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Our Administrative Team

Dr. Joylynn Blake


Dr. Joylynn Blake obtained her BA in philosophy, an MA in theology, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership.  She and her family of six served for eight years in Asia before returning to the States where Joylynn has worked in both charter and private schools in various capacities, including as teacher, Director of Curriculum, and Head of School. She is thrilled to further the mission of Scholé Academy and its Houses of Studies.

Presbytera Maria Koulianos

SRS Principal/ Tutoring Center CSLD Manager

Presbytera Maria holds a B.S. in Education, a M.Div, and a Th.M. As principal of Saint Raphael School, she is a servant-leader who is charged with building a community that supports students and parents striving for Orthodox restful classical education. Hear more about her story on this podcast.

Fr. Noah Bushelli

Spiritual Director

Fr. Noah is an archpriest and father who is grateful for the success of St. Raphael School and Scholé Academy. He enjoys sharing his love for God and the Church with students, and stretching his teaching skills into cyberspace.

Dr. Erin Moulton

Assistant to the Principal

Dr. Erin has a PhD in Slavic linguistics from the University of Kansas and has also studied at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, and in Saint Petersburg, Russia. In addition to teaching Liberal Arts and Russian, she serves as Assistant to the Principal.

Alison Haley

Academic Support/
Technology Specialist

Nancy Parcels

Customer Service & Registrar

Sarah Marshall

Events & Content Coordinator

David Rosentrater

Systems Integrator


Contact Us

For general inquiries, placement questions, or questions about enrollments please contact: or call 1-866-730-0711.



St. Raphael School instructors are independent contractors who instruct, mentor, and shepherd students in online courses offered by the school. We are thrilled to have found so many fine educators to host our Orthodox courses. Our instructors bring with them a wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion for their courses. You can read more about them below.

Presbytera Maria Koulianos, Principal has been an educator for almost 25 years, loving every minute, with vast experiences in both public and private schools as a classroom teacher, a developer and implementer of learning programs for students, and an area administrator. She earned her bachelor of science in education from Indiana University with certifications in elementary education, 7/8 non-departmental, language arts 1–9, and computer education K–12. She holds a master of divinity and a master of theology from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, where she wrote her thesis, “The Annunciation of the Theotokos from a Liturgical Perspective.” Presbytera Maria and her husband, Father Dionysios, live in the greater Springfield area where he is the Dean of Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Springfield, MA. She hopes to inspire her students to love literature and become lifelong learners.

Father Noah Bushelli is grateful to be married to a living saint, Khouria Elizabeth, who homeschools their 7 marvelous children. He met his wife at a vespers service in Alaska and still remembers the joyous and awkward moment. He is an archpriest in the Antiochian Archdiocese and was received into the Orthodox Church in 1994. He graduated from University of Alaska Anchorage with a BEd in 2000, and then he and his wife moved to St. Vladimir’s Seminary. He graduated with an MDiv in 2004. His thesis explored St. John Chrysostom’s notion of the Church as a spiritual hospital. After serving St. Nicholas in Bridgeport, Connecticut, for three years, they moved to St. Philip in Souderton, Pennsylvania, in 2006. Fr. Noah is grateful to raise his family in this warm, generous, faithful, and vibrant community and is working very hard to meet the demands of parish life as well as focusing on “the one thing needful.” He spends his downtime taking walks, reading theology, changing diapers, telling stories to his children, and playing a little guitar. He is grateful for the success of St. Raphael School and Scholé Academy, excited to share his love for God and the Church with students, and looking forward to stretching his teaching skills into cyberspace. He thanks you for your prayers for him, his family, parishioners, and students!

Father Nikolai Meyers is a native of Southern California. He holds a bachelor of arts in Bible and cross-cultural ministry from Manhattan Christian College, Manhattan, Kansas. He earned his master of divinity from St. Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary, in South Cannon, Pennsylvania. He was ordained Deacon in September of 2007 by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochain Archdiocese at St. Tikhon Monastery in South Cannon, Pennsylvania, and to the holy Priesthood in July of 2008 by His Eminence at St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Riverside, California. He served 6 years as assistant pastor of St. John Orthodox Church in Memphis, Tennessee, and concurrently was the priest in charge of the St. Paul Orthodox Mission in Tupelo, Mississippi. From October of 2014 to July of 2019 he was the pastor of St. George Orthodox Church in New Hartford, New York, where he was also the spiritual adviser for Teen SOYO in the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York. He now serves as the pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Topeka, Kansas. He is married and has 5 children. E-mail:

