Community Education

Instructor Bios

David Anderson is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. He has an extensive background in popular, jazz and classical guitar styles, both as a performer and as a recording artist. He has given guitar and piano lessons to students of all ages and skill levels. His
teaching method involves helping students to improve both their music reading and aural skills.  He offers hands-on demonstrations of the techniques that students need in order to become better guitarists.

David teaches Beginning & Intermediate Guitar  for EMCC.

Kevin Anderson is a first generation Arizona Native who has been freelance illustrating for the past 18 years. He has a burning desire to create; persevering as long as it takes. Kevin's healthy dissatisfaction with every piece of art he has ever done, coupled with the urge and desire to do it better the next time, has aided him well in his artistic adventures. Kevin's specialty is in illustration, working in comic books and children's books illustration. Never satisfied with what he has learned and always looking for new information on and about the mediums he uses. Seeking to have simplicity, directness, and accuracy in all his work and loves to share what he has learned with others.

Kevin teaches Basic Drawing, an Introduction, Children's Book Illustration: An Intro. to Mixing Media, and Comic Book Illustration: Super Hero Anatomy.

Christopher Black is a Program Manager at Estella Mountain Community College's SouthWest Skill Center.  Chris holds a Master's degree in Education and Training.  Prior to coming to the college, he spent over 30 years in the Fire/EMS service and retired as a Division Chief.

Chris teaches the Kids College Fire Academy and the Babysitter Safety courses.

Malcolm Blazer has been a professional artist for over 30 years and in the valley since 1989. He has trained at the Laguna College of Art & Design. In addition to instructing Malcolm also does critiques and judging for art groups in the West Valley area, and at Arizona Art Supply in Sun City. Malcolm’s paintings are in corporate and private collections across the United States. 

Malcolm teaches Oil Painting, Oil Painting for Beginners I & II, Beginning Watercolors, and Introduction to Pastel this semester. 

Dr. Kyle Brown is currently the Director of Music at Youngker High School. He has worked as the Director of Instrumental Music at Odyssey Institute for Advanced and International Studies, Band Director/Music Specialist in the Avondale Elementary School District, Principal at Phoenix Christian Central Elementary, and had many Band and Music positions for over 25 years from Oregon to Indiana to Arizona. He is a member of the Music Educators National Conference and the Arizona Music Educators Association.

Dr. Brown is co-director for the new Community Band at EMCC.

Tina Clark graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Choral Music Education.  She has been teaching in the Litchfield Elementary School District for the past 27 years. Tina is presently teaching K-5 General Music and Choir at Palm Valley Elementary School and is also the church choir director for Calvary United Methodist Church where she has been the director for the past 22 years. Tina also teaches private piano and voice lessons. She is currently teaching Voice I & II at EMCC in the credit area. Tina is an active member of the AMEA (Arizona Music Educators Association).

Tina is the director of the new Community Choir at EMCC.

Holly Dison loves being a teacher in all capacities. She teaches all levels of mathematics from beginning algebra to upper level engineering mathematics courses at Estrella Mountain Community College. For fun and exercise she teaches and performs Aerial Arts and Acrobatics- that is, she likes to imagine that she is in Cirque Du Soleil, but mostly teaches an performs locally. Holly co-owns a studio located in Tempe call The Vertical Fix, where she teaches Aerial Fabrics, Corde Lisse, Static Trapeze, Lyra, and Aerial Beast (a.k.a. conditioning for aerialists). For relaxation she enjoys drawing intricate patters and coloring in the latest coloring books for adults, which include everything from finely detailed animals and insects to beautiful mandalas and tesselations. Holly also folds many different kinds of origami and travels during the summers to the Origami USA annual convention in New York. In addition, she attends the Pacific Coast Origami Conventions held in the fall at various locations in the South West. After learning new models at the conventions, Holly loves to teach her friends what she has learned at their Friday Food-N-Fold sessions. She also teaches origami workshops to Junior High and High School students for the Hermana's conferences held in the spring at EMCC, and for the Employee Day of Learning Sessions at the beginning of each school year. She is excited to join the other Community Education Instructors as she teaches an Origami class.

