Instructors

Meet A Few of Our Staff/Program Chairs/Instructors

 

Campus President

Jason Smolka  - In his role as Campus President, Jason is dedicated to ensuring that students at Rockford Career College are able to find the support needed to create the best version of themselves.  By maintaining a focus on the holistic student, Jason works to bring both technical and interpersonal/soft-skill development to the students at Rockford Career College. “The greatest reward in my role, is seeing students achieve personal and career goals that they previously believed were out of their reach,” says Jason.

Prior to joining Rockford Career College, Jason previously ran colleges in Illinois, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. In addition to the years that Jason has spent in post-secondary education he has also spent time in finance, manufacturing, international education and as an entrepreneur.  Jason received 2 Bachelor’s degrees and a Master’s degree in engineering from Iowa State University prior to completing his MBA at the University of Chicago.  Jason is an advocate for education access and a believer in the power that higher education has to transform ourselves. 

“When we do our job well, we don’t just change the lives of our students, we change the lives of their entire family for generations to come.”

Academic Dean

Marc Sherrod Marc has served as the Campus Director at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, OK. Marc oversaw all campus operations, ensuring high degrees of education quality. Previous to that, Marc was a Campus Director with Ross College in Kenwood, MI. His programs included MA, MOBC, Dental, and other medical programs. Marc is very familiar with both ACCSC and ABHES accreditation. Marc also served for 10 years with Education Management where he served in roles as Program Director and Academic Dean for schools in Michigan and San Francisco, CA.

Marc has his MBA from South University in Novi, MI. He has a Masters of Arts in International Relations from Lancaster University in the UK, and he has a Bachelor’s of Art in History from Michigan State University.

Corporate Dean of Students

Danielle Harriott - While it's easy to focus on what you cannot control, there is a major aspect of your life you could choose: your career. Starting a career you love is a rewarding experience that could help you secure a better future as well as boost your happiness and self-confidence. As Rockford Career College and Stautzenberger College's Corporate Dean of Students, Danielle Harriott finds joy in helping students reach their career goals.

Danielle identifies with our students so well because, in 1997, she became an RCC alumni. She went on to earn her Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal degree from Rockford Business College. Danielle also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree from National Louis University in Elgin, Illinois. For over 17 years, she enjoyed working in the paralegal field.

By returning to RCC, Danielle was able to share her paralegal experience with students. In 2012, she started her education career as an adjunct instructor for the paralegal program. “I quickly fell in love with education and helping my students shine,” Danielle says. In May of 2013, she became the paralegal program director. Finally, she accepted the academic dean position.

“I am extremely passionate about people and teaching others how to believe in themselves,” states Danielle. “Being a part of a student’s journey to a new career from start to finish is a gift.” Her commitment to student success is reflected in not only her students' accomplishments but also the numerous awards she has received. Danielle earned the Swank Award for Leadership and Excellence in 2017, Employee of the Quarter Award in 2014, Lambda Epsilon Chi Honor Society Award in 2001, and Alpha Beta Kappa Honor Society Award in 1999.

Accounting

Accounting and Payroll Clerk Diploma Program

Watson T. Ragin - You never know what the future has in store for you. Watson T. Ragin was born and grew up in a small, quiet town in South Carolina. Little did he know that life would take him all over the country and into a number of career fields.

Although Watson is currently our accounting and payroll clerk program chair, his career has been varied. Watson served as an officer in the United States Army in both stateside and overseas assignments. For 21 years, he was the financial controller for a Milwaukee-based manufacturing company at its Tampa, Florida facility. Watson also worked as an economic development compliance auditor for the State of North Carolina and a manufacturing cost accountant for Phillips Petroleum Company. For a few years, he was a portfolio analyst and accountant in the banking industry. This unique opportunity allowed him to better understand investing as well as stock and bond trading and how they relate to accounting.

