Learning for You Instructors
Jon Allen has been the assistant golf professional at Furman since July of 2010. He graduated from the University of Montana - Western with a degree in Business and Tourism. Jon's teaching abilities come from his PGA education as well as his previous experiences with the American Junior Golf Association, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, and Duke University Golf Club. Jon has taught all skill levels and welcomes private or group lessons.
Aaron Anderson has twenty-six years of experience working for various stained glass studios, having served the last studio for 12 years. His background includes extensive work in fabrication, design, installation, and restoration. In conjunction with working for other studios, he has maintained his own commissions, operated a retail art glass supply store, and taught both community and private lessons. www.glasseryco.com.
Deborah Belcher holds B.S., M.M., and D.M.A. Degrees in Piano. Since 1970, she has successfully taught private and group piano lessons to students ages 5 to 80+ in university and avocational venues. She is also a popular and effective teacher in classroom and seminar settings and is highly skilled at communicating information in a relaxed and entertaining style that sets students at ease and enhances learning. Dr. Belcher is a dynamic speaker and performer who inspires and guides students to do that which they have previously found impossible. www.pianofun.com/~deb
Alan Blakeborough has been fencing since he was 14…a long time! From 1992 the Knights of Siena Fencing Academy has been developing champions from the grass roots level. The Academy’s students have won divisional, state, regional and national titles. Alan has built more than 50 high school programs over the last 10 years. Students from the Knights of Siena have also gone on to many of the NCAA fencing programs throughout the United States.
Rick Boozer is an astrophysics researcher, public speaker and author. He has won numerous awards for his spectacular deep space photos. At the age of 58, he obtained his Master of Astronomy degree in astrophysics with high distinction and was awarded the University Medal “for outstanding academic achievement at the Master’s level” (an award above cum laude). Currently he is pursuing his PhD in astrophysics doing cutting-edge research into the physics of H II regions by studying such objects in the Large Magellanic Cloud. He runs the science education websites Astro Maven Blog and Singularity Scientific as a public service. http://astromaven.blogspot.com
Al and Joanne Brillant are Certified Health Ministers through Hallelujah Acres in NC, having been trained in living and promoting a healthy balanced vegan lifestyle. They worked at the Get Healthy Resource Center next to Whole Foods in Greenville, holding positions in management and as teachers before it closed in September of 2008. At the Resource Center they were privileged to be trained by some of the top Vegan raw food chefs in the country, immersing themselves in culinary classes. The Brillants established “Greenville Get Healthy” to continue their passion of helping individuals live a healthier lifestyle. wwwgreenvillegethealthy.com
Meredith Burton has taught Microscope camp at Furman for 10 years and is the Director of Furman's Child Development Center. With a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, and a Master's Degree in Reading/Literacy from Furman University, Meredith has 15 years of experience in K5-first grade education. She enjoys sharing her love of learning with children at Furman! www.meredithburton.com
Jane Todd Butcher describes herself as a landscape painter, but not in the traditional sense. Her unusual technique and style is far from traditional, as is her use of vibrant color. Most of her current paintings utilize a combination of water-based mediums including acrylic paint and acrylic inks, and often include rice papers and other collage papers. Jane earned her degree in Art from Illinois State University, and since that time she has made her home in Greenville SC. She is a frequent workshop instructor, teaching her water media methods as an invited instructor at facilities in the Carolinas and Georgia. She has been awarded signature membership in the South Carolina Watermedia Society and the Georgia Watercolor Society. Her work is exhibited nationally, and is included in numerous private and corporate collections. To view her work, go to www.janetoddbutcher.com
Bruce Cable has taught in the Greenville County School System for 25 years. He currently teaches in the Challenge Program, for students who are academically gifted and talented, at Buena Vista and Summit Drive Elementary Schools. He received his Masters Degree in Elementary Education from Clemson University in 1991. For 23 summers, Bruce has been the Creative Director of Kaleidoscope, an educational day camp for children in 3rd – 5th grades, located at Furman University. His hobbies include astronomy, yoga, herpetology (he has 4 snakes!), bird watching, video production and photography.
