Phyllis O'Quinn: Principal

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Meet Phyllis O’Quinn

Principal

Ms. Phyllis O’Quinn is excited to come aboard the ResponsiveEd team this year where she will be Principal of iSchool Virtual Academy. Before joining as administrator for the virtual campus, she was an education consultant designing curriculum and professional development materials. She also analyzed student data for public and charter school districts as well as developed programming for youth within art galleries and community organizations in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex.

Her passion for literacy engaged her with students from K-12 grades as a reading specialist at both district and state levels. Prior to becoming a reading specialist, she taught English Language Arts and Reading at the middle and high school levels within Texas and abroad. Furthering her pursuit to advance in evidence-based instructional practices through a multicultural lens, she lived in Seoul, South Korea where she was an associate professor of Writing at the university level. She earned her Bachelor of Arts with honors in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Multicultural Communication, and her Master of Education in Teaching, both from the University of Texas at Arlington.

She is committed to shaping our education system to fit the learning needs of all students, and values the impact on student learning through improving access to quality education in a virtual platform. Her success in the field of education has required a deep understanding of the ongoing dynamics related to conscientiously being effective in today’s technological, multicultural and student learner-diverse classroom. She couldn’t be more thrilled to support her staff and work in partnership with you to meet the needs of our students!

Shawnda Runyan: School Counselor

Meet Shawnda Runyan

School Counselor

Mrs. Shawnda Runyan joined iSchool Virtual Academy this year as the school counselor. During her 13 years of experience as a counselor, she focused on helping students make the transition from high school to college. From developing a four year plan for all students to helping students find scholarships, she enjoys helping her students be successful in both their studies and their careers.

Before coming to Texas and working for ResponsiveEd’s iSchool Highs, Mrs. Runyan worked as a junior high counselor in Utah and for a large 5A high school in Texas. She has a BS in Psychology from Maryland University and a MS in Psychology specializing in K-12 school counseling from Utah State University.

Mrs. Runyan is a mother of two boys, one is in a Master’s program in Japan and the other is a business major at the University of North Texas. She loves her job working with students to help them find the right courses they need to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of graduation and to help students have transcripts that are in perfect order as they move onto college.

Amanda Herron: Lead Registrar

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Meet Amanda Herron

Lead Registrar

Mrs. Herron joined Responsive Education Solutions in 2015. She was previously a Related Services Coordinator for TxVA and transitioned to becoming our Lead Registrar. Mrs. Herron believes that first impressions are very important, so she works hard to ensure that every family is well-informed and has an excellent understanding of our school, who we are, and what we do. Although we are virtual, her goal is to make families feel comfortable and welcomed at iSchool Virtual Academy. She loves to go on adventures and enjoys spending quality time with family and friends. Mrs. Herron is looking forward to helping our new and existing families here at iSchool Virtual Academy!

Denise Oviedo: Registrar

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Meet Denise Oviedo

Registrar

Mrs. Oviedo joined ResponsiveEd in 2014. She is one of the registrars for iSchool Virtual Academy. Prior to that, she worked at Premier High School of San Antonio. Mrs. Oviedo is ecstatic to finally be back in her hometown. She enjoys spending time with family and friends. Mrs. Oviedo has been married for three years and has two beautiful daughters ages 2 and 11 months. In her spare time, she likes to go to the drive-in movies, dance, and travel, but her most favorite thing to do is catch up on her sleep. Mrs. Oviedo is all about saving the planet and stray animals. She is a kind, dependable, hard working person, and we are very fortunate to have her on the iSchool Virtual Academy team.

Arhen Buras: 4th Grade

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Meet Ahren Buras

4th Grade Teacher

Miss. Arhen Buras joined ResponsiveEd in 2015. She currently serves as a 4th grade teacher for iSchool Virtual Academy.

She has been an educator in public schools for over 10 years. Prior to teaching fourth grade, she taught elementary school and middle school English Language Arts and Reading. She earned a Bachelor of Psychology and a certification in Elementary Education from Southeastern Louisiana University and a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Educational Technology from Dallas Baptist University.

Miss. Buras brings a diverse background of knowledge and experience related to instructional strategies and virtual education. She believes in challenging students to think deeply and critically through the use of engaging learning experiences. She believes an educator’s role is to facilitate students in becoming lifelong learners in an ever-changing world. She committed to preparing the 21st Century Learner for a successful future through the effective use of educational technology in the learning process.

Kathryn Hurst: 5th Grade

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Meet Kathryn Hurst

3rd and 5th Grade Teacher

Ms. Kathryn Hurst joined ResponsiveEd this school year as a fifth-grade teacher for iSchool Virtual Academy. She has previously taught students in need of individual education services and assisted students in grades 6th through high school in planning for life after graduation. Her teaching assignments have ranged from 8th grade Alternative Education to Elementary, Middle School and High School Education. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas Woman’s University and a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and Adult Education from University of Phoenix.