Father Timothy Hojnicki was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. He is a 2002 graduate from the University of Delaware, where he received his MDiv from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in May of 2005. In June of 2005 he was assigned to Holy Apostles Mission in Mechanicsburg, PA, where he currently serves as pastor. He has taught liturgics and homiletics at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, and given many retreats and talks over the years. He is married to his lovely wife, Anastasia, and has four children: Nicholas, Kyra, Elijah, and Joachim. He is excited for this class and looks forward to the continued opportunity and responsibility of teaching the faith for St. Raphael School!


Fr Nicholas Hubbard graduated from St. Vladimir’s Seminary in 2009, and was ordained to the priesthood in 2011. He has spent the last eleven years in parish ministry. He currently serves as a Board of Director of Orthodox Christian Leadership Initiative.

In addition to his pastoral ministry, he works as a financial advisor. He has a passion for assisting Christians establish an authentic and intentional relationship with their money and possessions.




Dn. Michael DeHaven began his teaching career as a graduate student at the University of Kansas in 2008 and has taught several subjects in different capacities since then. Prior to that, he served for a little more than 10 years in the Air Force (Security Forces) and spent some time in the IT world as a help desk analyst and later as an operations engineer.

He holds a BA in German from Washburn University and an MA and PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Kansas but started off his college adventure as a Physics major and still maintains an active interest in science. While still in graduate school, he completed the St. Stephen’s Course in Orthodox Theology and was ordained to the Deaconate by His Grace Bishop Basil on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul in 2017.

Dn. Michael serves at Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Topeka, KS. He has been married to his wife Sandra since 1991 and has two grown daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys dabbling in languages, trying to improve his woodworking skills, and volunteering with the Civil Air Patrol.

Dr. Alexander Titus is a learner, educator, translator, and Church historian, specializing in the Byzantine and medieval Western periods. He holds a BA (2011) in Classics from the University of Oregon, an MA (2015) and ThM (2016) from St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary, and a PhD (2022) in Church History from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he wrote his dissertation on St. Gregory Palamas. His English translation of Palamas’ Triads is also forthcoming from St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press (2023). Dr. Titus has come to believe strongly in the salvific value of classical education, not only for the soul of the individual Christian, but for the building up of the whole Church.

Dr. Titus currently lives in Springfield, Oregon, with his wife and two sons. His other interests include cooking, literature, visual arts (e.g., film, animation, games), volunteering in his local Orthodox community, and attempting, sometimes fruitlessly, to maintain a large rural property. He loves spending time with children and teaches part-time at his local Orthodox homeschooling resource center.

Anastasia Wilkinson holds a BA in Russian from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In 2016, she helped start a heritage school at the Holy Theotokos of Iveron Russian Orthodox Church in Kailua, HI. The school focuses on teaching Russian reading, writing, and grammar. After homeschooling her children for fourteen years, she decided to pursue a Master’s degree. She is currently working on completing an MA in Second Language Studies. She taught Russian at the University of Hawaii in the Spring of 2023 as a GA. In her spare time, Mrs. Wilkinson enjoys hiking and beach outings as well as traveling to the mainland with her family.

Casey Newman has a Masters in Teaching from the University of New Hampshire with a background in Language. She taught secondary school for more than five years before starting a family. Now at home with children, she has focused on her passion for art. While she had some foundational art courses at UNH, she was blessed to participate in courses in iconography, and she developed her skills while caring for her three young children. Over the past 7 years she has shared the fruits of these labors on her children’s website for free coloring pages. She taught for a year as PreK teacher at a small Classical Academy in OH, but now homeschools her three children, choosing to continue with classical themes, methods and languages. Her passion for art has grown into an iconography studio in the home.

Danielle Bartko is an experienced Math and Science teacher, and Orthodox Church Cantor and Choir Director. She taught in public schools and a Montessori based Orthodox private school. She has served the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese as a Cantor and Choir Director, and the Orthodox Church in America as a Choir Director. She spent countless summers at Camp Nazareth, first as a camper, and later as a counselor and chant teacher.

