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.
Collin 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.
Galadriel 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.
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 finishing his Bachelor’s of Science in International Political Economy at the University of Texas at Dallas and is teaching full-time at Gray Matter. He is a Prometheus alumni and began TA’ing there in 2016. He began teaching at Gray Matter in 2018 with middle school science classes and high school speech and debate. In his free time he enjoys volunteer work, learning new skills at the Dallas Makerspace, and performing home maintenance.
Ian teaches: MS Life Science, MS Earth Science, HS Speech and Debate, and HS Government.
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.
Mrs. Poe teaches the following middle school courses: Writer’s Workshop, Middle School English, Public Speaking, Middle School World Geography, and Middle School Spanish.
Mrs. Poe 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 Texas History.
Laura Woolley 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. 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.
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
New teachers for 2019-2020:
(alphabetical by first name)
Anne Roberts studied Spanish and English Literature as an undergraduate at Scripps College and earned a Master’s Degree in Spanish and a Doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Davis. Anne taught in the great books program at UCD where she won an “Outstanding Teaching Award” before she left to homeschool her own children. After teaching at homeschooling co-ops in the Northeast, Anne is delighted to be able to discuss History and Literature with the students at Gray Matter!
Anne teaches: World History and World Literature for High School and Middle School, and Advanced Composition for High Schoolers.
Ariel Higginbotham is a homeschooling mom of two years who has had a passion for American Sign Language since she started learning it at the age of 6. She even studied Sign Language in college taking 4 American Sign Language classes and 2 signed English classes. She has enjoyed teaching children sign language for the last 8 years. When Ariel isn’t spending time with her family, she is reading, volunteering, or exploring the city.
Ms. Ariel will teach: American Sign Language
Dr. Jonathan Hochberg has committed his entire career towards his passions for business and education. He has taught Entrepreneurship, Global Business and Leadership at the middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr.J. has a Doctorate degree in Education, an MBA degree in Global Business, and was a Mid-Career fellow at Princeton University. His career includes: Serving as a senior investment officer at the Overseas Private Investment Corp., starting several for- and non-profit businesses, serving as the Associate Director of the EMBA and MBA programs at the University of Texas @ Dallas, leading as the first Middle School teacher at the Robert Muller Center for Living Ethics, teaching Passionate Entrepreneurship and Global Business at the former Prometheus Academy, and currently teaches online MBA courses on Global Business at Walden and Iowa Universities.
Dr. J will teach: Passionate Entrepreneurship & Global Business Foundations
Josefhine Olsson Forsstrom is an art teacher who started her career in Sweden, where she’s from. Ever since being a little kid, she has been an artist, knowing early on that she wanted to teach and spread the magic of art! She earned her Masters of science in art education at Konstfack University College of Art, craft and design in Stockholm, Sweden. Since moving to Dallas she has taught yoga and art to kids and adults and is now excited to share her passion of art with the students of Gray Matter! Josefhine believes in being a lifelong student and is currently immersed in pottery and the fine art of tattooing! In her free time she likes to read, exercise, hang out with her furry family and make art of course!
Ms. Josephine will teach: Multimedia Art (where students can explore different artistic expressions) and Drawing & Painting (a class more focused on drawing and painting techniques)
Katy Gordon earned her B.S. from Texas A&M University in Atmospheric Sciences/Meteorology and went on to complete her M.S. in Environmental Science at UTA. She has been teaching high school level Math and Science for 12 years, and specializes in working with students who have learning differences. She has received multiple teaching awards and loves to teach in a diverse classroom of learners. Her teaching methods focus on student discovery through labs and other investigations. In her free time, Katy loves to volunteer with a local animal rescue and work in her garden.
Ms. Gordon will be teaching Integrated Physics and Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, and Honors Physics.
Mohamed Ibrahim earned his Master’s degrees in Microbiology at Cairo University in Giza, Egypt, and my Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the college of Agriculture, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY. After receiving his Ph.D., he went back to Egypt and worked as a director for the Microbial Molecular Biotechnology laboratory at the Agriculture Genetic Engineering Research Institute in Egypt. During that time, his major research interest was the biological control of insect pests and fungal disease using several molecular biology and genetic engineering approaches. He also taught microbial biotechnology at Cairo University. Few years later, he moved back to the U.S. where he worked as a Research Scientist at University of Texas, Dallas, where his major research interest was protein engineering of bacterial toxins and studying toxin-receptor interaction and signal transduction pathways. Then he worked as a Senior Research Scientist for two biotechnology companies. He worked first for Biological Targets Inc. (2005- 2009) and then join Custom Gene LLC., (2009- 2016) before moving to Collin College and Richland College, where he’s currently teaching Biology and Microbiology, respectively.
Dr. Ibrahim will teach: Advanced Biotechnology
Sheryl Carr completed both her B.S. and M.S. in Physiology and Developmental Biology at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. During her time at BYU, she worked as a Teacher’s Assistant for the Tissue Biology and Pathophysiology courses within her department and volunteered with Anatomy Academy to teach at local elementary schools. Sheryl moved to Dallas 2 years ago because her husband was starting medical school at UTSW and currently teaches at Richland College as a biology adjunct faculty. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, playing board games, and sewing bow ties for her adorable rescue dog Scotty.
Mrs. Sheryl will teach: Honors Biology and Anatomy & Physiology
Tammy Long will teach: Middle School and High School Math classes. (Her Bio is coming soon.)
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!