Metro Academic Studies Instructors
Get to know our instructors, via their bios below. Each Instructor's page, where you can see course information and additional resources for their classes, is linked at the end of their bio.
BETH BOND first studied German in Koeln, Germany and later at the University of Erlangen. She graduated from UGA with a BA in German and worked for a semester as a Governor’s Intern at Atlanta’s Goethe Institute (German Cultural Center) before earning her Teaching Certificate at
Georgia State University. Beth student-taught German at Wheeler High School in Marietta, and later taught for several years in other Cobb County High Schools before taking a break to raise three daughters. Parenthood is the ultimate teaching experience.
Beth has been married for 32 years to her high-school sweetheart, Wayne. One of her favorite memories is taking 13 high school students to Germany when the country was still divided (East & West). Beth has two Golden Retrievers and loves their personalities. Beth teaches private German and guitar lessons out of her home. As a German teacher, she is
passionate about equipping students to SPEAK German-- -not just read and study about it. Effectively conversing in a foreign language can be a blessing to others. When you make the effort to communicate with someone in their native tongue, it shows you really care, and
blesses not only the recipient, but the speaker as well!
CASEY PATRICK COCHRAN is a native of Smyrna, Georgia. He became a Christian while a sophomore at Georgia (B.S. Ed., '76). After graduation, he toured Hawaii, where he met his wife, Linda (B.S., University of Hawaii, '77). In 1980, the Cochrans began a decade of service in Christian schools in California, Virginia, and Hawaii. During that time, Mr. Cochran earned a Master’s degree at Regent University (MA Ed, ’84).
In 1990, while he was serving as an administrator at a Christian school in California, Emory University offered Mr. Cochran a doctoral fellowship. His dissertation was a history of the home school movement in Georgia. Upon graduation in 1995, Dr. Cochran remained at Emory as a member of the faculty where he currently teaches History of American Education, Philosophy of Education, and Classics of Educational Thought. Since 2003, he has been an advisory editor for theHome School Researcher, a refereed journal published by the National Home Education Research Institute.
PATSY BUTMAN is a Georgia Certified Teacher who received her BS degree from The King’s College in New York. After leaving the teaching field to raise and teach her own three children, she has returned to the venue of teaching homeschoolers. From 2009-2013 she taught Humanities at Veritas Classical Schools. Mrs. Butman is presently serving a 3-yr. term on a National Homeschool Speech & Debate League Board called STOA (www.stoausa.org). Formerly, she was the Regional and State Representative for NCFCA (National Christian Forensics Communication Association) for GA, SC, NC, and FL from 1996 to 2006. She has also participated in summer debate camp training in Chicago and Alabama for the past 3 years. She has been a judge and coach for the Optimist Oratorical Speech Contest in Forsyth County from 2006-2013 and serves as a speech coach for the National Oratorical Constitutional Contest. Some of her students, including her own daughter, have won national titles and large monetary rewards in speech & debate competitions. Her passion is to work with students to instill a love for learning and to reach one’s highest potential. Patsy and her husband John are active members of a PCA church in Cumming, GA.
DAVID CAIN is passionate about helping students see God's handprint on all of life, encouraging a love for learning, developing a vital relationship with God. As a New Doors instructor, he focuses mainly on science instruction from a biblical worldview, but also teaches a wide variety of other subjects. Holding a degree in education, he has taught for over twenty-five years in variety of environments including public & private schools, church & missions programs, and home education programs throughout the Atlanta area. In addition, Mr. Cain teaches SAT prep, ACT prep, study skills classes; teaches a wide variety of summer classes (including classes which are field trip based); and leads science & history related trips through Education Escapes!. Mr. Cain has over thirty years experience in education, pastoral, and outreach ministry
including youth programs, short term mission trips, and evangelism programs. He obtained his bachelor’s of science degree in biology & English from Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska.
