Mr. Agins is a high school social studies teacher at Pearson Online Academy. He began his teaching career in 2008 and joined Pearson Online Academy in 2013. Mr. Agins holds a master’s degree in education with a specialty in reading and mathematics from Walden University. He shares more about his career below.
“I became a teacher because I’ve always wanted a job that would allow me to talk about history all day! The benefit of teaching at an online school versus a bricks-and-mortar school is that there’s a lot more one-on-one attention for students—I can give the student my full attention without worrying about the bell ringing!
At Pearson Online Academy, we have higher standards, which motivate students to go above and beyond. We also have a community of teachers and students who come from all corners of the world. This level of diversity creates a healthy environment of collegiality and collaboration.”
Mr. Agins’ passion in life is traveling the world. He loves loading up his backpack and exploring far-flung regions of the globe. Mr. Agins has been to forty countries in the past five years!
I love teaching at Pearson Online Academy because the stories from the kids are amazing and we’ve got a great staff to work with.
— Mr. Agins
Mr. Calinisan is a secondary school math and technology teacher at Pearson Online Academy. He started his teaching career in 2008 and joined Pearson Online Academy in 2009. Mr. Calinisan holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from De La Salle University and a master’s degree from Liberty University.
When asked about his teaching career and the benefits of online school, Mr. Calinisan said the following:
“I have life experience in multiple career fields, and I believe that providing students with a world-class education is of utmost importance. I became a teacher because I believe the future of our country rests in our classrooms of today. The benefit of teaching at an online school versus a bricks-and-mortar school is that the data in an online school is unmatched, which means that fewer students fall through the cracks.
Pearson Online Academy students have a distinct advantage over their bricks-and-mortar peers, namely that they be well equipped to operate in a society that resembles the online environment academically and occupationally by graduation time. At Pearson Online Academy, students learn valuable lessons about time management and self-direction—and these lessons are less likely to be taught in the bricks-and-mortar classroom. At its core, the Pearson Online Academy school community is special because it allows students and staff to work together in unique ways for the betterment of society.”
I love that as a member of the Pearson Online Academy team, I understand that I am uniquely positioned, through Pearson Online Academy’s world-class resources and elite talent pool, to provide students with the tools they need to be successful.
— Mr. Calinisan
BA, Education, Cornerstone University; MEd, Grand Valley State University
Heather Dear is a high school math teacher who began teaching in 2000 and joined Pearson Online Academy in 2017. She has a passion for working with high school students and helping them achieve success where they didn’t believe they could in the past. Learn more about Ms. Dear below:
The Online School Experience at Pearson Online Academy
I love teaching at Pearson Online Academy because there are so many opportunities to help students. I can provide resources to help them find ways of learning that are the most efficient and beneficial for them. Teaching students to become independent, responsible learners is vital in helping them become successful in their post–high school life.
Pearson Online Academy offers a quality curriculum and provides many ways for students to be involved in clubs to help them develop in their areas of interest. Students learn to take personal responsibility for their schedules and are guided by teachers to find resources for their success. These factors and many more help students to have the skills they need to be successful after high school, whether that may be at a university or in the professional realm.
One of the things that makes the school community special is the genuine belief that every student can succeed and the willingness of the teachers and staff to pour their time and energy into helping students do so.
The Benefits of K–12 Online Learning
Students attending Pearson Online Academy have more flexibility for working one-on-one with their teachers to maximize their learning than at brick-and-mortar schools. Students who are willing to work with their teachers and put in the time can find success in areas where they might normally struggle, because their voices don’t get lost among many.
Message for Prospective Families Choosing Online School
I have two children enrolled at Pearson Online Academy and love the opportunities the school has offered them. The teachers have been wonderful in helping them transition to the school and to have every opportunity to be successful.
Students attending Pearson Online Academy have more flexibility for working one-on-one with their teachers to maximize their learning than at brick-and-mortar schools.
— Ms. Dear
Ms. Jones is a mathematics high school teacher at Pearson Online Academy. She started her teaching career 28 years ago and joined Pearson Online Academy in 2010. Ms. Jones holds her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies—math, logic, and education—and a master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She shares her story below.