Holly teaches To Fold or Not to Fold (Origami)

Dr. Milagro E. Escalona has her Ph. D. in Spanish from Az. State University, M.A. in Spanish from the University of New Mexico, M.A. in Geography from the University of Utah, B.A. in Geography and History  from the Instituto Universitario Pedagogico de Caracas, and B.A. in Spanish from Utah State University. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Dr. Escalona has been teaching Spanish for over thirty years. She was a Full Time Faculty at Estrella Mountain Community College from 1996 to 2013. Prior to teaching at EMCC she taught at Utah State University, Mesa Community College, Rio Salado Community College, Columbus University (Georgia), Scottsdale Community College, and Arizona State University. After retiring in 2013, Dr. Escalona started teaching Spanish Basics and Spanish Basics II for the Community Education Department at EMCC. In both classes the emphasis is on pronunciation and speaking. Dr. Escalona's teaching style includes a variety of techniques and activities which create an active students involvement in class. She uses resources available on the internet (mainly YouTube videos), PowerPoint slides to introduce each one of the topics, visual aids, props, games, music, and short stories. Students work in groups or in pairs to reinforce the classroom activities and present the material to the students more effectively. Areas of interest: Language Teaching Methodology and Contemporary Latin American and Spanish Theatre.  

Milagro teaches Spanish Basics and Spanish Basics II.

Steve Griffiths

Steve is part of the Culinary faculty at EMCC, and also acts as the program director. Steve gained his culinary experience from the kitchens of the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, The Crowne Plaza Hotel, and Legal Sea Foods of Boston. In addition to holding Executive Chef, Chef Garde Manger, and Banquet Chef positions, he brings many years of teaching experience to the students of EMCC. Steve earned an AAS in Culinary Arts from White Mountains Community College, a BAS from Arizona State University, and an M. Ed in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Further culinary training was received at the Notter School of Pastry Arts, The French Pastry School, and 2006 World Pastry Forum.
Steve has taught for EMCC Kid's College off and on throughout the past 11 years. In 2012, he traveled to Boston for the summer to teach for Expo Chef, an intensive summer culinary program for 13-16 year olds.

Steve is teaching the Culinary Kids College classes.

Jeff Holmes has been in the financial services industry  for 24 years and holds the following securities registrations: Series 7, 65, and 63. He also holds the following insurance licenses: Life, Accident & Health, Disability, and Property & Casualty. He teaches Financial and Retirement Planning Workshops at local companies and Community Colleges.

Jeff teaches these workshops using simple and easy to understand concepts and strategies. Jeff teaches Planning for a Comfortable  Financial Future for EMCC.

Donna Huisinga has been a resident of the valley since 1984. She is originally from Illinois and a graduate of University of Illinois. Donna began playing mah jongg in the 80s and currently plays at least twice a week. Donna teaches at EMCC and also teaches small groups in private homes across the valley. She loves the game for the strategy involved, yet still enjoys the fun factor. Mah jongg is a social game for the young and old alike.

Donna teaches Beginning and Intermediate Mah Jongg for EMCC.

Nadine Johnson works as the Coordinator of Curriculum and Scheduling in Estrella Mountain Community College's Instructional Services Department. She has also been an adjunct instructor in the Instructional Computing Department since 2010. Nadine has taught various computer classes ranging from Microsoft Office, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Photoshop, QuickBooks, and Introduction to Computers. She is an Arizona native that loves the outdoors, traveling, and spending time with her family and pets.

Nadine teaches Introduction to Microsoft Computer & Microsoft Office and Basic Photoshop.

