Nicole Grant, Math teacher
Nicole Grant graduated from the University of South Florida in 1997 with a B.S. in Special Education. She has certifications in Mathematics (6-12), Specific Learning Disabilities (K-12), and Elementary Education (1-6). Since graduating from USF, Mrs. Grant has taught in a variety of environments including parochial school, public school, private tutoring, and virtual school. She has a passion for teaching, especially in the virtual setting where instruction can be customized to accommodate students with different learning styles, backgrounds and goals. Mrs. Grant has two children and resides in Orlando, Florida. When not teaching, she enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with family.
Samantha Green, Science and Language Arts teacher
Mrs. Green has been an educator for over six years. Her teaching certifications are in Science and Language Arts for grades 6-12, and she has taught in both subject areas. She earned her Bachelor degree from University of Miami, her Masters in Educational Leadership from Concordia University and her Reading Specialist degree from Nova Southeastern (anticipated 2016).
Her love for education is only surpassed by her love for her son, an avid athlete and gamer, and her husband who she travels the world with. Mrs. Green takes pride in her work and strives to make her students successful in her classes and beyond.
Bob Strodtbeck, Social Studies teacher
Mr. Strodtbeck has been teaching in Orange County, Florida since 2005. That service has been split between five traditional schools and work in a charter school since 2012. The charter school operates much like Sterling Academy, in that all of the classes are provided for the students through a computer program. Along with this experience, Mr. Strodtbeck also brings his personal experience as a homeschooling father of his daughter and son, who were born in 1988 and 1990 respectively.
Strodtbeck carries a teaching certificate from the state of Florida in English and Social Studies which includes endorsements in Reading and ESOL. He has been married to his wife since 1984.
Andrew Winegarden, PE & Health and Social Studies teacher
Andrew Winegarden graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Education and holds certifications in Health, Physical Education, and Social Sciences. Since then, Mr. Winegarden has been a teacher for 18 years at the middle school and high school level, teaching a variety of courses, in traditional and virtual school settings. Mr. Winegarden is currently working towards his Master’s/ Specialist degree in Online Learning and Technology at Arizona State University.
He has also had the pleasure of coaching football, soccer, golf, and baseball, and has served as a school Athletic Director for 3 years.
Mr. Winegarden currently resides in beautiful Saint Augustine, Florida with his wife and 14-year-old daughter. For fun he enjoys playing golf, cooking, traveling, and spending time with his family.
Liz Restivo, Language Arts teacher
Liz Restivo has been teaching for nearly twenty-five years, both in the classroom and on the stage. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Ms. Restivo holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre, a Master of Arts in Teaching English, and is Florida state certified in English (6-12), Drama (6-12), and Exceptional Student Education (K-12).
In addition to her high school experience as an English Department Chairperson and teacher, Ms. Restivo is an experienced tutor, working with students on all the language arts sections of standardized tests, the writing process, and even audition pieces for performing arts auditions. Ms. Restivo is also an accomplished drama and musical theatre director, having directed over thirty-five full-length productions, and has amassed an diverse theatrical acting resume, mostly forged prior to her teaching days.
Ms. Restivo currently resides in her hometown of Boca Raton, Florida, where she plays softball, cooks (and eats) vegan meals, and sings showtunes.
Thomas Pappas, Language Arts teacher
Thomas Pappas teaches 11th grade English at Sterling Academy. Dr. Pappas serves as a Professor at the University of the West and has been involved in higher education and secondary education much of his academic and professional life.
Dr. Pappas served as a Teacher and Academic Advisor at the Detroit Country Day School, a private high school in Birmingham, Michigan for three years early in his career while completing his Master's Degree at Wayne State University. His graduate and undergraduate degrees were in English, History, and related studies including Art History with concentrations in the Art of the Italian Renaissance. He completed the Ph.D. at Michigan State University with the doctoral concentration in Art and History. He served as a Debate Coach at Wayne State University and has taught during both his Master's Degree and Doctoral Degree.
For the first fifteen years of his academic career, Dr. Pappas served as Professor of History and English at Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana. He was Director of International Studies and Professor of History and English. He took several Summer Studies Seminars to Europe, the USSR, and Japan as Director of International Studies. In 1976 he was chosen to be Dean of Academic Affairs and Faculty at Warner Pacific College, Portland, Oregon. In 1981 he was named Dean of International Programs and Professor at Concordia University, Portland. From that position he was named as Professor and Dean at Pacific Christian College (subsequently a school that was renamed Hope International University). He continued in that position and became an online Professor at the Phoenix University. He became and continues to serve as an online professor also at the University of the West and the Art Institute of Portland.
Richard Vital, Business teacher
Mr. Vital holds a B.S. in Accounting from California State University of Los Angeles and a M.B.A in Management from Aspen University. He has been an educator for over 5 years with experience teaching on campus and online. Over the years of his teaching experience, he has taught courses in the Accounting, Business, Computers and Tax fields. He enjoys teaching and sharing his knowledge of business to help his students expand their interest in the field of business.
When Mr. Vital is not working, he enjoys staying active by exercising, biking, beach going, traveling and watching sports.
