Administration 

Head of School

Erik Williams 

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!"

Executive Director

John Lee 

Dr. John B. Lee has served as associate pastor of worship/music/fine arts at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas from since 1996. Prior to that, he served churches in both Texas and Tennessee. He recently completed his Doctorate in Worship Studies (DWS) from the prestigious Webber Institute for Worship Studies in Orange Park, Florida. John earned both a M.M. in music history and literature and a B.M.E. from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

He has taught classes in both worship studies and advanced songwriting at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dallas Baptist University. He has represented many sacred music publishers as both clinician and composer. A prolific composer, arranger, producer and orchestrator, John has many published works.

Office Administrator 

Karen Cooper

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. 

Fundraising Accounting

Sherry Kroeger

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. 

Administrative Assistant  

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 for the past 13 years 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.

Art/Drawing Department 

 

Mayre Stewart 

Maybe studied two-dimensional design at Abilene Christian University where she majored in drawing and painting. In 1988 she began homeschooling her 6 children and she loves teaching the creative process and helping students develop the discipline required to become better artists. Outside of TAFA, Mayre is an active member of the Westhill Church of Christ and often paints backdrops, sets, and murals for theater groups and other local organizations. 

 

Julie Mayfield

Art and design have been my passion for as long as I can remember. I have been "creating" my whole life. Years have been spent cutting, painting and selling holiday items through my company "From My House to Yours", and then years teaching art in the public schol system. The Lord led me to TAFA and I enjoy every second that I am nurturing creativity in the precious children who are in my classes! Now, when I am not at TAFA I am making and selling wool hooked rugs and dying wool at juliemayfieldhome.etsy.com.

 

Valerie Warner - I am amazed every day at God’s extravagant creation.  In light of God’s example and all of us being His masterpiece, I feel compelled to impart this truth to young hearts and minds.  What a joy it is to foster their creative abilities while deepening their knowledge of visual arts.  My aim is to lay a solid foundation using the principles of art & design through instruction and practice in drawing.  I completed my undergraduate studies at Stephen F. Austin with an emphasis in design & art and graduate studies in education at Texas Women’s University.  I have taught in both public and private home-support schools and enjoy mentoring my private students.

 

Hi, I am Kellie Hudson. I'm a Christian, a wife, a mother, a homeschool mom, an artist, and a graduate from the University of North Texas School of Art with a bachelor's in fine art.  John 1:3 says that all things were made by the Word of God, nothing was made without Him. This shows that God is the ultimate artist who created color, design, and function. My job is to help students learn how these elements work together so that they can in turn make beautiful art that glorifies God. Art is everywhere you look, I just want my students to be able to recognize it and use it when they see it, even when it is in unconventional places.

Ballet Department 

 

Melinda Russell: Ballet Department Director, 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 12 years ago and have been a home school mom for 17 years! 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.

 

Sarah Decker -  Sarah moved to Texas, at the Lord's direction, in 2013 from Oklahoma where she began dancing. She has 21 years of dance experience and 19 years of teaching. Thirteen of those years she owned her own Christian dance studio and directed 2 dance companies (Irish and modern/contemporary). She continued her dance education through various avenues: weekly tap, modern (Prairie Dance Theater) and ballet classes (Classical Ballet School and Oklahoma City Ballet), workshops and dance conventions. During this time she also pursued Irish step dancing (McTeggart, Colin Dunne-Riverdance lead etc.) both competing and performing, as well as teaching. Her heart's desire is to use the art and gift of dance to praise the Lord as it was always intended (Psalm 149:3). She loves to teach her students to dance for the Lord from their heart with excellence always glorifying His name (Col. 3:23).

 

Heather FitzGerald 

Heather has been part of the TAFA staff family since 2003, with her own children attending TAFA since 2000. It is her desire to teach ballet students to glorify Christ using the beauty of dance. Heather is humbled that God has placed her in a job that allows her to worship Him through something she loves so much. (Especially since her other passions—drinking coffee and cloud watching—are not means of gainful employment).

 

Shoshana SandersShoshana graduated from TAFA in 2013 and has continued to study classical ballet at Leap of Faith Dance. In the summer of 2014, she participated at Ballet Magnificat's summer workshop in Jackson, Mississippi. She has been dancing for the past seven years and has had the opportunity to assist teachers at Leap of Faith Dance. Shoshana's dearest hope is that all of her dancers would let the beauty of dance be a reflection of Christ's work in their hearts.

 

Amanda Stephens 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 Prairie, 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.  

Biblical Studies/Government

 

Chandra Manasco - God called me to serve Him through teaching at the age of 15, and I have been doing "just that" ever since! I received a BS in Bible and Education from Arlington Baptist College and went on to teach at Park Springs Christian Academy for 5 years. I then began homeschooling my son and we joined the TAFA family 9 years ago. Although I am not as gifted in the arts as so many of our students and teachers, I have found myself assisting in band and choir for 5 years. And now... they have finally found a class I can teach!!! Christian Worldview! I am so excited to be back in the classroom and I am looking forward to seeing how God works in the lives of the students as they study God's Word and this world.

