Instructor Bios

Find Instructor by Last Name
ABCDEFGH – I – JKLMN – OP – Q – RSTU – V – W – X – YZ


Azimi, Henriette

Born in the Netherlands, I arrived in the US in 1980 and worked at the Netherlands Embassy in DC for nearly 10 years. I was taught how to knit and crochet at an early age and I always enjoyed it. In 2013 I became a Certified Knitting Teacher through the Craft Yarn Council of America and have taught knitting (beginners and intermediate classes) at ACL since 2014.Knitting with other people is one of the great joys of life.

Return to top


Barone, Joseph

Joseph baroneJoseph S. Barone has been in the learning/training field for over 35 years, working as a high school social studies teacher, for the NYC Dept. of Records, and The World Bank.  When he started his own consulting business (A Fool for Learning, LLC) in 2019, he decided that one way to market his skills/experience was to podcast.  So, his channel FOOLISH THOUGHTS was born, in which he speaks about training/learning, networking, management, and whatever other foolish thoughts come to mind.   With over 140 episodes under his belt, his goal is to share his thoughts and insights on the things you need to consider, if you decide to embark upon the podcasting adventure.

Boukhris, Loubna
A native of Fes, Morocco, Ms. Boukhris received a PhD in Material Sciences from the University of Nantes, France. As an IT engineer working in Paris, she became an Oracle and programming languages teacher. After moving to the US, Ms. Boukhris joined the Arlington Adult Education Team as a French Instructor. Since 2010, she has provided many computer classes including, SQL, HTML, CSS, JavaScript. She enjoys the opportunity to meet people with many cultural backgrounds as she has done so throughout her life.

Bucelli, Maria Elena

M E BucelliMaria Elena Bucelli was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but moved to Milan, Italy, at a young age, where she completed her education. Later in life, she moved to the United States and obtained a Master’s degree in Foreign language and literature and a TESL certificate. She taught at Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University, where she was the faculty director for the Study Abroad Programs in Spain, Italy and Latin America. She taught English to Italians, Italian to foreigners, and Spanish to Italians while she lived in Milan for fifteen years. Now a retired teacher of Spanish and Italian of Arlington County Public Schools, she has been teaching for the Community Learning Center for six years

Return to top


Cassatt, Jim

After retiring from government service, Dr. Cassatt turned his lifelong passion for photography into a successful second career. He has been taking pictures since high school and learned the basics of photography before anything was automatic. Since dismantling his darkroom he has fully embraced digital technology. He maintains a well-equipped residential studio in Crystal City. He has been teaching with Arlington Community Learning since 2012.

Castellanos, Luis

CastellanosBorn in Caracas, Venezuela, Luis is an eLearning, Security and Technology Expert, that has worked in the Systems Engineering and Military fields, developing a successful career as a professor and spokesman in several Venezuelan universities, in undergraduate and graduate programs, in subjects related to Information Technology and Math. He also obtained an eLearning expert,  Teaching Component and Accelerated Learning Facilitator Diploma. In his personal web page writes and publishes papers about personal growth, humor, quotes, management, security, and travel. He is Honoris Cause Doctor, awarded by the Iberoamerican Council in Honor of Excellence in Education. Father of two kids and a poodle. Feels great passion for the good food, photography, meditation and outdoor activities.

Carter, Patrick C.
Born and raised in the Washington DC metropolitan area, I knew at an early age that I wanted to “do architecture.” With an interest in residential architecture and design, I completed my undergraduate and Masters of Architecture from Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. The university has sent me all over North and Central America and Europe. Since 2000, academia and its disjunction with the profession of architecture have always been in the forefront of my interests. I have been teaching first-year design and drafting, as well as spearheading several travel programs. My career is the culmination of 14+ years of experience in residential and boutique retail architecture and design. Some of my recent projects include a 15,000 sq.ft. estate home in Virginia, a glass Conservatory and Greenhouse which was built in Europe, shipped and erected in the US, a $5 million addition and renovation of a historic tutor home in McLean, several small kitchen and bath renovations and additions ranging from contemporary to classical.

Chandra, Amit

Dr. Chandra is an emergency physician, public health advisor, and adjunct faculty at Georgetown University. He launched the “Survival Medicine: Beyond First Aid” course in 2019. His clinical practice settings have included a referral hospital in a high HIV-prevalence Southern African nation, a busy trauma center in New Delhi, a New York City emergency department, and a frontier hospital with limited funding on a Native American Reservation. Dr. Chandra was born and raised in Northern Virginia and completed his medical degree at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk. In his free time, he enjoys paddle boarding on the Potomac River and hiking in Shenandoah National Park.

Contreras, Simon

Instructor BiosSimón R.  Contreras is a native Venezuelan.  He earned a B.A and a Master in Education from George Washington University. He taught Spanish for 34 years at the high school level,He teaches Spanish  at Nova, the University of Maryland and The U. S Senate Page Program. He is the author of a novel (Las Hijas del Mastranto, 2005) and a flamenco and ballroom dancer.He also taught Spanish for Educators to a national audience via satellite.

Return to top


Daly, Dave
Dave Daly has been the building trades instructor for Alexandria City Schools since 1975. He received his BS in Education and a Master’s in Vocational Education. Dave worked as a home improvement contractor in Chicago and Northern Virginia from 1971-1979.