Beth Chandler is the owner of Elizabeth Chandler Designs, a creative sewing and craft boutique in Greenville. When she's not molding pottery, designing handbags, or experimenting with the latest fashions, she's teaching sewing lessons to beginner and intermediate students. Beth is excited about the resurgence of craft and DIY, and is doing her part to revitalize the reputation of Home Economics. http://elizabethchandlerdesigns.com
Kae Childs started teaching dancing in Greenwood along with teaching academic classes at the Greenwood College of Commerce. She received her master’s degree from Clemson with a Major in Guidance and Counseling. Kae moved to the Isle of Palms, outside Charleston, in 1980 with her family. She was a guidance counselor and taught dancing for Mt. Pleasant Recreation Department, Charleston Parks and Recreation, Sea Pine, Hilton Head, Wild Dunes, along with many other private and group lessons. Kae teaches shag presently at the University of South Carolina in the Physical Education Department, for Mt. Pleasant Recreation and Charleston Parks and Recreation, and for Furman. She produced two DVD's entitled Learning To Shag and Learning To Shag Part II which are in many South Carolina libraries. Kae cannot remember a shag lesson that she didn't enjoy! She loves meeting people and teaching them how to shag!
Janet Christy works with small businesses to help them with start-up, development, expansion and marketing. In 2003 Janet formed Leverage & Development, LLC (www.leverageanddevelopment.com), a consulting firm focused on helping Small and Woman/Minority Owned Businesses and organizations who work with them. Through her consulting firm, Janet works with Small Businesses to develop plans that will help them maximize their “small” status. In 2012 Janet became the Business Counselor for the South Carolina Women’s Business Center (SCWBC) in the Upstate. In this capacity she does one-on-one counseling for women who own or are starting a business. She also organizes and conducts seminars, workshop and networking events for the SCWBC.
Chumley Cope is an historian, native Carolinian, and former prep school teacher, whose passion is to search for an authentic "sense of place" wherever he travels. He has history degrees from the University of North Carolina and N.C. State University and taught history and religious studies at the Asheville School, St. Andrews-Sewanee School, the Webb School of Knoxville, and the Spartanburg Day School. Chumley invites all explorers-at-heart to pack light, bring their walking shoes, and join him for an adventure "on the hidden roads!" www.exploreupclose.com
Gregg Davis grew up in Williamston, S.C., where he now lives in the stone house his grandpa built for his grandma in 1946. He graduated from Palmetto High School in 1982 and Cum Laude from Furman University in 1986. A National Board Certified Art Teacher, he has taught both high school and middle school art for the past 27 years. He's also been teaching drawing and cartooning classes at Furman University since 1986. He draws a lot in his spare time, especially portraits. A music lover, he has 38,542 songs on his iPod. Seriously.
Tim Davis is the author-illustrator of seven children's books, and has made a career of illustrating for children's publishers. As a frequent contributor to Highlights magazine, he is the creator of over five hundred hidden picture scenes. Tim also teaches writing and illustrating classes at Furman University and Greenville Technical College, and enjoys speaking in elementary schools to inspire upcoming artists and writers. www.timdaviscreations.com
Tracie Easler is a multi-media artist from the foothills of South Carolina. She holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from Converse College, where she focused in ceramics, printmaking, photography and artist books and also holds an Associates Degree in Arts from Greenville Technical College where she focused in photography and computer graphics. Easler has been featured in several juried and invitational art exhibits and has been awarded top prizes, including Best in Show for her “Working Class Heroes” series. She is also the recipient of the Alice Conger Patterson Grant, given by the EMRYS Foundation, which funded her solo exhibit “Carolina Cowboy.” Easler is currently employed Furman University as an instructor for the Learning for You program, with Greenville Technical College as a tutor for students in the visual arts department, and with the department of disability services as a special needs tutor.
Janina Tukarski Ellis is an impressionist painter who moved to Greenville 7 years ago from Germany. She spent 20 years in Munich, where she developed her unique painting style. Ellis began her career as a self-taught artist, but has since attended classical painting schools both nationally and abroad, including Akthof in Munich and The Fine Arts League in Asheville, NC. Her home gallery is located in Greenville’s Art District, but her work can also be found in Nashville, TN and a number of galleries in South Carolina.
Kelly Frazier, MA has been a Lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences at Furman University for eleven years. Frazier received her undergraduate degree from James Madison University in Exercise Science with a minor in Nutrition, and her Masters degree from Furman in Health and Exercise Science. She instructs Wellness Concepts and Fundamentals of Human Nutrition for undergraduate students. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Kelly directs and leads classes in the Furman Fitness Center Group Exercise Program. Most recently, she has pioneered the Furman University Eating Lean (FUEL) plate-based dietary intervention to improve nutrient intake, facilitate weight management, and reduce health outcomes associated with cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. Kelly lives in Greenville with her husband and two children. While she has always loved to cook, she now focuses on preparing quick, easy, affordable, and healthful plant-based foods.
Somer Grasser is a social media professional with over 10 years of strong public relations experience. She owns her own social media consulting company that provides all-inclusive social media outsourcing for organizations of all kinds, including private business, medical industry, political campaigns, and non-profits. Somer is a highly sought-after social media teacher and trainer and has taught classes for hospitals, local churches, elected officials and the state political parties.
