Faculty and Staff
who we are
Teachers at Academe of the Oaks love to explore the deep, perplexing questions of their subjects, and each full-time member of the faculty has at least one advanced degree. Inspiring students also involves connecting academic work to the real world and the experiences of people living in the present. Just as importantly, each faculty member is passionate about teaching and is committed to the development of every student. Teachers are very involved in the events and the welfare of the school. Each faculty member also serves as a mentor on an individual basis to a group of students throughout their high school journey.
Teaching Position – Science 2022-2023
Academe of the Oaks seeks a full-time Biology/Earth Science and Math teacher for grades 9-12 for the 2022-2023 school year. We are a Waldorf high school located in Decatur, Georgia.
We require an advanced degree related to teaching Earth Science or Biology. The position includes teaching Algebra and Geometry. Candidates should have high school teaching experience and a genuine interest in deepening their knowledge and understanding of Waldorf high school education.
Ms. Korchevskaia moved to the U.S. from Saint Petersburg, Russia, where she had studied finance and worked for an international logistics company.
In her free time, Ms. Korchevskaia enjoys playing tennis with her husband, doing crafts with her daughter, and shopping on her own.
Ms. Korchevskaia teaches mathematics and physics at Academe of the Oaks.
Tara Wyman, Ph.D
Dr. Tara Buckley Wyman received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from California State University, Los Angeles, and her doctorate in Organic Chemistry from UCLA. As a post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Wyman studied gene therapy at the University of California, San Francisco, before accepting a position as professor of chemistry at De Anza College, Cupertino.
Dr. Wyman lives in Atlanta with her husband, Greg, and their twin boys. Dr. Wyman completed the Waldorf high school teacher training program in 2007. At Academe of the Oaks since 2004, she teaches chemistry, physics, mathematics, and quilting. Dr. Wyman is a member of Academe’s Leadership Group; she coordinates the Governor’s Honors program for the high school; and she contributes mightily to the drama department’s wardrobe of contemporary and period costumes.
Jessica Shartouny, Ph.D.
Jessica Shartouny, Ph.D., earned a B.S. in Chemistry from The University of Virginia’s College at Wise and a Ph.D. in Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis from Emory University. Her research has specialized in animal-derived antivirals, influenza infections, and, currently, viral immunology. She has taught biology and experimental techniques to undergraduate students and mentored several young researchers in the laboratory.
Outside of the lab, Jessica attends comic conventions in handmade costumes and plays cello in a community group. She has four cats, two frogs, and a dog. On the weekends, she volunteers as an educator for the Amphibian Foundation in Atlanta.
Jessica teaches cell biology, physiology, and zoology at Academe of the Oaks.
Petrus C. Martens, Ph.D.
Prof. Martens was born and grew up in The Netherlands. He obtained a PhD (Cum Laude) from Utrecht University in theoretical astrophysics in 1983, and shortly thereafter started a Postdoc position at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center near Washington DC. It had always been his dream to work in space exploration, and now that became reality. In 1987 he started as a research scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge MA, followed by a staff position in 1990 at the Lockheed-Martin Solar and Astrophysics Lab in Palo Alto, CA. As such he participated in the operations of the joint Japanese, US, and UK Yohkoh satellite studying the Sun, which were conducted from the Japanese space center in Sagamihara, near Tokyo, where Dr. Martens spent a year.
Dr. Martens has taught courses in astrophysics, both graduate and undergraduate, at Utrecht University, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Buenos Aires, Montana State University, Sera Buddhist Monastery near Mysore in India, and now at Georgia State University. He also serves regularly on panels and boards, and consults with NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the American Astronomical Society, and works closely with NASA on space hazard forecasting for the Artemis project.
Dr. Martens has been married for 35 years to his wonderful wife Kathleen who is a teacher, professor, and a therapist. Together they raised five children, and their youngest child, Ellie, graduated from the Academe of the Oaks in May 2022. They now have two grand children as well in the Atlanta area. Dr. Martens enjoys teaching “Introduction to Astronomy” to non-physics majors at GSU, and the course at Academe of the Oaks is a natural extension of that.
