Staff Departments

Carolyn Power - President

Ben Forbes - Vice President

Jerry Payne - Treasurer

Jeanie Vela - Secretary

Erik Wiliams - Head of School

Rynthia Clement

Jason Evans

Heather FitzGerald

Erik Williams, Head of School,

Erik has been working at TAFA since 2001 and Head of School for TAFA since 2002. After graduating from East Texas Baptist University with a Bachelor of Music he attended Southwestern Seminary where he received a Master of Divinity. His passion is to see students become 'sold out' to Christ using the gifts and talents God has given them in the "Arts", without any compromise in morals or beliefs. 

"God has called us to pursue excellence and not mediocrity, and TAFA is here to give students the tools and skills they need to claim the arts for Christ, because the "Arts" are His and are designed for His glory!"

Karen Cooper, Office Administrator,

I first came to TAFA in 1999 when I enrolled my two daughters in the program. As they attended classes I was able to volunteer in some of the classes, attend staff meetings as a liaison for the parents, and assist with administration and registration duties. Since then both daughters graduated from TAFA. In 2008 I was hired as the administrative assistant and I was thrilled to be able to stay and continue to work alongside our very talented and godly staff and teachers. I cannot imagine a job better suited for me. I am so very thankful to be a part of a ministry that is passionate about partnering with God to develop the talents of homeschoolers and it's a joy to see how God has grown and blessed this program.

Sherry Kroeger, Fundraising/Accounting, 

I began attending TAFA in its inaugural year, 1999.  Travis Avenue offered a wonderful facility and godly, talented teachers who were incredibly gifted in their fields. We were thrilled to place our three daughters at TAFA beginning with classes in ballet, choir, and art; and expanding as the program grew to include academic classes and graduation. Through the years I have enjoyed volunteering in the studios and choir room as a parent and now on staff in the administration office with fundraising.  I received my BA in Accounting from New Mexico State University and am enjoying using the talents and abilities God has given me to help TAFA and homeschoolers glorify His name through the Fine Arts.

Teddy Wasik, Administrative Assistant,

Greetings! My name is Teddy Wasik and I have the privilege of teaching the high school level literature & history classes at TAFA and serving as an administrative assistant at TAFA. I have been blessed to be a part of this family since 2000 and was invited to teach when the core classes began. As an educator, it is my desire for the students to experience a different learning adventure every time they walk into the classroom. My class is known for book discussions and debates in a wholesome and Christ-centered environment. Each week we explore history, classic literature, and what the Bible says about issues and ideas that relate to our world as they gain a fuller understanding of the past. 

Music, Theater, Art, and Dance Departments

Art & Drawing

Sarah Erwin,

Belinda Harrell,

Kristine Smith,

Ballet

Melinda Russell, 

Graduated TCU (B.S. in Ed and M.Ed)
My love of ballet began at an early age while studying classical ballet with Clarice Duffy, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dance. During that time, I also danced with the University of Evansville Ballet Company and participated in a summer dance intensive with the Ohio Ballet. After studying ballet and modern at TCU, I pursued a degree in elementary and special education. Teaching has been my calling and I love working with kids of all ages...even the ones who are young at heart! I have been teaching ballet at TAFA since it began and homeschooled all four of my children up until college. My goal each year is to point my students to Christ...His love, His majesty, His glory, and His holiness while dancing for his praise and glory.

Amanda Stephens, 

Amanda has loved and studied dance in its many forms since she was five years old. She was a student at Amanda's Dance Express in Grand Pririe, TX for twelve years and spent most of those years performing and competing at elite, regional and national levels. She has been sought out to choreograph and critique for several individuals and dance groups. Since Amanda came to know God's good and saving grace in 2003, she has prayed the Lord would help her to use her love of Jesus, dance, and teaching to honor him and serve others. Now a homeschool mom, she can often be found leading family tap breaks in her kitchen or using her counter as a ballet barre. She is thrilled to be joining the TAFA staff family. Her hope is that young dancers would delight in bringing God glory through their art.