Watson's most recent professional endeavors have been in the education field. He has taught at several institutions of higher learning in both online and on-ground capacities. Some of the courses Watson has taught include: economics, accounting, finance, general business and management, ethics, international business, and success skills. Watson's Master of Business Administration degree was earned at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration (with an emphasis in accounting and economics) from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Watson enjoys seeing his students succeed in our online program. When he is not teaching, he loves spending time with his spouse and two adult children. He currently resides in Tampa, where he enjoys the warm sunshine. 

Addiction Counseling Instructor

Addiction Counseling Technician Diploma Program

Dr. Cailyn Green - With 8 years of education experience in both online and in-person capacities, Dr. Green is well-prepared to guide our students in becoming addiction counselors. Classes she has taught include Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Addiction Science, Forensic Psychology, Criminal Justice Research Methods, Social Psychology, and Criminology. She earned her Ph.D. in criminal justice with a focus on addiction counseling from Walden University. At Sage Graduate School, she completed her Master of Science degree in forensic mental health. Additionally, Dr. Green holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Western New England University.

Dr. Green is also a Certified Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) out of the state of New York. This makes her a Qualified Health Professional (QHP) in the field of addiction, counseling, ethics, and case management. A very passionate instructor, Dr. Green supports her students on their career path of choice.  

Animal Welfare Management Diploma Program Danya Lineman, DVM

Animal Welfare Administration Programs

Danya Linehan, DVM - Do you love animals enough to dedicate your entire life to them? Our animal welfare administration instructors do. Danya Linehan, DVM has completely immersed herself in the animal world both personally and professionally.

Even with the passage of time, Danya's compassion toward animals has never faded. She started working at a veterinary clinic in 1983, graduated from Ohio State Veterinary School in 1993, and began teaching for American Higher Education Development Corporation schools in 2006. Danya is fortunate to have had a wide variety of experiences within the animal welfare field. She has worked in private practice, holistic medicine, wildlife rehabilitation, humane education, shelter medicine, and higher education.

Today, Danya continues to stay busy with a number of animal-related jobs. She is a part-time shelter veterinarian at the Cat Welfare Association. At Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, she helps pets at the end of life transition peacefully in their homes. Danya even operates her own small non-profit organization, Felines in Need. On top of it all, she is the lead instructor for our online animal welfare administration program.

Business Administration Program J. Michael Donovan, Ph.D.

 

Business Administration Program

J. Michael Donovan, Ph.D. - What type of leader do you want to be? Many people seek out leadership roles but are convinced they'll never earn one or don't prepare by developing the proper attitudes and skills. As a leader in many areas, Dr. J. Michael Donovan hopes to cultivate the leadership potential in his students.

In 2009, Dr. Donovan joined the American Higher Education Development Corporation as a business instructor and helped design AHED’s contemporary business management program. After working in human resources management positions at Proctor and Gamble and Honeywell, he became CEO of an international management consulting firm serving clients such as: GE, Ford, Harley Davidson, Asia Pacific Breweries, Novartis, KLM Airlines, Merck, Miller Brewing, Allied Signal, and many others. He received his Ph.D. from the Weatherhead School of Business at Case Western Reserve University and his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University.

To help others succeed in leadership roles, Dr. Donovan shares his knowledge through writing and teaching. He has published over 30 articles and two books: So You Think You Can LEAD? A guide to discovering and harnessing your potential for leadership (2017); and LEADING – What leaders do to help others achieve results (2020). Currently, he is working on a new book titled Learning to Improve Work – A Beginner’s Guide to Lean Six Sigma Methodology. As the lead instructor for Rockford Career College's business administration program, Dr. Donovan brings a mix of academic knowledge and  practical business experience to his students. He hopes to inspire the next generation of leaders. 

 

Cannabis Dispensary Administration Diploma Program

Jasmine Viola - “I just want to leave people better than I found them.” That's the guiding principle for Jasmine Viola, Lead Instructor of Stautzenberger College's Cannabis Dispensary Administration Diploma Program. With over eight years of experience in patient-centered care, Jasmine strives to enhance each patient's quality of life.

