Continuing Education Instructors

photo of Leah AmyakarLEAH AMYAKAR, Special Interest

Leah holds an Ed.D. from Nova Southeastern University.  She served as a teacher and administrator in California schools, community colleges, and universities for 38 years.  Her experience encompasses parent education, staff development, grant writing, lobbying, supervision of student teachers, and training art educators through the Getty Museum. Leah has volunteered as a guardian ad litem for children in foster care, supported the Days4Girls Project, and is currently a docent at Fort Nisqually in Point Defiance Park. She is an avid reader and has enjoyed playing and teaching Mah Jongg for the last 16 years.  She continues to teach and coach American Mah Jongg in Tacoma and the surrounding areas.

SUSAN ALEXANDER, Arts and Creativity

Ever since her first trip to Portugal, where she was captivated by the intricate pebble sidewalks and classic buildings clad in decorative blue and white azulejos (tiles), Susan Alexander has been in love with mosaic art – its movement and texture, its multi-cultural significance, its timelessness, and the endless possibilities inherent in the enduring art form. A native of upstate New York, Susan retired in 2012 from a 30-year career in non-profit resource development and now happily shares her creative spirit with private and continuing education students throughout the Puget Sound area. In her Olympia workshop and through her business, SALVAGGIO!, she creates custom mosaic jewelry and art for homes, gifts, gardens and businesses using salvaged materials, useful household items, vintage furnishings, and old architectural embellishments.

photo of Nancy BartlettNANCY BARTLETT, Special Interest

Nancy Bartlett has been part of the bridge world for over 30 years. She began playing social bridge when her children were young, and over time supplemented her social bridge with competitive duplicate bridge. Nancy obtained the level of Bronze Life Master with the American Contract Bridge League, learning from other Life Masters. She is now passing her knowledge on to other bridge players and find many of her students active in both social and duplicate bridge groups around Gig Harbor. Nancy grew up in Colorado and has lived in Washington with her husband, Albert, for the past twelve years.

photo of Judy BuskirkJUDY BUSKIRK, Arts and Creativity

Judy Buskirk has always lived near the waters of Puget Sound in Washington State, so it is not surprising that the sea and the natural world are her primary sources of inspiration.

Buskirk earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Washington, Seattle, and taught in the Edmonds and Peninsula School Districts. It was when her own children were in middle school that she decided it was time to fulfill her artistic vision and study art at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle, then, an art foundation school.
She has since illustrated children's books, filled sketchbooks with ink line designs, and has painted in watercolor, acrylic and mixed media. She now expresses her personal imagery through the use of the luminous, brilliant colors of alcohol inks. She says, "It's a "wild ride," because of their nearly uncontrollable nature. Her classes provide a safe place to explore and "to see what would happen if….."

Her belief: "Art encompasses more than the visual. Exposure to music, performance, dance, architecture and literature, as well as the visual, enriches life, aids in early childhood learning, and satisfies a deep need in the viewer."

photo of Theresa CosgroveTHERESA COSGROVE, Harbor Institute

Theresa Cosgrove has worked as a management analyst for the Federal government for over 25 years and is very knowledgeable about data gathering and evaluative methods.  She has applied this direct experience of fact-finding and investigative techniques to her hobby of genealogy.  She has a BA degree from the University of Wisconsin and was awarded a year-long Graduate Fellowship in France.  In addition, Mrs. Cosgrove is a dual-citizen of Luxembourg and has worked in Europe for over 14 years.  A former board member of the Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society, she is presently a member of three genealogical groups in the South Sound, including being a board member of the Tacoma Pierce County Genealogy Society.  She is also an Honorary Archivist for the Washington State Archives.  She has been a freelance French translator and interpreter for over 10 years.  She has been a member of the Seattle Chapter of the Alliance Française and taught French language classes at various schools and community colleges.  She presently is a member of the French American Business Group-Pacific NW, Conversations Francophiles á Tacoma, Le Club Français-Tacoma and a French conversation group in Gig Harbor, WA. Her other interests include horses and art.

image of Daniel DaughertyDANIEL DAUGHERTY, Professional Development

Daniel Daugherty owns and operates Forklift Operator Certification Services, a leading forklift safety training company established in 2002, with locations in California, Oregon and Washington. Mr. Daugherty has been an instructor of forklift safety training at local colleges since 2004, and currently holds classes at Bates Technical College, Tacoma Community College and Olympic College Bremerton. He is also the author and copyright holder of three forklift safety training manuals.

photo of Leslie DavenportLESLIE DAVENPORT, Health/Fitness/Wellness

Psychotherapist, author, speaker, teacher and consultant, Leslie Davenport, MS, LMFT is one of the early pioneers of raising awareness about the power of mind/body practices for healing. A founding member of the Institute for Health & Healing in San Francisco, one of the largest hospital-based integrative medicine programs in the country, she devoted 25 years to developing programs that integrate the best of scientific advancements with psychological and perennial wisdom practices. She continues to train professionals as faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Master’s Program in Integrative Health. She is the author of three books including Healing and Transformation through Self Guided Imagery. She also applies her experiences with healing models to sustainability themes as a consultant in Climate Psychology.