Pat Grills is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, SC where he won the Blackwood Outstanding Senior Art Award along with architect Ron Boozer. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Furman. For the last 41 years he has taught art and art history for Greenville County Schools, the last 32 years at Riverside High School in Greer, SC. He has twice been chosen Teacher of the Year at Riverside High School, three times a finalist for the District Teacher of the Year, and was the first runner-up to the Greenville County Teacher of the Year for 2007-08. He has been chosen Continuing Education Teacher of the year for the state of South Carolina. He has also taught in various capacities at Furman University for the last 36 years. Pat has been an art consultant, art juror, and his art is included in collections all over the Southeast. He is an award winning artist and educator. He is a lecturer, historian, musical performer, storyteller, and Chautauqua actor. He recently has become a member of the Artist Guild Gallery of Greenville on Main Street in Greenville. In 2010 Pat's students, former students, friends, and family sent him and his wife Cathy on a three week excursion to New York, London, Bath, Stonehenge, Paris, Milan, Pisa, Florence, and Rome!
Jennifer Hatch, MHS, is health educator and certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise (www.acefitness.org). Along with offering courses through Furman’s Learning for You program, she provides personalized wellness and lifestyle counseling to individuals and families.
Emily Higgins is a freshman at Furman University. A Greenville SAIL swimmer for five years, she now teaches water aerobics three days a week to an enthusiastic group! Emily always welcomes newcomers to this fun water workout.
Danielle Jackson is the director of the Piano for Young People program at Furman. She has both a B.M. and an M.M. in piano performance from Bob Jones University. She has served on the Bob Jones piano faculty and has been an instructor in the Piano for Young People program since 2001. She is an active performer, accompanist and church musician. Danielle is a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs and the Music Teachers National Association.
Victoria Kirby is an accomplished business executive with experience in corporate and entrepreneurial technology sectors. As the co-founder and managing principal of Data and Communications Solutions, Inc., a leading network integration company, Victoria successfully negotiated the acquisition of the company by Nuvox Communications and assumed the role of Vice President of Integrated Services. Victoria has worked with leaders from many companies including, General Electric, Scan Source Global, Lockheed Martin, American Airlines, Bausch & Lomb, Michelin, Ryobi, Velux USA, Kohler, and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System. Her passion for encouraging others to reach their full professional potential contributes to her success as an engaging communications consultant and facilitator on a national and international stage.
Anne-Marie Melief has been in and out of the water for over 10 years, 6 of which were on her neighborhood swim team as one of their top swimmers. She has taught many children how to swim, from confidence in the water to stroke development both in private lessons and through the Learning for You program. She is excited to get back in the water and teach children the joy of swimming.
Ron Moede has a BS in Industrial Education and a MS in Media Technology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He moved to the Upstate in 1976, and teaches Industrial Technology, Photography and Sailing at Wren and Powdersville high schools. He has worked with Furman in Continuing Education since the early 90's. Ron worked for Fluor Corporation doing architectural photography worldwide. He is a US Sailing Certified Instructor and has a US Coast Guard Captain’s license. Ron loves sailing and photography!
Joyce Moore’s passion is “All Things Italian!” Her education includes Italian Studies, Centro per Cultura per Stranieri, Florence, Italy and Studio Art & Italian Archaeology, University of Rome. She was a travel agency owner and agent for over 35 years, specializing in Italy. Joyce has led many groups to Italy and all over Europe, South America and Africa. Furman’s small group tours to Italy have been most popular over the years and are now an almost annual event. Since being semi-retired in 2009, Joyce has taught Italian language and cultural classes with Furman’s Learning For You.
Sean O'Rourke is Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Furman University, where he served as Chair of the Department of Communication Studies from 2005-2009. He received his J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. Prof. O'Rourke teaches courses in "U.S. Public Address," "Rhetoric in the Age of Protest: 1948-1973," and "The Ethics of Rhetoric." He enjoys traveling, teaching, and learning with groups of all ages.
Katie Poterala received an MFA from Arizona State University after earning her BFA from Winthrop University. In addition to her studio practice, she has taught metalsmithing and 3D design classes at Arizona State University and Winthrop University. She is an active member, attendee, and volunteer at national conferences, and has held positions in both Arizona Designer Craftsmen and the Society of North American Goldsmiths. Katie’s work implies of a sense of history, and is sensitive to the delicate relationship between beauty and decay, as well as our relationships to precious objects. A main focus of her work is the reinterpretation of the jewel – often by removing it, replacing it with the unexpected, or otherwise reincorporating in unique and captivating ways. The work blends precious and non-precious materials with a feeling of authenticity. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and is represented by galleries and shops throughout the country. www.katiepoterala.com
Blake Praytor began his career in photography in 1970 as an AP News photographer's assistant. He studied photography at the California College of the Arts (BFA 74) in the San Francisco Bay Area and locally at Clemson University (MIEd 76, MFA 98). He has worked in photojournalism, editorial, advertising, architectural and fine art photography for forty years. He has been active in education throughout his career, spending the last thirteen years on the faculty of the Visual Arts Department at Greenville Technical College, where he served as department chair for eight years. He is now retired and continues to be active in photography.