Davidson, Bob

Bob is the CEO of BDA Financial, where he leads his clients’ investment management and planning. He has been in the financial services industry for 35 years and before that, he had a career as a biologist. After spending a decade in developing countries, often without running water or electricity, he was looking for a stable career where he could still give back to others (he spent time in the Peace Corps, as well!). He found financial planning and never looked back. In his time in the industry, Bob has earned many top designations, including being a Chartered Financial Consultant, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and Chartered Life Underwriter. These three designations show his enthusiasm for learning and serving his clients to the best of his ability. He considers himself a constant learner and always enjoys learning new things and being an important resource for his clients. He is also a natural problem-solver and enjoys learning about his clients’ life experiences, families, and hopes.Outside of the office, Bob enjoys spending time with his close-knit family, including his wife, three children, grandson and granddaughter. He enjoys traveling (even after so many years living abroad) and working on his Spanish.

Delos Reyes, Richard

Rich ReyosA native Arlingtonian, Richard has been performing professionally since the age of thirteen. With multiple shows under his belt, he started to privately teach guitar and bass to friends in his neighborhood. Since then, Richard has taught numerous classes, workshops and camps. Back in the fall of 2014, Richard was approached by the pre-production team of Andrew Lloyd Webber to help their lead Alex Brightman to play and sing guitar for the fall 2015 musical “School of Rock”. The musical opened to rave reviews, and Alex Brightman received a Tony nomination for best male performance. Richie has been teaching for over twenty years and loves to interact and have fun with his students; his bohemian approach to teaching guitar is both infectious and viral.


Return to top


ElHakim, Omnia

Dr. Omnia ElHakim was born, and raised, in Cairo, Egypt, in the land of the Pharaohs and Ancient Civilizations. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, she moved to the United States- 40 years ago-to obtain her graduate education. Dr. ElHakim received a PhD in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. As a Professor and Researcher, Dr. ElHakim has taught many courses in Engineering while simultaneously raising millions of dollars to create sustainable diversity programs designed to reach and support diverse students in the STEM fields. Dr. ElHakim has worked at Colorado State University, Fort Lewis College and National Science Foundation as Professor, Department Chair and Assistant Dean, and is keen to enhance equity and diversity among students while providing opportunities to advance their research excellence and innovative thoughts. Dr. ElHakim joined the Arlington Community Learning Education Team in 2014 as a Mathematics and Arabic language Instructor. She believes in the value of diversity and enjoys meeting people and teaching mathematics to many students, as she feels a good understanding of mathematics is a key to success in the fields of science, engineering and technology.

Escruedero – Alie, Maria Elvira Luna

Elvira EscuderoElvira has degrees in Philosophy, Literature, and Linguistics from La Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Her PhD is from Georgetown University in Iberian-American Literature and Culture, with a minor in Applied Linguistics. Her dissertation was: “La estructura temporal en el teatro de Mario Vargas Llosa”. Dr. Luna-Escudero Alie has vast pedagogical experience teaching French and Spanish. She got an award on Excellence in Teaching from Harvard University, in 2002.

Return to top


Farnham, Ellen

A resident of Arlington, VA for 30+ years this is ‘home’.  For the past 18 years I have been teaching skin care and color cosmetics (using Mary Kay products).  My business has allowed me both financial freedom and flexibility.  Originally from NH I graduated from Southern New Hampshire University (formerly NH College) with a degree in Accounting.  I then went on to achieve my CPA.  Along with teaching skin care and color cosmetics I work as a Controller for an international nonprofit here in VA.  I enjoy both careers and love the balance they provide in my life.  In addition, I enjoy sharing my love for taking care of your skin at any age and applying color cosmetic techniques you can use.

Fillip, Barbara

BFillip_PortraitBarbara Fillip lived in cities all her life, from Paris to New York, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, until she settled in Arlington more than 20 years ago.  While enjoying a career in international development, knowledge management, university teaching, and even a stint in aerospace, she developed a personal interest in eco-friendly gardening.  This interest and constant experimentation in her own backyard eventually led her to permaculture in 2017, when she started her first Permaculture Design Certificate course.  In late 2021, she completed a Permaculture Design Certificate and will complete a Permaculture Educator Certificate mid-2022.  As a Knowledge Management professional, she likes to share what she learns.  As a permaculturist, she likes to learn from others and is constantly experimenting with an evolving backyard permaculture design. Having lived in urban areas all her life, she focuses on applications of permaculture in urban settings, which she regularly documents in her Urban Permaculture Resources hub website.

Franklin, Richard

Richard Franklin helps parents and families on positive ways to consider and use wealth as a resource and tool for human development. He is passionate about helping families build a foundational structure for future generations to flourish. Richard has practiced law as a trusts and estates attorney for 30 years. His experience in working with wealthy families has been instrumental in informing his thinking and his work on behalf of Appanage Group on the broader subject of family wealth and inheritance planning. He has a keen interest in the intersection of humanistic and positive psychology and inheritance planning. Richard is a member of the District of Columbia and Florida Bars, and a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He holds an LL.M. Estate Planning from the University of Miami School of Law and J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law.

Return to top


Gerard, Jay Young

jcJay Young Gerard received her BFA in Advertising Design from Syracuse University, and holds graduate degrees from The New York School of Interior Design and from The New School (film studies). She has taught art and design at every level including elementary school, college and graduate programs, and private tutoring. Career highlights include her role as VP of Visual Communication for a social marketing firm where projects included the creation of brands and identities, developing strategies and visuals for advertising campaigns, and designing displays and installations for an international clientele; Creative Director for The American Red Cross based in DC; and Art Director for Macy’s New York. Her paintings, collages, photographs and fiber arts have been in numerous solo and group shows, and are held in collections in Canada, Chile, Israel, England and France as well as in the U.S., including the territory of Guam.