Caitlin Atnip

I started dancing at five years old but really found my love for the art of ballet around age eight when I began taking lessons at the wonderful Travis Academy of Fine Arts! I studied at TAFA and several other dance studios over the years and was honored to be brought on as a ballet instructor after graduating. I consider fine arts to be a beautiful opportunity to Showcase the glory and excellence of our creative Heavenly Father who gave us each a mind, body, and soul to reflect His image to the world. It is my goal for each of my students to be given both a solid foundation in ballet technique and an introduction to how we can use our gifts to bring honor to God! 

Choral

Sarah Shannon, 

Sarah is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in Music Education with an emphasis in Choral Conducting and Vocal Performance/Pedagogy.  She began her teaching career in Mesquite ISD. She has been the Director of Choral Studies at TAFA since 1999 and became Director of Praise & Worship Ministry last year. Sarah has performed in the FW Opera Chorus for five seasons, been a vocal coach for 20 years, harpist for 13 years and volunteered or has been on staff as a worship leader for a combined 20 years. Her desire is to equip young people to use their God-given gifts to bring Him glory. "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:3

Ondrea Schenck, 

After receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Stephen F. Austin in 1999, I went on to become a choir director in Mansfield ISD, while performing with the Ft. Worth Opera, my church, and professional groups. I heard about TAFA and knew that it would be a wonderful opportunity to teach students how to sing and glorify Christ at the same time. I have been the Vocal Techniques teacher and one of the upper level choir directors since 2005, and have loved every minute spent at TAFA, and am so thankful to be part of such a wonderful school! It is a true blessing from the Lord.

Elizabeth Hames, 

Elizabeth Hames graduated from TAFA in 2006 and is thrilled to be back at TAFA directing the younger students and teaching Music Theory for college preparation. After graduating from TAFA, Elizabeth went on to study at Texas Christian Univeristy's School of Music. She received a Bachelor's and Master's of Music from TCU, both in Theory and Composition and also studied piano, harp, voice, and organ. In addition to teaching at TAFA, Elizabeth teaches private lessons in piano, voice, and composition out of her home, regularly accompanies instrumentalists and singers, and plays for special events on the harp and piano. Recently, she and a colleague have started an independent music publishing firm, EM Music Publishing, which focuses on providing pedagogical materials for music teachers and students.

Kate Whaley, 

Kate graduated with the TAFA seniors in May of 2007 and went on to receive a Bachelor of Music Degree with High Distinction in Applied Clarinet from the Eastman School of Music in May of 2011. She loves teaching private clarinet lessons, Primary Music, Music Appreciation, and Concert Band. Her goal is to seek the Lord Jesus and to be His instrument, teaching children to understand that, “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the human spirit.” -J.S. Bach  Mrs. Whaley also teaches clarinet for the Aledo and Burleson ISDs and organizes and directs Clarinet Camp every year during the summer.

Drama & Acting

Ondrea Schenck, 

After receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Stephen F. Austin in 1999, I went on to become a choir director in Mansfield ISD, while performing with the Ft. Worth Opera, my church, and professional groups. I heard about TAFA and knew that it would be a wonderful opportunity to teach students how to sing and glorify Christ at the same time. I have been the Vocal Techniques teacher and one of the upper level choir directors since 2005, and have loved every minute spent at TAFA, and am so thankful to be part of such a wonderful school! It is a true blessing from the Lord.

Ashley Hawkins,

Claire Shannon,

Instrumental (Strings, Band)

Lori Rooke,

Lori has been the Director of Bands at TAFA since 2000 and has been a part of TAFA since its beginning.  With a Music Education degree from the University of Texas she began her teaching career in the Bastrop ISD.  Her passion is teaching Excellence as unto Christ as God reclaims His creation of the arts and she desires to instill a love of the arts from a Godly perspective in every student. Lori also teaches private flute lessons, is a member of the Christ Chapel Bible Church orchestra. Lori also teaches private flute lessons and has been teaching privately for over thirty years.

Kate Whaley, 

Kate graduated with the TAFA seniors in May of 2007 and went on to receive a Bachelor of Music Degree with High Distinction in Applied Clarinet from the Eastman School of Music in May of 2011. She loves teaching private clarinet lessons, Primary Music, Music Appreciation, and Concert Band. Her goal is to seek the Lord Jesus and to be His instrument, teaching children to understand that, “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the human spirit.” -J.S. Bach  Mrs. Whaley also teaches clarinet for the Aledo and Burleson ISDs and organizes and directs Clarinet Camp every year during the summer.

