Instructor Bios

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.

Claire Alexander, B.A.-Education, is a Traverse City native. She currently teaches language arts at The Greenspire School.

Karen Anderson, M.A.-English literature, retired Director of Marketing at Northwestern Michigan College, is a local author and frequent contributor to Interlochen Public Radio. Her collection of essays is now published in her book, Gradual Clearing: Weather Reports from the Heart. Her formal work experience includes teaching, advertising, journalism, and public speaking.

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

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 Tae Kwon Do instructors Robert Odette and Doug Mehl and is currently the Youth Tae Kwon Do instructor for NMC Extended Education

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.

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.

Carol Bell, M.S. R.D., is a registered dietitian at Table Health, an integrative medical practice in Traverse City. She has taught cooking classes for over 12 years and seeks to bring enjoyment, laughter and good tasting food to health care.

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

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.

Pat Brumbaugh, A.B.D. in horn performance, M.M., was the Director of Bands at West Senior High for the past 13 years. Prior to her work in Traverse City, she taught at the University of Memphis and Arkansas University.

Alice Brydges has been teaching the Feldenkrais Method since 1996. A former dancer, she first encountered the Method as part of her search to heal a chronic back injury; after just one class, she felt so radically different in her body that she went home and applied to be in a professional training that very same day. Over the years she has taught in a variety of settings with a wide variety of people, including Feldenkrais for cancer and heart disease patients at UCSF San Francisco, dance movement therapy classes for people with Parkinson's, and the Joffrey Ballet. Besides teaching Feldenkrais, her other passions are teaching tai chi, swimming in Lake Michigan and living to tell about it, and wandering the Michigan woods with her dog.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli is a mystery novelist -- her 12th novel, In Want of a Knife, is in bookstores now. Elizabeth’s books hit the number one ranking on Amazon twice in the last year. She is a speaker and conference coordinator, as well as a journalist and short story writer. She looks forward to leading students into the maze of the mystery and into dark corners where writers must go to create a satisfying mystery novel -- the kind publishers and readers demand. Her novel: DEAD DANCING WOMEN was recently selected as a featured book by BookBub, an international distribution group, to be sold in Great Britain, Australia, Canada, U.S., and India. A MOST CURIOUS MURDER (Crooked Lane Books), first in her third series, was published in 2016. (Goodreads review: Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli’s quaint and compelling series debut: A Most Curious Murder, will delight mystery readers new and old.) The second in this new series: SHE STOPPED FOR DEATH was released in January, 2017. (Publisher’s Weekly said of it: A riveting climax will have readers on the edge of their seats.)

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.

Julie Chai began a formal, daily meditation practice in 1971, after the death of a close friend. She was introduced to Mindfulness Meditation in 1991, while in a 9-month Internship in the Art of Spiritual Direction. The practice of Mindfulness is central to all the inner and outer work she does, from work with pre-marital couples, Inner Listening Therapy, workshops or spending the day painting or potting.

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.

Chris Courtright is a 1995 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He was one of four graduates 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. He also owns and operates Reest, a cold smoked salmon company.

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.

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 www.joandargo.com.

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.

Jaimien Delp, MFA, divides her time between Ann Arbor, where she teaches in the English Department Writing Program at the University of Michigan, and Northern Michigan, where she loves spending time with her family along the coastlines and riverbanks. She earned her MFA in poetry from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where she was the recipient of a Zell Postgraduate Fellowship. Her collection of poems, Point of Sand, won the Michigan Writers Cooperative Press Chapbook Contest. Her work has appeared in Orion, Mid-American Review, Dunes Review, Boardman Review, Traverse Magazine, and The Smoking Poet, among others.

Linda Alice Dewey has been working with pastels for 50 years. She currently teaches at the Old Art Building in Leland and has taught art in public schools. She is locally represented by The Secret Garden in Empire and Synchronicity Gallery in Glen Arbor. She also displays her work with the Leelanau Women Artists shows, at the Glen Arbor Art Association and various shows at the Old Art Building. A body of work can be seen at www.lindaalicedewey.com

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.

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.

Erwin (Duke) Elsner, Ph.D., is an Agricultural Agent for MSU Extension and has assisted GT area farmers and home horticulturists with their insect problems. Dr. Elsner has conducted university research on insect pests. He is also an instructor for the MSU Master Gardener Program and MSU/NMC Plant Science Program.

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.

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, MBA, MA, CFRM, brings expertise in grant writing, reviewing and administration as well as professional experience with nonprofits, arts and culture, community building and marketing communications. She is co-convener of the Northwest Michigan Arts and Culture Network, and the Region 2 regrant coordinator for Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs minigrant program, as well as a freelance writer.

Dr. Andrew Gorecki, PhD., received his bachelors in exercise science from Northern Michigan University and continued his education at Central Michigan University where he received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT). Dr. Gorecki is the owner of Superior Physical Therapy in Traverse City, which was awarded the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce 2018 Hagerty Small Business of the Year Award. He is a physical therapist and exercise physiologist as well as a Foot Pain Specialist. Dr. Gorecki is a bestselling author, writing books like The Truth About Low Back Pain – the Hidden Culprits. Dr. Gorecki specializes in functional applied science which originates from internationally acclaimed physical therapist Gary Gray where he analyzes biomechanical dysfunctions in order to realize the true cause of your pain.