She holds degrees in Biology and Music from Lafayette College, and Secondary Teacher Certification from DeSales University. She has taught grades 5-12, and currently homeschools her children. She has experience in a variety of teaching methods, and has taught students with diverse academic needs. She is a lifelong learner, and has enjoyed growing and changing as an educator over the years. Her goal is to inspire her students to become lifelong learners as well.

Her Liturgical music education comes from a variety of coursework in Orthodox Music and Choral Directing. She has taken classes through Christ the Saviour Seminary and the OCA Liturgical Music Department, and independent study with Very Rev. Protopresbyter Michael Rosco and Professors Paul Hilko, George Hanas, Andrew Talarovich, and Jerry Jumba. Whenever she travels and visits a church, she will sneak into the choir loft, wait for an invitation to sing with the choir, and then ask for copies of good music to keep as a souvenir.

She grew up in New Jersey, but now lives in Pittsburgh PA with her husband and two young daughters. When she is not homeschooling her children or teaching classes, she enjoys gardening, jigsaw puzzles, SRS Iconography classes, visiting with friends and family, and going to the beach.

Dustin Finch’s love for Greek began in the Fall of 2008 at Williams Baptist College (Walnut Ridge, AR), where he was later honored with the Zondervan Biblical Languages Award for Greek in 2009 and for both Greek and Hebrew in 2010. He graduated with an M.Div from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (Elkhart, IN) and was honored with the Gertrude Roten Excellence in Greek Exegesis award in 2019. Since becoming Orthodox, his love for Greek has only grown as he has read the Greek text of icons, hymns, liturgical services, the Symbol of Faith, lives of the saints, and the Fathers. Moreover, he has been learning to pray in Greek—using the Psalms and the prayers of the Church. He lives in Jonesboro, AR with his wife, Angela, his sons, Owen (14) and Wilkes (10), and his dog, Maggie. He is a member of St. John Orthodox Church in Memphis, TN.

Elias Diamond received his B.F.A. in drama from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 2013, where he received training in playwriting, acting, design, and theatre history and criticism. He has written several plays which have received production in Pennsylvania and New York, including Sense and Senselessness (produced by Pittsburgh City Theater) and The Park Bench Hero (Manhattan Repertory Theater and Tangent Theater). His plays and poetry have received several awards, including Carnegie Mellon’s Adamson Award and recognition from the American Academy of Poets.

In addition, Elias holds a Master of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, from which he graduated with highest honors. He has been blessed to be able to teach in the Crossroad program for two years in the past, and he currently works as a Pastoral Assistant at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Erin Moulton has a deep love for education and has been teaching in some capacity for over two decades. She holds a PhD in Slavic linguistics from the University of Kansas and has also studied at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, and in Saint Petersburg, Russia. In the past, she served as an instructor of Russian language, literature, and culture at University of Kansas. She has worked professionally as an editor, copywriter, and project manager in the fields of international compliance and revenue operations. She also serves as youth communications liaison for the Orthodox Church in America Diocese of the Midwest and as board president of the Orthodox Christian Translation Society. Erin and her husband, Christian, are parishioners at Holy Trinity Church in Overland Park, Kansas, where she teaches church school and assists in creating a multiyear cycle of curriculum for the parish. Erin and Christian have four children, all of whom she has educated at home over the past 15 years.

Presvytera Jennifer Moore was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. The youngest of four children, she became an aunt at the age of five and thus began her career as an educator. Presvytera Jennifer attended Indiana Wesleyan University, completing coursework and practicums for both Children’s Ministry and Secondary English Education, eventually graduating with a B.A. in English Language and Literature from Southern New Hampshire University. She has a passion for education, especially language, writing, literature, and faith studies. Presvytera Jennifer has volunteered as a Sunday school teacher, worked as an ESL teacher on an international platform, and created and implemented a multi-generational Orthodox family education program in her previous parish.  She married her high school sweetheart in 2003. Father Matthew was ordained in 2014 and currently serves Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Steubenville, Ohio. They have three daughters, Adeline, Katherine, and Beatrice, all of whom Presvytera Jennifer has home-educated over the past ten years. Their family has multiple bonus features, such as ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, asynchrony, and sensory issues. Presvytera Jennifer believes in the potential of every child, and it is her great joy and privilege to help facilitate their growth and achievement. She is an insatiable reader of anything she can get her hands on and a writer of creative nonfiction and poetry in her free time. She also volunteers as a social media manager for a local philanthropic organization and enjoys time with her incredible family and friends. Presvytera Jennifer believes that both literature and Orthodoxy Christianity can change the world.

