Continuing Education Instructors

Headshot of Leah Amyakar smilingLEAH AMYAKAR

Leah Amyakar, Ed.D. Teacher in elementary, secondary, and Adult Education programs, elementary principal, parent educator and district administrator in California schools. Instructor in teacher preparation programs for California State University Long Beach, La Verne College, and University of Phoenix. Mah Jong instructor in community centers and community colleges. Volunteer interpreter at Fort Nisqually, Community emergency preparedness coordinator, Trainer for women’s shelter workers, PJ Library Coordinator, and Alzheimer’s Association volunteer. Avid mystery reader and traveler.

man in plaid shirt against yellow backgroundLUKAS BARFIELD

Lukas has been teaching for TCC Continuing Education since 2018. He has taught Radio & Podcast classes, Cannabis Certificate classes and must recently Microsoft Word. He holds a Master’s Degree in Education and has experience teaching Math, Science and Technology. He brings his passion for technology and love for teaching to the Microsoft for Seniors class. Lukas believes continuing education an important part of life-long learning. He has taught middle school, parochial school, and in college settings. He brings his passion for teaching to Tacoma Community College.



Photo of instructor Monica Baird.MONICA BAIRD

Monica was born and raised in Cluj (Transylvania-Romania) with a passion for languages. Highlights of Monica’s career include working with Doctors Without Borders in Cluj (Romania) and teaching Spanish at two private schools in Lynnwood, WA; Soundview School and Brighton School. Currently Monica is teaching Spanish at Edmonds College.

Margaret with cameraMARGARET DOTY

I am a full time visual artist and art instructor living in Lakewood, Washington. I received my BFA with focus on printmaking. I work primarily from my home studio. For the past few years, I have been creating art in various mediums including painting, textiles, mixed media and collage. Dreamlife, encounters with nature, animals and everyday life influence the imagery and symbolism in my work. The people and cultures from extensive globetrotting and the areas surrounding me in the Pacific Northwest, ignite my creativity and stimulate my imagination.



Photo of instructor Josie Emmons Turner sitting in a patio chair with statement-red glasses frames and a big smile.JOSIE EMMONS TURNER

Josie Emmons Turner’s poems are most recently published in The Madrona Project IV: The Empty Bowl Cookbook, The Madrona Project V: Art in a Public Voice, and Now That You Are Gone from This World (Poet’s Choice). She has taught poetry workshops to youth and adults and is a contributor to West Sound Magazine. She lives on a beautiful estuary feeding into Gig Harbor with her show dog, Gabbie, gardens, practices French cooking, and is a former Tacoma Poet Laureate (2011-2013).



Amon Greene smiling, crouched down on steps leading to water with sunglasses and a backpack on. AMON GREENE

Amon Greene has been teaching Tai chi chuan for almost 25 years and practicing for over 30. Tai chi was instrumental in his 25-year career in massage. Amon has been a competitor and instructor in the martial arts since the age of 5. In 2010 he traveled to Shanghai to witness one of the first public performances of Tai chi by the Wu Dan monks. His lifelong passion for Tai chi has many inspirations but none greater than the teachings of master Chungliang Al Huang, through his Living Tao Seminars. Currently he is working as an adjunct faculty at TCC and has collaborated on translations of the Dao De Jing, Confucius’ Analects and Sun Tzu’s Art of War. It would be his honor if you’d join him in playing with the art of Tai chi chuan.