“Math did not come easily to me when I was younger. As I got older and became a more independent learner, I found different ways of approaching problems that I had previously struggled with. My perspective on math and solving problems changed and I began to love math and excel in the subject. When I found that my perspective on math was helpful to others, it turned into the passion that I have now for teaching math to other people.
What I love most about Pearson Online Academy is the diverse community of students and teachers, each with unique personalities and experiences. We come together in a non-traditional environment to meet the educational needs of students and families.
The benefit of teaching at an online school versus a bricks-and-mortar school is that the students have their entire semester curriculum available to them and can work at their own pace. They can flex their time around personal events outside of school, move quickly through some topics, or spend extra time on others. At Pearson Online Academy, the highly-qualified teachers guide students though our rigorous courses, which helps them to become independent college and career ready students.”
What I love most about Pearson Online Academy is the diverse community of students and teachers, each with unique personalities and experiences.
— Ms. Jones
Mr. James Kiurski is a high school English teacher at Pearson Online Academy. He has been teaching at Connections Academy since 2016 and recently joined the Pearson Online Academy team in 2018. Mr. Kiurski has a bachelor’s degree in English from Madonna University and a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Michigan–Dearborn. He shares his teaching story below:
“I have served as an English teacher in grades 6–12 during my career and have had the opportunity to work in both brick-and-mortar and online schools. I became a teacher because of the positive influence teachers have had on my life. I felt inspired, encouraged, and supported by my teachers, and I strive to provide that same service to my students to help them achieve their goals.
Pearson Online Academy is truly a unique place to teach and learn because we have students from all around the world. I love working with students from such diverse backgrounds and watching them learn and grow from interacting with each other. Students at Pearson Online Academy learn to be global citizens through interacting and connecting with other students from around the world. Students also have the opportunity to select from a wide variety of rigorous courses that will help prepare them for their future.
A benefit of teaching at an online school versus a brick-and-mortar school is that online school affords educators the opportunity to spend more individual time with each student and family. This allows each student to receive a tailored, personalized curriculum that is not always possible at brick-and-mortar schools. If there was one thing I would tell a prospective parent, it would be that there are frequent opportunities for your student to socialize with his or her peers, including LiveLesson sessions, special events, clubs, and activities.”
The school community at Pearson Online Academy is active and vibrant. Students have opportunities to join many clubs and activities that allow them to interact with their peers.
— Mr. Kiurski
Ms. Krueger is a high school teacher at Pearson Online Academy. She began her teaching career in 2012 at Pearson Online Academy. Ms. Krueger earned a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign and an MA from the University at Buffalo. She also has her teaching credential from the University of California, Irvine. Ms. Krueger shares her story below.
“I am passionate about history and geography and love learning and discussing these topics with students. I enjoy helping struggling students understand something that is difficult or learn new skills. Pearson Online Academy students can learn at their own pace and participate in class, or they can listen to lesson recordings, which can boost their confidence. Also, this school community is so special because the teachers and staff are dedicated to student achievement.”
When Ms. Krueger is not teaching, she enjoys reading, traveling, watching movies, running, and swimming. She also loves to volunteer in her community as a Girl Scout leader.
I love that we can offer students lots of flexibility to learn and grow.
— Ms. Krueger
Ms. Delp is an elementary school teacher at Pearson Online Academy. She has a bachelor of arts degree in communication and a master of arts in teaching. She has been teaching at Pearson Online Academy since 2013. She shares her teaching journey below:
“I became a teacher because I worked at a magazine company out of college and realized that sitting at a desk was not for me and that I wanted a more rewarding job. I love kids and making a difference as much as I can!
The benefit of teaching at an online school is that it is flexible for everyone involved and is such a unique learning experience that we can differentiate between individual students’ needs. Because we can help students on an individual level and allow them to work at their own pace to some degree, they receive a better overall education.
The families are all so unique and excited about being in this type of learning environment. If there was one thing that I would tell a prospective parent as they are making the decision to enroll at Pearson Online Academy, I’d say, do it! It never hurts to try something new and different to see if it is a good fit for your family.”
Ms. Delp enjoys spending time with her two boys and two Pomeranians. She also loves traveling, reading, learning new things, shopping, and cooking.
I love meeting families and kids from all over and hearing everyone’s unique story!
