Ascend was started as an option to give parents confidence in homeschooling by providing a supplemental learning resource.
Our goal is to create a one-day a week learning experience consisting of formal education from degree-holding, experienced, & trained teachers coaching students in subjects.
Within a Christian environment, we will provide a 5th day of classes for the week. In this group environment, classes will cover unit/group studies, experiments and learning from others.
Renee Marshall, Co-Director, Business Administrator
Renee received her Associates Degree of Applied Business in 1995 after graduating Cum Laude from Southern State Community College. She spent 10 years in printing sales and an additional 7 years growing her successful real estate business.
After the birth of her third child she chose to spend more time with her children, including volunteering at her children’s schools. After a year-long battle with cancer in 2015, she felt a calling to homeschool her children. Renee has been a dedicated, homeschooling mom, focused on the best possible education for her children ever since. After moving to Warsaw, and with a continued passion for her children’s education, she decided to establish a weekly homeschool academy and has been working diligently to achieve this goal. She wants to further challenge her children to reach a higher level of education and bring an organized homeschool opportunity to the Warsaw homeschool community that is typically more available in larger cities.
Renee is a parishioner of Sacred Heart Church in Warsaw, enjoys running, scrapbooking, organizing events for her children, and spending time outdoors with her husband and their three children.
April Nelson, Co-Director
April Nelson graduated from Clarks Summit University in 2000 with an AA degree in Office
Administration. She enjoyed working at Washington STEM Academy for 6 years as a
Paraprofessional focused on the STEM Lab. She has loved offering support to Washington's staff and students.
April and her husband, Josh, have 2 children. As their children have grown so has April’s
heart’s desire to remove their children from public school to homeschooling. She is passionate about providing a quality education for her children. She loves family time, being outdoors, traveling, and board games.
April has served as the Treasurer of the Greater Warsaw Cooperative Preschool, Mom to Mom group, had led the way in advocating in Warsaw for half day Kindergarten to remain an option, and currently continues to serve on the board for Kids Market, Inc.
Wende Roberts, Teacher (Kindergarten & 1st Grade)
Wende graduated from Grace College in 2001, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Kindergarten Endorsement. After graduating, she taught for five years in the public schools in the following grades: kindergarten, second, fourth, and fifth.
Wende and her Mother, Phyllis, a retired third grade school teacher of thirty-six years, opened the Son Shine Preschool and Tutoring Academy. Over the past fifteen years and presently, the school has offered a wide variety of programs for all ages of students in the community, including drama troupes and children’s choirs, as well as piano and voice lessons.
Another passion of Wende’s is Northern Lakes Gospel Promotions, which she is the Director and Promoter for. This organization in conjunction with Grace College and the Village of Winona has provided the opportunity for the top Christian music groups in the world to have a platform to share The Good News of The Gospel in Winona Lake.
A lifetime resident of North Webster, Wende graduated from Wawasee High School. She attends Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church. Wende greatly enjoys all that this beautiful Lakes Area has to offer, including boating, swimming, tubing. etc. She loves spending time with her family and friends, attending and hosting concerts, overseeing an online prayer group ministry, sharing in her own singing ministry, writing song lyrics, playing sports, traveling, and taking part in Bible Study.
Wende is excited to join the Ascend Homeschool Academy Staff and looks forward to working with each of the students and their families this year.
Stephanie Goodwin, Teacher (2nd - 4th Grades)
Stephanie graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ball State University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. She married her high school sweetheart, Marc, and they moved to Louisville, KY for him to attend seminary. During that time, she enjoyed teaching 3rd and 4th grade for three years in Jefferson County Public Schools. When it was time for Marc to graduate and take his first job at a church in Ohio, Stephanie decided to substitute teach and pursue a Masters Degree in Reading, her favorite subject to teach! Once their first child, Caleb, was born in 2009, she put her Masters on hold and used her love for teaching in different settings such as teaching Sunday School, VBS, and private tutoring for a summer.
