Meet the College for Kids Instructors

Meet the College for Kids Instructors

College for Kids is proud of its roster of instructors which include Penn State Behrend faculty and staff, experienced community teachers, and local business professionals. Instructors offer a diverse class selection in a safe learning environment, which is sure to enhance a child’s education by challenging their imagination, creativity, and desire to learn.

Instructors are generally available at the drop-off location prior to class. If you would like to meet your child's instructor, please notify one of the College for Kids staff members to arrange this.

Join Our Team

If you are an educator or have extensive experience in a particular field and would like to be considered, or would like to recommend someone with these qualifications, please email College for Kids or call 814-898-6871 for more information. All instructors are required to have Pennsylvania Criminal and Child Abuse Clearances.

College for Kids 2017 Instructors

Tom Atkins
Education: B.S., Broadcast Journalism, Iowa State University
Experience: Evening Meteorologist-JET-TV & FOX 66; Instructor in Meteorology Penn State Behrend
Why I teach at College for Kids: “It has become tradition and I like it!”

Ed Beck
Education: MA Edinboro University
Experience: Teaching for over 30 years and teaching rocketry for over 30 years
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I enjoy working with children in this age group and interest level.  I teach high school in the Erie School District.”

Maureen Beck
Education: AAS Applied Science/Horticulture
Experience: I have made and sold beach glass jewelry and chimes for many years.
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I enjoy working with students.”

Ashley Boetger
Education: Elementary Education, Penn State University; M.Ed. Early Childhood Education, Edinboro University; Montessori Teaching Certificate Ages 6-9, Center for Montessori Education, NY
Experience: I have been teaching 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade in a multi-age classroom at Montessori Regional Charter School for the last 8 years. “I love working with children and helping them to use their creative abilities.
Why I teach for College for Kids: “I would like to for teach College for Kids because the last two summers I had a wonderful time working with all the children and learning them to create adorable treasures for their most beloved dolls.”

Terri Chulick
Experience: B.A. Environmental Studies, Mercyhurst College; Teacher Certificate, Edinboro University.
Experience: Elementary Teacher, Iroquois Elementary, Math and Social Studies
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I enjoy teaching and enjoy the opportunity to teach other subjects that children are interested in.”

Jennifer Dennehy
Education: B.A. Psychology, Mercyhurst University; PA Council on the Arts Rostered teaching Artist, LUNA Dance Summer Institute 2014.
Experience: Hoop Dance Instructor at Dafmark Dance Theatre, the Neighborhood Art House and through the Erie School District GEARS program.  Twenty plus years of dance training, six years working in school service organizations.
Why I teach at College for Kids: “College for Kids provides children unique ways to continue the learning process, and I would love to bring the new creative movement art form of hoop dance to enrich the student’s summer experience.”

Brian DeVore
Education: B.S., Penn State Behrend; M.S. Special Education, Mercyhurst University.
Experience: Technology Education Teacher and LEGO Robotics Coach at J.S. Wilson Middle School.
Why I teach for College for Kids: “I like the focus of a hands-on learning experience.”

Catherine DeVore
Education: B.A. Elementary Education, Minor in Spanish, Mercyhurst University and M.S. Special Education, Mercyhurst University
Experience: 15 years teaching 3rd-6th grade in the Erie Area with 12 of those at Harborcreek School District.
Why I teach for College for Kids: “I enjoy working with students and planting the seed for learning.”

Charles Dill
Education: Career Artists/Builder Apprenticed Erie, PA and New York City area
Experience: Thirty plus years Visual Arts.
Why I teach at College for Kids: “The Visual Arts allow students to explore and experience the world around them via personal hands on creation, which builds a sense of confidence and self-worth.  I feel compelled to pass on to the student that which I have learned…..The power to create.”

Jerald Fenner
Education: B.S in Elementary Education, Edinboro University
Experience: 27 years of teaching experience, currently a 5th grade teacher at Iroquois Elementary School.
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I enjoy teaching children. It is exciting to see children learn new concepts and information they might not have understood or experienced before."

