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About the Teachers - College for Kids

Claire Alexander, B.A.-education, is a Traverse City native. She currently teaches language arts at The Greenspire School.

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.

Jarred Araujo, B.S., is a certified teacher currently working at a parochial school in southern Michigan. He has been working in education since 2009. Technology and Programming continue to be of interest to him. He enjoys giving students a firm foundation of skills for problem solving and critical thinking.

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.

Angela Botruff, A.S.-child development, B.A., is the leader of 4-H Lego Robotics in Leelanau County. She has worked at the Leelanau Children’s Center in Leland since 2007.

Julie Brott, B.S.-early childhood education, reading minor, has been teaching preschool since 1991. She currently teaches Preschool (ages 4 & 5) at Eastern Elementary for TCAPS.

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.

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.

Annie Callahan, B.A., is a preschool teacher at Grand Traverse Academy. ­­­­­She has been teaching College for Kids classes since 2014.

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.

Christina Collins is a local mixed media and brick artist. 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 annual brick events. She has taught both art and LEGO® to children ages 4-17.

Claire Crandell, B.A., is a retired teacher, artist and writer who loves to explore our world through travel, photography, and hiking. She has been studying and practicing meditation for over 25 years. She currently works with Sylvan Learning Center.

Devan DePauw is NMC’s Welding Program Coordinator.

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.

Robert Dreer is an FAA pilot and assistant chief UAS instructor at NMC. He is a founding member of ShareSky, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding and promoting Northern Michigan’s unmanned aviation industry. He owns Cherry Capital Drones.

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, owns Tall Pines Computer Training and teaches computer courses for NMC-EES.

Cathy Fitzgerald, B.A., owned and taught classes at her dance studio in Missouri for over 20 years. She took 2014 off to see the world, sharing photos and stories on her blog cathyflewthecoop.com. Between travels, she works as a lifestyle wedding an portrait photographer.

Theresa Galante has over 40 years of experience working with horses and children, showing and teaching all disciplines. She has unique personal experience with children on the Autism Spectrum and has served in the childrens programs at PEACE Ranch for many years. PEACE Ranch has been providing equine-assisted learning programs for children with Autism Spectrum disorders since 2009.

John Gilligan, technology expert and entrepreneur, spent 10 years in the professional world before starting his own successful technology business. He is a co-owner of Quarkmine - a company based in Traverse City and dedicated to inspiring students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) through events and World Championship level instruction.

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.

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.

Tillie Hill, B.A.-education, has been employed at TCAPS since 2012. She currently teaches at West Middle School. She holds a Specialization in Language Arts and Special Education and will earn an MA in Education this summer. She has played many sports throughout her life and has coached travel and school teams in volleyball and basketball.

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.

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

Jackie Kaschel is the Executive Director of PEACE Ranch which uses rehabilitated rescue horses in therapy programs. The rehabilitation process for rescues is based on natural equine communication methods often referred to as “horse whispering”. Ms. Kaschel is Advanced Certified by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, a Certified Equine Interaction Professional, and Certified at the Partnership Level in Parelli Natural Horsemanship.

Nan Katzenberger, B.A., is an artist working in watercolor, acrylic and mixed media. She has taught art and painting classes to both children and adults for over 25 years in her studio at Art in the Loft. She has studied under well-known contemporary collage artists including Gerald Brommer, Jonathan Talbot and Elizabeth St. Hilaire.

Diane Kimmel, M.A., is a recently retired certified teacher specializing in educational technology. Throughout her career she has taught English, Business, and Computer courses. Diane has been teaching computer courses for NMC-EES since 2004.

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

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 is currently the Robotics Program Director at TC West Senior High School and runs the Northwest Michigan VEX and VEX IQ Robotics League. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering, Math and Dance Choreography along with a deep fondness for all things “technology.”

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

Phil McCuien is an NMC Construction Program staff member who supports carpentry, HVAC, woodworking, electrical, and welding programs.

Olivia Meyer, B.S.-early childhood education, has been volunteering and working with young students since 2010. Olivia is currently a preschool assistant teacher for TCAPS.

Wayne Moody, is Director of Automotive Technology at NMC. His is an ASE Master Automotive and Truck Technician who, for 34 years, owned and operated a local automotive repair facility in Traverse City.

