Instructor Bios

Find College for Kids teacher bios here »

David Abeel, M.S., has been building wood furniture since the mid-1980s and began teaching in 2000. His goal is to make furniture making accessible to crafters, woodworkers, and chair lovers of all ages and skill levels.

Elizabeth Abeel, B.A., a batik artist since 1975, is a member of the Michigan Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, has won numerous awards for her work, and has taught for EES since 1995.

Scott Anderson is a charter boat captain with Far-Fetched Fishing Charters out of Leland, MI.

Joedy Annis has formal training in tap, ballet, jazz, modern, and hip-hop. She danced professionally for three years, and has been teaching Hip Hop since 2002.

Tania Arens has been studying Tae Kwon Do at NMC since 2007 and obtained the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt in 2015. She has taught under the guidance of NMC Tae Kwon Do instructors Robert Odette and Doug Mehl.

Yvette Babin-Ringsmuth, B.A.-linguistics/international business, worked for an international company, commuting regularly to Latin America and worked as a language training consultant for business executives.

Bill Bailey taught math and science to high school students for 30 years. He has been a member of the Grand Traverse Sail and Power Squadron for 10 years. He is a past Commander of the Grand Traverse Bay Sail and Power Squadron and completed the Junior Navigation course which deals with finding your way at sea with a sextant.

Lindy Barnes, B.A., M.Ed., is a retired elementary teacher. She has been knitting since she was 10 years old and has taught knitting to young and old alike. She is currently working on Level 1 Master Knitting course offered through The Knitting Guild of America.

Karin Beery owns Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, and has had hundreds of articles published in periodicals, in addition to writing content for websites, brochures, visitor’s guides, and more. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, the American Christian Writers Association, and Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network. A novelist on the side, she is represented by literary agent Steve Hutson and WordWise Media. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website,

Lin Benfield, B.A., M.A-strategic management, is an independent education and career advisor in Traverse City. She has been assisting individuals in making satisfying career choices since 2012. Lin also works with area not-for-profits and special needs organizations assisting their clients in improving their quality of life.

Margaret Bennett, CYT, RYT, B.A.-psychology, is a certified yoga instructor and therapist. She has taught yoga at NMC since 1997, is a Reiki Master, and has formal training in meditation traditions. She is director of Crooked Tree Yoga and Therapy in Acme.

Jim Bensley, M.L.S., is NMCs Director of International Services and Service Learning. He currently teaches Humanities and has planned and led student trips to multiple destinations in the US and the countries of Peru, Costa Rica, and Cuba. He has lived overseas and he attended school in the UK.

Jim Bertoldi, B.B.A.-accounting, has 20+ years of experience working in the area of public accounting and consulting.

Anne Boulley, chocolatier, spent her youth in France where she learned French Cuisine. She was a caterer and food writer for magazines and now concentrates on the art of chocolate from selecting fine chocolates to honing her skills with confection-based fillings.

Toby Boynton-Fisher is a PGA Professional who owns the Golf Center in TC.

Paddy Brown, CZT, is a certified Zentangle® instructor who has been practicing mindfulness for many years. She is a lifelong artist/creator.

Alice Brydges has been teaching the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education since 1994. A former professional dancer, she first encountered the Method when seeking help for a back injury, and was so amazed with the results that she signed up for a professional training that very same day. She enjoys helping students of all ages and with all types of conditions learn how to inhabit their bodies with more freedom, comfort and grace.

Dan Carlson has had a lifelong passion with photography. He started Carlson Photography in 2008 where he specializes in family and senior portrait sessions and wedding photography. He has shared his passion and talents with others in small group classes.

Jeffrey Cobb, M.M.-choral conducting, is the Director of Music Programs at NMC. He has more than 20 years of experience in music education as a teacher, choral director, composer, and church Director of Music. Choirs under his direction have received state and national awards and invitations; several of his compositions have received awards.

Debra Coburn, M.H. Master of Humanities, B.F.A., B.S.-art education, and K-12 certified, recently retired from teaching fine arts at the high school and middle school level. Debra now teaches art workshops for adults and children around the community. Her medium of interest as an artist is fused glass.

Dean Conners, B.F.A., B.L.A., is a registered landscape architect and member of the North American Society of Landscape Architects. His company, Borealis Design, focuses on regenerative, low-impact landscape and site design, as well as installation of sundials and solar calendars. He has been making maple syrup at home since 1996.

