Course Leaders & Speakers

Learn more about these highly respected course leaders and presenters.

Waleed Abdalati

COURSE LEADER: Dr. Waleed Abdalati

ABOUT: Dr. Waleed Abdalati is Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), a NOAA joint institute at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is
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John Anderson

COURSE LEADER: John Anderson

ABOUT: John Anderson worked in technical sales and support in the computer industry for 30 years. Retirement allowed him to resume an undergraduate interest in physics and the history of
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Don Baer

COURSE LEADER: Don Baer

ABOUT: Don Baer has been a member of the Directors Guild of America for some 40 years. His television and feature film experience covered all production positions associated with the DGA,
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Steve Bernard

COURSE LEADER: Judge Steve Bernard

ABOUT: Steven Bernard was a prosecutor for 28 years.  For the past five years he has been a judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals, where he has presided for over five years. He has
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COURSE LEADER: Susan Blake-Smith

ABOUT: Susan Blake-Smith is an early member of The Academy who spent 25 years living in Mexico City, making her uniquely qualified to teach conversational Spanish.  Susan has a BFA in
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Ted Borrillo

COURSE LEADER: Ted Borrillo

ABOUT: Ted Borrillo is a retired attorney. He was Chief Deputy District Attorney in Denver, taught criminal procedure and constitutional law at the DU Law School, and was a defense
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Kathy Boyer

COURSE LEADER: Kathy Boyer

ABOUT: Kathy Boyer has conducted LIFE STORY workshops for libraries, summer camps, churches, community centers, and with the Academy.  As a child, Kathy developed a love of the personal
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Rex Brown

COURSE LEADER: Rex Brown

ABOUT: Rex Brown has a BA in American Literature from Middlebury College, a Masters in American and British Literature from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D in Modern Letters from the
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Mary Conroy

COURSE LEADER: Dr. Mary Schaeffer Conroy

ABOUT: Dr. Mary Schaeffer Conroy is Emeritus Professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. She has focused her professional research on the politics in Late Imperial Russia and
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Art

COURSE LEADER: Georgi Contiguglia

ABOUT: Georgi Contiguglia served for a decade as President and CEO of the History Colorado and the state’s Historic Preservation Officer.  Earlier she was Curator of Decorative and
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Marty Corren

COURSE LEADER: Marty Corren

ABOUT: The Academy’s liaison with the Denver Art Museum, Marty Corren joined the museum as a volunteer in 2006 and serves as an outstanding and popular docent.  She has a special
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COURSE LEADER: Patricia Cox

ABOUT: Patricia Cox has been writing to save her life, practically all her life.  With a B.S. in Education and an M.A. in Guidance and Counseling, she taught for the Denver Public
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Don Culp

COURSE LEADER: Don Culp

ABOUT: Don Culp attended the Art Center School in Los Angeles, then for a time he thought he might become a popular singer – until an unwillingness to face rejection combined with a
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Kip Doran

COURSE LEADER: Dr. Kip Doran

ABOUT: Dr. Christopher “Kip” Doran, a graduate of Boston College and Yale Medical School, a Clinical Professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and a Distinguished
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Emlen Woody

COURSE LEADER: Dr. Woody Emlen

ABOUT: Dr. Woody Emlen is a graduate of Stanford University and the University of California (San Diego) School of Medicine.  He was Professor of Medicine and Immunology at the
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Noah Fierer

COURSE LEADER: Noah Fierer

ABOUT: Dr. Noah Fierer, Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and CIRES; University of Colorado Boulder. His research group study the microorganisms living in our homes,
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Anita Fricklas

COURSE LEADER: Anita Fricklas

ABOUT: After graduating from high school, Anita Fricklas attended Boston University.  Her career included many years as Director of Education at Temple Sinai. She later became the
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Anschutz- Feb. 19 - Palliative Care slides

COURSE LEADER: Dr. Linda Gordon

ABOUT: After 35 years as an educator, Linda Gordon recently retired as a principal. She lived in Mexico City for ten years, serving as director of an English as a Second Language school.
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COURSE LEADER: Robert Hazan

