Frank Browne (Acoustic and Electric Guitar) has been teaching & playing guitar professionally for over 25 years. He moved to Southern California after earning his Bachelor of Music from the University of Miami School of Music. His versatility allows him to teach a variety of musical styles from rock, jazz, & blues to folk & classical. In the past he has performed for President Clinton, has played live on Fox Sports Net TV with his swing band, Zoot Suit Revue, and has been heard on jazz radio stations throughout the country. His current band, Sylvan Street, is signed to Summit Records, and has released two cd’s which have garnered Grammy consideration.
Jesse Burch has been part of the HuckleBerry community for many years as a homeschooling dad. In addition to teaching his two children (ages 13 and 9), he has been a professional actor and voiceover performer for 13 years, working in television, film, commercials and video games. He has most recently been featured in A Good Day to Die Hard and What to Expect When You're Expecting.
Jesse earned a BA in Theater from Occidental College and has returned to his alma mater to teach workshops on the business of acting to current students, some of whom he mentors. Jesse has also directed a number of plays onstage and is currently writing a play about World War I, a fascinating subject he has been researching for the last three years. Jesse's interest and love of history started in high school, inspired by an excellent teacher, and he hopes to inspire his students by making history come alive from the detailed perspective of the ordinary people;caught up in historical events.
Tracy Quick has always loved helping people, especially kids. As a child she dreamed of one day becoming a teacher, getting married, and having a large family. Today she’s “living the dream”, as her husband always jokes. Tracy is a New York native, with her B.S. in Education from Boston University. She taught grades K-12 in Massachusetts public schools, until pregnant with her third child. After moving to Santa Clarita, and experiencing the public schools here, she and her husband decided to homeschool their children. She currently homeschools her four youngest children, who LOVE attending HuckleBerry. She likes being busy, loves learning and sharing new things, enjoys the freedom and flexibility that homeschooling offers, and is excited about being more involved in the wonderful HuckleBerry community.
Penny Sande has a passion for making music. As an accomplished violin and viola player, her playing credits date back to the mid 70's. At the request of a local elementary school, she began teaching students to play violin and recorder. Sande has a loyal following, and soon added cello to her repertoire, and is the current director for 2 local string orchestras. Sande's peformance groups have performed at many weddings, charity & local events, including being a featured playing group at Universal City Walk during 2006-08 Holiday seasons. Her group regularly performs at Barnes & Noble, the Farmer's Market and other local events. She is both a dedicated homeschooler, and a well loved private string teacher.
Her background in advertising, and a decade of working the renaissance faire and love of cooking are some of her interests she is willing to share!
Holly Van Houten holds a Masters degree in English and American Literature and is A.B.D. (All But Dissertation) for her Ph.D. in English Literature from USC. She has taught courses in literature and writing at USC, Pepperdine University, CSUN, CSULB and other Los Angeles area colleges. She has always homeschooled her two daughters, one of whom is now a student at Azusa Pacific University, while the other is here at Huck. Holly Van Houten has taught at Huck since 2009 and has helped hundreds of homeschoolers develop their ability to think critically and express themselves through writing. Holly also tutors and maintains a website (www.TheWritingTutor.com) with more information about her teaching philosophy, parent reviews, and helpful links for writers.
To read more about Holly's fascinating story, here is a link to the autobiography she prepared for our HuckleBerry Teacher Focus.
Holly Van Houten
B.A. in English (UCLA)
M.A. in English and American Literature (USC)
Ph.D in English Literature, ABD (USC)
HuckleBerry Center for Creative Learning Instructors include these highly qualified professionals. Please feel free to contact any of them to ask them questions about their classes and teaching styles.
Donna Connolly taught for several years with LAUSD teaching ESL and with Burbank Unified School District as a substitute school teacher. As a substitute, she had the opportunity to teach many subjects and grade levels. After the birth of her first son, Donna left the workforce to become a full time mom.
As a stay-at-home mom, she spent little time at home. For three years, Donna sat on the Scholarship Board at Mission College and worked briefly as the Executive Director and fundraiser.
She has volunteered in the field of education and with community organizations, writing posts for education blogs and Letters to the Editor.
