Evan Markowitz
Mr. Markowitz is a native Floridian and was born and raised in Winter Haven, Florida. He attended Florida Southern College for a BA in Music Education and Nova Southeastern University for a Masters in Educational Leadership. Mr. Markowitz has been part of the Athenian family for 7 years now.

Mr. Markowitz has a passion for working with children and truly enjoys working with the school's chorus program to put on fantastic musical productions each year. He strives to help each student achieve his or her dreams and challenges teachers with the following thought, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” Mr. Markowitz believes in providing students with an education, which engages all students through the utilization of Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures. It is his goal to help Athenian Academy become a Kagan Model School.

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do."

Danielle Nichols
Assistant Principal
Mrs. Nichols grew up in a military family, moving around the country and attended 9 schools between kindergarten and 12th grade. In high school she was involved in Student Council and cheerleading. Mrs. Nichols graduated from St.Leo University with a degree in Elementary Education and Nova Southeastern University for her Masters in Educational Leadership. She has also completed additional training in Reading, ESOL, ESE and Clinical Education.

Mrs. Nichols has two children. Sean, her 10 year old step son and Landon who is 4. Mrs. Nichols has been at Athenian Academy for 8 years, with this being her second year as the school's Assistant Principal. Her philosophy for learning is that each child is unique and each child learns in his/her own way. Mrs. Nichols believes in a hands on learning experience where students can explore their love for education and feel comfortable in their learning environment.

"Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard for it."


Office Staff

Traci White
Office Manager
Mrs. White is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. She is a graduate of Saint Vincent College and earned a B.S. Degree in Business Management. Mrs. White relocated and became a resident of Florida in May 2001.

Having spent many years in the business world as a Manager combined with a vested interest in education, it was a seamless transition when she elected to establish herself professionally in the school systems in Florida. Mrs. White joined the Athenian Academy Family in 2014.

Marla Neubaum
Office Assistant
Mrs. Neubaum is originally from Michigan and moved to Florida in 2016. She graduated from Detroit Business Institute and worked as an Administrative Assistant for the State of Michigan Commission for the Blind for 14 years, retiring in 2015.

This is Mrs. Neubaum's first year working at Athenian Academy. She looks forward to seeing what this new chapter in her life will bring.

Amanda Paisley
Data Entry Operator
Ms. Paisley was born and raised in St. Petersburg, FL and currently resides in New Port Richey. She is a graduate of Dixie M. Hollins High School, and is currently furthering her education at Bene’s Career Academy to become a licensed Esthetician and Nail Technician.

In her free time she enjoys working on and building cars, racing at the track, attending car shows, photography and spending time with her son Elias. She is also a Disney fanatic and loves all things Disney related!

Brianna West
Office Assistant
Ms. West is a native of New Port Richey Florida and has lived here for 23 years. She is a graduate of Gulf High School. This is Ms. West's first year as part of our Athenian family.

In her free time she enjoys attending car shows, going to the beach, and spending time with her daughter Khloe. Ms. West loves ANYTHING Halloween or Disney related.



Teresa Godfrey
Kindergarten Teacher
Mrs. Godfrey was born in Lansing, MI but moved to Florida when she was 8 years old. She currently lives in St. Petersburg with her husband, Greg and two sons; Nick, 22, a USF student, working on his Mass Communications degree while working for the Tampa Bay Rays, and Ryan,15, a freshman at Boca Ciega High School in the honors program. Outside of school, Mrs. Godfrey spends time with family and loves watching sports, especially football and baseball.

Mrs. Godfrey received her Bachelor’s in Science in Elementary Education with a Reading Endorsement, ESE Certification and ESOL Certification for K-12, from the University of South Florida. She has been teaching for 8 years, five years as a substitute and three years as a classroom teacher. Besides teaching Middle School Language Arts, Reading and Journalism, she coaches cheerleading, administers the morning show, manages the yearbook, assists Coach Willard with National Junior Honor Society, heads up our Safety Patrol, and assists the 8th grade students with their fundraising. Her philosophy in education is that every child has the ability to succeed when given a positive, enriching and nurturing environment and teamwork is essential to building character development.
Sara Eschler
Kindergarten Teacher
Ms. Eschler was born in Detroit, MI but moved to Florida when she was 9 years old. She currently lives with her parents and brother in Tarpon Springs, FL. She graduated from St. Petersburg College with a Bachelor’s in Science in Elementary Education K-6, along with Reading and ESOL endorsements. As a recent graduate, she has been gaining educational experience by co-teaching the past year and tutoring over the summer.