Bruce Laks holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from Florida State University, is a 29-year member of SAG-AFTRA and a long-time member of the Society of American Fight Directors. Originally from New York City, Bruce has lived in the Phoenix area for over 21 years. Mr. Laks currently teaches theatre at Arizona Conservatory for Arts and Academics and is an Artistic Associate for Southwest Shakespeare Company. he has taught theatre in the Paradise Valley and Mesa school districts and at a Scottsdale charter school. Bruce's educational theatre work includes a long-term artist residency in Chattanooga, TN, several years' touring in Arizona with the Courtyard Players and three semester-long tours with the educational troupe Poetry Alive. His acting work on the east coast includes lead roles in Camelot, Rumors, Convertible Girl, Richard II, The Nerd, and Speed-the-Plow as well as many supporting roles. Bruce is an AriZoni Award-nominated stage combat instructor/choreographer performer. His brief scene with Sarah Jessica Parker in Disney's Flight of the Navigator earned him his Screen Actors Guild card. Here in Arizona, Mr. Laks has performed lead or featured roles for Southwest Shakespeare Co./Shakespeare Sedona. Elsewhere around the Valley he's performed with Arizona Broadway Theatre, The Palms Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, Childsplay, Class 6 Theatre, Don Bluth Front Row Theatre, Front Row Theatre, The Cookie Company, iTheatre, Collaborative, Desert Stages Theatre, TheatreWorks, and numerous other Phoenix-are companies. Bruce has had several AriZoni award nominations and won for directing East Valley Children's Theatre's Swiss Family Robinson.

Bruce teaches Taking the Stage: Acting for Everyone!

Dr. Robert Massey was born in Northern California and raised in Missouri and Kentucky. He graduated from high school in historic Liberty, Missouri. From there he earned his B.S. from Western Kentucky Univ. and an M.Ed. from the Univ. of West Alabama. Dr. Massey finished education with an ED.D. from Arizona State University. A forty year history teaching career started at Bowling Green, KY in 1970. Robert continues to teach U.S. History and U.S. Military His. at Estrella Mountain Community College today.
Dr. Massey has researched his ancestors and found that he has "kin" that served on both sides during the Civil War. He is a member of both the Sons of Union Veterans and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. As a 10-year member of the National Genealogy Committee for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, he does 3 to 5 researches every week to verify honorable services in the SCA army for men that want to join SCV. 

Theresa McNeal recently moved back to Arizona after living in northern California for 18 years. She has been taking Middle Eastern dance classes for over 13 years, and performed with a group of dancers on the Mendocino coast for over 12 years. They performed many styles including Tunisian, Turkish, and Egyptian which often included props such as zills, cane, as well as balancing a sword, cane, or basket. Theresa looks forward to sharing some of the basic techniques that she has learned along with her love of the dance and music.

Theresa teaches Belly Dancing.

Chef Frank Coloma graduated from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute with an AOS in Culinary Arts after serving 5 years with the US Army in artillery. He has worked in the kitchens of The Terrace and Mary Elaine's at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, AZ., and held the position of Sous Chef for Different Pointe of View at Hilton Pointe Tapatio Cliffs in Phoenix, AZ. Chef Coloma has also held positions with M Concepts Catering, Lucs Restaurant, and was the Resident Chef for Sur la Table, managing the culinary program. Chef Coloma recently started teaching at Apollo High School, where he is the department chair and FCCLA adviser for all advanced culinary students.