Donna decided to pull her oldest child out of public school and homeschool. It's been an exciting and wonderful new adventure. As a homeschooler, Donna has taken her love of learning, teaching experience and passion for history and developed a course for HuckleBerry!
She is a UCLA graduate with a degree in Philosophy, and believes the number one goal of any instructor is to instill a love of learning in the students he or she is honored to teach.
Debbie Walker is an experienced science teacher that brings Physics to life for students by incorporating real world examples into her lessons andcreates a fun classroom atmosphere by promoting questions and discussion. Debbie earned her Bachelor's degree in Physics with a minor in Psychology from Scripps College in Claremont, CA. She spent 5 years teaching high school AP Physics, Physics and Chemistry. She took several years off teaching to pursue a full time position of Mom to her three wonderful children and two dogs. She resumed her career by teaching hands-on science to elementary school children throughout Los Angeles with Quest in Science and has been with them since 2010. She loves basketball and has enjoyed coaching her son's basketball team for the past three years. She is excited to be working with the students and families of HuckleBerry and looks forward to a great year!
Jessica Hartley is a Relationship Coach, Spiritual Teacher and founder of the Legendary Love Program. The emphasis of her work is in providing a clear path for individuals all over the world to move past relationship struggles into a deeply connected life-long love and marriage. Her teaching approach is a perfectly balanced blend of heart and mind; delivered through analysis, method, structure, empathy, intuition and authenticity, creating the most important impacts in personal growth and quality of life for her students. She holds a Master’s degree in Soul Centered Psychology, and speaks widely on the topics of Marriage, Communication, Relationships and Parenting. Her intention in teaching is to instill the vital tools and deep awareness of how to cultivate thriving relationships and overall quality of life for the next generation.
Jennifer Holden has been an educator since 2001, working with youth of all ages in multiple subjects. She holds a Masters degree in Psychology, with a research emphasis on mindfulness in schools. She is excited to bring her passion for education to Huckleberry, offering classes in several disciplines to help students understand more about themselves and the world -- and to make learning fun!
Cylan Brown is the lead instructor for Shakespeare Kids, a Los Angeles based Educational Shakespeare Production Company. Not just a theater camp, our classes are a lot of fun, highly interactive, help build confidence, spark the imagination and allow participants to find their inner-voice. Our teachers are also actors and directors currently active in the professional world, they not only coach, but nurture students to bring out their best. We offer classes, camps and workshops and work with ALL LEVELS OF EXPERIENCE! We are ever evolving, exploring and creating new programs, ensuring that our productions and curriculum are always engaging, educational and entertaining.
find out more at http://shakespearekids.org
Cylan Brown has worked for several years with the Kingsmen Shakespeare Co.’s educational tour and taught with the Sage Ridge Academy in Nevada. Favorite professional Shakespeare roles include: Hamlet, Romeo, Julius Caesar, Mercutio, Edmund, Parolles, Philip (King John) and Dromio of Syracuse with The Rubicon, Shakespeare by the Sea, Los Angeles Actors Ensemble and South Bay Civic Light Opera. Cylan received his Bachelor’s degree in Theater from Northern Arizona University, with a minor in English Literature.
Amber grew up in Ojai and El Segundo, CA. As a young girl, she fell in love with history and museums. In adulthood, she became an Education and Public Programs Manager at Heritage Square, a historical museum. She met her husband, Chris, in Pasadena and began raising a family while continuing to volunteer in the museum and education fields. She has 3 children, has homeschooled for 9 years and history is still the favored subject! Our family enjoys gardening, reading and traveling, especially to Mexico.
AD Computer Science / Programming
BS Biological Sciences
AD Natural Resources & Management
Morgan Arriola has been in the classroom teaching upper elementary for five years. During those five years she was able to develop Project Based Learning activities to make sure that all her students were engaged. One of her favorite projects was a Community Canvas that she taught during a Social Studies unit. Each student was able to be a part of making a 5ft x 5ft map while developing team building, math, social studies, and art skills. She received her MA in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from California State University Northridge. She strives to make a meaningful impact in her students’ lives.
When her twin boys were born in 2016, she took some time off to raise them. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, being outdoors, and hanging out with her family and friends.
Shelli Ryan is a fine art portrait photographer and owner of a portrait studio in Santa Clarita best known for distinctive, showcase portraits of children and dancers.