This is Ms. Eschlers first year teaching at Athenian Academy, so she is excited to meet the students and their families. Outside of the classroom she enjoys reading, drawing, painting, spending time with friends and family, and relaxing at the beach.


First Grade

Barbara Cinelli
First Grade Teacher
Barbara Cinelli was born and raised in Massachusetts and moved here to sunny Florida 16 years ago with her husband and 3 children. She is a graduate of Salem State College where she received her degree in Education. She also holds a degree in Human Services. Mrs. Cinelli has been working in the field of education for over 30 years and has been teaching at Athenian Academy since its infancy. When she is not busy in the classroom, she enjoys reading, cruising, and spending time with her family, especially the grandchildren!
Stephen Thompson
First Grade Teacher
Mr. Thompson was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. He has a B.S. Degree from Florida State University. Mr. Thompson lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Lisa, and his daughter, Angelina. He has taught for 10 years. Mr. Thompson enjoys art, traveling with his family, and spending time with his three dogs.


Second Grade

Carissa Farrell
Second Grade Teacher
Ms. Farrell is very happy to be a part of our Athenian Academy family. She has a very cheerful personality and is very passionate when it comes to educating young minds. She was brought to Holiday, Florida by her parents when she was 3 years old and hasn’t left since. After spending many years being a nanny for a family in Tampa she decided to put her love for children to good use and go back to school in 2013 to work on her bachelor’s degree in education. In December 2015, she graduated with her Bachelors of Science Degree in Prekindergarten-Primary Education with Reading and ESOL endorsements from St. Petersburg College. She remained on the Dean’s List all throughout her program and enjoyed every moment she spent in various classrooms.

Being a resident of sunny Florida, Ms. Farrell loves spending her free time at the beach. She also enjoys keeping up with the latest fashions, trying out new recipes, traveling, spending time with her friends and family and building relationships with people in her community. She also enjoys concerts, sporting events and a good movie.
Mary Vaughn
Second Grade Teacher and K - 2 Team Leader
Mrs. Vaughn was born and raised in Safety Harbor, Florida. She graduated from Countryside High School in 1994. In 2015, she earned her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from St. Petersburg. Mrs. Vaughn is certified in Elementary education with endorsements in ESOL and Reading.

Mrs. Vaughn and her family currently reside in New Port Richey, where she has a daughter who is a sophomore at Gulf High School. This is Mrs. Vaughn’s third year as part of our Athenian family and she is very happy to work with the students at Athenian Academy.


Third Grade

Susanna Birdwell
Third Grade Teacher
Mrs. Birdwell was born and raised in New England where she enjoyed growing up with 4 siblings. She moved to Florida in 2012 for college where she attended Clearwater Christian college until it's untimely closing after her junior year. She transferred to Warner University in 2015 to complete her senior year. She graduated in April 2016 with a BA in elementary education, Cum Laude with and ESOL endorsement. Mrs. Birdwell has had a passion for teaching children from a very young age. Mrs. Birdwell and her husband, an EMT for Pinellas County, reside in Clearwater. She enjoys the beaches, swimming, cooking, photography, spending time with family, and discovering new local restaurants. She is very excited to part of our Athenian family.
Jannette Rivera
Third Grade Teacher
Mrs. Rivera is originally from Brooklyn, NY. She moved to Puerto Rico with her family at the age of 12. Mrs. Rivera received her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education at the University of Puerto Rico. and has been teaching since 2004. This is Mrs. Rivera's second of being part of our Athenian family. Mrs. Rivera has been married since 2003. and has an 11 year old daughter. Mrs. Rivera enjoys listening to music and spending time with her family.

4th Grade

Maria Temple
Fourth Grade Teacher
Mrs. Temple was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2015, she graduated from Lesley University with a Master's in Elementary Education. Craving to live in a warmer environment, Mrs. Temple moved to Florida in June of 2015. She found her true calling in teaching when she realized the best way to make a difference and inspire others is to become a teacher. Her other passion in life is photography. Mrs. Temple loves taking film, digital and Polaroid photographs.