A word from our School Director:
“Our education is cutting edge, but rooted in sound academics and a classical approach.
Our core values are reflected in our daily work with the students. High school education is a journey, and the individual relationships formed between our students and faculty support the students on their way. Education at Academe is meaningful, relevant, authentic, inspiring, challenging and also fun. We strive for our students to become confident, well-rounded human beings who can think independently, care for others, and take initiative to make the world a better place.” – Eva Handschin
English, History, Music
Alex Lotito, a native Atlantan, was graduated from Emory University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy; he subsequently earned his master’s degree in Curriculum Instruction and Design. Mr. Lotito has taught at Vashon High School in St. Louis (under the auspices of Teach for America) and at Lakeside High School (his alma mater) in Atlanta.
In 2016, Mr. Lotito was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship; as a Fulbright Scholar, he taught English in Trapani, a small town on the western shore of Sicily. In his free time, Mr. Lotito enjoys playing the guitar and traveling. He teaches English, History, and Guitar at Academe.
Thomas Glenn Pelham
TG Pelham received his B.A. in philosophy and history from Goucher College in Baltimore, MD, and his M.A. in rhetoric from Georgia State University. Mr. Pelham has taught in both public and private schools since 1995, specializing in literature and history, debate, and outdoor experiential education.
Mr. Pelham has coached both college and high-school debate teams for national competition. As a faculty member of Emory University’s National Debate Project, he helped establish urban debate programs for underfunded public schools. An outdoor enthusiast, Mr. Pelham has also created several outdoor education programs. For 20 years he directed youth summer programs at Turtle Island, a camp run by Eustace Conway and featured on the History Channel. Mr. Pelham teaches outdoor skills such as South Eastern American Indian technologies, backcountry and primitive camping, white-water canoeing, and rock climbing.
He lives in Decatur, GA, with his partner, Lesli, their two sons, and Sydney, their convenient travel-sized Mini Aussie.
Dr. Ilise Cohen
Ilise Benshushan Cohen, Ph.D., received an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, and a doctorate from California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. Dr. Cohen is a scholar-activist on Israel/Palestine, specifically focused on Mizrahi Jews (from the Middle East and North Africa). She taught Jewish studies at Agnes Scott College, global issues of justice at Mercer University, international policy and perspectives, and socio-cultural concepts at Smith College’s School for Social Work, globalization, and social movements at California State University, Monterey Bay. She is active on Middle East, human rights, peace-building, and education and has led many delegations to the Middle East. She is committed to critical thinking, organizing, and educating for justice in the Middle East and to anti-racist activism and organizing locally.
Dr. Cohen is co-founder and co-coordinator of the Jews of Color, Sephardi and Mizrahi Caucus, co-founder and co-leader of Jewish Voice for Peace, Atlanta chapter, steering member of SEDQ: Global Jewish Network for Justice and a member of the newly formed International Jewish Collective for Justice in Palestine. She was co-vice chair of the national council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), former chair of Interfaith Peace-Builders (Eyewitness Palestine), and member of FOR’s Latin American Task Force Colombia program committee among other commitments.
Dr. Cohen also teaches Hebrew and mentors young Jews and allies. For the last few years, she has been teaching Middle East history and current events at Academe of the Oaks.
Fine & Practical Arts
Corrina Sephora Mensoff began her life-long interest in metalworking at the age of five in her father’s workshop. After receiving her BFA in Sculpture and Metalsmithing from the Massachusetts College of Art (Boston) in 1995, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she created a self-guided journeyman’s apprenticeship. Two years later, she established Phoenix Metalworks, specializing in sculpture, furniture, and architectural works.
In 2005, Ms. Mensoff received her MFA in Sculpture from Georgia State University. Her metalworking awards include “Best in Show” from Annette Cone Skelton of MOCA, Silver Award from Icarus International, and a Silver Sculpture Award from NOMMA, among others. Her metalwork is on permanent display in Atlanta at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Temple Sinai, the Martin Luther King Natatorium, and in many private collections nationally. She continues to exhibit in museums, galleries, and public art venues.