Her interest in photography early in high school led her to follow the path to becoming a filmmaker and editor, working on Independent films and television for over 15 years. She wrote and directed several short films and a feature film, Jake’s Closet, released in 2008, about a little boy caught between his parents in a bitter divorce.
Wanting to bring her cinematic skills back to her photography she started a business dedicated to creating distinctive and beautiful portraits of children. “I am passionate about crafting work that evokes emotion and uniquely captures the beauty and spirit of children. This work is my absolute love language.”
Along with photographing people for her business Shelli is constantly learning new photographic techniques and experimenting with artistic expression because there is still so much to learn.
Feisal has earned degrees in computer science, bioengineering, natural resources, biology, and is currently working towards his education degree. He has two patents, has published articles in international journals, and has presented at international conferences. While doing scientific research, Feisal found that he was interested in teaching and so shifted his focus to education. He teaches both Chemistry and Biology at the High School level at Huck.
Curriculum & Instruction
Fine Arts, West Valley College
BA Graphic Design
Lena was doodling and observing nature from a very young age. Her family encouraged her to pursue a career in art. While in school, she worked for an educational book publishing company. She later was the art director for a small corporation that created custom commemorative items for NASA, Disney, the Dodgers, and more. Later, she worked for Lamps Plus in the design department where trends were studied for fresh projects. Lighting items for example chandeliers, floor lamps, and decorative accessories were designed. She collaborated with artisans such as carvers and mold makers, and also worked together with the in-house rod iron shop, woodshop, and paint department to name a few. Ideas went from the drawing board to world market showrooms. Lena also had the opportunity to oversee photoshoots for catalogs. She left the job field to raise her 3 children while volunteering her time when creative opportunities arose. Currently, she is a freelance artist, focusing on portrait painting. She believes that there is a creative person in each of us that wants to be expressed. Her hope is to generate an appreciation of the arts and to inspire students to be creative regardless of the future path they choose.
Bachelors of Music in Composition- APU
MFA - Cal Arts (current student)
Simeon Goode is passionate about music, math, and teaching. He is a recent graduate of Azusa Pacific University, where he earned a Bachelors of Music in Composition Magna Cum Laude under the tutelage of world renowned pianist and composer Dr. Eugene Alcalay. During his time at APU, Simeon spent four years working for the Learning Enrichment Center, tutoring and leading group supplemental instruction in music theory, and during the last year began to oversee the music tutoring department in his position as Mentor. Currently, in addition to his teaching, Simeon is continuing his education at California Institute of the Arts to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Composition and Experimental Sound Practices. Simeon has also tutored math since high school. Having finished the calculus program at Lone Peak High School during his sophomore year, he has taken college math courses through John Hopkins University, and achieved a perfect score in the AP Statistics standardized test. His philosophy in teaching is that the subject should be fun and relevant, and he is excited to share his enthusiasm with Huck students! When he is not teaching, writing, or puzzling out math problems, Simeon enjoys playing board games with his wife.
Allison Walton is so excited to join the Huckleberry teaching staff this year! She began her teaching career in Beijing, China, teaching English to high school students for two years. Upon her return, she taught elementary school in Ohio for six years, specializing in project-based instruction and discovery learning. Her favorite project was a Dinosaur Museum, where her second grade students wrote nonfiction research papers and created dinosaurs out of paper-mache. Allison and her husband moved to the Los Angeles area in 2011, and has spent the last six years raising their two daughters who both attend classes at Huckleberry. Allison enjoys writing short stories, watching teenage high school dramas, taking family portraits, and listening to Korean pop music.
Valerie Boness has a passion for teaching students to not just learn, but to love learning. She has been a homeschooling mother of four for 6 years. Holding a Bachelors of Science Degree in Kinesiology from Trinity International University, her passion for teaching was developed through teaching a healthy lifestyle to clients as a Personal Trainer, as a Soccer Coach and to as a Speed and Agility coach. As she was lead into homeschooling her engaging and creative teaching style became quickly sought out in homeschooling co-ops and eventually broke off starting her own Science co-op 5 years ago. No matter the subject—Science, PE, History, Math, or Language Arts—learning is fun with her hands-on, project-based approach. She looks forward to seeing you in the classroom.