Angela is the mother of eight children and is in her 18th year of homeschooling. She has graduated two children. Her oldest daughter graduated Saint Vincent College in May 2022 and this fall began law school at George Mason University. Her second daughter is currently a sophomore at Saint Vincent. Angela continues homeschooling her six younger children in kindergarten, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 10th, and 12th grades. Angela has many years of experience teaching one of her children with special needs, including autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Angela, her husband, Daniele (Mathematics department chair, Saint Vincent College), and her children are long-time members of St. Paul’s parish in Greensburg where she volunteers as a Faith Formation catechist. In her free time, Angela enjoys reading and crocheting.
Allie Arendas, Head of Lower School, Valley School of Ligonier
Allie Arendas has been the Head of Lower School at Valley School of Ligonier since 2016, as well as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Education Department at St. Vinent College since 2010. Prior to her role in Independent School education, Allie has served as the administrator of the online learning consortium at the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit, an Instructional Technology Analyist for the Diocese of Greensburg Schools, and an elementary teacher in both Catholic and public schools. She holds certifications in Elementary Education, Instructional Technology Specialist PK-12, and Administrative PK-12. Allie also serves on the Commission for Accreditation for the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS).
As Director of the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve at Saint Vincent College, Angela is responsible for strategic partnerships, program development and outreach, and Reserve landscape and infrastructure. She has been engaged in environmental education for more than 22 years where she has developed and implemented an array of outreach programs in environmental science for Saint Vincent College and led the development of the 50-acre nature reserve. Angela integrates her love of nature, science education, and conservation into the mission and outreach of Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve and Saint Vincent College. She has extensive experience in conservation biology and education, conducting research at Powdermill Nature Reserve’s Biological Field Station, assisting in watershed restoration projects, and environment and ecology curriculum development and integration. Angela has served as Board Secretary for the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators, and was recognized as Outstanding Environmental Educator of the Year by the organization in 2004 and is the recipient of the 2015 Saint Vincent College Projectenmacher Award. She serves on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Advisory Council for Environment and Ecology. She holds a Master of Science in environmental science and management from Duquesne University, a Bachelor of Science in biology from Seton Hill University, and a certification in Secondary Biology Education from Saint Vincent College.
Dr. Jared Burns, Associate Professor, Mathematics
Dr. Jared Burns is an Associate Professor and the Coordinator for Department of Mathematics, Actuary Science, and Statistics at Seton Hill University. Dr. Burns (better known as Dr. B to his students) earned his PhD in Mathematics answering questions related to the typical movement of particles in the universe. Looking at particle movement as derivatives of certain random functions, he was able to develop research into the common theoretical processes of acceleration and velocity. Dr. B promotes mathematics as the "study of the patterns of the universe", and encourages excellence in Mathematics, Statistics, and Data Science. As a follower of Christ, Dr. B enjoys serving in church, the community, various ministries, and helping with nonprofits - which are his favorite sources of enjoyment during free time. He is also involved in the Martial Arts (having practiced since 13 years of age, holding the rank of 3rd degree blackbelt). Other interests include: Art, Ancient History, Science, Theology, Philosophy, science fiction (he is a fan of superhero and comic book fiction), and general reading.
Shellie Grooms, Senior Program Associate, Fred Rogers Institute
As Senior Program Associate at the Fred Rogers Institute, Shellie Grooms uses her strong belief in the value of relationships to engage with educators and other helpers of children and families around the practices and ideas of Fred Rogers. Through the projects and initiatives of the Fred Rogers Institute, Shellie uses her experience as an educator and helper to support others through various initiatives including Simple Interactions, Educators’ Neighborhood, and others. Prior to her work at the Fred Rogers Institute, Shellie worked for Pittsburgh Public Schools Early Childhood program, first as an Early Head Start teacher working specifically with teen parents and their young children, and, most recently, as a Pre K teacher at Pittsburgh Beechwood. Shellie also serves as adjunct faculty for Carlow University. She received an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from California University of Pennsylvania, where she also received her B.S. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. Additionally, Shellie received her English as a Second Language certificate from Point Park University and has an extensive background in Social Emotional Learning. Shellie is an animal lover and enjoys spending her downtime with her husband and their pets. She also loves baking, reading, traveling and spending time with her friends.
Matt Gault, Director of Education, Fort Ligonier
Matt Gault was named Fort Ligonier’s Director of Education in May 2020 after serving as the Assistant Director of Education for more than six years. Matt’s career began at Fort Ligonier as a college intern while enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Upon graduation, he was selected to join Fort Ligonier’s Education Department. Matt leads the development and production of Fort Ligonier’s educational initiatives including the new, exciting virtual field trips and educational programs that have reached students as far away as Hawaii, California, and Utah, and visitors from across the globe. The team at Fort Ligonier strives to create an experience where history comes to life in an exciting and educational way!
Dr. Jessica Harvey, Associate Professor, Communication
Dr. Harvey’s research focuses on media literacy in educational and family environments. Her work with Dr. Tracy McNelly, Associate Professor of Education, investigates teachers’ and preservice teachers’ experiences incorporating media literacy education within their curriculum. Additionally, Dr. Harvey’s work explores how families use media to talk about issues related to gender, race, and racism. She works closely with communication students in the department who are interested in conducting social scientific research and presenting their research at the Eastern Communication Association conference.
