Bill Robinson joined the CBA faculty to begin the development of an orchestra program. After completing his Bachelor and Master degrees in Music Education at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Mr. Robinson served as orchestra director in the Maryville City Schools, teaching string students from grades 5 – 12. He is a former member of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and former conductor of the Orchestra at Maryville College. His recent honors include being recognized as a 2011 Yale Distinguished Music Educator and a 2014 inductee into the University of Tennessee Education Department’s Hall of Honor. In addition to playing violin and arranging music for strings, he enjoys serving as interim Music Director at First Baptist Church, Maryville, cheering for the Chicago Cubs, and spending time with his wife, Martha, daughter, Bailey, and granddaughters Evey and Ella. Mr. Robinson enjoys begin able to build an orchestra program at CBA and getting to work with a new set of talented students.
Sara Venable is the upper school theatre arts teacher and director. She was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii where she attended a High School of Performing Arts which sparked her lifelong passion for theatre. Sara obtained a Bachelors Degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Puget Sound and a Masters Degree in Educational Theatre from New York University.
Sara has lived in Seattle, New York City, Long Island and Los Angeles. She was fortunate enough to be able to teach theatre arts and direct shows in all of those amazing cities. Her family was relocated to Knoxville in 2009 with her husbands job at Scripps Networks. Sara began guest directing at the Oak Ridge Playhouse and teaching and directing at Knoxville Catholic High School before happily landing at CBA.
When not in the classroom or in a theatre, Sara can be found spanning the globe with her family. She has been to 6 of the 7 continents and has many exciting travel tales to tell. Her other passions include going to New York to see plays, exploring new restaurants and going on crazy adventures with her husband Rick, daughter Kali and dog Brooklyn.
Stephen Taylor’s background as an educator has been an international adventure that has taken him through more than 20 countries. His experience as an international aid worker/missionary living and working extensively in Latin America with native Spanish speakers has been his most most influential instructor.
As a teacher and practitioner of Sustainable Agriculture in Latin America, he was privileged to teach and train hundreds of students. He had the joy of seeing them come alive to learning through project collaboration and cross-cultural interactions. He observed how they value the process of learning, and witnessed them become successful practitioners and field workers themselves. He is a member of various professional organizations including: Ecological Concerns for Hunger Organization ECHO, Permaculture Research Institute PRI, University of the Nations UofN, and Youth With A Mission YWAM Mexico. He chaired the Advisory Board for Get Bridged 2009-2012, working to make people aware of different humanitarian needs around the world and offer them a variety of ways to get involved. He currently holds a position on the Advisory Board for The Jeremiah Roak Project, serving orphans in Eastern Ukraine.
High School Spanish
Dr. Naiara Centeno was born in the beautiful city of San Sebastian, which is on the North coast of Spain. She studied English philology for her undergraduate studies because English had always been a big part of her education. Her Bachelor of Arts comprised studies in English language, linguistics, translation, and studies on the literature of English speaking countries. One month after she was awarded her B.A. she traveled to Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, to further pursue her studies in linguistics. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), she was awarded her M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics and completed all requisites but her dissertation towards her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics. The Teaching Assistantship which Dr. Centeno was awarded at UIUC provided her the opportunity to start teaching Spanish as a main instructor and to continue with it the remaining four and a half years that she worked there. Dr. Centeno taught different levels of Spanish, Spanish grammar and Spanish composition at UIUC.
Throughout her first winter in U-C, something decisively fun happened. She met her husband, Dr. Agustin Rius, an Argentinian from the very region of Patagonia, who was pursuing his graduate studies in Animal Science. Dr. Centeno, whose background was ‘city-like’ and whose main interests had always been within the Arts, started to learn a lot about other fields in her conversations with him. Dr. Centeno has always had a very deep connection with her family and the home where she grew up, so she has traveled to Spain frequently. This has offered Dr. Centeno the possibility of working as Lecturer teaching Spanish in the Study Abroad program of the University of Deusto, Spain, in different academic terms. There, Dr. Centeno taught different levels of Spanish, Hispanic linguistics, Spanish for business and international relations, and Spanish culture.
Her traveling interest, which has been boosted by her husband’s view of the world, has kept on modeling her life. She also lived in Blacksburg, VA, and then in New Zealand. In Virginia, while also working long distance with her Ph.D. dissertation, Dr. Centeno worked as Visiting Research Assistant in an infant perception research laboratory. Through her four years living in New Zealand, while continuing to work on her dissertation, she worked in the University of Waikato teaching different levels of Spanish language and culture, Latin American literature, and directing research independent studies. When she was awarded her Ph.D. in Linguistics summa cum laude by the University of the Basque Country, Dr. Centeno was still living in New Zealand. Together with her husband, she enjoyed New Zealand as much as they were able to. They both love the land and the candor of the Kiwi people which will be part of their hearts forever.
