Continuing Education Instructors

Headshot of Leah Amyakar smilingLEAH AMYAKAR

Leah Amyakar, Ed.D. Teacher in elementary, secondary, and Adult Education programs, elementary principal, parent educator and district administrator in California schools. Instructor in teacher preparation programs for California State University Long Beach, La Verne College, and University of Phoenix. Mah Jong instructor in community centers and community colleges. Volunteer interpreter at Fort Nisqually, Community emergency preparedness coordinator, Trainer for women’s shelter workers, PJ Library Coordinator, and Alzheimer’s Association volunteer. Avid mystery reader and traveler.


man in plaid shirt against yellow backgroundLUKAS BARFIELD

Lukas has been teaching for TCC Continuing Education since 2018. He has taught Radio & Podcast classes, Cannabis Certificate classes and must recently Microsoft Word. He holds a Master’s Degree in Education and has experience teaching Math, Science and Technology. He brings his passion for technology and love for teaching to the Microsoft for Seniors class. Lukas believes continuing education an important part of life-long learning. He has taught middle school, parochial school, and in college settings. He brings his passion for teaching to Tacoma Community College.

Photo of instructor Monica Baird.MONICA BAIRD

Monica was born and raised in Cluj (Transylvania-Romania) with a passion for languages. Highlights of Monica’s career include working with Doctors Without Borders in Cluj (Romania) and teaching Spanish at two private schools in Lynnwood, WA; Soundview School and Brighton School. Currently Monica is teaching Spanish at Edmonds College.

Photo of instructor Myriah Barringer shining in a light blue t-shirt.MYRIAH BARRINGER

Myriah Barringer is a nine-time published poet and author. She has publications in the poetry, short fiction, and short memoir genres. She has her Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts from Centralia College (2017), her Bachelor of Arts in English from Saint Martin’s University (2019), and her Master of Arts in Multicultural English Literature and Language from Heritage University (2022) where she studied decolonizing literature curricula methodologies, creative writing, and sociolinguistics. She worked for the Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering, Saint Martin’s University, writing short-form journalism articles for their e-newsletter. She has been teaching writing and literature classes at various community colleges in Washington State since 2019 and has been teaching at TCC since 2021. She runs a highly successful blog on Ancient Egyptian archaeology with 36,000+ followers in her spare time.

Margaret with cameraMARGARET DOTY

I am a full time visual artist and art instructor living in Lakewood, Washington. I received my BFA with focus on printmaking. I work primarily from my home studio. For the past few years, I have been creating art in various mediums including painting, textiles, mixed media and collage. Dreamlife, encounters with nature, animals and everyday life influence the imagery and symbolism in my work. The people and cultures from extensive globetrotting and the areas surrounding me in the Pacific Northwest, ignite my creativity and stimulate my imagination.



Photo of instructor Josie Emmons Turner sitting in a patio chair with statement-red glasses frames and a big smile.JOSIE EMMONS TURNER

Josie Emmons Turner’s poems are most recently published in The Madrona Project IV: The Empty Bowl Cookbook, The Madrona Project V: Art in a Public Voice, and Now That You Are Gone from This World (Poet’s Choice). She has taught poetry workshops to youth and adults and is a contributor to West Sound Magazine. She lives on a beautiful estuary feeding into Gig Harbor with her show dog, Gabbie, gardens, practices French cooking, and is a former Tacoma Poet Laureate (2011-2013).



Smiling Emily Grantz outside in the rain with her hood on. EMILY GRANTZ

Emily Grantz (they/them) is a certified yoga teacher (RYT-200), who specializes in gentle classes that are accessible to folks of various sizes and abilities. When not teaching yoga, Emily facilitates and consults with hybrid teams at Functioning Workplace Consulting. In all of their work, they prioritize building community and creating inclusive, trauma-sensitive environments.



Amon Greene smiling, crouched down on steps leading to water with sunglasses and a backpack on. AMON GREENE

Amon Greene has been teaching Tai chi chuan for almost 25 years and practicing for over 30. Tai chi was instrumental in his 25-year career in massage. Amon has been a competitor and instructor in the martial arts since the age of 5. In 2010 he traveled to Shanghai to witness one of the first public performances of Tai chi by the Wu Dan monks. His lifelong passion for Tai chi has many inspirations but none greater than the teachings of master Chungliang Al Huang, through his Living Tao Seminars. Currently he is working as an adjunct faculty at TCC and has collaborated on translations of the Dao De Jing, Confucius’ Analects and Sun Tzu’s Art of War. It would be his honor if you’d join him in playing with the art of Tai chi chuan.

