Foundations in Writing
Master Teacher: Melissa Barnes
EdS, University of Michigan
Melissa Barnes earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in English education, literacy education, and curriculum development. These culminated from a lifelong love of reading, writing, and teaching that began on the first day of first grade when she came home and announced that she wanted to be a teacher.
Melissa has taught both high school and middle school students and is currently a homeschool mom. In addition to teaching, Melissa enjoys serving as a freelance writer and editor for the Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) and has written for local newspapers in years past.
Melissa and her husband reside in Chesapeake, Virginia. They have eight children. In her occasional spare time, you can find Melissa reading books, playing games or watching movies with her family, or enjoying coffee with a friend.
This is her second year teaching for the Academy.
BS, College of William and Mary
Clark Wickman earned his bachelor of science from William and Mary and enjoys a balance of art and science in his life.
He was born and raised in Northeast Ohio and homeschooled by his mother. It was then that he developed his love of fantastical stories, when his mother read books like C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia at bedtime.
In addition to teaching English online, Clark has worked as a summer camp counselor, a touring musician, and a coffee shop barista. He currently lives in Williamsburg, VA. He enjoys reading, writing, cooking, music, and board games.
This is his second year teaching with the Academy.
MEd, Liberty University
Charmayne Rush earned her BA in English education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. A firm believer that the skills learned in ninth grade English are essential to later success, Charmayne was blessed to teach ninth grade English for a local Virginia public school. During her time as a classroom teacher, Charmayne found great joy in guiding young writers to discover that they are gifted with unique voices and perspectives to share with the world. In addition to teaching, Charmayne co-founded a school mentoring program, enlisting the support of her church family and local business owners to share practical skills and inspiration with students in preparation for life after high school.
After she and her husband welcomed their first child, Charmayne decided to stay at home while completing her MEd in teaching and learning (English Cognate) through Liberty University’s online program. Charmayne’s coursework with Liberty taught her to revisit and expand her approach to academic writing and literary analysis through the lens of a Christian worldview. Her time as an online student also opened her eyes to the particular challenges and rewards of virtual learning, and she is excited to use her experience to create a rich and fulfilling virtual educational environment for her Academy students.
BA, Northeast Catholic College
Elizabeth Russell earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a Concentration in Philosophy from Northeast Catholic College in New Hampshire.
Elizabeth’s passion for writing began at age 9 (as soon as she could start telling stories) and has only grown over the years. When she started a school magazine in college, she realized how much she enjoyed helping others perfect their work and make it ready for publication. Her love for editing and grammar pleasantly surprised her, and she found how wonderful it can be to help others understand something well enough to love it. To her, this is the most rewarding thing about teaching.
Elizabeth lives in Illinois, where she loves spending time with her parents and eight younger siblings (all homeschooled until college). She enjoys writing fiction, talking with friends, watching movies, and making all sorts of artwork.
This is her second year teaching for the Academy.
MEd, University of Vermont
Julia Rich graduated with a BA in English from Quinnipiac University. With a passion for reading and writing, she soon began her path to teaching by receiving her master’s in education from the University of Vermont.
Julia has taught various English classes for students in grades 8–11, including American Studies, which she co-taught with a history teacher. She really enjoys working with students on their comprehension and writing skills through different types of literature, leading discussions that help students make connections to themselves and the world around them. She believes that reading creates great writers and enjoys helping her students find their confidence and voice through various authors and themes.
Julia took some time away from teaching to start a family. She can often be found cooking, going to the beach, or taking hikes with her husband and three children. She enjoys reading short stories by Ernest Hemingway.
BS, University of Minnesota
Monica Bowman earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She completed a significant portion of her coursework at the Christian-Albrecht University in Germany as a Rotary Scholar. Reading, discussing, and analyzing Jane Eyre in German is an experience she has never forgotten.
Monica worked in communications and marketing, both for smaller agribusinesses and for enormous multinational corporations, and she discovered that being able to write clearly and effectively is a skill with value far beyond the classroom. Whatever students pursue after high school or college, Monica believes that the hard work they put into becoming excellent communicators during their school years will produce fruit throughout their lives.
While homeschooling her three children and teaching other homeschooled students in a virtual co-op, Monica delights in helping them process everything they learn through a biblical worldview. She considers the ability to discern scriptural truth from the cacophony of worldliness to be a prime goal of a Christian education.
In her free time, Monica enjoys hiking and camping with her family, leading inductive Bible studies, visiting art museums, and cultivating her latest self-taught hobby, painting with acrylics.
Duration: Yearlong course offered in fall/spring (32 weeks).
Description: In Foundations in Writing, students learn the basics of English grammar and composition, while learning how to analyze short literary works. This course is designed for students in 8th or 9th grade and prepares students for English 1.
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