RICH GROTE earned his BA at the Kings College in NYC with a major in History and minor in Religion & Philiosphy. He served as a Teacher/Coach (95-97) at the Westminster Christian Academy in Louisiana, and as headmaster (1997-1998) at the Cathedral Academy in Texas where he taught New Testament, Ethics and World views. From 1998-2003, Mr. Grote served as Athletic Director, Teacher/Coach at Dominion Christian HS in Marietta, GA. He taught New Testament survey, US History, World view, Apologetics, Ethics, and Church history. From there, he took a teaching job at Rocky Bayou Christina School in Niceville, Fla teaching similar classes along with AP US History. Mr. Grote most recently served as Teacher & Coach at Atlanta Christian Academy where he taught 9th/11th grade Humanities, New Testament, World Geography & Upper School PE. He has been awarded the Georgia STAR Teacher (2002) and was listed in Who's Who Among America's Teachers (2007).
received a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from the University of Georgia and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. Previously, he was a church planter and pastor of a congregation in Roswell, Georgia. Presently, Steve is teaching Humanities, AP History, Bible and Latin to junior high and senior high home school students in the metro Atlanta area. In his own words, "I love teaching because I love learning: teaching, to me, feels like the fullest consummation of learning. When a new thought grabs me by the throat, I cannot rest until I share it with another. I also love teaching because I love to accompany people through life, to offer what I’ve been given in service of our mutual growth into the image of Christ. "
ERIN HARVEY is a freelance artist who has lived in Georgia most of her life. As a child, Erin could always be found drawing from picture books, or adding her own artistic flair to everything that she did. At age 13, Erin was able to join the adult art classes at DiDomizio’s Old World Art, beginning the formal training that would forever change her life. She continued her studies at the studio while she attended Kennesaw State, pursuing a dual degree in Marketing & Fine Arts.
During this time, Erin continued to work in the oral surgery industry. Erin found that her talents in art were especially helpful in developing various marketing & advertising campaigns, rebuilding the company website, and designing online & print media. While Erin enjoys working in the marketing field, she found her true calling when she was invited to teach kids art classes for the Children’s Art Program at DiDomzio’s Art Center in 2011, where she has been teaching ever since.
Erin’s teaching philosophy is focused on building confidence and self-esteem by equipping students with the tools to make art easier, and by introducing new perspectives about the art thought process. She hopes to inspire her students to celebrate their God given gifts & talent, and to find ways to incorporate art into their everyday lives. She looks forward to being able to share her experiences as a published illustrator and portrait artist with her students.
KAREEM HORTON also known as “Coach Horton” is originally from Pasadena. California but has lived in the Atlanta area since 2008. After receiving his B.A. in business from Michigan State University and working in corporate sales for many years, Kareem found a more fitting and purposeful life developing young adults in sports and fitness. He has coached basketball for over 5 years and is currently the head men’s varsity basketball coach at Atlanta International School. He also has combined his coaching expertise with athletic training working with athletes on a one to one or small group basis. With an intense attention to detail and a “hustle hard” approach, Coach Horton takes extreme pride in improving both the physical and mental aspects of youth today.
ZOHRA GUTIERREZ has
been teaching for 25 years and loving every minute of it. After graduating from
the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts in Math Education, she accepted a position teaching middle school math in Texas, spending 10 years in public schools. During this time, Zohra earned a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Cultural Studies from the University of Houston,while adding a certificate to teach English to Speakers of Other Languages. She then spent several years teaching English to international students until relocating to Alpharetta with her family. Since then, Zohra has been busy raising and homeschooling her five children. She currently teaches middle school math through pre-calculus at Artios Academy Johns Creek and tutors at Eye Level Alpharetta. Zohra is excited to offer Middle School Math, a class that is ripe with opportunity for hands-on learning, as well as AP Statistics, a class she enjoyed herself as a student. While math is her first and foremost teaching field, her real passion lies in building relationships with her students and sharing a small part in their success as they discover the unique path in life to which God has called them.
