience in small print publication, editing, and writing workshop leadership; she is a published author of poetry, fiction, nonfiction essay, and creative memoir across multiple literary journals. Over the past decade her students (including all course and tutoring students) have won many Silver Keys and Gold Keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards at both the regional and national levels. In 2018 Mrs. Serbicki received recognition from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards as “an educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors.” Contact: lserbicki[at]aimacademy.online


George Sheehan

George Sheehan has been teaching for twenty years after practicing law for twenty years. He graduated from Villanova University with a B.A. Honors-Arts, cum laude, before obtaining his J.D. from Villanova Law School. In his first career he was a busy trial attorney, before finding his true calling as a teacher. In his courses Introduction to the Legal System and Criminal Law, he is able to merge his long experience in both careers into stimulating student-centered explorations of important and timely elements of American society. Contact: gsheehan[at]aimacademy.online

Susan Spivey

Susan Spivey is a member of the Aim Academy Online leadership team and an English teacher. Susan is enthusiastic about sharing her love of literature with students and finds tremendous joy in teaching. Susan earned her MA in English from Arizona State University and her BS in Journalism from the University of Maryland. She worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for several years before starting her family. Susan also worked as a freelance writer for magazines and as a substitute teacher in public schools. She has taught English for many years and has been teaching for Aim Academy Online since 2015. When she is not reading a book, discussing a book, or teaching about books, you can find her in her garden, likely with a book nearby. Contact: sspivey[at]aimacademy.online


Farrar Williams

Farrar Williams is a longtime educator with experience teaching in a variety of settings and levels. She has her undergraduate degree in history from Mount Holyoke College and her master’s in education and teaching from Goddard College. Farrar spent many years as a humanities teacher and administrator at a small Quaker middle school, where she honed her belief that education is a process, not a product, and that the goal is to bring out each student’s individual light. For the last decade and a bit, she has been homeschooling her sons, writing, and teaching in homeschool co-ops and drama groups. In addition to teaching, she’s currently an educational consultant and works with homeschool families on college admissions. When not teaching or working, Farrar is probably solving sudoku, reading a YA novel, or trying to resist putting in another batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. She lives in Washington, DC. Contact: fwilliams[at]aimacademy.online


Maria Yates

Maria Yates is an accomplished mathematician and dedicated educator, bringing over a decade of experience to Aim Academy as an AP Calculus tutor. Holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Pure Mathematics, Maria has spent the last 11 years honing her craft, focusing on unlocking students’ full potential in mathematics. Her teaching philosophy centers on empowering students through confidence-building, enhancing critical thinking, and honing problem-solving skills. Maria’s approach to calculus goes beyond the textbook, aiming to instill a deep appreciation for the beauty and application of mathematics in everyday life.

Based in Raleigh, NC, Maria offers both in-person and online tutoring options, making her courses accessible to students with varying needs. Her dedication to personalized education aligns perfectly with Aim Academy’s mission, emphasizing the importance of individualized learning paths. Maria’s extensive experience equips her with the unique ability to connect with students in any setting. Through her AP Calculus course, Maria is not just teaching mathematics; she’s guiding her students on a journey to discover their own mathematical intuition and capabilities. Contact: myates[at]aimacademy.online