JoAnne Cook, J.D., is the former Chief Judge of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians. She served as Vice-President of the Michigan Indian Judicial Association.

Chris Courtright is a 1995 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Upon graduation, he was one of four students annually hired by the school to participate in their Fish and Seafood Fellowship program. Chris has worked in many restaurants, most notably working under Top Chef Judge, Eric Ripert, at his NYC restaurant, LeBernardin.

Fred Curow, B.A., M.A., M.Ed.-social studies curriculum specialist., has 35 years secondary social studies teaching experience in Michigan and Hawaii. He was 12 years a moderator for adult discussion classes on population, globalization, and Foreign Policy Association Great Decisions in Washington State.

Sheri Dargin, B.A., has been a successfully published romance author for over a decade with over a dozen romance novels published under several pen names. She writes contemporary, paranormal and science fiction romance novels so steamy they melt the pages; at least that’s what her readers have said. She has a deep obsession for the genre in which she writes. When not writing a romance novel she’s reading at least two or three of them and is celebrating her love for books with family and friends.

Joan D’Argo is an energy intuitive, teacher, and Soul Coach who has been seeing clients since 2006. Her healing practice combines her advanced skills as an energy intuitive with Soul Coaching®, vibrational tune-ups, and hands on healing. Through her classes, mentoring programs, and one-on-one healing sessions, she helps you expand into the truth, beauty and magic of who you really are so your radiant light can shine. For more info, visit

Michael Davis, B.S.-music, has performed as a professional jazz musician on saxophone and flute for over 40 years and is founder and leader of the Mike Davis Trio. Mike started the NMC Jazz Ensemble and is the saxophone instructor at NMC.

Royce Deans graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He has spent much of his artistic career working in graphic design and illustration, and as a magazine publisher. He has been teaching classes and workshops with a concentration on painting and figure drawing since 2006.

Shawn Denton, M.S., B.S., teaches in the Business and Physical Education Areas at NMC.

Devan DePauw, B.S.-welding engineering technology, is an AWS Certified Weld Inspector. Devan worked as a welding engineer with Miller Electric Mfg. Co. of Appleton, Wisconsin, where he presented technical material to professional and amateur audiences all over the country and contributed to American Welding Society publications. Devan is now NMC’s full time Welding Instructor.

Steve Dixon, A.A.-accounting, is an A.C.E. certified personal trainer.

Beth Dole is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Certified Athletic Trainer. She has over 26 years of experience working in the health and fitness industry, including work in sports medicine and cardiac rehabilitation. She has worked with professional, college, and high school athletes as a certified athletic trainer. With the combination of exercise physiology and athletic training, Beth helps young and old return to physical activity in a safe, healthy and timely manner.

Chris Doyal, a commercial photographer for more than 20 years, owned a studio in South Bend, IN. His specialty areas include product and underwater photography.

Robert Dreer is an FAA pilot and UAS instructor at NMC.

Jennifer Dykstra is an adjunct instructor for NMC Physical Education and has taught academic and noncredit classes in fitness for many years.

Dorothy Eisenstein is an adjunct instructor of dance at NMC.

Brett P. Fessell, M.S.-fisheries management, has been the Fisheries and Wildlife Biologist and Program Director for the Grand Traverse Band’s Natural Resources Department since 1996.

Tina Norris Fields, M.A.-leadership, B.S.-Bus/CIS, owns Tall Pines Computer Training and specializes in facilitating computer mastery for both adults and children. Her background includes database systems development, adult education, and genealogical research.

Cathy Fitzgerald, B.A., owned and taught classes at her dance studio in Missouri for over 20 years. She took 2014 off to see the world, sharing photos and stories on her blog Between travels, she works as a lifestyle wedding an portrait photographer.

Larry Flynn, B.S. Business Admin., Enrolled Agent (EA), Accredited Business Accountant (ABA), Series 7 Securities Licensed, Investment Advisory Representative (IAR). Larry served 3 times as president of the Independent Accounting Association of MI.

Leslie Friend is a certified reflexologist and has used aroma therapy in her practice for more than 20 years. She has received specialized training in aromatherapy and in lymphatic therapy using the Carter technique. She owns On-the-Spot Reflexology.