— Ms. Delp
Ms. Schaffer is a math teacher at Pearson Online Academy. She started her teaching career in 2009 and joined Pearson Online Academy in 2014. Ms. Schaffer holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California Los Angeles and a master’s degree in education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She shares her story below.
“I became a teacher because I love to teach and help students learn math. I have served as a middle school teacher and a high school math teacher, an instructional coach, a new teacher mentor to other math teachers, and a teacher for college students who were working on getting their elementary teaching degrees. The benefit of teaching at an online school is that I get to spend personal time with each student and family. I also get to help tailor my math class to meet the needs of my students, and that allows so much learning to happen!
Getting an education at Pearson Online Academy helps students to reach their full potential and to get the most out of their coursework. There is an emphasis on communication, which is vital to our students’ futures. Because our students come from such different places and situations all over the world, communication really brings everyone together in a special way. The online community provides students who might otherwise be shy in a bricks-and-mortar classroom with the opportunity to socialize.”
When she’s not teaching, Ms. Schaffer enjoys spending time with her husband and their one-year-old child, and traveling to Pennsylvania to visit family. She lives in Oahu, Hawaii, where she often goes to the beach, swimming, and out to eat.
I love teaching at Pearson Online Academy because of the students and families I get to meet from all over the world. There is such variety in the reasons that bring our students to online learning.
— Ms. Schaffer
Ms. Schnorr is an elementary, middle, and high school Spanish teacher at Pearson Online Academy. She started her teaching career in 2010 and joined Pearson Online Academy in 2016. Ms. Schnorr holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Duquesne University. She shares her story below.
"I initially knew I wanted to become a teacher when I was helping my sister set up her first classroom at the same time that I was beginning college. She would come home with all these cute stories of her students and I just knew that I wanted to follow in her footsteps.
With this being my first year teaching at Pearson Online Academy, I love the support that I have received from my wonderful co-workers and manager. Everyone is so kind and friendly. I love the positive atmosphere that I have felt working here thus far!
The benefit of teaching online is the fact that I can focus on working with my students on enrichment activities to help them succeed instead of lecturing in a classroom for 40 minutes. With online school, students are actively engaged. Pearson Online Academy prepares students for a bright future by personalizing the work for each student. Teachers here really get to know each student that they are teaching and work to help that one individual succeed in the best way possible."
When Ms. Schnorr isn’t teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family, practicing yoga, and walking her dog in the park.
The positive environment and success that students have here at Pearson Online Academy make it so special! Families love the flexibility and individualization of online education.
— Ms. Schnorr
Ms. Sheinberg is an English high school teacher at Pearson Online Academy. She started her teaching career more than 29 years ago and joined Pearson Online Academy in 2011. Ms. Sheinberg received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. In addition, she earned her secondary teaching credential from the University of Houston and a master of arts degree in English from Middlebury College Bread Loaf School of English in Middleburg, Vermont. Ms. Sheinburg shares her story below.
“One of the most fantastic summers I ever spent in high school was the summer before my 10th grade year. I was given the opportunity to volunteer with the Head Start program in Houston. When I arrived, I was asked to teach the high school students science and theatre. I was only fifteen and I had to teach students who were either older or the same age as me. That summer was amazing! I loved teaching from that moment, as I found working with students so rewarding and really just so much fun!
The benefit of teaching at Pearson Online Academy is that the students reside in the United States and throughout the world. Each student brings a unique perspective, and with that perspective, history of their culture. Our students gain valuable collaborative experiences during LiveLesson® sessions, discussions threads on message boards, in their lessons, and through the extra-curricular activities offered. It is truly a global experience!
One thing I would tell a prospective parent as he or she is making the decision to enroll a child in Pearson Online Academy is that our school is goal oriented and provides a nurturing environment. It will challenge and engage your student academically and provide social opportunities to prepare your student to meet the challenges of the next step in his or her academic journey. The teachers strive to provide amazing synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for learning. Each teacher and administrator is dedicated to the success of your child and providing an exceptional learning experience. The curriculum provides the necessary tools to ensure that the the student is prepared for college, professional opportunities, or the work world when he or she graduates.”
In Ms. Sheinberg’s spare time, she enjoys going to the movies, watching basketball and classic films such as Citizen Kane, and reading non-fiction. She also loves to go out to dinner with family and friends as often as possible.