In her 21 years as an educator in public schools and many more years of family experience, Ms. Hurst has developed a deep commitment to her students, families, and schools that she serves. She always has an open ear to listen and seeks to understand her students in order to best help each student meet their highest achievement. It is her belief that students learn best when they are able to keep learning relevant to experiences they understand. There is no excuse for failure, only a lack of communication.

Ester Preston: ELA, Grades 6-8

Meet Ester Preston

ELA, Grades 6-8

Ms. Ester Preston joined iSchool Virtual Academy in 2016. She currently teaches English Language Arts to our 6-8th grade students. Her experience spans over 19 years of teaching, and she has worked on the levels of elementary, secondary, and as an adjunct on the college level. Moreover, she has worked with both ETS and Pearson on various assessments and platforms. Prior to joining Responsive Education Solutions, she worked as a district specialist and as a regional Bilingual/ESL specialist. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Southern University A & M, and she is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in English and Instructional Design.

She believes in working with students and their families and enjoys establishing relationships with all stakeholders to ensure that students remain on the right track. She enjoys the intelligence and passion of students and hopes to instill in them the joy of learning.

Ms. Preston also enjoys traveling of any kind because there is always something interesting to do and see. She is a new grandmother, so spending time with her granddaughter has been extremely rewarding and so much fun! She loves spending time with family, going to see plays, and attending almost any type of sporting event. It is her goal one day to attend the Olympics as they are being hosted in another country!

Brittany English: Math, Grades 6-8

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Meet Brittany English

Math, Grades 6-8

Brittany English joined Responsive Education Solutions in 2016. She will teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math. She has previously taught 8th grade math, STAAR intervention for 6-8th grade students, and privately tutored students in these grade levels including Algebra I. She has been an educator in public schools throughout Texas for the past four years.

Brittany earned her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in math from Stephen F. Austin State University. She currently holds certifications in math and general education for the middle grades. She also received a minor in music and continues to play the clarinet and piano to date.

Brittany believes that all students possess the capabilities of being a great mathematician. However, it takes practice, diligence, and relevance for mathematical break-throughs (a-ha moments) to occur. She looks forward to the struggle and hard work to come to assist students in being successful through iSchool Virtual Academy!

Sherrie Klein: Science, Grades 6-8

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Meet Sherrie Klein

Science, Grades 6-8

Sherrie Klein will teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade science. She has a wide range of experience in the science field, both in industry and in education.

Sherrie graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She then spent seven years working in research for a pharmaceutical company, where she studied treatments for stroke and Alzheimer’s Disease. Feeling the call to teach, she completed her Masters in Education from the University of New Haven.

Sherrie has been teaching for the past 15 years. She first taught middle school science in Connecticut and Massachusetts. After moving to Texas, she has taught high school biology, anatomy and physiology as well as middle school science in a variety of school settings.

Sherrie strongly believes that seeing the world through the eyes of science is truly the most fascinating endeavor and strives to pass on that curiosity and excitement to her students.

Ms. Kazi: Social Studies, Grades 6-8

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Mett Anum Kazi

Social Studies, Grades 6-8

Ms. Kazi joins iSchool Virtual Academy this year as the Middle School Social Studies teacher for grades 6 through 8. She was most recently teaching 6th grade Social Studies at an ISD in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. She has also previously taught the core subjects for the upper-elementary grades at public and private schools. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Global Business from the University of Texas at Dallas, and later obtained her Master of Public Affairs (MPA), also from UT Dallas.

Born and raised in the Dallas area, Ms. Kazi loves the city and all it has to offer. She enjoys teaching tremendously, and finds the most memorable moments in the profession are those that result in a spark in a student’s creativity and confidence. Connecting to students and empowering them on a professional and individual level is her passion, and thrives on student engagement and promoting relevance of students’ lives to the content area. Aside from teaching, she also enjoys reading, blogging and visiting art and history museums!

Carisha Davis: ELA, Grades 9-12

Meet Carisha Davis

ELA and Art, Grades 9-12

Carisha Davis joined ResponsiveEd in 2015. She currently serves as the ELA Grades 9-12 iSchool Virtual Academy teacher and has previously served students from grades K-9 as a teacher and ESL coordinator. She has been an educator in public schools for the past eight years in English Language Arts and Reading, Art, and English as a Second Language.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Kinesiology/Sports Medicine from Stephen F. Austin State University, and her Masters of Arts in Education and English as a Second Language from Southern Methodist University.

As a teacher, her goal is motivating learners to determine and discover their inner strengths and abilities and understand what truly inspires them. She aims to provide a learning environment that encourages learners to trust their own opinions, while fostering confidence in order to help them realize their full potential. Through her experience teaching, she has found the method of facilitating to be a highly beneficial style of teaching, as it allows students to construct their own learning experiences, to better retain information, and to become more self-assured in their abilities- confidence allows for the cultivation of excellence and success in students.