Mary Bevans Gillett, M.B.A., M.A., B.F.A., has worked in marketing communications, professional services and nonprofit management for more than 30 years, with experience as a grant writer, reviewer and manager as well as branding, strategic planning, community building, project management and marketing.

Irina Grougan, B.A.-linguistics and teaching foreign languages, is the office manager for Grand Valley State University. Grougan was born and grew up in Soviet Union and later lived in Belarus prior to moving to the United States. She happily shares her in-depth knowledge and affection for her native language and culture now with students of all ages.

Chuck Hawkins, Orvis Endorsed 2010 Guide Service of the Year and Certified Fly Casting Instructor, brings over 35 years of fly fishing experience to his clients. Chuck is the owner of Hawkins Outfitters of Lake Ann, MI.

Stephanie Hawkins has a 1st-degree black belt through the U.S. Judo Federation. She has competed nationally, and is State Judo Champion numerous times in her division.

Jennifer Helferich has been involved with beading and other crafts since 2004 and sells her handcrafted jewelry locally. She has been a youth group leader since 2008.

Penny Herberger, B.A, is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Schmidt. Previously, she was a business owner, high school teacher, non-profit leader and volunteer. A resident of Traverse City since 1989, she is a member of National Association of Realtors (NAR), Michigan Association of Realtors (MAR), Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR) and locally Traverse Area Association of Realtors (TAAR).

Rex Holden, MSPT, is a Physical Therapist and co-owner of FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers in TC. He has worked with physical therapy patients from 2 to 104 years old. He has also worked with college-level and professional athletes in baseball, skiing, basketball, football and many other sports. Rex has taken numerous continuing education courses in unloading or unweighting (one of the main features of FAST Physical Therapy), functional biomechanics, sports rehabilitation, spine rehabilitation, speed and jump training, balance, geriatric rehabilitation, muscle energy techniques, Norwegian manual therapy techniques, and medical exercise training.

Allen Horstman, Ph.D., J.D., began his career as an attorney and is Professor Emeritus at Albion College where he taught history, law, and social science for 27 years. Allen has published several books: his most recent is “Christianity – A Guide for the Thoughtful.”

Nan Horstman, M.S., Ed. Spec., a retired teacher and elementary school principal, has taken and taught many cooking classes.

Rufus James, B.A-design, M.F.A., is a painter whose work has been shown in New York, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, Paris, Michigan, and several galleries and museums in California.

Cheryl Janz graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, and previously taught culinary classes at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL. She has recently moved back to Michigan, where she enjoys cooking with the many local products.

Scott Johnson, an admitted geek, has been building, tweaking, and tuning computers for more than 20 years. He has extensive experience in tutoring users for home and business. He owns the Stained Glass Cabinet Company.

Simon Joseph has taken his form of American comfort food from food truck to restaurant. His Roaming Harvest food truck was the first of its kind to hit the Traverse City streets in 2012 with the idea of offering quick affordable meals made from locally sourced ingredients. In 2014, riding on the success of Roaming Harvest, he opened Harvest in downtown TC with an expanded menu that patrons could enjoy year round. Simon’s most recent venture, Gaijin, opened in 2016. Offering Japanese comfort foods such as ramen, dumplings, and rice bowls Gaijin is where “east meets mid-west” and Joseph continues to combine ethnic comfort foods with local ingredients.

Steve Kellman, B.A., is the Coordinator of Web Content at NMC and an adjunct instructor. He has taught web design and Adobe InDesign since 2010.

Brandon Kietzman, A.A.S., graduated from Bikram Yoga College Teacher Training in 2002, then recertified in 2006, 2009, and 2013. He has attended many Bikram Yoga Seminars, studied with senior Bikram yoga teachers, taught nearly 10,000 yoga classes, and has been teaching for NMC since 2009. He is director of Bikram Yoga T.C.

Diane Kimmel, M.A., is a recently retired certified teacher specializing in educational technology. Throughout her career she has taught English, Business, and Computer courses. Diane has been teaching computer courses for NMC-EES since 2004.

Brian Kissel, graduate of the Great Lakes Culinary Institute, is the chef at Manistee National Golf & Resort.