Jami Weissman
Fourth Grade Teacher
My name is Jami Weissman and I teach 4th grade Math and Science for Athenian Academy. I am 23 years old and a graduate from the University of Central Florida. I enjoy spending my weekends on the boat fishing or playing outside with my puppy, Lily. I have loved Disney my entire life and The Little Mermaid has always been my favorite. I have 2 older sisters and brother-in-laws and extremely supportive parents so spending time with my family is very important to me. My favorite food is a tie between chicken and pasta. My favorite restaurant is Longhorn!

5th Grade

Sandy Colado
Fifth Grade Teacher
Mrs. Colado graduated from the University of South Florida where she received her B.A. in elementary education and her Masters in Varying Exceptionalities. She has been teaching in Pasco County for many years. Mrs. Colado feels fortunate to have been a part of the faculty who opened Deer Park Elementary School and Longleaf Elementary School. She retired from the county school system five years ago and has been happily working at Athenian Academy ever since. Mrs. Colado loves her family, golden retrievers, horses, and gardening.
Tiffany Brunton
Fifth Grade Teacher and 3 - 5 Team Leader
Mrs. Brunton is origninally from New Jersey where she graduated from Monsignor Donovan High School. In High School she participated in gymnastics, cheerleading, and track and field. Mrs. Brunton is a graduate of William Paterson University. She started teaching at Athenian Academy in 2009 and loves teaching math. She also loves the NY Giants, going to the beach, and spending time with her family.


Middle School

Sharon Long
Science Teacher and After Care Director
Ms. Long was born in Chicago, IL. She moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama when she was three. Ms. Long attended Hillcrest High School where her high school chemistry teacher solidified her love for science.

Ms. Long moved to Florida in 2005 to attended Barry University where she received a Master’s in Biomedical Science. She moved to Tampa in 2007. She has been teaching middle school science at Athenian Academy for 8 years. When not working, Sharon enjoys reading, playing video games and watching movies.

Carol Norton
ELA Teacher
Carol Norton is from Central Illinois. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. She served as a YMCA Director for 10 years before obtaining her Master of Teaching degree from Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois. During her 15 year teaching career she has taught in both public and private schools.

Mrs. Norton and her husband Rob reside in Tarpon Springs. Their only child Tyler is a graduate of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. He is a Licensed Account Representative for NIKE Teams Division in Chicago, Illinois.
Steven Burney
Math Teacher
Mr. Burney is a native Floridian, hailing from Bartow, Florida in Polk County. Mr. Burney received his Bachelors of Music Education Degree from Florida State University. While at Florida State, he performed with the World Renowned Florida State Marching Chiefs, the FSU Symphonic Band, the FSU Summer Band, and the University Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Burney loves to share his enthusiasm and passion for math and music with all the students here at Athenian Academy. Math was a subject Mr. Burney struggled with while he was in school. He decided to obtain his math certification so he could help students build confidence and a love for math.

Margaret Roy
History Teacher
Ms. Roy was born in Carmel, NY and taught in both her home town High School where she had the pleasure of working with a teacher who inspired her as a student. She comes from a family of public service members and it has been a dream of hers for a very long time to follow in her family's footsteps to give back to the community.

She attended Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY and went on to teach in both Carmel, NY as well Bronx, NY. She moved to Florida in September 2015 and began working in Tampa. This is Ms. Roy's second year as part of our Athenian family. Aside from teaching, Ms. Roy enjoys going to the gym, reading, watching the latest movies that come out, and exploring new places in the Tampa Bay area.

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Sally Figueroa
Spanish Teacher and Team Leader
Mrs. Figueroa was born and raised in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. She is a native Spanish speaker. She graduated from Providencia Olmo where she was the volleyball captain and the president of the DECA program. After high school she decided to travel and she moved to Dominican Republic and Tennessee. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Puerto Rico in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Mrs. Figueroa and her family reside in New Port Richey and her daughter attends James W. Mitchell High School.

