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.

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 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.

Lin Benfield, MBA, Career and Educational Advisor, is an independent career strategist assisting individuals with advanced career searches, resume writing, educational consulting, tutoring and providing courses on the topic of job search success at any age.

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.

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 a disciple of movement arts her entire life. A former professional dancer, she worked in theaters in Europe and the U.S. before deciding to study human movement and learning processes. Initially she underwent a training in movement therapy and specialized in working with dancers. She then trained in the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education, and in 1996 became a certified practitioner. During her time in San Francisico, she established a movement program for cancer survivors at UCSF’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, created a multi-media recovery program for women with breast cancer, taught for the Dean Ornish Heart Disease Reversal Program, the Center for Alternative Healing at UCSF, and has taught dance movement therapy classes for people with Parkinson's and other movement disorders. Desiring to understand movement and healing more deeply, Alice began her study of the art of t’ai chi ch'uan in 1990. She has been a student of Hunyuan Chen style t’ai chi for over 25 years and is a certified instructor through the Feng Zhiquiang Chen Style Taijiquan Academy, USA. She currently leads classes and workshops in both Chen style t'ai chi, Tai chi for Arthritis, and the Feldenkrais Method in Leelanau County and Traverse City.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Aaron and Jill Grenchik, Traverse City locals and avid outdoor enthusiasts, are both certified by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as foraged mushroom expert identifiers. In addition, they are co-owners of Great Lakes Treats and Catering, a small business dedicated to the preservation and utilization of northern Michigan sourced food and sustainable foraging.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Kathleen Merrill Leach, M.A., is a voice teacher, adjudicator and clinician, and music educator. She has been a choral and ensemble director at the high school and college levels. She is also a vocal soloist.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

Devin Moore, B.S., Northern Michigan University in Community Health Education, is a certified yoga instructor. Currently she is the education and outreach coordinator at Oryana Food Coop 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.

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.

Craig Olsen is an Environmental Educator/Naturalist with over 30 years of experience teaching in the outdoors. He graduated from Western Michigan University with a coordinate major in Environmental Studies and Geography. Following college he started his career interning with multiple organizations before being hired as a Naturalist at the Conservancy Inc. in Naples, Florida and then as a naturalist and eventually Director of Peace Valley Nature Center in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. When he moved back to Michigan in 2013, he secured a position at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore where he currently works as an Education Technician

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.  

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Gabe Schneider founded Northern Strategies 360, a consulting firm specializing in governmental affairs, public relations, and strategic consulting.

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.

Jeanne Sirotkin is the author of Wrestling the Bear, an award-winning collection of short stories; Exit Wounds, a novel; An Unzipped Dress (poetry); Final Alchemy (poetry); and other short pieces. She has taught workshops in Michigan and Northern California.

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.

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 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.

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.

Heidi Thompson, Financial Planner and Managing Director at Prout Financial Design has an extensive career in finance. She is also a Master Elite Advisor with Ed Slott and Associates. Her family has been in the Traverse City area since the late 1800’s.  A single mother to three daughters, she has a unique ability to translate complex financial concepts into the decisions required for everyday planning.  She finds great satisfaction in helping women make educated financial decisions so that they may remain financially independent.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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. 

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