Meet the Staff
Every teacher has a philosophy of education. Here’s mine: To educate a child is to improve the future – for the child certainly, and for the world. By educating, we leave the world better than we found it.
After twenty-eight years in secondary public education, I am transitioning to Director for Excel Learning Academy. Excel provides what students and parents need, and what every classroom teacher wants: positive intervention and tutoring, centered on the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Excel’s unique approach to learning ensures success for everyone. What makes us different from the others? Our staff of tutors are highly qualified professionals in their fields of study. Each staff member has a degree in their teaching area and has served as a public educator for at least five years – some as many as thirty-five years! I’m proud to be associated with them and I’m proud to be leading this team of exceptional educators.
I believe a person’s story reveals the core of who they are. Let me share the best part of mine:
I’m a Christian. I believe the most vital relationship in my life is my relationship with Christ. Ask me about it sometime.
I’m a wife. Forty years ago I married my best friend and I feel like the luckiest woman in the world because he chose me to be his wife.
I’m a mom. I have four intelligent, delightful children – Tommy, and wife, Tara, and Chelsea, and husband, Kody. Between the two families, they have given us six incredible, unique, adorable grandchildren. Those kids have taught us more about life, parenting, and unconditional love than any other experience we’ve ever had.
I’m a teacher. Not because I have to be or because I couldn’t do anything else, but because I’m called to be. I love what I do and I’ve come to understand that a great teacher can be one of the most influential people in a child’s life.
I have taught seventh through twelfth grade, and am certified in English 6-12, English As A Second Language, Reading (all level), and Speech. I’ve spent the past twenty-six years of my teaching career within Arlington Independent School District, with twenty-four years at Martin High School, teaching freshman-senior English. TSI, SAT, and ACT tutoring/test preps have also been a part of my yearly schedule. I’ve received two Teacher of the Year nominations, and have served as Level Leader for Senior English for the past three years.
Excel Learning’s vision and mission is to provide exceptional educational opportunities for every student we work with. Please send an email or give us a call to see how we can best serve you and your student!
Mrs. Rynthia Clements
Rhonda Dunn received her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Nebraska. She has been teaching English for the past twenty-four years. Her classroom experience includes: English I, English II, English III, English IV, Pre-AP English II, AP Literature and Composition. She has a special emphasis in Writing. Rhonda currently teaches AP Literature and Composition to seniors, and has experience teaching ESL students in a regular, as well as advanced classroom setting. Rhonda is trained and practiced in teaching close reading and analytical writing strategies. She especially enjoys helping seniors craft and shape essays for college applications and scholarships.
Rhonda lives in Arlington with her husband, Patrick, who is also a teacher and coach, and her four children. Rhonda coaches volleyball and soccer, and loves coaching children of any age and skill level. Her Saturdays are spent on one of Arlington’s athletic fields, and her Sundays are spent at Lake Church where she volunteers in the Children’s Ministry as a teacher in KidsRock, and as a drama leader in Cross Trainers.
Lydia Berry graduated from Trinity High School in Euless, Texas. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University, and a Masters in Business Administration from Texas A&M University. Lydia is certified to teach high school Chemistry, Biology, and Math. She has taught Honors Chemistry and Advanced Placement Chemistry for thirteen years at Martin High School, and has been a teacher in AISD’s prestigious STEM Academy for the past five years. Her life’s purpose is helping young adults achieve their college and career goals. She takes joy in seeing her former students become successful dentists, doctors, engineers, and achieving their future aspirations.
Lydia lives in Arlington with her husband, Patrick. She has two children, Cade, who works as a mechanical engineer and Katie, a recent graduate of Rice University. She enjoys walking, hiking and the mountains. Lydia would love the opportunity to help your student achieve their educational goals and dreams.
Elementary & Secondary English Special Education
Sally Cagle graduated from Texas A&M University with a BA in Speech Communications. She has been teaching English Language Arts for ten years. Sally is certified in ELA 4th-12th grades, Education Generalist 4th-8th grades, English As A Second Language, and Special Education. Sally enjoys working with students to improve their reading and writing skills, study skills, as well as building test taking confidence.
Sally was born and raised in Arlington. She enjoys family life with her husband, Brady, and their two children, Scout, age six, and Ranger, age three. You can find them on the soccer fields, riding bikes along Arlington’s biking paths, or camping on the weekends. Sally loves to laugh and strives to create an environment for learners that is positive, creative, and fun.