Barb Krueger, B.A, is a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services of Michigan. As a 5th generation resident of Traverse City and former teacher, she knows the area and how to help circumnavigate the home buying/selling process with ease. She is a member of National Association of Realtors (NAR), Michigan Association of Realtors (MAR), Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR) and locally Traverse Area Association of Realtors (TAAR).

Donald Kuehlhorn is a retired computer professional and certified producer with UPNorth TV public access where he creates programming for public viewing. He has also been supporting the Old Town Playhouse with videos and archival web sites since 2010.

Maribel LaLonde, B.S.-education, has been a Jackie Sorenson Aerobics certified instructor since 1998.

Harold Lassers spent 27 years at Bell Labs and another 4 years with silicon valley network companies working on mobile telephony and data. The latter part of his career was spent under the mobility CTO for Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and Cisco Systems. Harold taught courses in mobile telecommunications at Bell Labs to engineers moving in from other fields. He has an MS in Computer Science from Northwestern University and a BS in Engineering from UofM.

Nikki Lennox, B.S.-criminal justice, is of Greek decent and enjoys teaching classes from her heritage. She has taught community education for more than 15 years and owned a gourmet food company for five years specializing in gourmet desserts.

Stephen Lewis, Ph.D., has authored eight print novels. His most recent, Murder Undone, the sequel to Murder on Old Mission, was published in 2017. His short stories and poems have appeared in numerous journals. His sixth college textbook, Templates, was published in 2014. He retired as Professor of English Emeritus from Suffolk Community College and taught online composition courses for Ferris State University. 

Misaeng Suh Liggett, a native of Japan, attended Tsuji Cooking School in Tokyo and worked as a chef. She has taught Japanese cooking workshops and Japanese language at NMC since 2005.

Zack Light, M.S., holds an ACE Trainer certification as well as certification as a personal trainer. He winters in Florida and during the summer months is employed as a police officer in Antrim County. Zack has had success locally and internationally as a weightlifter and bodybuilder. Zack is an adjunct physical education instructor at NMC.

Kate Lind and Nate Stevens are entrepreneurs, and Airbnb Superhosts. They love sharing their Ann Arbor apartment with travelers, as well as staying in Airbnbs wherever they travel. They are eager to share their Five-Star approach with people who are interested in joining the Airbnb community.

Mardi Jo Link is the author of three historical true crime books. Her prizewinning personal essays have been published in literary journals, and her own family memoir, Bootstrapper, was published in 2013 and optioned for film.

Ali Lopez has been cooking, feeding and teaching others about “real food” since 1992. She was Chef de Cuisine at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY, one of the largest vegetarian kitchens in North America. Ali is also a Certified Health Coach, a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Jennifer Loup, B.A.-history, was zookeeper at Traverse City’s Clinch Park Zoo, and has over 15 years of animal care experience. She has 10 years of experience training dogs one-on-one and in group class settings.

Michele Lurvey, B.S., has worked in training and management for 20 years in the banking and dental industries. She is also a SHRM-Senior Certified Professional. Michele manages 30 employees and the company she leads had 100% of the employees designate it as a Great Place to Work. It was also named one of Fortune’s Top 100 Best Places to Work for Women in 2016.

Laura Matchett, M.A., R.Y.T., is a former elementary school teacher. She currently works for NMC Extended Educational Services, and teaches Yoga at Yen Yoga and Fitness in Traverse City. Laura has taught fitness and Yoga classes for over 10 years. She enjoys connecting with her students to ensure that they feel accepted, encouraged, challenged, and inspired! 

Liana May, M.S.-conservation, ecology, and the environment, has taught labs for two graduate level courses at U of M, Forest Ecology and Remote Sensing and an undergraduate course in plant taxonomy. Her work experience includes consulting for the Leelanau Conservancy and field ecology for Nature Serve and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory.

James McIntyre has been a member of the Grand Traverse Bay Sail and Power Squadron for almost 25 years. He worked for the National Weather Service for 30+ years and taught weather courses many times for the Power Squadron.

Nancy McRay, M.F.A., has been teaching and producing a wide variety of fiber arts since the mid-1980s. She is a former yarn shop owner and Fine Arts Coordinator for East Lansing Recreation and Arts.

Doug Mehl has studied Tae Kwon Do for 25 years and holds the rank of 3rd-degree Black Belt.

