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Teacher Bios - College for Kids

Joedy Annis has formal training in tap, ballet, jazz, modern, and hip-hop. She danced professionally for three years and teaches Hip Hop dance at NMC.

Debra Anton-Coburn, B.F.A., is a middle school art teacher, and teaches creative art weekend and summer workshops for students.

Scott Birch, B.S.-elementary education, is a National Outdoor Leadership School graduate, a wilderness guide, certified Wilderness First Responder, and a former summer camp director. He currently is the Intervention Specialist at Cherryland Middle School in Elk Rapids.

Lisa Bracey, B.A.-communications, is a certified elementary teacher and currently substitute teaches throughout the area. She has been teaching with College for Kids since 2010.

Mary Bridges, M.A.-writing, has taught at the National Louis University and the College of DuPage. She has extensive computer experience.

Bo Burke, ISA Certified Arborist, ISA Certified Tree Worker and Climber Specialist, who has taught tree climbing for many years. He has over 12 successful years in the preservation, restoration, and care of trees

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli is a published novelist and journalist who teaches writing seminars and workshops for NMC-EES. She is now working on a non-fiction book with a survivor of 9/11. Her work has been produced on stage and for NPR.

Eric “Zeke” Clemons, B.A., is a musician and music instructor. Zeke has over 8 years of music teaching experience and currently instructs classes at The Beat Lab in Traverse City.

Jeffrey Cobb, M.M.-choral conducting, is the Director of Music Programs at NMC. He has over 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. Jeff also performs as a Jazz vocalist and pianist.

Christina Collins is a local artist and Lego builder. Christina is a member of Michigan Lego Users Group, has been featured on Interlochen Public Radio, and builds at History Center of Traverse City during the annual Lego Carnival. She has taught both art and Lego to children ages 4-17.

Scott Diment, B.S.-education, has been teaching since 1988 including the past 11 years with TCAPS.

Tom Dollar has nearly 30 years of experience in the manufacturing industry as a mold maker, mold designer, parametric solid modeler, and manufacturing engineer.

Val Domkiv, M.A.-human behavior, has been a classroom teacher for 13 years. She is co-author of several Teacher Education books.

Julie Doyal B.A., has 12 years of elementary teaching experience. She is a Program Coordinator for NMC-EES.

Julie Egelus, B.S.-early childhood, M.S.-special education, is a certified elementary teacher and has taught in Alaska for the last seven years. She has recently moved back to Michigan.

Rebecca Eitzen, has been involved with needlework and crafts for over 25 years. She homeschools her own four children and provides craft classes for other teens. She has been a 4-H leader and has taught Sunday school.

Gael Eschelweck, A.A., is a professional classical and Spanish guitarist. She performs for weddings and other public and private events. Gael Also teaches guitar classes for TCAPS.

Kate Fairman, M.S.-education, is an adjunct instructor at Grand Valley State University and artist who has taught art and outdoor education courses since 1984.

Tina Norris Fields, M.A.-leadership, B.S.-business/CIS, specializes in facilitating computer mastery for both adults and children. She owns Tall Pines Computer Training and teaches computer courses for NMC-EES.

Annie Froehlich, B.A., is a preschool teacher at Grand Traverse Academy.

Shanna Girrbach, B.A.-business administration, is a certified elementary teacher with a major in language arts. A mother of two energetic preschoolers, she previously taught preschool for 3½ years and was a summer camp supervisor for 3 years.

Cheryl Gordon, A.A., has over 25 years experience teaching art to students from age 4 to 90, and has taught for College for Kids since 2004. 

Melody Hamill, co-owner of the Circle H Stables at Ranch Rudolf, has been teaching children to ride for the past 10 years. She created and continues to run a variety of horse camps.

Kate Hansen, teaches journalism and Spanish with TCAPS. She has also taught Photo Story and Prezi to her students.

Lisa Hockin, A.A. B.F.A.-art education, is currently an elementary art educator with Elk Rapids Public Schools. As an artist, she uses a variety of art mediums including clay.

Jennifer Hoffman, M.A.-early childhood education, is a certified elementary teacher. She has taught kindergarten and first grade at Kingsley Elementary since 2002.