In Puerto Rico she taught science, math, and health. She organized a traditional and folkloric dance group and her students did numerous presentations. However, when she moved to the United States, she decided to be a Spanish teacher. She is certified in K-6 elementary education and K-12 Spanish. She has been working with kids since she was 15 years old. She enjoys her work and provides the kids with not only the knowledge of the language but also the culture.
Christina Charitaki
Greek Teacher
Christina Charitaki is Greek European and a mother of five kids. She holds a Bachelor Degree from the University of Athens, Greece, majoring in French and Greek Linguistics and Literature, a “Diploma in French Studies” from the University of Sorbonne, Paris IV, France, and a “Certificate of Proficiency in English” from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

She has a twenty years teaching experience in the secondary education. She has taught Greek and French language and literature in IB world High Schools, authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization, and in the American College of Athens. She has also taught European and Greek history in public High Schools in Athens. She is a polyglot and she can teach modern and classical Greek, Latin, French, English and German. She also speaks Italian and she wants to learn Spanish.


Pamela Gonzales
Art Teacher
Ms. Gonzales is a native Floridian, from Duval County in Jacksonville Fl. She was raised in an artistic family which included her mother, a former Art teacher and three well known Canadian uncles; R. Tait Mckenzie, famous sculptor, John Stewart McKenzie, Master Calligrapher and printer and Robert Mckenzie, an architect featured in Architect Journal. Ms. Gonzales received her Bachelor of Science degree in Interior design from Florida State University and is certified in Art K-12.

Ms. Gonzales is in her fourth year as part of our Athenian family and has a passion for working with children.. When she is not creating she enjoys the beach, camping, kayaking and traveling with her daughters. Ms. Gonzales also designs and creates sets for Athenian’s musicals that the chorus students perform in. There she gets to push the creativity and make the productions come to life.
David Heintz
Physical Education Teacher
Mr. Heintz was born in Ft. Belvoir VA. His family relocated to Tampa when his father was stationed at MacDill Air Force Base. Mr. Heintz attended the University of Tampa where he graduated with a degree in human performance. During his time at UT, he was a part of 2 national championship baseball teams as a starting pitcher. He enjoys motivating and helping people achieve their personal fitness goals and helping kids understand the importance of fitness and nutrition.

Support Staff

Stephane Barrett
ESE Teacher and PBIS Facilitator
Mrs. Barrett joined our Athenian Team for the 2015 - 2016 school year. She has taught for over twenty years in the field of education. Mrs. Barrett earned her BA of education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is ESE certified and also has an ESOL endorsement.

In addition to her passion for teaching, she also loves dogs and has three rescue dogs. Pictured with her above is Rocky. She enjoys spending her free time with her husband, grandchildren, and dogs. Other interests are swimming, reading, and enjoying all that life brings.

Kathleen Willis
Speech Pathologist
Mrs. Willis grew up in Palm Harbor, Florida. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Florida. Mrs. Willis then received her Master of Arts in Speech Language Pathology from The University of Memphis. Mrs. Willis, her husband and two boys reside in Trinity.

Mrs. Willis has been a Speech Language Pathologist working with children for 17 years. She started working in Atlanta for the Dekalb County School System and then for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Mrs. Willis then moved to Orlando, Florida where she worked for United Cerebral Palsy for 4 years as a therapist and supervisor. In 2006, Mrs. Willis moved to Trinity and has been working at Athenian Academy for 5 years.
Cory Gonzales
Intervention Teacher
Cory Gonzales was born and raised in New Port Richey, Florida. She earned her bachelor's degree in Criminology and a minor in Psychology from the University of South Florida in 2015. After volunteering for the Pasco Sheriff's Office with Forensics, she accepted a long term substitute teacher position during the 2016-2017 school year at Athenian Academy. Ms. Gonzales really enjoyed working with the Athenian students and found another passion for helping kids reach their fullest potential. This is her second year at Athenian Academy and she's excited for another great school year. Her other interests include camping, traveling, going to the beach, and spending time with her family.
Marcia Barber
Guidance Counselor

Eugene Ganaway
Bus Driver
Peter Edrich
Bus Driver

Jeanne Albuquerque
Cafeteria Assistant
Renee Grada
Cafeteria Assistant
Rob Albuquerque
Janitor and Maintenance