HCS Academy

Quality Courses, Biblical Worldview

Please visit the Academies page for important class registration dates and eligibility requirements.

HCS Academy catalog Fall 2024
Click on the image above to view the online catalog with option to download as a pdf document.

Location (2023-2024): New Life Presbyterian Church, 5333 Lake Murray Blvd., La Mesa, CA 91942 (Map)

Meets: Weekly on Mondays, 9:00am - 3:30pm

Lead: Tricia Brenner

Weekly Drop-off Classes for Middle and High school grades

Once a week a la carte Core Classes

Classes are taught by Independently contracted Passionate Teachers

Reasonable Pricing set by instructors and vary per Class

Multiple Classes in One Location

Academy Students in hallway

Meet the 2024-2025 HCS Academy Instructors

Julie Anderson

5th-6th Grade Writing
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I have a master’s degree in education and taught second grade as a credentialed teacher for four years before my husband and I started a family. I began teaching from home when our oldest entered first grade and graduated the last of our six children in 2020. During those 27 years, I enjoyed teaching a variety of classes to homeschoolers at HCS. I appreciate God’s gift of words and stories, and I see each child as special and worth pouring into.
Inspired by several of my own “struggling learners,” I strive to make classes that are memorable and fun utilizing games and visuals.

Mary Blunck

Intro to Literature, American Literature, British Literature
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In addition to homeschooling my own children for fourteen years, I’ve brought my love of writing and literature to many students through high school literature classes (continually since 2014) and upper elementary writing classes (2010-2021).

I’m passionately enthusiastic about literature, and I love sharing that passion with my students. It’s wonderful to see my students’ minds open up as they discover a symbolic meaning or notice a new theme emerging in a high-quality literary work.

Throughout my own education, I immersed myself in a variety of writing classes, savoring creative writing and dabbling in journalism. My high school AP English teacher went on to create a popular writing and literature program that is still used widely throughout the world. I don’t use that program (it’s quite expensive) but I use many of her theories. In college, I ended up moving in a different direction, but my first (academic) love will always be the written word.
academy teacher portrait

Audrey Callahan

Pre-Algebra
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My penchant for math began at an early age, and from 7th to 12th grade, I took honors math classes, beginning with pre-algebra. I entered college pursuing a business degree with a concentration in accounting. As a result, I took several math and math-related courses until I changed majors during my junior year. I hold a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences Degree in Public Administration from SDSU and worked in the payroll department of several organizations, including UCSD and the County of San Diego, totaling over seven years of payroll experience until I stepped out of the workforce to start a family.

My teaching experience began in college when I served as a teacher assistant at SDSU and as a volunteer afterschool teacher’s aide for Andrew Jackson Elementary School in San Diego and Robert L. Mueller Elementary School in Chula Vista. In 2007, I was again blessed to teach, this time as a homeschool teacher, when my daughter began kindergarten. In addition, I have also had the privilege of teaching and co-teaching several classes at Heritage Christian School’s Bonita and East County class days since 2012. My goal for this class is for each student to build a strong foundation in math, as well as develop an appreciation for its everyday application in our life.
Beatriz Ceballos portrait

Beatriz Ceballos

Spanish 1, Spanish 2
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I was born and raised in Italy until the age of 19, when I moved to the United States. Growing up, I was exposed to Spanish through my mother of Mexican-American
descent and also by listening to Spanish Christian songs to the preaching of visiting missionaries. It wasn’t until I enrolled in Southwestern College that I took my first Spanish courses for native speakers. I hold a B.A. in Linguistics (SDSU), a Certificate of Applied
Linguistics and ESL from the SDSU American Language Institute, and an
M.A. in Spanish with emphasis on Linguistics (SDSU). While taking graduate courses, I taught four semesters of Spanish 101 and 102 at SDSU as a Teaching Associate – a total of eight classes. The year I graduated I also became a mother for the first time and I chose to stay home and take care of my family.

Since I began homeschooling in 2015, I have taught introductory
Spanish at Bonita Class Day and Spanish 1 – in 2020 to a small group of HCS high schoolers, and in 2021 at HCS Academy for the first time. Since I had to learn English and Spanish simultaneously, I understand the struggle my students face in acquiring a new language. After living in Southern California for over 27 years, taking many Spanish courses in college, and making many
language mistakes (and learning from them), I am now often told that I sound like a native speaker.

Learning Spanish can create opportunities to get to know your neighbors, understand their way of thinking, and share God’s love to them. I hope that students will take this class with a true desire to learn
Spanish and use it in life for the honor and glory of God.
academy teacher portrait

Kelly Cooper

Physics, General Science
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Our family has been partnering with Heritage Christian school for the last 10 years of our 11-year homeschool journey and I grew up HATING science! My first memories of public school were actually during science class…I sat in front of a 2nd grade science textbook looking at a picture of a tadpole and an arrow pointing to a picture of a frog. I remember thinking “The first picture turning into the second picture makes no sense” and I tuned out anything science-related until High School, when I had the opportunity to take Chemistry and Physics classes from a Christian teacher who made science come to life through experiments and hands-on activities.