Margaret Hori, M.A., B.A., has taught for over 30 years, from Kindergarten to college courses, remedial to gifted, in public, private, and charter schools.

Nan Horstman, M.A., a retired teacher and elementary school principal, has taken many cooking classes and teaches cooking classes for NMC/EES.

LeeAnn Jacobs, B.A., grew up with horses and has worked with children and horses teaching novice through advanced levels of riding since 2000.

Peggy Johnson, B.S.-elementary music education and piano performance, has been teaching piano for over 20 years. She accompanies the NMC GT Chorale, Chamber Singers, and two of the children’s choirs. Peggy also does freelance accompanying and coaching in the GT area.

Chad Kahler, B.S.-environmental education, earth science, and biology, has taught in the College for Kids program for many years. He is a part-time instructor in the Physical Education Dept. at NMC.

David Kenny has worked with TC athletes for 20+ years, coached elementary sports for five TCAPS schools, and coached Little League baseball for 10 years. He teaches at Blair Elementary and coaches football at TC West High School.

Kathleen Merrill Leach, M.A., taught since 1972 in Lansing and Grand Rapids. She has been teaching cooking classes for teens for many years, cooked for summer camps, and cooked as a personal chef.

Philip Leete has a mechanical engineering degree from Hope College. He teaches robotics, mathematics, and dance at TC West Senior High and is the founder of the Northern VEX Robotics League in Traverse City.

Erin Lord is the freshman-senior varsity cheerleading coach at Traverse City West. She is certified in UCA stunting safety and runs clinics during the school year.

Shannon McCann, B.A.-secondary education, has taught at Grand Traverse Academy since 2010. She holds a teaching certificate with a biology endorsement.

Tom Mills, A.A.-commercial art/advertising, is an award-winning cartoon-style animator, illustrator and designer whose 30-year career has specialized in creating unique cartoon characters, designing and illustrating children's books, as well as designing promotional materials for businesses. He has taught cartooning and animation to children for 15+ years. 

Christi Morgan, B.A.-early education and family service, has almost 20 years of experience working as a caregiver, coach, teacher, counselor, and program director. She currently works with youth, parents, and providers through MI Families LLC.

Nicole Mullin, B.A., is a certified elementary teacher who has been a guest teacher with TCAPS since 2010 teaching Kindergarten through high school.

Patrick Niemisto, B.M.E., is an adjunct instructor in the NMC Audio Tech program. He taught K-12 music for 30 years at Glen Lake School, and is also a working musician, songwriter, and recording engineer with strong ties to the local music scene.

Brad Novak has been a drummer/percussionist for over 20 years. He attended The Berklee College of Music in Boston and Central Michigan University. He currently teaches over 60 students at Marshall Music and at Grand Traverse Academy.

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. David has been a major presenter at state and national humanities conferences.

Mary Parrish, B.M.E.-music education, has been teaching elementary general and vocal music with TCAPS since 1965. She has taught private piano and been a conductor/accompanist for the Traverse City Elementary Honors Choir.

Kim Peltier has a bachelor’s degree in English, language, literature and elementary education; master’s degree in early childhood education; endorsements: elementary K-5, SA, BX, ZS. She is currently a special education teacher for Forest Area Community Schools, working with students preschool to first grade.

Fran Perkett, M.T.S., B.A., has taught children and adults for over 35 years. She is an avid reader who reads and writes fantasy fiction. Ms. Perkett currently teaches for NMC-EES and leads regional workshops and trainings.

Heather Quick, B.S.-elementary education, is a retired teacher with 20 years experience teaching kindergarten.

Steve Quick is a musician/singer/songwriter with over 25 years’ experience as a recording engineer and record producer. He teaches Music Technology at NMC. He was lead recording instructor at the Recording Institute of Detroit, and was trained by former Motown personnel.

Pattie Ramoie is a graduate of Kendall College of Art & Design. She is a designer and returning College for Kids teacher. She has taught art workshops and classes for over 25 years and her experience spans pre-school through adults.

Steve Raths, B.A., is a certified SCUBA instructor recognized by NAUI, PADI, and ANDI. An active instructor at Scuba North since 1999, he has previously taught for NMC’s College for Kids program.

