The SoLA Team

We are teachers and staff members dedicated to carrying the school’s founder, Mr. Holston’s, legacy and educational mission forward. Mr. Holston had an enormous (and quite eccentric) presence in our city, and he made lasting impressions as an educational leader and trailblazer. He had a special gift in seeing the best in those around him and set thousands of students off on their personal, life-long educational journeys. As alumni and dear friends of Mr. Holston, we are honored to continue his vision of having an intimate family of staff, teachers, and students thriving in a comfortable learning environment for the sole purpose of a quality Liberal Arts education.

Ms. Jacqueline Tarver
Since 2005
Head of School, Alumna,
Board Member

Jacqueline Ann Tarver, or “Ms. Jacqui” as she is lovingly referred to, is our current Head of School. She is from the EscaRosa area of Pensacola Beach and Gulf Breeze since 1990. Ms. Jacqui attended The Pensacola Private School of Liberal Arts for her Junior and Senior years of high school and is a member of the graduating class of 2000. She has strong ties to the school that she holds very dear. William J. Holston, the founder and principal, inspired her academic and professional success. He instilled the value of hard work and determination, and the belief that anything is possible.

As a student of SoLA, Ms. Jacqui discovered that she held her education in her own hands, and that with respect and responsibility she could be her own teacher, an educational insight Mr. Holston strived to awaken in all of his students. With full ownership and self-knowledge, Ms. Jacqui found her path of being a lifelong learner. Her early experiences of tutoring her SoLA classmates and working outside of school with Mr. Holston doing odd jobs taught her important life skills beyond the textbook.

Since 2005, Ms. Jacqui has had the opportunity to work in about every department of the school. During Mr. Holston’s final years, she worked closely under his guidance to ensure the school would remain open as one of the only non-sectarian high schools in Pensacola, FL. Ms. Jacqui attended Pensacola State College and the University of West Florida for her Bachelor’s degree in Public Health and a Minor in Studio Art. She continued at the University of West Florida for her Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on Curriculum & Instruction for Secondary Education. Education.

As an alumna, mentee, and dear friend of Mr. Holston’s, Ms. Jacqui is proud to continue SoLA’s mission to deliver quality education to today’s youth who are seeking to find themselves as an individual amongst the crowd. She welcomes students into an environment where self-expression is encouraged, having a voice is demanded, and listening is vital. Ms. Jacqui aspires to help her students understand and develop their potential just as she learned to do under Holston’s mentorship.

Mrs. Beth Williams
Since 2007
Administrator, “Girl Friday”
Secretary/Treasurer of The Board

    Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mrs. Beth moved to Pensacola, Florida in 1998. While working for an accounting firm in 2002, she met Mrs. Bea Holston and became quick friends of the Holston family. Mrs. Beth started working for Mr. Holston in 2007 after the unfortunate passing of Mrs. Bea. Mrs. Beth has been a vital member of the SoLA community ever since. She does the accounting work, scholarships, maintenance and pretty much has been willing to wear many hats.



Mrs. Connie Merrill
Since 2006
Records Clerk, Administrator

Mrs. Connie is a former US Army Signals Analyst. She became Mr. Holston’s neighbor and friend in 2000. When Mrs. Holston fell ill in 2006, Mrs. Connie was asked to work for the school. She has been the Records Clerk and Administrator ever since. Mrs. Connie, her four grown children, and husband, Mr. Russ have given countless hours to help keep SoLA’s doors open for the community.


Mr. Travis Cummings
Since 2009
Alumni, Board Member
Resident Philosopher, Advanced Studies

Travis Cummings is the lead teacher for 11th and 12th grade students. A SoLA alumni, Mr. Travis holds an Associate’s degree from Pensacola State College and a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the University of West Florida. Travis is interested in books, chess, boring art films, the vagaries of memory, and taking things way too seriously.


Ms. Lolly Carlson
Since 2015
Intermediate Studies

Lolly Carlson is a Pensacola native and a SoLA graduate of 1992. Carlson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities from the University of West Florida and a Master’s Degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism. Carlson has 15 years of professional experience in journalism and communications. After living and working in New York City, she returned home to SoLA. She enjoys gardening and sewing in her spare time, as well as epic games of UNO with her students.


Ms. Sharon Linezo
Since 2017
Alumna, TED Talk mentor,
Board Member

Ms. Sharon graduated from SoLA in 1998. Years later, she worked closely with Mr. Holston on numerous projects on his sailboats and around the old school house. Many of her values and thoughts on education, self-knowledge, and self-reliance were instilled in her during philosophical conversations she had with Mr. Holston. Empowered by SoLA’s lessons of “You are your own teacher” and “Do all the work,” Sharon experientially learned filmmaking while working on her documentary MY LOUISIANA LOVE (2012). Her documentary has screened in festivals and universities worldwide, and is currently airing nationally on PBS until 2019. Sharon finished her Bachelor’s Degree at the age of 34 from Brandeis University. She is an avid traveler and has lived in San Francisco, New York City, and Boston. In 2017, Sharon returned to live in her hometown and is dedicated to helping secure the future of SoLA for the next generation of free thinkers.


Ms. Jessica Vaughn-Clark
Since 2018
Alumna, Teacher

Originally hailing from Brookhaven, Mississippi, Originally hailing from Brookhaven, Mississippi, Ms. Jessica Vaughn-Clark settled in the Pensacola area in 1996. In the year 2000, she graduated from the Pensacola Private School of Liberal Arts under the mentorship of Mr. Holston. She earned her Associate’s Degree from Pensacola State College (then PJC) while exploring a career in horticulture and working on various farms in Santa Rosa County and developing her green thumb. Her passion for design, art, color, and working with her hands led her to start a successful small business in furniture restoration, home staging, organization, and home décor retail with her sister and mother. Ms. Jessica has returned to SoLA as a first-year teacher while she pursues her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. With a natural curiosity and voracious love of learning, she hopes to encourage students to seek and find their passions and develop the same love of learning that was nurtured in her when she was a student at SoLA.


Mr. Brian Kohl
Since 2016
Alumni, Teacher   






Mrs. Monica Sanchez
Since 2006
Spanish I and II Teacher








Ms. Marianne Franklin-Everett, PH.D
President of Board
Director of Community Outreach







Ms. Lisa Bell
Vice President of the Board of Directors



Miss. Camila Cadiz
Student Body President
Board Member



Ms. Kinga Switzer
Board Member
Community Position