Jessica Merwin is an accredited and licensed Chakradance Facilitator. She has over 5 years of experience practicing many healing modalities, including qigong, yoga, meditation, and dance. Chakradance is recognized by the International Institute for Complementary Therapists as a healing modality, and Chakradance LTD is an IICT Approved Training Provider.

Matt Miller is a graduate of the Wilderness Awareness School Residential Program & Anake Leadership Program and completed the Wildlife Tracking Intensive program at Alderleaf Wilderness College. Matt serves as Executive Director and Lead Instructor at HumaNature School in Traverse City.

Sarah Montgomery-Richards has an abundant experience in cultural and religious studies. She studied Comparative Religion, and has an M.A. in Interfaith Action. Her experience includes: teaching at Western Michigan University in the Department of Comparative Religion during graduate school, and a current adjunct faculty role in the Philosophy Department at NMC where she teaches Western and Eastern Traditions, as well as a seminar on Global Citizenship & Religion. She is currently serving as the Director of Lifespan Experience for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Grand Traverse, has made multiple trips abroad, and participated in the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, UT. Sarah has a background in world religions, history of religion, psychology of religion, philosophy of religion, interfaith action, mindfulness, religion in the public sphere, and myth and ritual just to name a few. She enjoys teaching in an academic setting, as well as leading group meditation & ritual, & participates in celebrations of a variety of world spiritual perspectives.

Jim Moses has over 30 years of mushroom cultivation and hunting experience. Jim has recently earned the new MDARD certification to sell wild mushrooms.

Shirley Gibson Murray, M.A., was a classroom teacher for 30 years and is an avid reader. She is a free-lance writer and book discussion group leader.

Rachel North, B.A.-journalism, is Marketing Director for Traverse Magazine. Since 1990, she has helped businesses succeed with marketing including advertising, public relations, media buying, and merchandising. Her experience ranges from $1M budgets for Ford, GM, and Ralston Purina to leveraging free and low cost tactics for smaller clients.

Annie Olds, B.A.S., M.B.A.-strategic management, is the Northwest Regional Director and a certified small business consultant with the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a program of Networks Northwest. She specializes in assisting small business owners from start up to fully operational, as well as agribusiness ventures.

Jan Oliver, M.A.-communications, is the designer/owner of Grand Traverse Arts ( She is a watercolor painter, illustrator, graphic designer and educator. She is currently illustrating a children’s book and has sold many paintings, illustrations and logo designs. Jan has taught as an adjunct instructor at NMC.

Madame Der-Boghossian Parker is a French-born citizen who lived in Provence. She teaches private French lessons, tutors French, and holds French cooking classes.

David Parrish, B.M.E., M.M.E.-music education, M.F.A.-humanities, is a retired music and humanities teacher. He taught choral music and served as Music Coordinator for TCAPS.

Mary Parrish, B.M.E.-music education, has been teaching elementary general and vocal music with TCAPS since 1965. She has taught private piano and been a conductor/accompanist for the Traverse City Elementary Honors Choir.

Fran Perkett, M.T.S., B.A., has worked for more than 20 years in education and pastoral positions. She is a regional workshop leader.

Harlan “Pete” Peterson was an industrial designer with Ford Motor Company who, following his passion for cooking, moved to Northern Michigan in 1984 and opened Tapawingo restaurant. Located in tiny Ellsworth, Tapawingo garnered national attention for its menu of fresh local foods, artfully presented.

John Petrovich, B.B.A., started NewEra Social Marketing in 2010 with his wife, Emily. They work closely with organizations to help them take advantage of some of the most efficient and effective marketing tools available. Testimonials for their work can be found at

Gilda Povolo, M.F.A.-creative writing, B.A.-English education, won the Hopwood Award in Short Fiction, the Hopwood Award in Novel, a Michigan Artists Grant, and was a finalist for the Pirates’ Alley Faulkner Novel contest. Her novel “Strays” is available from

Bill Queen, B.S., is a Program Coordinator at NMC and coordinates the Michigan Energy Demonstration Center.

Maggie Quinn, M.A.-clothing and textiles, B.A.-home economics, is a certified personal trainer and a certified Jacki Sorensen aerobics instructor. She also has extensive experience in quilt making and design.

Adam Raupp is a 2014 graduate of Great Lakes Culinary Institute. He has been working in kitchens for the last 22 years since he was 14. He currently is the Chef de Cuisine at Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin.

