Instructor Biographies

Print
Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

The Parks & Recreation Department employs MANY very talented individuals for the purposes of leading or teaching a variety of activities and classes.

We have listed some of their biographies here in an effort to share their talents, and to help you choose classes with instructors that you would like to learn from.

Listings are by area of expertise, and then in alphabetical order by last name:

Aqua Instructors   

Jan Schlotzhauer -

Jan was born in San Augustine, TX and has lived in Loveland since November 1973. She is married to Ed (for over 43 years now), has a married daughter, two married sons, and 7 grandchildren (so far).

Jan has taught Aqua Aerobics at the Chilson Recreation Center for over 25 years.  She has been an instructor, trainer and a member of the United States Water Fitness Association for many years. Jan is also certified through AFAA. 

Her class participants are always an encouragement to her - their commitment to becoming & staying fit, their care & concern for each other, and their friendliness has meant so much over the years. She loves being a part of their fitness and life-style improvement!

Jan Schlotzhauer
Environmental Education  

Michele Van Hare -

Environmental Education
Open Lands Volunteer Coordinator

Michele was born in Kokomo, Indiana and grew up in Colorado, spending summers in Estes Park. Michele holds Bachelor’s degrees in veterinary medicine and animal science, and has taught science in Grand Junction and Loveland.
With a Master’s degree in Recreation Resource Management and a specialty in Naturalist Interpretation from Colorado State University (CSU), Michele began her career as an interpreter for the United States Forest Service (USFS).

Michele has taught Environmental Education for 25+ years, including 18 years at the City’s Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park and more recently at River’s Edge Natural Area.  She has developed curriculum and leads interpretive programs for several agencies, schools, and even programs on her family’s farm, Wolf Thunder Run.

Michele is passionate about connecting people with nature and enjoys working with the children and families who attend programs and classes offered through the Open Lands Division. Michele also appreciates all of the wonderful people who volunteer in our community.

Michele has been married to Greg for 25 years; their son, Jason is now in college and their daughter, Sarah is in high school.

Michele Van Hare 2015 
Fitness/Wellness Instructors & Personal Trainers
Massage Therapist Information
is found on the web page HERE.

Massage Therapy

Personal Trainer Information
is found on the web page HERE.

Personal Training

Barbara Heller -

Wellness Instructor
Qigong for Health

I was led to Qigong while trying to heal from a debilitating thoracic spinal injury. This led to studying Qigong with Dr Yang Jwing
Ming (YMAA.com), and Qigong Healing with Lisa B OShea.
In the past, I was also the Arthritis Foundation certified instructor of P.A.C.E. (People With Arthritis Can Exercise) at the Chilson Recreation Center from 1992-1998.
I have an empathy for folks who struggle with chronic disease and pain. Qigong is a branch of Chinese medicine which enables one to balance the body's energies for health, clarity and calm through relaxing meditation and slow gentle movements.
Qi (pronounced chee) is the life force energy which flows through everything. Practicing Qigong is therefore a moving meditation and is unique in that it can be practiced by anyone.

 Barb Heller Qigong Namaqua

Robin Hughes - RYT (owner/lead instructor)

Yoga Instructor
Adult/Tot Yoga; Youth Yoga

Robin is a certified instructor in sharing yoga with children, adults, and families. She began her training with Rainbow Kids Yoga after many years of exploring her personal yoga practice. Wanting to learn more she completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Holistic Yoga School in Ft. Collins. Her latest training includes Trauma Sensitive Yoga used in conjunction with therapy for trauma survivors.  She is also a certified elementary school teacher who has over 11 years of teaching experience. She currently teaches English Language development at 2 elementary schools in Fort Collins. She is highly qualified to work with elementary students, English language learners of all ages, and holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary reading and literacy. She often brings her love for learning and literacy into her yoga classes as well.
Robin opened Family Balance Yoga in June of 2014 to bring yoga classes to children and families throughout Northern Colorado. She believes that a healthy body, healthy mind, and healthy heart are the keys to living a happy life, and through yoga all of these can be found. She can be reached at robin@familybalanceyoga.com

Robin Hughes

Courtney Tobey -

Fitness Instructor

Zumba® Zumba® Kids and Zumba® Kids, Jr
Courtney learned about Zumba® Fitness several years ago, and after taking in her first class, she was truly hooked.  She became a long-time Zumba® participant, then a Zumba® enthusiast, and now a Zumba® Instructor because she loves the beats & rhythms of Zumba® and the amazing energy it brings that fuels the body to move and the intense fun you can have in a Zumba® class!