 
Melinda Russell - 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 12 years ago and have been a home school mom for 17 years! 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.

Choral Department

 

Sarah Shannon 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 a 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 University'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.


 

Tammie Phillips studied vocal music and special education at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. She has 3 adult sons, 1 young son and has homeschooled since 1987.  Her family has been actively involved with TAFA since 2004. Over the years, she has enjoyed serving the Lord with her music and artistic gifts through a variety of church music ministries, homeschool associations and community theaters.   She daily strives to use the gifts the Lord has granted her to sing for and serve an audience of ONE. 

 

Kate Whaley 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 Department 

 

Taffy Geisel:  When I was in kindergarten, I was cast as Tigerlily, the mean ugly stepflower in 'Cinderella in Flowerland.' Playing the antagonist – plus getting to wear a crepe paper tutu - began a lifelong love of theater. I earned both my Bachelors and Masters degrees from Baylor University. After teaching theater in public schools for 6 years, I've been truly blessed to teach theater at TAFA since fall, 2007. I have worked professionally as a voice over actress, performed on area stages, and currently work as director and playwright for several DFW theaters. Jesus was a storyteller, which tells us that He believes there is great power in sharing truth through stories. My desire is to see theater redeemed – to see stories worth telling told with excellence, and to see students' hearts captured for the Lord and His service. 

 

Cheryl King

Cheryl holds a Bachelor of Music from The University of Texas , where she majored in Vocal Performance. She taught elementary music and theatre arts for many years before 'redirecting' in 2008 when she began teaching at Kids Who Care  and CATS (Creative Arts Theatre and School.)  Cheryl has presented workshops at the TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) Convention, TETA (Texas Educators of Theatre Association) Convention, TEPSA (Texas Elementary Principals & Supervisors Association), as well as for the BISD and Aledo ISD. She was also named campus Teacher of the Year on 3 occasions.

 

 
David Phillips is excited to be returning to TAFA after graduating in 2011 . His love for drama and the "Arts" started at a young age through church and family rooted in music. In addition to multiple years in class training at Travis Academy of Fine Arts, Casa Mañana, Artisan Theater, and CATS Theater, his experience includes seven years of community and professional theater where he has performed in numerous productions including roles such as Javert in "Les Misérables" and Mendel in "Fiddler on the Roof". "I look forward to teaching and serving the Lord with the gifts He has blessed me with."
 

Paula Sterrett 

Paula studied Music Performance at Wayland Baptist University with principal study in Vocal Performance and Music and Theater at Texas Tech. University, with principal studies in Secondary Music Education and Musical Theater.  In 1995 Paula and her husband founded “By All Means Productions” a non-profit cross denominational Theater Arts Production Corporation, to continue and further ministry to churches and educational institutions  "I believe Music and Theater Arts are vital tools in connecting the intellect and heart, giving young students and adults a wonderful understanding of the vastness of God's creative power and beauty."

Instrumental Department (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 30 years.

 
Kathy Berry - 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!
 

Kate Whaley 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.


Media/Graphics Department 

 

Cheryl Niederhauser went to college at Biola University in Southern California.
After moving to Texas I began working as a substitute teacher in the public school system and was a computer graphics and yearbook production consultant for the public school system. I have also taught computer graphics at a Christian Academy as well as private photography and photoshop classes. My 3 children all graduated from TAFA. I love TAFA, I love teaching, I love digital photography and photoshop and I love my students (that's a lot of love!) and I am blessed to be able to do what I love at TAFA. My goal is to teach technical skills through creativity. Every classroom assignment teaches tools and techniques and the student produces a technically skilled piece of digital art or photography.

 

Hey, my name is Joey Geisel, and I love TAFA and all the cool stuff I get to do here like teaching private lessons, worship-band classes, Survey of Media and Audio Production. I have a B.S. in Radio/TV & Film from Texas Christian University, and was blessed to start working at TAFA right after graduating in 2009. The Father of Lights (James 1:19) has been unbelievably generous with me, allowing me to be a multi-instrumentalist; composer for stage and screen; actor, designer, and music director for DFW theater. I am also a studio vocalist/musician/engineer and DJ and occasionally I sleep. Glory to God!


Chemistry/Physics

 

Jennifer Moscoso - Jennifer Moscoso is the mother of 9 children and has been homeschooling since 1990. Her three youngest children now attend TAFA, and she has promised to make them proud as the new Chemistry teacher! Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with teaching fields in Chemistry and Mathematics from the University of North Texas. Jennifer loves and appreciates both the arts and sciences but has always been partial to Chemistry. Her education philosophy is summed up well by the following quote from physicist and chemist Robert Boyle, considered to be the founder of modern chemistry - “God [is] the author of the universe, and the free establisher of the laws of motion.”

