Our job is to prepare students to meet the demands of our changing, fast-paced society. The faculty and staff at Sterling Academy are dedicated to ensuring our students' success.
Nicole Grant, Math teacher
Nicole Grant graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.S. in Special Education. She has certifications in Mathematics (6-12), Specific Learning Disabilities (K-12), and Elementary Education (1-6). For the past 16 years, Ms. Grant has taught in a variety of environments including parochial school, public school, and private tutoring. She has a passion for teaching, especially in the virtual setting where instruction can be customized to accommodate students with different learning styles, backgrounds, and goals. Ms. Grant resides in Orlando, Florida with her husband and two children. When not teaching, she enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with family.
Michael Ringler, Language Arts Teacher
After a nearly 29-year career with Miami-Dade County Public Schools as an acclaimed English teacher and Language Arts/Writing/ESOL Department Chairperson at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School, Mr. Ringler has now joined the Sterling Academy faculty as a Language Arts teacher. His Florida teaching certificate includes English 6-12; Reading K-12; and ESOL Endorsement. Mr. Ringler’s education career was preceded by a nine year corporate business career in New York City and Florida. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from York College of The City University of New York, and a Master of Science degree from C.W. Post Center of Long Island University. During the summer of 2012, he wrote his first book, They Call Me Mr. Ringler – An Educator’s Journey, a memoir of his career at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School.
In addition to his career as an educator, Mr. Ringler is also a critically acclaimed independent recording artist, having written and recorded eight albums of original songs since 2005. More than twenty of his recordings have been played on independent and community radio stations in Australia, Canada, England, Italy, Japan, and of course, the United States.
Mr. Ringler and his wife have been married since 1975, and have two children: a son who lives within a half mile, and a daughter who lives in Israel with her husband and four children.
Thomas Pappas, Language Arts Teacher
Thomas Pappas teaches 11th grade English at Sterling Academy. Dr. Pappas serves as a Professor at the University of the West and has been involved in higher education and secondary education much of his academic and professional life.
Dr. Pappas served as a Teacher and Academic Advisor at the Detroit Country Day School, a private high school in Birmingham, Michigan for three years early in his career while completing his Master's Degree at Wayne State University. His graduate and undergraduate degrees were in English, History, and related studies including Art History with concentrations in the Art of the Italian Renaissance. He completed the Ph.D. at Michigan State University with the doctoral concentration in Art and History. He served as a Debate Coach at Wayne State University and has taught during both his Master's Degree and Doctoral Degree.
For the first fifteen years of his academic career, Dr. Pappas served as Professor of History and English at Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana. He was Director of International Studies and Professor of History and English. He took several Summer Studies Seminars to Europe, the USSR, and Japan as Director of International Studies. In 1976 he was chosen to be Dean of Academic Affairs and Faculty at Warner Pacific College, Portland, Oregon. In 1981 he was named Dean of International Programs and Professor at Concordia University, Portland. From that position he was named as Professor and Dean at Pacific Christian College, (subsequently a school that was renamed Hope International University). He continued in that position and became an online Professor at the Phoenix University. He became and continues to serve as an online professor also at the University of the West and the Art Institute of Portland.
Dr. Pappas is a member of the school board, the Sterling Academy National Board of Educators.
Bob Strodtbeck, Social Studies Teacher
Bob Strodtbeck has been certified to teach English and Social Studies since 2007. He was endorsed to teach Reading in the spring of 2010. He has served as a teacher in the Orange County Public School System in Florida with several schools since 2005.
Before going into teaching, Strodtbeck worked in the pharmaceutical industry, radio, and did newspaper commentary. He continues to write with several various websites and enjoys reading modern history and 19th century literature. He lives in Orlando, FL, with his wife of 26 years, Pam, and has two children, Charlotte, 22, and Richard, 20, who Pam home schooled.
Lisa Byard, Social Sciences teacher
Lisa Byard graduated from the Stony Brook University in New York, with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences. She has certification in Social Sciences (K-12). For the past 6 years, Ms. Byard has taught in an all-girls Catholic School. She has a passion for teaching, where instruction can be customized to accommodate students with different learning styles and backgrounds. Ms. Byard resides in Coral Springs, Florida. She enjoys long walks and travelling, when she is not working.
Cynthia McClure, Social Sciences & Business teacher
Cynthia McClure has been an Instructor for Sterling Academy since August 2010. Her emphasis is teaching business related courses such as Marketing and Entrepreneurship. She also teaches Economics, which is required of all students in order to graduate.
She has been a dedicated educator both in the public school system and private schools in the Central Florida area for over 20 years. Ms. McClure maintains Professional Certifications in Education (K-8) and in Business Administration (6-12). Ms. McClure graduated in 2008 from the University of Phoenix with an MBA in Business Administration and received her Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1993.
For the past 10 years, she has successfully owned and operated an online business that has maintained a 100% satisfaction feedback rating to customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. She has also advised and been asked to speak at local events to other business owners. Most weekends, you can find her enjoying the natural beauty of the Sunshine State, while taking photographs with her group of over 200 photographers or walking her dog, Benji, on the beach which is just 10 minutes from her house.
