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Instructors

Lisa Allen

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Lisa Allen earned a bachelor’s degree in human development at Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon as well as earning her K–8 teaching credential for Oregon and Washington. She taught second grade in Vancouver and Washington, community CPR classes in a hospital, homeschooled her twins for seven years and, most recently, she has taught Biola Youth Academics junior high classes including the following:

  • Math
  • History

Lisa Allen has a passion to help students enjoy math and she does so in a...

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Janice Babad

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Janice Babad grew up in Washington State where she earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Central Washington University with a minor in psychology. She graduated with honors from CWU while maintaining involvement in musical theater, orchestra, vocal ensembles, worship in her local church and swimming competitively. While working as a paraprofessional in a high school counseling department, Janice attended or led seminars in the following:

  • Suicide prevention
  • Children of the alcoholic
  • ...

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Susan Basile

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Sue Basile received her associate's degree from Pasadena City College and then pursued a degree in fine art photography from Cal State Long Beach. She has experience teaching history, photography and art classes for the last 15 years and teaching at Biola Youth Academics since 2008. Sue admits to being a history nut as she watches programs and reads books as often as possible to share new exciting facts with her class. She enjoys being able to tap into her knowledge and experience of art...

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Jill Bedell

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Jill Bedell achieved a doctorate in Christian education at Biola University from Talbot School of Theology. She also received a master’s degree in student development from Azusa Pacific University and a bachelor’s degree from Westmont College. Overall Jill has 35 years of teaching experience. She has a great passion for teaching from a Christian perspective in the following areas:

  • Personality/Career development
  • Christian education
  • World history

Outside of the classroom, Jill spends her time...

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Dana Bowers

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Dana Bowers received a bachelor’s degree from California Lutheran University and continued her love of learning through homeschooling her three children. She has a special love for history and literature and has been an instructor for Biola Youth Academics since 2009. Dana enjoys travel, especially to national parks and historic sites. She also loves classes at the gym, coffee, the beach, Scrabble, knitting and crocheting, hiking and good books. God, her family, friends and students teach her...

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Barbara Dickerson

  • BYA Elementary Academics Instructor
  • Teaching Math

Barbara Dickerson received a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Houston and a teaching credential in elementary education. After graduating, Barbara taught public school in Texas, homeschooled her three children for 13 years and taught in Christian schools. Barbara joined the Elementary Academics teaching team in 2017 and eagerly anticipates another year of great experiences with the students and parents at each campus. She has a heart for homeschooling families and a...

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Dawn Dyer

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Dawn Dyer has been an instructor for Biola Youth Academics since 2003 and is certified by The Institute for Excellence in Writing. She began her love for language and as a medical transcriptionist where she gained knowledge of grammar rules and Latin roots. After receiving her medical assistant and x-ray technician certification from Mesa Community College, Dawn spent 10 years in the medical field. She received her medical transcription certification from Ventura Community College and is...

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Lindsay Estrada

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Lindsay Estrada comes to Biola Youth Academics with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology from San Jose State University, a master’s degree in teaching from Chapman University and multiple-subject teaching credentials. She taught elementary school in the public and private sectors in her early teaching years, but found her niche in teaching and tutoring high school students in the following subjects:

  • Physical science
  • Chemistry
  • Algebra 2

Lindsay’s interest in teaching began when she...

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Susan Fosmark

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Susan Fosmark earned her Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Spanish and Psychology from University of California, Irvine where she then pursued her English teaching credential. Subsequently, she taught in Downey Unified for five years before she switched professions to become a stay-at-home mom. Her greatest passion is to disciple children in the love and grace of the Lord, Jesus Christ and is actively involved at her church’s children’s and women’s ministries. It brings her great joy to...

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Susan Hasegawa

  • BYA Elementary Academics Instructor
  • Teaching Language Arts

Attesting to God's grace and faithfulness, Susan Hasegawa homeschooled her three children from Kindergarten to 12th grade, graduating her last child in 2017. Her children are attending Biola University, The King's College and Cal State University Long Beach. Susan holds a Bachelor of Science from University of California, Los Angeles and a graduate degree from University of California, San Francisco. She has tutored classical conversations in the past and is looking forward to working with...

