Meet Our Science Staff

Mr. Bird

Johnny Bird teaches science at Achieve Virtual Education Academy. He previously taught Science at Coleman Alternative Education Center in Indianapolis Public Schools. Teaching 9th Grade Biology and 7th Grade science to students with special needs gave him great experience working with virtual education. Prior to becoming a teacher he was a professional drummer. Mr. Bird is a graduate of Wheaton Academy class of ’86, and earned his bachelor’s degree and his masters’ degree in teaching from Trevecca Nazarene University. He and his wife, Melissa, reside in Fishers and enjoy rooting for the Colts and gardening. He welcomes you to Achieve Virtual Education Academy!

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Ms. Burkhart

Karen Burkhart has taught at the Wayne Enrichment Center for the past six years. After studying chemistry and physics at Winona State University and completing her master’s thesis in organic chemistry at Iowa State University, she developed new products and packages for Procter & Gamble and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Upon becoming a mother, she devoted her time to raising her son, Michael, and volunteering. She returned to school to earn a teaching license Indiana Wesleyan University. Her teaching license includes chemistry, physics, biology, art and earth and space science. She enjoys teaching. Her hobbies include gardening, garden design, fiber arts and reading.

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Mr. Pell
Mr. Pell

John W. Pell teaches Earth and Space Science at Ben Davis High School. He earned his Bachelors Degree in Science Education from Indiana State University and has taught at Ben Davis for the past 11 years. He is an avid fisherman and enjoys many outdoor activities. He is also the sponsor of The Ben Davis Gamers Guild, a club where students meet to play board and card games.

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Mrs. Schmitt
Mrs. Schmitt

Grace Schmitt is in her 17th year of teaching AP biology and her 20th year at Ben Davis High School and Wayne Township. She has a B. S. degree in biology and a master’s degree in education from IUPUI. She is the department chair of science at Ben Davis High School. She is married and has two daughters. Mrs. Schmitt is active in her church, enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and loves to cook, bake and garden. Mrs. Schmitt thoroughly enjoys working with high school students and wants to encourage them to be their best!

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Mr. Wentland
Mr. Wentland

John Wentland has taught high school science for 15 years. He is certified to teach Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science and Physical Science. He has been at the Ben Davis ninth grade center since 2011 and currently teaches freshman Biology. Prior to this, he taught at a local charter school and Broad Ripple High School. Mr. Wentland received his Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Purdue University and conducted research at Methodist Hospital before entering teaching. Mr. Wentland has won numerous awards for teaching including the Toyota International Teacher Award and an IPL Golden Apple Award in 2006, and A Teacher Creativity Fellowship from the Lilly Endowment in 2011.

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Mr. Garad
Houmed Garad Biography coming soon.

Sarah Wilking
Sarah Wilking Achieve Virtual Science teacher

Sara Wilking is a two time graduate of Indiana University Bloomington and a graduate of Western Governors University. Mrs. Wilking has taught Biology and AP/ACP Biology for 12 years. She lives in Greenwood with her husband and two boys. In her free time Mrs. Wilking loves playing sports and can’t say no to a good book.