Robin Moreland, 

Robin graduated from UT Arlington in 1991 with a music education degree.  Her music education experiences include Suzuki Violin Teacher Training books 1-4, seven years as a public-school orchestra director, over 30 years as a private violin and viola lesson instructor as well as various string camps and sectional coaching.  She has performed with the Pavane String Quartet for over 25 years and at local churches for special events.  TAFA has been a blessing for both of her children and now she is blessed to lead the orchestra program.  Robin's prayer is for the orchestra to be a place where students belong that inspires growth in musical skills and in students' personal relationship to God.

Media & Graphics

Dewayne Washington, 

Speech

Cathy Lloyd,

Cathy spends most of her time as a full-time voice, piano and music theory teacher in her home studio in Fort Worth, Texas.  She went to college on vocal scholarships, first at Weatherford College and then at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she received her music degree with emphasis on voice and musical theatre.  For a number of years, she sang with bands in Germany, has sung and danced in a wide variety of roles in musicals, and is a soloist at her church, Birchman Baptist.  She first began teaching speech as a volunteer, while still an active member of Toastmasters International (Speaking Organization).  Her life’s goal is to give young people and adults the tools they need to speak in public and make music all to the glory of God.

Academics Departments

Biblical Studies & Government

Whitney Fowler, 

I began my journey with TAFA as a student in 1999 and had the honor of graduating with the first TAFA graduating class in 2006.  After graduating, I pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology at Dallas Baptist University, followed by a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing. In 2015 I began serving as a TAFA Board member and now I am a proud TAFA mom of two little boys.  I have a passion and desire to serve the Lord through the fine arts while investing in the lives of homeschool students.  I love TAFA and am grateful for the impact TAFA has had on my life and the lives of many other families and students.

Melinda Russell, 

Graduated TCU (B.S. in Ed and M.Ed)
My love of ballet began at an early age while studying classical ballet with Clarice Duffy, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dance. During that time, I also danced with the University of Evansville Ballet Company and participated in a summer dance intensive with the Ohio Ballet. After studying ballet and modern at TCU, I pursued a degree in elementary and special education. Teaching has been my calling and I love working with kids of all ages...even the ones who are young at heart! I have been teaching ballet at TAFA since it began and homeschooled all four of my children up until college. My goal each year is to point my students to Christ...His love, His majesty, His glory, and His holiness while dancing for his praise and glory.

Biology, Anatomy & Physiology

Marilyn Mitchell, 

I am a graduate of East Texas State in Commerce, Texas and taught Junior High English before becoming a mom.  After homeschooling my boys until graduation from TAFA, I was thrilled to join the staff here at one of my favorite places as the Biology and Advanced Biology teacher.  I love the Lord and love teaching students to appreciate the wonder and majesty of His creation.  I hope they will be inspired to serve God in the field of science and to "ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name!" (Psalm 29)

Chemistry & Physics

Rachel Hillman, 

I graduated from Grove City College in northwestern Pennsylvania in 1998 with degrees in Education and Developmental Psychology. That same year, my husband and I moved to the surface of the sun, better known as Fort Worth, where I began my teaching career as an ESL Math Teacher at the International Newcomer Academy, Fort Worth ISD. Following the atrophy of our snow shoveling muscles and the beginning of our family, my husband and I decided that DFW, with its educational and career opportunities, truly is the best place to be. I have been an active homeschooler since 2006 and have graduated 2 of my 10 children. My teaching goals are to first ignite an interest in the subject I am teaching by making it accessible and relevant. I also design my lessons to demonstrate how studying can improve my student's quality of life by revealing new challenges that build confidence and a desire to discover more about God's creation.

