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Meet our Faculty at Sterling Academy

The faculty and staff at Sterling Academy are dedicated to ensuring our students' success.  

Teachers

Nicole Grant, Math teacher

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Nicole Grant has been teaching at Sterling Academy since the school opened in 2010. She 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.

 

Andre Lawe, Math and Science Teacher

Andre Lawe Sterling Academy Teacher

Dr. Andre Lawe has spent most of his life in New York City and he has been an educator for 22 years, serving as a middle and high school science teacher, math coach, and math department chair. Throughout his career, he has worked extensively on curriculum development and implementation. He loves seeing the students thrive and advance in their learning

He has earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Columbia University, Masters Degrees from Jones International University and St. John’s University, and a Doctorate of Education degree from St. John’s University.

Dr. Lawe has taught online since 2008 in various capacities. He loves working with students and watching them embrace a growth mindset. He has taught a range of courses from Biology to Physics and a variety of levels up to Advanced Placement and several high school and college level math courses.

In his free time, he loves to travel as well as reading books. His favorite genre is futuristic fiction. On a warm day,  he enjoys spending time at the beach with friends and family members.

 

Lauren Oaks, Science teacher

Lauren Oaks PictureLauren Oaks graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and Master’s in Secondary Science Education. Mrs. Oaks taught high school Chemistry and Oceanography in Virginia for 6.5 years. After the arrival of her son, Mrs. Oaks decided to leave the traditional classroom setting and begin teaching online, in order to stay home with her son full time

In addition to sharing her love for science, Mrs. Oaks loves traveling with her family, taking pictures, and riding horses.

 

Karen Richard, Science teacher

Karen Richard Sterling Academy Teacher

Karen Richard has enjoyed teaching science for the past 35 years.  She has a teaching certificate with an endorsement specifically for teaching biology and an additional endorsement for teaching any type of science course.  Mrs. Richard earned a Bachelors of Science degree from Central Michigan University, with a major in Biology, and a Masters of Arts from Michigan State University in Secondary Education and Curriculum Development. 

Mrs. Richard has taught children in grades 7 - 12,  in both private and public school settings, in Colorado and in Michigan.  During her career she has developed curriculum, designed lessons/activities, and taught AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, biology, physics, forensics science, anatomy/physiology, physical science and other life science courses.  Mrs. Richard lives in a rural part of northern Michigan with her husband and enjoys outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, biking, and walking her two dogs. 

 

Liz Restivo, Language Arts teacher

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Liz Restivo has been teaching for over twenty-five years, both in the classroom and on the stage.

Dr. Restivo holds a BFA in Theatre, a Master of Arts in Teaching English, and a Ph.D in Educational Leadership. She is a Florida state certified teacher 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, Dr. Restivo is a private tutor, working with students on all the language arts sections of standardized tests, the writing process, and even theatre pieces for performing arts auditions. Dr. Restivo is also an accomplished drama and musical theatre director and has amassed a diverse (and fun!) acting resume. 

Dr. Restivo currently resides in her hometown of Boca Raton, Florida, where she plays softball, cooks (and eats) vegan meals, and sings showtunes. 

 

Beth Ho, Language Arts teacher

Beth Ho Photo-1Beth Ho has been working in the field of education for over two decades, teaching English (and occasionally Mathematics) and working as an editor for several educational publications and databases. She has taught all academic levels from remedial to Advanced Placement, in addition to tutoring in English, Math, and SAT/ACT Prep. Mrs. Ho holds Florida certification in English with an ESOL endorsement and currently also teaches high school English at a small private school in Boca Raton, Florida.
 
In addition to teaching, Mrs. Ho is a novelist (as yet unpublished, alas), avid cook and baker, extreme sci-fi/fantasy/theater/music/literature nerd, Disney enthusiast, film buff, and happy mom to three kids and a 35 lb chihuahua.
 

Christina Vigil, Language Arts teacher

Christina Vigil Sterling Academy ELA Teacher

Christina Vigil has worked in education for the past 17 years. She graduated from Colorado College with a B.A. in English, and from The University of New Mexico with an M.A. in Secondary Education. Mrs. Vigil has taught middle and high school English Language Arts, Yearbook, and Desktop publishing in both public school and charter school settings. As a distance education teacher, she is passionate about empowering her students to cultivate themselves as individuals and take ownership of their education. In addition to her love of teaching literature and language arts, Mrs. Vigil also enjoys traveling, reading, working toward her family’s goal of visiting all the National Parks, and learning about dinosaurs and Minecraft from her son. After living in Hawaii, Washington State, Colorado, and Texas, she currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband and two children.

 

Bob Strodtbeck, Social Studies teacher

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Mr. Strodtbeck has been teaching in Orange County, Florida since 2005, and at Sterling Academy since the school opened in 2010.  His service in Orange County schools 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.

 Mr. Strodtbeck carries a teaching certificate from the state of Florida in Social Studies, Art, and English, which includes endorsements in Reading and ESOL.  He has been married to his wife since 1984.