Courtney loves teaching Zumba® for all ages, including her own two daughters! She teaches Zumba,® Zumba® Kids and Zumba® Kids, Jr. The Zumba® Kids program is the ultimate dance-fitness party for young Zumba® fans ages 3-12.

Zumba® Fitness is so exciting! She has watched the combination of music & movement change so many lives including her own. What started as a part-time hobby, is now her career. She encourages you to start movin' and feel the music!

Courtney Tobey

Sarah Vrem -

Fitness Instructor

Zumba®, Zumba® Kids, and Zumba® Kids Jr.

Sarah stumbled into a Zumba® fitness class five years ago and instantly became excited about a new way of looking at exercise. She went to her first class as a student not knowing what to expect. Like a lot of people, she had seen the commercials on TV and found herself curious. Could you really burn that many calories dancing and having fun at the same time? She had no dance background whatsoever! Guess what? She survived and continued going back. It got easier each time as she got more familiar with the instructors and some of the basic movements. The important thing is SHE WENT BACK! For the first time in her life, she found a form of exercise that she really enjoyed and made her want to go to the gym. She was hooked and gets a little grumpy if she can’t go to Zumba®!

Zumba®Kids (ages 7-11) and Zumba®Kids Jr.(ages 4-6) classes are an excellent way for kids to move to age appropriate music and let loose. It’s a chance for them to be themselves and dance like no one is watching! She is thrilled to have this opportunity to teach to these age groups and can’t wait to get started!

Sarah feels honored to be a Licensed Zumba® Instructor and to share what she discovered 5 years ago. Zumba® is exercise incognito but it can also be so much more than that!

If you have never been to a class before, we encourage you to try it out and see if it is a good fit for you or your child. Come sweat out your stressors in life and dance with us to make your heart healthy and happy.  We hope to see you soon.

Sarah Vrem

Donna Wild -

Wellness Instructor

Planting Herbs, Infused Vinegars & Oils

Donna has studied, practiced and taught holistic health to doctors and laymen for the past 30 years. She started teaching Yoga and herbal classes for the City of Loveland in 1987.  Donna has owned and operated a commercial herbal greenhouse west of town. She has written, published, broadcasted and lectured extensively on natural restorative methods for human and animal health.

In May 2012 Donna celebrated the release of her book, "The Skin, Tongue and Nails Speak: Observational Signs of Nutritional Deficiencies". Donna lives in downtown Loveland where she has a private practice, works as a consultant, lecturer & author, and lovingly tends to her organic vegetable & herb gardens.

 Donna Wild
General Interest Class Instructors

Heather Brooks - 

Petite Ballet, Youth/Teen Ballet
and Adult Ballet Instructor

Heather grew up in central Florida and began her dance training as a young girl in her school’s music and art departments. In high school, Heather was named Lead Choreographer for the musical theater department and went on to choreograph several musicals and performances for the group for three years. Upon graduating from high school, Heather was accepted into the Dance program at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida where she was trained in Classical Ballet and Modern Dance techniques. During college, Heather was also employed as a performer and dancer with Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and performed for crowds in various shows.

In January 2016, Heather and her family relocated from Florida to Loveland and have been enjoying living in our beautiful community.  Living in Loveland, a town that embraces art, has inspired Heather to reconnect with her former artistic abilities and begin to get involved with dance again.  She is excited to teach and share the love of dance with our community and to see dance continue to be celebrated in our town.

 

Kirsten Easton - 

Kirsten Easton is a burgeoning playwright and committed educator. Kirsten has worked for Native Voices at the Autry and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Occidental College in both Theater and Sociology.  She also has a Master’s of Fine Arts in Theater, with a concentration in playwriting from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Her plays have been performed in Los Angeles, NYC, Chicago, Houston, Milwaukee, Columbus, Fayetteville, AK and Carbondale, IL.

 

Ginger Fedak -

Horses/Riding Instructor

Ginger was born in the Cleveland, OH area and has lived in the Boulder, Berthoud, and Loveland area since 1986. She has a married daughter, a married son, and 4 young grandchildren.

Ginger has taught horseback riding since she was 16 years old and with the Chilson Recreation Center for nearly 10 years. She has been an Instructor and Trainer for over 20 cumulative years and an Owner/Partner of Sun Pony Ranch in Berthoud since 2004. She met her current business Partners when they were all Volunteers at Colorado Horse Rescue doing Adoption Committee work and riding evaluations among many volunteer activities there.

