Michele Fasnacht is the visionary and founder of Solid Rock Community School, a K-12 non-profit private school. With Solid Rock she began a revolutionary concept in K-12 education that has benefited thousands of students. Michele has spoken at numerous conferences regarding “Educating Out of the Box” and has been awarded the Tinfoil Star award for Leaders in Innovative Education. With decades of experience in public, private, virtual, and homeschool programs Michele is willing to create programs to best suit the individual. Michele is also a professional certified health and wellness coach and holistic nutrition practitioner. After battling progressive MS, being sick for decades, diagnosed legally blind, and being barely able to walk or function, she enjoys sharing her success with others and helping them transition to a plant-based diet – the only evidence based diet that can prevent and reverse disability and disease.
Michele also serves on the board of directors as the vice-chair of the Plant Based Lifestyle Movement of Tampa Bay. The Plant Based Nutrition Movement – Tampa Bay is a collaboration between medical practitioners and passionate community members committed to amplifying the message of plant based nutrition’s power to prevent, halt, and often even heal our most debilitating chronic illnesses.
Melissa Yost has been involved with Solid Rock since 2008. She has her National Administrator’s Credential as well as a certificate in Grant writing. She is a hardworking and caring individual who wants to see more families have the opportunity to better educate their children, especially those who have children that do not best fit into mainstream, public school. As a mother of three boys, all with different needs, she understands firsthand the importance of a school that can serve a family with children with varying needs. Melissa worked as a registrar and administrator with World of Knowledge, a Montessori School. She spent 10 years in finance where her titles included loan processer, mortgage officer, as well as SBA, small and large business loan officer. Melissa Yost has strong ties with the Florida Department of Education, Veteran’s Administration, Florida Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship, Personal Learning Scholarship, and McKay Coalition where she advocates for each student’s needs on a daily basis.
Melinda Benedetto has over 30+ years of accounting and bookkeeping experience. Much of her career has involved serving the accounting and book-keeping needs of retail companies, small businesses, and not-for-profits. Her detail oriented, structured personality coupled with her excellent organizational skills make her excellent in this position. In college she was named “Business Admin Student of the Year” and was inducted into the National Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa. Melinda has served on several boards including the Solid Rock’s Board of Directors and the West Coast Child Care Food Program.
Matt Welch has a Masters Degree in counseling from USF and licensed marriage and family therapist. He has over twenty years experience working with parents and children throughout the bay area as a counselor, principal, and coach.
Matt has conducted hundreds of workshops across the state of Florida to benefit parents, teachers and other mental health professionals.
He was named Counselor of the Year in Pasco County in 2004.
Tonya Oliver Valdes
Mrs. Tonya A. Oliver Valdes, formally Tonya A. Bertuca was born in St. Joseph, Michigan on July 29, 1971. Mrs. Oliver is married to Ricardo Valdes. Tonya and Ricardo are raising three children, in addition to their five adult grown children. Mrs. Oliver is active in her community involved with Special Olympics, Ainsley’s Angels and is the Treasurer/Board Member for Florida Association of Women Lawyers. Mrs. Oliver is also active in volunteering for the Family Court and dependency system, serving as a Guardian Ad Litem. These organizations combine Mrs. Oliver’s talents and passion of creating communities inclusive of individuals with disabilities.
She attended Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colorado and graduated Cum Laude with a double major in Psychology and Youth Guidance in 1994. She earned her Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University of Law in 1997. Mrs. Oliver began public service as an intern with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office while attending law school. Mrs. Oliver continued public service as an Assistant State Attorney for the Pinellas and Pasco State Attorney’s Office. Mrs. Oliver prosecuted misdemeanors, juvenile and felony charges. Mrs. Oliver brings her courtroom experience and work ethic to her practice. Mrs. Oliver has been recognized by Stetson Law School as 2003 Extraordinary Woman of the Year and was awarded the Juvenile Justice Award in 2006 by the Unified Family Court for exhibited the highest standards of ethics, knowledge of the law, trial skills and professionalism. Mrs. Oliver went into private practice in 2007 representing First Responders and became partner in 2010 with the law firm of Bichler, Kelley, Oliver & Longo, PLLC a statewide practice representing First Responders. In 2018, Mrs. Oliver was sworn in to the United States Court of Federal Claims, enabling her to serve her clients at the federal level. Mrs. Oliver established her own law firm in February 2019, Oliver & Fox, P.A., devoted to representing those with disabilities.
