Excursions Faculty and Staff
Carleigh Cappetta Schultz
Coordinator of Youth Programs
Carleigh is a CT certified teacher in elementary education grades K-6 and theatre arts grades K-12. She was a teacher and administrator for Hartford Stage as their Education Associate for Community Based Programs, as well as the Youth Director for their production of A Christmas Carol 2008 and 2009.
Meet Our Exceptional Faculty
Below are instructors who have taught for us in the past 2 years
Ed Argenta is currently a Teacher Consultant with the Connecticut Geographic Alliance and a Nautilus Educator with the Sea Research Foundation. He is a retired public school teacher, having taught Science at Vernon Center Middle School for many years before becoming the Science Department Head at Rockville High School where he taught Marine Science, Environmental Science, and Biology.
Chris Buonacquisto is currently a Technology Education teacher at the Odyssey Community School where he specialized in Media and Television Production. He is CT certified in Technology Education (K-12) and has over 11 years of teaching experience.
Amy Burris earned B.A. Degrees in Art and French before gaining her teacher certification. She has taught abroad, and in area schools since 1993.
Jodi Clare earned a B.S. in elementary education and has completed requirements for her masters in early childhood education at CCSU. A kindergarten teacher in Manchester, she was Robertson School's Teacher of the Year in 2009-2010
Samantha Cyr is currently a teacher of the Hearing Impaired for Bloomfield Public Schools. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in in Deaf Education and Aural Habilitation from the University of Hartford. She has worked as a substitute teacher in kindergarten through fifth grades for many schools in the area.
Thomas Ebersold earned a sixth-year degree in gifted and talented education from UConn. He has eight years' experience as a TAG (Talented and Gifted Instructor). He incorporates problem-solving strategies into his teaching. A former editor and reporter in Trumbull, he still does occasional freelance journalism.
Sharon FitzHenry is a professional actor, artistic director and certified teacher with more than 20 years of experience. A member of the Actor’s Equity Association and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, she has directed dozens of productions with artists of all ages.
Winthrop Ford earned a Master’s Degree in Science and has been a consultant, team leader and guest speaker and teacher in many public school enrichment programs. Mr. Ford’s passion for making science fun is contagious.
Scott Goldsmith earned a Master’s Degree in School Psychology and works as a psychologist in Manchester Public School System. He has worked as an adventure counselor and consultant in both private and public capacities.
Jim Griffin worked in the insurance industry for many years before earning his Master’s in Education and beginning a second career as a teacher. He taught in the gifted and talented program at Lebanon Elementary School where he won an award as the District Teacher of the Year. He teaches grades 2-5 in the gifted program at Somers Elementary School.
Susan Harrington is a popular enrichment teacher in the area, who specializes in science and natural history enrichment classes. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts and a Master’s Degree in Biology, as well as graduate course work in Education. Mrs. Harrington enjoys inspiring students to explore science in unique ways.
Richard Hoyer is a fine art, portrait and location photographer, with more than 20 years of fun in the business. He is an adjunct faculty member at Manchester Community College, and also teaches photography at the Worcester Art Museum for youth and adults. His work is exhibited regularly at galleries around the state.
Michael Kakalow teaches physical education and health in the Manchester school system. He also coaches middle and high school sports for both boys and girls. As a ropes course facilitator for four years, he firmly believes that adventure based programs promote positive behavior in all youth.
Greg Kane earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Technology Education. Before becoming a Consultant for the Connecticut Department of Education for grades K-12, he taught in the Manchester Public Schools. Currently a faculty member at Central Connecticut State University, he shares an ongoing interest in robotics with students through participation in the VEX Robotics competitions.
Ayla Kapiloff has a BA in Theatre and Education from Bennington College with her MAT Elementary Education certification (K-6). She has classroom teaching experience as an educational actor and a Resident Teaching Artist with students ages 3-18. Ms. Kapiloff has also taught in cities across five different US states and in Italy. In addition to teaching, she is trained in studio dance, acting, voice, and loves arts and crafts.
Kirstin Kennedy has a Master’s Degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College, and a BFA in Acting from Webster Conservatory for the Theatre Arts. She also graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy with a high school diploma focused on the Theatre Arts. Kirstin was the Director of Education at The Acting Loft in Manchester, NH before moving to CT.
Rachael LaPorte is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University with a degree in Culinary Arts and a graduate of Central CT State University with a degree in Education. She has traveled across the country working as a chef in dozens of restaurants, mastering various styles of cooking. Having decided that teaching was her passion, Rachael returned to her alma mater, Windham Technical High School, to teach Culinary Arts and inspire the next generation of chefs.
Steve Leshin is a talented cartoonist, who enjoys teaching children how to draw on the “funny side of their brain”. He has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Liberal Studies from Westfield College and a degree in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. He returns this February with his ever-popular course, “Cartoon Creations.”
Linda Marchisio is a professional storyteller, published author, and educator for the talented and gifted. She has taught in West Hartford’s gifted program, “QuEST”, and the advanced math placement program, “Math QuEST”. She now works as a Library Media Specialist.
Tina Mirto is a certified art teacher who has been a museum educator for more than ten years. She has worked in various museums, including the New Britain Museum of Art and the Florence Griswold Museum. She designs and teaches interactive art classes at the Wadsworth Museum of Art.
Ashley Pereira is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Secondary Education Biology at Eastern CT State University. She is also a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut with a B.S. in Animal Science. Ashley has been involved in a wide range of activities with young children including Mad Science, 4-H programs, and summer camps, and has a great interest in all kinds of science.
Claudine Polochanin earned a B.A. in Social Work and then an M.Ed. A teacher in the Manchester Public School System, she was nominated for the Disney Teacher of the Year Award.
Julie Ratajczak earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in Education from the University of Connecticut. Additional graduate work focused on math and gender studies. A new mom, she has taught elementary school in Mansfield for eight years. Julie shares her passion for math in several after school activities.
Behn Sikora is a Technology Education teacher at Silas Deane Middle School. He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Technology Education and Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Central CT State University. Mr. Sikora teaches Engineering, Electronics and Technology at SDMS and Robotics at Wethersfield High School.
Tony Susi earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Music Education. He is the Band Director at Captain Nathan Hale Middle School in Coventry. In addition, he is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut where he teaches an undergraduate course, Instrumental Methods.
Janine Turgeon holds a Master’s Degree in Ceramics. She has taught ceramics to children of all ages at the Farmington Valley Arts Center, the after-school program in Marlborough, CT, is currently a public school art teacher. A professional ceramics artist, she has exhibited in several arts centers around the State.
Clayton Walnum has a degree in Computer Science and has been programming games and other applications since the early 1980s. He's written many books on game programming and graphics, including PC Picasso: A Child's Computer Drawing Kit. He is currently employed as a technical writer at a Tolland-based software company.
Jesse Wilkinson earned a B.S. in Technology Education and is a middle school technology teacher in South Windsor. He shares his interest in technology with students as an advisor to both the FIRST Robotics Team and the FIRST Lego League.
Linda Zajac is an award-wining freelance writer of science articles for children’s magazines. She has a degree in Business and Computer Science from Eastern CT State University. Ms. Zajac has developed this course from research conducted for her article in July 2008 Highlights® magazine.
For additional information, email Carleigh Cappetta Schultz or call 860-512-2804.