The Goodwin family moved to the Winona Lake/Warsaw area in 2010, where Marc took a position as a pastor at Christ’s Covenant Church. Stephanie worked part time for Sylvan Learning Center for two years, primarily tutoring young elementary students in Math and Language Arts. Since then, the Goodwin family has grown to include Caleb (9), Emma (5), and Charlie (18 months). Stephanie enjoys gardening, taking walks with her family, reading, listening to podcasts, date nights with Marc, and partnering with him in ministry.
Nikki Porter, Teacher (5th & 6th Grades)
Nikki graduated from Grace College in 2001 with a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education and minor in Special Education Learning Disabilities. After graduating she taught in Warsaw Schools for three years, as a special education teacher working with kids who had learning disabilities and one year as a second grade teacher. For the last 15 years she has been a stay at home mom to her three girls, Abbie (15), Clara (13) and Ellie (10). She served for a few years at Community Bible Study as a teacher for the preschool classes and homeschool group. She homeschooled her daughter Ellie for one year.
Nikki grew up in Warsaw and graduated from Warsaw High School with honors. She met her husband Dave during college and they enjoy living in Winona Lake. Nikki loves spending time with her family, whether it is watching movies, playing games, riding bikes or going out on their boat in the summer. She also enjoys reading and playing volleyball with her girls.
Laurie Victa, Teacher (7th & 8th Grades) and Board Member
Laurie Victa graduated from Ashbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky with a BA in Broadcast Communications and English. Laurie is married to Shawn and has been homeschooling her 3 children (Sydney, Sutton & Hudson)
for almost 12 years. Her oldest child is currently part of the Grace College Launch program. For 3 years, she taught the Essentials class (which includes grammar, writing (IEW), and math games) for a local Classical Conversations community.
Before children, Laurie did research, writing and producing for the Christian Broadcasting Network for over 10 years. Her commercials aired daily on Family Channel. Prior to that, she worked for ABC Sports.
Laurie is excited to join the Ascend Academy team to help build and support their classical education program.
Bethany Tribbett, Teacher (7th & 8th Grades)
Bethany is a secondary math education major, graduated magma cum laude from Grace College in 2012, and recently finished her Masters of Business Administration degree. She taught five years for Warsaw Community Schools (Pre-Algebra, Algebra, & Geometry) and is now blessed to be a stay at home mom of two toddlers. She has continued to teach middle and high school math both privately, as a math tutor, and for a homeschool co-op.
Bethany loves seeing students grow in confidence as problem solvers and lifelong learners!! She truly believes that ALL students can learn at high levels and there is no such thing as having a “math brain”. Bethany encourages GRIT and a strong, positive work environment, where mistakes are celebrated because the brain is growing!
Personally, Bethany enjoys taking evening family walks, listening to podcasts, singing worship music, and creating new recipes in her kitchen!
Michelle Wysong, Teacher (Spanish)
Michelle Wysong graduated from Purdue University in West Lafayette in 2011. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Spanish Teaching and has an active Indiana Teaching License in K-12 Spanish Education. Directly out of college, Michelle moved to Warsaw and began her teaching career. She taught Spanish at Warsaw Community High School for six years. One of those years she also taught at Edgewood Middle School where she met her husband, Sam, who teaches math. She served as the World Language Department Leader for three years with responsibilities of coordinating curriculum, facilitating collaboration of teachers, and regularly communicating between principals, teachers, and parents.
Michelle has had various intercultural travel experiences. Her first travel abroad experience was to Costa Rica in high school. During her college years, Michelle spent six months living in Madrid, Spain, and studying at La Universidad Complutense de Madrid. While there, she was able to travel to many parts of Spain to learn about cultural traditions and history. She also refined her Spanish communication while experiencing everyday life in Madrid. Since then, Michelle has visited the Dominican Republic and traveled with students of her own to Puerto Rico.
Michelle and Sam are parents to three girls. They attend Christ's Covenant Church in Winona Lake. Michelle enjoys being a part of Bible studies, singing, playing volleyball, and hosting game nights. She also enjoys teaching Latin and Ballroom dance classes.
Michelle enjoys the opportunity to teach Spanish at Ascend and share her excitement for language learning.
All of our staff have current CPR certifications and criminal background checks.