Whether seeking resources to support health and healing, reduce stress, or build greater strength and flexibility for life’s personal and global challenges, she teaches a range of mind-body tools with warmth and enthusiasm in a style that is enjoyable and accessible to everyone.

photo of Wanda DeGolierWANDA DEGOLIER, Health/Fitness/Wellness

I have worn a lot of hats in my life, but Zumba, by far is the most fun! It creates friendships, and unlike other types of fitness classes, it's great for helping memory and cognitive function. I have a BS degree in Business Administration, as well as 17 fitness certifications including ACE Group Fitness, ACE Personal Trainer, SAIL, and a host of Zumba licenses. I maintain a website with my choreography at www.creativezumba.com

DL FOWLER, Writing photo of DL Fowler

Award winning author DL Fowler created and teaches Psychology of Stories, a course for aspiring and published authors offered by Tacoma Community College’s Harbor Institute. He also hosts an online community of writers’ focused on exploiting the power of psychology in storytelling and leads discussions on writing craft for Kitsap Writers Forum.

Also known as the Lincoln Guy, he authored Lincoln Raw, a biographical novel, which is curated in the Lincoln Collection of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. His other works include suspense novels, Ripples and Lincoln’s Diary, and a book on writing craft, Transform Your Fiction.

photo of Kit KapphahnKIT KAPPHAHN, Personal Growth

Kit Kapphahn holds a PhD in Celtic Studies from Aberystwyth University in Wales, UK. Her academic specialty is medieval Welsh literature, and she also has experience in broadcasting, from radio to voice acting. She worked as an announcer for Northwest Public Radio and studied Communication at Washington State University.

She has taught medieval literature and public speaking in Wales and England before returning to Gig Harbor where she grew up, and especially enjoys helping students of all ages find their own voice. In her free time, she enjoys writing, photography and traveling.

photo of Margarita KnowltonMARGARITA KNOWLTON, Special Interest

Margarita Knowlton, RVT, KPACTP, is a professional dog trainer and a registered veterinary technician. She has over 17 years of experience working in the animal field as a veterinary technician, animal shelter worker and a dog trainer. She obtained her accreditation as a dog trainer from Karen Pryor Academy for Training and Behavior and constantly continues to further her education in animal training and behavior by attending workshops, seminars and online classes. She has taught a variety of dog training classes at animal shelters, private facilities and at her own business; and has helped hundreds of dogs become calm, well adjusted and happy members of the family.

photo of Patrick Lowinger

PATRICK LOWINGER, Special Interest

Patrick Lowinger is a historian and freelance writer. Patrick possesses an M.A. in ancient history from AMU and a B.S. in microbiology from CSULB. In addition to teaching, Patrick is currently pursuing an additional postgraduate degree in archaeology from the University of Leicester.

Pat’s interest and area of focus are on the people and societies of the ancient Mediterranean – from the Late Bronze Age through Early Medieval periods. As an active member of the Association of Ancient Historians, Pat remains academically engaged – having just spent the summer in Romania doing archaeological field work.  

photo of Betty LilienthalBETTY LILIENTHAL, Special Interest

Betty has over 20 years of General Management with emphasis on Sales/Marketing, Operations and Human Resources in HR service industries. She was employed by large national, and small independent firms as branch manager, territory manager, Vice President and President in the Chicago area, Fresno, Sacramento and San Francisco.  

She transitioned from private industry to government when she was offered a position with the State of California where, among a myriad of other duties, she directed and managed an employer based volunteer organization of 500 members. In that position Betty was accountable for the working functions of the Board and was responsible for event planning activities and presided over and directed all Board and Committee meetings. Throughout her career she served on numerous Civic and professional volunteer Boards in all executive capacities.

She and her husband retired from San Francisco to Gig Harbor in 2003. She started volunteering at the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center in 2008.

From 2009, when the Boys & Girls Club and the Senior Club opened, to present she has been a volunteer instructor teaching computer skills to Seniors (people over 55). She has discovered the joy of sharing knowledge and of helping others to learn.