Portrait of Leslie HallLESLIE HALL

Leslie J. Hall the author of the Kaitlyn Willis Road Signs mysteries, a humorous, PG-rated, amateur sleuth series starring a NW code enforcement officer. She also writes women’s fiction and in training to become a book coach. Leslie loves to speak, teach, and share her passion for writing with others. When not writing, Leslie volunteers for writer-related events, leads Write Night (a weekly virtual facilitated critique group), teaches beginning writing at community colleges in continuing ed, laughs as much as possible, and when not doing all of that, hangs out at the beach whenever possible. She lives in Bremerton, WA with her husband and her pandemic rescue cat, Mia. Learn more about Leslie’s writing and her classes at


Kit Kapphahn's head shot, she is smiling big and bright with bright happy eyes. KIT KAPPHAHN

Kit Kapphahn is a medievalist specializing in the literature and culture of medieval Britain, especially Wales, and its neighbors. She holds a PhD in Celtic Studies from Aberystwyth University. Her research focuses on the reflection of life in literature - how the past may be a foreign country, but it's one we can visit and understand. Having taught in England, Wales and the US, Kit is an active member of the British branch of the International Arthurian Society, the Celtic Studies Association of North America, and the North America Wales Foundation.




Photo of Tom Kuehne standing in front of a Japanese Maple at the Gig Harbor Campus entrance.TOM KUEHNE

An experienced gardener and landscaper with a passion for sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices. With 45 years of gardening experience in various climates and soil conditions, Tom has developed a deep understanding of plants and their needs. Tom began his journey in 1990 as founder of Friends of Moab, Utah, an organization dedicated to educating the public about the use of native and drought-tolerant plants in landscaping. To further promote this cause, Tom wrote a guide booklet to help people incorporate these plants into their landscapes. Serving as a Master Gardener through the University of Utah Extension Service, Tom went on to teach Master Gardener classes. Sharing his knowledge and empowering others to develop their gardening skills has always been a priority for him. He’s owned and operated landscaping businesses, was a member of Thurston County Seed Savers, and now, Tom operates his own landscaping business in Bremerton and Port Orchard, Washington. This venture allowed him to continue providing professional services while adapting to the specific climate and soil conditions of the region. Throughout his career, Tom’s accumulated extensive knowledge and expertise in gardening, landscaping, and promoting sustainable practices. “I remain dedicated to sharing my knowledge, empowering others, and creating beautiful, environmentally-friendly landscapes.”

Instructor photo of Meghan Lancaster. MEGHAN LANCASTER

Meghan is a textile artist and sculptor living and working in Tacoma. She holds a BFA in Photography & Filmmaking and an MFA in Textile Arts & Costume Design, and her studies include book binding, paper-making, printmaking, and photography. She has taught design, photography and art history at community colleges in Arizona and Washington, and photography and textile arts in community centers in California and Washington. Her other interests include astronomy, history, poetry, music, mythology and tai chi (which she taught privately for nearly a decade). She likes to hang out in maker spaces trading information and ideas. Her only “hobby” is self-designed, mostly handmade cosplay, for which she has won recognition at a few fantasy and science fiction competitions.


Rebecca Lexa M.A., OMN, is a lifelong nature nerd who has always enjoyed sharing her love of the natural world with others. She has a Master's Degree in counseling psychology with a certificate in ecopsychology, and is also a certified Oregon Master Naturalist. She has been teaching in varying venues for almost twenty years, and is an experienced public speaker. Rebecca teaches her online courses from her art studio on the southwest Washington coast, where she lives on a farm with twenty chickens, a flock of sheep, innumerable ducks, and the best dog in the world.

Photo of instructor Beth Owen mid watercolor session with a big smile on her face.BETH OWEN

Beth Owen is an artist best known for her colorful, light-filled, realistic watercolors. She especially enjoys the joys and challenge of painting with transparent watercolor. Many of Beth’s original watercolors are owned by individual collectors and she has received recognition for her work at several watercolor exhibitions. A signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society, she enjoys sharing watercolor techniques with anyone else interested in learning this medium. She is mostly self-taught, though over the years she was able to fit in a couple of art classes at local community colleges. Her main inspiration and instruction came from studying the works of other watercolor artists.

Headshot of Jenn ParrettaJenn Parretta

Jenn Parretta, LMFTA, ABS, ATR-P is a dedicated advocate for curiosity and lifelong learning. With a Master's Degree in Relationship Art Therapy from Antioch University Seattle and certifications in sex therapy, trauma therapies, and nature-based therapy, Jenn brings a wealth of unique expertise to her classes. With nearly a decade of professional experience in art creation, she has cultivated a deep passion for nature-based art, oil painting, and mixed media arts. When she's not at her therapy clinic, Jenn can be found teaching art and leading nature art walks around the Tacoma area.


