Head of School (DMIN., MDIV.)
Dr. Brannan and his wife have been in ministry for over 20 years. They began in youth ministry in Ann Arbor, Michigan where they pioneered outreaches in the high schools, middle schools and local colleges. William then spent 5 years as a missionary pastor in Northern Ireland before returning to the United States as a church planter. Dr. Brannan studied Biblical Languages, Religious Studies and Music at Concordia University. He later earned his Masters of Divinity from Trinity Seminary and his Doctor of Ministry from Vision University.
Dr. Brannan’s passion is to infect the next generation with the hope and love of the Kingdom of God, with the goal of raising up future leaders that will promote a thoroughly biblical faith and worldview. He believes that the quality and content of the education at Fortis Academy is designed for that very purpose, and considers it an honor to be head of school.
Mrs. Kent has been active in the Classical Christian Home Education movement for over 7 years. Her focus and experiences include: serving as Teacher (Tutor) Trainer for the Austin-area Grammar Teachers for Classical Conversations, Inc., Lead Teacher, Assistant Director and Grammar School Director for Classical Conversations Cedar Park. She also has hands-on training and experience with a variety of organizations, publishers, and authors: IEW (Institute of Excellence in Writing, Classical Academic Press, Memoria Press, Circe Institute, Center for Lit (Teaching the Classics), Five in a Row, My Father’s World, Drawn into the Heart of Reading, Smoothing the Way, Celebrate Kids, National Institute for Biblical Parenting and more.
A native Houstonian, Kathie moved to Austin in 1998 and has over two decades of working in full-time and lay ministry while also traveling thousands of miles across the country and overseas serving others and sharing the love of Christ while serving on staff of a Christian Gap-Year Program.
Kathie met her future husband while on a short-term missions trip to Central America in 2000 and married in 2002. They have three blessings that they homeschooled for seven years. Any free time she has is usually spent reading or cheering on her favorite teams: the Houston Astros, Texans and Rockets.
Zephaniah 3:17 “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
History, Logic, Speech & DebateAfter having homeschooled his own children for 17 years and worked as an ESL instructor, Mr. Paone came to Fortis in 2014 after being captivated by the students, curriculum, teachers, administration, and vision of Fortis. He was convinced they had the right message and the right method to educate the next generation of leaders in the Christian faith.
Mr. Paone met the Lord as a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston and subsequently spent about 20 years in Latin America carrying the message of the Bible to the spiritually hungry youth of the Hispanic world through street evangelism and music.
Mr. Paone’s teaching style is relaxed and fun, but challenging. He is currently enrolled in Austin Graduate School of Theology where he is expanding his knowledge of Christian studies in order to enrich the lives of our Fortis students.
“The intelligence can only be led by desire. For there to be desire, there must be pleasure and joy in work.” – Simone Weil educator and philosopher
Pre-Algebra, LatinAfter graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, Mrs. Cardenas practiced law for five years in San Antonio. She then began homeschooling her children and has taught at a Classical co-op in Grammar, Writing, Latin, Math, and Rhetoric. She and her husband have been married eighteen years and are blessed with three wonderfully-spirited, intelligent boys.
“Ut benedicat tibi Dominus” – Mrs. Cardenas
English, MusicMrs. Ouellette received her Bachelor’s of Music Education from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Her teaching journey began in the public school sector where she taught secondary choir for nine years in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Mrs. Ouellette left teaching in 2012 to be able to focus on her family and her new baby son who will be attending Fortis as a Kindergartner this year. Mrs. Ouellette is a music minister as well as a pastor’s wife who loves the freedom to put Jesus at the center of her students’ education at Fortis. She received salvation at a young age and is thankful for the sustaining power of God’s love and mercy through the hills and valleys of life! She is excited to continue her tenure at Fortis as an English teacher for Logic, as well as the music for the Grammar School students. Her goal in teaching is to help her students to think deeply and communicate effectively while measuring life through the lens of God’s Word.