Chris Remy is a level 2 International Mountain Bike Association certified Mountain Bike instructor with over 10 years of cycling, maintenance and teaching experience.

Libby Robold, M.A., E-RYT, PRYT, AHC, has been teaching yoga for NMC since 1984 and yoga therapy for many years. She and her husband co-direct Yoga for Health Education in TC.

Michael Robold, M.A., CYT, has been teaching yoga since 2002, after assisting in classes for 15 years. He teaches for NMC and co-directs Yoga for Health Education, Center for Conscious Living, in TC.

Peggy Rod, B.S., is a retired TCAPS elementary teacher. She has enjoyed the game of Mah Jongg since 2001.

Laura Rozeboom, M.A., is a K-12 reading specialist. She holds ESL certifications from The School for International Training (VT) and Cambridge University (UK). She has taught English as a Second Language in Greece, Tanzania, and England, and locally since 2006.

Holly Rudolph, B.A., is President of Frost Hill Financial Services, LLC. She is a QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. She has worked in finance since 1992.

Lyn Salathiel, M.A., is a teacher and traveler who taught English and Humanities at TC Central High School for 36 years. Art appreciation and critical thinking were components of the curriculum. His travels have included Eastern and Western Europe, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East.

Diane Samarasinghe, MSW, RYT-500, is a retired social worker who has been teaching yoga at NMC and other sites since 2005. Through her gentle and integrated approach, Diane provides opportunities for students of all ages and levels to access the healing powers of yoga.

Margaret Schaal, B.B.A., has been involved at Old Town Playhouse for more than 20 years as a director, producer, painter, designer, and teacher. She has served on the Artistic Board, been Volunteer of the Year, and is an Unsung Hero Award recipient.

Stephanie Schall-Brazee, M.M.E., B.M.E., teaches elementary music for TCAPS. She has worked with elementary, high school, and college choirs.

Greg Seaman has been a guitarist, singer, music instructor and songwriter for 30 years. He teaches private lessons on ukulele, guitar, bass guitar, 5-string banjo, and voice.

Laurie Sears, is Director of Jazz Bands and an Adjunct Instructor of Woodwinds. Laurie is also on the faculty of the Interlochen College of Creative Arts Adult Band Camp. Band directing experience includes TC West Junior High and TC Christian School. While in the Chicago area, Laurie directed the Jazz Ensemble and was an Adjunct Instructor of Woodwinds and Jazz at Columbia College, Concordia University Chicago and Triton College.

Jack Segal, M.A.-international relations, was a senior US diplomat who served in Israel/Palestine during the Gulf War and the first Intifada. He is presently Co-chair of the International Affairs Forum of Traverse City. Previously he worked in the White House as a director on the National Security Council, where he dealt with Russian and Ukraine, and with Iranian and North Korean weapons of mass destruction and nuclear non-proliferation. He was a negotiator on the START agreement, and with his wife, Karen Puschel Segal, opened the first western Consulate General in central Russia.

Pam Shaberly, M.S., is a retired elementary teacher who first learned the game of Mah Jongg in 1976 in New York. She has been sharing her knowledge of the game since moving to Leelanau County in 1997.

Heather Shumaker is the author of Saving Arcadia, It’s OK Not to Share, and It’s OK to Go Up the Slide. She teaches at writing conferences and enjoys sharing all things “book” with others.

Scott Silliman, B.S., A.A.S., is a 1st degree black belt in Yoshokai Aikido. He has been teaching at NMC since 2004.

Janene Silverman received her formal training from the Culinary Institute of America. She was owner and chef at Zza’s Trattoria in California before moving to Piemonte, Italy where she offered food and wine classes as well as tours from 2000-2016. She currently is the chef and co-owner of Raduno, a neighborhood delicatessen and café located on Eighth Street in Traverse City.

Kylie Simpson spent 22 years in international cruising on luxury sailboats and yachts as everything from mate to executive chef. She has also owned and operated a restaurant on Hatteras Island, a food truck, a catering company for destination weddings, and a bakery. She currently manages the Prepared Foods/Bakery/Catering/Café departments at The Grain Train, the Petoskey co-op.