ABOUT: Dr. Robert Hazan is Chair and Professor of Political Science at the Metropolitan State College of Denver. He is a founding member of the Middle East Study Group of the
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COURSE LEADER: Scott Henke

ABOUT: Onsite Consulting owner, Scott Henke, has been featured on 9 News, Fox 31, and the radio for his expertise.  He has taught classes for over 10 years through the Academy and has
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COURSE LEADER: George Ho

ABOUT: In order to stay engaged in lifelong learning, Dr. George Ho, discovered the Academy through its writing courses during the Spring term 2010.  For 40-plus years, he worked in
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Shellie Hochstadt

COURSE LEADER: Shellie Hochstadt

ABOUT: Shellie Hochstadt graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in history, and a minor in political science. She was a divisional merchandise manager for a
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COURSE LEADER: Gulsum Katmer

ABOUT: Gulsum Katmer was born and raised in the neighborhoods of Cappadocia, Turkey. In 2007, she moved to the US to pursue her education. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in
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Keenan

COURSE LEADER: Phil Keenan

ABOUT: Phil Keenan is a founding partner of the law firm of Ambler & Keenan. He is a board certified attorney in estate planning, and is also a CPA and a CFP. His practice specializes
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Joseph Kerski

COURSE LEADER: Joseph Kerski

ABOUT: Joseph Kerski, Ph.D., has three degrees in geography–geomorphology, population change, natural hazards, water, ecoregion studies, and geography education and GIS (Global
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Joe Klocek

COURSE LEADER: Joe Klocek

ABOUT: Joe Klocek has been a professional in the photographic industry for tens years. In that time he has worked as a wedding and portrait photographer, course instructor, and camera
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Leah Klocek

COURSE LEADER: Leah Klocek

ABOUT: Leah Klocek is a historical and genealogical researcher here in Denver. She has an undergraduate degree from Brandeis University, and a Masters from the University of Pennsylvania.
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Sally Kneser

COURSE LEADER: Sally Kneser

ABOUT: Sally Kneser is always ready to learn something new and help teach others. “I love to learn, and it’s so much more fun with friends around.” Sally is a Life Master in bridge
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Jim Kneser

COURSE LEADER: Jim Kneser

ABOUT: Jim Kneser is in his fourteenth year of leading classes in economics, public policy, and high art music. He has led more than 60 economics and public policy classes with more than
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Gloria Kubel photo

COURSE LEADER: Gloria Kubel

ABOUT: Gloria Kubel received a BA in Education from Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York and a MA in Dance from the University of Colorado.  She studied ballet growing up in New
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Jeff Lukas

COURSE LEADER: Jeff Lukas

ABOUT: Jeff Lukas is a Research Integration Specialist with the Western Water Assessment (WWA), a NOAA-supported program within the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental
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Sara Marsden

COURSE LEADER: Sara Marsden

ABOUT: Sara Marsden retired in May 2012 from Adams County Social Services after 20 years as a caseworker. She has developed an interest in foreign policy over a lifetime of travel and
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COURSE LEADER: David Marsh

ABOUT: David Marsh has spent the last decade exploring America along Highway 50. In the style of Charles Kuralt, he has driven every mile of the highway, talked with many “locals”
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Robin McNeil

COURSE LEADER: Robin McNeil

ABOUT: Robin McNeil began his study of piano at DePauw University at the age of four, taking lessons with Irene Soltas. He has a Bachelor of Music in Perform­ance from Indiana University
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COURSE LEADER: Herzl Melmed

ABOUT: A native of South Africa, Herzl Melmed grew up in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), where he was a student leader and activist who fought Apartheid and later lived in Israel during the Six-Day
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Denver Art Museum

COURSE LEADER: Joanne Mendes

ABOUT: Longtime art enthusiast Joanne Mendes has recently retired from a career spent organizing programs in art history in London and at the Denver Art Museum, for which she developed
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Walt Meyer

COURSE LEADER: Dr. Walt Meyer

ABOUT: Walt is a retired “technocrat”, having spent 22 years in the weather field of the US Air Force and almost 20 years as a program manager for a defense contractor. My wife and I
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KarylMeyer

COURSE LEADER: Karyl Meyer

ABOUT: Karyl Meyer has been involved in educational and community theatre most of her life. After majoring in theatre and speech (and minoring in math) she spent many years teaching high
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Jonathan Ormes

