Eastside Academic Studies


Grace has always loved history, even as a child! She earned her BA in History from Geneva College and has taught junior and senior high school in several Classical Christian schools in various states. In college as an undergrad and graduate she was a Teaching Assistant in the Humanities Department. During her years as a TA, she graded college essays, created exams, led discussions and attended college faculty meetings. Her students are important to her and she believes it is important to educate the whole student. Grace has lived in several states, including the Midwest and California, but considers herself an honorary Southerner. She is married to Ryan and together they have 3 young children who are homeschooled and 3 dogs who like to sit and listen to the kids "doing" school! When she isn't driving the children to sports and music practice, Grace enjoys reading, acting, singing, dancing, traveling, learning about new cultures, board games, the beach, spending time with Ryan and watching her children create and dream dreams. They are members of Westminster Presbyterian and enjoy worshipping and growing there very much!


Jackie is a Leader of Leaders with her focus in the market place, educating and empowering women and men, young and old, to become their best self-expression! When she’s not writing, filming, or producing, you might find her inspiring others speaking at workshops or conferences, or emceeing.  She loves giving back, servings others, traveling and spending time with her family! 

Her mission in life is to help as many people Find Their Purpose, Reach Their Full Potential and Create the Life They Are Meant to Live and Live Life Now!

Jackie is the author of “Create, Produce & Host Your “OWN” TV Show!”, Creator, Host and Executive Producer of “It’s Up To You!”, TV Talk Show, and owner of Jackie Brown Productions & Publishing, LLC.  Jackie is a serial entrepreneur that brings a well-rounded approach to the industry!

Jackie Brown Productions & Publishing, LLC., a multimedia company, was created, to offer a variety of Inspirational Programs,  Workshops/Webinars, Courses and Inspirational Products such as Books, Music, and Apparel. The goal is to make a positive and global impact, through all forms of media.

Jackie believes everybody deserves to “OWN” their Life and take control of their destiny.  Whether it’s creating an amazing product, running their own unique business, or offering a specialized service she feels it’s their birthright to live an Abundant, Exciting, Blessed life!


Zohra Gutierrez has been teaching for over 20 years and loving every minute of it. After graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts in Math Education, she accepted a position teaching middle school math in Texas, spending 10 years in public schools. During this time, Zohra earned a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Cultural Studies from the University of Houston, while adding a certificate to teach English to Speakers of Other Languages. She then spent several years teaching English to international students until relocating to Johns Creek with her family. Since then, Zohra has been busy raising and homeschooling her five children. She currently teaches middle school math and AP Statistics at Metro Academic Studies; pre-algebra through pre-calculus and AP Statistics at Artios Academy Sugar Hill; and tutors at Eye Level Alpharetta. Zohra is excited to offer AP Statistics, a class she enjoyed herself as a student. While math is her first and foremost teaching field, her real passion lies in building relationships with her students and sharing a small part in their success as they discover the unique path in life to which God has called them.


Teresa Hatten is a graduate of Fisk University with a BA degree in Applied Mathematics. For more than 26 years she worked in the corporate sector in various assignments including Human Performance Technology, Course Development and Instruction. She became interested in learning sign language in the 1980's after seeing it expressed during church worship services. Her journey into the Deaf world began through a small sign language class offered by the church. In 2004, after completing and accomplishing ASL skills training courses in the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Georgia Perimeter College, she transferred to Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Services. She received a degree in Mortuary Science, became a licensed mortician and took the helm as General Manager of her parent's funeral service establishment after the passing of her mother in the state of Tennessee. Teresa is an ordained Minister; Served as an Assistant Pastor in Louisville, KY, Associate Minister in Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA. Currently, she teaches English as a Second Language for Refugees at the Clarkston Community Center two days a week. She provides a service through WOHL Communications Services as a Reader, Scribe or Proctor for candidates with disabilities who are required to take national, state and local examinations and certifications. She continues to serve at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf 15 hours a week as Libraian Assistant. She and her husband of over 36 years, Jiendesha "JD" Hatten, have two children and three grandchildren.