Reading/General Elementary Ed
Pam Elliott grew up in Arlington, Texas, and attended Arlington schools. She is a hometown girl and knew she wanted to be an educator in Arlington. Pam attended Texas A&M – Commerce, receiving a degree in English and Sociology with teaching certification. She returned to Arlington and fulfilled her dream: teaching secondary English and Sociology for thirty six years, with the last twenty three years teaching at Martin High School. Upon retirement, Pam chose to tutor elementary and high school students for AISD. Her areas of expertise are Reading and Writing, as well as building self-esteem and confidence in the students she works with.
Pam lives in Arlington with her husband, Kevin. She enjoys reading, working out, visiting friends, and singing. Pam has two grown sons, Nick and Grant, one grandson, Declan, and another grandson due in July. She is passionate about teaching and looks forward to using her time and gifts to help students.
Kathy Frazer received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications from Oklahoma Baptist University. She is certified to teach Speech, Drama, Reading and English. Kathy has been teaching for twenty-five years, most recently in Grand Prairie. She has taught Reading, English, and Character Education for grades 6-12. She also taught as a Graduate Assistant at the collegiate level for one year.
Kathy lives in Arlington and is active at Lake Church. After she became a widow in 2012, she began to minister to others who have experienced loss through Griefshare, where she serves as a facilitator. She has two married sons, two granddaughters, age three months and six months, two bonus granddaughters, ages eight and four, and a grandson due in September. She loves spending time with her family, and is looking forward to exploring new ministry opportunities. Kathy is retiring in 2020, and wants to continue to assist students in their pursuit of learning through tutoring.
Brianna Lavelle, a beach girl at heart, has lived in Arlington for eighteen years. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her juris doctorate from Southwestern School of Law in Los Angeles. She began teaching five years ago at Martin High School and loves it more each year. Algebra I and Algebra II, Pre-AP and Regular, as well as Geometry, are her favorite classes to teach. She understands that building confidence and encouraging students to think creatively makes learning math more personal and more fun!
Brianna lives in Arlington with her husband, Jim, their three children, and dog. She enjoys traveling, exercising, reading, and spending time with her family. Brianna’s heart is truly the heart of an educator – she loves helping others.
Susan Hall graduated from Texas Tech University earning a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a Music Certification and a Master of Education in Supervision. She taught Kindergarten and First Grade for 33 years total and 30 years in Arlington ISD. During her tenure in Arlington she earned certifications in English as a Second Language and Gifted and Talented studies. Since retirement, Susan has been tutoring Reading, Math, and Science for grades K-6 at Duff Elementary where she spent the last 28 years of her career.
Susan has been married for 40 years to Murry, her college beau. They have 2 adult sons, 2 wonderful daughters-in-law and 4 grandchildren ranging from newborn to 5 years old. In her choice time, she enjoys attending Lake Church, cooking, playing board games, watching sports (pre 2020, anyway), traveling, and time with family and friends.
Reading, K-5th Grade
AVID/ Organizational Skills/ English
I knew at an early age that I wanted to be a teacher of young children. Growing up in Arlington, I attended area elementary and junior high schools, and graduated from Arlington High School. I attended UTA, graduating with a BA in English and Elementary Education. Soon after, I began my teaching career at Ditto Elementary, where I taught first grade, and then fourth grade.
As my children were born, I was a stay-at-home-mom, yet expanded my interests and worked part time jobs which included proofing and scoping for court reporters. It wasn’t long before I returned to early childhood education, becoming the Director of the Early Childhood Program at Lake Arlington Baptist Church for six years.
I returned to public education in 2001, teaching first grade at Mary Moore Elementary School, until my retirement in 2015. My certifications include: English As A Second Language as well as Gifted and Talented endorsement. After retirement, I tutored kindergarten at Dunn Elementary and then transitioned to Literacy Tutoring for Kinder-2nd grade at Duff Elementary. My goal is to share my love and passion for reading with the students I teach and tutor.
I’ve been a member of Lake Church for 37 years and have been blessed with three grown married children, as well as nine grandchildren, ranging in age from two years old to seventeen years old. My happiest and most joyous times are when I am able to spend quality time with my children and grandchildren, as well as extended family and friends.