Denise Darling, Science teacher
Originally from Rhode Island, Denise Darling graduated with a BA in Biology from Bryn Mawr College. Coursework in education began shortly thereafter, which will culminate in a Masters degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University this winter. Ms. Darling has been teaching middle school and high school science at private preparatory schools in South Florida since 1999. She is certified to teach middle grades science and high school biology. Since taking her first online class in 2001, she has sought to integrate technology into her teaching and learning as often as possible.
Ms. Darling lives in Boca Raton, Florida with her young son. She enjoys traveling and all that South Florida has to offer.
Jim Croasmun, Science teacher
Jim Croasmun graduated with a B.A. in Physics Teaching from Brigham Young University, an M.S. in Instructional Technology from Utah State University, and Ph.D. in Education from the University of Idaho. He has taught high school and college level physics and science courses over a period of 8 years and has a deep passion for teaching and learning.
He lives in Idaho -- about 50 miles from Yellowstone, and has lived in Colorado, Utah, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Dr. Croasmun enjoys running marathons with his siblings, playing chess, camping with his Boy Scout troop, and cooking Cambodian food (he used to be fluent in the language). He and his wife, Annette, are the parents of four boys.
Andrew Winegarden, PE & Health teacher
Andrew Winegarden graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Education and holds certifications in Health, Physical Education, and Social Sciences. Since then, Mr. Winegarden has been a teacher for 14 years at the middle school and high school level, teaching a variety of courses, in traditional and virtual school settings.
He has also had the pleasure of coaching football, soccer, golf, and baseball, and has served as a school Athletic Director for 3 years.
Mr. Winegarden currently resides in beautiful Saint Augustine, Florida with his wife and 11-year-old daughter. For fun he enjoys playing golf, cooking, traveling, and spending time with his family.
Ligia Alves, Spanish teacher
Ligia Alves is a native Spanish speaker with extensive experience teaching in the classroom. She graduated from the City University of New York, Queens College, with a B.A. in Psychology and continued to earn a Master of Arts degree in Education from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. She is certified to teach K-12 Spanish in New Jersey and in Florida.
Before going into teaching, Ms. Alves worked as a Staff Manager for AT&T. After leaving the corporate world to take care of her children, she followed her passion for teaching as a substitute teacher, and then went on to become the official Spanish teacher for The Washington Township Board of Education in NJ for ten years. She was instrumental in the development of the Spanish Curriculum.
Ms. Alves moved to Central Florida with her husband of 29 years in 2008. She enjoys exercising, quilting and oil painting. They have four children and three grandchildren.
Kim Harris, Art teacher and Guidance Counselor
Kim D. Harris has a passion for education, technology, and the arts. She is a certified art teacher (K-12) and is an active practicing artist in the south Florida area. She has a Bachelors degree in Sociology, an Ed.S. in Curriculum Instruction/Arts Integration, as well as a Masters in Guidance and Counseling. Presently, she is a lifelong learner at Union Institute & University, where she is pursuing her doctorate in education. Ms. Harris’s research focuses on the impact of the arts on social justice and human rights issues.
In addition, she has facilitated programs for Arts for Learning/Miami, City of Lauderdale Lakes, Broward County School Board, and Broward County Libraries, by way of after school programs, outreach programs, summer camp, and early childhood education programs.
Her own artistic development allows her to expound on her creativity by planting seeds of creativity in the youths from all communities. Together they will depict a dramatic harvest of artistic creativity to beautify the world. As creative people, as artists we have to keep the innovative and imaginative torch burning.
Anna Ceballos, French Teacher
Anna Ceballos was born in Vientiane, Laos but grew up in France where she had her Baccalauréat (High School Diploma) in French Literature with a major in English. She left France and decided to self-study English in California where she worked as an intern in an international English school by UCLA. Back in France, she got a TESOL Certificate, which has allowed her to understand and utilize a teaching method based on an individual’s interests.
Anna lives in North Hollywood, California with her husband. Besides teaching, she also works as a French translator in the movie industry, dances Flamenco and supports her husband in his musical career.
Joe Rockelmann, German Teacher
Joe Rockelmann grew up in Berlin, Germany. He has been living in the U.S. since 1992.
He holds an MA in German Literature from Purdue University and an MBA from Roosevelt University. He has been teaching German since 1997. He has taught German at Purdue University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Florida, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, Harrison High School, and Clearwater High School. Currently he is writing his dissertation on Ludwig Tieck and Ekphrasis and is expected to receive his PhD in German Literature in 2013.
J Lee Harshbarger, Principal
J Lee Harshbarger, the principal of Sterling Academy, has a Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Azusa Pacific University in California and has been teaching for 15 years. Previously, he worked as a site coordinator for a language school, in charge of teachers, curriculum, students, and business aspects of the school. He has also served as a team leader among teachers in a university's language program.
In addition, he has a B.A. from Anderson University in Indiana, with a Marketing major, a Broadcasting minor, and an emphasis in Music. He has more than 15 years of corporate business experience in fields including retail, insurance, and entertainment. He lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He has lived in 5 different states, Japan and Taiwan, has worked in Beijing, and traveled to a number of other countries.