A pioneer within Ohio's medical cannabis field, Jasmine oversees the operations of five different dispensaries. She carefully follows the regulations set forth by the Medical Marijuana Control Program. Even with the transitions resulting from COVID-19, Jasmine has never allowed her dedication to medical cannabis patients to wilt.

Jasmine loves educating others and firmly believes that knowledge is power. She holds four master's degrees from Tiffin University and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Bowling Green State University. Before choosing a career in the medical cannabis industry, Jasmine worked in the criminal justice field. In her spare time, Jasmine loves a good book and hot green tea. Good luck pulling her away from those!  

Computer Numeric Control (CNC) and Robotic Manufacturing Technology Diploma Program

Nick Lopez Nick Lopez was first introduced to machining in junior high when his shop teacher showed him how to use a manual metal lathe.  This sparked an interest in metals shop which lasted through high school.  After high school, Nick went on to apprentice with a local aerospace manufacturer.  After spending some time working in manufacturing, Nick went on to use his skills for a motorsports race team and traveled with them as a crew member.  He expanded his skills further working for a water process technology manufacturer.

Nick moved back to Rockford in 2011 and worked for a defense contractor supplying engines and critical components to the US Navy and Coast Guard.  He recently worked for a company in th metal cutting industry manufacturing cutting tools and technology to improve production and reduce scrap.  He has a passion for helping to keep American jobs in America. 

Construction Management Associate Degree Program Grey Schuman

Construction Administration Associate Degree Program

Greg Schuman - Experience is crucial to working in construction. Without hands-on training and lessons from seasoned instructors, construction work is extremely difficult to navigate. Fortunately, the Rockford Career College faculty members have plenty of experience in their respective fields. Greg Schuman, lead instructor for the construction management program, is ready to prepare you for your new career.

In 1985, Greg started his career as an electrician. He has held many positions throughout his career including: journeyman electrician, maintenance mechanic, foreman, and maintenance manager. For nearly a decade, Greg operated an electrical contracting business. Eventually, he decided it was time to pass on his construction knowledge to the next generation.

Since 2007, Greg has worked in higher education. He has been an instructor, program chair, and Dean of Trades Programs with responsibility over trades programs at several campuses. Greg also serves on the Electrical Committee as a Subject Matter Expert for the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), developing and revising the organization's electrical curriculum. Additionally, Greg is an NCCER-certified Craft Instructor and Master Trainer. Greg earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Everest College Phoenix and Master of Business Administration degree from Western Governors University.

In 2016, Greg joined the American Higher Education Development Corporation. He has been the Lead Instructor for the construction management program since its inception. All of Greg's past experiences serve as examples for his students as they progress in their career training. Greg is proud not only of his own work but also the accomplishments his students make. 

Dental Assisting Diploma Program Angie Fligge

Dental Assisting Diploma Program

Angie Fligge - Angie's dental assistant journey started chairside, where she gained valuable experience and nurtured her love for her work. As her skills and knowledge expanded, so did her desire to learn about all aspects of a dental office. Eventually, she started managing dental offices herself. Realizing how much she had to offer dental assistants of the next generation, she decided to become part of the RCC team. “I love sharing my passion of dentistry to help eager students succeed in their dental education,” says Angie.

Angie's compassion spreads to not only her patients and students but also her husband, children, and two dogs. “When I am not enjoying dentistry, you can find me watching a hockey game and spending time with my family,” she comments. “I truly am a dental nerd!” 

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Associate Degree Program

Sangeetha Gopalaseshan  -  Every day, Sangeetha Gopalaseshan, MS, RDMS, RVT gets to live out her passion. She finds nothing more rewarding than preparing students for their future careers. Her hope is to improve both her students' and all patients' lives through her contributions to the field.

