Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is committed to working with homeschools and charter schools to assist them in integrating museum experiences into their curriculum as well as continuously improving programming offered at Phipps. The Phipps Educational Advisory Committee for Charter and Homeschools (PEACCH) is a select group of educators who meet regularly during the school year to foster collaboration and learning across schools and museums. The committee is made of home and charter school educators and museum educators in the Pittsburgh area. 


Carrie Ingram
Carrie Ingram is a former elementary school teacher who started homeschooling six years ago.  She is currently homeschooling her two children ages 5 and 10.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and gardening. 

Chrissy Lockard
Chrissy Lockard is a high school science teacher at Commonwealth Charter Academy. She currently teaches Honors Earth Science and Earth and Space Science. During her eleven years of teaching, Lockard has also taught and AP Environmental Science as well as life and physical science at the middle school levels. Lockard holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Arts in Secondary Education from Slippery Rock University. She is currently designing a new online Earth science curriculum that will be launched in 2018-19 school year. She enjoys finding new ways to engage students in science through inquiry based learning and using real-world problems to cultivate a passion and understanding of how science can be used to advance and improve our lives.   

Teresa Schriever
Teresa Schriever has been working in public education for twenty years as both a School Counselor and Special Education Teacher.  She has homeschooled her children since the time they entered Kindergarten.  Teresa enjoys traveling extensively and loves to bring the joy of other places and culture to her children via her educational background and flexibility homeschool affords. 

Lauren Snider
Lauren Snider earned a degree in Elementary Education from Westminster College in 2004.  Laura taught for two years in the Shenandoah Country Public School, Virginia, but she and her husband moved back to Pittsburgh to raise their family. They currently live in Bellevue and homeschool their two children, ages 5 and 8. 

Bethany Thornton
Bethany Thornton has lived in Pittsburgh her whole life. She and her husband have 4 children who have been homeschooled since birth.    She has worked as a Special Education Teacher prior to the birth of her daughter and is now working part-time as the Membership/Outreach Coordinator for the UU Church of the South Hills.  Phipps is one of her favorite places in Pittsburgh! 

Kristine Bradshaw-Waters
Kristine Bradshaw-Waters has been homeschooling four eight years. She has three children ages 13, 10 and 2. Her philosophy for education is one of intrinsic motivation. If children are self-motivated and have a vested interest in self-education, then the learning is second nature and doesn’t have to be forced. She considers homeschooling a lifestyle and not a daily task. She feels that traditional school doesn’t allow for this method of learning, and that’s why she chose to start homeschooling. Her hope is that through PEACCH and her own organization, Pittsburgh Area Homeschoolers of Color, she can help to increase the engagement of people of color and the wonderful classes and facilities Phipps has to offer.

Sally Wisler
Sally Wisler earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Slippery Rock University, and followed a career in banking.  She and her husband Andrew share a large farm with her three children.  Sally, an eclectic homeschooler, teaches with the modified classical approach.  She also enjoys travel, cooking and Horticulture.


  • Review updated lesson plans and program ideas developed by the museum educators
  • Participate in informal discussions and brainstorming sessions to reflect and share best practices in museum education and ways to integrate material into the public/private school curriculum
  • Assist in evaluation and feedback for resources and programs produced by Phipps educators
  • Discuss strategies for aligning the museum’s K – 12 school-based educational programs and resources to city, state and national standards in a variety of curricular areas
  • Pilot new programs and/or materials and evaluate them
  • Work as a liaison between museum and schools, promote and increase awareness of educational materials and programs offered through the museum
  • Participate in one field trip or program a year

Organizers and Hosts

Phipps Science Education
Heather Shannon and Dr. Maria Wheeler-Dubas

Heather Shannon or 412/622-6915, ext. 3223
Dr. Maria Wheeler-Dubas or 412/622-6915, ext. 3220

Photos © Paul g. Wiegman