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Collette Holzer

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Collette Holzer's love for God’s design started in high school. During the last 10 years, she has taught many science subjects, but focuses on life sciences. She has been an instructor at Biola Youth Academics since 2012. Her passion is to bring glory to the Lord through science and enjoys bringing new discoveries into the classroom. Collette Holzer desires that her students embrace the intricacies of the world and its divine creator in order that they may strengthen their faith. Her husband...

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Melissa Klausman

  • BYA Elementary Academics Instructor
  • Teaching Math

Kelsey Lick

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Kelsey Lick earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Master of Science in Computer Science from University of California, Riverside. She taught computer programming at the university from 1997–2002 and has taught middle school and high school math at multiple charter schools. She has been teaching with Biola Youth Academics since 2014. Kelsey has been married for over 20 years and has two high school children. She has a passion for teaching and absolutely loves math. Finding patterns...

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Alicia Mata

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Alicia Mata holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. In addition has earned certificates in medical assisting, including back office, front office and billing, anatomy and physiology and a limited x-ray license. She has six years of homeschool training teaching all required high school courses as well as 25 years of teaching experience that includes:

  • Medical assisting
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • CPR
  • Career development
  • Teacher leadership training

Alicia Mata’s...

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Thien-Ai Nguyen

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor
  • Teaching Fundamentals of Math

Debra Nishi

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Debra Nishi graduated with a Bachelor of Science from University of California, Los Angeles and later earned a multiple subject teaching credential. She has taught in public schools, has homeschooled and privately tutored students, as well as been an instructor for Biola Youth Academics for the past several years. Debra is married and has a daughter who is recently married. Her favorite pastime is to study the Bible. Other favorite things include traveling to historic places, training at the...

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Linnea Perez

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Linnea Perez earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and has worked as a materials engineer/chemist for seven years at Rockwell International, supporting the space shuttle program. She has experience teaching elementary through high school age students through Rockwell and Boeing Summer Science Camp workshops, numerous homeschool co-ops, as well as Biola Youth Academics. Linnea is married and homeschools her four children. Teaching science is one of her passions. She believes in a...

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Frances Sheegog

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Frances Sheegog received her Bachelor of Science in Engineering from University of California, Irvine and then went to work for a large municipal utility as a mechanical engineer. She switched careers to full-time wife and mother when the first of her three children was born. With the help of her husband, they home schooled all three children from kindergarten through high school graduation. During and since that time, she has taught junior high and high school math and science classes in...

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Tiffany Somerville

  • BYA Elementary Academics Instructor
  • Teaching ASL

Sarah Thompson

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Sarah Thompson graduated from Mississippi College with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. She went to work for a major aerospace company for two years before resigning to attend graduate school. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics at California Baptist University. Since junior high, Sarah has been tutoring mathematics to students of various ages and learning abilities. Education is one of her main passions and she desires to...

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Renee Van Eck

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Renee Van Eck earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a general science group major from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She always had a love for science, her favorite subject in school. After earning her degree, she taught a combined first/second grade classroom for more than five years. Renee and her husband chose to homeschool their three children through high school. Currently they are all attending her alma mater, Calvin College. She began teaching for Biola...

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C Lynn Wagenet

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Lynn Wagenet graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in economics, and earned a master’s degree in Christian education from Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. She has been teaching for Biola Youth Academics since 2006 in the following subjects:

  • Government
  • Economics
  • American history
  • American literature
  • Geography
She especially enjoys sharing the synergy between these different subjects with her students. Lynn has been married for over 36 years and...

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Susan Weaver

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Susan Weaver is a credentialed teacher and has a master's degree in education with a specialty in reading. She enjoys teaching literature, composition and speech classes for children of all ages. Susan and her husband have homeschooled since 1987.

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Sarah Thornton

  • BYA Elementary Academics Instructor
  • Teaching Science

Sarah Thornton graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in general biology. She has taught her kids at home for the last three years, and over the last two years she has lead a science co-op for homeschool kids from her church. Sarah Thornton has been married for 13 years and has two children (ages 6 and 11). She enjoys painting, playing the ukulele, making crafts and learning more science. She likes to teach her own kids using projects and short...

