Gray Matter Teachers:
(alphabetical by first name)
Collin Eye is a graduate from the University of Texas with a B.A in English and a minor in Computer Science. He was homeschooled and has enjoyed giving back to the community through teaching programming, and various history, composition, and literature classes at the Prometheus Academy since 2016. He believes that learning to program can benefit everyone in pursuing their dreams; and that the arts can help shape and inspire those dreams.
He teaches: Advanced Composition, American History, Computer Programming, Online Computer Programming, and Ludology.
Courtney Edmonson earned her B.S. in Forensic Science from the University of Central Oklahoma, completing her Technical Investigations practicum with the Oklahoma City Police Department. While attending, she was a student research assistant involved with cloning C. elegans (nemotodes). She has been teaching middle school and high school science at The Prometheus Academy for seven years, specializing in gifted and academically advanced students. Her teaching methods focus on student-led discovery, high impact labs, and alternative assessments. Courtney comes from a family of public educators and has been homeschooling her three children since 2005, graduating two as homeschooled high schoolers. In her free time, she reads, practices aikido and tae kwon do, and tends to her at-home science experiments.
Courtney teaches: Advanced Biotechnology Year 1 and Biotech Research II, Honors Biology, Honors Chemistry, Honors Physics, and Integrated Physics and Chemistry.
Habib Saidane was born in Tunisia and has lived in the United States for almost 30 years; the past 17 in Texas, where he and his wife are raising three children. He graduated from Thomas Edison State University with a BS in Math and Science before pursuing his MS in Computer Science Cal State University at Long Beach. He worked for both defense and commercial industries as a Software Engineer. In his spare time Habib takes pictures and experiments with alternative photography. His future goal is to build a twenty-inch telescope from scratch.
Habib teaches: Middle School Math (Section 1, 2, and 3), Algebra 1, Geometry, and Alegebra 2 and Beyond.
Ian Seamans is currently working on his bachelor’s of science at the University of Texas at Dallas and a Prometheus alumni. He has previously taught summer classes at Prometheus, TA’d in Prometheus’s speech and debate classes and participated in regional and state speech and debate competitions throughout high school.
Ian has completed Prometheus’s biotechnology program and has taken multiple classes in earth sciences from UTD. Ian has always had a passion for conveying information and is currently expressing that through his work at UTD’s newspaper, The Mercury.
Ian teaches: Life Science, Earth Science, and High School Speech and Debate.
Julie Poe is a homeschool mom who has loved teaching at The Prometheus Academy for three years. She has also taught grammar, writing, reading, and listening and speaking classes in the English as a Second or Other Language program. She has been addicted to teaching since childhood, when she lined her dolls and stuffed animals up in front of a chalkboard and started conveying all the knowledge she had.
Julie teaches the following middle school courses: Writer’s Workshop, Middle School English, Public Speaking, Middle School World Geography, and Middle School Spanish.
Julie also teaches the following high school courses: High School English, High School Writing: The Basics, High School World Geography, Spanish 1, and Spanish 2.
Karen Minzer is a graduate of University of Texas at Dallas, School of Arts and Humanities and a Master of Fine Arts candidate at Naropa University. She is a published writer and Executive Director of the Dallas nonprofit literary organization, WordSpace. Ms. Minzer has taught as a Writer in the Schools, Adjunct Faculty at Brookhaven College and is a former Prometheus Academy instructor for Creative Writing and World History.
Karen teaches: Yoga & Creative Writing for both middle and high school, Texas History, and World History thru Art.
Laura studied Anthropology at Texas State University. While attending college, she worked as a teaching assistant for both Educational Psychology and General Studies. Before making the decision to homeschool her children, Laura was a teacher at Starbright Preschool in Austin for four years. Laura has homeschooled her three children for the past twenty years, each child from elementary through high school.
Her oldest child, Cameron, graduated Suma Cum Laude from SMU with both a Degree of Economics and a Degree of Philosophy after being awarded the highly-selective Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. He is now working toward his Masters of Education in higher education policy & leadership at SMU. Her second child, Renée, is a sophomore at the The University of Texas in Austin and is working toward a degree in Radio, Television and Film. Renée was a semi-finalist for the competitive Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship. Her third child, Emma, is a rising senior in high school. She is a very active volunteer for the S.P.C.A. in McKinney. For her senior year, Emma will be taking dual credit courses at Collin College.