Her class participants enjoy the relaxed atmosphere to learn about horses & riding with concern for the horses point of view, as well as strong communication, bonding, and understanding each others “language.” She loves watching the joy that horses & humans give each other as they learn!

 Ginger Fedak Harley Sun Pony Ranch

Kelsey Forsyth - 
Toddler/Youth
Science & Outdoor Class Instructor

Kelsey hails from Central Michigan University with a Degree in Outdoor & Environmental Recreation. She has lead interpretive hikes and programs for 3 seasons as a Colorado Parks & Wildlife Naturalist, fulfilling her passion for environmental education. She has most enjoyed creating programs that introduce children to the resouces right in our backyard. In Winter 2014, she plans to bring the wonders of Colorado into the classroom with both science and fun!

Kelsey Forsyth

Vel Green -
Cheer & Dance
and Webby Dance Instructor

Vel was born to dance, inspire, motivate and make everything more fun! Energetic, enthusiastic and passionate about what she does, Vel began a career in modeling / dance / cheerleading / fitness at the age of 15, and she has built a professional resume’ that is a perfect fit for Webby Dance Company.

Vel was a California Webby franchise owner from to before she and her family relocated to Ft. Collins in 2009. She has since been the Owner/Director of The Cheer and Dance Connection building a reputation within the community, as the “best little cheer gym in town” and she is someone who knows how to grow a business with a unique community-centered business model.

With a desire to promote Webby Dance Company in Northern Colorado, she is pleased to open this new territory and she would say that she has “missed my connection with Webby and I can’t wait to introduce and grow the business here in Colorado!".

With a diversified background in dance / cheer / fitness performance / coaching, Vel's emphasis is on providing a quality programs at affordable prices and giving back to the community. At the heart of her professional goals and objectives is a commitment to a “special needs” dance-pom team, a high school cheerleading try-out preparation program, a community cheer program offered through the City of Fort Collins and now a desire to get Webby Dance Company into pre-schools and childcare centers throughout Northern Colorado.

 
 

David Hays - 

Acting for the Camera Class Instructor

David is an actor and voice-over talent with years of professional experience in front of the camera (and microphone), as well as on stage. For nearly 50 years David’s number one passion has been acting - either on stage or on camera.

He applies an amazing breadth of experience and knowledge to the subject of acting: from the simplest directions, “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much” (John Wayne), to more esoteric dictums such as, "Invent nothing; deny nothing" (David Mamet.)

He has also had careers in high-tech engineering and audio-video production. He was once a waiter and drove a cab for a living. He has a BA in Liberal Arts. Today he is semi-retired and still seeks the meaning of life. He rides a bicycle a lot and lives with 4 cats.

He is a veteran of the Vietnam war, and a survivor of a typical-American-family of the 1950's and 60's.

 

Paige Keck -

Art/Drawing Class Instructor 

Paige began her adventure in teaching art in 2004 with Young Rembrandts and fell in love with being in the classroom and with her young artist friends. In 2008 she began creating her own curriculum and has taught after school drawing lessons for school-aged artists, Mommy and Me style classes for pre-schoolers, summer camps and special workshops ever since. Her curricula include: "Ready, Set, Draw"; "Ready, Set, Draw with Me"; "Cartooning Ready, Set Draw"; "Messy Hands Art" and "Drawing Games". She has an MSW from New Mexico Highlands University which gives her a different perspective on her classes. “There’s a lot more going on in here than what winds up on the page,” she says of her students' experiences in the classroom. She creates an atmosphere of ease and fun that helps reluctant and enthusiastic artists alike express themselves and master basic drawing and artistic skills.

Paige Keck 2013

Laurie Landers -

Small Fries Preschool Program, Director/Teacher

Laurie has a diverse early childhood portfolio. Her 20+ years of combined experience and education in preschool, family childcare and center care (both non-profit and corporate), gives her a broad perspective from which to draw on. Her knowledge and expertise in working with parents and children are only surpassed by her passion for the profession -which is evident by the many years of teaching and a variety of volunteer work. Laurie has been director certified since 1997 and continues to attend early childhood courses that enhance her education and strengthen her skills. Laurie is dedicated to designing and implementing meaningful learning experiences that support and nurture the development of the whole child.

The Small Fries web page is HERE.