Sean Fleming
Education: B.S. Secondary Education Social Studies, Slippery Rock University
Experience: 9th and 11th Grade Social Studies at Central Career and Technical high School, 8-9 year old boys Summer Camp Counselor at Pennbriar Child Care Services
Why I teach at College for Kids: “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child/student “get it” or show a passion for learning.”

Jim Gavio
Education: Penn State Behrend, Electrical Engineering Technology, Edinboro University, B.S. Secondary Education in Earth & Space Sciences with Geology minor
Experience: Over 20 years planetarium experience with the most recent being the Erie Planetarium and now the Yahn Planetarium at Penn State Behrend
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I would like to teach College for Kids because I think more of our young people should have exposure to Astronomy in the Erie area.  I find that many people are fascinated by the subject and want to learn more. Space Science can be interesting for all ages.”

Matt Greene
Education: Business Education B.S.Ed., Indiana University of Pennsylvania 2013. Clarion University of Pennsylvania M. Ed in progress
Experience: IUP Eberly College of Business Technology Manager, Erie Insurance Technology Division, Fairview High School, Business Education Teacher
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I believe that all students should have the opportunity to learn about coding and technology. These skills are in demand for today’s job market.

Kitty Harrington
Education: Villa Maria College B.A. English, University of Pittsburgh Masters in Library Science
Experience: 35 years Children’s Librarian-Erie County Library, Long career as local storyteller using children’s picture books, fairy tales, and legends- Love Baking!
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I am passionate about children’s books and their illustrations. “Create a Story” is an engaging and inclusive way to develop modern learning skills using this amazing art. Every session proves that there really are as many stories as there are readers for every single book.”

Greg, Happ
Education: Edinboro University of PA, Applied Media Arts-Cinema (Film & Video)
Experience: Film production and editing experience
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I’ve always had a deep love and appreciation for film, being able to teach something I love to kids who share a similar interest would be an awesome opportunity.”

Tami Hritzay
Education: B.S. Art Education, Edinboro University.
Experience: Chautauqua Institute teacher in Young Artists and Special Studies programs, Erie Art Museum, Edinboro University (Kids camp program, high school art program, and adult-noncredit classes), Allegheny College (high school art program), returning teacher at CFK, and artist demonstrating and showing at Campbell’s Pottery, author of “The Hole in the Wall” series. 30+ years of teaching art
Why I teach at College for Kids: “Art is my passion. I will never tire of encouraging and inspiring younger artists to be all that they can be! In a world of black and white… let’s color our world!”

Ann Joslin
Education: B.A. History/ Secondary Education, Westminster College; Masters in Elementary Education, Edinboro University; Masters in Library Science, Clarion University
Experience: Management positions at the Erie County Public Library, Elementary Remedial Math/Gifted and Enrichment Teacher at Fort LeBoeuf School District, Adjunct Instructor at Gannon and Clarion Universities
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I have been amazed by the ability of young children to share ideas and by the creativity demonstrated in their hands on projects when they are introduced to quality wordless picture books. I hope to share my passion for reading, illustration, and learning with fun activities for the children.”

TJ Laffan
Education: B.S. in Theater and Communication Arts, Gannon University
Experience: Presenter, Talent Search, Penn State Behrend, “Ancient Games” 2009-2011;Coordinator Teen Program, Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman NY 2011-Present; Presenter/Story Teller  Childrens program, Buchwood Folklore Center Sherman NY 2007-Present;Technical director/instructor Thea189, Penn State Behrend 1997-2011. Enjoys acticing, writing, reading, and parlor games
Why I teach at College for Kids: “What it comes down to is this:  The world around us is not only stranger than you imagine, it is stranger than you CAN imagine. This is why teaching an integrated system that combines Science with Technology with Engineering and Art and math is necessary to learn and solve real world problems.  Plus Oobleck is fun!

