Faculty and Staff

Carleigh Cappetta Schultz
Coordinator of Youth Programs

Carleigh C. Schultz is a CT certified teacher for elementary education (grades K-6) and theater arts (grades K-12).  She has worked at Hartford Stage as their Education Associate for Community Based Programs and has experience teaching a wide variety of disciplines to students in grades pre-K to 8.

Linda Armstrong
Summer Program Assistant

Linda Armstrong is a mother of two enthusiastic Excursions in Learning Teaching Assistants.  Mrs. Armstrong has worked for Excursions in Learning for over 10 years.  She is also a University Assistant at Eastern Connecticut State University’s J. Eugene Smith Library and a Library Assistant for Bolton High School.

Susan Vousden, RN

Nurse for the Summer Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth Program

Mrs. Vousden is a Registered Nurse and serves as our program nurse during the month of August. During the school year, she works at Great Path Academy High School on the MCC campus. Her office is room GPA GP109 and her phone number is 860-512-3717.   Students may call her “Nurse Susie”.


Meet Our Exceptional Faculty

Below are 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 10 years of teaching experience.

Laura Becker is currently a teacher for the Manchester Public Schools. She has a bachelor of science in human development and family studies from the University of Connecticut and a master of science in elementary education from the University of New Haven. She has experience teaching grades K-8.

Chris Buonacquisto is currently a technology education teacher at the Odyssey Community School where he specializes in media and television production.  He is Connecticut certified in technology education for grades K-12 and has over 12 years of teaching experience.

Jodi Clare earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in early childhood education at Central Connecticut State University. Each summer, she returns to MCC to co-teach “Build Your Designs…Test Your Creations” with her colleague, Claudine Polochanin. Jodi is a kindergarten teacher in Manchester.

Samantha Cyr is currently a teacher of the deaf and hard-of-hearing for Bloomfield Public Schools.  She has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a master’s degree in deaf education and aural habilitation from the University of Hartford.  She is a K-6 Connecticut certified teacher and has also worked as a substitute teacher in grades K-5 for many schools in the area.

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 Actor’s Equity Association and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, she has directed dozens of productions with artists of all ages.

Winthrop Ford  has been a consultant, team leader and guest speaker in public school enrichment programs for over 30 years.  His passion for science and engaging teaching style, have captivated young and old audiences alike.  An avid collector and global explorer, he has two insect species named after him.

Jillian Frederick is a graduate of Westfield State College and the University of Bridgeport earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in elementary education. Ms. Frederick brings an enthusiastic and creative attitude to her teaching. She loves to teach children to learn through hands-on activities and experiments. Ms. Frederick is currently an elementary school teacher in Southington.

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 in education and beginning a second career as a teacher. He taught in the gifted and talented program at Lebanon Elementary School where he won an award as the 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 Game Design, Multimedia and Graphic Arts department. Jennifer holds a Master of Fine Arts in Visual FX: Specializing in 3D Modeling & Concept Development 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 has a bachelor’s of arts and a master’s degree 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 10 years.

Rachael LaPorte (Chef Rachael) is a 2014 CATIE award-wining chef. She is a graduate of Johnson and 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.

Susan Larson has been teaching physical education and health for 23 years and is currently teaching at Highland Park Elementary School in Manchester. Mrs. Larson spends her summers at the Manchester Ropes Course working with students of all ages on cooperative games and initiatives, and low and high climbing elements. She has a master’s degree in fitness management and exercise science from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in physical education from Central Connecticut State University.

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 foodservice education from Johnson and Wales University. During his time at Johnson and 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 foodservice 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 (CMEA), Future Musicians, Inc. (FMI), the American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA), the Quinebaug Valley Music Festival and the Charter Oak Music Festival (COMF). Mr. Susi has presented numerous state conference workshops, contributed articles for publication and served as chairman and host for CMEA, ASBDA and COMF 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.

Cate Christen Waung is an accomplished free-lance artist specializing in pastel drawing and oil, watercolor and acrylic painting. She has a bachelor of arts in history and has taken extensive art course work at Montesser College of Art, Memphis College of Art, and Shanghai Oil Painting Institute.  She has over 10 years of experience teaching art courses to youth in the Hartford area.  Her artwork can be found in private and public collections around the country.

Jesse Wilkinson earned a bachelor’s degree in technology education and is currently completing his master’s degree. He is currently 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.