Ms. Mensoff teaches blacksmithing to the ninth grade at Academe of the Oaks.
Fine & Practical Arts
Tricia Patterson is a visual artist and art teacher. Her studio work utilizes watercolor and screen-printing to reconstruct childhood memories. She works from a collection of personal and found materials to build futuristic yet nostalgic moments through formal portraiture.
Patterson received her BFA from Georgia State University and MFA from The San Francisco Art Institute. She has exhibited nationally and was awarded the 2012 Forward Arts Foundation/Swan Coach House Emerging Artist Grant. Her passion has been to share her knowledge of various disciplines including drawing, painting, and printmaking to help students develop their skills and push themselves as creators. She has previously taught visual arts at The San Francisco Art Institute, Georgia State University, Woodward Academy, and The Globe Academy, working with students of all ages and across a wide range of classes, both 2 and 3 dimensional.
She is also the mother of two little boys, two cats, and an Australian Shepard. In her free time, she loves running and working in her garden.
Andreina Salas graduated from Georgia Southern University with a BA in Modern Languages (French and Spanish) and an MA in Spanish Literature and Language. Mrs. Salas is a native of Venezuela; she has lived in the United States since 1999.
Mrs. Salas teaches all levels of Spanish at Academe and has also taught various electives such as mythology, podcasting, and swimming. She enjoys sharing her passion for exploring all cultures with her students and has acted as the sponsor for Academe’s International Club. In addition to her teaching experience, Mrs. Salas has experience as a translator and interpreter for the state of Georgia, teaching English to adult immigrants, and has coached swim teams throughout the state. Mrs. Salas lives in Marietta with her husband, Emery, and their two children, Isla and Ander.
“Academe students are eager to learn—and they do learn—in an environment with heavy emphasis on developing the capacity for rational thinking. The administration solicits my input on the curriculum, values my judgment, and allows me to teach.”
– George Batten, PhD
Robert Glor, Ph.D
A native of Missouri, Robert Glor received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Missouri State University. While in St. Louis, he developed the choral program at St. Louis Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), taught public school, and completed a master’s degree in voice performance from Webster University. In 2007, he received his doctorate in music education from Shenandoah University (Winchester, Virginia).
Dr. Glor is the founding artistic director of OurSong, the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chorus, now completing its fourteenth season; he was formerly artistic director of the Atlanta Feminist Women’s chorus. He has been coordinator of K–12 choral music for the DeKalb County School District, and choral director (and chairman of the department of fine arts) at Chamblee High School. Dr. Glor’s choral groups have consistently received Superior ratings at choral festivals.
Involved with choral music performance and conducting for more than thirty-five years, Dr. Glor directs the choir and the select Academe Singers choral ensemble at Academe of the Oaks.
Marshall “Mac” Isseks is a musician and educator originally from Liberty, New York. He earned a BA in philosophy from Emory University and an MM in jazz studies from Georgia State University. He has studied and performed with many of Atlanta’s great jazz community members including: Gary Motley, Kevin Bales, Louis Heriveaux, Mace Hibbard, EJ Hughes, Audrey Shakir and Kermit Walker. Mr. Isseks’s undergraduate work in philosophy focused on French existentialism and jazz improvisation, both of which have remained lifelong passions. He performs regularly in Atlanta’s fertile music scene. Mr. Isseks teaches the Jazz Ensemble at Academe of the Oaks.
Steve Rucker (Professor of Music, University of Miami), and completed the Certificate Program at Drummers Collective, New York City. He has more than eight years’ experience as a private drum instructor, and ten years’ experience as a touring and recording drummer for a number of major-label acts.
Mr. Strauss teaches disparate styles and skill levels using a practical and musical approach to drumming. The curriculum he has developed for the high school includes rhythms in various styles, timing, dynamics, reading standard notation, rudiments and more advanced techniques of drumming, and independence. He emphasizes musicality, feel, development of creative abilities and listening analysis.
Mr. Strauss teaches drumming at Academe of the Oaks.
