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Instructor Bios

Bishop MARK was born on June 22, 1958 to John L Maymon and Catherine Hoffman at St Edward’s Hospital in New Albany, Indiana. He is the fifth of eight children. Bishop MARK was baptized in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church in 1958, and confirmed when he was nine. After attending elementary school (grades 1-8) at our Lady of Perpetual Help, he began attending New Albany High School, graduating in 1976.

The following fall he began studies at Indiana University South East, later completing undergraduate studies at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK. He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree Majoring in Biblical Literature with an emphasis in Old Testament, and with a Minor in Business Administration, graduating Summa Cum Laude in May of 1985. In 1987, he completed the requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Biblical Literature with the emphasis in Old Testament at Oral Roberts University. He graduated with Honors and was named Old Testament Student of the Year.

Upon graduating from the Seminary, Bishop MARK was offered, and accepted the position of Adjunct Professor of Old Testament at Oral Roberts University. His responsibilities included teaching Old Testament and New Testament Survey for all incoming freshman, as well as Biblical Hebrew I & II, Hebrew Prophets, Old Testament Introduction, The History of Israel, Wisdom Literature, Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations and Old Testament Theology. He was also responsible for the oversight of fourteen graduate fellows and co-taught Teaching Methodologies.

During his studies at Oral Roberts University, Bishop MARK was introduced to the Orthodox Church in his Church History class, by the V. Rev. George Eber, pastor of St. Antony in Tulsa, OK. Through contact with the Orthodox Church, he saw the Scripture less and less as the book of the university and more and more the Book of the Church. Fr. George invited him to ‘come to the Church that gave us the Bible.’ Listening to the wonderful hymnology of the Orthodox Church at Great Vespers, Matins and Divine Liturgy, the Scriptures were opened in an entirely different way.

Additionally, the Orthodox presented God as a loving Father and Shepherd who comes searching for those who are lost. Many personal struggles, unconquered through the academic study of the Scripture, began to dissipate as he learned how to struggle more effectually through the School of Repentance during Great Lent. On Great and Holy Wednesday in 1989, he was officially received into the Orthodox Church through Holy Chrisimation.

Being newly Chrismated, already 31 years of age, he requested Metropolitan PHILIP’s blessing to attend St Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary. With the blessing of His Eminence, Bishop MARK completed the degree requirements for the Master of Divinity Degree at St Vladimir’s in 1991 and spent an additional year studying Church History and Patristics, under the direction of Fr. John Meyendorff. During the summers of 1991 and 1992, Bishop MARK worked at the Antiochian Village, under the direction of Fr. Paul Finley and Fr. George Alberts. He also developed the curriculum for the Christian Education programs for the summer camp programs (1991-1993).

After working at the Antiochian Village Camp and Conference Center, as weekend manager from 1992 to 1993, he moved to New Kensington, PA. There he assisted Fr. John Abdalah with services, taught Bible studies, enquirer classes and served on the parish council. He also began working as a counselor in mental health, dealing with dual diagnosis patients, i.e., those with both mental illness and substance abuse issues.

In the summer of 1997, Bishop MARK yearned to offer himself to the work of our Lord more fully and petitioned for Ordination to the priesthood, asking to serve, St. John the Evangelist Church in Beaver Falls, PA. On August 17,1997, he was ordained by the hand of His Grace Bishop ANTOUN at St Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Wilkes Barre, PA and to the Holy Priesthood at St George in Pittsburgh, PA. on September 07, 1997. He was assigned to St John the Evangelist in Beaver Falls, PA from September 1997 through December 31, 2000. In January of 2001, he was assigned to assist Fr. John Estephan at St. George in Grand Rapids, MI, until Fr. John’s retirement in December of 2002. Upon Fr. John’s retirement, Bishop MARK assumed all the responsibilities for the pastorate of St George.

Bishop MARK was nominated to the sacred episcopacy at a Special Convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese held in Pittsburgh, PA in July, 2004, and was elected to the episcopacy by the Local Synod of Bishops in October, 2004. He was consecrated as a bishop at the hand of His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus Syria on December 5, 2004.

Bishop MARK was enthroned at St. George Cathedral, Toledo, OH on Thursday, August 25, 2005.