Dr. Centeno and her husband moved to Tennessee because of a job her husband accepted at the University of Tennessee. Throughout this time, she has also pursued her interests in other areas of study like Traditional Chinese Medicine and other traditions in medicine. Nowadays and in parallel, she is happily starting her new amazing adventure at Clayton Bradley Academy, an inspiring place whose mission and educational philosophy has been appealing to her since day one.
Yan Yu Diaz
Ms. Yan came from Hangzhou China, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Fujian Normal University. After graduation she taught music and dance in Huangyan teacher’s school, two years later she went back to school and got her masters degree in Ethnomusicology. Before she left for the US, she was a full time permanent faculty member in Zhejiang education institute now called Zhejiang International Studies University.
In the US, Ms. Yan received her master degree in Music Education from Crane school of music in SUNY Potsdam. She taught Chinese in classrooms and online for SUNY Potsdam foreign language department for over two years, and taught high school Chinese online for few years afterward. Since she moved to Knoxville in 2008, she served as principal in Knoxville Chinese Christian Church Chinese school for four years, and taught Chinese in Bearden High school for two years. Ms. Yan lives in west Knoxville with her husband and two children.
Health and Wellness
Josh Counts serves as the PE and Wellness teacher, as well as, the Athletic Director at CBA. He received his degree in Education from Carson-Newman University, in Jefferson City, Tennessee. He is excited to have been apart of Clayton-Bradley Academy since 2014.
Josh has been active in sports his entire life. He played almost every sport growing up. In high school, he played football, baseball, and ran track. He is a co-owner of a gymnastics training facility, Gymnastics Counts, in Blount County. Josh did gymnastics from the age of 2 until he was 18 years old. Josh continues to be very involved in gymnastics as a coach and has been coaching gymnastics at the competitive level since 2006. He is also active in Young Life as a Young Life leader.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities at CBA, Josh also serves as the Athletic Director. CBA is in the process of building its sports programs. Several sports teams such as cross country, tennis, volleyball and flag football have already been started. CBA will continue to add more sports as it grows. Having a sports programs is important because Learning at CBA involves not just the mind, but also the body. Staying fit and active helps each student become a well-rounded learner. Josh is excited to work with the students at CBA.
High School STEAM & Art
Mark Runge has always been an artist. As a young child he illustrated and bound his stories into books and sold them around the neighborhood. He ran wild through the woods creating friends with whom only he could play and bringing to life out of the refuse of others places that existed only in his mind. Some of his best art moments occurred on stormy, Florida nights when the power went out, and his family gathered at the kitchen table to draw by lamplight.
His formal art training began in grade school, where his handwriting was so bad that one of his teachers took a special interest in him (Thank you Mrs. Coleman!). She used art to help with his writing; his penmanship is still pretty bad, but the art certainly took! He went to a vocational high school, and for three hours a day he studied graphic art. He learned to set type, run presses, and work with substrates like paper and board. He was introduced to the importance of design, color theory, and many of the art practices he still uses today. His college art career started at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida, wound its way up to the Maryland Institute, College of Art, in Baltimore, Maryland, and culminated when he earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of South Florida.
Mr. Runge has always been mechanically inclined. He rebuilt his first truck with his father before he could legally drive it. He was trained in automotive engineering in the army, where he served as a track vehicle mechanic with the 5th Combat Engineers in Iraq. He worked as an auto technician after the army until he became interested in injection mold processing; and then he took a job making molds and operating machines as big as a bus!
It was in graduate school where his two loves were married, and he started to create kinetic art. Making gears and levers out of wood and found objects became a challenge he readily accepted. It was here, too, that he came to love teaching. In his first semester he was given two drawing classes because he excelled as a draftsman. After he left grad school he continued to teach at Eckerd College, a small four-year school on Florida’s gulf coast. He left there to teach at Shorecrest School, Florida’s oldest independent day school, where he fell in love with teaching to high school students a variety of classes in traditional and digital media.
During his travels he received a wide-ranging variety of commendations including the SW Asia Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, multiple grants to travel and to study Chinese art and culture, including a National Endowment for the Humanities Award, and many awards for his artwork in local, state, and national art competitions. He has had some amazing and wonderful experiences, like hiking alone in the Negev Desert while living in Israel, commingling with the multitudes of people in Beijing, China, and getting punched in the chest by Robert Bly! Most recently he became the heir to the Sunhearth Appalachian Dulcimer building tradition.
Mark lives with two cats, André Flyrod and Allowicious.