Instructor Bios

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Academic Year 2022 – 2023

Doreen Ashley holds a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Education from Prairie Bible College in Canada. After spending six years doing inner-city ministry in California, she earned her teaching degree at Patton College in Oakland, CA. She continued to teach various grades and subjects for 18 years in both public and private schools. She especially enjoys teaching high school history in a Christian setting. Later she added a Master’s Degree from University of Dayton, Ohio. Upon moving to St. Mary’s County in 2013, she pursued a Special Ed. Endorsement and plunged into homeschooling her daughter. She is a member of Redeeming Grace Baptist Church in Callaway.

Brenda Cavallaro received her B.A. in Modern Languages and Linguistics from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with Maryland certification in Secondary Education. After graduating, Brenda spent a year in Paris on a Fulbright teaching assistantship. When she returned to the U.S., Brenda was hired by the Baltimore City School system to teach Spanish. She graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Intercultural Communications from UMBC  in 1992.  From 1987-1995, Brenda taught Spanish and French in Anne Arundel County. In 1991 she received recognition for excellence in Foreign Language instruction from the Maryland Foreign Language Association.  After moving to St. Mary’s County, Brenda began teaching Spanish to homeschoolers.  Brenda’s desire is to equip students with a skill the Lord can use for His glory and to further His kingdom.  She and her husband Tom have four sons.

Carolyn Graessle graduated from San Diego State University in 1989 with a BA in Math, minor in World History. She completed a Master of Library and Information Studies from UC Berkeley in 1993. Her teaching experience includes teaching for public schools, Sunday School, VBS, Homeschool Christian Academy (HCA), CCT, and staff training while a librarian with the Calvert Library. Carolyn and her husband Grant have homeschooled their three children, now teenagers, since 2007. She is excited by the privilege of teaching high school students as they strive to expand their “writer’s toolkit” and improve their ability to write with confidence.

Cindy Herndon graduated from Frostburg State in 1976 with a degree in English and Education. She began her career teaching junior high students. Five years later, Cindy started teaching at a parochial high school. After teaching for fourteen years in a traditional classroom, Cindy became a stay at home mom and then a home school mom for over 17 years. Cindy has taught at CCT since 2002.

Pam Hinton received a Bachelor of Science in psychology from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia in 1990 and completed a Master of Science in Physical Therapy in 1993 from Beaver College, now known as Arcadia University. She has worked as a physical therapist in a variety of settings including pediatrics, spinal cord injury and brain trauma, outpatient orthopedics, and home health care. Pam’s second career and greatest privilege has been as a homeschooling mom to her two children. She has participated in and taught several cooperative classes with other homeschooling families over the years.

Vanessa Jardine is in love with Jesus, her children, and the mission of homeschooling. She has been homeschooling her three children for 12 years. She holds a B.S. from  SUNY Fredonia, and having been an avid reader her whole life, continues to enjoy a love of classic literature. She will combine her love of teaching with her love of literature for the purpose of encouraging and developing a love of literature and composition in her students.

Erin Kluever Prior to launching into homeschooling the first of her six children in 2004, Erin served in the military where her two oldest children are currently following their mother’s path. However, it was in college that Erin first discovered her love for math. She truly feels math is just beautiful; it is intricate and simple all at the same time just like God’s love for each of us. She looks forward to sharing this beauty with her students!

Margie Leepa graduated from Towson State University in 1988 with a degree in accounting. After working for an investment company in Baltimore for three years, she became a stay at home mom. She has been home schooling for the past 25 years. This is her first year teaching at CCT.

Candace Levin received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1989 from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1995 from California State University, Fresno. She worked as a civil servant for the US Air Force for 13 years at Edwards Air Force Base as a Propulsion Flight Test Engineer on the F-16 and X-35. She has homeschooled her twin daughters for 12 years and tutored multiple levels of the Classical Conversations program. Through that program, she has taught many general science topics to elementary and middle school students as well as Chemistry and Physics to high school students. She and her husband Dan have 4 children and 3 grandchildren.