Alexandra Smith B.A.-communications, B.F.A.-graphic design, has worked for several marketing and promotions firms including Visual Services, Inc. and Evigna, where she worked on accounts for several Fortune 500 companies such as Ford, Jaguar and Bosch. She now dedicates herself full-time to teaching, and is currently an instructor for the Digital Graphic Design and Digital Imaging classes at NMC.

Randy Smith, B.S.-resource development, has skied all Nordic disciplines for 40 years and is a PSIA-certified Instructor for classic and skating techniques. He is also the owner of Renewable Services, LLC, a design/installation company for solar PV, solar thermal, and wind energy with BPI certification for home energy diagnostics. Randy has been part of the NMC Energy Demonstration Center since its inception and has residential and commercial installations throughout Michigan.

Michelle Smith-Ronk is a graduate of NMC’s Great Lakes Culinary Institute. She owns a home-based business, Custom Cookies by Michelle, where she enjoys decorating cookies for all of life’s occasions.

Matthew Soltysiak, B.A.-Spanish, Master of Education, M.S.-broadcast journalism, has taught Spanish since 2009, spent two years as a Peace Corps TEFL volunteer at a French Lycee in Cameroon. Matt studied Spanish in Mexico and enjoys travel, most recently visiting Cuba.

Maggie Sperry was one of the youngest people in the U.S. to achieve the level of Shodan, first-degree black belt in Judo. She has been a youth Judo instructor at NMC since 1989.

Charles St. Charles III is a nature and wildlife photographer and writer. His photography is displayed in private and public settings in the U.S., Africa, and Australia. He presents to photography classes, environmental groups, governors, and elementary school students. He works from Alaska to Asia, Canada to Hawaii, but his home is here in Michigan.

Anne Stanton, a co-founder and executive director of the National Writers Series, has worked as an independent book editor, ghost writer and freelance journalist. She formerly worked as a reporter at the Traverse City Record-Eagle and Northern Express, writing award-winning investigative stories on crime, environment, health and social issues. She has also written numerous profiles of the fascinating people who live in northern Michigan. She has assisted with the research, organization and editing of Horse Soldiers and In Harm’s Way by Doug Stanton. She is also a founding partner of Mission Point Press, publisher of Storm Struck and Blood on the Mitten. Mission Point is poised to release Poison on Tap, the first national book on the Flint water crisis.

Steve Stanton, B.S., works with IBM on the worldwide deployment of a major software tool for internal and IBM Business Partner users. He developed classroom training in the U.S., Canada, France, and England.

Maggi Steele, B.A., M.M., is a retired teacher who taught for Midland Public Schools for 30 years. She teaches College for Kids cooking classes and is also a volunteer assistant for NMC-EES adult cooking classes.

Kimberly Stevens, B.A., ACE certified aerobics instructor, has taught exercise classes since 1985. Kim teaches at Grand Traverse Resort and works for Western Michigan University.

Jenifer Strauss is a narrative consultant, literacy coach and storyteller who helps educators, organizations, and individuals use STORY to connect, communicate and achieve goals! Jen holds a B.S.-environmental science from the University of Michigan and K-12 teacher certification with specialties in biology and language arts. In 1993, following ten years as a classroom teacher, Jen combined her love for writing and oral narrative to create her consulting business, Story Be Told.

Jerry Sura, M.A., is retired from teaching high school mathematics, GED, and English as a Second Language. He hikes and bikes the region and recently earned the Northern Naturalist Certificate from NMC Extended Education.

Linda Szarkowski, chef, teacher and coach of plant-based eating, is passionate about showing people that healthy food can also be the best tasting. She has been on a self-taught quest for healthy living for decades and has backed it up with certification in the Benefits of Raw Food Nutrition. Prior to moving to the Traverse City area, she has been Chef and Instructor for Living Light Culinary Institute in Ft. Bragg, CA, and Living Foods Educator from the Living Foods Institute in Atlanta, GA. Szarkowski has been a chef at the award-winning Chicago Diner and helped to open a raw restaurant, Beets Cafe in Austin TX, prior to starting her packaged raw food meals business, Green Spirit, in Chicago. She has been a featured chef at VeganMania and the Taste of Chicago, where she was delighted to share her love of raw food with a diverse audience.

Terry Tarnow, B.F.A.-weaving, is manager/buyer for the Dennos Museum Store at NMC. She has taught Jacki Sorensen Aerobics since 1991.

