About our Faculty
The faculty and staff at UM Global Academy represent some of the best high school educators in the world, collectively embodying a breadth and depth of knowledge, expertise and experience in all subject areas. Each individual teacher is representative of the best in his or her field, having a variety of teaching experiences in traditional public and private schools, experiences which focus on the intellectual, emotional and physical development of all students. We encourage challenging young minds to stretch themselves into new areas of study, to develop their full potential, and to become better equipped to enter the global world. They will be ready to give their best, to live productively, and to believe in the power of service leadership in making life better for their fellow man.
Lead Teacher, Mathematics
Thomas A. Green
Mr. Green holds a Master of Science in Mathematics from Texas A&M University, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from Montana Tech of The University of Montana. He has taught mathematics for ten years at the middle and high school levels in Florida, for both private and charter schools. His courses included Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, and Advanced Placement Statistics. Mr. Green also has extensive experience teaching mathematics at the collegiate level, having served as a professor for Edison State College and Barry University. During his graduate studies, he participated in the design of an international web-based school model for students in the United States and Mexico to learn cooperatively with each other. Mr. Green is also an advocate for autism research, and he volunteers his time with at-risk youth as a mentor. He also enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, in addition to computer programming and networking.
Lead Teacher, Sciences
Mrs. Sher received her Bachelors of Science in Biology, with a Minor in Psychology from Delaware Valley College. She received a Masters of Science in Chemistry Education from the University of Pennsylvania. As part of her undergraduate program in Biology, Mrs. Sher worked in the Clinical Genetics Program at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia Mrs. Sher taught for six years at a leading Catholic high school in Springfield, Pennsylvania. Her courses included Honors Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science and Physical Science. She was also the moderator for the school newspaper. No novice to online teaching, Mrs. Sher spent two years teaching at a Cyber Charter School for Gifted Learners in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Here she taught both middle school and high school courses. Her courses included Advanced Placement Biology, Honors Biology and STEM. She believes that technology can provide new innovations to the way we look at teaching and learning that will enable us to surpass traditional offerings found in brick and mortar schools. Mrs. Sher has a love of both teaching and learning. In her spare time, she enjoys taking classes and continuing her education. Her interests include music, community service and spending time with family.
Lead Teacher, Social Sciences
Mrs. Ravi received her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and History from the University of Florida. She received her Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from Florida International University. After working in the Criminal Justice field as a probation officer, Mrs. Ravi decided to pursue her lifelong passion for teaching. She taught for two years in the public school system at John F. Kennedy Middle School in North Miami Beach, Florida. Later, in order to reach more students, she opened a tutoring center, The Huntington Learning Center, where she worked with students from Pre-K through College in all subject areas. Mrs. Ravi had her tutoring center for 6 years. After selling her tutoring center, Mrs. Ravi continued to teach at Miami Thomas Edison Sr. High. Her courses included World History, American Government, Economics, AP Psychology, and American History. Mrs. Ravi loves to teach and to help students. In her spare time Mrs. Ravi loves to read, travel, craft, and most importantly spend time with her family.
Lead Teacher, Language Arts
Ms. Kelly Beckwith holds her Master of Arts in Education with a Concentration in the Teaching of Writing and a Bachelor’s in English both from Plymouth State University. She relocated to Miami in August, 2013 from New Hampshire where she served in public education for 15 years. Ms. Beckwith also taught English and Latin at the middle school, high school, and college levels. Ms. Beckwith’s greatest professional accomplishment was serving as one of three founders of an innovative high school Freshman English Program. Outside of work, Ms. Beckwith enjoys that outdoors and looks forward to enjoying winters in Florida.
Mr. Cardinale was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in New Jersey. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Latin from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania and his Master of Arts in Romance Philology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He began his teaching career in 1991 as a teaching assistant and then started teaching in private schools in 1993. He has taught Spanish, Latin, and Italian at several schools in the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania until he moved to Miami in 2008. In addition to these languages and his native English, he speaks Portuguese. He is currently teaching Spanish and Latin at a private high school in Miami. He enjoys music and has had formal voice training. He has sung small roles and in the chorus in operas in New York City and sacred music both in the Northeast and in Florida. He has a great passion for travel and has spent much time in Mexico and in Italy.
Ms. Ferraz-Lago earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration at the University of South Florida. She also holds a Bachelors of Science in Biological Sciences from Florida International University and an Educational Specialist in Science Education from Nova Southeastern University. She has experience teaching all levels of Biology, Chemistry and Physics in public, charter and private schools. Ms. Ferraz-Lago has also taught Biology at the college level. She believes online education offers a unique opportunity for students to develop their individual talents. Besides science, her interests include languages and swimming.
