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.

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 a community employment specialist and recruiter in Traverse City. She has been assisting individuals in finding jobs since 2012. She also works with area not-for-profits and special needs organizations assisting their clients improve 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 Bertoldi, B.B.A.-accounting, has 20+ years of experience working in the area of public accounting and consulting.

Jennifer Blakeslee is the chef/owner of The Cooks’ House on Front Street, specializing in local sustainable cuisine. She was formerly the sous chef at Andre’s French Restaurant in Las Vegas.

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.

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 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.

Bo Burke, ISA Certified Arborist, ISA Certified Tree Worker and Climber Specialist, has more than 15 successful years in the preservation, restoration and care of trees. He has taught tree climbing for many years.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli is a mystery novelist, now on her 12th novel: MANNERS AND MURDER—to be published by Crooked Lane Books in spring, 2018. She is a speaker and conference coordinator, as well as a journalist, and short story writer. She looks forward to leading students down 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.

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.

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.

James Dake is the Education Director for Grass River Natural Area, studied science education at Central Michigan University and Western Michigan University. He is a certified teacher in the state of Michigan and is working towards a Master of Arts in Science Education. He is a Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association for Interpretation. 

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.

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.

Nancy Deye, M.A.-education, B.S., is a certified TCA (Tai Chi for Arthritis) instructor. She has been a student and teacher of Sun and Yang style Tai Chi since 2003 and is the author of “The Essential Principals of Taiji Quan.”

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. Chris is currently the ecommerce manager for Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, Inc.

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.

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.

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.

Jackie Freeman, B.F.A., M.A.-adult learning, has taught art, led educational tours, owned a Suttons Bay art gallery, and covered the art show beat as a columnist for Northern Express. Her painted glass art was featured in Traverse Magazine.

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

Scott Gadzinski, co-owner and trainer at TC Total CrossFit, has attained his Level 1, Olympic Lifting and Mobility Certifications and is a certified USAW-L1SP Sports Performance Coach. In addition to coaching, Scott also played college football and baseball, competes in the CrossFit arena; finishing 13th overall for Masters Men Granite CrossFit Games, as well as placing in other CrossFit competitions. 

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.

Leslie Hamp, Creative Catalyst & Certified Marketing Coach, works with entrepreneurs who want to make a living doing what they love. As a business and life coach since 2002, Leslie has helped clients around the world position, package and promote their expertise in the form of products, services, books, online training programs, and live events. Her coaching techniques layered with her positive energy, passion perspective and accountability systems help clients rejuvenate an old idea or add heart and soul to a fresh one. She is the author of Create the Life You Crave and its companion Beautiful Journal.

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.

Bogdan Heretoiu has studied Film and TV Directing in Europe and continued his education in Film Production in the US. He has worked almost exclusively on documentary and commercial projects for the last 20 years, and has taught film classes at the high school and college levels. He owns and operates a small independent arts company focusing on educational projects.

Donald B. Herrmann, C.P.A., B.A.-accounting, owns Herrmann and Associates, P.C., a certified public accounting firm specializing in accounting and tax preparation for individuals and small businesses. He has worked as a Certified Public Accountant since 1985.

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.

Kristen Hussey, B.A.-environmental design and architecture, is a graphic designer based in TC and owner of Sable & Gray Paper Co., a custom stationery company specializing in heirloom wedding papers, hand-lettered designs, and fine watercolors. Her designs have been featured in publications such as Southern Living, Magnolia Rouge, Style Me Pretty and Wedding Day Magazine. Sable & Gray has also been the recipient of several awards including The Knot Best of Weddings 2017 Award, and Wedding Wire Couples Choice Award 2015 and 2016.

Ashley Huyge, Voice Coach/Instructor/Producer, is a voice actor and stand-up comedian. After graduating from the State University of New York at New Paltz, she moved to Los Angeles where she continues to work in VoiceOver and began performing stand-up comedy, performing in both the Eagle Rock Comedy Festival and the Burbank Comedy Festival.

Bart Ingraham has been relief carving for over 50 years and took up three-dimensional sculpting ten years ago. He sculpts in wood, stone, and clay with some experience in papier-mâché. He has exhibits at Elk Rapids Art Park and has shown at local galleries as well as showing at his own gallery.

Debra O. Jackson
, B.S.-business management, is a business professional with experiences in sales, marketing, training, and business management in small and large companies. She has also worked with acquisitions and reorganizations.

LeeAnn Jacobs, B.A., grew up with horses and for the past 7 years has worked with children and horses teaching novice through advanced levels of riding.

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.

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.

Kerry Kelly has been on the board of directors for the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes since 2006. He retired from Dow Chemical in 2004 and is involved in a wide variety of volunteer projects at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

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.

Autumn Kirby, MFA, BFA, has been teaching art to youth and young adults since 2001. Her experiences include inner-city community outreaches in Minneapolis, MN, Elgin, IL and Flint, MI. She has also studied art history in Florence, Italy. She is currently a guest teacher for TCAPS.