David Terrell, M.A., Professor Emeritus of Religion at NMC, taught in the Humanities discipline for 39 years, and served three years as Humanities Academic Chair.

Michael Torre, MFA, is an artist with over 20 years of experience teaching courses in art including drawing, design, sculpture, art history, art appreciation and ceramics. His art work has been included in over 100 national juried exhibitions, individual and group exhibitions, and published in magazines and books. His artwork has been included in many private and museum collections including the Dennos Museum Center. Mr. Torre’s artwork has also won a number of awards and been recognized for merit in a number of exhibitions.

Adam VanHouten, M.A.-curriculum and teaching, B.F.A.-art education, has been teaching visual art classes for TCAPS since 2004. As a watercolor artist, he exhibits his work widely and took 1st place in the 2014 Cherry Festival Poster Contest. His works are currently on display at Art and Soul Gallery in Traverse City and Bella Galleria on Old Mission Peninsula.

Alice VanZoeren, B.S.-natural history, has taught NMC-EES outdoor classes since 1993 and also works with local schools, the Leelanau Conservancy, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. She currently works year-round with the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery program.

Kirk Waterstripe, M.S.-ecology, is the Science Lab Manager at NMC and an adjunct instructor of Plant Biology. He has been an active organic gardener and compost maker since 1990.

Mykl Werth has been performing and teaching professionally since 1983 focusing on partner dancing and modern dance as well as country, folk, clogging, Irish, show, and theatrical dancing.

Bill White is an avid barbecue aficionado and has spent years developing his skills cooking everything on a backyard charcoal grill.

Kristel Wiesner is a registered dietitian nutritionist in Traverse City. She enjoys all aspects of healthful food from gardening and foraging to cooking and eating.

Nancy Will has been teaching elementary music for Traverse City Area Public Schools since 1994. She has taught music in Michigan, West Virginia and Wisconsin and has also taught junior high choir, high school choir and beginning band. Ms. Will holds a B.A. in Music Education from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and an M.A. in Humanities from Central Michigan University. In addition to teaching, Ms. Will sings with two NMC choirs: Grand Traverse Chorale and Canticum Novum.

Betsy Williams, former travel executive and consultant, has more than 30 years of travel agency experience. She has traveled extensively and organized travel for many individuals, business travelers, and travel groups.

Jerry Williams served 8 years in the US Navy and was a professor at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy at NMC for 30+ years. He has been a member of the Grand Traverse Bay Sail and Power Squadron for 25 years and served as Treasurer and Squadron Education Officer for 6 years.

Wendy Williams, B.A.-social work, has been deaf since birth. She has tutored students in American Sign Language for over 20 years. She is an advocate for the Deaf Community and hosts monthly gatherings of ASL students with the Deaf Community.

Kristi Wodek, B.A., M.F.A, has been teaching art and crafts in both the traditional classroom setting as well as art centers for over 20 years. She currently teaches for TCAPS.

Glenn Wolff, B.F.A., began his career as an illustrator for such clients as the New York Times. He currently concentrates on fine art and illustration having worked with numerous authors including Stephanie Mills, John Gierach and Jerry Dennis. His mixed media fine art has been collected and shown privately and in public galleries. His work with environmental organizations and local groups in the area is legendary.

Rev Crystal Yarlott is a former church-based minister who has performed over 500 weddings since she was ordained in 1989. She founded Northern Michigan Wedding Officiants, specializing in highly personalized ceremonies for all lifestyles. She’s committed to every couple experiencing a well-run AND meaningful wedding ceremony.

Katharine Zurek, MSW, B.A.-English literature and women’s studies, is the Annual Giving Specialist at the Northwestern Michigan College Foundation. She runs the direct mail, email, and stewardship communications programs for the Foundation, and collaborates with the Dennos Museum Center and WNMC Radio to produce their direct mail fundraising appeals. 

Part-time instructors wanted

NMC Extended Education seeks part-time instructors to teach short courses in the following areas:

  • Real Estate
  • Upholstery
  • Local history
  • French language
  • Spanish language
  • Chinese language
  • English as a second language (ESL)
  • Calligraphy
  • Home repair/maintenance

Teaching degree not required. Looking for enthusiastic presenters with content knowledge, passion, and willingness to share. Send resume and letter with interest areas to

Section Navigation Browse Classes By Category