 

Christopher Swanson, Social Studies teacher  

Christopher Swanson Sterling Academy TeacherChristopher Swanson has been teaching since 2001. In that time, he has taught every grade from middle school up through undergraduate courses in college. He has taught mostly in and around Detroit, in high schools and multiple colleges since 2008. He has worked primarily online teaching since 2016. His BA in Secondary Education is from University of Detroit Mercy, and his MA in History is from Wayne State University.  He lives with his wife and two children in Midtown and enjoys dancing, football and tailgating, traveling, and anything historical.

 

Bob Lauster, PE & Health teacher

Bob Lauster Sterling Academy PE Teacher

Bob Lauster graduated from Indiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in Education and holds certifications in Health and Physical Education. Mr. Lauster also holds a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from Indiana University Southeast.  Mr. Lauster has 33 years experience in traditional schools teaching a variety of courses.  Also, Mr. Lauster has over 5 years of experience teaching in virtual school settings.    

Mr. Lauster has coached basketball for 33 years and served as a head coach at the high school level for 23 years and at the college level for 1 year.  Also, Mr. Lauster has coached football, soccer, golf, and baseball, and has served as a school Athletic Director for 5 years.  

Mr. Lauster presently resides in St Petersburg, Florida with his wife and has 3 adult children.  For fun he enjoys playing softball, basketball and attending sporting events and concerts.  

 

Cary Fabacher, Health Science & Medical Careers teacher

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Dr. Fabacher comes from the medical field with over 20+ years of Clinical experience. He completed his undergraduate studies at McNeese State University in Louisiana. He then moved to Texas where he graduated from Parker University where he received his Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine degree. He then later obtained his master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Health Care Management. He has taught school for over 5 years in both an on-campus & online model. Dr. Fabacher holds certifications in both ECG as well as Patient care.

When not working Dr. Fabacher enjoys spending time with his wife, and outdoor activities. He has two grown daughters -- one of which has recently graduated college and one grown son who is currently in college.


Richard Vital, Business teacher

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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 7 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.

 

Melody Brewer, Technology teacher

Melody Brewer Sterling Academy Teacher

Melody Brewer has been a teacher for 32 years. She has taught at the elementary, middle school and high school levels. Mrs. Brewer has her Bachelor degree in Music Education and a Master’s degree in Computers in Education. Mrs. Brewer has coached multiple sports along with advising FBLA, First Robotics and the Yearbook Club. She has a family with two teens who are very active and are involved in robotics and competitive swimming. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, music, theater, and photography.

 

Kim Harris, Art teacher

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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.

 

Yueming Guo, Chinese teacher

Yueming Guo Sterling Academy Teacher

Yueming/Sophie Guo is a native Chinese/Mandarin speaker. She gained her master’s degree from the University of Delaware for Teaching English as a Second Language. She is certified in teaching Chinese/Mandarin and ESL (English as a Second Language) in Virginia, Maryland, and Illinois. She has been teaching Chinese, Japanese and ESL for many years with different school districts and colleges, such as Cecil college, Chicago public schools, Appoquinimink school district, Reid Temple Christian Academy, and other schools. She loves her students. She is good at singing and dancing. She would like to try her best to help her students to improve their Chinese.

 

Sara Wietbrock, Latin teacher

Sara Wietbrock Sterling Academy TeacherSara Wietbrock graduated from Depauw University with a dual major in Classical Civilizations and English Literature in 2004.  During her time at DePauw, she also spent summers excavating and sketching sarcophagi on an archaeological project in Turkey.  After spending a 5th year as an Geographic Information Systems intern at DePauw, Ms. Wietbrock decided to continue her education and went on to earn a Masters in the Art of Teaching from Washington University in St. Louis.  She spent the next six years teaching at a public school in St. Louis before relocating to her home state of Indiana.  From 2012-2021, Ms. Wietbrock taught a fabulous group of students who won the Indiana Junior Classical League State Convention trophy every year and also performed highly on a national level. Due to a recent autonomic condition, Ms. Wietbrock has now exchanged her brick-and-mortar classroom for a virtual one in her home office. She currently lives with her husband and identical twin daughters in rural Indiana where they are pursuing a sustainable lifestyle

 

Christine Schneider, German  and Music Appreciation teacher

Chrstine Schneider SAwebpic.jpgChristine Schneider is a native German speaker.  She has taught German at a private high school in Austin, Texas, and tutors.  Mrs. Schneider 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.  

 

Evangeline Prosper, French teacher 

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Evangéline Prosper, is a native French speaker, grew up in Montréal, Québec. She has lived in 6 different states, and currently resides in Benton Harbor, Michigan.  She has been teaching for over 20 years in public schools K-12, virtual school, and community college. She has a passion for teaching all ages.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in French and 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. She is certified in Youth Mental Health. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, crocheting, writing poems, traveling, sewing and taking walks on the beach.

 

Ligia Alves, Spanish teacher

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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.

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.

 

Principal

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J Lee Harshbarger, Principal

J Lee Harshbarger, principal of Sterling Academy since 2011, has a Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Azusa Pacific University in California and taught for 24 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 San Antonio, Texas.  He has lived in 6 different states, Japan and Taiwan, has worked in Beijing, and traveled to a number of other countries.