Carole A. Buleza was appointed to the position of Director of the Department of Christian Education for the Antiochian Archdiocese in January 2000. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Religion, with a specialty in Religious Education. Carole also chairs the Curriculum Department of the Orthodox Christian Education Commission. Carole has initiated, on behalf of the OCEC, a thorough revision and upgrading of the curriculum. The Way, The Truth, and The Life, published in 2004, is the first of the new series. Also in conjunction with the OCEC, Carole introduced the teacher training program “Educating Ourselves and Our Children in Godliness” which has provided hundreds of teachers throughout North America with the resources and training for success in the church school classroom. Carole is thrilled to be presenting the sixth annual Orthodox Institute at Antiochian Village, and to have initiated Mini-Institutes in the Dioceses of the Midwest, Mid-America, and the West. She gratefully acknowledges that, “It is only by God’s grace and with the help of my dedicated staff, the Order of St. Ignatius, members of the OCEC Board of Trustees, and especially His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, that we are able to provide such resources for Christian Education. May God continue to bless our efforts.”

Kh. Elizabeth “Betty” Randolph is the Christian Education Coordinator for the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast. She is also a past President of the Fellowship of St. John, Southeast Region. With 25 years in the field of education, curriculum selection, and staff development, and an M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision, Betty brings manifold resources to the task of both teaching and administration. She is principal of Forest Acres Elementary School in Easley, South Carolina. Her husband, Fr. David, is pastor of Christ the Savior Church in Central, South Carolina.

Fr. George Alberts, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, has been involved in Orthodox Christian Education for over 35 years. Ordained to the priesthood in 1973, he also studied Clinical Pastoral Education at Pine Rest Mental Health Hospital, Grand Rapids, MI, and has taught sociology at the community college level. Fr. George has served as a pastor in Michigan and Pennsylvania and is currently the  pastor of St. George Church in Danbury, Connecticut. In addition, he holds the positions of  Recording Secretary of the Orthodox Christian Education Commission, and Christian Education Coordinator for both the Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C., and the Diocese of Oakland, PA and the East.

Jacquelyn Fadel has served as Christian Education Coordinator for the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada, and Upstate New York since the early 1990’s. Prior to her retirement in June 2004, she taught in the Elementary Division of the Niagara Falls School District for thirty-three years, the last twenty in a specialized program for the Gifted and Talented. She has also served as Recording Secretary for NAC SOYO, Oratorical Festival Coordinator and worked for a number of years as Stewardship Coordinator for the Diocese. She enjoys volunteering at the Antiochian Village Summer Camp where she once served as Volunteer Coordinator.  

Robert Snyder is the Religious Education Coordinator for the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, a position he has held for the last fifteen years. He has been actively engaged in Christian education for the last thirty years as a High School teacher, a teen youth advisor, and, currently, as an instructor in Adult Christian Education. During this time, Robert has conducted many Christian Education workshops, and written numerous articles on Christian Education for The Word and the OCEC Christian Education newsletter. He is known in his parish of St. George, Akron, Ohio, for his work as a highly successful youth advisor (achieving, among others, “Teen Club of the Year” award), as a past president of the Parish Council and since 1996, and as the recipient of the Protsyngelous Ellis Khouri Merit Award.

Vasiliki “Billie” Oldziey holds a B.A. in Humanities and Dance and a certificate in Movement Analysis. She is currently working as a substitute teacher and a vision and hearing screener for the Austin, Texas school district. She has taught church school at St. Elias in Austin for the past 18 years and is the director of the church school program. She was the founding editor of the quarterly publication, The Children’s Magazine for Orthodox Christian Children. For the past five years, she has been studying iconography with master iconographer, Vladislav Andrejev and writing icons for private prayer. In the past, she served as the Southwest Region Writing Festival Coordinator and led workshops for church school teachers. She is the Christian Education Coordinator for the diocese of Wichita and Mid-America.

Kh. Linda Funk recently joined the Christian Education Department as Coordinator for the new diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest, with the blessings of His Grace, Bishop Joseph. Kh. Linda is a teacher of piano. Her husband, Fr. Bernard, is the priest at St. Vincent of Lerins Orthodox Church in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. They have 4 adult children.  Linda is also an OCEC trainer, and assisted Myra Kovalak, Director of the OCEC Department of Teacher Training, in revising the course outlines for the workshop, “Educating Ourselves and Our Children in Godliness.”

Joseph Tershay, a member of St. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, Santa Cruz, CA, has been the Christian Education Coordinator for the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West for over ten years. He is the author of The Wonder of It All, the pre-school manual published by OCEC in 1982, as well as many articles on cooperative learning for The Word and other Archdiocesan newsletters. Joe has brought nearly thirty years of teaching experience to bear on the field of Christian Education. After graduating from San Francisco State University with a BA in History, an MA in Education and a High School teaching credential, Joe first taught history in a local high school before shifting his focus from the content to the process of learning; he qualified in the Montessori method and obtained credentials in Early Childhood, Special Education, and as a Resource Specialist with the Alum Rock School District, San Jose, CA, for the past sixteen years. He has also worked for many years as a Church School Superintendent and is co-author of the Church School Director Manual.