Betty and her husband, Jay, love the experience of traveling and learning…cruising is a special favorite.

photo of Reid OzakiREID OZAKI, Arts and Creativity

 “...Ozaki has become one of the area's most respected potters.”  ~Matthew Kangas; Ceramics Monthly, November 2009

“My ceramic vessels are informed by my interest in and love for the natural world and an interest in the aesthetics of the Japanese Tea ceremony.  My work endeavors to synthesize these ideas with Western techniques and materials.”

Over the years, my interest in the traditional Japanese arts has grown.  At first my interest, probably going back to my grandfather’s influence, was in gardens.  This quite easily transitioned to an interest in  Ikebana (flower arranging), and then to Chanoyu (tea ceremony) and its influence on pottery.  As I’ve learned more about the Tea ceremony, I have realized how central that  aesthetic is to Japanese art.  While my work has changed several times during my career, this aesthetic is the underlying foundation to it all.

photo of Guido PreparataGUIDO PREPARATA, Special Interest

EDUCATION: Born in Boston, Massachusetts, October 25th, 1968, I was raised in the United States, France, and Italy. I have obtained a B.S. in economics at the Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali (LUISS, Rome, Italy), a Master’s degree in Economics and a PhD in Political Economy at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, USA), and an Mphil in Criminology at the University of Cambridge (UK). Further graduate and undergraduate coursework in financial history, applied mathematics, economic theory, and international economics was completed at Stanford University, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and the London School of Economics (LSE).

CAREER: I first worked as a research associate at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI, Palo Alto, USA); I subsequently joined the research division of the department of Supervision & Regulation at the Bank of Italy, Italy’s central bank; and from 2000 to 2008 I taught political economy at the University of Washington. In 2005, as a Visiting Professor of Economics and Fulbright Scholar at the University of Jordan, in Amman, I have conducted research on Political Islam, Terrorism, and Islamic Economics. In 2012, I joined the Pontifical Gregorian University, in Rome, as a Senior Lecturer of Social Sciences, and before coming to the Gregorian, I served as a Lecturer at Kwantlen Polytechic University in Vancouver, Canada, where I taught the sociology and psychology of criminal behavior.

I now live in Taiwan with my wife Suzanne and my two daughters Bianca and Carmen.

AVOCATION: I spend my extra time playing guitar, appreciating pretty things, and dreaming to find (or create) an international network of compassionate pacifists interested in social justice and monetary reform.

photo of regina sadonoREGINA SADONO, Special Interest

Regina Sadono earned an MFA in screenwriting at UCLA, an MFA in dance at CalArts, and a doctorate in theater, also from UCLA. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on the mythical underpinnings of ballet training. Her research on performance art and narrative studies has appeared in a variety of journals including Glow International, Art and Academe, Parole Gelées, TPQ Text and Performance Quarterly, and The Newsletter of CalArts CAP. She earned the Eisner Prize for Creative Achievement in choreography at UC Berkeley and the Samuel Goldwyn Creative Writing Award in screenwriting at UCLA. Dr. Sadono has taught dance, film, creative writing, grant writing, theater arts, and media studies across the United States at University of Wisconsin, University of Central Florida, University of Phoenix, UCLA, California Institute of the Arts, College of the Canyons, Monterey Peninsula College, and Cal State Universities at Northridge and Los Angeles. She has presented her work on story structure at the 2017 and 2018 Write in the Harbor conferences, and has been teaching professional and creative writing classes through Continuing Education for the past two years. Dr. Sadono works as a fundraiser in the nonprofit sector and is currently Manager of Strategy and Support with the Gig Harbor Film Festival.

photo of Jeff SaxonJEFF SAXON, Arts and Creativity

Jeff is currently teaching ukulele at Tacoma Community College, Pierce College, and South Puget Sound Community College (where he also teaches acoustic guitar) and also conducts music workshops at public libraries.  Prior to relocating to Washington state in 2018, Jeff taught songwriting and music business classes at many colleges and universities and music schools in California and New Jersey.

Jeff also offers private and online music lessons via Skype, etc.

Jeff has released 5 recordings of his original music, all available at iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon, Apple Music, etc. and is an award-winning singer-songwriter, winning 3 best music video awards from film festivals and many more from various international songwriting and music competitions.  Jeff's music has been (and continues to be) heard in film, TV, plays, video games and other applications. 

His latest 2018 album, The Ukulele Project,  has quickly drawn critical praise, with Uke Planet describing it as "simply magnificent... nothing but praise for Jeff’s album and indeed talents." 

For more info, please visit jeffsaxonmusic.com