The faculty and administration of St. Raphael comprise the center of the school. We are friends, colleagues, and fellow Orthodox Christians. We invite you to get to know us—and we look forward to getting to know you!
Academic Director and Mentor Teacher
Academic Director and Mentor Teacher
Adam was raised in Olathe, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. It was there that he met his wife, Rachel, who continues to be his greatest blessing and encouragement. They met in high school and were married as students at the University of Kansas where Adam studied Philosophy and Rachel studied Art Education. In addition to studying together at KU, Rachel and Adam spent their second year of marriage as Fellows at the Trinity Forum Academy in Maryland. At KU Adam was first exposed to many of the writers who would later inspire his teaching—especially Plato and the other Greek philosophers. He went on to complete his Master's degree at the University of Memphis. The Lockridges attend Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Overland Park, Kansas. You can reach Adam at email@example.com.
Matushka Photini Roegner
Matushka Photini is the wife of Deacon Spyridon and the homeschooling mother of their 5 children. She and her family attend St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Pella, IA. Mat. Photini began helping administratively at St. Raphael School in November of 2013 after enrolling her two oldest children in the online courses offered that first fall semester. She is available to assist you with any enrollment questions or technical difficulties you may have. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fr. Noah Bushelli
Lead Catechist, Teacher for Level 6 (Sacramental Life)
Father Noah Bushelli is grateful to be married to a living saint, Kh. Elizabeth, who homeschools their seven marvelous children. He is an Archpriest in the Antiochian Archdiocese and was received into the Orthodox Church in 1994. He met his wife at a Vespers service in Alaska and still remembers the joyous and awkward moment. After graduating from University of Alaska Anchorage with a B. Ed. in 2000, they moved to St. Vladimir's Seminary where he graduated with an M. Div. in 2004 with his thesis exploring St. John Chrysostom's notion of the Church as a Spiritual Hospital. After serving St. Nicholas in Bridgeport, CT for three years he moved to St. Philip in Souderton, PA in 2006. He is grateful to raise his family in this warm, generous, faithful and vibrant community and is working very hard to meet the demands of parish life as well as focus on "the one thing needful". He spends his down time taking walks, reading theology, changing diapers, telling stories to his children, playing a little guitar. He is grateful for the success of St. Raphael School and is excited to share his love for God and the Church with the students and stretch his teaching skills into cyberspace. He thanks you for your prayers for him, his family, parishioners, and students! You can reach Fr. Noah at email@example.com.
Fr. Nikolai Meyers
Middle School Teacher
Catechism Teacher for Level 4 (Basic Spirituality)
Fr. Nikolai Meyers is a native of Southern California. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Cross-Cultural Ministry from Manhattan Christian College, Manhattan KS. He earned his Masters of Divinity from St. Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary, in South Cannon, PA. He was ordained Deacon in September of 2007 by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochain Archdiocese at St. Tikhon Monastery in South Cannon, PA, and to the holy Priesthood in July of 2008 by His Eminence at St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Riverside, CA. He served 6 years as Assistant Pastor of St. John Orthodox Church in Memphis TN and concurrently was the priest in charge of the St. Paul Orthodox Mission in Tupelo, MS. Since October of 2014 he has served as the Pastor of St. George Orthodox Church in New Hartford, NY. He also currently is the Spiritual Adviser for Teen SOYO in the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Up-State New York. He is married and has 4 children.
Dr. Timothy Becker
Catechism Teacher for Level 7
Memory Eternal! + Timothy Joseph Becker
It is with both a profound sadness and with steadfast hope in the Resurrection that we announce that on Saturday, September 22, 2018, Timothy Joseph Becker, fell asleep in the Lord at the age of 37.
Tim was born on May 26, 1981 in Paulding, OH to Bruce and Mary (nee Hansen) Becker. Devoted to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to his family, Tim married Caroline Noel (Anna) (nee Sunquist) in 2005 in Pittsburgh and is father to Luke Allen (9), Samuel William (7) and Hosanna Noel (Perpetua) (5). They reside in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and attend Saint George Orthodox Church in Upper Darby, PA.
Tim lived the first eight years of his life in rural Ohio and the next ten in the Olney section of Philadelphia. He lived the majority of his adult life in Pittsburgh and then settled three years ago with his family back in Philadelphia. Tim was a graduate of Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, Central High School (258), Messiah College (BA in religion), Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (MDiv, valedictorian), and Union Theological Seminary (PhD in patristics, magna cum laude).
