Director of Credit-Free Programs
Carleigh Schultz has a master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership, a bachelor 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.
Coordinator of Youth Programs
Linda Armstrong holds a bachelor of arts degree in Child Psychology from Eastern Connecticut State University. She worked at the J. Eugene Smith Library and the Bolton High School Library for over a decade, sharing her passion for literacy with the students and staff. She previously served as the Interim Assistant Youth Program Coordinator.
Assistant Summer Coordinator
Ed Argenta is currently a teacher consultant with the Connecticut Geographic Alliance and a Nautilus educator with the Sea Researcher Foundation. He is a retired public school teacher, having taught science at Vernon Center Middle School for many years before becoming the science department head at Rockville High School, where he taught marine science, environmental science, and biology.
Delores Kellerman, RN, BSN, MSEd
Nurse, July Youth Programs
Nurse Delores is a Registered Nurse and serves as the program nurse during the month of July. She is recently retired and has over 40 years of experience as a school nurse. During theJuly programs she can be found in the Nurse’s Office, Great Path Academy room GP109.
Sasha Walencewicz, RN
Nurse, Summer Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth Program
Nurse Sasha is a Registered Nurse and serves as the program nurse during the month of August. During the school year, she works as a school nurse. During the Summer Academy, she can be found in the Nurse’s Office, Great Path Academy room GP109.
Meet Our Exceptional Faculty
Below are some of the instructors who have taught for us in the past three years:
Elz 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.
Lisa Argenta is currently an art educator at Bolton High School where she teaches courses in the visual arts. She is Connecticut-certified for grades K-12 and has over ten years of teaching experience. In 2019, Lisa was the Bolton Teacher of the Year.
Emma Czaplinski is a seventh grade Language Arts teacher at Ellington Middle School and a graduate of the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education. Along with working with middle school students throughout the year in the classroom, she also serves as the assistant director of the EMS Drama Troupe and Student Council co-advisor. In the summers, Emma teaches classes in creative writing and reading enrichment as well as performing in community theatre productions across the state. As a participant in the Connecticut Writing Project’s 2017 Summer Institute at the University of Connecticut, she enjoys engaging students in creative and cutting-edge writing techniques to bring their most creative stories to life
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.
Anita Ferron (Chef Anita) has been a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at Daniel Hand High School in Madison, CT for more than 30 years. She received her B.S. in home economics from the University of Wisconsin, and has studied culinary techniques in New Delhi (India), Bangkok (Thailand), The Connecticut Culinary Institute, and the New School in New York.
Sharon FitzHenry has more than 20 years of theatrical experience both as a teacher and artistic director. A member of the Actors’ Equity Association, she has directed many children and adult productions across Connecticut.
Meghan Foley is a fourth grade teacher at Odyssey Community School in Manchester. She is a Connecticut certified teacher with her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and psychology and her master’s degree in special education and literacy studies.
Joanne Gertler has a BA in International Relations from American University, an MA and Sixth Year degrees in Education and Literacy from The University of Connecticut, and completed the CT Administrator’s Certificate program at Quinnipiac University. For the past 13 years, she has worked as a K- 8 Literacy Specialist in Glastonbury, CT. She has been an elementary classroom and middle school English teacher. She is involved with the CT Writing Project at the University of Connecticut.
Ryan Glista is a filmmaker and digital producer with a Film BA and Digital Media & Design MFA from UConn, where he currently teaches video production. Ryan was an Excursions student from 2000-2008 and the Excursions Program Photographer from 2009-2016. He has also taught and tutored video at Community School of the Arts in Mansfield. Now a skilled director, photographer, and music producer, his award-winning short films have screened nationally and internationally. Ryan also works as Digital Project Manager at The Bushnell Center for Performing Arts.
Scott Goldsmith is a school psychologist in the Manchester Public Schools. He is also the assistant coordinator of the Manchester Ropes Challenge Course, author of “Experiential Activities for Enhancing Emotional Intelligence” and owner of “Outside the Box Experiential”. Scott has facilitated adventure and team building programs at local, state, national and international conferences and workshops. He spent the past three summers directing camps in China.
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. Jim retired from Excursions in 2019 after teaching for over 20 summers for Excursions.
Susan Harrington is a popular enrichment teacher in the area, who specializes in science and natural history enrichment classes. She has bachelor 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.
Taina Hernandez is a Remedial Reading Specialist at Illing Middle School in Manchester, CT. She has a bachelors and master’s degrees in Elementary Education and a 6th year certificate as a Reading Specialist/ Literacy Coach. She is passionate about literacy and increasing children’s motivation to explore and read.
Megan Hislop is currently teaching technology education at Sage Park Middle School in Windsor. She earned a bachelor’s and a master’s in STEM Education from Central Connecticut State University. A Connecticut certified teacher, Ms. Hislop enjoys teaching robotics, engineering, problem solving, physics and more.
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.
Lauren Jefferson is currently a School Counselor at Pathways Academy of Technology and Design in East Hartford. She earned a Master’s in Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology from UConn and a Bachelor’s in Management Science from MIT. In addition to working with her students daily as a certified school counselor, Ms. Jefferson is a mentor on the Birds of Prey FIRST Robotics Competition team in Hartford and volunteers as a referee and judge for several local STEM-related programs.
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. She is the Founder and Executive Chef of Healthy Farm Eating, a chef prepared meals-to-go company with a mission to regionalize our food system through sustainable agriculture and supplying local people with local food. You can follow her on facebook at “Healthy Farm Eating”.
Cathy Lukas M.S. in Educational Technology has taught at the middle school, high school, and college levels for over 17 years as a technology and engineering teacher, including Microsoft Office products and computer applications. She was the recipient of the 2019 Abbott White Technology Student Association Award from Career & Technical Education (CTE) Department. Previously, Cathy worked as a programmer analyst at Aetna, Inc.
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.
Sandra Mishriky has a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in reading and language from Saint Joseph’s College. She has over nine years of classroom teaching experience in grades three, five and six.
Jennifer O’Connell has a master’s degree in reading from Southern Connecticut State University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and English from Eastern Connecticut State University. She currently teaches 5th grade in Bolton.
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. Chef Joshua was selected as Connecticut’s 2020 Educator of Excellence (EEA) award winner for his amazing work in the ProStart classroom.
Kelly Owens is an elementary education teacher in Bolton. She is a certified elementary school teacher and certified talented and gifted education teacher with her bachelor’s degree in studio art and her master’s degree in elementary education. She prides herself in helping TAG students reach their full potential.
John Pirtel has a BA in Child and Youth Development from Charter Oak State College and MS in Early Childhood Education. He has been drawing comics professionally since the age of 19. His work can be seen in many different forms most notably, as a member of the licensing team for DC Comics’ BATMAN. John has also done art for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Spiderman.
Jennifer Renkiewicz received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Simmons College. Ms. Renkiewicz enjoys running, hiking and many outdoor activities. She is currently an elementary school teacher at Odyssey School.
Kristen Shypula is a fourth – fifth grade teacher at Mittineague Elementary School in Massachusetts. She is a MA certified teacher with her bachelor’s degree in English and elementary education and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. Ms. Shypula enjoys teaching hands-on science lessons.
Jennifer Sullivan is a certified special education teacher at Odyssey Community School in Manchester, CT. She primarily teaches students in intermediate grades 3, 4, and 5. She has her bachelor’s degree in history and master’s degree in special education from Central Connecticut State University.
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 Noteflight, Grand Mesa Music and C.L. Barnhouse Music.
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.