Fall 2019 Elective Teacher Biographies
Mr. Rhett Clark
I am a musician of all trades. I am a local songwriter and artist, and a member of BMI and the Nashville Songwriter's Association. I have been playing guitar for 20 years and have over 12 years experience with wind instruments and strings. I am classically trained on multiple instruments and voice, and a private lesson teacher. I am very passionate about playing and creating real, authentic music that can be appreciated by everyone. While being an advocate for the arts, I also write popular music that anyone can enjoy, which incorporates elements from classical music to enrich an audience’s experience. My goal is to share high-quality art music in an accessible way. I currently hold a Bachelor's Degree in Business and an Associate of Arts in Music. Currently, I am attending The University of Texas at Arlington, working towards a second Bachelor's degree in Music Education. In addition to my studies and songwriting, I am the Director of Music at Saint Michael's Anglican Church in Richland Hills, Texas.
Mrs. Jacqueline Copeland
My name is Jacqueline Copeland and this will be my first year at Gracewood Academy. I have been an Art teacher in Keller ISD for the past 9 years teaching and creating everything from drawing, painting and mixed media to sculpture and clay. I graduated from Texas Christian University in 2010 with a degree in Art Education and my favorite classes at TCU were photography, painting and printmaking. I have a calligraphy business that I have owned for the last 6 years and love writing such beautiful things for people. I love to find inspiration in Art and translate it to create an everyday masterpiece and cannot wait for you to join me!
Rev. Randall Foster
Currently, I teach Social Studies, Latin, French, and English Language Arts at Gracewood Academy. I am also a pastor in the Anglican Church in North America, and an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas.
I was born in northeast Tarrant County and grew up in Bedford, Texas. I graduated from L.D. Bell High School in Hurst, Texas in 1983.
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree Magna cum laude from Rice University with a double major in History and Anthropology. I hold the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence, cum laude, from the University of Houston Law Center and a Master of Theological Studies degree from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. I also hold a Master of Liberal Studies degree in intellectual history from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.I have also undertaken extensive course work at the graduate level in European History (UT-Austin) and New Testament and Early Christian Literature (The University of Chicago). I have reading knowledge of French, German, Biblical Hebrew, Classical and Koine Greek, and Latin. I am a member of Phi Beta Kappa (Beta chapter of Texas at Rice).
In 2007, I was ordained by Bishop Jack Leo Iker of Fort Worth. I served for nine years as a chaplain at St Vincent's School in Bedford, where I also taught secondary-level Social Studies, as well as several other subjects, for 12 years. I am currently the priest-in-charge at St. Michael's Anglican Church in Richland Hills in 2014.
Mrs. Kim Garcia
I am so honored and consider it a calling to serve the families of Gracewood Academy and to partner with parents to help raise up a Godly generation of leaders.
I have worked at Gracewood Academy for 2 years, where I have had the opportunity to serve as nurse, counselor, secretary and tuition coordinator. I am married to my best friend and have five imperfect, but amazing children. My family and I have been members of Gateway Church for fourteen years where I have trained with both Freedom and the Pink Team.
I created and launched Bloom Girl Inc., a non-profit organizing for women and have spent more than ten years leading and participating in women’s ministry. Gratefully, I am attending The Kings University in hopes of completing my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Counseling. During the 2018-2019 school year, I had the privilege of launching Gracewood Academy’s first student-led ministry called S.A.L.T (Students in Action, Leading Together). I will continue my journey at Gracewood Academy by taking on the primary role of Student Liaison. I will also be teaching a middle school, Monday elective called “Introduction to Entrepreneurship.” I am a sole-proprietor and have owned my own business for eight years. I am excited to work along side the faculty and students at Gracewood Academy and cannot wait to see what God has in store for us during the 2019-2020 school season!
Mrs. Jill Jirek
ASL, American Sign Language, has arrived at Gracewood Academy! How exciting to bring sign language to the campus! Did you know ASL is considered a foreign language at universities? I'm Deaf. My name is Mrs. Jill Jirek. I've been married to a hearing man, Dan, for 28 years. We have 3 children, Jessica (32), Jacob (20), and Christian (12 ½). Jacob is Deaf. ASL is a norm in our home. I attended Gallaudet University (Exclusive for the Deaf. ASL is the primary language.), and graduated with a BA from Western Oregon University. I recently got certification to teach ASL to parents with Deaf children from ages 0-5. Our family has been so blessed with the wonderful homeschool community here and I want to give back the blessings by teaching ASL to your student!
Mrs. Leslie Newkirk
I hold a BFA in Theater Performance from UT Arlington. I also studied makeup artistry and costume design. During my college years, I was a contestant in The Miss Texas Scholarship pageant. I held two titles: Miss Cedar Creek and Miss Grapevine - Colleyville. I have experience working as a voice over talent and a commercial/film actress. My husband and I have owned a theater company with a traveling troupe. I have directed children’s theater and sang in women’s ministry. I have also worked as a trade show talent and event management.
For 20 years, I have been happily married to Tim Newkirk and homeschool our three children: Noah, Adam, and Lyric Joy. I am also a licensed Zumba instructor who loves being creative, sewing, performance, fitness, health, and cooking.
Mrs. Roni Noel
I have a passion for teaching math and teaching kids. I graduated from UTA in 1996 with a BS in Civil Engineering. I worked for a few years in the roadway design department at TxDOT before having kids, then I became a stay at home mom. When my son was 3 years old, God called me to homeschool my own kids and we took it one year at a time. We ended up homeschooling all our children their entire education. I have been married for 29 years and my kids are now 20 and 19. I started teaching math to other homeschool families privately and at my co-op in 2011 and have been teaching math ever since. I have taught 7th grade math through Calculus, as well as Chemistry and Physics. I thoroughly enjoy it and it truly is a ministry for me. I enjoy building relationships with young people and being a light for the Lord to them. My passion of working with children began when I was in college and I started volunteering in children's ministry at my church. Thank you for the privilege of entrusting me to teach your child.
Coach Jeff Scott
I have been the PE Teacher at Gracewood Academy since Fall 2014. At Gracewood, I have introduced a variety of activities through interactive sports and games in an environment that recognizes each student's unique talent/skill level in a positive manner to maximize self-esteem. I also run the after-school program, open to all homeschool families in the area, through Big Smiles and Giggles Sports. Prior to Gracewood Academy I was the head coach and PE teacher at another school for 5 years and held several roles with Hurst United Soccer Association for over 20 years. In my spare time, I provide technical soccer training for individuals and groups from 6-17 years old. I am a member of the National Youth Sports Coach's Association and hold my National License through US Soccer Association.
Ms. Pam Wren
I have taught a wide range of young people 6th through 12th grade. They range from disadvantaged inner-city students who need to gain an advantage, to privileged students with high expectations in advanced classes in private school. I have been very successful at preparing students to meet their challenges and achieve their goals. My experiences with students have shown that reading is the key to building vocabulary and developing more complex thinking and writing so I emphasize it. I teach clarity of expression and logical presentation of ideas. There has been useful research in learning methods, and I love to incorporate practical advancements. I am a singer myself so I am very tuned-in to the needs of students with interests in performance and other activities outside of school. I have one son who participated in many activities, which gives me insight that helps in teaching. I also have a Chihuahua-with-attitude named Enso.