Noreen Offerman graduated from Seton Hall University in Orange, New Jersey, where she grew up. She happily retired in 2016, after 41 years in public education. She has taught grades first through eighth, and spent the majority of her teaching career at the elementary level teaching math and reading. Noreen spent ten years in California working as a dyslexic teacher at the prestigious Prentice School for Dyslexic students. Her most recent experience was as a dyslexia specialist at Williams Elementary in AISD. Noreen is passionate about helping students develop the joy of learning and empowering them to be life-long learners.
Noreen grew up in New Jersey and made her way to Texas via Colorado, Wisconsin, and California. She lives with her husband, Dean in Arlington in the winter and Minnesota in the summer. Noreen has two adult daughters, Pam and Tara, and she is a proud Nana of four grandsons. You can often find her riding her bike, golfing with friends, gardening, crafting, or kayaking at the lake.
Angela Carter grew in up Grand Prairie, Texas. She went to the University of North Texas for undergraduate school and graduated from the Honors College with a recognition of Summa Cum Laude with her bachelor’s degree in Speech Language Pathology & Audiology. She attended the University of Texas at Dallas for graduate school and received her master’s degree in Communication Disorders. She has worked in Arlington ISD schools since graduating from graduate school. She has a passion for helping children learn to communicate so they can fully participate in the world around them and have meaningful relationships with others. She truly believes communication is the key to success and wants to help each child reach his or her fullest potential.
Angela and her husband, Andrew, live and work in Arlington. They have a one-year old daughter, Sophia, who they love dearly. Angela loves to spend time with her family and actively participates in her church community.
Deborah Conant has been teaching Spanish at Martin High School since 2003, the year she moved from New York to Texas. Although her college degree is a B.A. in Spanish, her initial intent was not teaching. While raising three children, Deb worked as a youth director at a YMCA. Besides promoting children’s programs and daycare, she taught aerobics and tutored various kids. She substitute taught for awhile to see if teaching was a good fit. Feeling that teaching actually was her calling, Deb furthered her education and obtained her teaching certification and Master’s degree in Education. After teaching Spanish in a local high school for 3 years in NY, the south was calling her! She has taught levels 1-4 and currently teaches levels 2 and Advanced 3.
Her favorite pastime is FaceTiming with her 4 grandchildren in NY. Deb also enjoys spending time with her family, walking, swimming and playing cards.
Laura Porras graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Middle School Science Education and Masters Degree in Education. Laura is certified to teach 4-12 Science, and has experience teaching Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Advanced Chemistry, Earth and Space, and Environmental Science. She has taught for ten years, the last five in Arlington ISD at Martin High School. She is a Google Certified Educator, a SOAR sponsor at Martin, and loves volunteering on the weekends at Wings of Hope Equitherapy Center.
Laura lives in Arlington with her husband Sam, who is also a teacher, and an orange tabby cat named Sunshine. She and her husband enjoy traveling and exploring new places, with the dream of visiting every state and continent (she’s half way there!). One of her favorite things to do is read about scientific and historic discoveries that she can incorporate into her teaching to give students real examples that can be applied to their learning.
Reading/Reading Improvement/ Language Arts
I have been married to my high school boyfriend, David, for the past 43 years! David and I have two beautiful daughters, two fantastic sons-in-law, and four precious grandchildren. David and I were both born in Arlington and we have never left. I graduated from Texas Wesley University with a degree in elementary education and taught in AISD for 35 years at Butler and Dunn.
Teresa Wilson is currently serving in her 48th year in public education. She obtained a B.A. degree in Education (English major/ History minor) from Howard Payne University and a Masters of Education/Administration degree from Tarleton University. Teresa taught 7/8 English in Everman ISD for 11 years, served as an adjunct Professor in the UTA Department of Education for 16 years, and then taught for 21 years on the campus of Young Jr. High by tutoring, starting the Grade Recovery Program, teaching 7/8 English, and then implementing and coordinating the AVID Program for 11 years. After her “official” retirement in 2017, she continues to remain active on that campus as an AVID tutor and a substitute.
Teresa and her husband David are west Texas natives, moving to Arlington in 1975. Their two children grew up attending Arlington ISD schools. She is an avid community volunteer, with long years of service on the Miss Arlington Board of Directors, Junior League of Arlington, and A.W.A.R.E Foundation Board of Directors, as well as numerous other community volunteer capacities. Teresa is a proud Texas PTA member since 1985, having served on Pre-School, elementary, junior high, and high school PTA boards. She looks forward to having a positive connection with your students and assisting them in being successful in their educational pursuits.