GEORGE HAMILTON is a native Georgian and attorney in Marietta. George is a 2007 graduate of John Marshall Law School in Atlanta and holds a Master of Science (1996) and Bachelor of Science (1986) from the Georgia Institute of Technology. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech, he worked for a publicly traded textile manufacturing
company with plants in Georgia, The Netherlands and Wales. He returned to Georgia Tech in1995 and obtained a Master of Science degree and later attended law school part-time at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.
Having grown up in northwest Georgia, George was surrounded by numerous National Battlefield Parks and related historic sites and developed an enthusiastic interest at a young age for Civil War history. He has ancestors that fought on both sides and has visited Civil War
battlefields and historic sites in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia. George and his wife home schooled their daughter last year. He and his family are members of Eastminster Presbyterian Church (ECO) in East Cobb County.
received a B. S. in Architecture from Georgia Tech and an M.A. in Architecture from University of Notre Dame where he assisted professors in sketching, perspective, and drafting classes and taught a classical design studio under Professor Richard Economakis. While earning his masters degree, Mr. Heydt studied classical architecture in Italy. Mr. Heydt has practiced architecture, primarily focused in classical residential design for 23 years. His firm, Pak Heydt & Associates, LLC was formed in 2003. As recipient of the Philip Trammell Schutze award in 2007, 2008, and 2012, the firm has received recognition for excellence in classical and traditional design from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. Mr. and Mrs. Heydt have been members of The Church of The Apostles since 1994.
SARA HINTON has a B.A. in political science from Columbia University and an M.A. in The Teaching of English from Teachers College, Columbia University. She taught fifth grade (all subjects) as well as middle school language arts, reading, and social studies in public schools for several years.
Sara has published multiple test-prep textbooks that prepare middle and high school students for end of course reading and language arts exams in various states and consulted as a subject matter expert in grammar for an educational software company. In addition to teaching middle school classes, Sara tutors and runs her editing business while teaching college courses in writing, grammar, and literature.
AHARON HILL is a cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia (2005) School of Law, and a Sigma Cum Laude Graduate of the University of Georgia (2001). After practicing law for 3 years, Aharon followed her love and talent, and opened her Atlanta-based photography studio, Aharon Hill Photography. An award-winning photographer, she specializes in wedding, family and infant portraiture. Her photography has been featured in multiple national and local publications such as Atlanta Weddings Magazine, Occasions, Jezebel, Our Town and Soiree's Southern Events, and on blogs such as Style Me Pretty, Wedding Chicks and Style Unveiled. In 2016, Aharon was named a CMPro, a designation earned by only a small fraction of applicants through a process of critical portrait image evaluation. She has privately mentored budding photographers, and taught photography in a roundtable setting. A selection of Aharon’s work is available online at aharonhill.com.
KAREN B. HOLSTON received a degree in Business Administration - Human Resources Management, with a minor in Spanish at Long Beach State University in California to round out a total of ten years of schooled Spanish. Having grown up in Southern California where Spanish fluency is prevalent, she understands first-hand the importance of learning and applying this widely-used foreign language. Karen has experience in teaching high school Spanish One and Two, as well as middle school Spanish. She served as the director of a home school group south of Atlanta for five years with a membership level of over 50 families. Karen has conducted motivational, communication, and leadership seminars in the corporate sector. Additionally, she was a professional volleyball player in Europe in the late 1980’s. These combined factors drive her motivational teaching style as she is a firm believer in encouraging her students to reach their fullest potential. She is married to Lee and they are blessed with their miracle Micah, a home-educated high school student. The Holstons have been actively involved members at The Church of the
Apostles in Atlanta since 1992. Karen is very excited for the opportunity to serve on the Metro Academic Studies (MAS) team!
