Arts, Home Arts, and Design
Cathy has been sewing for over 35 years. She’s taken her passion into the teaching world having taught various sewing and quilting class during the last 22 years. It gives her great pleasure to teach others this useful skill and to see their excitement and confidence increase as they progress. When she’s not sewing, she can be found in the classroom helping special education students. She enjoys being with my husband and three children, creating ceramics, knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking, hiking, and biking.
Don Sheffler is the Photography teacher at Mt Carmel High School. He has been a professional photographer for almost 15 years, mostly in extreme sports, specifically Skateboarding for multiple magazines and online publications through 2017, but now focusing on High School Senior portraits, Headshots, Dance and Sports.
Art has always been a part of my life. I studied fashion design in Canada and worked in the Fashion industry designing active wear. I started Chinese painting at a young age and started professional drawing when I was a teenager. Watercolor painting is still my favorite genre.
Born in La Mesa, I studied Anthropology at the University of Oregon before returning to San Diego to study Art and Education. Now I teach Ceramics and Design & Mixed Media at Mt. Carmel High School. Working as an educator has been a joy and privilege that has blended my passions for the arts and teaching. I am excited to work with Poway Adult School for another session!
Helen Hawes is a professional artist who feels art is like magic because the world disappears when painting begins. Helen revels in both teaching students and collaborating with clients to create beautiful artworks. Her work is included in collections across the country and around the globe.
Jen Powell is a former Engineer turned full time artist. Her paintings use a variety of different acrylic and resin art techniques, and she has showcased her art in local San Diego events. She also makes custom and personalized gifts for the home. She loves teaching and thrives on inspiring others to create.
Alicia Pivirotto-Pearlman grew up eating from her parents’ garden and cooking in her family’s kitchen. She is deeply rooted in her Italian heritage and has spent many years studying and immersed in Italian culture. Alicia graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Public Administration and an emphasis in City Planning. She is a self-proclaimed “food advocate” having adopted various food movements such as farm-to-table eating into her daily life. Following her passion that ‘Food is Medicine’, Alicia earned a certificate in Medicinal Plants from Cornell University. She has continued her studies through various programs and helps regularly in the Vegetable Shop at Chino Farm. You can always find her in the kitchen cooking for her and her family’s health and well-being.
Chef Charles, a very likeable, native San Diegan, began his passion with food over 35 years ago. Believing in the philosophy of “giving back” Charles has made educating others his way of sharing his passion for cooking. Charles has been teaching for over 12 years and has extensive experience in food service production and food service management. His enthusiastic method of teaching transforms his students into skilled cooks. Charles helps his students feel comfortable and eager to experiment in the kitchen.
Sarah has been a Pastry Chef/Baker for Casa de las Campanas in Rancho Bernardo for over 30 years. She started baking right after graduating from Poway High School. She holds multiple certificates in cake decorating including working with buttercream, fondant and pulled sugar. Baking and cake decorating is an art and has always made her happy. She would love to teach you the art.
Health & Active Lifestyle
After 30 years as a communications consultant, Andrew Cretella turned his attention to studying the game of tennis. He certified as a Tennis teaching Professional with the United States Professional Tennis Association and has taught children and adults for over 10 years. He is a member of the San Diego District Tennis Association and is a tennis official of the San Diego County Tennis Umpires Association. He’s coached the tennis teams at San Diego High School and managed the San Diego Eastern League Tournament. He’s also written instructional articles about the game of tennis.
During a summer school class at Grossmont College entitled Introduction to Education, Ed's life-long journey of teaching began. As Ed would say, "/ knew clearly that summer I wanted to teach, what I didn't know at the time was I would be given opportunities to coach, and I fell in love with both."
Ed transferred to SDSU earning his BA in Arts and his CA lifetime teaching credential. He fulfilled his passion for teaching and coaching for 22 years before returning to SDSU to earn a master’s degree in School Leadership and his CA Administrative Credential.