Deana and Vince Azzue
Deana and Vince Azzue were high school sweethearts who married soon after high school. Deana attended a technical school to become a dental assistant and Vincent attended Nova Southeastern University and received a doctorate of Optometry. They are strong members of the community and their parish. Vince owns an Optometry practice in New Port Richey, Florida. Vince and Deana had two beautiful boys, Vincent and Nicholas. Their youngest son Nicholas was a special needs student who was very shy and insecure. He attended Solid Rock for several years gaining confidence and popularity. He was a happy student and loved coming to school each day. He was on the football team and was a proud Crusader. Sadly, he passed away on November 3, 2013 after a choking incident. It was a moment that has touched our school and community forever. His brother Vincent is a graduate of SRCS. His parents, Deana and Vince have since begun a scholarship in his name, the Nicholas Azzue Athletic Scholarship Fund, and are active members of our school family.
Ashley Lay is a graduate of the University of South Florida where she obtained a bachelors degree in Biomedical Science and Public Health. She worked in the medical field for 10 years, the last 5 of which she founded and operated her own medical scribe company. Working in hospitals and doctor’s offices, she experienced what an unhealthy lifestyle can result in. Since selling her company in 2015, Ashley has dedicated herself to living a healthy, compassionate lifestyle and educating others about the benefits of eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. Ashley works with several non-profit organizations, educating our youth about healthy food choices and being good stewards of the environment.
Alexa Shuman is a certified integrative nutrition health coach, holistic wellness educator, and plant based cooking instructor. She is the founder of Uprooted Wellness with the mission to shift our community’s perspective on what it means to be in a state of good health. Alexa fully believes in the power of a whole food, plant based lifestyle. She has a passion for connecting all the aspects that contribute to a nourishing life, using mindfulness to reduce stress and foster emotional development, and coaching others to live in a way that strengthens them for optimal health. Alexa specializes in children’s health, feeding children and families, getting back to the basics, and helping families integrate new, sustainable diet and lifestyle changes. She loves supporting mothers by working together to create a balanced foundation for their family. The well-being of our children comes down to a million little moments. Alexa’s goal is to help you make informed decisions that will support the physical, mental, and emotional components that help our children to grow and thrive – and show you how to incorporate them into modern life with simplicity and efficiency. Alexa is passionate about changing the mindset around health and empowering our community to be at their best through mindful eating, conscious living, and natural healing. She believes healthy living is not a destination, but a journey of deliberate effort. It must be taken one moment, one choice, one meal, and one day at a time.
Dr. Jeffrey Hirschfield
Jeffrey A. Hirschfield, MD CPI is president of SCORE Physician Alliance, a clinical research trials investigative site, comprised of medical offices, servicing the Tampa-Bay area. He serves as an internationally Board-Certified Physician Investigator involved in more than 250 clinical research protocols since 1996. As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hirschfield oversees institutional regulatory requirements for Score’s ongoing portfolio of clinical studies. As a board-certified pediatrician, he is a passionate nutrition educator he uses the power of the family to leverage health benefits from whole-food plant based foods. He is active in the national plant-based movement using evidence- based medicine to motivate patients to reach their personal goals. As a safety consultant to the nutraceutical industry, Dr. Hirschfield directs research activities that highlight the importance of patient safety. Dr. Hirschfield holds a faculty appointment at the University of Tampa as Adjunct Associate Professor and enjoys graduate level student teaching. He currently volunteers his time as a Board Member for the United Healthcare Child Foundation fostering improved healthcare access for those with unmet needs. Follow him on Facebook at @toppediatrician and on the web at www.pediatricgrowth.com.
Julie A. Hirschfield, BA CRC is Vice-President of Corporate Development at Score Physician Alliance, (SCORE). She serves as a clinical research coordinator and lead for SCORE’S nutraceutical studies. Julie has been a consummate wellness coach for our research facility. She received her B.A. degree in Elementary Education from The University of South Florida. She is passionate about this field and is currently involved in higher learning. Currently, Julie is enrolled in nutrition science courses through Cornell University and achieving additional lifestyle certifications, including whole-food plant based nutrition. She will lead Mindfit2020 wellness initiatives for Score.