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OUR SCHOOL

Welcome to Gulf Coast Classical Academy

Our Purpose:

At Gulf Coast Classical Academy, we support Christian families in educating their children to the highest standards.  We equip them with wisdom and virtue to recognize truth, goodness, and beauty in the world.  We promote the transmission of culture- Western Civilization through a Latin-centered, classical, Christian core curriculum. 

What is Classical Education?

In classical education, students study the classics and the classical languages that produced them and the liberal arts:  the best that has been thought and said, and the intellectual skills that equip a student to think critically.  A classical education cultivates wisdom and virtue through the study of Great Books and develops basic critical thinking skills to recognize and defend truth, beauty, and goodness.

Location

The school is located on the campus of Bethel Lutheran Church, which has adopted Gulf Coast Classical Academy as a ministry.

Meet Our Faculty

Dr. Johnson
Dr. Jennifer Johnson
Head of School, 6th Grade Teacher, Classical Studies Teacher

Dr. Johnson has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the College of Education at the University of South Florida. Her doctoral work focused on the use of primary sources and Socratic Seminars in the secondary classroom. Prior to her doctorate, Dr. Johnson earned a Masters in American and Ancient History from USF, a BA in both History and Religion from Palm Beach Atlantic University, and teaching certification from Saint Petersburg College. Her most memorable educational experience was during her undergraduate career when she spent a semester studying Medieval and Renaissance history and literature at Oxford University. Though she loves Florida and being an American, England is her home away from home.

Dr. Johnson has 16 years of teaching experience and has taught almost every grade level from first grade through senior capstone courses at University of South Florida. She gained her years of experience teaching in public, private, and classical schools. She has also won awards for her teaching, as well as has been published in educational journals and presented at state and national education conferences. Prior to joining Gulf Coast Classical, she spent two years homeschooling her own children using the Memoria Press core curriculum while also teaching online.  Dr. Johnson teaches many courses in primary grades and upper school.   Her older children, Andrew (6th grade) and Katie (3nd grade), also attend Gulf Coast. She is thankful to be a part of what God is doing at Gulf Coast and is excited be a part of what she believes is the best model of education for all students—a classical Christian curriculum that emphasizes not only Latin and the great books of Western Civilization, but more importantly, the cultivating of wisdom and virtue.

Mrs. Marisa Godwin, B.A.

Primary Grade Teacher: Elementary Literature & Spelling/Phonics

A love of teaching has always been in the heart of Mrs. Godwin. Her journey into the teaching profession began while fulfilling a volunteer requirement for an education course at the University of Florida. Mrs. Godwin’s talents were quickly noticed by the staff at the elementary school and her volunteer work turned into a part-time college job. She went on to earn a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary and exceptional student education from the University of West Florida.

 

After graduating, Mrs. Godwin worked for five years instructing students with learning and behavioral disabilities at the elementary level. During her time as an exceptional student educator, she sponsored both the student council and the Kiwanis-Kids Club and volunteered to tutor struggling readers after school. As a lifelong animal lover, Mrs. Godwin was thrilled to be able to bring wildlife and conservation programs to the 4th and 5th grade students and to coordinate canine assisted therapy for her students. In addition, she also taught reading and English as a second language privately for four years. Parents value her enthusiasm, attention to detail, and patience.

 

As a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, Mrs. Godwin believes in the importance of cultivating a love for words as it allows for a greater capacity to love God with all of one’s mind. She believes classical Christian education is the best and finds joy in teaching at Gulf Coast Classical Academy. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family and dog, reading, taking courses at Hillsdale College and New Saint Andrews College, kayaking, and gardening.

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Mrs. Danielle Brutsman

Bachelor of Science from Mansfield University, PA.   

Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Carol Eichinger, M.A.

Latin Teacher

Magistra Eichinger holds a Master of Arts Degree from the Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her Masters degree was in English, but she also attained a minor in both education and Latin. Early on she discovered her passion for Latin as so many English words had a Latin base, and English grammar was easily understood after learning the grammar of Latin.

Magistra Eichinger taught English and Latin her entire career. She has traveled abroad to Europe, India, and Asia and brings her experiences to the classroom. In 2004, she moved to Orlando, Florida where she began a Latin program for the Orange County school district.

She retired from full-time teaching in 2015 and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. She began teaching Latin for Gulf Coast Classical Academy in 2018. Latin has always been her educational candy and she has thoroughly enjoyed teaching this marvelous language to students of any age.

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Dr. Eugene Flemm

Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Cincinnati, OH.   

Dr. Flemm teaches Music Appreciation and Piano.   

Mr. James Gray

Certification from the World United Isshinryu Karate Association

Mr. Gray teaches Karate and Physical Education.

James Gray was born and raised in the Tampa Bay area.  He and his lovely wife have a son, Isaac, who runs the Handbells program at Bethel Lutheran Church.  James started his work with children and youth immediately after high school and worked for the PLACE program; an afterschool program in Pasco county.  James also taught the drum line at Land O’ Lakes High School for 3 years after graduating while also working for the YMCA as a Site Director at an elementary school.  After teaching at his alma matter, he was offered a more permanent teaching position as the Drum Line Caption Head at Countryside High School where he taught for 8 years.  The culmination of his drum instructing was his last season’s line earning a Division Championship at the State Marching Finals.  He chose to end his drum instructing to spend more time at home with his wife and son.  Since then, James had started his training in Isshinryu karate to help bond with his son; James quickly fell in love with karate and earned his 2nd degree black belt in 2014. James is currently a competitor in Regional and National Tournaments and also coaches for the Pro Karate Competition team as well as instructing at the dojo since 2012.  James has worked with the youth programs at Bethel Lutheran Church since 2002 either alongside his wife or independently.  James has taught Sunday School for well over a decade in the Jr and Sr Youth classes while also leading and coordinating numerous youth events.

