Instructor Bios

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

Tania Arens has been studying Tae Kwon Do at NMC since 2007 and obtained the rand 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.

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.

Melissa Bernazzani, B.A., is a professional artist and photographer with over eight years experience as an Army photojournalist. She currently specializes in using instant analog film, such as Polaroid and Impossible film to create her photography/art.

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.

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.

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.

Kevin Burns obtained his formal culinary training in LaVareene, France. His cooking experience includes four seasons on Nantucket Island, he opened a restaurant in Arizona, and locally owned and operated the Riverside Inn, in Leland. He is currently kept busy as co-founder and co-owner of Baabaazuzu.

Marco Cabrera, A.A., has over 15 years of experience in website and application development, interface support, project management, and training. Marco has worked with a broad variety of platforms and languages including CSS, XHTML, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, and Agile.  

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.

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.

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.

Patty Cron-Huhta is a graduate of Michigan State University’s Hotel and Restaurant Management Program and is the Dining Room Management instructor at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute.

Cedric Currin, M.S.-electrical engineering, is President of Currin Corporation specializing in design, supply, and training related to a wide variety of solar power systems. Currin Corp has installed PV systems in the Great Lakes Region, Central America, the Caribbean, and Africa.

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. 

Cindy Daniel has a Business Management degree from College of William and Mary. She spent 12 years as a National Account Manager and Agency owner for Xerox Corporation in Baltimore, Dallas, Grand Rapids, and Muskegon. She served as the Marketing Director for Muskegon Catholic Schools for four years where she managed marketing campaigns, implemented a new website, and managed the enrollment process.

Sherry Davis is a certified Food for Life cooking instructor with Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). She helps northern Michigan residents learn how food impacts our health and how to make simple and nutritious recipes that promote health. (www.SherryDavisCooking.com)

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.

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.

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.

Cathy Fairbanks, M.S.-career and technical education, is a Microsoft Office Specialist and has taught business and information systems at West Shore Community College. Currently, she is a Procurement Counselor for Networks Northwest in Traverse City.

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.

Kim Fish has been working in the cheese industry since 2014. She is the store manager and head cheese monger at The Cheese Lady of Traverse City where she is responsible for all cheese purchasing, research for future cheeses, and products to be carried in the store.

Heather Fraizer, Ph.D., joined the NMC Training and Research staff in 2008. She is a Lean Champion providing training to both manufacturing and service organizations.

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 aroma therapy and in lymphatic therapy using the Carter technique. She owns On-the-Spot Reflexology.

Jason Gold is the founder and lead instructor for the Michigan Folk School.   

Paul Griggs, B.A., works as a Consultant for MIOSHA Consultation Education and Training (CET) Division, which provides construction safety services for the counties of Northern Michigan.

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

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

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

Robb Houston, M.A., is on the faculty at NMC in the Science/Math Area. For the past 10 years, he has taught a variety of geology-related courses including earth science, physical and historical geology, Michigan basin geology, and oceanography.

Mark Howell, Ph.D., has been a communications professor at NMC since 1998. His courses include Popular Culture and Film as Literature. Mark was also a coordinator of the NMC film series for several years.

Stacy Jago, a fitness enthusiast from an early age, played both high school and college sports. She worked as a personal trainer for 12 years Santa Monica, CA. In 2006 she was named trainer of the year for her cutting edge workouts and dedication to her clients.  She currently teaches at Yen Yoga and Fitness. Her style of TRX training is challenging, but the focus is “form” first - you have to “earn” your burn!

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.

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.

Pete LaCourse, B.A.-physical education, is the Physical Education Program Coordinator at NMC. He has worked in physical education and recreational program administration since 1979.

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.

Doug Lichty, B.B.A.-business administration, is a member of the PGA Golf Profession with 20+ years of teaching experience. He was head golf pro at Leland Country Club from 1993-2004 and now owns the Traverse City Golf Center.

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.

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

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

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.

Jessica Merwin, B.S.-sustainable management, is a LEED Green Associate, and has a blog about sustainable practices where she shares her experiences in preparation for eventual off-the-grid living with her husband.

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.

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.

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.

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 NewEraSocialMarketing.com/testimonials.

Dennis J. Prout, CFP®, has taught financial planning courses since 1985. He is a Certified Financial Planner and a Master Elite Advisor through Ed Slott & Company, LLC. He founded Prout Financial Design more than 20 years ago. For more than 10 years, he has hosted a Retirement Planning Radio Show weekly on WTCM’s News Talk 580 AM.

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

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

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.

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.

Paul H. Schultz, Bachelor of Law, Wayne State, a 45-year member of the State Bar of Michigan, is in private practice and a Prosecuting Attorney. He has a certificate of Specialized Training in Estate Planning through the Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

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 been the personal chef for family of the President of Turkey. She owned and operated a restaurant on Hatteras Island, a food truck, a catering company for destination weddings, and a bakery. She currently is the Food Buyer for Cherry Capital Foods supporting Farm to Table, local product and sustainable farming.

Kevin Skarnulis, M.A., CIT, is a certified teacher and computer specialist with numerous technology certifications including Microsoft Office Specialist. Kevin owns a computer consulting business in Traverse City.

Julia Slack has been teaching cake decorating at NMC since 2004. She enjoys baking, cooking and creating special cakes for all occasions.

Cody Sovis lives and loves bikes. He’s the manager at Einstein Cycles and enjoys road, cyclocross, mountain and fat bike racing for Einstein Racing, and is a volunteer for Norte! Youth Cycling. He is a former NMC student and Grand Valley State University alumnus. He believes in keeping it fun, tough and anchored in the simple mantra that’s kept him cycling; if you’re not smiling on the bike, you’re doing it wrong.

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.

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., 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.

Carol Taberski, M.B.A., B.S., DTM, worked at NMC for 33 years, earned the Microsoft Word MOS certificate, and has taught Microsoft Word since 2010.

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

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

Katie Tomczyk, M.A. Special Ed/Physical Ed, holds certification in Kettlebell Training, Pilates, Spinning, and Yoga, and has been teaching HIIT at Yen Yoga and Fitness for 3 years. She loves teaching and participating in group fitness classes for the connection, fun, and challenge. She is a certified Barton Reading/Spelling system tutor and is a private tutor for students with Dyslexia. 

Michael Torre, M.A., art instructor at NMC, has taught college courses since 1990 in drawing, ceramics, and 2- and 3-D design, sculpture, and art appreciation. His work has been included in more than 100 national exhibitions, books, and magazines.

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.

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.

Stephanie Wiitala, A.S., is a graduate of Great Lakes Culinary Institute. She is currently employed by Black Star Farms where she is a pastry chef and also their on-site wedding and event coordinator.

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

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

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. 

Part-time instructors wanted

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

  • NIA exercise
  • Spanish
  • Calligraphy
  • Home repair/maint.

Teaching degree not required. Looking for enthusiastic presenters with content knowledge, passion, and willingness to share. Email resume and letter with interest areas to ees@nmc.edu before May 27, 2016.

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