Cory Maddox, Technology teacher
Cory Maddox holds degrees from Georgia Southern University (BS in Political Science; MBA) and Liberty University (Ed.S.). He has teaching certifications in Economics (6-12), History (6-12), Political Science (6-12), Business Education (6-12) and Marketing Education (6-12). Mr. Maddox has taught in a variety of environments including public school, technical colleges, and virtual schools, including experience teaching computer and digital arts courses. He has a passion for teaching and the role that it plays in helping guide students toward their eventual vocation in life. He believes the virtual setting is optimal for this type of teaching because instruction can be customized to meet students “where they are.” Mr. Maddox has two children and resides in Georgia. When not teaching, he enjoys watching sports with friends, golf, travel, and spending time with family.
Kim Harris, Art teacher
Kim D. Harris received her B.A. from Florida Atlantic University in Sociology, her M.Ed. in Guidance Counseling, Ed.S. in Curriculum Instruction, and a Doctorate in Higher Education from Union Institute & University. Prior to coming to Sterling Academy, she was a guidance counselor and classroom teacher for Broward County School Board located in South Florida. Dr. Harris recently designed the cover for Dr. Paul C. Gorski’s book entitled, “Voices for diversity and social justice: A literary education anthology." In her free time she facilitates Kemetic yoga classes, writes poetry, paints pictures, and loves to cook vegetarian food for her family.
Wenfeng Su, Chinese teacher
Ms. Su studied at Xiangtan University in Hunan province as an English Literature and Linguistics major. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1989, she worked as a Chinese-English interpreter and later on as an English teacher in a community college in Beijing, the capital city of China. In 1999, she came to Florida Atlantic University as a graduate student studying Communication. Two years later, she switched Computer Science, from which she got a master’s degree.
Ms. Su has been working here in Florida as a teacher for 11 years teaching in math, special education, and Chinese classes for grades K -12. During summer time, she taught origami in the summer camp at Palm Beach State College. She strongly believes that everyone can learn, and bilingual skills can sharpen your competitive edge in the 21st century global market.
Claudia Heilman, Latin teacher
Salvete to all current and future Latin scholars! My name is Claudia Heilman and I have been teaching Latin for my entire teaching career. I knew in junior high that Latin and the Classics were for me. I graduated from Muskingum College with a teaching certification in Latin and History for grades 7-12. I have taught in both public and private schools in the state of Ohio. I went to school in Greece and lived in Switzerland during my early years of teaching.
I also have taught a course in SAT Prep and Mythology and also been a mentor teacher to teaching teams at the junior high and senior high levels. My most current experience was with the Cambridge method from Oxford England where many classes and independent learning were done online. I have created my own web site for Latin and embrace technology! In the summers I am leading groups to Italy with other Latin teachers from all over the USA. We spend our time focusing on the ancient cities of Rome, Herculaneum, Pompeii, and the island of Capri.
During a break in my career I worked as the HR Director for International Management Group known as IMG. Headquarters was/is in Cleveland, Ohio. Here I worked with the legal department on the best training and hiring practices. I learned a lot and traveled to many IMG offices in the USA. Working with the agents for some of the world's best athletes was both exciting and stressful!
Hobbies include: travel, cooking, Zumba and yoga.
Christine Schneider, German Teacher
Christine Schneider is a native German speaker. She has taught German at a private high school in Austin, Texas, and tutors. Christine has a Bachelor's Degree in Music from the Boston Conservatory and a Certificate in Russian Church Music & Conducting from the Russian Orthodox Monastery in Jordanville, NY. Besides German language & culture and music, her passions include Interior Decorating, in which she holds a Certificate, and living with her family in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.
Ligia Alves, Spanish teacher
Ligia Alves is a native Spanish speaker with extensive experience teaching in the classroom. She graduated from the City University of New York, Queens College, with a B.A. in Psychology and continued to earn a Master of Arts degree in Education from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. She is certified to teach K-12 Spanish in New Jersey and in Florida.
Before going into teaching, Ms. Alves worked as a Staff Manager for AT&T. After leaving the corporate world to take care of her children, she followed her passion for teaching as a substitute teacher, and then went on to become the official Spanish teacher for The Washington Township Board of Education in New Jersey for ten years. She was instrumental in the development of the Spanish Curriculum.
Ms. Alves moved to Central Florida with her husband of 29 years in 2008. She enjoys exercising, quilting and oil painting. They have four children and three grandchildren.
Evangeline Prosper, French teacher
Evangeline Prosper, a native French speaker, grew up in Montreal, Canada. She has lived in 4 different states, and currently resides in Benton Harbor, Michigan. She has been teaching for 16 years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in French, Bachelor of Science in Family Studies, and Master's degree in Secondary Education with a French emphasis from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and earned a Master of Special Education degree (Cognitive Impaired and Learning Disability) from Indiana University in South Bend, Indiana.
J Lee Harshbarger, Principal
J Lee Harshbarger, the principal of Sterling Academy, has a Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Azusa Pacific University in California and has been teaching for 18 years. Previously, he worked as a site coordinator for a language school, in charge of teachers, curriculum, students, and business aspects of the school. He has also served as a team leader among teachers in a university's language program.
In addition, he has a B.A. from Anderson University in Indiana, with a Marketing major, a Broadcasting minor, and an emphasis in Music. He has more than 15 years of corporate business experience in fields including retail, insurance, and entertainment. He lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He has lived in 5 different states, Japan and Taiwan, has worked in Beijing, and traveled to a number of other countries.