ELAR Lead/ RTI/SPED/Early Childhood
Hello all! My name is Melissa Kellems (Miss Melissa) and I am so excited to be working with your child here at Craniums Learning Center. I would like to tell you a little about myself so you will be more knowledgeable about who is working with your child.
I have been married for almost 40 years, coming up in July, to David Kellems. He and I have three grown children, two boys and one girl, all married, and they have blessed us with four beautiful grandchildren, ages 12, 4, 3, and 2, with only one of those, the youngest, being a granddaughter (finally)! We see our children and grandchildren often, and one of my favorite things is spending time with all of them together. I also very much enjoy reading and sewing, and would spend every day doing both if I could! I have even started a small sewing business since I retired.
I graduated from Ball State University in Indiana with a BS degree, emphasis in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Early Childhood Education. After graduation, we got to Texas as fast as we could, because all of the good teaching jobs were here! We have been in this area now for almost 40 years and we currently live in the Azle area. I taught kindergarten for one year in the Dallas ISD and decided I preferred a much smaller school setting than the huge Dallas district. I left that job after one year and we moved closer to Fort Worth. Just before school began the next year, I got a job teaching kindergarten at a school in the Castleberry School District, and it immediately felt like home. I taught in that school for 32 years before I retired several years ago. During my time at CISD, I taught in a multiage setting (Pre-K and K combined), in a Dual Language Program (English/Spanish), taught and directed Saturday School and Summer School programs with multiple grade levels, and also did after school tutoring. The elementary level has always been my love, right along with my kids and my families at Joy James Elementary. In addition, I was lead teacher for my grade level for a number of years. I developed curriculum and assessments, advocating for real learning situations. My main goal has always been to make children feel safe, secure, and comfortable in any learning situation in order to maximize learning.
My focus has always been doing whatever it takes to help children achieve their potential. I believe all children can learn. With that belief, I currently travel throughout the state of Texas, working for a professional development company, presenting workshops to help teachers work with struggling students in Reading and Writing. I advocate hands-on learning experiences for children, as I believe we learn by doing.
Program Director/ Math
Susan Sutherland is an experienced educator who works with teachers and students in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Susan’s professional career includes roles as a mathematics teacher, campus and district administrator, and educational consultant. Susan served as an Assistant Superintendent during her career as well. She believes that utilizing data driven instruction is key in maximizing individual student learning. Susan earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics and English from Texas Wesleyan University. She also holds a Master of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a Master of Education Degree from the University of North Texas. Born and raised in Texas, Susan has lived in Azle for nine years. She and her husband Garry have two grown daughters and three grandchildren.
ELA/Primary Math/ SPED
Hello, I am excited to be apart of the Craniums Crew and your child's tutor!
In 2008 I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, Early Childhood-4th Grade from the University of North Texas... Go Mean Green! My teaching experiences have ranged from preschool to public school, and the brief time I homeschooled my own children.
My husband and I were married in 2010 and have 5 children, together the 7 of us form Team Mongoose ( we highly encourage every family to have a family mascot). We also have the best dog on Earth named Sirius. We grew our family out of fostering, adoption, our adopted children, and a whole lot of Jesus. As a family we know entirely too much about superheroes, Galveston, cookie recipes, and who the strongest man in the world is. You can catch us at any point playing board games, arguing about the best villains, serving our church, listening to NPR, or browsing a book store.
I am looking forward to getting to know each of your families and helping your child achieve their academic goals.
Reading/ Dyslexia Specialist
Jeanette Gassaway is a native of Ohio, growing up in Cleveland. She came to Texas from a small, rural community in southern Ohio.
Before relocating, she retired from her job as Adjunct Faculty at the local community college and from work in the local schools. She came to Texas to attend Bible College. She also attended Michigan State University where she received a Ph.D. in Community Psychology.
She is a Dyslexia Specialist and certified trainer in Classroom Management for the Center for Teacher Effectiveness.
ART Lead Teacher/ Administrative Lead
Hi there! I’m excited to be offering art classes at Craniums Learning Center. Art has always been a passion of mine and I’ve taught children’s art classes for the past several years. Though my B.A. is in Anthropology from University of North Texas, I have taken private and public art courses throughout my life. Some of my favorite studio courses were during my time at SMU in Dallas. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to share my knowledge, love and joy for art with others.
My main goal in any art class is to help students find their own unique creativity and inspiration in the world of art. Our classes at Craniums will explore a wide range of art mediums; although, we will do lots of acrylic painting on canvas, as I find it to be one of the most enjoyable with kids of all ages. We will take some time to focus on skill development in drawing and painting while also expanding students’ knowledge of art history, criticism, and aesthetics. It’s going to be so much fun!
Here are some key points about art classes:
• The course fee covers all art supplies necessary for our projects.
• Many of our projects will involve paint and could be messy. The kids will be given aprons which should help to keep most messes to a minimum, but please try not to send kids in their best outfits on art days.
Intermediate Math/ELA/Early Childhood
Dina Chrysler, a native Texan, has lived in Arlington and Houston and now resides in Azle. She and her high school sweetheart have been married since 1994. Together they run a carpentry business which keeps them both on their toes. They have 2 daughters, 2 dogs and 1 snake.
Dina graduated from Tarleton State University with honors in 2010. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and is a certified teacher specializing in mathematics and language arts. Dina is also ESL certified. Her professional background includes retail management, loss prevention, professional training, safety and health administration, as well as financial & retirement planning as a certified Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional, FPQP ®.