During those 2 years, the Holy Spirit showed me that the Creator of tadpoles, frogs, and anything else science-related was intentional and fully by His design. I went on to attend Central Missouri State University and double major in Physics (with an astrophysics emphasis) and Aviation Technology (earning my multi-engine, instrument, and commercial licenses) and I continue falling in love with our Creator and His creation every day. I’m excited to bring my love for Him, my love for His scientific design, and hands-on activities & experiments into the Academy science classes this school year and discover science from the Creator’s perspective with your student!
Orlando Duarte portrait

Orlando Duarte

World History, US History, Government/Economics (Libertas)
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I have been in Christian school education for over eighteen years. My educational background consists of a Bachelor of Science in History
Education and an M.A. in history. As a teacher, I have taught a multitude of history courses including but not limited to World History, US History, AP World History, AP US History, US
Government, AP US Government and Politics. Over the years, I have developed a curriculum which seeks to engage all students and develop a passion for the study of history. 

Psalm 78:1-7, tells us to teach future generations the past, in order, “… that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments.” My desire is to teach history through a biblical
worldview so that students may continue to set their hope in Christ
and all He has done for us along with becoming lifelong learners who recognize what has made the United States exceptional to better engage our current culture.
academy teacher portrait

Beth Fox

Government/Economics
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Born into a family of first generation immigrants, who have embodied the old fashion belief in discovering the American Dream, I have had the first hand experience of seeing the life changing blessings of living in this country. I have a deep love of people, history and culture. As a college student majoring in Counseling Psychology and Child Development, all of my elective courses tended to be filled with history classes (many people thought I was majoring in History instead of Psychology!) and I was thankful for the opportunity to work as the Teaching Assistant for the Head of the History Department. I have so many fond memories of listening & joining in on some really incredible conversations surrounding the founding and early development of our Country. It really impacted my love of learning to think critically and examine different views thoroughly.

I have since had the opportunity to work with a variety of ages within the Public as well as Private School Systems, in both traditional and special education classes. I have also been homeschooling my own children for the past 13 years. I am an enthusiastic learner as well as teacher. I love hearing different perspectives, discussing views and challenging myself to grow in knowledge and understanding of whatever subject I am currently studying. I plan on bringing this joy of learning and enthusiasm to this class.
James Harper portrait

James Harper

Spanish 1, Spanish 2
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I was born and raised in Spain until the age of 19, when I moved to the United States. Therefore, I have been speaking Spanish my whole life! From all my years in public Spanish schools, jobs I had, and my friends, everything once I stepped outside my home was Spanish. At the age of 19, I moved to New York City to work for a Ministry called “Metro World Child.” There I served within the underprivileged neighborhoods teaching children about God, and a lot of times in Spanish!

I was on staff there for over 11 years before moving to San Diego, where I became a children’s pastor in March of 2020. During the covid lockdowns, I started tutoring/teaching Spanish to some homeschooling families from our church. This grew into other families asking me to teach their children Spanish as well, and slowly I began to take on more families of different ages. I have now been teaching Spanish for a little over 3 years.

I am grateful for this opportunity and so excited to teach your children Spanish in a fun, creative and understanding way. I am a children’s pastor at heart, so this class will be fun, interactive, and wholesome!
academy teacher portrait

Christy Henry

World Literature
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I have been homeschooling my six children for 17 years, and have graduated two kids with four more to go. During my years with Heritage I have taught British Lit, World Lit, World History, Personal Finance, and Drama Games at Class Day. I love the rich discussions and sense of discovery that come with teaching literature in group classes. I also love helping high school students find joy in their learning, and incorporating games and group activities into my classes.

Prior to having children and homeschooling, I earned a BA in Psychology/Linguistics at USC and an MA in Education with an emphasis in ESL at CSUF. I taught ESL in Cambodia and Japan and at Hope International University in Fullerton. I also taught College Composition and Reading at Grossmont College.
Teri Myers

Teri Myers

Middle School Writing Nonfiction
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As a graduate of the University of Oregon, I am thankful to be following my passion as an educator within the community of home education, applying principles I believe in. Thus, my husband and I homeschooled our four (now adult) children, and since 2004. I have been teaching and tutoring other high school (Introduction to Literature, American, British, World Literature, and Composition) and junior high students (literature and composition) either in my home, over Zoom, through Heritage Christian School’s class day, or at the HCS Academy.