Teacher, Spanish, French, and Physical Education
Dr. Ashley Pierre
Dr. Pierre brings 18 years of teaching and management experiences. He graduated in Cuba where he earned his Bachelor’s and doctorate degree in Physical Education, he is Florida certified to teach French, Spanish, Physical Education and he is reading endorsed. He has taught in Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, and USA. Dr. Pierre is a passionate teacher who is committed to making great impact in his students by preparing them to face the challenges of the 21st century, knowing that they need to be ready to solve problems, to anticipate issues, to be creative, innovative and overall highly competitive. When it comes to speaking more than one language, he encourages everyone to be in touch, if you speak one language, you are only one person, but if you speak two, you can play the role of two. Dr. Pierre always believes that a student can learn more than what he or she is learning now, consequently, he is constantly pushing them to increase their level of thinking.In his free time Dr. Pierre enjoys his two beautiful 4 and 7 year old daughters.
Bruce Burch is a longtime resident of Virginia where he’s taught high school in the public sector including four years online with Virtual Virginia. He holds degrees in Latin (B.A.) from Catholic University and in Reading Education (M.Ed.) from the University of Virginia and just recently earned an online degree in Instructional Design and Technology (M.S.) from Walden University. He has endorsements in six areas including Latin, English, Reading, Choral Music, and Driver Education and in his 37-year career has taught a variety of subjects, including Study Skills, SAT Prep, Latin I-IV, English 9 and 11 (average, honors, and AP). His specialty is American literature and he has authored two booklets on the research process and American literature. He’s also taught courses at the university level in Reading Education.
While teaching is Mr. Burch's vocation, his avocation is choral music. He has performed in a wide variety of groups from symphony chorus to church choirs, from community chorus to professional music ensembles. He even has sung in "back-up" groups for concert programs by Reba McIntyre, Sarah Brightman, and Garrison Keillor when their shows were in the area. Mr. Burch put his interests in music and writing together and edited a manuscript on voice for a New York City opera voice teacher. The book was released in 2007 as a paperback by Hamilton Books.
Teacher, Mandarin Chinese
Ms. Dong received her Master of Arts at Queens College of City University of New York. She also holds an international certificate of Teaching Chinese as A Foreign Language (TCAFL). Before joining UMGA, she has worked as a Chinese instructor for a scientific equipment vendor, responsible for providing practical training of using Chinese in business. She has also provided private teaching and tutoring to children of different age groups, using curriculum and course materials of her own design. Hanli has also earned the National Modern Standard Chinese Certification, with High Level, Second Rank distinction.
Teacher, Music Appreciation
Ms. Steenhoff is a native of Miami Florida. Her family's love of music is what inspired her to play the flute at age 11. Her passion for music continued through high school, where she decided to pursue music education. Ms. Steenhoff earned her undergraduate degree at Florida International University in Education. Ms Steenhoff has been a music instructor for nearly a decade, working with marching bands as well as providing private flute lessons at various high schools throughout the Miami Dade County area. For five years, she worked part-time as an Assistant Band Director and is currently the head music director of a local high school. Ms. Steenhoff is also currently pursuing her graduate degree in Education Leadership.
Teacher, World Languages & Social Studies
Ms. Hughes received her Bachelor of Arts in both French and Education and also has a post-graduate specialization in Applied Linguistics and Education Methodology. Ms. Hughes has taught in Argentina, Chile, and in the United States. Her teaching experience includes world languages of French, Spanish, and English at all levels from elementary through higher education. In addition, she has worked with business professionals to help acquire a language and has also worked as a court translator. In addition to her teaching, Ms. Hughes enjoys spending time with her family.
Teacher, Mandarin Chinese
Ms. Wu received her Bachelors and Masters of Literature at Hebei University, in China. She has taught English at several universities in Beijing, China until she moved to the United States in 2006. She has more than 20 years of foreign language teaching experience at all levels. In her various teaching positions, she has worked with students of all levels and with different interests. She has been successful in adapting her teaching strategies to meet the needs of individual learning styles. She enjoys teaching and sharing her knowledge of languages with her students.
Teacher, ESOL and Social Sciences
Dr. Giovanna Bonadies Hamilton
Dr. Hamilton is a native of Panama and has lived in the United States and abroad for 25 years. She earned her Double Bachelors Degree in Communications and Spanish at Eastern New Mexico University. She also completed her Masters Degree in Education with an emphasis in Bilingual Education from the same institution. Dr. Hamilton received her Ph.D. in Education from Capella University in Minnesota. For the past 15 years, Dr. Hamilton has taught a variety of advanced courses in the high school level and she has also served as Chair of the Social Science Department for the past 2 years. She has led students who are part of the Student Government Body. Dr. Hamilton has also taught education majors and served as the ESOL Coordinator for St. Leo University, Lake City campus. Dr. Hamilton enjoys to spend time reading, dancing and exercising. Dr. Hamilton is a great advocate of online education because “online education offers students the opportunity to focus on their strengths while working at their own pace.” Dr. Hamilton completed her Ph.D. studies online while teaching at the college level.