Some of Laura’s homeschooling leadership roles include Secretary on the SAIL Board of Directors, Robotics Coach for the SAIL Robotics team, Girl Scout Leader, and teacher in her homeschool co-op for ten years. Additionally, she taught at The Prometheus Academy for five years. Her classes include Critical Thinking – Informal Logic, Introduction to Formal Logic, Middle School Engineering, LEGO Mechanisms and High School Robotics. Laura is passionate about providing children with wonderful opportunities to realize their full potential and has dedicated most of her adult life to this single focus.
Laura teaches: Middle School Engineering, Critical Thinking, Introduction to Formal Logic, Lego Mechanisms, and Robotics.
Galadriel Mandy Olson earned a B.A. in Education with enough credits for a minor in Art and History. She is certified in Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, Art (All levels) and ESL through the Texas State Board of Education. She has been teaching other people’s children for over a decade, and has been homeschooling her own children since 2010. In her free time, Galadriel reads, volunteers, takes care of her many pets and goes on adventures!
Galadriel teaches: Pop, Punk, Urban and Cool Contemporary Art! and both middle school and high school Multimedia Art.
Mary Arme has been teaching her entire adult life. She paid for her college at UTA by teaching technical and soft skills to adults and enjoyed it so much that she kept doing it after she completed her BS in Information Systems. Since joining the homeschool community in 2003, she has taught her own children as well as those of her friends and fellow homeschoolers in home classes, camps, co-ops, and workshops.
In 2006, Mary began working with Odyssey of the Mind, a competitive creative problem solving program. Since then, she has coached 1-2 teams per year and has had award-winning teams compete in every level of the competition. She firmly believes that the skills she has the opportunity to teach the kids in this program (creative problem solving, teamwork, and communication) are some of the most relevant skills she can help them gain. She is excited to be sharing her passion with the Gray Matter family!
Mary teaches: Creative Problem Solving
Valarie Atwood serves as Executive/Artistic Director for Arts & Minds and has been an educator for over 25 years. Her love for arts and education integration and the theatre inspired her to establish Arts & Minds. Previously, she founded Homeschoolers East Co-op where she fulfilled a variety of administrative roles on the Steering Committee for 10 years while teaching various subjects to a wide span of age groups. Before homeschooling, she developed the Virtue Of the Week (VOW) program and was a founding member of KIDPROV®, an arts-in-education improvisational comedy troupe, working with over 300,000 students and teachers throughout the U.S.
Valarie integrates her extensive knowledge and unique application of improv, creativity, problem solving and team building skills into each class she teaches. Some organizations she has worked with include Big Thought, The Stage Door, Destination Imagination, Odyssey of the Mind, Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented, Artsmart, the Dallas Theatre Center Teen/Children’s Theatre, Dallas Children’s Theatre, Brookhaven College, Northlake College, the YMCA and Girl’s Inc. Valarie attended Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts in St. Louis, MO where she majored in theatre arts and is a graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts of Houston, TX.
Valarie teaches: Improv and Drama
Gray Matter Staff
Urfa Quraishi graduated from Texas Woman’s University in 2017 where she majored in Education with a minor in Business. Urfa loves to work with students and has experience working as a substitute teacher for Richardson middle and high schools. She was born and raised in Texas and enjoys being outdoors, especially at the beach! When she is not busy working on her coupon ninja skills, she also loves to bake and learn new dishes to create for her family.
Jen Mrla-Gray is the owner and director of Gray Matter. She has her Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Texas, has been involved in several businesses since 2000, and has homeschooled her 2 kids since 2008. She has always looked for ways to outsource what she felt she could not teach (or did not want to), and happily enrolled her kids in The Prometheus Academy in 2015. When Prometheus decided to close its doors at the end of the 2017-2018 school year, she decided that this community resource was too important to shut down.
When Jen’s not knee deep in school administration, marketing, and planning, she enjoys learning about history and this amazing world through travel (and even the mysterious underwater world through scuba diving).
Jen is very excited about the opportunities that Dual Enrollment offers Texas homeschoolers!