Born and raised in Milan, Italy, Barbara is a dedicated teacher and musician that recently moved to Seattle. Her grandmother was a piano teacher, and she grew up been surrounded by music and musicians. She attended the Conservatory of Milan graduating in Music Theory and Complementary Piano. Deeply passionate about places and cultures, and about how humans and territory interrelate, Barbara spent many years traveling and learning about humanities, social studies, cultural studies, music as a mean of communication and expression. In her spare time, she reads a lot of books, watches a lot of documentaries and hikes in the wonderful nature of the PNW. As a musician, she has performed and recorded with several artists both in Europe and the US. She works as a professional teacher and musician, mostly teaching music, Italian language, Italian history and culture. In addition to teaching, Barbara is currently completing a BA in Human Sciences of the Environment and Territory.

Headshot of Judith PerryJUDITH PERRY

Judith's passion for art began in college with oil painting at PLU. After graduate school and a job promotion to Chicago, Judith spent four years every week-end attending the School of the Art Institute to receive certification in drawing; Being surrounded by art and artists was embedded in my spirit, where it remains. This demands on going study, development and work. I love sharing this joy with others.




Photo of instructor Ken Pimpleton with a big smile on his face. KEN PIMPLETON

I began my teaching career at Highline Community College in the Fall of 2006 prior to completing my Master's of Social Work degree and the Certificate of Public Administration at Eastern Washington University. In October of 2007, I resigned from full-time employment at Lakeside, but still work there as a consultant on a per-diem basis. I went on to accept a position as Program Mamager/Evaluator at Community Counseling Institute in Tacoma. Now I teach in Human Services and Chemical Dependency full time at Tacoma Community College and part time at Highline College. I am the Chair of the DOH SUD Advisory Committee, the Treasurer for WACASE, the Secretary for the TCC Teacher's Union, and the Treasurer for the State Teacher Union and I am a consultant for several SUD Agencies.


For over two decades, Mark Richards has been sharing his love of music with aspiring guitarists in the Gig Harbor area. As an experienced instructor, he has helped countless students discover their musical talents and master the art of playing the guitar. Beyond teaching, Richards is also an accomplished musician in his own right, having served as the lead guitarist for The Shy Boys, Gig Harbor's number one cover band, for 17 years. His passion for music is infectious, and his dedication to his students and craft is truly inspiring. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player looking to take your skills to the next level, Mark Richards is the perfect guide to help you achieve your musical goals.


Instructor photo of Barbara Smith.BARBARA SMITH

After retiring from a career in Occupational Therapy, Barbara Smith delved into the world of felting. Wet felting is the ancient art of turning raw wool into clothing, rugs, vessels, shawls, jewelry, and yurts! The possibilities are endless. Barbara studied the art and craft of felting in Hungary, Scotland, and in the US with instructors from the PNW, Canada, Japan, and Russia. During the pandemic, Barbara took a series of online classes from the International Felting School that resulted in an installation that included felted fish and birds. Felting is a magical process using water, soap, and manipulation to produce amazing creations. I have taught felting classes in Arizona, Hawaii and here at home in the PNW. It is my joy to share the experience of making functional items out of raw wool.

Headshot of David TurnipseedDAVID TURNIPSEED

David Turnipseed is a member of the Puyallup Tribal and has been a Language Teacher for the Puyallup Tribal Language Program since 2018. Their mission is to revitalize the txʷəlšucid language. David has a Master’s in Education and has taught all ages in a variety of settings. He follows the values of ƛ’ububƛ’ub, kʷaxʷalikʷ, ʔabalikʷ -- be kind, be helpful, be sharing. In his free time, David likes to go on adventures with his wife and kids, play D&D, and take kickboxing lessons.