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

Paul Kolak has been practicing nearly free travel tips for over 8 years. This hobby has led him to the Caribbean four times, Europe three times, and Hawaii twice for a fraction of the cost of fellow travelers.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Albert Lynch, DVM, CVA, CVCP, has been a practicing veterinarian for over 45 years. His current focus is on Integrative Medicine which serves to combine traditional Western medicine with complementary holistic therapies.

Adriana Martin, A.A.S. Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts, Chicago, holds professional baking and pastry program certificates from The French Pastry School, Chicago. She currently teaches for TBAISD Career-Tech Center as a baking and pastries instructor. She also works as a pastry chef in her own business Adriana’s Cakery. She was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She lives in TC with her husband and 12-year-old daughter.

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.

Breanna McGurn is an Herbalife Wellness coach working out of Nourish in TC. She loves incorporating exercise and nutrition to complete the concept of total wellness.

Adam McMarlin enjoys his current role as Sous Chef of The Cook’s House. He has been engaged in his culinary career since he was able to work. He worked at several restaurants in the Detroit area throughout high school and college. He most recently worked for French native Chef Olivier Bioteau at the Farmhouse Cafe in San Diego before relocating to Traverse City in 2010.

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.

Robert Meisner, J.D., B.A., is a nationally known condominium specialist. He has been a practicing attorney since 1968, is general legal counsel for United Condominium Owners of Michigan, and is co-draftsperson of the Michigan Condominium Act. Mr. Meisner has been teaching condominium law courses since 1981, is an adjunct professor of law, and authors a syndicated column.

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.

Phillip Mikesell, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, taught comparative politics at Wabash College for more than 40 years. He lived, worked, and traveled extensively in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. He retired from active teaching in 2009 and is currently working on the topic of democracy and economic development.

Duncan Moran, B.A.-literature and history, M.F.A.-creative writing, has been a writer-in-residence in the Leelanau County Public Schools, taught as an adjunct professor of English at NMC, and taught middle school at the Pathfinder School. With published poems, essays, and short stories, he has also been a recipient of an Individual Artist Award from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Christopher Morehead, B.A.-German, has taught German and English as a Second Language since 2008 in Germany and the US. He is Vice President of the Michigan chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German.

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.

Eric Patterson is the chef/owner of The Cooks’ House on Front Street specializing in local sustainable cuisine. He was the chef at Andre’s French Restaurant in Las Vegas prior to moving to Traverse City.

Allison Leigh Peters studied English, creative writing, and global media/film at the University of Michigan, where she earned an honors BA in 2011. Most recently she was Journals and Outreach Coordinator at Michigan Publishing, where she founded the Michigan Library Publishing Club and hosted quarterly Pub Club events. A past artist-in-residence with the Grin City Collective (2011) and Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology (2014), Allison is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, and her poetry has been published in Michigan Quarterly Review, harlequin creature, The Collagist, and elsewhere. She is the founder, editor, and director of Green House Press and publisher of Orange Quarterly. She has volunteered with Wolverine Press, the Traverse City Film Festival, the Ann Arbor Book Festival, and 826michigan.

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

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.

Captain Jay Ruzak is a longtime sailor, a captain of the Madeline and the Champion, and former President of the Maritime Heritage Alliance. He has over 20 years of experience sailing especially on the Great Lakes and has overseen dockside interpretive programs on the Madeline’s summer port visits at festivals from Chicago to Detroit.

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.

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 has savored its tradition of food and wine since 2000. She spends her summers 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.

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.

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.

Wes Sovis is a former State Champion mountain bike racer, and holds a CAT 1 MTB USAC License. With years of experience riding, training, and racing, Wes has cultivated a fun and effective way to use indoor cycling to stay fit and healthy. His classes have a fun, positive atmosphere that encourages athletes of all fitness levels to reach their fullest potential. 

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.

Chiao St. Charles, grew up in Chia-Yi, a small village in Southwest Taiwan where many traditional Chinese temples and culture still remain. She graduated from International Business Management and traveled around the world for over 25 years settling in Michigan in 2008. She shares traditional Chinese arts and culture, philosophy and language at local libraries, schools Road Scholar programs and summer camps.

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.

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

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 Van Houten, M.A.-curriculum and teaching, B.F.A.-art education, has been teaching photography and art classes for TCAPS since 2004. Photography is part of his art-making process, and he has been using Prezi in the classroom since 2009.

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

Hillary Voight, B.S., has been dancing since 1998. She has performed dance internationally and has been teaching creative movement, pre-ballet, and beginning ballet since 2013.

Rebecca Walters, B.A., K-12 certified, currently teaches American Foods, Global Foods, and Creative Living at West Middle School. She has been a part of TCAPS since 2008.

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.

Christine Watts, co-owner and trainer at TC Total Crossfit, has attained her Level 1, Olympic Lifting and Mobility Certifications and is a certified USAW-L1SP Sports Performance Coach. In addition to coaching, Christine also competes in the CrossFit arena. She qualified for and competed in the CF World Games three times, this last year placing 13th overall, and has also placed in other CrossFit competitions.

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.

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
  • Spanish language
  • Chinese language
  • Haitian Creole language
  • 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

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