English, Literature & History

Teddy Wasik, 

Greetings! My name is Teddy Wasik and i have the privilege of teaching the high school level literature & history classes at TAFA and serving as an administrative assistant at TAFA. I have been blessed to be a part of this family since 2000 and was invited to teach when the core classes began. As an educator, it is my desire for the students to experience a different learning adventure every time they walk into the classroom. My class is known for book discussions and debates in a wholesome and Christ-centered environment. Each week we explore history, classic literature, and what the Bible says about issues and ideas that relate to our world as they gain a fuller understanding of the past. 

Math

Jessica Pollock

Jessica graduated from Western Governor’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.  Her background includes teaching 3-8 grade math classes both in private and public schools, along with tutoring students for the ACT exam.  Jessica has traveled the world teaching the English language in Japan, Romania, and Germany.  She also has taught online English classes with students in China.  Her desire is for students to enjoy learning math and to encourage them to use their God-given talents in every part of their life.

Spanish

Judy Medina,

Judy was born and raised in Ft. Worth, Texas and Spanish was the primary language spoken at her home growing up. After highschool she began working at a counseling center for teenagers. Within a year she was employed by a Spanish radio station called KESS 94-FM. Her duties began as a receptionisht and ended as a disc jockey. After eight years of radio, she developed a love for the Spanish language. Other careers include being a Spanish translator/interpreter for a law firm, pharmacy, mental health department, and a church congregation. She has been working at TAFA since 2009 as the Spanish teacher. Judy gives God glory and honor for what He has done and will continue to do with and through her.

Private Lessons

Shelby McPherson, Piano,

I have been teaching piano for 24 years. By the time I was four years old I had a strong desire to play the piano and began my music training at the age of five. That desire never changed and I continued my music education at the University of Hawaii and then at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where I began teaching piano. After moving to Fort Worth I began to teach piano at Travis Academy of Fine Arts where I have been teaching for the last twelve years. I enjoy working with all ages and skill levels including students with special needs. It is a joy and pleasure to watch students grow and become successful in the gift God has given them.

Kathy Berry, Violin,

Coming from a very musical family, I decided to begin my violin journey when I was in 5th grade. I have enjoyed playing various styles of music ever since. I was introduced to the Suzuki method when my children decided to begin playing and was so taken with the approach, I went through several levels of Suzuki teacher training. My favorite genre is Celtic fiddle and I have been privileged to study with several fantastic teachers from Scotland, Ireland, Galicia, Denmark, Finland and of course, the United States. I feel very blessed to have these God-given talents and love to share these with students of all ages. May God be praised through the joy of music!

Paul Tullis, Violin,

Paul has been teaching private violin and viola lessons at TAFA since 2005, showing kids how to make a nice sound and play in tune while learning to read music. Trained at Boston University and Boston Conservatory of Music and a longtime member of the Dallas Opera Orchestra, he plays everything from opera, symphony, and church music, to Broadway shows, backup strings for praise bands, strolling violin - and he even does a little fiddle on occasion. He's had so much fun playing the violin and viola over the years that he'd like to let everyone else in on it. He believes music is a gift from God, and sharing that gift with others is for him a source of great joy..

Jeannie Miller, Voice,

Hello! My name is Jeannie Miller, and I am a classically - trained soprano. My dream is to inspire audiences with my music and to encourage young vocalists to find joy in glorifying God through the art of singing. Although I have been singing my whole life, I developed a love for music after my parents enrolled me in TAFA when I was 10 years old. After competing in several national voice competitions including the Classical Singer Competition, the National Society of Arts and Letters, the Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition, and the National YoungArts Foundation, I was honored to receive Texas Christian University’s prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship, which led me to complete my BM in Vocal Performance at TCU’s School of Music. This fall, I am excited to continue my studies at TCU as I begin pursuing my Master’s of Music in Vocal Pedagogy and as I begin my 5th year of teaching at TAFA! In addition to classical singing, I love singing and teaching many different music styles including musical theater, praise and worship, jazz, and pop. When I’m not teaching, studying, or performing, I enjoy composing and arranging music, playing piano, painting, swing dancing, writing, and spending time with my friends and family.

 

 

Lori Rooke, Flute

Kate Whaley, Clarinet

Matthew Nazier, Guitar

Dewayne Washington, Saxophone

Sam Jones, Drums

Laura Ospina, Cello

Sheila Turner, Piano

Cody McClarty, Trumpet