This is Aisha Sanders, our Morning Discovery teacher. Her favorite place is the garden! Aisha brings the outdoors inside for our youngest students with tiny moss terrariums and a wide variety of nature activities. Think broadly about how you can incorporate a hands-on component when presenting your material.
Who provides classroom supplies and materials?
Teachers are not expected to provide a classroom set of materials. DFS supplies classrooms with pencils, paper, markers, scissors, and other general supplies as needed. Workbooks or specialty materials can also be included in registration fees; for example, a Spanish class that requires each enrolled student to have a particular book may request a $10 fee to cover the cost, or they may list the required book and expect parents to provide the material at the start of class.
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS ARE NEEDED?
Our teachers are subject matter experts. They are passionate about the material they are presenting. DFS supports teacher-parents with ongoing professional development opportunities, including a required policies class that ensures that all of our instructors use the same standards for safety, discipline, and assessment in the classroom. All teachers must have passed a background check and take an adult class that outlines the Policies, Procedures and Discipline practices at Dimensions Family School.
I'VE NEVER TAUGHT BEFORE. CAN I RUN A CLASS ON A SUBJECT THAT I LOVE?
In general, yes. You will be supported with planning, training, and ongoing support by DFS staff to ensure that everyone (teacher, students and parents) have a good experience.
Our most important community resource!
Kristin Bowers (Discovery Afternoon Teacher) holds a BS in Elementary Education from Florida State University and has taught all grade levels from pre-K through fifth grade. She has worked with many different types of learners, from severely disabled to highly gifted. Kristin has teaching experience in both public and private school settings, including a multi-age Kindergarten class at The Mirman School for Highly Gifted Children in Los Angeles. Since moving her family to North Carolina in 2008, Kristin has been active in the homeschooling community, including serving as co-leader of CHH. In her free time, Kristin loves to garden, and take care of her chickens.
Aisha Sanders (Discovery Morning Teacher) holds a B.A. in International and Area Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has more than 20 years experience working with ages 0-18 years in teaching and administrative roles. Aisha’s diverse experience includes multi-age classrooms, varying learning abilities, and public and private schools, including familiarity with Montessori and nature enrichment programs. She homeschooled her now adult children for several years. Aisha is also extremely passionate about sustainable agriculture, local arts, and building community and spends much of her free time volunteering.
Leigh Ann VanSchaick (Foundations Teacher) is a proud North Carolina native! Born and raised in a small town in the western part of the state, she was eager to venture out to bigger places after graduating high school. Leigh Ann spent three years in Chicago studying Theater Arts but eventually felt the pull of her home state. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Elementary Education and a concentration in Creative Drama. She has taught in the public school system in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro district, Wake, and Durham counties. Currently, Leigh Ann lives in Hillsborough with her husband and two children (a ten year old daughter and an eight year old son), as well as 2 dogs, 3 cats, 15 chickens, 12 guinea fowl and 1 peahen! After homeschooling her son for the past year, she is eager to continue sharing her passion for learning with children and is thrilled to be a part of Dimensions Family School!
Sandi Osterkatz (Political Science) has a BA in Economics, an MA in European Politics from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and a PhD in Political Science from UNC Chapel Hill. She is a homeschooling mom to Nathan (6) and Jaime (2). She has taught and assisted in university courses on the economics of the family, contemporary Latin American politics, global issues, and introduction to comparative politics. Sandi is a native of the Triangle and would spend all day gardening if she could.
Jill McClain (Foundational Spanish) was born and raised in NY, where she studied French for many years, but learned none. After college, she lived for two years with host families in Mexico and Colombia, where she learned Spanish and salsa dancing by trial and error. Returning to the U.S., she obtained a Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University. She moved to North Carolina in 2002 to complete a degree in a different field, but has continued to use and love the Spanish language. She is very excited to be teaching it at Dimensions!
Cathy Myers' (Odyssey of the Mind) children were unschoolers until they went to high school, and now her grandsons are unschooling. She helped to launch a homeschooling group in northern Virginia in the 1980s (paper newsletters, mailed). Much of her volunteer work for decades has been with Family and Home Network, a national group focused on nurturing and children & parents' time together. She has been mom/facilitator of cardboard boat building, sewing and woodworking projects, rocket building and launching, pond digging and art projects galore.
Celena Urquia (OWL Sexuality Education) is a homeschooling mom to two children, ages 9 & 11. Her professional background is in school counseling and mental health therapy, and previously worked with children affected by domestic violence for 5+ years. She has a M.Ed. in Counseling & Development from George Mason University. She has been passionate about sexuality education & sexual abuse prevention since undergraduate school, and during her time as a counselor and therapist, facilitated numerous educational groups for children and teens, with topics ranging from divorce, body safety, anger management, & family relationships.
Risa Sayre (Differential Equations and Python) works as a contractor at the EPA National Center for Computational Toxicology building databases and writing script to help researchers assess how chemicals affect the human body. She has her BS in environmental science with a focal area in environmental engineering from NC State. Some of her academic accomplishments include participating in the National Community College Aerospace Scholars program, being part of a first place team at the regional AMATYC math competition, presenting at a national symposium on climate change and public health, and winning the State Energy Conference poster competition with my research on water use in electricity generation. Her proudest accomplishment, though, is being mom to two great kids.
Christopher Luna (Intro to the Study of Religion) is a doctoral student studying modern religion at Duke University. He specializes in modern religions in America, including issues related to science and religion, new religious movements, and immigrant religions; but he is also broadly trained in the histories of Buddhism and Christianity. Before moving to Durham, Christopher received his Masters Degree from Harvard and his Bachelors Degree from Hampshire College, where he studied history, philosophy, and education. He has been teaching for several years.
Brock Sayre (Intro to Dungeons and Dragons) currently works for WebAssign, an educational technology company, where he fixes math and physics questions. He previously tutored at the Sylvan Learning Center, mostly focused on ACT prep, math homework, study skills, and accelerated reading. Graduating from Indiana University - Bloomington, while he was getting his BS in physics he taught the elementary education physics labs, and while he was getting his BS in mathematics he was a TA in the Tae Kwon Do program. He has been DMing D&D games for 25 years, and never goes anywhere without his dice.
DFS also utilizes select community partners and paid teachers for classes that are not available within our parent community. Most or all of these partnerships allow DFS families to utilize programming at discounted rates. These partners are as follows:
Crossfit Durham - offering fitness classes to middle and high school students
Dale Baker, drummer and founder of Durham Drum Lessons - offering drumming to the DFS community
Don Watkins, owner of Tinkering School, Sun Star Farm Camp, and Jordan Lake Boating Camp/Boat Tours - offering boating and navigation programs to DFS students
Legacy Studios - offering Aerial Dance, Ballet, and Boys' Dance programs for DFS
YMCA of Downtown Durham - currently developing athletic programs for 2017