Komari Simmons & Tyree Weston
Mr. Komari Simmons and Tyree Weston from Code Hodlers are co-teaching the Computer Science and Game Design Class at Academe of the Oaks.
Code Hodlers offers a unique platform where young minds can unleash their creativity and build their own video games while mastering the art of coding. Mr. Simmons has a degree from Florida A&M University in public relations and Mr. Weston from Kennesaw State University in game design.
In conclusion, Code Hodlers offers an immersive and fun-filled coding experience that goes beyond traditional education. Through their dynamic curriculum and hands-on learning, students gain a powerful skill set that opens doors to future success in the job market and academic endeavors. With Code Hodlers, young learners become the architects of their own innovation, shaping a world where their coding prowess knows no bounds.
Kelsy Stone received her undergraduate degree in Political Science, Global Studies, World Religions and German from Ripon College. Her graduate studies include Economics and Architecture as well as masters work in Art Education. After teaching at the high school level she went on to work in early childhood education and later as a specialty subject teacher at a Waldorf School. Mrs. Stone studied Waldorf Education at Rudolf Steiner College, before accepting a position as a class teacher in Hawaii.
From her earliest years Mrs. Stone has been a dancer. She grew up with Eastern European folk dances and later ballet. She is a world-wide known professional partner dancer specializing in Blues and Swing dances. For the last couple of years, she has been at Eurythmy Spring Valley pursuing her love of movement.
Mrs. Stone lives in Atlanta with her husband, Damon, their son, Xavier, and their 3 pets. Joining Academe in 2023, Mrs. Stone teaches Eurythmy. Off the dance floor she can be found playing a board game, creating fiber arts or having fun in her biodynamic garden.
Michael Zimmerman earned a B.S. and M.S. in Exercise Physiology at the University of Wisconsin where he competed in track and field winning the title of Junior Olympic Champion in the 110 meter hurdles his freshman year. His talent in sports continued to excel as he began to develop an interest in football. After graduation, he was offered an opportunity with the NFL to play for the Greenbay Packers as an undrafted free agent for 3 seasons when coaches observed him run a 4-2-40. He later went on to become a NASM Certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Mr. Zimmerman is very passionate about being a role model while helping today’s youth explore their interest in sports as well as finding healthy positive outlets for their time and skills by supporting their individuality.
Son of University of Iowa captain and point guard Joel Novak, Josh grew up with basketball in his blood. While he was a multi-sport athlete (baseball, football, tennis, swimming, soccer, ultimate frisbee) his first love has always been basketball. His coaching beliefs are rooted in fundamentals, communication, and commitment to teamwork. He has spent the last 17 years as a camera man for tv/film in Los Angeles and made his pilgrimage to Atlanta in 2022. Along with basketball he’s passionate about film, music, and animals, especially his dogs.
Christie Wilson’s love for volleyball began while growing up in Southern California. She played for Western County Volleyball Club during its inaugural years in Riverside, California. She then finished her senior year playing for Power/Mizuno Club in Long Beach, CA. She was the Pepsi Female Athlete of the Year and MVP of the Ivy League during her senior year at Riverside Poly High School.
Christie Wilson went on to play collegiately at the University of Rhode Island, where she finished her career ranked 4th in the nation in kills per game, played on the Atlantic 10 Conference & Championship Team, named A-10 player of the week, was selected to the AVCA District 1 First Team, the URI Female Athlete of the Year, and the NCAA Rhode Island Female Athlete of the Year Nominee. Christie Wilson also trained with the US National Women’s Volleyball Team and played overseas before completing her Masters in Kinesiology at Louisiana State University. She also earned her Masters Degree in Health Administration from the University of Phoenix.
Christie Wilson is nationally certified as an Athletic Trainer and often covers sporting events as a first responder. She is the Physician Extender to Dr. Jeff Traub at Atlanta Bone and Joint where she assists in clinic and in surgery.