2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
HistoryMrs. Sladek is new to the Liberty Hill area, but has called Austin her home for more than 20 years. She earned a Bachelors in History from Wheaton College and a Masters in Classical Archaeology from The University of Colorado. Mrs. Sladek became a Christian at a young age and was raised in a Christian home. Her faith has always been the guiding light in her life, but it was not until she attended Wheaton College that her Christian faith and academic life came together to give full meaning and understanding to her daily walk. She was a teacher for 7 years prior to starting her family at both Hill Country Christian School of Austin, and Regents School of Austin. Her most recent teaching job was at Veritas Classical Academy in South Austin. Mrs. Sladek has a love for all things ancient, particularly the history, art and architecture of the Greeks and Romans.
“Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum “ translation: To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” -Cicero
Mrs. Porrello’s formal qualifications include a B.A. in Mathematics, M.S. in Computer Science, California Secondary Mathematics Teaching Credential, and 6-8 Mathematics Texas Teaching Credential. She has several years of experience working as a software engineer and over 20 years of teaching experience in levels kindergarten through college. While homeschooling her four children, Mrs. Porrello learned about Montessori and Classical Education and begin “re-educating” herself along with her children.
Raised in a Christian home, Mrs. Porrello’s faith has always been an essential part of who she is. As a catechist for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, she enjoys rediscovering the joy and beauty of the faith through the children (ages 3 – grade school) as they learn and explore it.
Mrs. Porrello, her husband of 26 years, and children moved to Texas four years ago. She enjoys watching her son’s play baseball, doing art with her daughter, and hanging out with her family, including her son, his wife, and their beautiful daughter of 4 months. She feels blessed to have the opportunity to work at a Classical Christian school.
“Mathematics gives a person eyes to see.” -Andrew Kern
“Everybody loves math when they know it. When they don’t, they think they hate math. What they really hate is not knowing it.” –Andrew Kern
Mrs. Clay holds a bachelor’s degree in English/Speech Comm. from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. She became involved in the home education community in 2001, directing her children’s education, teaching in learning co-ops, and serving as a competitive speech coach with the NCFCA (National Christian Forensics and Communication Association) from 2007-2012. While taking courses in Museum Studies through Johns Hopkins, she worked at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas in admissions and tours.
Currently, Mrs. Clay is a chapter director for Ratio Christi campus apologetics club at the University of Texas and is pursuing a M.Div. at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2018 she was featured as a breakout speaker for the inaugural Women in Apologetics conference held at Biola University. She is also a featured guest writer at Desiring God.
Mrs. Clay began an art web site in 2009 (www.bluepurpleandscarlett.com). Her content and photography has been published over 20 times in nationally distributed publications in the US and once in Germany. As an artist, she has exhibited her work in numerous religious galleries in the Austin area, including Hill Country Bible Church, Hope Chapel, and The Austin Pastoral Diocese. She maintains an art FB page, and is passionate about using literature and the arts to point people to God and the truth of the gospel.
I Peter 3:15 In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
KindergartenMrs. McKethan graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, and has been married to her college sweetheart for 18 years. She has 2 children, Rylan and Zane, who are both enrolled at Fortis and love it! Her family likes to spend time outdoors discovering all of the amazing swimming holes and natural wonders that the Austin area has to offer, going to waterparks and theme parks, and just relaxing together playing card games. Her family also enjoys serving in their church where they help with the children’s ministry and the youth group.
“I promise that your child will learn that God loves them and has a plan for them, challenge them to reach their full potential, and prepare them for their educational future.” – Mrs. McKethan
1st GradeMrs. Armstrong has taught in public, private, and charter schools for 23 years in 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. She decided to pursue making a positive difference in a classical Christian school and joined the Fortis Academy team. Mrs. Armstrong received her degree in Human Development & Family Studies from Texas Tech University and her teaching certificate from UTSA. She was baptized at the First Baptist Church in Seagraves, Texas when she was 9 years old. Her faith has continued to grow, and she feels blessed to share her love of God with her new colleagues, students, and the families at Fortis Academy.