Kim Cox holds a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.A. in Biblical Languages and Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Oklahoma Baptist University. In addition to her coursework, she was an active member of the honors program and tutored students in Greek, Writing, and Western History and Literature from the Greeks to modern day. Soon after graduating, Kim moved to North Carolina and completed an M.Div. at Duke University focusing on Biblical Languages, Old Testament, and Theology and the Arts. It was actually in a Hebrew class on the Book of Kings that she first encountered iconography and began to inquire seriously about the Orthodox faith.

Upon completing her graduate studies, Kim worked as the Director of Christian Education at a local parish. While there she wrote and taught classically inspired curriculum to engage students in questions of faith and the task of living in truth, goodness, and beauty. In the Fall of 2022, she left her work in children and youth ministry, began as an iconography apprentice at St. Raphael School, and soon after converted to the Orthodox faith. In her spare time, Kim loves to travel, read novels, paint, pass every possible summer weekend at the Outer Banks, and watch movies with her husband Sam and their two cats. She is excited to teach with St. Raphael School this coming school year and grow in faith and learning alongside her students.

Mrs. Kristy Zaitseva is a former missionary, holding a degree in Theology from Canada Christian College. She has other varied education, including in Healthcare (EMT), from SUNY Oneonta, Biology, through Mohawk Valley Community College, and International Relations, through Regent University. Additionally, she has attended the Synodal School of Liturgical School of Music and has further studied choir directing under Vladimir Gorbik. In addition to homeschooling her four children for the past several years, Kristy has taught children’s church school, VBS, adult Bible studies, and has been active in local schools. She has extensive experience in youth ministry and management, including having been the Associate Director of a Christian camp. Kristy is currently the Co-Director of Saint Andrew’s Orthodox Camp, in Jewell, NY, and the Choir Director of St. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, in Herkimer, NY. After traveling around the world and living in far off places, she is happy to have settled back “home,” in Upstate NY, with her husband, Aleksey, their wonderful children and beloved pets.

Magda Skermo joined St. Raphael School as a Greek instructor and now serves as a tutor and Greek language consultant. She is a native Greek speaker devoted to developing literacy and fluency in the Greek Language, Culture, and the Orthodox faith. Magda has over 15years experience educating Children and Adults for parishes with Greek Language Schools.   In addition, she is a seasoned Nursery School teacher.

Magda began her career as a Greek Speaking Agent for Olympic Airways and eventually became the Group Sales Representative designated to International Study Tours & Pilgrimages.  The witness of journeys through historic and holy regions where the stories of the Acts of the Apostles and New Testament epistles coming to life was what sparked her to begin providing educational services for the Greek community where there continues to be great emphasis on the cultivation and development of Greek identity.

Magda currently serves as the Holy Orthodox Primary Education and Junior Orthodox Youth Ministries in the position of Advisor for grades Pre-k through 6 at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity in Charleston, SC. She has been married for 29years years to her Ray, and they have 4 blessings named Maria, Christopher, Nicholas, and Alexandria. Email:

Milica (Minic) Savić was born in Belgrade, Serbia. At the age of six she immigrated to the United States with her parents and younger brother. Growing up in south Florida, and visiting her family in Serbia every summer, grew her love for travel, culture, history, and learning. When deciding on a track in college she chose International Relations as it blended many of her interests and life experiences. Upon graduating from the University of Central Florida, she took a teaching position at Paideia Classical Academy in Coconut Creek, Florida. She started out as a teacher’s assistant, and the following year she was offered her own class. Milica taught the first and second grade levels for two years. More recently, she was the Administrative Assistant in the Missionary Department for the Orthodox Christian Mission Center in St. Augustine, Florida. Currently, Milica lives in Belgrade with her husband Stefan, where they met on a monastery road trip with mutual friends. Thanks to her grandfather’s encouragement to read what became her favorite novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, Milica became an avid reader. In her spare time, she is often found reading. Milica also especially enjoys spending time with family, exploring the countryside, and visiting monasteries. She has a deep love for the art of dance, particularly ballet. She hopes to one day chassé her way back to a dance studio again. This is a year full of new adventures and experiences for Milica, and she is thrilled that teaching has reentered her life!

