Home schooled from third through tenth grade, Rebekah Ricks completed her schooling at Windsor Baptist School in Bethany, Oklahoma. She attended Oklahoma Baptist College and received a B.S. in Advanced Math with a minor in History and another B.S. in Educational Leadership and Instruction with a Secondary Education emphasis. Rebekah worked at a private hospital with special needs children as a music and speech therapist aide, CNA, and EMT. She taught third, fifth, and sixth grade students, middle school English and math, and high school speech at Landmark Christian School in Haines City, Florida. Rebekah Ricks helped direct multiple productions and launched Landmark’s elementary speech and drama department.
A music teacher for over fifteen years, Lissette Cruz holds a B.A. in vocal performance from Pensacola Christian College. Lissette teaches voice and piano with a classical approach while also integrating hymn and chorus improvisation. Her dynamic style and unique teaching approach inspires students to excel in music while bringing glory to our Creator, Jesus Christ. Over the years, Lissette’s students have competed in regional and state competitions in which her vocal, piano, and choral students have placed top three in the state. Other students continue to enjoy the fruit of their music training by serving in diverse ways in their churches and community events. She has held positions as fine arts director, band director, private vocal/piano instructor, choral director, and accompanist in local churches.
Tutoring Director/Social Media Manager
Myra Cruz was born and raised in Northwest Indiana. In 2000, she received a Bachelor of Biblical Studies in Secondary Education with a major in English from Crown College of the Bible located in Powell, Tennessee. After teaching for several years in East Chicago, she accepted a teaching position in Central Florida in 2004. With over fifteen years of teaching experience, she has taught various courses including English, Bible, drama, speech, and art. Myra consistently sets a high standard for students while helping each to create and reach the highest goals — goals both academic and spiritual.
Tutor: Elementary Reading/Math
National Board Certified teacher Jill Baird has taught and mentored elementary students, pushing them forward to reach high goals for over ten years. She has conducted parent/teacher conferences and organized Kindergarten Math Nights as well as lessons fostering higher-level thinking in the students. Jill has held a role on several committees including the Media Committee for Chain of Lakes Elementary School, the Kindergarten Report Card Committee for Lake Alfred Elementary School, and the Program Review Committee for Jefferson Elementary in Sterling, Illinois. Along with being a finalist for the Departmental Scholar Award and Polk County Teacher of the Year, she was chosen Chain of Lakes Teacher of the Year in 2010. Jill has many accomplishments; however, her kind and careful way with students and adults alike has awarded her respect and admiration from countless people.
Teacher/Tutor: Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Calculus, Test Prep
Mathematics expert in Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Calculus, Janet D. Vickers has taught and tutored a variety of math for over thirty years. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Central Florida in 1972, Janet began as a math teacher at Oviedo High School, and would later hold teaching positions at Lake Howell High School, The First Academy in Orlando, and Haines City High School. Janet earned a master’s degree in Secondary Education (math) in 1978, and along with the aforementioned courses, she has used her talents to teach Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry. A Florida Certified Teacher, Janet Vickers is imparting her knowledge to each of her students for their future. How blessed we are to have such a great woman as part of our family.
Teacher/Tutor: Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry
Doug Conklin was born and raised in the Ohio/Indiana area, before relocating to Haines City, FL to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Bible, from Landmark Baptist College. He has worked at various ministries over the past 29 years, teaching, preaching and coaching. One of his fondest accomplishments was leading his boys’ basketball team to back-to-back conference championships while teaching in Palm Bay, FL. Mr. Conklin was also privileged to work at Landmark’s Freedom Baptist Curriculum for several seasons, where he served as Principal of their Homeschool Academy. Doug and his wife Alesha are parents to Isaac, a 17-year-old with various special needs, whom they are honored to homeschool. Doug teaches and tutors Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry for The Homeschool Connection.
Mrs. Ricks, affectionately known by some as “Mimi,” began working with us last fall. If you call The Homeschool Connection in the afternoons, it is likely you will be greeted by Mrs. Ricks’s kind, gentle voice as she works with skill at answering and directing phonecalls. Watching her work with people and smile so graciously as she deals with the staff is truly a delight. Emitting a sweet Christ-likeness, she is just the kind of encouraging person we love to have around.