Kristi Helfen graduated from Asbury University, a Christian liberal arts school, with a Bachelor of Science in music education/piano. After homeschooling her children for 15 years, Kristi went back to school and received a Master of Music in piano pedagogy from Georgia State University. As a graduate student at GSU, she taught group piano classes to both non-music majors and instrumental/vocal music majors who were required to gain a certain level of piano proficiency in order to graduate. Kristi is in her sixth year of teaching at Oxford College of Emory University as the Applied Piano Instructor there. Along with teaching private piano lessons and music theory for the past 35 years, Kristi has also enjoyed performing. She is a former accompanist for the National Symphony Chorus of San Jose, Costa Rica and currently performs as a member of Redeemer Piano Ensemble, a group of eight pianists playing simultaneously on four pianos. Kristi loves working with homeschooled students. As a member of Dekalb Christian Home Educators, she coordinated and directed a summer music program for many years that culminated in a September Showcase Concert in which students performed in instrumental ensembles and as soloists on various instruments and voice. Kristi and her husband Paul have been married for 34 years, have three children, three grandchildren, and live in Stone Mountain. Their hearts are full of thanksgiving for all the Lord has done.


Jeffery D. Henderson has been an advocate for youth since the age of 15 when he spoke at Harvard University at the National Council of State Committees for Youth Helping Youth. He has been recognized twice by Governor Nathan Deal and other organizations for his community service involvement in various communities; especially as it relates to the next generations. Jeffery is the Founder and CEO of Youth Business University (YBU) which is a non-profit 501 (c) Company which was founded in 2010. YBU's motto is: Educating and Empowering the Next Generation to Become Global Leaders and Wealth Builders. He is currently providing training and development training to youth in one recreational center, one Elementary School, two Middle Schools, and six High Schools in the following areas: Financial Empowerment, Entrepreneurship, Business and Life Skills, and Career Development. He is on the Board of Directors (Treasurer) for Out of Love Ministries and Self-Image Development, Inc. along with being the Treasurer for the NFL Alumni Association - Georgia Chapter. He is also on the Advisory Board for Cross Keys High School, DeKalb County, McNair High School, and Stone Mountain High School. Furthermore, he has over 25 years as an accomplished customer relations advocate and operations/customer service manager experience in collaborating with national and international financial business partners to achieve increased business, revenue, and return on investment (ROI). He also has a diverse global background in managing teams and projects involving promotional initiatives in multiple industries. He has a proven track record directing multi-million dollar direct mail, inbound, and outbound marketing campaigns for Fortune 100 companies. He is a graduate of Clark College (Clark Atlanta University) with a minor in entrepreneurship, finance, and human resources.


Snow Kendall has a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources (1990) from The University of Georgia. After working in forest land management and Geographic Information Systems in central Georgia, she moved to Lawrenceville. A veteran homeschooler, she now has  both kids in college. Snow has a heart for kids with learning differences, special needs children, and small, furry animals. Snow and Greg, serve in a martial arts ministry called Warriors for Christ at Campus Church of Christ in Norcross. She enjoys making things, crocheting, feeble attempts at gardening, kitten fostering, and investing in the lives of young people. Snow tutors/teaches privately and offers study hall with assistance at her home as well.


Derek Owens graduated from Duke University in 1988 with a degree in mechanical engineering and physics. He taught physics, honors physics, AP Physics, and AP computer science at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA from 1988-2000. He worked at the TIP program at Duke for two years, teaching physics and heading the Satellite Science Program. He received a National Science Foundation scholarship and studied history and philosophy of science at L'Abri Fellowship in England. He worked as a software developer for six years before returning to teaching. Since 2006, he has been a full time teacher for homeschoolers in the Atlanta area. He and his wife Amor and their two children Claire and David attend Twelve Stone Church, a non-denominational church near their home in Lawrenceville.


Benjamin Padilla is a graduate of Shorter University, Rome Ga. He has a Bachelor degree of Art with a Major in Piano and a Minor in Voice. He has been the director and Owner of Padke School of Music and Padke Productions for over 5 years. Benjamin has been teaching Piano, Drums, Voice, Guitar and Bass Guitar for almost 12 years, leading kids, Teens and adults to enjoy the beauty of Music. Through Padke Productions, Benjamin has produced, arranged and recorded several Christian artist. Today, Benjamin is the Pastor of Worship of Iglesia Bautista El Calvario (Calvary Hispanic Baptist Church in Doraville Ga. He is also the music promoter of the Georgia Hispanic Baptist Association, where he has directed Christmas Choir and special event choirs and worship groups. In addition, he gives worship seminars. Music is his passion. He loves to worship God through his God given ability and wants to teach others and help them develop their knowledge and love of music. Benjamin is married and has two daughters.