Tim believed in the power of the gospel. This power expressed itself in his passionate and intent love for people. Tim mentored many throughout his life, particularly through the various sports ministries, small groups and close knit communities of faith that he nurtured. These communities were a means to understand and live out a calling to love. Tim particularly devoted himself to his children through reading epic tales, teaching them the word of God, and cultivating in them a passion for beautiful and courageous things. Tim was an encourager and a scholar, whose 2012 dissertation, entitled “The Holy Spirit in Cyril of Alexandria’s Dialogues on the Trinity”, considered the reflections of an ancient church father on the extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit in texts written 1,600 years ago that had never before been translated into English. Tim loved to pray, fast, read, think, discuss, worship and encourage because he believed in the life-giving power of the spirit to bless. He blessed so many in so many ways his whole life.
Tim was wounded through a ruptured appendix in 2013, causing permanent internal damage. Though long suffering with various ailments as a result, there was another recurrence of infection last week, causing sepsis, which could not be remedied by attentive and dedicated medical staff. He passed away quietly while surrounded by family, his spiritual father Rev Joel Gilliam, and close friends.
Fr. Timothy Hojnicki
Catechism Teacher for Level 7 (Apologetics in the Early Church)
Fr. Timothy Hojnicki was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. A 2002 Graduate from the University of Delaware, Father Timothy received his M.Div. from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in May of 2005. In June of 2005 he was assigned to Holy Apostles Mission in Mechanicsburg, PA where he currently serves as pastor. Father Timothy has taught Liturgics and Homiletics at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, and given many retreats and talks over the years. Fr. Timothy is married to his wife Anastasia, and has four children: Nicholas, Kyra, Elijah, and Joachim. He is excited for this opportunity, and looks forward to the challenge of teaching this class!
Byzantine Music Teacher
Byzantine Chant 1 (view course)
Gabriel Cremeens and his wife Elaine are the proud new parents of Panagiotis Nektarios, their first child. Gabriel holds two degrees from Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA: a Bachelor's in Theology (as valedictorian of the class of 2014), and a Certificate in Byzantine Music (with a grade of "perfect"). In addition to his studies at Holy Cross, Gabriel also spent a year and a half in Athens, Greece, where he took private lessons in Byzantine chant performance, musicology, and composition from masters of the art.
In addition to teaching for the St. Raphael School, Gabriel works full-time as the Music Director and Pastoral Assistant at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Albuquerque, NM. He also works by commission for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, AGES Initiatives, and several other Church music organizations, while collaborating with other chanters on various projects to teach, spread, and promote Byzantine Chant in English. He has taught at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology as a Lecturer in Byzantine Music, and also at the Metropolis of Boston "St. John of Damascus" Byzantine Music School. He is currently in the process of founding a Byzantine Music School in Albuquerque, NM.
While he loves all aspects of Byzantine music, his passion is the composition of Byzantine melodies in the English language—a field in which he has been working, experimenting, and perfecting his craft for around 7 years. His compositions can be found at: http://www.englishmenaion.com/
Byzantine Music Teacher
Byzantine Chant 2 (view course)
Samuel Herron began studying Byzantine Music under Leonidas Kotsiris in 2002. In 2006, he spent three months studying under Lycourgos Angelopoulos, Archon Protopsaltis of the Archdiocese of Constantinople, Protopsaltis of Hagia Eirini in Athens, and director of the Greek Byzantine Choir, which Samuel performed with as an isokrates while living in Athens. From 2015-2017, he studied under Fr. Romanos Karanos while attending Hellenic College.
Samuel has served as the Lampadarios of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Nashville, TN from 2007-2009, as Protopsaltis of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Chattanooga, TN from 2010 to 2015, as Protopsaltis of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the New England Metropolis in Boston until May 2017, as Ieropsaltis for Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Phoenix, AZ until September 2018, and currently serves as Protopsaltis of Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Scottsdale, AZ. Samuel received his Certificate in Byzantine Music with a grade of Excellent in 2015 from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He has performed with the choir of Protopsaltis George Theodoridis, the Psaltikon Ensemble directed by Dr. Spyridon Antonopoulos, the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir directed by Demetrios Kehagias, Capella Romana directed by John Michael Boyer, and the Holy Cross St. Romanos the Melodist Byzantine Choir directed by Fr. Romanos Karanos. In July 2018, Samuel founded both the English Hyphos Project and the Dynamis Byzantine Ensemble – an initiative and accompanying ensemble working to produce high quality English language translations, musical settings, and recordings of Byzantine Chant. Their first project The Hymns of St. George and Bright Monday will be released during the Christmas season of 2018.