Sangeetha received her master's degree in biochemistry. She also holds an associate degree in diagnostic medical imaging sonography and science. Additionally, Sangeetha earned a gold medal for being a college topper in her master's program. The American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography has certified her in ultrasound physics, abdomen, vascular, obstetrics, and gynecological specialties. In her free time, Sangeetha gladly volunteers for professional sonography organizations such as ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography) and SDMS (Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography). Sangeetha serves as a member of the ARDMS vascular board assessment committee.
Currently, Sangeetha is also a research consultant for MetriTrack LLC. Prior to 2020, she was a vascular sonographer at Northwestern Medicine.

At Rockford Career College, Sangeetha is proud to be the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program Chair. She is thankful that her career combines her loves for sonography and education. “Teaching is my passion,” says Sangeetha. “My goal is to work with students and make them successful sonographers.” 

Early Childhood Education Programs

Steve Schutz - You want to help children excel in school, and we understand the significance of their first few years of education. That's why we've welcomed compassionate, experienced instructors like Steve Schutz into our family. Since 2002, Steve has been teaching students eligible for special education services. In 2007, he became an adjunct instructor. Currently, he teaches online programs for an early childhood center. 

Steve's career began in social service. For nine years, he was employed with two different social service agencies that serve people with disabilities. Steve's various roles included: developmental trainer, vocational case manager, residential case manager, program manager, and behavior therapist.

During that time, Steve earned three degrees. He graduated with his bachelor's degree in psychology from MacMurray College. He also holds a master's degree in counseling psychology from Illinois School of Professional Psychology and a second master's degree in special education from Northern Illinois University. Steve has also served as a counselor at Catholic Charities and Universal Technical Institute.

Since 2002, Steve has enjoyed living in Roscoe, Illinois. When he's not teaching, he enjoys spending quality time with his wife, Joan, and their daughter, Teresa. 

Electrical Technician Diploma Program

Corey Fulkerson - Bio Coming soon. 

Healthcare Administration Associate Degree Program Janet Little

Healthcare Administration Associate Degree Program

Janet Little - Janet joined the American Higher Education Development Corporation in April 2012 and has been teaching exclusively online since January 2014. She earned her bachelor's degree in business administration (major health administration) from Davenport University. Janet also holds a master's degree in healthcare administration from the University of Phoenix. Additionally, Janet is a certified professional coder (CPC) through the AAPC.

With 29 years of experience in healthcare, Janet has plenty of real-life scenarios to draw from when teaching. The majority of her career was spent at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. She also taught at Dorsey Schools and Marygrove College. Currently, Janet is the Manager of Coding, Auditing, and Compliance for the University of Toledo Physicians, LLC. As the lead instructor for our healthcare administration and medical billing and coding programs, Janet passes on everything she's learned from these environments to the next generation. 

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Diploma Program

Roger Baller - At the young age of 13, Roger Baller began on what would become a lifetime of learning.  His father was a contractor, so Roger was introduced and learned the ins and outs of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration systems.  For almost 20 years, Roger has worked in all aspects of the HVAC/R field: as a service technician, sales and management. 

Roger also spent six year in the U.S. Navy.  He was an air controller and achieved the rank of Operations Specialist.

Roger has always strived to be the best he can be, and he looks forward to continuing that tradition of being the best her at Rockford Career College.  He is happy to pass on his depth of knowledge and positive attitude to his students in the HVAC/R program.  

Human Resource Administration Diploma Program Veronica Rice McCray

Human Resource Administration Diploma Program

Veronica Rice McCray - You're a “people person,” and that's why you want to be a human resources administrator. Our HR instructors feel the same way. Who better to teach you than someone who's had a people-oriented career for over two decades? Veronica Rice McCray is the experienced HR professional who leads Rockford Career College's human resources administration diploma program.

In 2013,Veronica joined Rockford Career College as an online instructor. Later, she would become part of the American Higher Education Development Corporation as well. During her tenure, Veronica taught a variety of business courses before becoming the lead instructor for the online HR program. She holds an undergraduate degree in sociology, a Master of Arts in Education degree (with a major in human resource development and dual minors in leadership and training and development), and a Master of Business Administration degree (with a major in organizational leadership and minor in human resources).