Gonzalez, Marta

Marta Gonzalez is a native New Yorker of Cuban descent with 30+ years of Career Counseling and Job Coaching. Received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Sociology, from the InterAmerican University of P.R. and is a veteran having served in the U.S. Air Force. Instructional experience includes employment subject matter workshops for approximately 25 years  and GED courses for approximately 5 years. My approach to helping the students meet their goals is, to meet them where they are and structure instruction in such a way that will include that. Helping the students with gaining a “can do” attitude is my greatest strength. And my motto is to always ask: “How do you eat an elephant?; one bite at a time”!


Gutnick, Tom
Tom Gutnick is a freelance computer consultant, with decades of experience in information security, web-site design, and just about every other aspect of information technology. His specialty is helping people understand and harness appropriate technology. He has taught everything from junior high science as a Peace Corps volunteer to high-level computer seminars for corporate audiences. In addition to personal technology classes for Arlington Adult Education, he teaches information technology for Northern Virginia Community College.

Return to top


Haddad, Aida

AidaAida graduated from the American University of Beirut with a degree in Arabic literature and a Teaching Diploma.  She taught Arabic as a native and foreign language in Lebanon, Greece and the US.Aida published her short stories and translations in various outlets (Annahar, Alhayat newspapers, Ghurba magazine, Cultural Studies Quarterly, Al-hakawati, Almukhtar, Mitra, World Bank blogs and others).  Together with Mishka Mojabber Mourani, she co-authored a bilingual book of poems, “Alone Together”, and a short story “Hiatus” published in Lunch Ticket literary magazine, Fall 2019. Aida started teaching at Arlington Community Learning in 2018.

Haines, Jerry
Jerry Haines was a radio DJ in several major markets and taught radio and television writing at a small college in Pittsburgh before beginning the practice of law in 1981. He also has been an adjunct professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs of George Washington University. Since 1996, he has been a travel writer and has written and published over 300 different articles and reviews in such publications as The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles Times, Newark Star-Ledger, and St. Petersburg Times and various travel websites. He has contributed to the websites and He is operator of the online radio station, Mom’s Kitchen Radio, which focuses on “forgotten” music of the 1950’s and 60’s. He has been with Arlington Adult Education since 2000

Hill, Sandra
Ms. Hill has been painting nearly all of her life and has taken many workshops and classes from local and nationally known artists. Ms. Hill has 15 years of experience teaching art, and has taught at ACL for 3 years. She teaches two watercolor classes, one of which focuses on learning about fun watercolor techniques. The other is a workshop class for more advanced watercolor students. She teaches an acrylic class on “Painting like Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh.” Besides creating her own art, her passion is having the opportunity to share her skill and knowledge with others.

Hirai, Craig

Craig Hirai was a civilian computer specialist for the Army and Marine Corps in the Pentagon and Navy Annex and helped support some of the over five thousand Macintoshes in the world’s largest office building. When he left government service, he became the owner and president of MacUpgrades, an independent Apple Computer dealer in Bethesda and Gaithersburg, MD. He is currently the President of the Virginia Macintosh Users Group which has individuals with a common interest in Apple’s and other companies’ electronic and service products, including computers, tablets, cell phones, watches, TVs, music, and so on!  He’s had many years of experience teaching primarily senior students how to enjoy their newfangled electronic devices and stay out of trouble!

Hunter, Diane

Diane N. Hunter’s love for sewing began in a Home Economics class as a senior in high school. She went on to graduate from Virginia State University where she earned a Vocational Home Economics Degree. Diane is a recently retired teacher from Arlington County Public Schools. She has been an instructor in the Arlington County evening program for the past few years, where she has served as the Beginning Sewing Class teacher, as well has taught more advanced sewing classes. She also gives instructions on the purchase, use and care of the sewing machine. She makes sewing fun!!!

Return to top


Inglese, Chris

Mr. Inglese is a Certified Public Accountant in McLean, Virginia, with over 35 years of professional experience with the international accounting firm of Deloitte (formerly Touche Ross & Co) and his own firm, Christopher J. Inglese, P.C. He holds a Masters of Science degree in Taxation (from the American University) and a Bachelors of Science degree in Commerce – Accounting (from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce). A member of the American Institute of CPAs and the VA Society of CPAs. Mr. Inglese has authored “Tax Strategies for the One-Person Business”, “Day Trader Tax Guide”, and “Tax Checkup for S Corporation Owners”


Jackson, Les
Les Jackson teaches classes on Public Speaking, Automotive Technology and Home Maintenance. He is Co-Host on the nationally syndicated weekly automotive radio show, “Cruise Control,” and consults as an expert witness in vehicle crash, lemon law and associated cases in the Virginia court system. He also teaches AARP safe driving courses and has outside speaking engagements throughout the year.
With his background in mechanical engineering and physics and woodworking/electrical skills, Mr. Jackson has renovated several houses and restored a number of classic cars over the years. He brings his experience and enthusiasm to the courses he teaches.

Johnson, Karen
Karen Johnson, Co-Principal of the Chesapeake Orchestra, and formerly Principal Flutist of the Washington Bach Consort, combines instrumental mastery, great beauty of sound and a poetic sensibility in her distinctive and memorable performances. She has performed at the Alba, Italy, International Music Festival, the Bethlehem Bach Festival and others. And her recital venues include the Kennedy Center, the River Concert Series (in MD), the National Gallery of Art and the Washington National Cathedral. Karen is a winner of numerous competitions and awards, including the Individual Artist Award of the Maryland State Arts Council.  She is currently on the faculties of the Levine School of Music and St. Mary’s College of Maryland, as well as the Northern California Flute Camp in Carmel.  She is also an active participant in the “Bach to School” music outreach program of the Washington Bach Consort.   Karen is very interested in developing and teaching new classes and seminars.  Courses she has designed include: Performing With Heart (to deal with performance anxiety); Meditation for Fearless Performance, How to be a Rock Star Flutist and Flute Boot Camp 101.

