Our Volunteer Instructors

Pillar Foundation and the homeschooling community are proud of our wonderful volunteer instructors who give of their time and talent to supplement the education of our students. Many are career professionals and all come with a wealth of experience and a committed passion to raise up generations in the truth of God's Word and the Christian worldview.

Gwen Amiri

Kurt Bahr


Kurt Bahr is the Director of Elections for St. Charles County.  He served as a member of the Missouri State House of Representatives from 2011-2018.  He has a master's degree in Public Policy from Regent University and a bachelor's degree in History/Political Science from Oklahoma Wesleyan University.  He is a home school graduate and, with his wife Jennifer, home schools their six children.  They also own Bahr Family Properties, a real estate investment company. Kurt is a veteran of the United States Air Force. 

Larry Darby


Larry Darby, married to Gayle, is the father of three home-schooled children: Laura (31), Hope (29) and Greg (26).  He has a B.A. from Rice University (History and Economics) and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago (Finance and Accounting).  Upon graduation from Rice, he spent a year in Europe on a Thomas Watson Fellowship studying worker participation in industrial management.  He began his career with Mark Twain Banks, where he became the President of the south county branch.  In 1984 he left the bank to form a company producing and marketing video and computer based training products.  He sold this business in 1992 and has been active in various church activities since that time.

Katy Ericson


Katelyn Ericson is a WCCHE graduate and has tutored students in English, composition, and literature for over five years.  Katelyn has a degree in Mass Communications and has worked as a marketing intern at the St. Louis Science Center.  She has written for three college newspapers, and her academic writing received the Howard Barnett Essay Award 2013-2014.  She loves theater, history, reading, writing, and playing strategy board games.

Darlene Fallon


Darlene Fallon and her husband, Joe, have six children and have homeschooled for 12 years.  She has a teaching degree in mathematics from Missouri Baptist University.  She has been a youth and children's ministry leader at church for many years including directing several vacation bible schools.  Her family has been blessed to take classes at the Pillar Foundation and is thankful to give back. She loves to spend time with her family, camp, fish, hike, work in the garden, and cheer on her daughters playing soccer.

Mike Ford


Mike Ford is the husband of one wife (Linda) for 50+ years, father of two adult daughters and one granddaughter.  He is retired from a career of over 40 years in Facilities Management in public and private schools.  He has pastored churches and held evangelistic meetings over the course of 12-15 years in many of the Midwestern states.  Mike served three years in the U.S. Army, including 13 months in Vietnam.  He has been teaching at Pillar since 2016.

Jim Hancock



Jim Hancock is an optometrist and father of five (adult) children.  Jim and his wife, Sue, homeschooled their own children for 21 years. They are now involved with the part time teaching and coaching of students at The Pillar Foundation and at Christian High School.  Jim grew up in St. Louis and attended the University of Missouri/St. Louis for both undergraduate education and optometry school.  His interests include reading, international eye care, motorcycle restoration, and encouraging young people to excellence.

Sue Hancock


Sue Hancock, wife of Jim Hancock, is a graduate of the University of MO, Columbia.  She homeschooled her five children for twenty-one years, and for the past 6 years has been teaching math at Christian High School and Christian Middle School.  She also is the school's varsity swim coach for both the boys' and girls' teams.  Sue is passionate about all things math, and loves teaching it to others.

Martie Meador


Martie Meador is the wife of Matt, the mother of four adult children and a grandmother.  She began homeschooling the youngest two children in 2005.  In 2005, she organized and for five years ran a homeschool group that served approx. 175 families in Warren, Lincoln, Montgomery and western St. Charles counties.  She wanted to make history a more enjoyable class for her children and started using genealogy to make the events of the past seem more relevant to the present.  She is passionate about instilling a love of learning into students by trying to answer the age-old student question of “Why do I need to know this?”  She has taught classes for students ranging from kindergarten to high school including Community Helpers, Nutrition Detectives, Better Health through Nutrition, Personal Finance and Yearbook.  