Maria Matthias graduated from Hood College with a degree in Chemistry and Secondary Education. She has spent nearly 20 years as a Navy wife and a homeschooling mom. Maria has been teaching at CCT since 2005.

Mitzi McConville holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management, along with Certificates in Database Management and IT Project Management. After leaving her career as an IT Project Manager, she launched her business, Leprechaun Lilly’s Children’s Consignment in 2005.  In addition to running the retail management and social media/marketing portions of her business, Mitzi built and maintains both the online database system and website.  She has also created and maintained websites for organizations including Boy Scouts Troop 420, Homeschool Christian Academy, and her home church, Hughesville Baptist.  Mitzi is passionate about helping grow our future leaders, and she co-founded the non-profit SOMD STEAM which focuses on educating local youth in STEM and the Arts.  Through SOMD STEAM and otherwise, she has organized and mentored an award-winning group of Destination Imagination teams since 2010.  Mitzi’s greatest privilege has been the opportunity to home-educate her own three sons, and she is excited to help CCT’s students learn how to use technology as a value-add in whichever career path God leads them to pursue.

Cari Morrison graduated from Messiah College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Prior to becoming a home schooling mom by trade, she taught in Baltimore City Public Schools and at the Lexington Park Christian School (now King’s Christian Academy). She also taught for many years in various children’s ministries—Sunday school, children’s church, and the AWANA Bible program—and in the Leonardtown Baptist Church Home School Fellowship. Cari has been home schooling since 2001, and will retire from this nonstop journey in May 2022 when she and her husband Matt graduate their 6th, and youngest, child.

Wendy N. Podsednik earned a Music Education Major with a concentration in Classical Voice from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. She and her husband have traveled the world homeschooling their five children and currently live in Hollywood, Maryland.  She directs the CCT ensemble and has also served as Choral Director for adult, teen, and youth ensembles at Real Life Wesleyan Church and Our Father’s House Assembly of God. She, her family, and students perform at local retirement and medical centers, offering listeners selections in wide variety of genres.  Her most recent stage credits include  Anna in The King and I, the Undertaker’s Wife in Oliver Twist, and the Cat in Honk. She currently has the honor of continuing her vocal training under baritone Shouvik Mondle, a highly accomplished opera singer, broadway vocal coach, and teacher of Bel Canto currently serving the Annapolis area. Wendy also teaches private vocal in her home studio. As part of Wendy’s studio, Shouvik Mondle offers monthly lessons for students who are focusing on college or professional auditions to glean from his lifetime of performance, teaching, and coaching experience.

Crystal Rapp is grateful for the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ, her Savior and enjoys the work He has given her to do. Crystal has taught drama or directed plays in St. Mary’s County for over 20 years. She is a graduate of Elon College (now Elon University), with a B.A. in History and Social Science. She spent several years working as a Museum Teacher at Historic St. Mary’s City, but her love of acting and directing became clear when she began working with a local homeschool group called the Poiema Players. Crystal has studied acting and music, taking classes in the Stanislavski Method, Meisner Technique, and Voice classes. She has put those skills to use by teaching drama and public speaking for both the California Christian Tutorial (CCT) and the Homeschool Christian Academy (HCA). She has also enjoyed teaching Leadership and History. Crystal is excited about directing and her desire is to teach students to know and trust the Lord Jesus and honor Him with their talents and creativity.

Jamie Salerno has been creating art for over 20 years through a mural business she ran in Texas, by coaching Destination Imagination for the past 5 years, and by teaching art to homeschooled students at HCA.  Jamie also completed her Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA) license while attending nursing school in Texas.  After moving to Maryland, Jamie and her husband Robert decided to homeschool their two children, Robbie and Sammantha.  They have homeschooled for the last 10 years.  Jamie’s desire is to help students see their artistic potential and to provide a new way for students to express themselves.  She feels honored and blessed to have this opportunity to teach at CCT.

Revised: 14 July 2022