Melissa Morrice has taught elementary education with TCAPS for many years, first at Long Lake and currently at Blair Elementary. She is a compassionate educator with an innate gift for teaching children with challenges. PEACE Ranch has been providing equine-assisted learning programs for children with Autism Spectrum disorders since 2009.

Brad Novak has been playing drums and percussion for over 25 years. He studied at Central Michigan University and the Berklee College of Music in Boston with famed instructors Larry Finn, Dave Zerbe, and Robert Hohner. Presently Brad teaches percussion for Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools and is owns the Beat Lab in Traverse City.

Allison Leigh Peters, B.A., was Journals and Outreach Coordinator at Michigan Publishing, where she founded the Michigan Library Publishing Club. Allison is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize. She is founder, editor, and director of Green House Press and publisher of Orange Quarterly.

Jerrilynn Pike has over 17 years coaching and judging experience in cheerleading. She is a former Ferris State University head coach and currently head coach of Traverse City West High School competitive team as well as Waters Edge All Stars cheer program. She is certified nationally through National Cheerleading Association for first aid, CPR and cheerleading safety for tumbling and cheerleading. 

Patti 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.

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 a CDA and has studied Early Childhood at NMC and Fox Valley Technical College. Annette has taught pre-school in Cedar Rapids, IA and Coloma, WI. Recently, she worked for Head Start and is currently a church Children’s Director.

Gavin Richmond, teaches 4th grade at Glen Lake Community Schools and coaches U-10 Soccer in Leelanau County.

Kaitlyn Rickman, M.Ed.-education technology, B.A.-language arts/elementary education, has been teaching with TCAPS since 2009. She currently teaches kindergarten at Courtade Elementary and is passionate about the power of technology for younger learners.

Holly Rives, B.S.-education with an Early Childhood Endorsement and M.A.-education, has been teaching since 2002 from Pre-K to 3rd grade. She currently teaches 3rd grade at Forest Area Community Schools.

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

Jamie Roster, B.A.-secondary education/biological sciences, is a former 7th-grade science teacher. She is currently president/co-owner of Northwood Fruits, Inc.

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

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 Lyric and Prelude Children’s Choirs.

Kate Scott, B.A., has worked as a guest teacher for TCAPS since 2011.

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.

Jeanne Sirotkin (Haynes) is a poet and short story author. She founded the writing program and taught at The Roeper School, in Birmingham, Michigan. “Wrestling the Bear”, a collection of short stories, won the SFA prize in fiction and was published by Stephen F. Austin University in 2013. Her other poems and stories have appeared in various literary magazines. She is the former editor of “San Francisco Gallery” literary magazine. She currently lives in Slabtown with her husband and Gracie, the famous poodle.

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.

Karen Stein, M.F.A.-creative writing, is the founder and creative director of Here:Say, a live storytelling show staged monthly, currently in its fourth season in Traverse City. In 2016, Karen taught a Here:Say for Kids class in conjunction with the National Writers Series.

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.

Jackie Stremlow, B.A.-elementary education, M.A.-curriculum, has been teaching kindergarten and first grade since 2005. She currently teaches kindergarten at Eastern Elementary for TCAPS.

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.

Adam Van Houten, M.A.-curriculum and teaching, B.F.A.-painting and art education, is a full-time visual arts instructor for TCAPS. His watercolor paintings appear in many local art galleries and have received many awards including First Place for the 2014 National Cherry Festival Commemorative Print Competition. His illustrations appear in Reggie’s Runaway Adventure. He has been teaching classes to children and adults with NMC-EES since 2012.

John Velis, B.S.-mathematics, secondary certifications in mathematics and science, with 25+ years in education, information technology, web site design, is a Computer Information Technology instructor at NMC and a recipient of the 2016-17 NISOD award for teaching excellence. 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.

Stephanie Lee 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.

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.

Janine Winkler, B.S.-elementary education, currently teaches fourth grade at GTACS, having facilitated hands-on science investigations in Michigan for almost 30 years.

Kristi Wodek, B.A., M.F.A, has been teaching art and crafts in both the traditional classroom setting as well as art centers for over 20 years. She currently teaches for TCAPS.

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