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Amy Day

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Amy Day was homeschooled through high school, and then went on to obtain a degree in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly Pomona. Her studies in engineering included a two-year sequence in calculus-based physics. She then spent four years working as a project engineer in the oil/gas/energy field before transitioning to be a stay-at-home mom. She passed the CBEST and has past experience tutoring math at all levels from elementary through college. Amy has been married to her husband Chris for...

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Luke Hernandez

  • BYA Star Academics Instructor

Luke Hernandez graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in advertising. Luke is passionate about art. Whether it be photography or graphic design, he always finds a way to express his creativity. On weekends, he spends his time with friends and family.

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Torrey Academy Tutors

Anna Barber

  • BYA Torrey Academy Tutor

Anna Barber graduated from the Torrey Honors Institute and Biola University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in English. Her experience of the classical education model began as a Torrey Academy student and continued through her undergraduate education at Torrey Honors and her studies at Oxford University. Anna is passionate about learning, the life of the mind, literature, writing poetry and fiction and helping others cultivate a love of goodness, truth and...

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Jason Friese

  • BYA Torrey Academy Tutor

Jason Friese graduated from Biola and the Torrey Honors Institute with a bachelor's in philosophy with a minor in intercultural studies in 2009. In 2016 he completed his Master's of Divinity Degree in General Pastoral Ministry from Talbot Theological Seminary. His passion is for people to understand what it means to live a new life in Christ in light of his resurrection. That has led him to pursue opportunities to empower students to better use and apply their gifts in a variety of settings....

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Ian Heisler

  • BYA Torrey Academy Tutor

Ian Heisler graduated from the Torrey Honors Institute and the Biola University English department in December 2015. While there, he developed a taste for conversation, glory in poetry and Christian life together. He then graduated from Cal State Fullerton's English Master of Arts program in May 2018. While there, he developed a taste for rhetoric and a knack for teaching composition. Since 2014, he's been teaching and tutoring college, middle and high school students in English and writing.

...

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Tessa McQuillan

  • BYA Torrey Academy Tutor

Tessa McQuillan graduated from Biola University’s biblical studies department as well as the Torrey Honors Institute. She is currently enrolled at Fuller Theological Seminary pursuing her Master of Arts in Theology. Tessa often finds it to be true that the places a person finds the most joy tell you a lot about who they are. For her, a few of the many places she most experiences joy are nose deep in a good book on a cloudy sea day, amidst the sorts of conversations that make you believe time...

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JD Neal

  • BYA Torrey Academy Tutor

JD Neal attended Biola University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies. Currently, he attends Fuller Theological Seminary pursuing a master’s degree in theology. His experience with the Torrey Honors Institute has shown him the power and beauty of classical education and learning in the context of a loving community. JD Neal is a husband, a student, a theologian, a pastor and a lover of community. He is part of Housechurch in Whittier, and he loves to see...

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Jacob Waller

  • BYA Torrey Academy Tutor

Jacob Waller is an alumnus of Torrey Honors Institute and Biola University where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema and Media Arts. He was educated in the classical method and fully appreciated the Torrey Academy experience as a high schooler. In addition to being a tutor with Torrey Academy, Jacob is in the Master of Arts in Philosophy program at Talbot School of Theology and develops and writes formal logic curriculum for the Defendable Faith Institute. He has a...

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Voyagers' Community Program Staff

Wanda Sabia

  • Director, BYA Administration and Elementary Academics

Wanda Sabia has served in a wide range of roles since 2003 with BYA, such as instructor, campus coordinator, curriculum development and academic administrator. Wanda Sabia currently is serving as Director of BYA Administration and Elementary Academics. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from California State University, Fullerton and is currently enrolled in a Master of Arts in Education at Biola University. As a veteran homeschooler, Wanda has two children who were homeschooled K–...

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Tiffany Somerville

  • BYA Elementary Academics Instructor
  • Teaching ASL