Academic Teachers

Teachers at Young Musicians of Virginia must have degrees in their area of application or have adequate experience and be able to demonstrate a level of excellence in that area.  Several have Masters and PhD’s.  Check out our awesome academic teachers below:

• Marlene Berkley
(Spanish I, II, II and French I, II)
B.A. in French from UNC Chapel Hill and continuing education at Old Dominion University.
M.A. ESL, English and B.A. in Spanish from Old Dominion University
Marlene Berkley has taught English as a second language to students of all age groups and countries, including two years teaching in Japan and one year as a volunteer High School English teacher in Israel. She has lived and worked in French-speaking Switzerland for many years and first studied Spanish at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland when she worked in the Latin American Department of the International Organization for Migration. She has studied intensive Spanish in one month courses in Spain and Mexico. She is pleased to be teaching at YMV and enjoys the Christian environment.

• Mrs. Stephanie Councill
B.A. Art Education with a Minor in Ceramics, Chowan University, North Carolina.
Before homeschooling, Stephanie spent several years as an Art teacher in the private and public school system with both elementary, middle, and high school students. One of her favorite teaching experiences was with special needs students in the SECEP summer program for Chesapeake Public Schools. She has been homeschooling for nine years and teaching small art classes at the former Harvest co-op during the school year and in her home in the summers.

• Carrie Donley
(American Literature, British Literature)
B.A. American Studies, Mary Washington College, M.A. Urban Planning, Old Dominion University.
Mrs. Donley has three children and has home schooled for ten years. She has always enjoyed each stage of life, participating in her church’s AWANA program for nine years, being Director of Creation Explorer’s co-op for two years and working in various roles with the YMV staff for seven years. Two of her three children have graduated high school and are furthering their studies at Liberty University and Bob Jones University. She enjoys hiking, the outdoors, reading, writing, and music.

• Veronica Dowdell
(General Science, Physical Science)
B.S. in Science Education, East Carolina University
Mrs. Dowdell has been a part of YMV for nearly 15 years, mostly as a homeschool parent but also working in the office. Prior to YMV, she taught at Tidewater Classical Academy teaching General Science and an Omnibus class for 5 years. She has also taught science (Chemistry, Biology, Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Science) overseas at Naples International School. A mother of four grown (or nearly grown!) children, she enjoys cooking and Bible study.

• Sara Garner
(Introduction to Expository Writing & Literature, Public Speaking, HS World Geography)
B.S. Communication Arts;  James Madison University
Before homeschooling, Mrs. Garner had a busy career in corporate marketing with a Fortune 500 energy company.  Since trading meetings, heels, and suits for diapers, sneakers, and jeans, she has employed her skills variously, serving on the boards of local arts and Christian mission organizations, and writing and designing publicity, web content, newsletters, and other publications. She also proudly volunteered as Troop Shepherd of her daughter’s AHG troop. Mrs. Garner has enjoyed 35 years of marriage, and has two delightful children.  Her son is a 2017 GMU graduate, and her home educated daughter starts Bridgewater College in the fall.  When not grading papers, she enjoys exploring local parks and gardens, and pricking her fingers on her newest hobby, embroidery.

• Nickie McCreary
(Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, PreCalculus)
B.A. Math, College of William and Mary, M.A. Education, Regent University
Nickie is a homeschooling mom to two boys. She started out as a high school math teacher with Chesapeake Public Schools and taught several semesters of math at Tidewater Community College. In recent years, she has helped manage a local homeschool co-op of about one hundred students. When she is not crunching numbers, she can usually be found making a quilt or sitting in the sun at the beach.

• Mrs. Yetta Roy
(Biology, Advanced Biology, Chemistry)
B.S. Nursing, St. Olaf College
Mrs. Roy is a skilled nurse and Air Force Veteran. She loves serving the Lord and is married to a USMC Marine.

• Genna Swartz
(World History, US History, US Government)
B.A. History, ODU; M.A. History, ODU
Mrs. Swartz is a new addition to the YMV family. In addition to YMV, she also teaches history courses at ODU and TCC, where she has been since 2011 and 2014 respectively. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys roaming around used bookstores and loitering in cafes with her husband and three children.

• Mrs. Dee Williams
(Math Skills; Pre-Algebra; Personal Finance; Elementary Science)
Mrs. Williams and her husband, Robert, have been married over 32 years and have three home-schooled children who love music and attended YMV. Their family has been part of YMV for over 17 years. Currently, she also oversees the student-edited YMV Yearbook in addition to serving as YMV’s Academic Director.