Robin Rousselle www.pedalchic.com
Angelika “Angie” Smith was born and raised in Germany and has called South Carolina home for 40 years. She is married and the mother of 2 daughters. Her love for crafts was passed on to her by her mother from an early age. She enjoys many different crafts like sewing, knitting, jewelry making, stamping, papercrafting and scrapbooking. As a certified scrapbook instructor she has taught numerous seminars and workshops. Angie enjoys teaching and sharing her ideas and designs in the hope that her students will enjoy crafting for many years!
Ellen Stevenson has more than 25 years of experience in leadership and organization development in a number of positions as an internal and external consultant. She has a proven ability to manage both process and task issues. This flexibility enables her to respond effectively to management and employees at all levels. Prior to starting Optimal Performance, she held management positions in manufacturing operations with JP Stevens/West Point Pepperel. She holds a BS from Cornell University and a master of science in education focused on the adult learner from Marywood College. She is a certified instructor in numerous programs and has conducted training for audiences around the world.
Robbin Surfus has worked with the Furman Microscope camps since 2010 and has been a lead teacher since 2011. She has been a Science Lab teacher and has taught 4th and 5th grades with Greenville County Schools since 2005. She is currently a 5th grade teacher at Westcliffe Elementary School. Robbin graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2005, with degrees in science and social studies, and has earned her +18 and certification in Project Wild. She loves the outdoors and takes every opportunity to hike and bike the area. Sharon Swift loves teaching and working with children. She is a 5th grade teacher at Bob Jones Academy, and has been teaching for 23 years. She also tutors at Huntington Learning Center. She grew up swimming competitively, and enjoys teaching others how to swim. She has coached SAIL swimming and teaches group and private swim lessons for children and adults.
Heather Ford Weber, aka the Yarngineer, is an optimistic Alaskan girl surviving in the hot, hot South. She is a former engineer and MBA turned designer and knitting instructor. As a self-taught knitter of 10 years, she understands how to find what works for each individual because not everyone learns the same way. She is passionate about lifelong learning and teaching others, young or old, and hopes that the fiber arts will unleash creativity in and bring peacefulness to others. www.Yarngineer.blogspot.com
Debbie Wilson “fell into” gourd art after basket weaving for several years. As an art teacher, she could see endless possibilities for this hard shelled natural object. She has woven, wood burned, carved, imbedded objects and stones and painted on gourds for ten years, all the while still learning what can be created with them. She is a self-taught rotary carver and is learning how to chip carve with u-shape carvers. Debbie is a member many professional organizations including the SC and American Gourd Societies and a Juried Member of Carolina Foothills Artisan Center, and she won Best of Show at Arts Alive Greenville and Upstate Visual Arts shows. Debbie is recently retired from teaching in the public schools and busy still learning what the possibilities are. www.artbasgo.com
Scott Withrow grew up in the North Carolina foothills of the Appalachians. He has lived in upstate South Carolina for over thirty years where he pursued a career in education, living history, and historical interpretation. His historical interests include the Cherokee, the Melungeons, the Appalachians, the American Revolution, and historic trails. He is currently researching the Trading Path (Cherokee Path) in the Carolinas and Tennessee, traveled by traders, warriors, and diplomats alike. He enjoys traveling and historic architecture, and Madison, Georgia in the spring is one of his favorite trips.
Sheree Wright is a Foothills Master Garden and an American Rose Society Master Rosarian. She is a true plant geek and loves to talk about all things green. Roses are her most intense interest as she helps with several rose gardens in the upstate. Sheree is a Senior Grounds Keeper at Furman University and takes care of the Asian Garden and the Place of Peace. She especially enjoys creating container gardens that can bring pizzazz to any landscape.
Oliver Yu is a commercial photographer with 29 years of professional photographic experience. He graduated from Brooks Institution of Photographic Art and Science in Santa Barbara in 1984 and has worked for various magazine, news organizations and corporate and private clients. Relocating to Greenville in 2004, he worked for the Greenville News and is now owner of Oliver Yu Fotographie. www.facebook.com/oliveryufoto