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Meet the New Staff at ASA: Getting to Know Fred Koehler

It’s time for another “staff introduction” so you, our readers, can get to know one of our amazing faculty members here at ASA. This month, we were privileged to interview Fred Koehler, the new Director of Media and Design here at All Saints Academy and a welcome addition to our team. He loves to hear people’s stories, and he certainly has one of his own to tell. From central Florida to life in West Africa and back again, Fred is changing lives one story at a time.

Born in Columbia, SC, Fred moved to central Florida when he was three. In 1998 Lakeland called him here as a student at Florida Southern College, and he graduated with a degree in graphic design alongside a minor in communications. Following his graduation in 2001, Fred joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to Togo, West Africa where he was to stay for 2 1/2 years. During this time he spoke French along with a smattering of indigenous languages. Life in his little farming community was slow-paced, and that’s something Fred says he loved about his time spent there. He gained perspective about filling your days with what matters, taking time to notice life instead of constant busyness, and took away lessons in contentment. People there are happy with little because they don’t know life any other way, and in their eyes they have all they need. Fred was part of the HIV education and prevention program during his time in West Africa, and came away realizing how impactful the stories of people can be in the lives of others.

When he arrived back stateside, he was hired on with Polk County Public Schools in the public relations office, which gave him more opportunities to work with a variety of people throughout the community. Life back in the United States was good and he remained in his public relations position for two years before moving on to launch a creative services division for a marketing company in Winter Haven. Here, he kickstarted their in-house graphic design studio, and worked hard at it for five years, when he then bought out his portion of the company. Recently, he joined us here at All Saints Academy where he plans to use his background as a creative director and advertising agency owner to help ASA tell our story.

Fred has two children of his own, Abby (10) and Jack (8), and he loves spending time with them as often as possible. He is a self-proclaimed “water bug” and enjoys hitting the mud flats on the Gulf with a fishing rod in hand. In addition to fishing, he enjoys kayaking and diving. Fred is also a working artist who writes and illustrates for children’s book publishers, projects that have taken him all over the US and abroad. Fred loves to share his passions with his family, and brings them on as many of his adventures as possible. Another companion he enjoys spending time with is Cheerio, the family’s dog who was adopted from the local SPCA last year and who defends their home by attacking all packages left by the UPS man.

Here are a few more details about Fred and his story that we think you’ll enjoy:

What is your 5-year goal? 

Personally, I look forward to raising my family here in Polk County and seeing my kids become great students, artists or athletes – watching them bloom into whatever they decide to become. Professionally, I want to help ASA create a culture that celebrates all of the incredible things our school has to offer. I’m excited to see our halls filled with exceptional students and faculty. I hope to help grow this community by successfully telling our story to the world! It hasn’t taken long for me to recognize that this institution is thoughtful, generous, culturally diverse, and inclusive. I feel honored that they would invite me to be a part of it.”

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 

“I would give myself a full head of hair, and the ability to do twice as much work in half the amount of time.”

Another fun fact about Fred? He keeps a bowl of candy on his desk much like his unnamed-26predecessor Kristin did here at ASA. However, his candy comes with a price. Students know that if they want the candy, they have to leave a story. It can be true, made up, written down, or told verbally, but it has to be shared to earn the chocolate. It’s a treat for a tale, and something Fred and the students enjoy. We love seeing our faculty developing relationships with our students because that personal, engaging aspect of teachers and staff is one of the many things that makes ASA so special.

We are thrilled to have Fred here at All Saints Academy, and we can’t wait to see how he helps ASA’s story spread throughout Polk County and beyond.

Meet The New Staff at ASA: Getting to Know Ms. Channa Comer

“I’m happy to be here and looking forward to learning from everybody. I see myself as a learner first before anything else…that’s an important mindset to teach and foster in kids.”

-Ms. Channa Comer

This year at ASA, we want to take time to introduce our wonderful educators, and give you a glimpse into who they are and how they make a positive impact on All Saints Academy. This month, our spotlight is on Ms. Channa Comer.

If you were to ask for her to sum up herself in one sentence, Ms. Comer would say “Science takes up my life!” She is the Science and Engineering Coach for our Lower School and a recent addition to the ASA family. She received her Bachelors in Business Management from Baruch College in NYC and her Master’s in Science Education from City College, and has a long list of impressive contributions to the science and education fields. Ms. Comer came to us from the DC Metro Area US Dept. of Energy, she and was part of the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship: Sponsored by US Department of Energy for STEM Educator across the country to work in federal agencies. She also worked in the office of science at the Department of Energy and Coordinated the National Science Bowl. Teaching young people is a passion for Ms. Comer, and she loves middle school education (especially 6th grade). She was the science dept. chair for Baychester Middle School in the Bronx, and is credited with starting many STEM-based after school programs including the GREEN Team, and Baychester Science and Engineering Club. She believes in enrichment for students of all backgrounds, and was able to pursue this through her position as curriculum specialists for the after school program at Baychester.

Ms. Comer’s career in science also influences many of her hobbies, as she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and cooking using publications such as Cooks Illustrated and Cooking Science magazine. Gardening and repurposing items are also hobbies, and she often turns old glass bottles into drink ware, or repurposes vintage clothing (Ms. Comer loves making headpieces for her dance costume). In her free time she enjoys yoga, dance, reading, and international travel. So far, she has been to multiple places in NA, SA, Asia, Africa, and Central America including Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Egypt, and Korea. Some of these travel opportunities were related to education and/or science, as she taught in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Korea. When she comes home though, the loves of Ms. Comer’s life are her two cats, Teena Turner and Lucy Luu and makes sure to spend quality time with both of them. She says if she was stuck on a deserted island with only three things, two of them would be her cats, and the third would be duct tape!

Some fun facts about Ms. Comer?

  • Favorite foods are pizza and ice cream (but she does try to eat healthy!)
  • She loves vampire movies (like “Twilight”)
  • She’s a big Stephen King fan
  • She’s working on two children’s science books right now, one in development (5-7) and a graphic novel about leaf cutter ants in Costa Rica.
  • Her dream, and goal, is to open a string of independent schools for underprivileged students in communities where they don’t have access to high quality education based on fostering learning and not test scores.
  • She has studied MMA, Kung Fu, and Karate.
  • She was a professional body builder back in the day.
  • She ran the 1994 London Marathon to raise money for the Leukemia Society.

We are so glad to have Ms. Comer as part of our team of educators here at All Saints Academy, and we can’t wait to see the great things she has in store for our students this year and in the years to come. Welcome Ms. Comer to the ASA family!

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