Laurie Landers 2013

Jackie Lillis -

Tots & Toddlers Arts & Crafts
Class Instructor

Jackie is a certified K-12 Art Educator and a 2008 graduate from the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). She previously spent three years working at New Vision Charter School as the K-8 art teacher and volleyball coach. After having her first child, she decided to be a stay at home mom. She is originally from southern Illinois and has lived in Colorado since 2006. She has two children (ages 4 and 2) and is very excited to get back to sharing her passion of creating art with children! She believes that children are master creators and watching them grow and learn through hands on self-discovery is such a privilege. Self-expression and technique building are her main focus when teaching art along with having lots of fun! In her free time she likes to teach and learn about essential oils, practice yoga, play volleyball, make gifts for friends and spend time with her husband and children discovering new and fun things to do in northern Colorado.

Jackie Lillis

Milt Mays -

Fly Fishing Class Instructor

Milt has caught almost every species of salt and freshwater fish on a fly rod, from a 150 lb. Tarpon to Alaska Salmon to high mountain Cutthroat Trout.  He's won awards for his flies, guided on the Big Thompson River and in Rocky Mountain National Park, and is a certified Federation of Fly Fishers Casting Instructor.  He's a member of the local Trout Unlimited group and has recently published two fiction books, "The Guide", a thriller, and "Take the F...ing Fly", an irreverent illustrated poem book on the wisdoms & frustrations of fly fishing. 

He's taught this class and others like it for many years. Follow him on his website: www.miltmays.com   

Milt Mays Big Horn Big Fish

 

Milt Mays The Guide Milt Mays Take Fly Cover

Jessica Morgan - 

Botanical / Herbal / Horticulture Instructor

Jessica is a certified Herbalist and Horticultural Therapist specializing in herbal education for wellness, horticultural therapy and therapeutic garden design. She’s been a practicing self-taught herbalist since 1992, completing her first 3-year herbal certification at the East West School of Herbology under Dr. Michael Tierra, O.M.D and clinical herbalist / acupuncturist Lesley Tierra, L.Ac., AHG in 2006. Also during this time she completed her Master Gardener certification, her AS in Environmental Horticulture and Crop Science, and worked as a botanical research biologist for the University of California Stanislaus to protect endangered California native plant species.
Five years ago, she relocated to Colorado and studied at the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism and the School of Natural Medicine in Boulder, CO.
Currently, she’s completing her BS degree in Horticultural Therapy at Colorado State University with an emphasis in growing and using medicinal plants for health, and also completing professional registration at the Horticultural Therapy Institute in Denver CO. Her continuing education and personal interests focus on strategic classes that include Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Indigenous Western Herbalism, herb farming and providing wellness through healing dietary practices and horticultural therapy.
Jessica is founder and owner of Morgan Botanicals and the School of Creative Herbalism in Loveland. She offers classes, workshops, eBooks, garden design and consultations, herbal apprenticeship, and therapeutic horticulture sessions. 
Look for her regular published writings in The Essential Herbal Magazine, Edible Front Range Magazine, Natural Herbal Living Magazine, MorganBotanicals.com Blog and "Healing Herbs: A Beginner's Guide to Identifying, Foraging, and Using Medicinal Plants".
She’s always looking to share a little herb know–how. See what she’s up to online at: www.MorganBotanicals.com!

Jessica Morgan 2016

Lisa Ragsdale -

Crochet/Knit Instructor

Lisa is a native Coloradoan who was born in Boulder, graduated from CU (Go Buffs!) and has been living in Loveland since 1994. She has been married to her husband, Mitch, for 20 years and has been working as a Probation Officer in Weld County for about as long. In addition to knitting and crocheting, she enjoys English literature, theology, classical music, writing, skiing, walking, and caring for her dogs. She has been knitting & crocheting since the age of 12 and joined the Chilson Center as an instructor in 2010, teaching both adults & teens at all skill levels.  She also provides private lessons for individuals & groups. Lisa is a member of the Front Range Knitting Guild and enjoys the practical applications of knitting & crochet, as well as challenging projects and the therapeutic benefits the craft provides.

Lisa Ragsdale

Wayne Smart -  B.A., J.D., M.B.A., E.M.T. - 

Wilderness & Remote First Aid
and CPR Instructor

Wayne is a licensed EMT in Colorado.  He has taught Wilderness and Remote First Aid + CPR for the past three years, first as an instructor with the American Red Cross in Denver, and later in his own business, Far Out First Aid.

Before becoming an EMT and first aid instructor, Wayne was a family mediator and taught mediation courses at the University of Denver and business courses at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins. He also taught a divorcing parents class in Jefferson County, and his own divorce seminars.