Johnson, Darrell

I’m a native of the state of Georgia. As a graduate of Columbus State University with a B.A. in Communications, and with work on an M.F.A. degree at Howard University in Washington, D.C., I have over twenty years of experience as an author, screenwriter, independent filmmaker, educational television producer, and technology coordinator. My current projects include a screenplay adaptation and a tv pilot script adaptation of two original Y.A. fantasy series. When it comes to writing, I’m motivated to help others realize their creative dreams with practical, results-oriented methods.

Jones, Amanda

Ms. Jones is a self-taught artist, who taught herself Stenciling, Collage, Acrylic Painting, Silk Painting & Batik, to name a few.  She has a passion for art and especially teaching art and has taught art classes all over Northern Virginia and surrounding areas for over 5 years.   Ms. Jones created an after-school, art program for K-5, at McAuliffe Elementary School in Dale City, Virginia. She also hosts adult or kid’s paint parties in Northern Virginia and designs and sells art kits. Ms. Jones has a Master’s degree in Adult Education and teaches G.E.D. classes for Prince William County Public Schools and the Basic Skills Education Program at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia.


Jones, Jennifer

Jennifer Jones is a classically trained pianist who received her Master’s in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 2016. She has taught private piano lessons since she was sixteen. In 2018 she began teaching through Arlington Adult Education discussing music theory, piano technique, music history and playing great music in the Intermediate Piano course. She finds studying music with others to be intellectually stimulating, spiritually fulfilling, and full of joy.

Return to top

Kauffman, John
John has 20 years’ experience explaining concepts of technology to both specialists and wide audiences. He has taught several hundred courses on four continents and has presented numerous lectures at professional programmers’ conferences. From 1995 to 2005 he wrote six books on the techniques of integrating business data into web sites. His current technology interests include teaching Visual Basic as an introduction to programming, advanced features of Excel, embedded micro controller systems and artificial intelligence in small-scale robotics. Away from the computer he spends time swimming, sailing, drumming and objecting to the use of statistics to lie.

Kehoe, Johanna C.
Asa Financial Advisor and Vice President, Investments with Raymond James and Associates, Inc. and a thirty year veteran in the Financial Services Industry,I provide personalized financial planning and investment management to help individuals, businesses and institutions build and preserve long term wealth. I received my BA from Georgetown University in 1978 and my MBA from George Mason University in 1994. I attended the College for Financial Planners where I received my Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation in 1990. In January 1998 I completed certification as an Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) from the Investment Management Consultant Association in association with The Wharton School of Business. I lecture on investment and financial topics for the Arlington County Public Schools and other Arlington County Service Centers. I have served on the boards of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Washington Chapter, Tyson Corner Plan and Learn Children’s Centers.

Kurtz, Jon

Jon has earned the Certified Financial Planner™ certification, Chartered Financial Consultant, and Chartered Life Underwriter designations and is an economics graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. When he is not working, Jon spends time with his wife and two children and enjoys skiing, running, tennis and travelling to Cape Cod for summer weekends with his family.

Return to top

Law, Ellen
Ellen recently retired from 23 years of Federal service and 12 years in the private sector as a professional writer. In parallel, she has consulted on resumes and essays for private and public sectors, with a high success rate. She wrote the first brochure on computer careers to distribute at Epcot Center. At the same time, she studied Chinese and Korean martial arts and has developed a practical self-defense class for women that she has presented in companies and through community education programs. She believes that awareness and preparation are fundamental to not being a victim.

Livingston, Andy
Andy Livingston has over 20 years of sales, business development, marketing and technical experience in the commercial, consumer and government markets. He enjoys helping students get up to speed with technology to help them in their everyday life be more connected to their family, friends and community. He has the following qualifications: DCJS Certified (Department of Justice – electronic security); Department of Defense Secret Clearance; Hewlett Packard University certified in desktop/network; Sonitrol Security University certified in security system design; AT&T Wireless Management Training Program; and CompTIA A+ through FCPS ELearnIT program.

Return to top


McCarthy, Lawrence

Lawrence McCarthy has been working in the Arlington woodshop for over 35 years. He has worked professionally as both a civil engineer and a teacher.  He enjoys introducing new students to the wood shop and the basics of transforming rough lumber into a finished project.  He enjoys collaborating with students on project design and on woodworking strategies and procedures to bring their ideas to fruition.

McElvany Coonce, Jane

Jane McElvany has been teaching in Arlington County for 38 years and has been with the Adult Education Program for 31 years. She was awarded her Bachelor’s degree from High Point University and did her graduate work at the University of Virginia. As an artist, Jane works in pastel and in oil paints, but also does portrait sculptures and figures. Her works are held by the National Institute of Health and by private collectors. Her Key Bridge painting appeared on the cover of the Washington Post Magazine.

McGuire, Tony

Toni McGuire teaches piano, violin, guitar, flute, oboe, and music theory privately in Alexandria, Virginia.  For over 25 years she has taught in various cities on the East Coast of America and internationally in China.  She is a string and piano judge for local contests and an international piano judge for a May Day International  Music Festival in Zhengzhou, China, for five years.  She is an international performer, recording artist, and composer.  She is an inspiring and innovative instructor of piano, violin, and music theory for Arlington Community Learning.

