Director of Credit-Free Programs
Carleigh Schultz has a master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership, a bachelor’s of arts degree in theatre and a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. She is a CT certified teacher for elementary education (grades K-6) and theater arts (grades K-12). Previously, she worked as the Coordinator of Youth Programs at Manchester Community College before being promoted to Director of Credit-Free Programs.
Coordinator of Youth Programs
Linda Armstrong has been the program assistant for Excursion in Learning Youth programs for the past 15 summers! In addition to spending her summers at Excursions, she has worked as a University Assistant at ECSU’s J. Eugene Smith Library and a Library Assistant for Bolton High School for the past ten years. Linda has a BA in Child Psychology.
Nurse, for the July youth programs
Nurse Delores is a Registered Nurse and serves as our program nurse during the month of July. She is recently retired and has over 40 years of experience as a school nurse. During our July programs she can be found in the nurse’s office: GPA GP109. Contact info: ExcursionsNurse@manchestercc.edu
Sasha Walencewicz, RN
Nurse, Summer Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth Program
Nurse Sasha is a Registered Nurse and serves as our program nurse during the month of August. During the school year, she works as a school nurse. During our summer academy, she can be found in the nurse’s office: GPA GP109. Contact info: ExcursionsNurse@manchestercc.edu
Meet Our Exceptional Faculty
Below are some of the instructors who have taught for us in the past three years:
El Antunes is a technology education teacher at Bolton High School where he teaches many topics of study including: construction, CAD, video production and desktop publishing. Mr. Antunes earned his bachelor’s degree in technology and engineering education (K-12) from Central Connecticut State University.
Ed Argenta is currently a teacher consultant with the Connecticut Geographic Alliance and a Nautilus educator with the Sea Research Foundation. He is a retired public school teacher, having taught science at Vernon Center Middle School for many years before becoming the head of the Science department at Rockville High School where he taught marine science, environmental science and biology.
Lisa Argenta is currently an art educator at Bolton High School where she teaches many courses in the visual arts. She is Connecticut-certified for grades K-12 and has over ten years of teaching experience.
Jennifer DeRagon is a K-12 Literacy Specialist in Coventry Public Schools. Previously, she was a high school reading consultant and taught 4th and 5th grades. She holds a master’s degree in special education from St. Joseph’s College, a sixth-year degree in curriculum and instruction, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Ms. DeRagon loves working with children of all ages and motivating students to become invested in learning by helping them engage in higher level, real-world problem discussions.
Thomas Ebersold earned a sixth-year degree in gifted and talented education from UConn. He has eight years of experience as a Talented and Gifted (TAG) instructor. He incorporates problem-solving strategies into his teaching. A former editor and reporter in Trumbull, he still does occasional freelance journalism.
Sharon FitzHenry is a professional actor, artistic director and certified teacher with more than 20 years of experience. A member of the Actors’ Equity Association and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, she has directed dozens of productions with artists of all ages.
Scott Goldsmith is a school psychologist in the Manchester Public Schools. He is also the co-coordinator of the Manchester Ropes Challenge Course. Scott has facilitated adventure and team building programs at local, state and national conferences and workshops. His first book about promoting emotional intelligence through experiential groups is now available.
Jim Griffin worked in the insurance industry for many years before earning his master’s degree in education and beginning a second career as a teacher. He taught in the gifted and talented program at Lebanon Elementary School where he was named District Teacher of the Year. He teaches grades 2-5 in the gifted program at Somers Elementary School.
Jennifer Gutterman is a full-time faculty instructor teaching at Manchester Community College in the Computer Game Design and Graphic Design department. Jennifer holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Effects from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA. Jennifer also is a partner in a mobile game start-up that is developing its first mobile 3D game. Jennifer works as a freelance designer and illustrator, specializing in digital illustration and 3D illustration and design.
Susan Harrington is a popular enrichment teacher in the area, who specializes in science and natural history enrichment classes. She hasbachelor of arts and master’s degrees in biology and has completed graduate course work in education. Mrs. Harrington enjoys inspiring students to explore science in unique ways.
Richard Hoyer is a fine art, portrait and location photographer, with more than 20 years of fun in the business. He is an adjunct faculty member at Manchester Community College and also teaches photography at the Worcester Art Museum for youth and adults. His work is exhibited regularly at galleries around the state.
Michael Kakalow has a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s degree in sports management. He’s taught physical education and health in the Manchester Public Schools for 15 years. In addition to teaching, Michael enjoys coaching middle school and high school sports and has been a ropes facilitator for over ten years.
Rachael LaPorte (Chef Rachael) is an award-winning chef, recognized by the International Caterers Association. She is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University with a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and a graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a master’s degree in education and curriculum development. She has traveled across the country working as a chef in dozens of restaurants, mastering various styles of cooking. Chef Rachael has a passion for inspiring the next generation of chefs to create fresh, “from scratch” dishes. Currently, she is the Executive Chef at A Thyme to Cook catering service.
Linda Marchisio is a professional storyteller, published author and educator for the talented and gifted. She has taught in West Hartford’s gifted program, “QuEST”, and the advanced math placement program, “Math QuEST”. She now works as a Library Media Specialist.
Joshua Ogrodowski (Chef Josh) is currently a Connecticut-certified culinary arts teacher/Serv Safe instructor and teaches students in grades 9-12 at Enfield High School. He earned an associate of science degree in culinary arts, a bachelor of science degree in culinary nutrition and a master of arts in teaching degree in food service education from Johnson & Wales University. During his time at Johnson & Wales, he worked as a teaching assistant and fellow in procurement and events. Prior to becoming a teacher, he worked for 12 years in various food service establishments, from restaurants to country clubs, working up to a supervisory position.
Claudine Polochanin earned a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in education. She returns each summer to co-teach “Build Your Designs… Test Your Creations” with her colleague Jodi Clare. Claudine was nominated for the Disney Teacher of the Year Award, and is currently a teacher in the Manchester Public Schools.
Tony Susi recently retired from teaching music. He has been a music teacher in Connecticut schools at the middle, high school and college level since 1985. Mr. Susi has served as a conductor for honors band festivals sponsored by the Rhode Island Music Educators Association, the Connecticut Music Educators Association, Future Musicians, Inc., the American School Band Directors Association , the Quinebaug Valley Music Festival and the Charter Oak Music Festival. Mr. Susi has presented numerous state conference workshops, contributed articles for publication and served as chairman and host for various music festivals. He has also been invited to adjudicate both jazz and concert band festivals in Connecticut. Mr. Susi’s concert band composition, “The Last Rose of Summer”, was recently published by Grand Mesa Music Publications.
Janine Turgeon holds a master’s degree in ceramics. She has taught ceramics to children of all ages at the Farmington Valley Arts Center and in the after-school program in Marlborough, CT. She is currently a public school art teacher. A professional ceramics artist, she has exhibited in several arts centers around the state.
Jesse Wilkinson earned a bachelor’s degree in technology education and is currently completing his master’s degree. He is a middle school technology teacher in South Windsor. An avid model builder since first grade, he continues his interest in technology as an advisor to both the FIRST Robotics Team and the FIRST Lego® League. Mr. Wilkinson won Teacher of the Year for South Windsor Public Schools in 2015.