Tom Robinson graduated from Michigan State University in 1985 with an Electrical Engineering / Computer Engineering degree. At MSU, he was a 2-time letter winner on the football team and was recognized with the Potsy Ross Award for leadership scholastically and athletically. He served as president of Eta Kappu Nu, the Electrical Engineering honor society, during his senior year. Mr. Robinson has over 25 years of business and technology experience with leading companies including IBM, Gartner, and Computer Associates. He and his wife successfully homeschooled their three daughters who are all college graduates. Mr. Robinson will use Derek Owens` curriculum to teach Prealgebra, Algebra 1, Geometry, and Computer Science. Mr. Robinson and his wife Lisa are members at Church of the Apostles in Atlanta.


Kathy Romanoff has an MEd from Georgia State University and a BS in Education from the University of Tennessee. She enjoyed teaching students in the Metro Atlanta Area for eighteen years and has maintained her teaching certificate. During her tenure as a public school teacher she taught various math and science classes, but chemistry was her love. Numerous levels of chemistry, including Advanced Placement, permitted her to develop a thorough - learner based program. Kathy stepped out of the classroom in 1995 and into the home to care for her children . Shortly after this transition she began to teach chemistry within the home school community. Bruce and Kathy enjoy fellowshipping at Westminster Presbyterian Church.


Marlys Roos is a certified teacher who holds a B.A. in Speech and Drama and an M.A. in education with a concentration in Language Arts and Social Studies. Before and after the Lord`s call to teach full-time (first in public school, and then as a homeschool mom), she was recruited to teach evening classes in communications at several locations including Georgia State University`s Department of Continuing Education. Her writing skills were honed during a full-time, ten-year marketing career as she wrote advertisements and reports, made presentations, created company newsletters, developed training programs, and, of course, wrote many business letters. Creative writing experience includes writing (directing and performing in) mystery dinner theatre, scripts for churches, and published teaching materials for vacation Bible schools and children`s discipleship. She and her family are members of Perimeter Church.


Karen began her home schooling journey in 1996, focusing on teaching her six children, the biggest joys and blessings of her life. Her oldest son received his Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech. Her second son is pursuing his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Georgia Tech. Her third son is a rising senior studying Philosophy at Toccoa Falls College. Her oldest daughter is a rising junior studying Chemistry with a minor in German at Liberty University. Her two youngest daughters are both students at Eastside Academic Studies (serving on the Student Council), nearing the end of their high school years. Karen earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Queensland (Australia), studied piano to the highest level under the Australian Music Examinations Board, and has completed two years of training in spiritual direction. She and her husband / best friend / constant supporter Paul recently celebrated 31 years of marriage. They serve together on the leadership team of the Liberty Vineyard Church in Lilburn, where she leads Bible studies, plays on the worship team, and enjoys helping with kids. Karen enjoys teaching all kinds of topics to every age and stage in a wide variety of settings, including churches, clubs, camps, conferences, seminaries, and schools. She lived in Australia from age 7 to 25, and her family lived as missionaries in Russia for almost 2 years before her children began their college studies. She is passionate about helping young people find God`s direction for their life and teaching them how to think with discernment in order to impact our culture for Christ. More than anything, she desires to glorify God with her life as she equips, encourages, and empowers others to follow Jesus wholeheartedly.


Eastside Director

Michelle Shaw received her B.A. in Economics from Harvard College in 1985 and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1989. She practiced law in Massachusetts for six years before she chose to focus on homeschooling her children. She brings to her debate class her training and experience in criminal and civil litigation. Michelle has taught teenagers in various capacities for over 20 years. She has taught at Eastside/LAC for eight years. She is married to Dr. Alan Shaw, an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at Kennesaw State University and the pastor of Christ First Community Church in Stone Mountain. Michelle and Alan have three children who have graduated and two who are still in high school.


Margaret Shuman earned a secondary English education/German double major and a renewable, 7-12 GA teaching certificate at Berry College. She went on to get a master's degree from Bowling Green State University, OH, in speech and theatre, where she also took graduate level courses in literature and theories of teaching writing. Since graduation, she has taught in two public schools, two private schools, and the home education world. The College Board has officially approved Margaret to teach both AP Literature and Language, and has hired her to score SAT essays. She has also led seminars in drama, AP English, speech, and writing at professional development conferences. Margaret and her family worship at Passion City Church. You can find out more about Margaret at www.margaretshuman.com.