Moghrabi, Fatima
Ms. Fatima Moghrabi “Carioca” has been sharing her love for teaching since her early years in Brazil as a teacher and a nurse. Living in different countries and traveling around the world has given her the tools to help students learn different languages and cultures. Teaching students from different cultures and backgrounds in Brazil, several other countries, and here in the US has provided her with the tools to promote curiosity and fun in the classroom to help students learn the Brazilian language and culture.

Mola, Roger

Roger Mola is a freelance writer and photographer whose first publishing experience was with Arlington area newspapers. He has since sold hundreds of national news, travel and technical works. Roger now specializes in the aviation industry and his publishing work has shifted online to photo essays and video. His business is based in Arlington but he is a frequent world traveler.

Muir, Pamela

Ms. Muir started practicing and researching swordplay and medieval European martial arts in 2003.  She continues her research and personal training by attending workshops and symposiums across the United States and Canada and expanding her library of reprinted and transcripted medieval fencing manuscripts.  In 2015, she established the Academy of Chivalric Martial Arts to promote the study of historical swordplay and related arts. She has been with Arlington Community Learning since 2017.

Murphy, Diane G.
With over 30 years experience as a real estate broker, Diane demonstrates expertise, experience and education that is highly regarded by her clients.  As an Associate Broker with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, she is licensed in Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland.  Serving both buyers and sellers, she was named  by the Washingtonian Magazine as a “Top Producing Agent”  Her specialties include:  Historic Properties (she has a Ph.D. in American Studies), First time buyers, Over 55 Housing Transitions and a Veterans Certified Specialist.  A sponsor of many non-profit organizations and very active in her community, she would be honored to serve you too!

Return to top


Brian Nelson-PalmerNelson-Palmer, Brian

Brian has lived in Northern Virginia several times over the years, and returned in 2010 to make Arlington his home. Brian’s journey as a professional speaker, facilitator, and instructor has spanned over two decades. He founded Productivity Gladiator Training in 2014 because he saw a genuine opportunity to teach work-life balance and productivity tactics to students, employees, front-line managers, and middle managers. He teaches workshops and gives keynotes to groups around the country. His sessions are different because they’re full of real tactics used by real people to create real improvements, and you can start right now. With COVID and remote work becoming more prominent, it’s only further shined a spotlight on this need in society.

Newmyer, Chelsey

After 10 years in the nonprofit world, Chelsey Newmyer started her business, Chelsey Newmyer Productivity, helping people start their nonprofit organizations and supporting busy executives in being more effective and efficient while maximizing limited resources. Additionally, Chelsey Newmyer Productivity teaches personal productivity including how to manage your inbox, set healthy work boundaries, and plan your to-do list to maximize time for the people and things you love. Chelsey loves all things productivity and time management and is excited to teach others. Chelsey is currently a full-time consultant with Graham-Pelton Consulting.

Return to top




Phillips, Stanton
Stanton Phillips is an adoption attorney who has practiced adoption law for 30 years. He has handled 3,000 successful adoptions from just about every state and more than 65 countries. Stan helped draft the 1995 and 2006 major rewrites to Virginia’s adoption laws. He has contributed to 15 books on adoption law. His goal is to educate you so you can embark on the right path for your goals.

Return to top


Randolph, Charles

Charles over 10 years experience as an Instructional Technology Coordinator (ITC) for Arlington Public Schools. During that time, Charles has worked directly with students, teachers and administration to infuse 21st century Instructional Technology/STEM/CTE skills in the classrooms and schools. Charles has also supported school and county-wide deployments and professional development initiatives.  I am current member of ISTE, ISTESTEM, Edtech Coaches and VSTE educational technology organizations and has served as Lead High School Instructional Technology Coordinator for Arlington Public Schools. Certified Apple Learning Specialist and ETLO (Certified Online Facilitator).

Rodriguez, Rosero Angela

Angela Rosero is a chemical and environmental engineer. She has experience in teaching and providing professional training for students and workers. She provided language education activities for children and adults (Spanish and Italian languages). She is passionate about education and language topics and excited to work in a multicultural environment. She is Colombian and lived in Italy for 8 years, she loves both Latin American and Italian cultures.

Ruble, Adelaide
Ms. Ruble holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Therapy from Shenandoah Conservatory of Music and a Master of Arts in Humanities and Communication. She is a former college instructor in Speech and Human Communication. The APS adult education communication courses that she teaches include Piano I and II, Great Works in Art History, English Pronunciation, Power Point, World Heritage sites and Sacred Sites. All courses are studies in Human Communication. For twenty years, she has provided students with private piano instruction. A former professional freelance writer, she has published in both hardcopy and online. She is a professional band singer of the Great American swing era for the Washington DC metro area. Ms. Ruble finds peaceful moments to draw and paint with charcoals, pastels and oils.

Return to top


Sarmiento, Josefa
j sarmientoJosie Sarmiento was born in Venezuela where she attended college and earned her bachelors in Spanish. She taught at several language schools before coming to the United States. She has also received an associate degree from NOVA. Her teaching experience includes all levels and all ages. She has taught Spanish for the Oakridge Elementary School After School Enrichment program and was a regular substitute for the Spanish for Educators program. Josie has been teaching Spanish for Arlington Adult Education since 1993.

Schaffner, Michael
Poet, novelist, and retired civil servant, Michael Schaffner has a life-long interest in the American civil war. To this subject, he brings insights from three decades as a federal manager and ten years experience as a re-enactor in many roles and ranks, both blue and gray. Publications include the novel War Boys , the collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, poems in Shenandoah , Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, Agni, Poetry Ireland, and articles in Columbia’s Torch, Camp Chase Gazette, and the Civil War Memory Blog. He lives in Arlington with his wife Dottie Jacobsen and several precocious pugs.