Shirley Morris


Shirley graduated with a degree in mathematics education from University of Illinois and earned a Master’s degree in mathematics from Illinois State University.  She taught for one year before starting a family.  She and her husband spent four years in Zambia where he served as a missionary doctor while she homeschooled their children and taught religious education in the local Zambian school.  She taught math, Algebra 1 and 2, statistics, and trigonometry in her local Illinois school, the local junior college, and at Methodist College in Peoria, Illinois before retiring in 2017.  She came to know Jesus Christ as her personal Savior when she was about eight years old.  Her first love is Jesus, but she also loves teaching math and looks forward to working with homeschool students at the Pillar.

Jan Petzoldt


Jan spent ten years working in Business and Marketing for a large company before retiring to stay home to raise children.  Jan and her husband have homeschooled their three children (now young adults) through high school. She has been very active in many aspects of homeschooling and has been involved in teaching classes in several different venues including sewing, public speaking, music classes, private flute, ACT tutoring, etc.  Jan has been sewing since she was a teen and enjoys sewing as a hobby and teaching the skill to others.

Nancy Sander


Nancy Sander has taught high school English in the St. Louis area for thirty years.  She received a B.S.Ed. from Southwest Missouri State  (now Missouri State University) and a M.S. Ed. from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  Since retiring from the Rockwood School District, she has served as a teacher and teacher’s aide  at Living Water Academy, taught writing classes at Pillar, and tutored home school students.  Though the years, she  has always harbored a passion for the Founding Fathers and the godly heritage of our country.

Kathy Side


Kathy, the wife of Brian and mother of seven, has homeschooled their children of which now are four college graduates, two college students, and one homeschool teen.  Kathy taught high school math and computer science in the public schools for seven years before retiring to be a stay at home mom. Besides being involved in theater, Kathy is a Sunday school teacher and huge sports enthusiast of homeschool teams.  As the producer and administrator for Take 3 Christian Theater, she is thrilled and humbled to have had the opportunity to work with such great cast members and their servant parents.  Through teaching at the Pillar, Kathy is also thankful to be able to be “give back” to The Pillar Foundation and their wonderful volunteer teachers who had sacrificially taught her own children since 2003.

Amber Sobery


Amber Sobery has been married for 20 years and has a 10-year-old daughter. Amber has a bachelor’s degree in Deaf Education from Fontbonne University and is a Missouri certified Sign Language Interpreter. For 16 years she has been an Early Interventionist working with both Missouri First Steps and Families First Intervention Program. She works with families who have young children with developmental delays and specializes in those who are deaf/hard of hearing. Amber enjoys spending time assisting the children’s minister at her church, working in her flower and vegetable gardens, learning in the ceramics studio and creating in front of the sewing machine. At any given time, you can also find her listening to an audiobook, reading an e-book or enjoying the smell and feel of an old-fashioned paper book.

Vickie Weller


Vickie Weller is a certified corporate etiquette consultant and seminar speaker.  She and her husband Bob, the organizers of A College Prep Home Education,  provided information, counseling, and support to home educators desiring to provide a high school home education for their students.  Some of the seminars presented by Vickie, a veteran home educator of 21 years, include: High School Graduation Requirements and College Prerequisites, Transcripts and High School Resumes, and Scholarships. Vickie is a graduate of the University of Missouri - St. Louis (Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration) and is active in ministry and the community.

MO Assoc. for Creation

Staff  Instructors



WORLDVIEW FOUNDATIONS......................Instructor: Daniel Hite

GETTING INTO GREEK....................................Instructor: Leah Hite

SEWING.................................................Co-Instructor: Sandy Spence


Staff bios are found on The Pillar Foundation Staff page.

© THE PILLAR FOUNDATION   All rights reserved.   |   15820 Clayton Road  ◦  Ellisville, MO 63011  ◦  636.386.7722

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