I love the flexibility the students and teachers have to provide individual attention to each student—I am not tied to only one hour a day to connect with the student! And, I love the fact that I teach students from all over the world! How amazing is that!
— Ms. Sheinberg
Ms. Spencer is an elementary school teacher at Pearson Online Academy. She started her teaching career in 1999 and has been with Pearson Online Academy since 2017. Ms. Spencer holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. She received her National Board Certificate in December 2006.
She shares her story below:
“I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in children’s lives. It was my third-grade teacher who inspired me to become a teacher! Teaching is my passion, not just a job. Building relationships with my students and watching their love for learning grow is very rewarding for me.
I love working at Pearson Online Academy and getting to know my students and families from all over the world. I am proud and honored to be working for a school that allows students to pursue their dreams and find success! Our staff here is amazing and top-notch! I enjoy getting to know my students on a personal level and helping them reach their personal and educational goals. I enjoy working with students one-on-one in my LiveLesson room, in small groups, or during full-class sessions to ensure that all of them are learning at their own pace and that they are successful!”
In her spare time, Ms. Spencer enjoys spending time with her family, watching her children play sports, exercising, and traveling.
My favorite part about working at Pearson Online Academy is having the opportunity to really get to know my students and helping them reach their academic goals and have success.
— Ms. Spencer
Mr. Stanwood is a high school science teacher at Pearson Online Academy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from Florida Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in biology from Rutgers University. Mr. Stanwood became a teacher in 2003 and joined Pearson Online Academy in 2011. He shares his story below.
“I started working on a fishing vessel out of Dutch Harbor as a biologist. Afterwards, I moved onto an assignment with AmeriCorps, where I sampled and reported on stream health. I also performed environmental outreach in schools and for other community groups. I really enjoyed the environmental outreach, so I gave teaching a try.
The benefit of teaching at Pearson Online Academy is that students are able to own their learning, and are accountable for their decisions to study and work hard. It is inspiring to teach these students and it helps bring out the best in me.
Our amazing student body is what makes the school community so special. We have students from all over the world and from many walks of life sharing their experiences in our many clubs and activities. The depth and diversity of these interactions is a remarkable asset when it comes to sharing information and ideas with our Connections Academy global village.”
When Mr. Stanwood is not teaching, he enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and camping with his wife. He and his wife are also both regular year-round surfers and enjoy practicing yoga.
I love Pearson Online Academy because it allows me to teach a variety of subjects to motivate and inspire leaders of tomorrow. Our students are amazing and motivated, and this makes teaching an absolute dream!
— Mr. Stanwood
Ms. Stradley is an elementary school teacher at Pearson Online Academy. She started her teaching career in 2005 and joined Connections Academy in 2012, Pearson Online Academy in 2016. Ms. Stradley holds a bachelor's degree in communication and elementary education, and a master's degree in exceptional student education from the University of South Florida.
Learn more about Ms. Stradley's online teaching experience below:
"I wanted to become a teacher because I have a love for learning and wanted to share that same passion for education with others. At Pearson Online Academy, I love working with and getting to know our diverse families from all over the world. I also enjoy discovering more about our wonderful educational program that helps many students develop unique skills.
There are many benefits to teaching at an online school. One of the benefits is that you get to build a more sincere relationship with your students' entire family. At Pearson Online Academy, everyone is interested in everyone's "story," and we strive to bring our families closer together."
In her spare time, Ms. Stradley likes to spend time with her family, go to the beach, and attend baseball games.
Pearson Online Academy is an amazing educational option.
— Ms. Stradley
Mr. Trapani is a middle school science and art teacher at Pearson Online Academy. He began his teaching career in 2001 and joined Pearson Online Academy in 2016. Previously, Mr. Trapani was a teacher at Connections Academy. He holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Boston College, and a master's degree in science education from University of Central Florida.
When asked about his teaching career and the benefits of online school, Mr. Trapani said:
"For as long as I remember, I've been exploring the world around me—asking questions and gathering the knowledge and tools necessary to get the answers. My interest was always in science and nature, so I pursued my degree in biology and environmental science at Boston College. There, I studied the behavior of white-tailed deer, coyote, and shorebirds. When I graduated from college, I never stopped learning and exploring the world around me. I wanted to inspire children to become life-long learners like myself and help develop the creative minds we need to solve tomorrow's problems. The way I see it, teaching is one of the best ways I have to invest in our future.