Nicholas Newman has been teaching Greek, Latin, literature, and history to anyone who will listen, from elementary age to college students since completing his Ph.D. in Classics at the University of Zurich. He has been headmaster at Veritas Classical Academy in Marietta, Ohio for the last three years. Currently, he is working as educational director and administrator at St. George Cathedral in Charleston, WV.

Paul Murray is a 2021 graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, earning his Master of Divinity and Certificate in Byzantine Music. He has been chanting since the age of 10 at churches in the Antiochian and Greek Orthodox Archdioceses. He has studied under Fr. Romanos Karanos and briefly under Gabriel Cremeens. He has taught classes in Byzantine Chant at summer camps and other programs, and has given some private chanting lessons. He is currently the School Administrator of St. Herman of Alaska Christian School in Allston, MA, and serves as the Protopsaltis (lead chanter) of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Newburyport, MA. He lives in Boston with is wife, Despina, who is also a chanter, and his one-year-old daughter, Photini.

Ramona V. Saridakis Bean, a first generation Greek-American, born in Vero Beach and raised in Palm Beach County, Florida. After finishing at Cardinal Newman High School in 1996, graduated from University of Florida in 2001 after completing a student-athlete career as a Lady Gator Cross-Country and Track runner with a B.A. in English.

Served as a congressional aide for former U.S. Rep. Mark A. Foley, serving a legislative portfolio that included Ways and Means appropriations and issues regarding education and the environment. Followed with an appointee position for President George W. Bush’s administration in the office of Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Her other teaching pursuits include helping Saint Mark Greek Orthodox Church in Boca Raton with their Sunday School program and her children’s Greek School.

Currently serving as “CEO of the Home” administering home and online education for three children, managing care of a widowed grandfather 96 years young, and recently acquired her MBA degree from University of Florida in December 2020.

In addition to serving as a parish council member at Saint Mark, she’s a volunteer for Junior League of the Palm Beaches and a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Authority. Ramona loves running, singing, painting, gardening and helping others.

Randi Maria Sider-Rose began painting icons over 20 years ago when she was able to travel to learn from different iconography teachers across the country. Since then, she has married Michael Sider-Rose and completed an MDiv at the University of Chicago Divinity School. As well as taking commissions from churches and individuals, Mrs. Sider-Rose loves to walk with students on the journey of learning to see better and more intentionally, using this “prayer of the hands” to grow in holiness, with God’s grace. Homeschooling her four children in an urban fixer-upper strewn with books, art projects, and Legos helps keep the whole operation real. For more information about Mrs. Sider-Rose’s process, please visit her website at

Mrs. Sider-Rose and her family attend Saint Moses the Black Orthodox Mission Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she has been blessed by His Grace Bishop Thomas to serve in the ministry of iconography.

Khouria Rima Zaffaran has a love for learning and a deep enjoyment of chanting and teaching. She is Lebanese, married to a Syrian Priest, has four children and Lives in Pennsylvania. Khouria Rima has a bachelor’s degree of Theology from St John of Damascus, Balamand, Lebanon.

She is well versed in Byzantine music and leads a children and adult choir at her parish. She has spent more than 30 years teaching choirs, religion, and the Arabic Language. Her Love to Her native Language makes her very excited to teach it to the students in a fun and professional way.

Sarah Fothergill has been teaching for 13 years. She holds a BA in 7-12 English and History Education and an MA in Secondary Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Throughout her career, Sarah has taught writing, literature, and speaking to both middle and high school students. Sarah offers her students a passion for studying literature, history, poetry, and nature, and looks forward to helping them learn, grow, and reflect on “the good, the true, and the beautiful” in everything. In addition to teaching, Sarah is blessed to serve as Youth Ministry Coordinator and chanter at St. George Orthodox Church in Kearney, Nebraska. She also loves spoiling her two young nieces, reading, writing, gardening, coffee and conversation with friends, and spending time with her husband and two cats.​



Sarah Marshall has an endless love of music and deep appreciation for the sights and sounds of God’s remarkable creation. She studied at two Summer Music Institutes at St. Vladimir’s Seminary as well as taking college coursework in music studies. She has directed choirs in both the Orthodox Church in America and the Antiochian Archdiocese for the past 40 years. She has developed and grown mission choirs and directed cathedral choirs, making beautiful music for the Glory of God with countless people of all ages and skill levels. Sarah has had a long career in software development and with her husband has raised 4 incredible children. She lives in Massachusetts and splits her time between St. George Antiochian Church in Lawrence, and St. George Antiochian Cathedral in Worcester, MA.