Christie Wilson is the owner of Ichiban Volleyball Club which is now entering into its 13th year of operation. In 2020, in the midst of COVID, she opened 2 sand volleyball courts called One Beach where various leagues are played. Her latest venture has been opening a 2 court training facility ITP Sports. ITP Sports will allow local players an opportunity to grow their game closer to home. It will also host cornhole and pickleball events for all ages. For the love of the game, Christie Wilson has coached at Henderson Middle School for 7 years and is excited to work with the ladies of Academe of the Oaks.
School Counselor and Learning Strategist
Sumar Deen received her B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Spanish from University of Georgia. She went on to obtain a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Georgia State University. She is currently in the process of obtaining her Associate Professional Counseling License (A.P.C.), and will be pursuing licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (L.P.C.) through postgraduate counseling supervision. Sumar Deen was born in Nairobi, Kenya, moving to Decatur when she was five years old to start kindergarten. As part of her training to become a mental health counselor, Sumar returned to her alma mater to complete a year-long internship at the Decatur High School Student Center. In her work there, she discovered her passion for counseling with teens by providing individual counseling to students, conducting group counseling sessions for students and parents, and providing psychoeducation in classroom and small-group settings.
Originally from Maryland, and a graduate of East Carolina University with a BSBA in Accounting, Janice began her career in Washington, DC with BDO Seidman. Her career path led her to David C. Cooper & Associates, focusing on matching skills and personalities with a client’s hiring needs. Janice’s success at finding the “right fit” and her passion for helping people find their perfect career track is what led her into educational consulting. Her wide view of career possibilities has proven to be a valuable asset to students and parents as they identify college options. Janice is a CPA and is currently completing her practicum for Certification in College Counseling through UCLA and maintains a private college consulting practice in East Cobb.
As College Counselor at the Academe, Janice begins working with students in their Junior year and assists them through the application and decision process Senior year. Students are provided with necessary tools for college research as well as one-on-one meetings to address concerns unique to each student. Each student is on a different journey, and Janice is available to help our families navigate the college application process.
Master Beekeeper Keif Schleifer teaches our students the process of beekeeping and that they take the lead on this ‘art’. Keif has served as president of the Tara Beekeepers Association.
Assistant to the Director
Jenn was born in Mauritius and spent her childhood growing up in Southern Africa, specifically Malawi and South Africa. She graduated from the University of Natal, Durban (South Africa) with a BA in French and Spanish literature, and is fluent in French and proficient in Spanish. After college she moved to the US to get to know her mother’s birth country and family. She has worked in various industries in Marketing and administrative support roles. Outside of work, Jenn enjoys gardening, hiking with her beloved dogs, cooking and teaching yoga and meditation. She lives in Decatur with her husband and teenage son.
Director of Marketing
Atlanta native, Christina Edwards, received her B.A. from Georgia State University after studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Ms. Edwards brings over 15 years of experience in digital marketing, public relations, and communications, and began working with Academe in 2016. Ms. Edwards resides in intown Atlanta with her husband, son, and daughter, and enjoys hopping on the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail on the weekends.
Ms. Betsy Oliver has nearly 20 years of professional fundraising experience. She specializes in helping fundraising clients manage staff shortages and organizational changes by providing strategic and task-related counsel. In her free time Betsy likes to read, run, try new restaurants, and travel. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children. Ms. Oliver has worked for Community Farmers Markets, Global Growers Network, HOPE Atlanta, The Wren’s Nest, Black Ice Film, and many others. She holds and Bachelor of Arts and is a certified fundraising executive. She will focus on fundraising for Academe.
Educated as a chemist, Corbin’s graduate research focused on the biomedical applications of various nanotechnologies. After graduate school, Corbin was the third hire at a start-up company that was awarded a $15 million USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Grant focused on climate-smart hemp cultivation. Corbin has two dogs, one of which is still a puppy. In her free time, Corbin enjoys any sort of outdoor activity. Ms. Farr holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Master of Arts in Chemistry. She will perform grant writing for our school.
Want to learn more about our rolling admissions process and take the next step to learn if Academe of the Oaks is right for your child?
146 New Street
Decatur, Georgia 30030