Dina is very involved in her community. As an active volunteer since 2001, she has helped head many benefits and community & health fairs, as well as holding various volunteer positions in booster clubs and PTOs at her daughters’ schools. She is currently the president of the Azle High School Drama Booster Club and works closely with the theatre director in putting on productions, fundraising, promoting and anything else that is needed. Dina also heads the non-profit group Azle High School Projection Graduation 2020 and is a member of the Azle Chamber of Commerce.
Dina is an avid reader and loves being outdoors. Her hobbies include traveling, hiking, camping, kayaking, photography and shooting. She also enjoys web and jewelry design, attending musicals and playing music. She plays piano, bass guitar and can sing, too!
Dina joined the Craniums family in 2019 and feels she has really found a home here. She shares the same vision of community love as those at Craniums. The vision of a better future for the children starts by unlocking their potential and helping to assure they excel in their lives, both present and future. Dina looks forward to achieving these goals with her fellow teachers and growing the community through the children’s success!
Hello! My name is Cindy Skipper, but everyone typically just calls me Skipper. I was born and raised in Azle. After graduating from Azle High School, I left home and traveled to west Texas for college at Wayland Baptist University. During my time at school, I met my wonderful husband Josh. We have been married 17 years and have two wonderful children. Our oldest, Emma, is 16 years old and is learning how to drive. Our youngest, Cole, is 13 years old and is active in sports at Rio Vista Middle School.
I enjoy spending my extra time with my family- whether we are camping or just having a relaxed night at home watching movies- I love being around them. I also enjoy spending time with our friends and making lasting memories all together.
This year is my 17th year to teach. I taught first grade for 2 years, kindergarten for 1 year, and finally PPCD. PPCD stands for Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities. Basically, any child that has any kind of special needs between the ages of 3-5 comes to my classroom. Last year, I won the “Teacher of the Year” award for my elementary campus. I was honored to receive such an award. My teaching career has brought me many adventures and fun stories. I would not trade that time for anything. I am thankful that I love what I do and that I get to continue enriching students’ lives every day.
ELA/Primary Math/ Spanish
I am Sharron Murphree and I was actually born in Azle Hospital, right behind the school, back before it was Harris Hospital. I grew up in LaJunta, Sansom Park and Haltom City. God blessed me with 3 children, 2 sons and a daughter, 5 grandkids and a great grandson. I attended Tarrant County Junior College and graduated honors with my AS, then Tarleton, Elementary Education; Texas Wesleyan, Gifted/Talented Endorsement; and graduated from Texas Women's University in Denton with High Honors in Bilingual Education with Reading/ELA. While teaching my first year, I began work towards a Master's degree as a Reading Specialist. I taught bilingual elementary classes for 14 years in Fort Worth ISD, Garland ISD for 2 years, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw for 7, regular classes in Boyd and Springtown for 5 years and 2 years in Virginia teaching gifted/talented classes. I retired in 2014 to care for my disabled parents and worked part-time for the Fort Worth Science Museum School, taught after school and summer Science Club and tutored. In 2017, I returned to teaching at Azle Christian School, High/Middle School Spanish, ELAR, Drama and Art as well as PreK-6th Spanish. I live in Briar with my dog Gator, several cats, and 15 hens. I love to travel, especially to Scotland and Ireland and work on family genealogy.
Primary & Secondary Math/ Art Teacher
I’m Bobbi Chrysler and I have a passion for all things math! I’m an avid believer that anyone can succeed in math with good instruction and a positive attitude!
I joined the Craniums Team as a math tutor in 2020. I’ve always loved the creative minds of young people. That, paired with my love for math, meant Craniums was the place for me!
I spent 8 years of my education at Azle ISD competing in Math and Science Team. I’ve received countless medals and trophies for my accomplishments in mental math, and I’ve been to the UIL State Competition twice in my competing years.
Now, moved on from competing, my goal is to return to college and get a bachelors in Math and Physics. In the meantime, I love to inspire other young people in the ways of math. Mathematics can be truly amazing, wild, and mind blowing!!
Math is Pretty!
- Larry White
Reading Specialist/ ELAR/ Early Childhood Math & Interventionist
Dzien dobry! Guten tag! Good day! My name is Linda Donovan. I have been married to my wonderful husband, Bob, for 17 years. We have one daughter, Jodi, who turned 16 in June.
Teaching elementary school-age children has been a passion of mine for over 20 years. I am so excited to be afforded the opportunity to work as one of the newest teaching members of the Craniums Learning Center team.
My teaching experience extends well beyond the American education system. I taught in Europe for 4 years in an American international school located in Warsaw, Poland. I also taught in an Orthodox Jewish school for 6 years. The institutions in which I chose to teach gave me the opportunity to become totally ingulfed and to experience firsthand the cultures of many diverse populations of people. These experiences have made me a more compassionate and well-rounded person.
My educational background focused on early childhood development and my certification qualifies me to teach elementary school-aged children Pre-K through 6th grade. My teaching philosophy is that any child, when given the appropriate resources and a non-threatening environment, can flourish to their full potential no matter their age. It is important to remember that each of your children is special and unique with their own strengths and weaknesses.
It is my responsibility as their teacher to embrace each of your children’s natural abilities. It is equally as important for us to encourage and provide the guidance and understanding necessary when a child is having a difficult time. No two children are the same. That is what makes each child a special gift from God.
My main goal as your child’s tutor is to help your child attain whatever academic goals are set before them to the best of their abilities. This can be accomplished by providing the tools, manipulatives, patience, and guidance necessary to help your child succeed.