A transplant from Chicago, Wayne spent many years practicing law in Boulder before beginning his teaching and mediation career.

Wayne Smart 2015

Ron Stern -

Travel Class Instructor

Ron a.k.a. "The Global Gumshoe", is the Editor in Chief of www.JustSayGo.com, an online, travel-oriented e-zine.  He is also the travel columnist for the San Diego Community Newspaper Group, Communities Digital News and 50 Plus Marketplace News. His articles have appeared in national and regional magazines such as Shape, Cruise, Frequent Flyer, AAA Motorist, Visit Los Cabos Guide, Destinations West, Key Biscayne and La Jolla Today. His other articles have been published in newspapers such as The Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sun Sentinel, Bismarck Tribune, The Jamaican Observer, the Coloradoan and travel trade magazines.

Ron’s contributions have been noted by PBS, Mobil Travel Guides and his photography has been used extensively by entities such as tourism boards and public relations firms. He is also a Certified International Tour Manager. 

More online at: www.globalgumshoe.com.  

Ron Stern Global Gumshoe

Earl Stevens -

Short Story Instructor/SAB Member 

Earl teaches the Short Story classes at the Chilson Senior Center. He is also a member of the Senior Advisory Board and was active in starting the computer classes for seniors.

Earl is a retired College Professor of English Literature after 38 years of teaching; Indiana University–BA; University of Michigan–MA; University of North Carolina–Ph.D.

Earl Stevens

Shannon Thompson - 

Dance Instructor

My name is Shannon Thompson. I live here in Northern Colorado with my husband Ryan, our one year old daughter Emma, and our two Portuguese Water Dogs. I am a big music nerd and love musical theater and Broadway. I am also a scuba diver, water/snow skier, biker, tennis player, book lover, hot chocolate drinker and a Disney lover.

I am always excited to spend as much time as I can outside, playing games, and spending time with all my family who lives in Fort Collins.

I have loved dancing since I was a little girl. Dancing has always been an important part of my life and I am excited to have the opportunity to have a fun time teaching dance here at the Chilson Center.

Shannon Thompson 2016

Bruce Tracy -

Photography Instructor

Bruce is an award winning photographic artist and author who's interest in photography started in early childhood. He holds a Degree in both Photography and Business, and focuses on commercial, landscape, and fine art photography. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Loveland Photographic Society and regularly volunteers his time & talent as a Photographer for the local TEDx events, held annually at the Rialto Theater Center

Bruce thoroughly enjoys all aspects of photography and loves helping others just starting out in photography through teaching, mentoring, and articles he publishes on his blog. 

Bruce Tracy

Sapna Von Reich - 

Cooking Instructor

Sapna is a native of Northern India, and has been teaching authentic Indian cooking for 13 years in Northern Colorado. Fresh, healthy, and inspired cuisine is her specialty.

In the past few years, she has expanded her repertoire by becoming a certified Food for Life Instructor for PCRM (Physicians for Responsible Medicine), becoming one of their most respected and prolific instructors in the country.

She offers monthly cooking classes at Whole Foods Market, through Parks and Recreation at several Fort Collins Locations, the City of Loveland, and the Town of Windsor.  Sapna also lectures at local libraries and for many wellness programs, both city and corporate, in Northern Colorado, and offers kids cooking class camps in the summer-time.

Sapna Von Reich 2016

Nancy Zoller -

Pottery Class Instructor

Nancy has been a potter residing in Loveland since 1981. Graduating from Arizona State University in 1975, with a BA in Art Education, her emphasis was ceramics.

Knowing this would be her life’s work, she soon built her first downdraft gas kiln.
Today, working with a porcelain or white stoneware clay body, she creates durable high-fired pottery, through a combination of wheel throwing & hand building techniques.

Often the impression of a leaf, pine branch, pinecone or seashell works its way into the clay surface. She believes the delicate foot on a piece is just as important as the sturdy rim. Look closely... Her color choices reflect the mountains, lake waters, and trees of our exquisite Colorado landscape.

The primary reward for her in creating a piece of pottery is the realization that her work will be integrated into someone’s daily life experience; a quiet, private reflection, or interaction with family & friends while sharing special moments.
Teaching clay has been an integral part of Nancy's life as a ceramic artist, conducting weekly classes and workshops that create a sense of “shared experience” within the group. Bringing warmth and balance into the lives of others… THIS is her passion!

Nancy Zoller