2nd GradeMrs. Poncy loves children and is passionate about education. She taught for six years in the classroom as an elementary public school teacher, then later went on to complete a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington, with a focus in Literacy Studies. She has enjoyed the last few years as a stay at home mom where she has gotten to devote all of her time to her two girls, Lydia, age 5, and Noelle, age 2.
Mrs. Poncy and her husband are very involved with their church, The Austin Stone Community Church. They currently serve in a kids ministry classroom on Sunday mornings, where she also leads Big Group Worship for the preschool ministry. They also host a Community group in their home on Sunday evenings. Her view of education is that learning should be God-centered, fun, rigorous, and differentiated for every student. She thanks God for leading her to Fortis.
“I feel honored and blessed to teach at Fortis Academy, my goal is to closely link learning with a Christian worldview.” – Mrs. Poncy
3rd GradeMrs. Torres graduated from the Apostolic University International with a bachelor’s degree in Theology with a concentration in Christian Education. She has eight years of experience in early and elementary education in a private school. Mrs. Torres has been married for 11 years and have three wonderful children, Giana, Halle and Christa. Mrs. Torres is very active in their church where she leads the children’s ministry.
“I feel so blessed to be able to teach children in a Christian Worldview environment like Fortis Academy.” – Mrs. Torres
4th GradeMrs. Johnson graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan with a degree in Psychology and moved to Texas where she worked for 8 years as a counselor for at-risk students in private and public school settings. She spent 18 years homeschooling her own children as well as teaching classes in educational co-ops and homeschool enrichment programs. Mrs. Johnson loves to learn and is passionate about fostering a love for God and a lifelong love of learning in the hearts of her precious students. Mrs. Johnson has been married to her husband for 25 years and has three amazing children. Her oldest is living and working abroad, the middle child is in college, and our youngest is attending Fortis Academy, which she loves! Mrs. Johnson is also active in their church where they serve in student ministry, leading discipleship groups with high school students.
5th GradeMrs. Allan received her bachelor’s degree from ACU was in print journalism and I worked for a couple of non-profit organizations before she became a mom. For the next 15 years, she worked from home part-time as a freelance writer and graphic designer and also began homeschooling her children. Mrs. Allan’s family are the most important people on the planet to her. She met her husband while they were both students at Abilene Christian University, and have been married for 26 years. Her two oldest daughters, Mackenzie and Karynna , were both adopted. The stories of how God placed them with her family are beautiful and a true blessing, but He had one more blessing. Season is their biological child, who came into their lives as a HUGE surprise. As a family, they like to spend the majority of their free time involved in their church, Highpoint Fellowship. Her family found Fortis Academy and was instantly drawn to the Christian Worldview and University Model program.
” My first three years as a teacher have been more wonderful than I could have imagined, and I ‘m incredibly thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside the parents and teach children about the truth of God’s love in this Classical program. We consider ourselves truly blessed to be part of such a wonderful, caring community. It’s going to be a fabulous year, and I can’t wait to get started!” – Mrs. Allan
Mrs. Angela Jones
Mother's Day OutMrs. Jones entered teaching when her family re-located to the Austin area in 2011 and discovered Fortis. She taught as a co-teacher at home for 5 years before coming on staff at Fortis in 2016. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 13 years and has 4 children. Her family is active in their church and have a heart to see marriages and families thrive.
“It’s my passion to love, nurture, and help shape the minds of the young people in my classroom through a Christ-centered, classical education.” – Mrs. Jones
Mrs. Odena Jones
Grammar Reading tutorMrs. Jones started her youth ministry in California where she mentored youth for 35 years as a teacher and Youth Director. She has been married to her husband for 40 years and has lots of grandchildren. She started as an Art Teacher and substitute teacher at Fortis Academy and now will focus on helping our students to read within the Grammar school grades.
” I feel that Fortis Academy provides the perfect environment for learning with the demonstration of God’s love combined with an excellent classical curriculum.” – Mrs. Jones