Schelble, John

John Schelble (pronounced “Shelby”) worked in the Congress for over three decades, fulfilling a childhood dream of public service.  He then went back to graduate school and earned his Virginia teaching license, fulfilling an adult dream of educating young people, helping them to develop their skills, grow into intelligent, responsible adults and take their rightful places in our country, and in the world.  For the past ten years, he has been doing just that, for middle and high school students in Fairfax and Arlington Counties.  He feels strongly that learning new skills and acquiring knowledge is fun, interesting and useful, and makes you feel good about yourself.  His interests include fishing, bee keeping, clock making, song writing, farming, guitar, construction, basketball coaching and writing.

Sibilla, Angelo Raffaello 

Angelo Raffaello Sibilla was born in the most beautiful country in the world, La Bella Italia ! He was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the Italian Army where he served for more than 35 years. Following retirement, transitioned to life as a language instructor and program manager. He also worked as a Lead Interpreter and Host Nation Liaison for the US Army in Europe and Down-range.In 2018, he moved to Arlington, VA, following his wife’s transfer to the Pentagon. Upon arrival in the DC area, he started to work as an Italian Language Instructor for several Arlington and DC language schools. He easily transitioned to virtual instruction following the onset of COVID and has shared his passion for the Italian language to hundreds of students all over the globe.Due to his wife’s promotion , he moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where the buffalo roamed and the “ Trail of Tears “ ended. This location is rich in history as it was an important military outpost during the expansion West and the conclusion of the Indian wars. The installation has seen and hosted many important historical figures including Geronimo, Quanah Parker, General George Custer and a host of other important figures in American history.Angelo attended the Italian Military Academy and holds an advanced university degree from the University of Torino and an American BA from UMUC. Married to Julia , from Detroit, he has three daughters, Lisa, an executive at an Italian furniture company, Sasha who just completed her time as a Surface Warfare officer with the US Navy and currently enrolled in a MBA program , and Kiki whos’ graduating from WFU and commissioning as reservist in the US Army.

Siddique, Sohana
Mrs. Siddique is deeply passionate about Art, which began with her Master in Fine Arts. She has been working 20+ years in Arlington County Public School, where she teaches art not only as her career but as a way of life. She is an active member of National Education Association and is certified in Art Education. She has been teaching sculpture and slab construction for the past three years in adult education. Working in studio settings is her ideal environment, as it helps students’ creativity flourish. With each year her passion grows and she continues sharing her vast knowledge and experience.

Siekkinen, Steve

With a belief that it’s never too late to begin exploring the art of making music, Steve’s classes are stimulating, fun, and can even be therapeutic. Born and raised in Hibbing, MN, he began playing guitar at the age of 10 and later graduated from Musicians Institute (GIT) in Hollywood, CA. With his project, questions in letters, Steve has performed on stages across the US and has officially released two collections of original material. He has been teaching for over 30 years and for Arlington Community Learning since 2015.

Song, Meiyu
Ms. Song’s interest in the Arts led her to earn a Master’s of Arts in Piano from the Queens Music School in New York. Later, in her career as an Asian Department liaison in New York, she found her true passion was interpretation and teaching. She exceeded expectations as a Chinese interpreter for foreign companies of Korea, Singapore, Macao and Taiwan. Ms. Song spent three years as a volunteer interpreter for Korean/English and Chinese/English in New York and five years teaching both Korean and Chinese at U.S. Tae-Kwon-Do College in Arlington, Virginia.

Sorano, Donato
Donato is an Opera singer, Recording artist, Opera teacher, Director of the Cantanti Singing Ensemble, and a TV producer of musical shows. His passion for singing Opera and Italian songs was sparked by his father, a native born Italian, who sang Italian Opera and Italian Folk Songs made famous by Enrico Caruso, the world famous Operatic Tenor. Throughout Donato’s life, singing has been an integral part of living and enjoying the “good life”. He is a frequent performer in the Washington/Baltimore area, singing with various opera companies and his Cantanti Singing Ensemble.
Teaching Opera Appreciation courses is an important part of his opera life. He enjoys sharing opera with students at the Arlington Public School Adult Program and at Montgomery College’s Lifelong Learning Institute. He teaches four courses: [1] Opera History, [2] Elements of Opera Performance and Opera Masterpieces, [3] Opera Masterpieces and [4] Opera Divas.

Stanley, Patricia
Patricia Stanley is a graduate of Temple University and is a resident of Arlington. She has over 23 years teaching experience, of which 18 has been with the Arlington Adult Education program. She has taught and served as Information Technology Department head at various propriety schools. She is dedicated to preparing, encouraging, and motivating students by keeping them up to date regarding the world of technology, as it relates to real life situations and in the workplace. She can type over 150 words per minute.

Stevens, Carol

carol stevensCarol Stevens has spent more than 30 years involved in all aspects writing and editing — both nonfiction and fiction works. She has worked as a reporter and editor for publications including USA Today, the Baltimore Sun, and Washingtonian magazine where she has written about subjects ranging from health care to presidential politics. She currently runs the communications division of a major trade association where she is involved in all phases of media relations from speech writing to media training. Carol graduated from Syracuse University with a major in communications and international relations.

Stewart, Renate

renate stewartRenate Stewart has provided coaching and transition services for more than two decades. Her favorite client is facing a decision — whether it be professional, academic, or personal — with all the associated actions. She wants her clients to find success using interests, values, and validated resources. She works with people from college students to executives and from parents returning to the full-time workforce to individuals planning a fulfilling retirement. She understands and embraces the power of volunteering, networking, and unique work/life recipes. She has an M.S., Counseling from Kansas State University and several certifications including: Certified Career Services Provider, Global Career Development Facilitator, and Professional Certified Coach. Her previous work has spanned the federal government, employment assistance programs, and corporate relocation programs for spouses. She accomplishes this through individual coaching, project management, and workshop facilitation.