COURSE LEADER: Dr. Jonathan F. Ormes

ABOUT: Dr. Jonathan F. Ormes is a Research Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Denver. He was formerly the Director of Space Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space
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Gabrielle Petron

COURSE LEADER: Gabrielle Petron

ABOUT: Dr. Gabrielle Petron (10/10)   Research Scientist, NOAA’s Earth System Research Lab (ESRL) and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES).  Her
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Sheila Porter

COURSE LEADER: Dr. Sheila Porter

ABOUT: Since retirement has unfolded, Sheila Porter’s interest in people and places have taken her to far flung locations and led her to doing psychological evaluations of asylum
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Sharon Rouse

COURSE LEADER: Sharon Rouse

ABOUT: Sharon Rouse is a retired art teacher who then enjoyed being a supervisor for art student teachers at Metropolitan State College.  She has taught adult watercolor and sketchbook
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Lorenz Rychner

COURSE LEADER: Lorenz Rychner

ABOUT: Lorenz Rychner took up piano and clarinet lessons as a child in his native Switzerland. He combined a career in publishing with a busy performing schedule. After emigrating to
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Judy Schwartz

COURSE LEADER: Judy Schwartz

ABOUT: Judy Schwartz is a career teacher and counselor. She taught at Temple Sinai for many years.  She taught English and coached the speech and debate team at Denver’s East High
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Chuck Shannon

COURSE LEADER: Chuck Shannon

ABOUT: Chuck Shannon’s “two careers” began with twelve years as a division director for the Denver Regional Council of Governments and concluded with 20-plus years in the United Way
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Ted Stainman

COURSE LEADER: Ted Stainman

ABOUT: Ted Stainman graduated from the Hebrew Union College, NYC (1970) with a master’s in Hebrew Letters.  He also has a BA in history from Rutgers University (1964) and attended the
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Tim Steele

COURSE LEADER: Tim Steele

ABOUT: Tim Steele has been in water-quality hydrology and regional assessments of water resources for nearly 50 years. He has managed multidisciplinary projects and directed hydrologic
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Rob Steenburgh

COURSE LEADER: Rob Steenburgh

ABOUT: Rob Steenburgh is a Space Scientist and Senior Space Weather Forecaster at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). Space weather describes the dynamic conditions of the
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Ralph Stern

COURSE LEADER: Ralph Stern

ABOUT: Ralph Stern has spent the past 44 years reading about religious philosophy, theology, theodicy and comparative religion. In 1985 he entered Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute
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COURSE LEADER: Sally Stich

ABOUT: Sally Stich has been a freelance writer for 36 years. Her work has appeared in the Denver Post and the magazines that grace your coffee table. She also taught on the writing
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Sandy Stollar

COURSE LEADER: Sandy Stolar

ABOUT: Before retiring after 30 years of teaching experience, Sandy Stolar taught Spanish at the middle school and high school and several semesters of community college, too. She loves
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Paul Turelli

COURSE LEADER: Paul Turelli

ABOUT: Paul Turelli is a retired middle school teacher and administrator from Littleton Public Schools. He’s taught successful courses at The Academy including The Beatles, Female
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Abe Wagner

COURSE LEADER: Abe Wagner

ABOUT: Abe Wagner, MSW, is an author and international speaker.  He has presented in all 50 states and over 35 countries.  His down to earth approach and practical application of
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Paulette Wasserstein

COURSE LEADER: Dr. Paulette Wasserstein

ABOUT: Dr. Paulette Wasserstein has always loved sharing “a good read.”  Her career in public education, teaching high school English, afforded her the endless opportunities to open
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Doug Wilke

COURSE LEADER: Doug Wilke

ABOUT: Doug Wilke discovered a new passion in retirement. His father had a large collection of old family photos and documents to donate to a hometown museum. Before disposing of them
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Dick Young

COURSE LEADER: Rear Admiral Richard (Dick) E. Young

ABOUT: One of the Academy’s most accredited facilitators, Rear Admiral Richard (Dick) E. Young, has a BA from the University of Michigan and graduated with honors from the United States
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