For over 20 years, Veronica has been proudly working in higher education. She has taught and tutored at a variety of colleges and universities in northwest Ohio and southwest Michigan. Other roles she has served include project manager, human resources consultant, and career coach. All of these positions have provided her with opportunities to serve others on a daily basis and get to know many wonderful individuals. Veronica is happy to help her students develop fundamental people skills as they pertain to training and development, employee compensation, managing diversity, risk administration, and other essential HR topics. 

Medical Assistant Diploma Program

Deanna Young - Knowledgeable, adaptable, and reliable, Deanna is thankful to have a career that combines her two greatest passions: teaching and the medical field. She is a Certified Medical Assistant (NHA Certified) and holds an Associate in Applied Science degree from Rockford Career College. From July 2015 to November 2020, Deanna worked at Crusader Community Health and loved every second of it. Although the Women's Health Services Department was her primary area, she also gained experience in pediatrics, family practice, internal medicine, and walk-in care. Additionally, Deanna was selected as a preceptor for incoming students and new employees.

Today, Deanna is RCC's full-time Medical Assistant Lead Faculty. In addition to passing on the wisdom she has gained from other healthcare providers and staff, she coordinates externships so her students can gain real-world experience. Seeing her students better themselves keeps her motivated and reassures her that she is on the right path. Deanna is excited to continue contributing to students' success as well as the College's growth.  

Medical Laboratory Technician Associate Degree Program Joey Guthrie

Medical Laboratory Technician Associate Degree Program

Joey Guthrie - Joey began her science career by mentoring, teaching, and supporting her fellow students and laboratory personnel. Working in the lab wasn't just another job to her. She loved everything about the medical laboratory field so much that she decided to stay. “I ultimately found my career and home,” declares Joey. For over a decade, she worked on various projects such as bioburden testing for the FDA and CDC as well as food research and development. Her work directly contributed to the success of future scientists and society as a whole. “I found myself striving to help others and give back to my community,” Joey explains.

Recent titles Joey has held include: Laboratory Supervisor, Lead Hematology/Coagulation Technologist, and Lead Chemistry/Toxicology Technologist with a trauma IV hospital laboratory. She is certified by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification as a Medical Laboratory Scientist. Joey earned her bachelor of science degree in biology: molecular genetics/biotechnology at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. In addition, she received a bachelor of health sciences degree from the University of Kentucky. Today, she enjoys helping Rockford Career College students as the medical laboratory technician program chair.

Medical Office Billing and Coding Diploma Program Janet Little

Medical Office Billing and Coding Diploma Program

Janet Little - Janet joined the American Higher Education Development Corporation in April 2012 and has been teaching exclusively online since January 2014. She earned her bachelor's degree in business administration (major health administration) from Davenport University. Janet also holds a master's degree in healthcare administration from the University of Phoenix. Additionally, Janet is a certified professional coder (CPC) through the AAPC.

With 29 years of experience in healthcare, Janet has plenty of real-life scenarios to draw from when teaching. The majority of her career was spent at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. She also taught at Dorsey Schools and Marygrove College. Currently, Janet is the Manager of Coding, Auditing, and Compliance for the University of Toledo Physicians, LLC. As the lead instructor for our healthcare administration and medical billing and coding programs, Janet passes on everything she's learned from these environments to the next generation. 

Online Student Services Officer

Saraliz Jimenez - Saraliz Jimenez is proud to be our Online Student Services Officer. She has 20 years’ worth of experience in higher education and comes from College of DuPage. Saraliz started her education career as an admissions representative. For the last 6 years, Saraliz has been advising and mentoring students as the manager of the Latino Outreach Center. She was recognized by our former Lieutenant Governor as a community leader and completed a master's degree in counseling from National Louis University. Saraliz grew up in the USA but is originally from Venezuela. She assists our online students by providing them with access to the educational resources and guidance they need at home. Saraliz firmly believes that at Rockford Career College, learning online does not mean learning alone. 