Stoss, Robert
“Roberto” Stoss was born in a small Adriatic coastal town in central Italy. He moved to northern Virginia at the age of 6 weeks. Later, he lived in Naples, Italy for almost 5 years, beginning at the age of eight. He has taught Italian for Arlington Adult Education for 11 years.

Stuart, Gregory

Instructor BiosGregory Scott Stuart, a music professor at Frostburg State University, came to his love of foreign language learning through his exposure to languages as a singer. Fortunate to have had an intensive language study experience on a semester abroad in France, where he earned a prize for the most outstanding student in French at the Institute pour les universités américaines, he brings to the table a keen ear (he speaks French without an accent) and a thorough understanding of the rules of French diction. He delights in deepening daily his knowledge of the subtleties of French grammar, of idioms and of French slang. He has worked in francophone environments. He now also concurrently studies several other languages. As an educator he has trained to teach not only foreign languages, but also singing, theatre and yoga. He has broad artistic experience, encompassing professional engagements as a singer, actor, church musician and stage director. He has sung leading roles in operas locally and regionally and directed several operas and plays including Sadko for Bel Cantanti and the US premier of a French musical, Bigoudi (which he directed in French) at Atlas Performing Arts Center in DC. He was a soloist in world premieres of three oratorios by Paul Leavitt in Washington, Paris and at Lincoln Center, NYC and on CD. As an actor, he’s tread the boards in theatres up and down the East Coast and in the Midwest and performed in many musicals including a national tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Ithaca College, and an MFA in Classical Acting from The Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University.

Sullivan, Bill

Bill Sullivan has two passions, writing and the outdoors. He has self-published books on practical landscape design and the founding of the New York Mets baseball team. The latter is currently on sale at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. The book won the SABR (Society of American Baseball Research) award for the best writing/research on the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team.  When not writing, you will find him busy with his own residential landscape design/installation business he founded almost 30 years ago. He holds a graduate certificate in the field from the U.S.D.A. Graduate School in Washington, D.C. Bill has taught classes at the City of Alexandria Adult Education Program and for Northern Virginia Community College in the Workforce Development Program.  He joined the ACL staff in 2017.

Swanson, Jennifer

Jennifer Swanson – Jennifer grew up in Los Angeles, CA and studied at UC Diego, earning a BA in Sociology and Master’s certificate in elementary school education.  She lived in Japan for 7 years teaching and consulting, first with the JET program and then other Japanese companies.  Jennifer has a private tutoring business and teaches Japanese and ESOL to adults and children.  She is Vice President and Japanese Education chair of local non-profit SJA (Study Japanese in Arlington) and has been teaching Japanese at Arlington Community Learning for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys cultural events, traveling, gardening, and adventures with her Jack Russell Terrier, Suzu. よろしくお願いいたします。

Return to top


Tamburro, Claire

Tamburro Interiors, LLC is a full-service Interior Design firm specializing in the development of singular concepts for the Retail, Food Service, and Hospitality industries and Residential Interior Design. With more than 30 years of experience in the Interior Design, Retail, and Food Service industries, Ms.Tamburro brings a unique perspective to each project with both Front-of-House and Back-of-House experience having worked as a Hospitality and Residential Interior Designer, Director of Design, Educator, Store Manager, Showroom Assistant, Sales Associate, Server, and Hostess to better serve her clients.


Takamatsu, Maki
Maki Takamatsu was born and raised in Japan. She holds a master’s degree in Economics. For seven years, before moving to Arlington in 2013, she worked for a Human Resource company in Japan where she taught Japanese and business protocol to non-native speakers. Cultural exchange is her life’s work. She loves traveling within the US and abroad. Ms. Takamatsu started teaching Japanese for Arlington Community Learning in 2015.

Tierstein, Leslie

Leslie Tierstein has worked in computer technology for several multinational companies. Her duties have included technical translation; developing and delivering computer-based training to international audiences; and writing and editing books and articles on computer programming and methodologies. She has a BA degree in Comparative Literature and MAs in French and Linguistics.

Tordini, Claudia

Claudia Tordini, artist, executive coach and organizational consultant, brings together her background in business, art and creativity to provide coaching and consulting services on leadership and organizational development, team building, and creativity and innovation. She is particularly focused on including art as a powerful tool of communication and learning in non-traditional areas. Claudia’s research on art and learning won her the Faculty Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in the Organizational Dynamics Program at the University of Pennsylvania.Claudia holds a Master of Philosophy in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from The Wharton School and an Industrial Engineer from the University of Buenos Aires.