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Pastor Douglas Kirk

Science and Geography Teacher

Pastor Kirk holds a Master of Theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He also has a BA in Zoology and Teaching from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.

While serving as a Pastor, he also taught in private and public schools. He has started two Marine biology curriculums in Florida and the Virgin Islands where he was the chair of the science and math departments.

Pastor Kirk has been a tour leader for Worldstrides Adventures, a large educational group that features worldwide student travel experience. Pastor Kirk has also coached several sports. Although he has retired from the Pastorate after more than 40 years, he now teaches science and biology at Gulf Coast Classical Academy. Pastor Kirk enjoys sharing his passion for studying God’s creation.

Mrs. Dana Maddock, M.A. 

Literature and Composition Teacher

Dana Maddock holds a Master of Arts degree in English from California State University. Her thesis focused on the female Byronic hero in American literature.  She was named Graduate Student of the Year for her work.

Mrs. Maddock has been teaching literature, composition, and rhetoric at the university level for over 20 years. During that time, she assisted in the development of and teaching at two writing centers, was published in a prominent writing journal, and presented on Shakespeare at literary conferences.

Mrs. Maddock also served as the National Manager of Education for the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation’s character development program.  During her tenure there, she traveled throughout the country alongside Medal of Honor recipients presenting lessons in character education to secondary school educators; she was also tasked with the program’s social media, webinars, and curriculum development.

Before joining Gulf Coast Classical, Mrs. Maddock’s most treasured teaching position was that of directing and teaching the Gifted and Talented program for grades 1–6 at a rural elementary school in Idaho. However, nothing surpasses the opportunity of teaching at Gulf Coast Classical Academy, where the beauty and practicality of classical education are taught within the context of Christian faith.

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Mrs. Jessica Reule, M.Ed.

Math, Latin, and Greek Teacher

Mrs. Reule graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Classics and a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  Mrs. Reule has always had a passion for both mathematics and language learning. She initially studied Latin while a math major in college to simply meet a foreign language requirement. However, she quickly fell in love with not only the structure of the language, which felt very comfortable and familiar as a student of math, but with the deep history and rich culture that a study of Latin cannot be separated from.

Mrs. Reule comes to Gulf Coast with 9 years of teaching experience in a range of subjects from Mathematics and Computer Science to Latin and Greek. She is eager to share her love for the classical model, believing that a true classical program reveals the true the good and the beautiful — the best of what is both timeless and timely.

Ms. Jessica Blakley, B.A.

Music Teacher

Primary Grade Enrichment Teacher

Ms. Blakely graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in Music Education and a K-12 Music Teaching certificate for the State of Florida.  She spent two and a half years teaching choir at a magnet middle school before branching off to bring music to different aspects of the community.  Ms. Blakley teaches music classes at Gulf Coast Classical Academy and primary grade enrichment classes. 

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Mrs. Michelle Stille, B.S.

Math Teacher

Michelle Stille graduated from Georgia Tech in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  She holds current Florida teaching certifications in Mathematics grades 6-12, Mathematics grades 5-9, Science grades 5-9, and Exceptional Student Education grades K-12.  

 

Mrs. Stille began working with children as a camp counselor in high school.  She founded and directed a tutoring program for at-risk youth while in college.  After college, she followed her husband’s military aviation career while homeschooling her children and teaching and leading in co-ops and chess club.  She also taught in public school for a short time, and is still an active volunteer there.  One of her favorite duty stations was in rural Florida where her family owned a 12 acre farm.  She is happy to be settled in Palm Harbor now, and three of her younger children attend Gulf Coast Classical Academy.  

Mrs. Christine Heuchan, B.A.

Art Teacher

Christine Heuchan holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from University of South Florida. Prior to earning her degree from USF, she studied four years of psychology with an emphasis in abnormal psychology at Florida State University. After receiving her B.A. she moved to San Diego to work with Broadway group travel arrangements for 4 years and had the opportunity to meet cast and crew members of some of the biggest names in Theatre. Two of her favorite touring groups to work with were Dora the Explorer and Rent.

 

After moving back to her hometown of Clearwater, she helped open the Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach. During this experience, she realized her passion was working with children and later joined the Educator Preparation Institute where she had the opportunity to work with many teachers in all grade levels while completing practicum hours for the program. She also worked as a substitute teacher during this time period for Pinellas County School System.

Christine married her high-school best friend in 2009 and has 4 children who now attend GCCA. Christine has been in other private schools prior to GCCA and found this is where her family needs to be. She and her husband feel the academics at Gulf Coast Classical Academy are not comparable to the other private schools they have attended in the past and they are very happy to see their children grow in such a wonderful environment.

Christine has been doing art with her own children since they were toddlers and feels blessed she can now share her passion with others. She works part time at her family’s business running the sales office in Teakwood Village Mobile Home Park. On her days off, she teaches art for grades K – 8. Christine's passion and patience make art really fun for the children.

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Mrs. Jacqueline Pollock

Bachelor of Science from College of Charleston   

Primary Grade Teacher