Elizabeth Crispina Johnson
Elementary Teacher of Level 3 (Advanced Chapter Books)
As a teacher for St. Raphael School, Elizabeth Crispina Johnson draws from her experiential background as well as her academic. Having started homeschooling the first of her three children in 1983, she continues homeschooling with three of her eight grandchildren. As time allows, Elizabeth also writes children’s books, four of which have been published by Ancient Faith Publishing. She holds a master's degree in intercultural training, a bachelor degree in Bible and Theology, an associate degree in early childhood education, and also attended a one-year missiology program at Fuller Theological Seminary. Elizabeth lives in western New York and attends St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester. If you have questions about our elementary course offerings, you can reach Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Presbytera Suzanne Lichtenstein
Teaching Assistant for Level 3 (Advanced Chapter Books)
Presbytera Suzanne is a piano teacher, voice teacher, choir director, priest's wife, and mother of four children who are now in their teens and twenties. A lifelong lover of the Arts, she finds recreation in playing music and singing, composing and arranging music, drawing and sketching nature, reading fiction and nonfiction, writing, gardening, and flower-arranging.
Her favorite activity of all is learning, and every year she undertakes to learn something new. This year she is studying Byzantine Chant and Spanish. In previous years, her learning projects included baking, farming, marketing, geography, iconography, Japanese flower arranging (ikebana), tap-dancing, and Haydn sonatas. She continues to study the art and cognitive science of piano and voice pedagogy, and loves to dabble with new musical instruments.
Because the process of learning brings her so much joy, and keeps her humble and grateful, she hopes to inspire her students to become lifelong learners as well. This was her goal when she began homeschooling her own children, back in 1994, and it is her goal for all of her students today.
She lives in Texas with her husband and those of their children who are still at home. Her husband is Fr. Mark Lichtenstein, the priest and pastor of Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church (St. Mary’s) in San Angelo, Texas. For family outings and dates with her husband, Presbytera Suzanne loves to attend the Theater or Ballet, and loves touring art and history museums. There is so much to learn, and that makes her happy!
Presbytera Maria Koulianos
Upper Elementary & Middle School Teacher
Upper Elementary & Middle School Teacher of Levels 4 (Children's Classics) and 5 (American Classics)
Trinity Time Catechism Teacher of Levels 2 and 3
Presbytera Maria Koulianos has been an educator for over 20 years, loving every minute, with vast experiences in both public and private schools as a classroom teacher, developing and implementing learning programs for students, and as an area administrator. She earned her Bachelor of Science in education from Indiana University with certifications in elementary education, 7/8 non-departmental, language arts 1-9, and computer education K-12. She holds a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA, where she wrote her thesis, The Annunciation of the Theotokos from a Liturgical Perspective. Presbytera Maria and her husband, Father Dionysios, live in the greater Boston area where he is the priest of Saint Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Church in Braintree, MA. She hopes to inspire her students to love literature and become lifelong learners.
Celeste is the product of classical and literature based home education, from kindergarten through high school. During high school she found a passion for textiles which eventually led to a year of study abroad at an arts folkschool in Sweden. There she fell in love with making the practical and mundane things in life beautiful, bringing nature into the home and daily life, and using the beauty that can be found around us to bring joy, depth, and learning into family life.
Celeste now lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York with her husband David, their 2-year-old daughter Dulcy Lucia, and her two step daughters, Meredith and Samantha. The family attends Saint John the Baptist church in Rochester. In addition to supplementing the older girls’ public school experience with home-based learning, Celeste is enjoying planting the seeds of a lifelong love of learning, and building a foundation for future homeschooling with Dulcy.
