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.
BA English Education
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.
Cy 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.
Stephanie Durruty has taught Middle School Science for 6 years, with the last two years being at Huck! She focuses on systematic project-based lessons to build knowledge in the specific subject of study. She has a BA in Liberal Studies and Bible Exposition and is currently going to CSUN to get her teacher's credential for Middle School Science.
AD Computer Science / Programming
BS Biological Sciences
AD Natural Resources & Management
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 another PhD 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
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.
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.
Tammy Taylor Is a Deaf educator. She has taught and tutored American Sign Language for several years. She is very involved in the deaf community as a social organizer and advocate. She studied American Sign Language and Deaf Studies at Mt. San Antonio Community College and Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. She also studied English, Art and Communication Studies. She is very passionate about sharing her own language of communication and culture with children and adults alike. She has adapted a fun and creative way to incorporate both in her curriculum.
Nardie Santos has been in education since the age of 15. She graduated high school at age 16. She started her very own tutoring business while in high school and it is still running. She holds a Bachelors in English Education and is currently pursuing her Masters in Education with an emphasis in Administration while earning her teaching credential. She runs a summer reading program in South Central Los Angeles and runs a Cultural Center alongside her mother Clavia Santos. Nardie is excited to join Huck's family so she is able to share some of her diverse background with us. Nardie believes that everyone should have a notion of their background, where their family came from, cultural customs. By the way Nardie is from Belize and belongs to a group of people known as Garinagu. Garinagu means more than one or the group collectively. Garifuna is the singular and it is also the name of the language. She also has a cultural dance group. When she is not educating others she is working as an event planner hairstylist and make-up artist. She believes that learning should be fun and she looks forward to empowering our scholars on a daily basis.
BA Communicative Disorders
Yeannelle was born and raised in southern California and graduated from California State University, Northridge with a BA in Communicative Disorders. She has experience working with children with autism spectrum disorders as well as speech delays.
Through working with clients in the school districts, she discovered a love for teaching. She taught second grade at a private school and tutored elementary and junior high students for several years.
Yeannelle is a mother of three children and has been homeschooling for eight years. She is passionate about homeschooling and literacy. In her spare time, she enjoys researching new teaching resources, cake decorating, home décor, and spending time with her husband and children.
BA Fine Art
I was introduced to clay in junior high school and immediately took a strong interest to hand building and throwing. When I was 15, I joined the Potters’ Studio in West Los Angeles where I met many fascinating potters over the course of 12 years, going there to learn and work after school and during summer vacations.
I attended UC Berkeley as a fine art major and was lucky to take some classes with Peter Voulkos, in addition to my studies in drawing, painting and printmaking. During my junior year I participated in UC’s Education Abroad Program and thereby moved to Padova, Italy for a year that definitely changed my life. I was saturated in Art History and Italian, as I continued my Practice of Art studies. Perhaps the most significant accomplishment of this year was directing an exhibit for an architectural restoration organization in Venice.
After I returned to California and finished my degree, I began my career as an art director/ graphic designer. For the next twenty five years I worked as for various companies in the Los Angeles area. Ceramic art continued to be a hobby of mine during all the years I was working and raising a family.
When my position at the Getty Center as a publications specialist ended in 2002, I made a decision to make ceramics my full time occupation. Combining my design skills (and computer expertise) and my love of clay helps define my style as a versatile ceramic artist. I have built huge murals and fountains and also show smaller works in local galleries. I have been awarded 3 grants and have won several awards. Recently I won Best in Show at at the Beatrice Woods Center for the Arts in Ojai. Also, the i.d.e.a. Museum in Phoenix, AZ, invited me to show my cactus sculptures at their exhibit on the Sonoran Desert.
I am a credentialed teacher and have taught art classes for nearly 4 years now. I’m so excited to share my love of clay and sewing too with the students at Huck!
Brigham Young University
Skylar Hogan has always been a part of the HuckleBerry community all through through High School and is now working here as a teacher and office assistant. She always had a passion for art and comic books that’s why she is is teaching the Graphic Novels and Comic Book class. Skylar has taken multiple art classes through her school years and has read so many books for graphic novels. She has recently graduated from College of the Canyons with an Associates Degree in History and will be attending CSUN Northridge college in the fall of 2020 and earning her Bachelors degree in History.
Jessica loves science—and especially teaching science to children. Science was her first academic love as a child and the focus of her first career as a Pediatric Registered Nurse. As a mother, her love for science evolved into a love for teaching her children and the children of her community. For the past 8 years, she has run her own business teaching preschool and transitional kindergarten. Since 2015, she has also taught regular science, history, and art classes to school-aged-children. She finds great joy and fulfillment in developing innovative ways to teach and seeing children discover a passion for learning.
Jessica homeschools her 4 children in the classical method and loves to bring classical-education principles to her classes at Huck. In her free time, she loves to read, paint, organize, dabble in graphic design, and play with her kids.
BA Child Development
I have been working with young children for most of my life! I started babysitting at a young age and fell in love working with young children. I started out as a preschool teacher, then went on to be a Special Education Assistant, and then became a teacher. I have also taught in private schools. I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and my CA Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, both from CSUN. I also taught Health Education through a Health Insurance Company for about four years. I homeschooled my son 2 years ago and learned all about the homeschool community, so I am excited to be teaching at HuckleBerry!! I love teaching children and see that light bulb go off in their little brains when they get a concept! How refreshing it is to share HuckleBerry's philosophy of meeting a child where they are. It is an amazing experience to instill learning into the minds of young children! I look forward to getting to know you and your children!
BA English, Teaching Credential
I have always loved literature and stories. In 2002, I went to UC Berkeley to get my English degree, and while tutoring my best friend in algebra, I discovered something else I love: teaching. I soon joined Teach for America and flew off to New York City where I taught language arts for seven years, two in the South Bronx and five with the incredible Uncommon Schools in Brooklyn. I also earned my master’s degree in education from Pace University. But I found that the classroom in public schools is not where I can do my best work. The large class sizes prevent the type of individualized attention I like to bring to my students. My approach has always been to figure out where each student is, and then progress from there. It takes more time, but it's so much more meaningful! Since coming home to Southern California in 2012, I have organically grown my own tutoring business, continually refining my pedagogy running a variety of bootcamps and bookclubs and tutoring 1-on-1 in my three favorite subjects: reading, writing, and math.
AS Child Development
Child Development, Teacher Level
While attending Keene State College in New Hampshire, majoring in Information Studies, still in the undergradute program, I moved back home to Sunny California! My husband and I met, married and began our family. A few years later I wanted to complete my education, but chose a different major, Early Childhood.
I Earned my Associate in Science Degree in Child Development from Moorpark College and completed certification for the State of California Child Development Permit, Teacher level. When my oldest was in Pre-Kindergarten, I began teaching in Early Childhood at a private school in Thousand Oaks. For 13 amazing years I taught, and took at least 9 units of CEU (Continuing Education Units) every year. The experience gained through those years has helped me develop my love and passion for teaching! I created a MakerSpace at the iLead Design Studio and taught and managed that for a year, and then joined HuckleBerry and brought MakerSpace classes to Huck! I'm returning to my first love - early childhood - by setting up Huck's Young Learners program. I hope to see your kids there!