Teacher/Tutor: Algebra I, Algebra II, Biology, Chemistry
Cassie Pavy graduated from Warner Southern College with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration in May of 2007, taking a load of eighteen credit hours of Biology courses. Upon graduation, she quickly merged into the teaching scene teaching gifted students at Dundee Ridge Middle School. Aside from Dundee Ridge, she has taught at Lake Wales High School, Winter Haven Christian School, and McLaughlin Middle School. Holding four different teaching certifications, Cassie has taught various middle school and high school science courses including Earth Space Science, Life Science, Physical Science, and Biology; and, currently teaches Physical Science, Biology, and Chemistry at The Homeschool Connection.
Hope Abercrombie, a homeschool graduate, went on to study and complete courses in American Sign Language (ASL) at Polk State College, Warner University, and Southeastern University. After receiving specialized training in ASL and Deaf Culture, Hope was given her own Advanced American Sign Language Class. She has a passion to work with the Deaf and teach others ASL that they might do the same. When not teaching, you may be greeted by her at our front desk. We are happy to have Hope Abercrombie as a part of The Homeschool Connection.
Tutor: Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Test Prep
Anthony Adharsingh is currently a Math for College Readiness teacher at Lake Region High School in Eagle Lake. He enjoys teaching both middle school and high school and has worked at both public and Christian schools for over twenty years. His specialty is preparing students for standardized testing, including PERT, SAT, ACT Algebra, and Geometry EOC. His professionalism, thoroughness, and overall kindness in each tutoring session has parents calling in requesting his time for their child, assured it will be time well-spent.
Courtney is a native of Virginia and just moved to Florida last year with her husband and four children. She can be found at our front desk answering phones and organizing office tasks. She graduated top of her class from Crown College of Powell, Tennessee in 2003 with an Associates Degree in Office Management. When not at work, she can usually be found on Disney property with her family, the two things in life that make her smile most. Her father was in the military for over twenty-seven years which has burned patriotism into her soul. She also likes her coffee like her country…strong and free!
Teacher/Tutor: Elementary Reading/Math
Sherry Allen was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico when her father was in the Army. He retired to Florida where he became a teacher at Landmark Christian High School and where he enrolled all four of his children. Upon graduation from Landmark in 1985, she married Rick Allen whom she met at Landmark Baptist Church. They have three awesome boys who are in their twenties, and two wonderful grandchildren. Sherry began teaching at Landmark Elementary in 1998 when her youngest son started K3. She taught K4, K5, and finished with 2nd grade at the end of the 2015 school year. With quite some experience, Mrs. Allen is a wise and compassionate tutor and teacher who enjoys working with the staff and all the home school families by partnering with parents to assist in their children’s education. We are blessed to have Sherry Allen as part of The Homeschool Connection family.
Originally from Colorado, Marianne attended college at Pensacola Christian College which was her first step in coming to Florida. While there, she majored in History Education and English Education, earning a B.S. in 2006. In 2007, she completed her M.S. in Education Administration. While at the college, Marianne worked for A Beka Academy during her undergrad years. While working on her master’s, she worked in the college library, then at Pensacola Christian Academy where she taught 7th and 8th grade history, which helped her become very familiar with all the grade levels and subjects. In 2009, Marianne was married and moved to Polk County. In 2014, she felt called back to teaching and did so for a year and a half before her second child was born. It was after his birth that she began to look for another teaching position, learning of The Homeschool Connection. Here at THC, Marianne teaches English and History and is a spectacular addition to our team!
Tutor: English, Spanish
Mrs. Arleen Cohen is originally from Cleveland, Ohio. She received her B.S. in Education from Kent State University and her M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College. She taught high school Spanish for thirty years and for twenty-seven of those years was head of her school’s World Language Department. Arleen has been retired for a little over ten years now and she and her husband Harvey are happy snowbirds, spending winters here in Winter Haven and summers in the Cleveland suburbs.
Alesha Conklin was born and raised in Polk County, Florida, and attended both school and college in Haines City. She graduated from Landmark Baptist College with a Bachelor’s degree in Missions. Alesha is mom to Isaac, their sixteen-year-old with special needs. She and her husband Doug stay quite busy with Isaac’s homeschooling and therapies, and are glad that homeschooling provides them with the flexibility to educate their son in a way that works best for him. Over the years, Alesha and her husband have worked in numerous churches and schools. Today, we are glad to have the Conklin team of Alesha and Doug as an important part of The Homeschool Connection!