Two things Jesse is passionate about are traveling and living a healthy lifestyle. So far I have been to 19 countries with my top two being Australia and Spain. Other than traveling, I enjoy being active. I have run eight marathons, competed in three Tough Mudder’s and one Spartan Race. During my free time, I spin, do yoga and run. I have been doing spin for the past two years and now I teach it! I am excited to be your instructor. My class will be fun and challenging at the same time. One of my goals is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I just have to run 31 minutes faster.
“The expert in anything was once a beginner”- Unknown
Lisa Taylor specializes in Optimum Fitness, Nutrition and Exercise for all ages and fitness goals.
Maria took her first ZUMBA® Fitness class in 2009 and was instantly hooked. The Latin rhythm and international music give a zest that makes every class feel like a party! She had been teaching Latin rhythm dance and Mexican folk dance for the past 20 years, so Zumba was a great fit. She is committed to make every class fun, engaging, exciting and a great workout. Maria loves to continue her own learning and is constantly improving her instructional skills.
Patti’s fascination with Indian culture and music was the reason she started doing yoga very young. She got certified to teach at the Sivananda School of Yoga and Meditation in the Bahamas and has been teaching for 18 years. Since then, her style has developed into a gentle, mindful practice of yoga where she incorporates meditation techniques. She got certified to teach Tai Chi through Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi. Tai Chi and Qigong, have been a beautiful addition to her life.
Peter Wu is a disciple of Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing, the 19th generation direct lineage holder of Chen style Taijiquan. Peter participated nationwide tournament ICMAC and won gold medals in tai chi hand form and push hand. As a certified coach/ instructor, Peter teaches Tai Chi and healing arts such as Qigong and meditation.
Sattan (Satya) Acharya is a Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher and long-time meditation practitioner. Satya has completed Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program taught by Dr. Jack Kornfield and Dr. Tara Brach, which was developed by Awareness Training Institute in partnership with Sounds True and the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at UC Berkeley.
He is also a biotech business executive. During his free time, Satya likes hiking, biking, and meditating. Satya is originally from Nepal and now lives in Rancho Bernardo with his family.
Shawn has been teaching in San Diego since 1995. He opened the studio ‘Dance For 2’, now better known as San Diego’s Dance Headquarters in 2005. Shawn is an incredible and gifted teacher. Although he specializes in Ballroom, club, and Latin dance, he can teach over 20 other different dance styles. He loves what he does and thoroughly enjoys introducing people to the world of dance!
Yolanda worked for the Princess Cruise Line as a professional dance, and she has danced in the film industry. She has danced in movies such as Grease, Xanadu, and Thank God its Friday. Her understanding and knowledge of the body has helped her become a skilled teacher. Whether you’re taking “Killer Sculptured Abs” or “Strength Training for Seniors”, she designs the class to the abilities of her students.
When she is not teaching, Yolanda loves reading and is in two book clubs. She is also learning how to golf.
Carol Gratzke received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles with a major in Italian and a minor in German. Carol spends her retirement as a volunteer for many causes including the San Diego Italian Film Festival. Carol loves to travel and has reconnected with her Italian roots traveling twice annually to fully immerse herself in the Italian Culture. She has even received her Italian citizenship. Carol teaches Italian, working with children of all ages and being a Nonna to Julian and Chanel, as well as being the proud Zia of Isaac, Benjamin, Irma and Irene
Maria Buendia is a native Spanish speaker, sharing the love for her language and culture has become a passion. She was born and raised in Sonora, Mexico, graduated with a master’s degree in international business, and is currently working at PUSD. She loves teaching Spanish and will bring much of her culture into the classroom. Her students will learn about cultural differences, traditions and have fun while learning a new language. Maria believes that her enthusiastic, cultural approach to teaching Spanish enables students to acquire language skills in a manner that keeps them interested and motivated. She has been teaching for several years, and her goal is that students will step out of her class feeling confident speaking Spanish daily. On her free time, she loves to hike around beautiful San Diego.