 

Dale Markham- Physics Dale Markham (Nancy Dale Markham) has a degree in mathematics from McMurry University in Abilene.  She taught junior high and high school math in public schools before her son Matt was born.  In the process of homeschooling Matt, she first taught physics using the Apologia curriculum for him and his homeschool buddies.  She has been teaching high school math and physics for homeschoolers for ten years.  This is her first year to teach physics at TAFA.  Dale is a lover of beauty in the arts and nature as well as math and science.  Physics is extremely interesting and fun.  It has many applications, including some pertaining to the arts: light and color; sound; movement, momentum, and the forces involved.  A year in physics will be an adventure.  From Apologia Physics you will be encouraged to see God's in the marvelous yet logical ways the physical world works.

Biology/Anatomy & Physiology

 

 

English/Literature/History 

 

Greetings! My name is Teddy Wasik, and I have the privilege of teaching the high school level literature & history classes at TAFA. I have been blessed to be a part of this family for the past 13 years 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 

 

Cynthia Dena is a graduate of Midwestern State University with a BA in psychology and a minor in math.  She also has a MA from New Mexico State University in Curriculum and Instruction.  She began her teaching career in 1995, teaching math and science to elementary students in FWISD.  She has continued teaching her five children at home and teaching math and science in a co-op setting for ten years.  She loves math and enjoys helping students to appreciate it also.  She believes all students can learn and that math is something everyone needs and can be successful at.  Her favorite verse is Deuteronomy 6:7.  She seeks to helps students apply Colossians 3:23 to their school work and beyond.

Spanish 

 

Judy Medina was born and raised in Ft. WorthTexas 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 receptionist and ended as a disc jockey.  After 8 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 of 5,000 plus members. She has been working at TAFA since 2009 as the Spanish teacher. Judy gives God all the glory and honor for what He has done and will continue to do with and through her.

Speech 

 

Cathy LloydTAFA’s speech teacher, 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.

Private Lessons 

 

Shelby McPherson

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. 

 

Glen Turner

Glen joined the TAFA vocal staff in Fall 2012. He will be teaching both voice and piano lessons beginning in the Fall of 2013. Glen has earned a Master of Music degree from SWBTS with a double major in both voice and piano.   With an exceptional Baritone voice, highly skilled in multiple languages, and over 25 years of teaching experience he is a great asset for all of our students.  "Music is a wonderful gift from God and the voice is the most personal instrument we have.  As a teacher, I seek to share the joy of musical expression, inspiration, personal discipline, and motivation for living the abundant life that can be experienced uniquely through singing and playing."

 

Paul Tullis

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. 

 

Sheila Turner:

I have been teaching piano lessons at TAFA since 2006 and am still very excited to be a part of this wonderful and fulfilling ministry!  I discovered at a young age how much I enjoyed helping others learn to read music and thus began teaching lessons while I was in high school.  Motivating young people to develop their God-given abilities gives me great joy!  I earned a B.M.E. degree from Texas Wesleyan University and worked on my master’s degree in piano at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  I encourage students to supplement their piano study with music theory and to participate in the many other opportunities for performance in our metro area.  

 

Joey Geisel - Guitar (see Media/Graphics)

Lori Rooke - Flute (see Instrumental Department)

Kate Whaley - Clarinet (see Instrumental Department)

Kathy Berry - Violin/Viola (see Instrumental Department)

Pedro Peraza - Trumpet

Pedro was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and has been surrounded and influenced by music since my early stages of life, because of his father, a percussionist. In 2002, he enrolled in the Escuela Libre de Música de San Juan Ernesto Ramos Antonini.
In May 2013 Pedro graduated from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico with a B.A. degree in Music Education (Concentration in Instrumental Music) and in 2014 was accepted into the M.M. Wind and Percussion Performance program at TCU, being awarded with a Graduate Assistantship.  He recently completed his Master’s degree and is planning to pursue a Ph.D. in either music education or performance. Pedro currently serve at Travis Avenue Baptist church where he uses his is able to use his trumpet for God's glory.

Jeannie Miller - Voice

Hello! My name is Jeannie Miller, and I am a young classical, operatic soprano. My dream is to inspire audiences with my music and to encourage other 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 and the National Young Arts Foundation, I was honored to receive TCU’s prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship, which led me to pursue my vocal performance degree at TCU's School of Music.  This fall, I was blessed to return and join the music faculty at TAFA and now serve as a private voice teacher and an Elementary Singer’s Choir instructor. In addition to teaching and performing on stage and for special events, I enjoy studying vocal pedagogy, playing piano, composing, swing dancing, writing, and spending time with my friends and family.