Jessica Reinhold, B.S., is a certified elementary teacher with a major in integrated science. She is a guest teacher in Kalkaska currently teaching in a 1st Grade long-term substitute position at Birch Street Elementary.

Rebecca Richardson, B.S.-mathematics with a chemistry minor, is certified to teach math and science through 12th grade. She is currently a guest teacher with TCAPS where she has had several long-term teaching assignments.

Annette Richter has worked in early childhood education since 1993. She has completed Early Childhood I and II and has worked for pre-schools in Cedar Rapids, IA. Recently, she worked for Head Start and is currently a church Children’s Director.

Rosemary Rokita, B.S., lived and traveled in Japan for three years where she taught English.

Mark Rozeboom, M.A.-education, teaches English and drama at Traverse City Christian Schools. He has directed many theater productions.

Michael A. Rutledge holds undergraduate degrees in military history and history and geography and an M.A. in humanities. He teaches history, geography, and humanities at TC College Preparatory Academy and history and humanities at NMC. He is a retired U.S. Army NCO.

Stephanie Schall-Brazee, M.M.E., B.M.E., teaches elementary music for TCAPS. She has worked with elementary, high school, and college choirs and currently directs NMC’s Advanced Children’s Choir.

Kim Schrader, M.S.-forensic science, participated in undergraduate field research that analyzed the effects of environmental extremes on corpses and a burial excavation.

Andrew Sias, B.S.-education, is a certified teacher. He has taught history, English, art, photography, and design in since 1998 and currently teaches art at Kingsley Middle School.

Coreene Smith, B.F.A.-photography, owns Tavla Studio in Traverse City, where she works as a commercial and portrait photographer. She is currently a guest teacher with TCAPS.

Elizabeth Sonnabend, M.B.A., has 15 years of marketing experience working for various companies throughout northern Michigan.

Janet Steinhoff, B.S.-education, with a major in elementary-level sciences, has over 20 years of experience in K-8 classrooms. She has also been a Girl Scout leader, Odyssey of the Mind coach and judge, and a 4H leader.

Jenifer Strauss, B.S.-environmental education, is a former teacher of 10 years. She currently combines her love for teaching and storytelling to provide over 300 storytelling performances, conference keynotes, and trainings a year throughout the United States.

Gerry Swaney, B.S., has worked in engineering and education, including 8 years at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center designing packaging of space foods for Apollo and other space missions.

Carolyn Swift, M.F.A., has been teaching art to children and adults since 1985. She is a professional artist whose work has appeared in numerous state and national exhibits.

Melissa Tengdin, B.A.-elementary education, is a certified elementary teacher. She has guest taught grades K-5 and has volunteered and instructed Junior Achievement for 2nd graders. She currently teaches 5th grade at Fife Lake Elementary.

Adam VanHouten, M.A., B.F.A.-art education, teaches art and photography at TC West Middle School.

John Velis, B.S.-mathematics, secondary certifications in mathematics and science, with over 25 years in education, information technology, web site design and is currently an instructor at NMC in Computer Information Technology. He is an active coach and mentor for various unmanned vehicle and robotics teams.

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

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

Tiffany Webb, A.A.-art education, is working to complete her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She has volunteered and worked in many diverse classrooms throughout Traverse City and completed her student teaching at Blair Elementary this spring.

Tom West, B.S.E.E., retired electronics engineer, has been building model ships for over 15 years. His current project is a double planked American Privateer from the War of 1812. He is also active in restoring wooden boats at the Maritime Heritage Alliance.

Kathy Wiejaczka, R.N., has over 35 years’ experience working with children. She has been a school nurse with TBAISD since 1999.

Kent Wiejaczka, M.A., is a licensed builder and an award-winning artist specializing in realistic painting and drawing.

Sarah Wilcoxen, B.A., has been teaching since 2003 and currently teaches at Traverse City College Preparatory Academy. She has taught children’s cooking classes since 2006.

Janine Winkler, B.S.-elementary education, has been a certified teacher for over 18 years. She currently teaches with GTACS.

Laura J. Wright, B.A.-English, has been teaching with TCAPS since 2000. She has also been participating in Art & Craft shows since 2008.