Vanessa Grasset was born and raised in France. She graduated from the Great Lakes Culinary Institute in 2015. Three years later she opened Crêpes & Co in the State Street Market, downtown Traverse City. At the creperie, Vanessa uses regional Michigan foods to make authentic French crêpes plus other French comfort foods and baked goods from scratch.

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.

Angela Ingold became a Zumba instructor in 2011, teaching regularly for 4.5 years, then part-time since 2015. She has taught an estimated 700+ Zumba Fitness classes. Angela is an avid runner, fitness enthusiast, and enjoys competing in pageants. She received her bachelor’s in accounting and has been an accounts payable specialist since 2010.

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 and teaches computer applications for NMC-EES. He owns the Stained Glass Cabinet Company.

Geoffrey Jones is an American Culinary Federation-certified Chef Instructor at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute . While working as an executive chef in Lansing, Geoff won the Michigan Pork Producers “Taste of Elegance” competition as well as several Gold and Silver medals in other food and ice carving competitions. He is the owner of northern Michigan-based Winnie's Originals LLC and producer of Winnie's brand products.

Simon Joseph, over the last 6 years, has taken his form of American comfort food from food truck to restaurant. Since 2012, his Roaming Harvest food truck has offered affordable meals made from locally sourced ingredients on the streets of Traverse City. Riding on the success of Roaming Harvest, Simon opened Harvest restaurant in downtown TC in 2014. Harvest offers an expanded menu that patrons enjoy year around.

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.

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).

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) Rallis, B.S.-criminal justice, is of Greek descent 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. Nikki is a cater and self-employed as an artist. She uses cooking as her creative outlet.

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.

Sally Littleton, PhD., is a retired psychotherapist, and has practiced Reiki for 25 years. She is certified as Shihan (Master Teacher) in both Usui Reiki Ryoho and Gendai Reiki-Ho. Dr. Littleton is a Registered Practitioner and Teacher member in Shibumi International Reiki Association and a member of the National Association of Alternative and Complimentary Medicines and the Reiki Healing Association. Helping people heal has been an ongoing major focus of her life, and teaching these principles and practices to others is an enduring passion.

Ali Lopez is a wellness chef as well as a cooking and health coach. She has been cooking, feeding and teaching others about “real food” for over 20 years. 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 and a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She believes that delicious and nutritious meals nourish the body, mind and spirit.

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., SHRM-SCP, has worked in training and management for 20 years in the banking and dental industries. Her passion is bringing happiness to the workplace and showing teams how to sustain a positive culture.

Mary Manner is the Great Start Coordinator at Venture North Funding & Development where her work is focused on promoting increased investment in early childhood, supporting systems change to ensure all families are thriving and every child is healthy and eager to learn at school entry. She is the coordinator of the Great Start Collaborative of Traverse Bay; project sponsor for 5toONE, a major project of the Collaborative; sponsor of the Everybody Reads network on behalf of 5toONE; co-chair of the statewide shared services advisory team for childcare; and a member of several local nonprofit boards.

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.

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.

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.

Johnston M. Mitchell holds a Masters degree in Journalism and Business Administration, and worked in newspaper management and democratization and governance for 11 years in Europe. He served as Assistant to the Publisher for the International Herald Tribune in Paris, France, and later as a program officer and consultant for the development of free and independent press in former communist countries. He is currently working on a memoir of vignettes, writes as a freelance journalist, is co-owner of a fine art business, and a member of the Program Committee for the International Affairs Forum based at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.

Wayne Moody, is Director of Automotive Technology at NMC. His is an ASE Master Automotive and Truck Technician who, for 34 years, owned and operated a local automotive repair facility in Traverse City.

Penny Morris, aka Head Hip Shaker, began her journey with the Art of Belly Dance in 2003, and has been teaching since 2005. She has owned and operated Crystal Bindi Studios, the leading authority on Middle Eastern Dance in the northern half of the state since 2006. Penny has taught for NMC Extended Education, Interlochen Arts Academy, Blissfest, Grand Traverse County Senior Center, and many other local organizations. Penny received training in anatomy and physiology and body mechanics as a medical massage therapist. She has worked as a fitness trainer for Curves, a group facilitator for Michael’s Place, where healing begins for grieving families, and is involved in a local non-profit that offers spiritual retreat weekends. All of Penny’s classes center around one concept: Learning to love and appreciate the body you are in and the unique person you are; learning to value yourself and the unequaled gifts only you can offer to the world. She believes dance to be the perfect method to teach these ideals.

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

Sharon Neumann, is Munson Hospice Bereavement Coordinator and Grief Recover Specialist.

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.

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.