Gail Meena attends St. Matthew the Evangelist Orthodox Church in North Royalton, Ohio. She has taught Church School for 25 years and was a church school director for 3 years at St. Luke's Orthodox Mission in Solon, Ohio. She teaches special needs students in grades K-6 in Parma, Oh. She has 3 children, ages 23, 20, and 15.

Leslee Abud’s background is in Education, specifically Christian Education. At the age of 24, she was accepted into the Religious Education program at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. At the same time, she was enrolled at Concordia College in Bronxville, New York, where she completed her Bachelor degree in Educational Services. Leslee is married to V. Rev. Joseph Abud and is the mother of three children. She is the Church School Director of her parish, St. George Orthodox Church in Flint, Michigan and is also an Associate of the Department of Christian Education. She has previously taught elementary education in Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox parochial schools and is currently working as a substitute teacher in her local school district.

Myra Kovalak has served on the Department of Christian Education for the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania, as well as the Dept. of Christian Education of the Orthodox Church in America for the past ten years, writing curriculum, coordinating retreats for teens and women, teacher workshops, children’s activities, and summer camps.  She serves as chair of the Teacher Training Department of the Orthodox Christian Education Commission.  She holds a BA in English and Secondary Education, and has done graduate work in elementary and secondary education.  She participates in the Antiochian Archdiocese’s annual Orthodox Institute for Christian Education, as well as Teacher Training Workshop presentations at St. Tikhon and St. Vladimir Seminaries.  She is the language arts teacher at St. John Neumann Regional Lower Academy in Williamsport, PA.  She serves on the board of the Lycoming Unit of the American Cancer Society, working on the annual Relay for Life, as well as the Reach-to-Recovery and Support Group programs for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. She is married to Fr. Daniel Kovalak of Holy Cross Church in Williamsport, PA., who serves on the OCA Department of Evangelization.  They have 2 daughters, and two grandchildren.

Carol Alberts is a member of St. George parish in Danbury, Connecticut, and is the wife of V. Rev. George Alberts, who serves as the Christian Education Coordinator for the Eastern Dioceses. Artistic expression within the church education setting has always been a great interest of Carol's. She developed and taught one of the summer camp arts and crafts programs while her husband was interim Antiochian Village camp director. She has also enjoyed combining her interests in medicine and health care with her love of and service for the Church and interest in teaching others.  She was an employee of the original Orthodox Campus Commission and currently serves as both the Church School Director of her parish as well as an upper-elementary teacher. Carol is a Certified Surgical Technologist, currently employed by Healthsouth Surgery Center in Danbury.  She had previously spent several years as an instructor in Surgical Technology at the college level.

Catherine Sullivan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Theology and Religious Studies with a concentration in Christian Education.  She is certified to teach both elementary and secondary students and has over twenty years of teaching experience. She was the first Director of Christian Education for the US Coast Guard and has served as a Director of Christian Education for several parishes. Catherine is an associate of the Department of Christian Education specializing in Small Church School Resources.

Fr. John Reeves has been pastor of Holy Trinity Church, State College, PA since 1996.  From 1997-2002 he served as Director of the Office of Church Growth and Evangelism for the Orthodox Church in America.  Ordained to the priesthood in 1981, Father John graduated  with an MDiv. from the School of Theology, the University of the South, Sewanee, TN in 1975 and served in the ministry of the Episcopal Church in the mid-'70's before his conversion to Orthodoxy.

He and his wife Matushka Linda have four children and five grandchildren.

Sandy Mitchell received her B.A. in Biology from Cornell College. She currently teaches science to students in grades 1-12 at St. Peters Classical School Fort Worth, Texas.  She is a member of St. Peters Antiochian Orthodox Church, where she serves as part of the teen SOYO advisor team. For 18 years, she has been an active part of St. Peter’s Christian Education department, serving as Church School Director, teacher, and VBS coordinator. 

Sandy is the Christian Education Director for Camp St. Raphael, for which she writes and compiles a yearly curriculumn. She serves the Department of Christian Education as the Western Rite liaison, a teacher trainer for the OCEC, and as an associate Christian education coordinator for the Diocese of Wichita and Mid America.