David brings to the table over 15 years of real estate experience with a deep expertise in lending. He enjoys helping others achieve their personal goals through home ownership, investment property purchases or using their real estate as a tool to improve their financial situation. David studied finance at Brigham Young University and received his MBA from UCLA – The Anderson School of Management, with a focus on real estate. He enjoys spending time with his wife and four kids, all beach activities and being active outdoors.
Gigi is a professional modeling instructor and posture coach with 20 years of experience. Gigi is not only the founder of Gigi's Modeling & Acting Studio but is also the modeling instructor for John Casablanca’s Modeling and Career Center. Gigi's students are between the ages of 6 and 65. In addition to teaching modeling and posture, Gigi continues to actively teach styling, makeup, acting and workout. Gigi is very passionate about teaching and helping people create greater health and beauty.
John LoPiccolo is an accomplished conductor and music director with more than 30 years of professional and teaching experience. John attended the famed High School of Music and Art in New York, a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education from San Francisco State University and later received a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from Eastern Washington University. When not studying one of the more than 1000 scores in his collection, he enjoys cooking, constructing, flying model airplanes and spending time with his family.
Dr. Mitchell is a writer, professor, ballerina, creator of "feel good" wellness blog + handmade shop, and a neurotrauma researcher. She is so happy to be pursuing her passion of health communication and health education. Her greatest pleasure is learning to enjoy her life and teaching other people to do the same, often through wellness.
Michael is a portfolio manager and an RIA/Fiduciary. He has been in the Financial Services industry since 1999. Michael has been teaching Financial Planning for Women for over 15 years. He loves interacting with his students and getting student feedback. The class he teaches has been built around the concept of making complex, hard to understand financial and economic principles understandable and interesting. The focus is to make the material approachable and the learning environment interactive and fun.
Ulli Reiner-Marcus, director of our Symphonette is also the manager, founder and concertmaster of the Poway Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Reiner’s musical studies began at the age of 3 ½ when she learned to play the cornet. She played trumpet throughout her youth through college. At age 11 she started studying the violin. She has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe. In 2011 Ulli became the conductor of the Concert Strings ensemble with the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory. Ulli’s current passion is working with the Raptor Resource Project, composing an original piece for solo violin representing the Decorah, Iowa bald eagle family. Ulli has also produced a 2015 calendar for the Poway Symphony Orchestra in celebration of the 10th anniversary. Look up in the skies of San Diego for Ulli to be flying around piloting a Piper Cherokee plane.
Career & Technical Education
Debra was born and raised in San Diego and has worked for over 40 years in both computerized and non-computerized accounting systems. She has been a controller or in a management position in every company she has worked for and can therefore easily spot possible areas for improvement in your business. She knows how to set up accounting processes and procedures for efficiency. She enjoys fine dining, attending concerts, personal development, mystery novels, crafts, bicycling and living a holistic lifestyle.
Gregg is a highly qualified business owner with a 20-year profile of success in the real estate and financial industries as a Real Estate Broker, Investor, and Business Banker. He has helped many people navigate the real estate market with finding foreclosure bargains, accomplishing a short sale, and investing in real estate. Gregg’s background also includes work in the entertainment industry and film/TV production. In addition to his real estate and finance classes, Gregg has coached attorneys, national speakers, radio personalities, and accomplished film actors. Gregg has taught hundreds of classes over the years and enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience to help his students.
Melanie Fink is a Special Education teacher for Poway Unified. She works at Abraxas High School in the Transition Program. She has also taught a kindergarten/1st grade ASD class and worked as a Full Inclusion Specialist. She holds a master’s degree in Autism. Her passion is working with people with disabilities, and she is excited to share her knowledge with others.
Deedee is a well-known face at Poway Adult School and continues to represent student achievement through various disciplines. She has experience at Poway with teaching English as a Second Language to students of all learning levels. Currently, Deedee teaches Citizenship Preparation and helps students achieve their naturalization status. She has been teaching Citizenship since 2011 and loves every minute of this process. It is her great pleasure to prepare students for this life-changing event, and she enjoys hearing about the many adventures and experiences students go through on their journey to the final Oath Ceremony.