We are very excited to welcome three new teachers to the Treehouse team! These awesome teachers/developers are excited to create new content for PHP, C#, and .NET and bring years of valuable industry experience to the team.

We asked Alena, James and Carling to share a little bit about themselves with the Community!


Alena Holligan

PHP Teacher, @sketchings

Alena Holligan

When did you first become interested in programming?

I started out in fine art and always thought programming would be the most boring job in the world! I went to the Art Institute of Phoenix for multimedia and was introduced to programming as a way to enhance my design. I started building web sites right after graduation in ’99 and I haven’t looked back. 🙂 PHP has allowed me to transition from design to programming in a fun and welcoming way. The PHP community is fabulous!

What drew you to Treehouse?

I love sharing my passion with others and Treehouse is an amazing company to join forces with. Their passion for helping others rivals my own. We have some of the best content available for beginners. These are the people I want to help find their passion as well.

Tell us something about yourself unrelated to programming or technology.

I am the second oldest (oldest girl) of 11 children and I love coming from large family. I also enjoy arts, crafts (especially yarn) and books. 🙂

Check out Alena’s latest material in the Treehouse Library!


James Churchill

C#/.NET Teacher, @SmashDev

James Churchill

When did you first become interested in programming?

In the mid 90s, I was working as a Graphic Designer at a Portland company that did CD replication. After a number of years designing hundreds of album covers for indie artists and bands, I decided that I would try my hand at web design. I quickly fell in love with the immediacy of designing for a digital medium. Around 2000, we hired a database/backend consultant to assist with an e-commerce website project that I was working on. After a month of collaboration, he pulled me aside and told me “you should learn how to program – you’d be good at it”. So, I bought books on Microsoft’s “Classic” ASP and SQL Server and started the journey that I’m still on today. I’ll always be grateful for the encouragement to be bold and stretch myself in new ways.

What drew you to Treehouse?

Through meeting a couple of Treehouse’s teachers around the local community and attending a meetup that they were hosting at their office, I was immediately impressed with the organization overall and the quality of their people. Not having a degree in Computer Science or another technical field (I studied music in college), Treehouse’s belief that people can learn to become developers without a traditional college education really resonated with me. I’m excited to have the opportunity to help others on their journeys to becoming great developers.

Tell us something about yourself unrelated to programming or technology.

In the year after we got married, my wife and I bought a 100+ year old home and set about to do some home improvement projects. We decided to start with remodeling the kitchen, which ultimately led to gutting about 75% of the house down to the studs (we left ourselves with at least one working bathroom). To keep costs down, we were doing almost all of the work ourselves, including the electrical wiring and plumbing. Never having done this kind of work before, it required a lot of self-learning, including reading books, watching HGTV, and inspecting new construction projects on the weekends. We also learned a lot about ourselves and each other throughout the process. For example, I was terrible at estimating how long any given project would take. I thought the kitchen remodel would take less than a month to finish; it ended up taking a year. Lastly, sometimes (probably most of the time) it’s best to not know all of the details before you start a new project or any endeavor in your life, otherwise you might risk never getting started (i.e. paralysis by analysis, fear of failure, etc.).

Check out James’s latest material in the Treehouse Library!


Carling Kirk

C#/.NET Teacher, @elationisfacile

Carling Kirk

When did you first become interested in programming?

I got my first computer in high school, any boy did I love the internet.  When I discovered I could create my own website, I was so excited.  I taught myself HTML and joined all the “webrings” and made goofy animated gifs.  My passion at the time was Chemistry, however, so majored in Chemistry in college.  Shortly after college, I worked at a company doing Marketing type stuff with Salesforce.com, and learned a little Javascript.  The IT department took notice of my technical knack and sent me off to a week long crash course in Progress 4GL to program their mainframe.  I did that for a couple of years, but I yearned for the modern stuff.  I went back to college and learned C#, and here I am now!

What drew you to Treehouse?

I had a couple of friends mention they were taking courses in Treehouse.  I’ve always been passionate about learning new things, so I was intrigued.  I was super impressed with the quality of videos Treehouse puts out.  I think that anyone can learn how to code and I have strong belief that learning by doing is way better than a college degree!

Tell us something about yourself unrelated to programming or technology.

I’m a crafty lady!  I like to say I’m a jack of all hobbies; I love to knit, crochet, sew, make soap, make cheese, homebrew, photograph, paint, woodwork, and garden!  I especially love crafts that let me get deep into the science of what’s really happening.

Check out Carling’s latest material in the Treehouse Library!


Have questions for our new teachers or would just like to say “Hi”? Leave a comment below, find them in the Treehouse Community or on Twitter. 🙂

Ready to learn to code with these awesome individuals? Get started with a free trial today!