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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.

Joanna Aldridge, M.A.-Music Education, is the Elementary Vocal and General Music Specialist for Leland Public School.

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

Thena Axiotis-Dahl, B.A.-French and Communications from Oakland University, has a Secondary Education Teaching Certificate and a minor in Spanish from University of Michigan-Dearborn. She taught both French and Spanish to middle school and high school students before moving to Traverse City. She currently works at Peninsula Community Library where she reads for Story Stew (PCL’s story time) and promotes library programming. She is also an organizer for the French Language Group of Traverse City, a semi-biweekly French conversation group.

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, M.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.

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.

Kathleen Buday, M.Ed., ATR-BC is a Board Certified Art Therapist who has worked with diverse populations including pediatric patients, adults with HIV/AIDS, and youth at-risk. Her recent work focuses on art therapy with hospice patients, grieving children, adolescents and adults, and individuals coping with cancer. She has published on the topic of art therapy and presents nationally on the profession and its various applications. Kathleen has held the position of Assistant Professor in Art Therapy at University of Wisconsin, Superior and Millikin University. She is also a Visiting Instructor at Kalamazoo College.

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 -- 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.

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.


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, and four years at NMC.

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.

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

Joey DiFranco is the Creative Director at TentCraft, a Traverse City-based company that creates branded outdoor experiences. He has more than ten years of creative and marketing experience in agency and in-house settings. He is a 2007 graduate of the Savannah College of Arts & Design with a BFA in Film & Television Production. Joey also sits on the board for SEEDS, a non-profit based in Northern Michigan.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Eleonora Hayes, M.F.A., has been teaching and creating art since 2000. Her art has appeared in the Grand Rapids Art Prize competition since 2013.

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.

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.

Rebecca Howe, B.A.-Journalism, is an award-winning illustrator, writer, animator and educator. She worked in magazine editing and graphic design before turning toward illustration and fine art. She has worked designing for children’s games and curriculum, branding small and new businesses, and marketing and advertising for nonprofit and for-profit companies.

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.

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.

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..

Molly Korroch is a writer and multimedia journalist originally from Williamsburg, VA. She holds a master’s in journalism from Georgetown University, and her work can be found in a variety of local and regional publications including the Northern Express, Belt, and Traverse Magazine.

Coreene Kreiser, B.F.A., is an adjunct instructor in NMC’s Humanities Area. A professional photographer, Coreene has many publications and years of experience in the field..

Kelly LaLonde, CPA, MBA, joined Dennis, Gartland & Niergarth in 2003. A manager on DGN’s BizTek and Professional Offices niche team, Kelly has also been an integral part of DGN’s QuickBooks training team. She is a member of the American Institute for CPAs and the Michigan Association of CPAs. Kelly earned her BS in Accounting from Roger Williams University, an MBA from Lawrence Technological University, and holds Certified QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor - Advanced certifications.

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

Ashley Larimer-Kelly is a music teacher at Glen Lake Community Schools where she teaches elementary general music and directs the elementary, middle school and high school choirs. She also serves as the director of the Glen Lake musical theatre program, has previously directed summer theatre camps, as well as the Manistee-Benzie Area Children's Chorus. Ashley earned her Bachelor of the Arts in Music Education from Albion College. She is a Traverse City native and a proud graduate of the TCAPS band and choir programs. Ashley is delighted to share her love of choral music with the young musicians in the NMC Children's Choirs.

Joanna Lauber completed her first level of training with Union Yoga, LLC and her three-year 500 Hour Plus Program with Yoga for Health Education Mentoring Academy. Joanna teaches regular classes and specializes in yoga for folks with weight issues and trauma. As a 30-year therapist for individuals with eating disorders, and now trauma based therapy, Joanna blends a wealth of knowledge of western psychology and yoga psychology.

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.

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.

Eleanor Lynn, J.D. is a retired attorney who practiced in state courts and federal courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeals. She earned her juris doctorate at the University of Iowa Law School. She majored in history and political science in her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Michel Pasquier, native of Switzerland, speaks French, German, Italian and English, moved to the States in 1970. His teaching career, before retiring in 2016, includes private and public high schools and universities in Europe and the United States. He leads yearly educational trips to Canada and Europe. Prior to teaching, he worked in the arts in advertising and stained glass. His experience with various teaching methodologies and the arts informs his approach to teaching language through exposure to its rich past and current cultural history.

Christie Perdue, M.A., Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), is the principal and owner of CP Consulting. She has more thank 15 years of development experience, leading campaigns and creating sustainable development programs throughout Michigan. She has a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management and a Certificate in Fundraising Management.

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.

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

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.

Nikki 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.

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

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.

Julie Ann Rivers-Cochran has nearly 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, working extensively with CEO’s, ED’s, and Boards in the areas of governance, board recruitment, mission-driven program and policy development, and grant acquisition and management. Julie Ann holds an Executive Certificate in Transformational Nonprofit Leadership from Notre Dame University and an MSW from Florida State University, and she provides consultation through her practice, Blackbird Consulting for Nonprofits.

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.

Kate Rose is a communication strategist and freelance writer with an insatiable curiosity for how stories move people towards doing good things in the world. Drawing on communications work for brands like Google, Nickelodeon, and YouTube, her goal is to help individuals and companies with big ideas find their voice, then tell their story in a way that draws others to their mission.

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.

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.

Tony Sauerbrey is Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Program Manager with the NMC Aviation Area.

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.

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.

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.

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..

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.

Alison Thornton is the Coordinator for Technology Support Services at NMC. She is a Google Certified Educator and has worked in technology in higher education as well as in the legal and financial industries.

Adam VanHouten, M.A.-curriculum and teaching, B.F.A.-art education, has been teaching visual art classes for TCAPS since 2004 and painting classes for NMC EES since 2010. Adam paints in a variety of media. As a watercolor artist, he exhibits his work widely and took 1st place in the 2014 Cherry Festival Poster Contest.

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

Sarah Wangler, is a Communications Instructor at NMC.

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.  

Beth Stoner Wiegand has over 20 years of practical fundraising experience in a not-for-profit environment. Beth endeavors to share her insights, expertise, and practical problem-solving skills with local fund development professionals.

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.

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.

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.

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 appeals. 

We thank all of our 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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