David Kirkland, Upper School Division Head, Valley School of Ligonier
David Kirkland is the Upper School Division Head for Valley School of Ligonier, and in this role, he works with the students, teachers and families in grades 5-8. He has served as the Upper School Division Head since 2014, and before this, he taught mathematics to grades 6-9 for 19 years at Valley School. David presently serves as a member of the Advisory Council for Professional Development for the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS). He is a graduate of St. Vincent College where he received his B.A. in Mathematics and minored in Secondary Education. David earned his Master’s of Science in Secondary Education with a concentration in Supervision and Administration from Duquesne University. From 1999-2014, David served as the President and Vice-President of the Pittsburgh Area Independent School Teachers’ Association and partnered with colleagues from 13 independent schools to imagine, create and promote professional development opportunities for all of the independent schools in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Dr. Michael Krom, Professor, Philosophy
Dr. Michael P. Krom became a member of the Saint Vincent College faculty in 2007 and currently serves as chair of the philosophy department, director of Benedictine Leadership Studies, as well as director of the Faith and Reason Summer Program. He recently authored a second book, Justice and Charity: An Introduction to Aquinas's Moral, Economic, and Political Thought. He has delivered over 40 professional papers, including invited talks at such institutions as Belmont Abbey College, Franciscan University of Steubenville, and University of Dallas. In addition, he was a curriculum coordinator for Christ the Divine Teacher School (Latrobe, PA), helping to oversee its transition to a classical grammar as well as logic school. He and his wife, Jessica, homeschooled from 2005 to 2019, and were also involved in teaching and directing two day/week hybrid programs for homeschoolers.
Dr. Tracy McNelly, Associate Professor, Education
Dr. Tracy McNelly is an Associate Professor in the Education Department at Saint Vincent College where she teaches courses in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Prior to entering her career in higher education, she taught secondary English and journalism and served as a reading specialist in a high school setting. Following her teaching career, she began a career in school administration where she held the positions of junior and senior high assistant principal, Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Director of Secondary Education, and Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education. Her areas of research include media literacy, PK-12 literacy, and the impact of technology on literacy skills. Dr. McNelly has numerous scholarly publications related to her research interests and she has presented at both the national, state and local levels.
Genevieve Peterson, Director & Founder, A One-Room Schoolhouse
Genevieve Peterson is the founder and Education Director for A One-Room Schoolhouse. She leads the group in program development, goal setting, evaluation, and fundraising efforts. As Education Director she oversees teaching, curriculum, classroom management, and assessment. Genevieve brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team as an educational professional for over 20 years. She holds degrees and credentials in elementary education, math education, and special education along with national certification as a school psychologist. Outside of A One-Room Schoolhouse, she has spent time working on humanitarian efforts in Nepal, teaching Sunday school, and volunteering with her church youth group. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and four children exploring the great outdoors, running long-distance races, and eating her husband’s culinary creations.
Dr. Justin Petrovich, Assistant Professor, Business Administration
Dr. Justin Petrovich is an Assistant Professor of Statistics and Business Analytics in the Department of Business Administration at Saint Vincent College. His research primarily concerns developing and applying methods for Functional Data Analysis (FDA) and he has applied these methods to topics in a broad range of disciplines – from economics to psychological counseling to pediatrics. However, he is also interested in topics related to statistics education, the relationship between statistics and theology, and the philosophy of statistics. At Saint Vincent College he teaches a variety of undergraduate courses in business statistics, econometrics, business data analytics, and data science. While his 1-year-old son is still too young for school, he is very interested in the benefits of homeschooling.
Susan Richman, Home Education Program Evaluator
Susan Richman is a long-term Home Education Program Evaluator in Pennsylvania, serving families in PA since the homeschool law was first passed back in 1988. She has also homeschooled all of her own four children K-12, and she and her husband Howard Richman co-authored a number of books on homeschooling: The Three R's at Home, Writing from Home, and Math by Kids!, and the 32-page bookletsGuide to the Pennsylvania Homeschool Lawand Guide to the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Diploma. She now also is the overall Program Director and AP Coordinator for their Pennsylvania Homeschoolers AP Onlineprogram, which serves over 850 students all over the nation with focused Advanced Placement exam preparation classes and Honors classes, and Summer Enrichment Online classes. Susan leads a very popular AP US History class through this program, along with a summer 3-week class called Epidemics: Their Impact on US History. Susan and her husband also published a quarterly homeschooling newsletter in Pennsylvania for 25 years, and they both serve on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency, a diploma program that is fully recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education under state law. She's a firm believer that the annual homeschool evaluation process can actually be a really meaningful way to gain perspective and support and encouragement as we pursue the journey of teaching our children at home. Susan and her husband live on a 135-acre farm outside of Kittanning PA, where they raise almost all of the vegetables they eat all year, and where Susan loves to forage for wild mushrooms. They also enjoy their small seasonal business of making maple syrup, and calling square dances for local groups of homeschoolers and students from St. Vincent College. They are also proud to have a homeschool grad grandson who's now in his 2nd year at St. Vincent College!
Dr. Aaron Sams, Assistant Professor, Education
Dr. Aaron Sams has been an educator since 2000. In 2009 he was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching while teaching Chemistry in Woodland Park, CO and serving as co-chair of the Colorado State Science Standards Revision Committee. Aaron has co-authored seven books on the Flipped Classroom concept and serves as an advisor to TED-Ed. He is an internationally recognized education keynote speaker and has trained thousands of teachers, administrators, and professors to integrate new technology with sound pedagogy. His research interests include STEM education policy, ethical uses of educational technology, philosophy of education, Humanities-informed STEM education, and the interface between faith and science. Aaron is a lifelong learner, reader, maker, explorer and former homeschool parent.