Dr. Dana Spears received her Ph.D. in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia. After graduation, she worked as an assistant professor at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas and then returned to Georgia to work as a counselor in private practice for many years. She retired from counseling and now focuses on teaching social studies, drama, and speech for home schooled students. She has directed numerous plays through community theater groups and Konos Academy in Fayetteville, GA, and has coached students who qualified for regional and national competitions in speech through NCFCA (National Christian Forensics and Communications Association). She and her husband are active at Intown Community Church in Atlanta. Dr. Spears and her husband have three adult children who were home schooled: a daughter who graduated from Wagner College in New York City and works as a costume designer, a daughter who is a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in family studies, and a son who is a sophomore at the University of Tennessee majoring in business.


Jessica Taylor has been teaching in various settings for 20 years. She received her B.A. in History from Hiram College, continued History and Education coursework at Case Western Reserve University and is now learning to teach English as a Second Language. She loves all things that pertain to History, but thoroughly enjoys teaching all subjects! She and her husband have the awesome privilege of homeschooling their 3 children.  She and her family are devoted followers of Christ at The Faith Church of Atlanta.


Dawn Thomas graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree, earned her Master of Education degree majoring in Mathematics from Georgia State University and will complete her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Mercer University this summer. Dawn has taught everything called math for over 23 years at the middle school, high school and college levels. This past June, Dawn hung up her professor hat and returned to her passion of ensuring that every student she encounters have a solid footing in mathematics. She is the owner and visionary of College Prep Done Right! whose sole mission is to instruct students in a manner that challenges, motivates and prepares them to successfully and confidently apply math skills to the real world. For the past 17 years, Dawn has been an endorsed College Board consultant, SAT question writer and presenter. She has traveled throughout the country training teachers on how to incorporate the SAT into various curriculums and develop ways to improve SAT scores for struggling schools. She also has the distinct honor of being the math presenter on the Official SAT Study Guide with DVD. She and her husband have been married for almost 28 years, have three beautiful children and attend Free Chapel Church.


Scharell Williams has tutored Spanish since 2010. Her love for the language began in the fourth grade when her school taught Spanish over the intercom during the teacher's planning sessions. Upon high school graduation she had completed Spanish 5, joined the National Spanish Honor Society and studied abroad throughout Spain for a semester. She went on to study Spanish Language and Linguistics at Georgetown University. She has been able to apply her skills as a translator for a law firm, an international management consulting firm, in manufacturing, in hospitals and in Ministry. Scharell is married to Cedric Williams. They have a son Harris, two great-nephews, Terron and Terrell, and a great-niece, Ternysha. The Williams family attend The Solid Rock of Atlanta and they study healing with Dominion Life Church.




Tuesday, January 23, 7:00 pm
Lilburn Alliance Church Fellowship Hall

Eastside will be having its first graduation in conjunction with the Northeast Independent Preparatory Academy on Saturday, May 19, 2018.  We will be meeting to discuss the...

Friday, January 26, 10:00 am

Downtown Roswell at Land of a Thousand Hills, 352 South Atlanta Street, Roswell, GA 30075; https://landofathousandhills.com/location/roswell/

Wednesday, February 21, 10:00 am

Downtown Tucker at Paramount Coffee Shop, 2245 Idlewood...

Saturday, January 27, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

732 Joseph Lowery Blvd., N.W. Atlanta, GA 30318

Join us as we help out the Atlanta Community Food Bank.  Please contact me as soon as possible if you are interested in joining us.

From their website:

Did you know...

Tuesday, February 6, 7:00 pm

Lilburn Alliance Church Fellowship Hall

Topics: Planning elementary homeschooling, working with students who need extra attention, curriculum choices, planning for college, Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement, accreditation...

February 26, 27 and 29

April 16, 17 and April 19

Parents and students are invited to visit classes. See directions for visiting our teachers and their classes at http://www.eastsideacademicstudies.com/Home/Details/OpenHouse

Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 pm

LAC Fellowship Hall

Our class fair is an opportunity to meet with teachers and find out about the classes for the 2018-2019 school year. Come and check out the over 40 classes offered.  Invite your friends.  The new...

Visit our Facebook group, Eastside Academic Studies, and join the conversation at www.facebook.com/groups/eastsideacademicstudies/

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