ANGIE NASRALLAH is a homeschooling mother of five children. A graduate of Florida State University, she also earned her Master's degree in Secondary English Ed from the University of Georgia. Angie began her teaching career at UGA as a graduate assistant in the Challenge Program for gifted and talented students. Since that time, she has taught language arts in a variety of contexts including public high school, private middle school, technical school, home school cooperatives and her own
children. Angie’s favorite aspect of teaching English is helping students
to get organized, encouraging them to find their writer's voice,
and showing them how to view literature through a Christian world lens. She and her husband, Matt, and their five children, live in Marietta and
attend St. Basil's Eastern Orthodox Mission in Marietta.
DEREK OWENS taught physics, honors physics, AP Physics, and AP computer science at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA from 1988-2000 and AP Calculus at Providence Christian Academy. He graduated from Duke University in 1988 with a degree in mechanical engineering and physics, and worked at the TIP program at Duke for two years, teaching physics and heading the Satellite Science Program. He received a National Science Foundation scholarship and studied history and philosophy of science at L'Abri Fellowship in England. He worked as a software developer for five years before returning to teaching. This will be his tenth school year teaching homeschoolers in the Atlanta area. He and his wife Amor and their two children Claire and David attend Twelve Stone Church, a non-denominational church near their home in Lawrenceville. Further info can be read here:
Read more on Mr. Owen's classes at Metro Academic Studies, here.
Read about all Mr. Owen's qualifications and other classes here.S
MARIA SARMIENTO received a Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in Sculpture from Georgia State University and a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Universidad de Bogota Jorge Tadeo Lozano. She has been teaching art for more than 20 years including elementary, middle high school and college levels. She taught sculpture for five years at Kennesaw State University and currently serves as adjunct faculty at The Art Institute of Atlanta. In 2011, Maria was a presenter at FATE National Conference in Saint Louis. Maria continues her professional development and recently finished six classes in San Francisco focused on technology applied to art. Maria is an active exhibiting artist. You may find a selection of her pieces in a permanent exhibition at Georgia State University and in the Hudgens Center for the Arts and her art is exhibited on her website,sarmientostudio.com. She lives in Dunwoody with her husband and their two daughters and she is part of the Christmas and garden ministries in their church.
MATTHEW STRAW is originally from Kent, Washington, but has lived in Georgia most of his life. He moved to Atlanta with his wife, Julie, in 2010 to work with Apartment Life Ministries as a “Cares Team”. Matthew worked in television, film, and live event production. His work in film began in the locations department but he moved quickly to become an integral part of the preproduction, office, lighting, editing, art, camera, and post production departments. Matthew has also worked as a 1st AD, 2nd AD, writer, story board artist, and actor. His projects include, but are not limited to Flipped, Vampire Diaries, Anchorman 2, and Term Life. Matthew has most recently used his film background to direct and produce shorts for the student ministry department at Peachtree Presbyterian where he serves as youth pastor.
JAMES SAXON was ordained as a PCA minister in 1979, and has actively served in the pastorate for the last 30 years. He was converted to Christ at the age of twenty while a student at the University of Alabama and graduated from the RTS Doctorate of Ministry program in the spring of 2005. He joined the staff of the fast-growing, outreach-minded, The Church of The Apostles in Atlanta in the fall of 2000. Since coming to Apostles, Dr. Saxon has served in a variety of staff roles and has recently assumed the role of Director of Evangelism and Outreach. Though he is currently involved in outreach ministry, he is a pastor at heart and his life ministry verse is Colossians 1:28, “And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ.”
MARGARET SHUMAN earned a secondary English education/German double major and a renewable, 7-12 GA teaching certificate at Berry College. She went on to get a master's degree from Bowling Green State University, OH, in speech and theatre, where she also took graduate level courses in literature and theories of teaching writing. Since graduation, she has taught in two public schools, two private schools, and the home education world. The College Board has officially approved Margaret to teach both AP Literature and Language, and has hired her to score SAT essays. She has also led seminars in drama, AP English, speech, and writing at professional development conferences. Margaret and her family worship at Passion City Church. You can find out more about Margaret at www.margaretshuman.com.