Return to top


Van Buren, Jennifer

J V Buren (1)Jennifer Van Buren is a native of Flint, Michigan, and holds a Master of Philosophy in Human and Social Services from Walden University.  She also obtained her Masters in Science of Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Administration from Central Michigan University. Jennifer is known as an advocate, caseworker, and teacher to many.  Ms. Van Buren is currently a Program Director for a non-profit organization that assists individuals with disabilities obtain and maintain employment while mitigating crises. Jennifer has over 10 years of experience providing counseling, and working with populations such as homeless, at-risk youth, and individuals living with disabilities.  She is energetic and goal-oriented with a well-documented professional background which consists of consulting, analyzing, and motivating others. Ms. Van Buren has been teaching for Arlington Public Schools Adult Education since 2017 and has a passion for instilling in individuals the importance of lifelong learning.  Ms. Van Buren has a strong foundation in the field of Career Services. Jennifer is a Certified Workforce Development Professional and is affiliated with National Association of Workforce Development Professionals, and The National Career Development Association.  Jennifer is currently working on her Certified Work Incentives Counseling Certification (CWIC) and currently serve on the Arlington/Alexandria Region Workforce Council. Jennifer enjoys volunteering with her sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Van Duyn, Katrina

Katrina Van Duyn spent her principal career years as an editor to support her work on Metro area stages. She learned French as a child living in Normandy, and earned B.A. degrees in French literature and theatre before continuing on to complete an M.A. in theatre. Over years of acting assignments, she managed to bring these interests together a handful of times, to play a Carmelite prioress, a French sailor-song-singing damsel, and a Québecois village elder. It’s always been a tug of war! Katrina now enjoys teaching and tutoring French to adults for their grownup purposes of travel and work and to children more interested in playing les jeux de Minecraft et Rocket League. Vive la différence !

Vassilkova, Larissa

L VasillkovaLarissa Vassilkova was born and grew up in Kazakhstan,  her family originated from the Central Russia region where they settled down almost two centuries ago.  Her family immigrated to the USA in 2000, she has lived in Virginia since. Larissa continued to share her knowledge of Russian language and culture with the students of Arlington community. She is a graduate of The Kazakh State University and has more than 25 years of teaching experience. Larissa was an instructor in the Technology college and taught a variety of subjects for Food Processing, Bakery and Brewery specialists. Larissa is dedicated to prepare, motivate and encourage students by getting them ready to work. with full level of responsibility in the real life situations and the workplace. Her life experience in the different countries, her hobby to travel around the world, and love of teaching give her exceptional tools to help students to learn more languages and cultures. Larissa has a belief that one of the ways to learn more about the culture of people from different countries is to work or cook together and get knowledge about food, traditions and terminology.

Return to top


Waters, Dagmar

Dagmar Waters started out as a Virginia high school teacher for German and French and went on to teach diplomats, serve as tester, arrange international meetings, and take on assignments as translator and interpreter. Having had experience with functional German, Mrs. Waters teaches beginning students how to survive with geographical and in-country knowledge, as well as communicating basic requests.

Weick, Yoshki

YoshikoMs. Yoshki Weick was born in South Korea, and later moved with her parents and sisters to Japan in 1971.She lived there for 34 years with husband and daughters. She is fluent in Korean and Japanese. In 2004 she accepted an invitation from the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC and began her residency as an Artist. She has taken part in numerous group shows in Japan, China, India, France and throughout the United States. She has exhibited individually in Tokyo, New York, Washington DC and Chicago. She has received a number of awards for her artwork. She is an author of numerous publications. She teaches oriental brush art (sumi) and Japanese & Korean languages.

Widhalm, Eva

Eva WidhalmEva Widhalm grew up in Germany and has been a flower lover ever since. She joined Arlington Public School’s Community Learning program as a floral design instructor in 2019 leading classes in basic floral design and special occasion flower arrangements. She is the owner of a small floral design studio in Arlington and enjoys sharing what she learned over the years on how to create appealing arrangements using both readily available flowers as well as some less known florals. Eva aims to instill confidence in the students that with the knowledge of flower selection and floral care, design elements and techniques they too can be designers. Eva has attended numerous design classes and is a member of the Washington National Cathedral Flower Guild. Believing that learning never ends she especially likes to listen and watch her students exhibit their talents.

Winchell, Dale
Dale Winchell is a full time automotive instructor at the Arlington Career Center. He holds an Associates Degree in Automotive Technology from Northern Virginia Community College. He is ASE Master Certified and also Advanced Engine Performance (L1) Certified. He has 28 years of experience in the automotive industry working at JKJ/Koons Chevrolet Chrysler as an Intern, Technician, and then Shop Foreman.


Return to top


Young, Cynthia

Cynthia YoungCynthia Young is thrilled to be the Director of The Arlington Community Chorus!  Motivated by a passionate belief in the power of collective singing to build community and create joy, Cynthia has founded and directed community choirs around the world, including in Burkina Faso, South Africa, Gabon, Turkey and Virginia.  Cynthia believes that choral singing is one of the most fun, healthy, and life-affirming activities there is for all ages, and she loves to bring people together to experience the beauty and joy of singing in community with others.  Cynthia is a private voice and piano teacher, and is the music director at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston.  She holds a master of arts degree in music from The American University and a bachelor of arts degree in music from Wake Forest University. Cynthia has two adult daughters and is married to David Young, a wonderful bass singer in the ACC!

Yang, Maria

maria youngMaria Yang is a knowledgeable and experienced Chinese language instructor, with more than 40 years of teaching experience in both college and government. She received her BA in English Language and Literature and her MA in Chinese Language and Literature and completed coursework in a Ph.D.Program in Applied Linguistics. The education she received has prepared her to be a qualified Language and Culture Instructor.She has taught beginning-, intermediate-, and advanced-level Chinese language courses at Georgetown University, George Mason University, the University of California at Davis, San Francisco State University and as a government contractor through Centra Technology Inc. She is currently teaching Mandarin Chinese language at Arlington Community Learning Program and Chinese literature at George Mason University.

Return to top


Zambrano, Robert
Dr. Zambrano for 38 years taught at Gallaudet University, the only college for the Deaf to award a Liberal Arts degree. Retired, he now provides interpreting services for Arlington County and churches in the area. He has introduced children and adults to the world of the Deaf and taught them to use American Sign Language to communicate in it.

Return to top