Robert Rudy is a retired Arizona Instrumental Music Educator with a Bachelor's degree in Instrumental Music Education and a Master's in Educational Leadership. Both degrees were given by Eastern Michigan University. He has additional education from University of Phoenix, Arizona State University, and conducting workshops through University of Colorado at Aspen and University of Texas at San Antonio. Bob taught music education in Michigan for eleven years (grades 4 through 12) before moving to Arizona where he taught Instrumental Music in the Paradise Valley Unified School District for 24 years in all grade levels. He has taught at Notre Dame High School in Scottsdale, and in the elementary districts of Washington, Avondale, and Littleton in the Phoenix area. Bob has served as woodwind coach for Agua Fria H. S., Desert Edge H.S., Tolleson H.S., and Verrado High School during marching seasons. He is active as a clinician for Solo and Ensemble Festivals. Robert performs with the Phoenix College Concert Band, and previously performed with the Scottsdale Concert Band where he served as Asst. Director, music Librarian, and Clarinet Section Leader. In the summer, he performs with the Glendale Summer Band where he serves as Concert Master and Asst. Director. Robert is passionate about conducting and his teachers have included Dr. William D. Revelli and Dr. H. Robert Reynolds of the University of Michigan; the late Dr. Harry Begian of Michigan State University and the University of Illinois; and Richard Floyd, Director of Music in Texas. Mr. Rudy is a member of the Arizona Music Educators Association, American School Band Directors Association, National Band Association, National Association for Music Education, and the Texas Bandmasters Association and Texas Educators Association.

Bob is the co-director of our new Community Band.

Regina Snipp is an Adjunct Professor if Music here at EMCC. She teaches voice, piano, and music history. She also has her own music studio where she teaches private piano and voice lessons. Recently she was accepted into the Doctor of Musical Arts program at Boston University. She has been a judge for the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) vocal competitions as well as a judge for local private school piano competitions. In addition, she is in charge of music outreach for Estrella Mountain Community College.

Regina is teaches Piano, Beginning Group

Kim Wagner-Hemmes is a native Chicagoan whose passion for reptiles led her to the Arizona desert in 2001. Her interest in herpetology began while completing a Master of Arts degree in Art History with a Certificate in Museum Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. While there, she also developed a strong interest in film, which ultimately led to the production of her first documentary. The 2008 version of The Reptile Sanctuary was featured in the "Crocodiles: Ancient Survivors" exhibit at the Arizona Museum of Natural History and was the recipient of a Telly Award that same year. A new 2014 version has also been released, and is now available for sale at Other independent film projects include: Scream Machine (2015), Dead Enders (2010), and The Domain (2007). In addition to her involvement with film and herpetology, Wagner-Hemmes works as an academic/program advisor and freelance writer/photographer.

Kim teaches Photo Transfer onto Clothing and Photomontage.

Debra Williams has been a professional artist, living in the West Valley, for over 35 years. Her passions are teaching and creating, and she enjoys sharing her knowledge with adults and children, alike. Debra's specialty is working with gourds because "each canvas is so unique." In addition to providing education locally, she is a co-chair of the judging committee with the Arizona Gourd Society and Vice-President of her local Gourd Patch. Debra is also the illustrator of a recently published book, A Flash of Spirit. She is a graduate of NAU with a Bachelor degree in fine arts with an emphasis on design.

Debra teaches Gourds, Beginning Calligraphy, and the Kids College Spring Break class Fun With Art.

Bonnie Wolff is a certified Gemologist who has worked as an instructor at the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, CA presenting classes and seminars in the subjects of diamond grading, gem identification, colored stone grading, pearl grading and identification of synthetic diamonds. She has also worked for Heritage Appraisers in Ohio where she provided monthly jewelry appraisal services to retail stores in West/Central Florida. Bonnie is currently the owner of Wolff Appraisal and Consulting in Scottsdale, Arizona, which is an independent jewelry appraisal and consulting service for Phoenix and the surrounding area working with diamonds, colored gemstones, pearls, gem identification, and presentation. She is a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. Bonnie is also currently a gemologist with Steven Kretchner Design of Scottsdale where she coordinates orders, oversees quality control of jewelry coming from the shop, and inspects gemstones sent in from retail stores to be set. Bonnie won the Montana/Wyoming Jeweler of the Year (Affiliate of Jewelers of America) award in 2004-2005.

Bonnie teaches Diamonds, Colored Stones, Gems of Arizona & the U.S., Pearls, and Period Jewelry.