University Team

 
 
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Chris Baker

 Foundations General Science, IPC (Integrated Physics & Chemistry

Chris Baker is a graduate of both Rice University and UT Austin, with degrees and teacher certification in both math and music.

Chris has over fifteen years of experience as a teacher.  His coursework and interests, in addition to math and music, include computer science and physics.  Chris' love of science first began in middle-school when he first learned about cosmic radiation and led him to complete an award-winning science fair project on the effects of gamma radiation on plants with the assistance of the Southwest Research Institute.  His philosophy as a teacher is to encourage students' natural curiosity- we are all born scientists!

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Carrie Barker

Honors Humanities Courses (Combined English and History--Levels 1-3)

Carrie is a graduate from Texas Tech University with a triple major in English, History and Education, with teaching experience in both public and private schools. Blending History and English is her passion.  She enjoys showing students how the study of English and History ideas are intertwined allowing them a greater appreciation for understanding the historical context from which inspire an author's story.

In addition to teaching dual credit English/ History courses for Firelight, Carrie also teaches  weekend and summer academic writing classes for Austin Chinese Education Services.  

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Dr. Beverly Finklea

 Pre-AP Biology

Beverly earned a B.S. in Biomedical Science and a Ph.D. in Genetics at Texas A&M University, where she fell in love with teaching. As a lecturer at the University of Texas from 2000 to 2015, she taught courses in Introductory Biology as well as Genetics. There she earned various teaching awards from both faculty and students, including the College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award and the Senate of College Councils' Professor of the Semester.

 For fifteen years her full-time attention has been devoted to students, their successes and their struggles. Certainly she enjoys teaching at the college level. However, a good teacher who understands the material can tailor an explanation for students at any level. Furthermore, she has a long view of the knowledge, concepts, and skills that students need for later success in the sciences

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Dr. DHARMIKA LANSAKARA

 Pre-AP Chemistry

Dharmika  earned a B.Sc. (Honors) in Chemistry  and BM.Sc. in Polymer Science from University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. After moving to the United States, she earned a   Ph.D. in Chemistry- (Organic Chemistry)  from University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

 She taught courses in Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry I &  II , and Introductory Chemistry for Austin Community College, University of Texas, Austin, University of  Illinois at Chicago, and University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.  In addition to holding several chemistry patents, she coordinated and managed laboratory safety for the University of Texas, and  she earned the Merit Award for the finest teaching in the Department of Chemistry from University of Illinois at Chicago.

 For over twenty years, students enjoy her passion and enthusiasm for the Chemistry, who understands the material and can tailor an explanation for students at any level. Along with her  extensive research and lab experience, she brings an intense desire in understanding  "hands-on" knowledge in a safe environment.

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Lissette Gurly

Pre-AP Physics

Lissette graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Biology and received her additional teaching certification from UT’s innovative UTeach program, which is known nationwide for its emphasis on inquiry based learning. She has spent her career in several public high schools throughout the Austin area teaching a variety of science subjects: Integrated Physics and Chemistry (IPC), Chemistry, Pre-AP Chemistry, Physics, Pre-AP Physics, Environmental Science, and Forensic Science. She has also been trained to teach AP Chemistry

Lissette grew up in Dripping Springs, and has spent most of her life in the Austin area. She is married to a Texas A&M graduate and has three wonderful children.  She enjoys all sports and has played volleyball and softball competitively. She is also an avid reader and loves to bake. 

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June Turner

Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra II

June has had both an eclectic education and career: with a dad in the Air Force, she graduated from a high school in Japan, Canadian Academy!  She attended her first two years of college at the International Christian University in Tokyo, and then graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Japanese Language and Literature. Her heart was in music, though, so she attended the U. of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory and left with only a thesis to write for an M.M. in Music History. While at the conservatory, June fell in love with the Suzuki method of teaching which had only just been applied to her instrument, the flute. (She still continues to teach flute.) After moving to Austin in 1984, she entered UT as a graduate student, first in music education and then in math education. She earned both her M.A. in math ed and a teaching certification in Secondary Math and History.

For over 20 years, June has worked with homeschoolers in one way or another—from flute instruction, to a wide range of subjects, ages and student learning differences.  Along the way, she has held a few salaried positions, including: teaching developmental math at UT (1991-94) and writing/editing math textbooks for Holt, Rinehart & Winston (1996-2001). She is also a co-author of Algebra, published in the Barron's College Review Series.

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Yiduo Xu

 Chinese -Foreign Language

Yiduo Xu is a native of Shanghai (China), with many years of experience teaching Mandarin Chinese from pre-K to AP Chinese exam. She has taught Mandarin Chinese after-school at ACES Academy, at several elementary schools in Georgetown ISD, and at Meridian School. She is the Chinese-language coordinator at FLIEC (http://fliec.com/), a language teaching and teacher-training company that applies the most advanced college-level foreign-language teaching techniques to K-12 language classes. Yiduo is a caring, loving and patient instructor able to energize and motivate students of all ages.