Paralegal Studies Programs Patty Humbert

Paralegal Studies Programs

Patty Humbert Lawyers need great paralegals to assist them with their work, just as you need exceptional instructors to assist you with your career training. Our paralegal instructors have many years' worth of experience and knowledge to share with you. Whether you plan to pursue a diploma or associate degree, Patty Humbert is proud to be a part of your paralegal training.

In 2004, Patty began teaching at Rockford Career College as an adjunct instructor for the paralegal program. Over the years, she developed and taught many of our paralegal courses and supervised paralegal externship students. Patty received her Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her Juris Doctor degree was earned at the University of Toledo, College of Law.

Prior to joining the post-secondary education arena, Patty practiced many types of law. She has private practice experience in the areas of real estate, bankruptcy, and plaintiff personal injury law. Patty also represented union members in a prepaid legal services program. Now, she is the lead instructor for our online paralegal associate and diploma programs. When teaching, she draws upon all of her practice experience to prepare students for their new careers.  

Practical Nursing

Practical Nursing Programs

Crystal M. Lundvall, RN, MS - With over 35 years of nursing experience, Crystal strives to assist in the success and development of new nurses. She was drawn to nursing because of her desire to care for others. As a graduate of the Rockford Memorial School of Nursing, she began her nursing career in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where she was a Staff Nurse, Charge Nurse, Transport Nurse and Preceptor. As a Preceptor she enjoyed working with new nurses to transition into their new role as a nurse which led her in 1997 after achieving her BSN from Graceland College to move into Nursing Education and Development. She received her Masters of Science in Nursing Education in 2008 from Walden University and continued working in both acute hospital and academic education for nurses.

Crystal’s passion is to assist in the growth, development and success of new nurses and students. She feels it is important to mentor others to be the best that they can be. As the Program Director for the Practical Nursing Program at RCC, Crystal will provide support to students as they move through their academic journey. She will lead by example to demonstrate professionalism and leadership behaviors that will assist our graduates to transition successfully to their nursing careers. 

Surgical Technology Associate Degree Program

Zorita Bowen, CST, BS - “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be”.  These words by Ralph Waldo Emerson have been a guiding inspiration for Rockford Career College’s Chair for Surgical Technology Ms. Zorita Bowen CST, BS.

Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Ms. Bowen graduated from IVY Tech Community College and worked several years in various aspects of the surgical field - in several different hospitals, as a private scrub, a teacher and as a traveling surgical tech.  The last job brought her to sunny Orlando, Florida where she moved back into teaching full-time at City College in Altamonte Springs, Florida.  While teaching, she also received her bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration from City College. 

She missed her family and decided to move back to the northern area with her rescue pit bull, 11-year-old Peaches.  Peaches loves the snow - and Ms. Bowen missed it.  She is happy to return to one of her first loves - teaching - here at Rockford Career College. 

Veterinary Technician Associate Degree Program

Andrea Bledsoe, CVT - Veterinary Technology Program Lead - Andrea is a Certified Veterinary Technician who graduated from Parkland College in 2004. She has been working locally at vet clinics since graduation. In 2019 she started her teaching career at Rockford Career College and brings with her many real-life stories and experiences. She has always loved helping animals but more so likes helping their owners. She enjoys outside activities especially fishing and playing in the creek. She recently started painting and hiding kindness rocks for others to enjoy. She looks forward to helping you achieve your education and goals! 

Mackey

Welding Diploma Program

O. L. Mackey - Would you ever consider becoming a teacher at the school from which you graduated? That's exactly what one of our instructors did. O. L. Mackey—or “Mackey,” as his students call him—is one of Rockford Career College's welding instructors. Mackey teaches all of our welding courses focusing on SMAW, GMAW, GTAW, and pipe welding. Before joining the RCC faculty, he worked for Monroe Truck Equipment as a welder. In total, he has eight years of experience in the field.