She is a firm believer that engagement is the goal in learning. When students are engaged and enjoy learning, they willingly soak up the content, store it and apply it. Her heart is full at the end of each school day knowing that one child, at least, left her classroom with something more, something that made them better – whether it be a new piece of information or a little more confidence or extra encouragement than they came in with. She is convinced that educators have the best job in the world, period. And during her time here on this earth, she intends to savor and steward wisely every minute that she is given to teach and work with students.

Stephanie L. Hoenig: Math, Grades 9-12

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Meet Stephanie L. Hoenig

Math, Grades 9-12

Mrs. Stephanie L. Hoenig joined Responsive Education Solutions in 2016. She is currently the math teacher for grades 9-12 at iSchool Virtual Academy. She has 16 years of experience teaching in public schools. She has taught all levels of mathematics from 7th grade through PreCalculus.

Mrs. Hoenig earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Texas Woman’s University along with Texas teacher certification and a Masters of Arts in Mathematics Education from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Mrs. Hoenig believes that student success is a product of effort and clear communication. Her goal is for students to become advocates for their own learning and discuss their strengths and weakness when setting personal goals. This self-awareness is critical in becoming life-long learners – a skill that will be necessary in the ever changing workforce of tomorrow.

Celeste Stephenson: Science, Grades 9-12

Meet Celeste Stephenson

Science, Grades 9-12

Ms. Stephenson joined the team this year to teach high school science. For the past four years she taught physics in the Houston, TX area. Prior to becoming an educator, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from Rutgers University in Newark, NJ. In addition to teaching, she also has experience in the petroleum refining industry as a laboratory technician with Marathon Petroleum and customer service experience as a flight attendant with Continental Airlines. In order to keep pace with technological advances, she is pursuing a certificate in computer programming.

Ms. Stephenson brings a diverse set of skills to the table including advanced scientific content knowledge, technological skills, and best practices in teaching and learning. She believes she must prepare her students for a changing technological landscape, where a successful professional is constantly learning and innovating. Ms. Stephenson believes all students can succeed and she looks forward to working with students and families to ensure success in science and beyond.

Shaina Tackett-Cox: Social Studies, Grades 9-12

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Meet Shaina Tackett-Cox

Social Studies, Grades 9-12

Mrs. Shaina Tackett-Cox joined ResponsiveEd in 2010 and served as a high school teacher and administrator for ResponsiveEd’s Premier High Schools and iSchool High. She recently joined the virtual team as iSchool Virtual Academy’s high school Social Studies teacher.

She has been an educator in public schools for the past nine years with six of the years spent at charter schools. Prior to becoming an administrator, she taught all content areas in a public charter school in the Los Angeles area. She moved to Texas in late 2009 after her husband completed his infantry service in the United States Marine Corps and relocated to his hometown outside of Dallas.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Science from Sacramento State University, her Single Subject Teaching Credential with San Francisco State, and her Masters of Arts in Humanities with a Philosophy concentration from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

In the past decade, her experience in charter education has been an eye-opening experience to the better understanding that education should not be a “one size fits all” approach, but rather a customized and individualized structure to increase the odds of student success. She is looking forward to assisting students towards this success with iSchool Virtual Academy!

Bertha Galvan: Spanish, Grades 9-12

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Meet Bertha Galvan

Spanish, Grades 9-12

Mrs. Bertha Galvan joined iSchool Virtual Academy in 2016 to serve as a high school Spanish teacher. She is a native Spanish speaker and a passionate teacher of the Spanish language and its literature. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Texas A&M International University. She attended the University of Malaga in Spain as part of her educational program where she studied Modernist literature. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree in the same academic field. She is very excited to become a first year virtual teacher this year and share her knowledge and experience with her students.

After student teaching Spanish I through IV, and AP at high school level, Mrs. Galvan decided to begin her professional career as a full time teacher. She believes that maintaining a positive communication among staff, students and families is the key to success in reaching the goal of helping each student to attain his or her full potential.

Mrs. Galvan is looking forward to applying her previous work and experience to meet the academic needs of the students at iSchool Virtual Academy, and she looks forward to implementing innovative learning strategies to prepare competitive individuals to face new challenges in a technology-driven twenty-first century economy.

Sarah Cruce: SPED

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Meet Sarah Cruce

Special Education teacher

Mrs. Sarah Cruce joined ResponsiveEd this year as a Special Education teacher. She has been teaching and coaching basketball, track, soccer, and softball for the past 6 years in the public school setting. Mrs. Cruce has been married for 15 years and has two awesome kids, ages 10 and 7. She loves spending spare time with family and friends. Some of her favorite activities are camping, traveling, and riding her horse.

Over the years she has truly learned that education is a life-long endeavor. As an educator, she believes that she learns as much from her students as she can teach them. Mrs. Cruce is looking forward to helping young adults find their passion through their educational needs.