Lower High School Teacher
Lower High School Teacher of Level 6 (Greek Classics)
Jennifer Dow, the owner of The Paideia Fellowship, is a classical teacher, writer, and speaker. Jennifer has completed the CiRCE Apprenticeship program as a CiRCE certified Classical Teacher and has taught humanities, logic, rhetoric, and the fine arts since 2009 throughout the local and online homeschool community. In addition, Jennifer researches, writes, and speaks about classical teaching, serves as the director of the Paideia Fellowship Homeschool Community, works with Classical Academic Press on the Schole Groups team, and is the co-host of The Classical Homeschool Podcast. Jennifer’s published works can be seen on the Paideia Fellowship blog, at the CiRCE Institute blog, Schole Groups Blog, and Afterthoughts. She has been featured on Your Morning Basket Podcast with Pam Barnhill and has spoken to moms and educators around the country on how to teach classically and create thriving classical communities.
Greek Tutor for All Levels of Greek
Mallory is a second-generation homeschooler, who discovered both Orthodoxy and Ancient Greek at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After four years of studying and discussing great works from the ancient Greeks to the moderns, she turned to teaching Orthodox students in the same liberal arts tradition, informed and inspired by the life of the Church. For St. Raphael School, she has focused on creating a Biblical Greek program that combines the riches of Orthodox hymnography with the discipline of deductive language study, allowing students to integrate their pursuit of Greek with the prayer life of their families. For Orthodox Christians of any heritage, there’s no need for Biblical Greek to be a “dead” language!
Mallory teaches from a farm in Maryland, where she and her husband Matthew are “pre-homeschooling” their two little ones. When she’s not teaching or studying Greek, she measures out her life in drinking coffee, baking bread, folding laundry, knitting, singing with her family, watching the seasons change, painting and drawing icons, and reading. Mallory and her family attend Holy Archangels Orthodox Church in Annapolis.
Deacon Aaron Taylor
Teacher for Greek 4, and Adult Greek
Deacon Aaron Taylor completed his BA in Religion and Russian at Oklahoma City University, followed by graduate studies in Moral Theology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Throughout his career, he has taught Latin, Greek, Logic, New Testament, and Late Antique, Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern Great Books for the last 8 years at the Academy of Classical Christian Studies in Oklahoma City, OK. Deacon Aaron was ordained in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 2012, and serves at St. Benedict Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City. His wife, Brighid Allison Taylor, is a musician and choir teacher, and he has three children—Elisabeth, Nicholas, and Benjamin.
Dr. James Taylor
Founder and Professor Emeritus
James Stephen Taylor, was born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Columbia, Missouri, where he attended the public schools and the University of Missouri. He received his Bachelor degree in Humanities, and his Master's degree in English, from Southern Illinois University. The University of Kansas, Lawrence, was the setting for his Doctorate in Philosophy of Education where he attended courses in the famous Integrated Humanities Program with Professors John Senior and Dennis Quinn. At KU he taught Freshmen and Sophomore English and Literature, and undergraduate and graduate courses in the philosophy of education. Upon graduation Taylor taught in a variety of middle and high school schools, parochial schools and preparatory academies, including St. Marys Academy (Kansas), Wichita Collegiate School, Topeka Collegiate School. For five years was assistant then associate professor of the Education Department at Hillsdale College, Michigan. Two of those years he served as department chair. He held regular classes using the Good and Great Books as part of the teacher preparation program. His last collegiate position was at the University of Tulsa, also in the department of education where his specialties were philosophy of education in the graduate school, and Children's Literature classes for elementary and middle school future teachers. Dr. Taylor is also the author Poetic Knowledge, a book often used and cited in the renewal of classical Christian education.
Dr. Taylor's father, a newspaper man and writer for the Associated Press, became editor of the Missouri Alumnus magazine and a popular speaker. His mother was a fourth grade teacher and librarian for Columbia public schools. James Taylor was raised in the Methodist church. His journey to Orthodoxy may have well began there while during a lengthy sermon he gazed at the engraving on the wooden pulpit: “The Truth Shall Make You Free.” He was pleasantly surprised years later to learn that John Wesley, founder of Methodism, was an Anglican minister deeply read in the Fathers of the Church. Later, he began a tour through the various expressions of Roman Catholicism, particularly traditional Benedictine monasticism, then spent several years with a Byzantine Rite, and finally arriving, somewhat broken but not beyond repair, at peace in the Orthodox Church.
Dr. Taylor is currently a member of Sts. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Topeka, Kansas.