Sarah Smith– Shalom! Or should I say, שלום! My name is Sarah Smith and I am very excited to join St. Raphael School this year. I am a wife, a mom of two young kids, and an avid reader. I joined the Orthodox Faith with my Chrismation along with my husband, and now as a family live the faith. Before I inquired into the Orthodox faith I served as a youth minister in an other faith tradition.  I love the honest questions, the search for truth, and the fun-loving nature of teenagers.

Old Testament is more than something I study – it’s my absolute passion! I received my BA in Biblical Studies at Olivet Nazarene University in 2013 and continued my education with an MDiv at Asbury Theological Seminary in 2017 where I spent all my electives on the Ancient Near East. Some of my specialties include Biblical archaeology – I spent a summer living in Israel digging at Tel Abel Beth Maacah – as well as Biblical Hebrew as I was the teaching assistant and grader for two years in Seminary).

I came into the Orthodox Faith by way of Old Testament study – when I first attended the Divine Liturgy I was brought to tears because I saw the worship of the Old Testament taking place in front of me. My year as a catechumen was spent wrestling with theological ideas and personal ideas I had to let go of, but I never looked back. Orthodoxy is a clear continuation of the Faith of our ancient ancestors. I’m excited to get to know you and I hope to see you in one of my classes!

Stephanie Jones has been teaching in some capacity for over a decade and has a deep love for Christian education. She graduated in 2002 with a double major in Business Management and Marketing. She has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the last seven years, advocating for eleven foster children in her area. Brandon and Stephanie also work weekly at pregnancy home in their area, helping the young women find stability for them and their new babies. She also serves as co-chair of the Children’s Education committee at her home parish Holy Ascension Orthodox Church in Norman Oklahoma. She teaches church school and assists in implementing a four year cycle of children’s curriculum for the parish. Stephanie and Brandon have four adopted children, all of whom she has educated at home over the past 12 years.

In Memoriam: Fr. Porphyrios passed away on April 16, 2020.

CLICK HERE to read the interview done by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America regarding the founding of St. Raphael School in 2013.

Fr. Porphyrios (Dr. James Stephen Taylor) was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised in Columbia, Missouri, where he attended the public schools and the University of Missouri. He received his bachelor’s degree in humanities and his master’s degree in English from Southern Illinois University. The University of Kansas, Lawrence, was the setting for his doctorate in philosophy of education, and was where he attended courses in the famous integrated humanities program with professors John Senior and Dennis Quinn. At KU he taught freshmen and sophomore English and literature as well as undergraduate and graduate courses in the philosophy of education. Upon graduation, Taylor taught in middle and high schools, parochial schools, and preparatory academies, including St. Mary’s Academy (Kansas), Wichita Collegiate School, and Topeka Collegiate School. For 5 years he was assistant, then associate, professor of the education department at Hillsdale College, Michigan. For 2 of those years he served as department chair. He held regular classes using the Good and Great Books as part of the teacher preparation program. His last collegiate position was at the University of Tulsa, also in the department of education, where his specialties were philosophy of education in the graduate school, and children’s literature classes for future elementary and middle school teachers. Dr. Taylor is also the author of Poetic Knowledge, a book often used and cited in the renewal of classical Christian education.

Dr. Taylor’s father, a newspaperman and writer for the Associated Press, became editor of the Missouri Alumnus magazine and a popular speaker. Taylor’s mother was a fourth-grade teacher and librarian for Columbia public schools. James Taylor was raised in the Methodist church. His journey to Orthodoxy may have well begun there while, during a lengthy sermon, he gazed at the engraving on the wooden pulpit: “The Truth Shall Make You Free.” He was pleasantly surprised years later to learn that John Wesley, founder of Methodism, was an Anglican minister deeply read in the fathers of the Church. Later, he began a tour through the various expressions of Roman Catholicism, particularly traditional Benedictine monasticism, then spent several years with a Byzantine Rite, and finally arriving, somewhat broken but not beyond repair, at peace in the Orthodox Church.

After a five year odyssey, Taylor has now been tonsured monk as Fr. Porphyrios, and resides in a monastery in northwest Missouri.

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