I truly love equipping students. The backbone of my instruction centers around helping students to deeply engage with selected reading material and then respond in thought provoking ways while measuring the words of the text against the wisdom of the Bible. Engagement with the material occurs by way of context, annotation, and Socratic discussion. Responding to the material involves written work that requires organization, editing, and revision with an aim toward producing excellent written work. Additionally, my classes allocate time to building proficiency in the areas of style, writing mechanics, and critical thinking. My goal has always been to encourage improvement step-by-step while equipping middle school and high school students to shine brightly amidst the rigors of their calling.
Jennifer Potra portrait

Jennifer Potra

Physical Science
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Science has been my favorite subject for as long as I can remember. I was a little child with aspirations to be an astronaut. After high school, I worked in healthcare. My career was owning and operating long term care facilities. My family and I moved to San Diego 14 years ago where I semi-retired to homeschool my daughters. I have had the blessing to teach through Heritage for over 3 years. My goal is to challenge each student and cultivate a love and appreciation for God’s creation through science. I am a dedicated, resourceful and goal-driven educator. I have a solid commitment to the academic growth and development of every child. I pray that each student understands that I strive to create a classroom atmosphere that is stimulating and encouraging to students.
LaChrisha Randle portrait

La Chrisha Randle

Middle School World History/English
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I am the owner of Classical Integrated Courses and have been a homeschool teacher for the last 23 years. I began by homeschooling my own children, 3 boys who are now 25, 27, and 29, from kindergarten through high school graduation. During their homeschooling years, I would hold classes to provide a classroom environment for my children while controlling curriculum choice. Once they all graduated, I continued teaching individual classes for other homeschool families as well as providing full-day instruction for children in all subjects in place of their working parents.

Within these 23 years, I have taught writing, government-econ, grammar, history, and literature at several charter school class days and run large co-ops for other families. I now work as a teaching vendor providing classes at organized class day sites around San Diego. I teach the writing process using IEW, Lost Tools of Writing, Elegant Essay, and Teaching the Classics curriculums. I am a registered writing instructor with the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). I also teach integrated history, literature, and writing classes to middle and high school students, British Literature, and a government/economics class. Instead of returning to give myself homeschool advice on the days when quitting seemed to be the best option, which of course is not possible, I enjoy helping those in the trenches today.
Vicki Stormoen portrait

Vicki Stormoen

American Literature
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I have been homeschooling our nine children for 30 years now with another two years to go. In 2015, I opened Stormoen Classes and began teaching literature and writing classes out of my home. I was also a tutor for Classical Conversations. My goal in teaching is to share my passion and love for literature with the next generation and challenge them to think about what they are reading through the lens of scripture. I also want to ensure students leave my classes with a solid understanding of the process of writing to set them up for success in whatever post-high school path they choose.
academy teacher portrait

Cora Sykes

Middle School Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry
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I have been in Christian Education since fall 1988. I graduated from Geneva College, a private Christian university in Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. I earned my Masters in Education: Curriculum Instruction & Technology in 2005 from Grand Canyon University.

In my 18 years of classroom experience, I have taught every grade level (pre-K-12th), ran summer camps and a computer lab, and served in administration. When my son graduates this spring, I’ll have 18 years of homeschool experience. Our homeschool adventure began due to the special educational needs of my children.

I have taught co-op classes for Heritage Christian School, Christian Family Schools Mira Mesa Clairemont, and San Diego Christian Homeschools. My focus these last few years have been teaching middle school math/consumer math, French 1 & 2, Essay and Research Paper writing, Psychology, middle school literature, and basic/advanced sewing. Being part of the Heritage family has been such a blessing. I am looking forward to being a part of your child’s education.
Glen Sykes portrait

Glen Sykes

Biology, Intro to Literature, World Literature, British Literature
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My wife and I have been homeschooling since 2009. Our son will be in the 12th grade for the 2024-25 HCS school year. I have been teaching since 1986. have taught science (biology, life science, earth science, physical science, and marine biology) in a classroom setting for 10 years and in the homeschool setting since 2010. All my sciences classes have been lab oriented classes with many being offered as college prep or honors classes. In addition to teaching science, I have taught math through Algebra 2 and various Literature classes (Fundamentals, American, British, World, and Introduction). I have been the pastor the San Diego Grace Brethren Church in Kearny Mesa since 2005 and also teach classes for CFSMM Class Days in addition to my Academy classes.
academy teacher porait

Renee Wiggins

US History
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I am a mother of nine children and am a veteran homeschooler of 22 years. I have a Bachelor’s degree and professional experience in elementary education, and for the past two years, I have had the privilege to teach 3rd and 4th grade at the HCS Junior Academy. Although much of my experience has been with younger students, I have some experience with older students (both professionally and as a homeschooler). I have a passion for history and am excited to share this passion with the Academy this year. My approach as a teacher is to make history interactive, engaging, and interesting. My goal in teaching history is threefold. First, I want to get my students to experience history as if they were living it. Second, it is to become aware of the countless events that have lasting influences. Finally and most importantly, it is to see God and His work throughout the ages. I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm for history with your young people this year.
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