Dr. Laurence M. Phillips, Ph.D.-business management, has been performing magic, both professionally and as a hobbyist for over 55 years. He began performing at the age of 11 and has never stopped studying, practicing and performing since. He performed magic as a source of income while a student at Michigan State University, and later, during his 20-year career as an officer in the US Navy, performed all over the world at venues ranging from schools, hospitals, and retirement homes, to filled auditoriums in Central America, South America, Europe, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Japan as a good will ambassador for both his service and the nation. After retiring from the military in 1994, he continued to use magic as a training and marketing tool while serving as a Business Developer and Capture Leader for major aerospace companies in the Washington DC area for the next 21 years.  A native Michigander, he and his wife retired back home to the Traverse City area in 2015.   Dr. Phillips’ is an Adjunct Professor at University of Maryland teaching classes in the online MBA program.

Dr. Ramona Pleva is a local chiropractor who has studied the neurological and nutritional aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She believes that correcting neurological imbalances in children and providing nutritional building blocks for brain health can provide these children a solid foundation for developing brain balance.

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 Amazon.com.

Dennis Prout, Certified Financial Planner and Master Elite Advisor with Ed Slott and Associates is the founder of Prout Financial Design. He has been investing in the local community for over 25 years and has been teaching at NMC since then. His radio show, NEW Retirement Radio has been on WTCM 580 for 15 years helping to educate the public in financial planning.

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.

Kate Redman, with Commonplace Law, is an attorney specializing in 501(c)(3) nonprofit legal issues.

Samantha Reis is a Business Consultant for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of Michigan, focusing on the Northwest Region. She provides one-on-one counseling and guidance to local businesses and start-ups. Prior to joining the SBDC last fall she had 5 years of experience as a business consultant and also has a degree in Economics from the University of Richmond.

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

Gavin Richmond, B.S.-Elementary Education, Grand Valley State University. Gavin is an avid player and coach of both Cricket and Soccer. Currently, he is an Elementary Teacher at Glen Lake Community Schools.

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.

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.

Ashima Saigal is a Salesforce MVP, a Certified Salesforce Developer, a Sales Cloud Consultant and the Administrator and Founder of Database Sherpa, a consulting firm that specializes in guiding nonprofit organizations through managing transitions to Salesforce.

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.

Kennith Scott, B.S., is a Mechanical Engineer also trained in Nuclear Physics while in the Naval Nuclear program. Ken has been studying Quantum Physics, Epigenetics and Brain Science, while practicing meditation and yoga since 2012. Much of ken’s study is inspired by the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and Dr. Bruce Lipton.

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.

Bill Smethells, M.S.-physics, Ph.D.-astronomy, has taught a variety of courses in physics, including electricity and magnetism. He and his wife own a 1985 Catalina 30 sailboat that they are renovating.

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.

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.

Steve Stanton, B.S., worked for IBM in sales then later developing training material to support the worldwide deployment of a major software tool for internal and IBM Business Partner users. Since retiring from IBM, along with teaching at NMC Extended Ed, he has been conducting technology-related training programs for various organizations in the Detroit and Grand Traverse area. He also has a computer service, repair and training business in Suttons Bay.

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 and instructor 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.

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, a 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 certifications in the Benefits of Raw Food Nutrition, Chef and Instructor from the Living Light Culinary Institute in Ft. Bragg, CA, and Living Foods Educator from the Living Foods Institute in Atlanta, GA. Linda has inspired many people to adopt healthier eating with her classes and motivating talks that encourage change, but not perfection.

Marcia Talicska is a certified Piloxing instructor and has her Personal Trainer Certificate through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). An athlete throughout her life, Marcia has taught classes at Yen Yoga and for She Skis/She Bikes. She has completed 15 half marathons in the last five years and participated in triathlons and other sporting events.

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.

Mark VanderKlipp is an experience and systems designer, who has been working in human-centered design for over 30 years. His work helps clients understand all aspects of a given customer journey, empowering staff to deliver an experience that’s clear, relevant and human. Since July 2016, Mark has worked with NorthSky at Rotary Charities as a design resource and strategic consultant to area nonprofits. He is also a partner with the Evanston IL-based design firm Connect_CX. Previously, he spent 13 years as President of Corbin Design, where he was the lead strategist for diverse healthcare, higher education, civic, corporate, trails, and tourism institutions throughout North America.

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.

Todd Vipond is Director of the Dolce Ensemble of the Northwestern Michigan College Children’s Choir.

Rebecca Walters, M.A. in Global Studies, B.A. in K-12 Education. Rebecca has been teaching Global Foods, American Foods, and Creative Living at Traverse City West Middle School for the past eleven years. She has taught for NMC in the College for Kids program since 2007.

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.

Susan White, M.S.-animal science with research experience in equine nutrition, physiology and behavior. She has taught Equine Science Courses full-time at the college level for over 10 years and now works independently training horses, instructing riders and consulting.

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.

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.

Glenn Wolff, B.F.A., began his career as an illustrator for such clients as the New York Times. He is currently a full-time art instructor at NMC teaching drawing, watercolor, printmaking and 2D design. He has illustrated numerous books. His mixed media fine art and collaborative environmental work has been shown in numerous galleries, museums and public spaces. 

We thank all of these wonderful instructors for sharing their time and expertise with our community! You make the wide range of class topics possible every semester!
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