Tim Lucas
Education: Over thirty years martial arts experience.
Experience: Over thirty years teaching martial arts and wilderness survival skills.
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I love helping children learn new self-discipline techniques they can use throughout their lives.”

Steven O’Donnell
Education: B.A. History, Penn State Behrend; Teaching Certificate from Edinboro University.
Experience: High School Teacher, musical director, stage manager and a decade of teaching at College for Kids.
Why I teach at College for Kids: “It is a joy to tach the skills of theater to youth”

Stacey Olmstead
Education: Early Education and Elementary Education Degree, Slippery Rock University; Masters in Early Childhood, Edinboro University
Experience: Worked with different age groups. Camp counselor for many years for 8 to 13 age group, worked in a daycare for many years, helped with high school plays, taken many photography classes- Loves taking picturtes and making crafts
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I really enjoy working with kids. I would love to be able to give children the opportunity to find different ways to share their memories with others.”

Doug Osborn
Education: BFA from Edinboro University, M.A. from EUP, PA teaching certificate in Art K-12
Experience: 16 Years teaching at High School level, 7 years teaching at Middle School level, Drawing and sculpture major
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I enjoy working with young minds and helping foster their creativity. I also enjoy making art, and watching an idea turn into an interesting and tangible object.”

Lisa Pearson
Education: B.S. Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Edinboro University; Masters Equivalency +48 credits, Gannon University
Experience: 19+ years as a classroom teacher; currently teaching sixth grade in the Harbor Creek School District; formerly taught first and second grade for 12 years.
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I enjoy the opportunity to teach children who are eager to expand their knowledge in the relaxed fun-filled setting of summer.”

Dan Quiggle
Education: BA History Penn State Behrend, Social Studies Certification
Experience:I have been teaching 7th and 8th grade at the Harborcreek Junior High for over 12 years now!
Why I teach at College for Kids: “Because it is so much fun and I can continue to be a kid at heart!”

Patti Rial
Education: B.S. Education, Edinboro University; M.Ed., Edinboro University; certified Elementary and Reading specialist.
Experience: Thirty three years teaching experience K-7, currently teaching seventh grade reading. Hobbies include camping, crafts, travel, and history.
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I want to share my experiences and my love of history with young people. I hope in this sharing that they will acquire a curiosity and appreciation for our heritage.”

Vicki Saska
Education: B.S. in Elementary/Special Education, Edinboro University, Masters in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
Experience: Special Education teacher for the Fort LeBoeuf School Distrcit from 2003-current.  I have experience in teaching gifted glasses, enrichment classes, math re-teaching classes, beginning Spanish classes and students in need of Learning Support in grades K-5.  Americorp member assigned to the Millcreek Township School District working with the elementary age students in need of academic and/or behavioral support.
Why I teach at College for Kids: “The College for Kids program allows experiential learning to happen.  The hands-on approach is designed to meet the needs of all learners and the families have the opportunity to self select the classes based on individual interests.  The factors allow for a higher level of engagement from the students.

Paul Semrau
Education: B.A., Humanities; M.S. Special Education; certified to teach Elementary and Special Education and High School English.
Experience: Son, husband, father and grandfather; 17 years as a Technical Training Instructor at Verizon/GTE; 3 years as the Emotional Support Teacher at Seneca High School.
Why I teach at College for Kids: “What a fun way to spend the summer!  CFK is a blast!”

Dale Shatto
Education: BS- University of Pittsburgh- major Elementary Education; MA –Grace College – School Administration
Experience: Principal- Girard Alliance Christian Academy, Girard PA; Principal- Houghton Academy, Houghton, NY; Education Program Manager-Junior Achievement, Erie, PA
Why I teach at College for Kids: “To help educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business, and economics enabling them to own their own economic success”

Lindsay Sherman
Education: Received Undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in Elementary Education K-6, received Masters degree from St. Bonaventure University in Differentiated Instruction.
Experience: Hired in 2012 with Bradford Area School District as a 6th grade ELA and Social Studies teacher -worked for 4 years; Harbor Creek School District as a 6th grade ELA teacher at Rolling Ridge Elementary School
Why I teach at College for Kids: “Iwould like to teach College for Kids because I would like the opportunity to show kids that learning is fun. With this opportunity, the kids can enjoy learning in a laid back setting and show their individual creativity and artistic ablility.”

