DEBRA JOSEPH BELL
CLASS OF 1973
While attending RAUHS, Debra Joseph Bell (’73) was a varsity cheerleader (9th-12th), student council member, and District Choir selectee (10th-12th). She was also active in the newspaper, National Honor Society, and many choral and drama performances. Following graduation, she attended her parents’ alma mater, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she completed a B.S. in communications education and an M.A. in English. She taught at Indiana Area Senior High and then at Harrisburg Area Community College. In 2012, she completed a Ph.D. in educational psychology at Temple University, where she also taught in the College of Education. Today she is a fulltime writer, curriculum designer, and managing editor. A pioneer in online education, she is also executive director and founder of Aim Academy, which provides online college prep and AP® courses for 7th-12th graders both stateside and abroad.
Debra is the best-selling author of the award-winning Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling (Thomas Nelson), Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens and the Ultimate Planners for moms, teens and students (Apologia Press). Writers-in-Residence: A Writing-Focused Language Arts Program for 4th-8th will be released in 2015, along with a companion website. A literacy and preschool program are also forthcoming.
Debra and her husband Kermit home educated their four children K-12; her sons are in business, and her two daughters are public school teachers. Her articles on homeschooling have been widely-published; including in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Homeschooling Today, The Teaching Home, and Thriving Families Magazine. She has been a keynote or featured speaker at numerous international and national venues for more than twenty years. Recent venues have included Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany; Manila, Philippines; Guam; and Malaga, Spain. In 2014, she is scheduled to speak in Budapest, Hungary; Antalya, Turkey; and Tokyo, Japan.
In addition, she has provided expert testimony on homeschooling to the PA House Education Committee and numerous colleges and admissions offices. In 1998, Debra and her sons were interviewed by Susanne Malveaux and featured on NBC Nightly News for a story on homeschoolers and participation in scholastic sports.
Debra has been active in many educational and community service organizations and is the founder of Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services (est. 1985), a major non-profit ministry serving women unprepared for pregnancy throughout South-Central Pennsylvania. Her parents are her inspiration and role models, and with great pleasure, her brother Bill and she, along with their spouses and children, established the William and Jean Joseph Family Scholarship Fund at I.U.P. in 2012 in recognition of their lifelong devotion to country, education, and community service.