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, Sciences
Ms. Taylor received her Bachelors of Science in Biology and Masters of Art in Teaching at Cornell University. As part of her undergraduate teaching assistantship in arachnology, she and her mentor pioneered an extensive outreach education program in Ithaca, New York. She is published in her research on Polistes dominulus foraging preferences on different plant varieties and caterpillar species. Ms. Taylor taught for five years at a nationally ranked high school in Westchester, New York. Her courses included Applied Chemistry and Inclusion, Regents and Advanced Placement Biology. She also designed and implemented an Advanced Placement Biology review course for highly motivated students in Greenwich, Connecticut. No novice to online teaching, she has provided internet-based tutoring using a whiteboard and chat. She believes current technology offers a wealth of techniques for teaching and learning that can surpass the offerings of traditional classroom instruction. In addition to teaching, Ms. Taylor works with a local teen center and is chapter president of a support group for mothers. Her interests include community service, fitness, music and cinema.
Lead Teacher, Social Sciences
Ms. Pavlakos earned a Master degree in History from Saint John's University in New York. She also holds a Bachelors Degree with History as a major and Philosophy as a minor from the same institution. Ms. Pavlakos has ten years of teaching experience at the elementary, middle and high school levels and has extensive experience with ESE (Exceptional Student education) programs. She is not new to online instruction, since she has served as history instructor at the collegiate level in an online program. Ms. Pavlakos was the organizer of the Social Studies Fair and the creator of the Social Studies Club at her previous school, and she enjoys innovative programs, as well as constant and meaningful interaction with her students.
Lead Teacher, Language Arts
Ms. Panerali earned her undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois with a focus on Journalism and English. She has more than 13 years of Language Arts teaching experience along with several years of college counseling/academic advising experience at the high school level. Before becoming a certified English teacher, Ms. Panerali enjoyed an exciting public relations career in Chicago, Illinois. However, her true calling was to be a teacher. So after several years working as a PR executive, she obtained her professional teaching credentials in Secondary English Education by completing graduate-level coursework at Michigan State University's Graduate Studies in Education Overseas (GSEO) in the south of France. As part of this international teaching program, she completed a two-year Language Arts teaching assignment at a private international school in Colombia, South America. Since then, Ms. Panerali has been teaching in both public and private high school settings and at various levels, including standard, honors and Advanced Placement English. This is Ms. Panerali’s third year as Lead English Teacher at UMGA. Additionally, this year she is excited to bring her academic advising and college counseling expertise to UMGA as Academic Coach. Currently, Ms. Panerali is continuing her pursuit of life-long learning as a graduate student in the humanities-based Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies program at the University of Miami.
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.
Ms. Trucchio holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Women's Studies from Florida International University, and a Master's of Science in School Guidance & Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. Before working at the University of Miami Global Academy, she was a middle school teacher and guidance counselor, and currently teaches an Undergraduate Psychology course at a local community college. She is a State of Florida Certified Guidance Counselor with experience in coordinating and implementing awareness programs, group/individual counseling, academic advisement and mentoring, while always maintaining a strong focus on academic success. Ms. Trucchio believes every student is an individual with unique personal circumstances, and guides students with that in mind. She trusts that students can accomplish their goals with the proper guidance and support. Ms. Trucchio has a passion for learning and understanding others which shows in her work. In her spare time, she enjoys doing things that make her laugh, spending time with ones she loves, and finding beauty in life's simple things. She strives to never let anyone come to her without leaving better and happier.
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.
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.
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.
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, Language Arts
Ms. Russell has the distinction of being a National Board Certified Teacher with endorsements in Gifted and ESOL. She graduated from Western Michigan University where she majored in English Education. She has served as county-wide Lead English Teacher for a Florida public school system and has been teaching English for more than 11 years, while also serving as National Honor Society Advisor and A-Team coach. She spent five years teaching middle school gifted students and is currently in her sixth year of teaching high school students. She has experience teaching all levels of English and English honors along with AP English Language and Composition.
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.
Teacher, Mandarin Chinese
Qingling Liu was born and grew up in Mainland China. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production Management from Communication University of China and is currently finishing her Master of Fine Arts in Motion Picture Producing from the University of Miami. Ms. Liu has taught Mandarin both in Beijing, China and Miami, FL and holds an international certificate of Teaching Chinese as A Foreign Language (TCAFL). She is also a freelancing Chinese-English Translator and Mandarin Voice Artist. Through the experience of teaching Mandarin and with her background knowledge of filmmaking, she enjoys creatively presenting visually rich lessons to students and leading them to learn with great interests. She loves storytelling and it’s frequently incorporated into her class to inspire and motivate students to practice. She believes online technology benefits greatly in making the process of learning languages much more effective and innovative. Her interests include graphic design, music and traveling.
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, 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.
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.