Online teaching allows me to treat students as the individuals they are meant to be. Whether it is one-on-one in a Livelesson® session, a webmail, or a phone call, I have more ways to communicate with my students than in the traditional school setting. Not only do I have more flexibility with communication, but I can also give students more flexibility with their assignments and adjust their pace according to their personal and academic needs.
What I love about working at Pearson Online Academy is having the opportunity to work with such bright, curious minds who have a passion for learning and exploring. I enjoy challenging students and being challenged because it pushes me to become a better teacher and see the world from a different perspective. The curriculum at Pearson Online Academy is challenging and it teaches students to develop many of the skills needed in the 21st century. Online students have more exposure to working with technology than most brick-and-mortar programs. They become more skilled using computer software, e-mail, researching online, and collaborating with students and teachers in virtual settings. Also, being in a program with many international students, the children have exposure to different cultures and viewpoints similar to what they will experience in the workforce.
Pearson Online Academy has a highly-qualified staff who truly cares about the success of their students and gives them the personal attention and resources needed to help reach their full potential."
Outside of school, Mr. Trapani is the director of Orlando Permaculture, a non-profit sustainability group in central Florida. He helps educate community members on how to understand and cooperate with nature in order to design resilient communities that increase abundance while enriching the lives of all plants, animals, and humans within them.
At Pearson Online Academy, I get to teach a global community of learners who will one day make a difference all over the world.
— Mr. Trapani
Ms. Valentine is a middle school advisory teacher at Pearson Online Academy. She started her teaching career when she joined Pearson Online Academy in 2007. Ms. Valentine holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in middle school education from Xavier University.
When asked about why she chose to become a teacher, she said the following:
“From the time I was little, I was propping my baby dolls up at the little school desk in front of the chalkboard that we had in our basement. I have always wanted to be a teacher and would ask my teachers for extra books or worksheets so I could go home and teach my brother and sister, as well as my dolls. Wanting everyone to reach their fullest potential has always come naturally to me.
The benefit of teaching at an online school like Pearson Online Academy is that we teachers can individualize each student’s instruction. Not all students fit into the same mold. As a teacher at Pearson Online Academy, I relish the opportunity to help those students outside of the common mold so they can find their passion and their place in education.”
In Ms. Valentine’s spare time, she loves going on adventures with her husband, including skydiving, white-water rafting, skiing, and traveling. She also enjoys bike riding, swimming, and visiting the Cincinnati Children’s Museum and the Cincinnati Zoo, reading, and running.
My favorite part about teaching at Pearson Online Academy is ‘meeting’ students and families from all over the world. Learning about different cultures, customs, and languages has influenced the way I teach.
— Ms. Valentine
Ms. Van Dyken is a high school math teacher at Pearson Online Academy. She started her teaching career more than thirty years ago and joined Pearson Online Academy in 2011. Ms. Van Dyken holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Montana State University and a master’s degree in secondary education from Regis University.
When asked about her experiences with Pearson Online Academy and teaching, Ms. Van Dyken said the following:
“I became a teacher because I enjoy mathematics and found that I could explain the material in a way that makes sense. Teaching mathematics is my way of serving society and giving to others. When students understand math, they are unhindered and better prepared to pursue their dreams.
Teaching at an online school allows me to focus on the individual student. The Pearson Online Academy graduates will have the foundational skills to succeed in college. In addition, the online environment teaches students to become self-starters, while giving them the technology skills to excel in the 21st century.
There are various things that make the Pearson Online Academy school community so special. For example, the staff feels like a family. We know each other’s interests, share celebrations, and feel each other’s pain and struggles. Additionally, students in an online environment often open up and share more about themselves than they would in a traditional bricks-and-mortar school. Therefore, I often find that I forge closer relationships with my online students than I did in a traditional school. Students in an online environment also have more time to build closer one-to-one relationships with their teachers.”
When Ms. Van Dyken is not teaching at Pearson Online Academy, she is working on a family farm or in her garden, or spinning wool to knit socks.
I love the variety and excitement that results from our students’ living in so many different countries and participating in a variety of activities. It is a new adventure every single day.
— Ms. Van Dyken