Todd Talbot
Education: B.S. Secondary Education, Edinboro University; M.S. 21st Century Teaching and Learning, Wilkes University.
Experience: 20 year operating Naval Nuclear Power Plants, Chemistry and Physics teacher at Seneca High School.
Why I teach at College for Kids: "College for Kids students have a desire to learn that should not be interrupted by summer vacation."

Theresa Tonelli
Education: B.A. Elementary Education, minor in History, Mercyhurst College; Masters in Special Education, Mercyhurst College.
Experience: Taught with the Erie School District 8.5 years; Taught for the expERIE Children’s museum for 10 years
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I love the program and the people. It allows us to teach more freely.”

Kristin Tregaskis
Education: Masters in Special and Elementary Education, Slippery Rock University
Experience: I have been a substitute teacher for the Erie School District for the last two years.  I also have worked at Chick-Fil-A for five years
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I have been a student coordinator for the past two summers and always have a great time.  This year will be my third year teaching!!”

Jake Trojak
Education: Instructional Media (MS) Wilkes University; Physics, General Science, Secondary Education (BS) Grove City College
Experience: Physics and Math teacher for the past 7 years at Iroquois High School
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I love teacher and I love kids. Teaching College for Kids gives me an opportunity to teach an age group some subject matter that I don’t get to teach during the school year.”

Seth Trott
Education: Bachelor of Business Administartion in finance, 2016, Gannon University; Bachelor of Science in Business, major in Advertising Communications , 2015, Gannon University; Bachelor of Business, major in Music Business, 201-2013, Belmont University Nashville TN.; Certificate for Emergency Subsitute Teaching/ Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2017
Experience: Played guitar entire life and worked a variety of different recording studios across the Pennsylvania and Tennesee areas. Played in various music groups since the age of 12
Why I teach at College for Kids: “This program combines two things that I truly enjoy: teaching and music. I would find it incredibly rewarding to teach students a music/guitar foundation that will allow them to continue their studies outside of the classroom. This is ultimately what I did, having taken a couple of years of lessons when I was 11 years old, only to continue building on those lessons on my own over the course of the following decade or so.”

Julie Vavreck
Education: B.S. Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Masters in Early Childhood Education from Edinboro University. ServSafe Certification.
Experience: Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, Penn State Cooperative Extension Family Living Summer Assistant, hobbies include cooking, baking, sewing, outdoor recreation, and aerobics
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I would like to provide an atmosphere where kids can learn lifelong skills while having fun.”

Melissa Weismiller
Education: United States Air Force, Pennsylvania Paraprofessional Certificate
Experience: Paraprofessional 11 years, College for Kids 8 years
Why I teach at College for Kids: "I love College for Kids!!!!  I think this is a great way for kids to learn more about fun and interesting things and discover what kind of hobbies/interests they like.”

Calvin Wheeler
Education: B.S. Chemistry , Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Experience: Teaching High School since 2012
Why I teach at College for Kids: “It is fun!”

Amber Wildfire
Education: B.S. Computer Engineering, Penn State Behrend
Experience: Computer Instructor – St. James Elementary School
Why I teach at College for Kids: “I love seeing how kids’ minds work. If I can convince at least one student to try engineering, I’ve done a good job.”

Mrs. Vicki Zellefrow
Education: Master’s Equivalency Elementary & Special Education, Mercyhurst University.
Experience: 17+ years experience with the Erie School District, Erie School District Early Intervention program, 3 Years at St. James School
Why I teach at College for Kids: “College for Kids is an exciting opportunity to teach and allow kids to explore enrichment concepts within a relaxed, fun environment.”