Portrait of Leslie HallLESLIE HALL

Leslie J. Hall the author of the Kaitlyn Willis Road Signs mysteries, a humorous, PG-rated, amateur sleuth series starring a NW code enforcement officer. She also writes women’s fiction and in training to become a book coach. Leslie loves to speak, teach, and share her passion for writing with others. When not writing, Leslie volunteers for writer-related events, leads Write Night (a weekly virtual facilitated critique group), teaches beginning writing at community colleges in continuing ed, laughs as much as possible, and when not doing all of that, hangs out at the beach whenever possible. She lives in Bremerton, WA with her husband and her pandemic rescue cat, Mia. Learn more about Leslie’s writing and her classes at



Kit Kapphahn's head shot, she is smiling big and bright with bright happy eyes. KIT KAPPHAHN

Kit Kapphahn is a medievalist specializing in the literature and culture of medieval Britain, especially Wales, and its neighbors. She holds a PhD in Celtic Studies from Aberystwyth University. Her research focuses on the reflection of life in literature - how the past may be a foreign country, but it's one we can visit and understand. Having taught in England, Wales and the US, Kit is an active member of the British branch of the International Arthurian Society, the Celtic Studies Association of North America, and the North America Wales Foundation.




Photo of Tom Kuehne standing in front of a Japanese Maple at the Gig Harbor Campus entrance.TOM KUEHNE

An experienced gardener and landscaper with a passion for sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices. With 45 years of gardening experience in various climates and soil conditions, Tom has developed a deep understanding of plants and their needs. Tom began his journey in 1990 as founder of Friends of Moab, Utah, an organization dedicated to educating the public about the use of native and drought-tolerant plants in landscaping. To further promote this cause, Tom wrote a guide booklet to help people incorporate these plants into their landscapes. Serving as a Master Gardener through the University of Utah Extension Service, Tom went on to teach Master Gardener classes. Sharing his knowledge and empowering others to develop their gardening skills has always been a priority for him. He’s owned and operated landscaping businesses, was a member of Thurston County Seed Savers, and now, Tom operates his own landscaping business in Bremerton and Port Orchard, Washington. This venture allowed him to continue providing professional services while adapting to the specific climate and soil conditions of the region. Throughout his career, Tom’s accumulated extensive knowledge and expertise in gardening, landscaping, and promoting sustainable practices. “I remain dedicated to sharing my knowledge, empowering others, and creating beautiful, environmentally-friendly landscapes.”


Rebecca Lexa M.A., OMN, is a lifelong nature nerd who has always enjoyed sharing her love of the natural world with others. She has a Master's Degree in counseling psychology with a certificate in ecopsychology, and is also a certified Oregon Master Naturalist. She has been teaching in varying venues for almost twenty years, and is an experienced public speaker. Rebecca teaches her online courses from her art studio on the southwest Washington coast, where she lives on a farm with twenty chickens, a flock of sheep, innumerable ducks, and the best dog in the world.

Photo of instructor Beth Owen mid watercolor session with a big smile on her face.BETH OWEN

Beth Owen is an artist best known for her colorful, light-filled, realistic watercolors. She especially enjoys the joys and challenge of painting with transparent watercolor. Many of Beth’s original watercolors are owned by individual collectors and she has received recognition for her work at several watercolor exhibitions. A signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society, she enjoys sharing watercolor techniques with anyone else interested in learning this medium. She is mostly self-taught, though over the years she was able to fit in a couple of art classes at local community colleges. Her main inspiration and instruction came from studying the works of other watercolor artists.


Born and raised in Milan, Italy, Barbara is a dedicated teacher and musician that recently moved to Seattle. Her grandmother was a piano teacher, and she grew up been surrounded by music and musicians. She attended the Conservatory of Milan graduating in Music Theory and Complementary Piano. Deeply passionate about places and cultures, and about how humans and territory interrelate, Barbara spent many years traveling and learning about humanities, social studies, cultural studies, music as a mean of communication and expression. In her spare time, she reads a lot of books, watches a lot of documentaries and hikes in the wonderful nature of the PNW. As a musician, she has performed and recorded with several artists both in Europe and the US. She works as a professional teacher and musician, mostly teaching music, Italian language, Italian history and culture. In addition to teaching, Barbara is currently completing a BA in Human Sciences of the Environment and Territory.

Photo of instructor Ken Pimpleton with a big smile on his face. KEN PIMPLETON

I began my teaching career at Highline Community College in the Fall of 2006 prior to completing my Master's of Social Work degree and the Certificate of Public Administration at Eastern Washington University. In October of 2007, I resigned from full-time employment at Lakeside, but still work there as a consultant on a per-diem basis. I went on to accept a position as Program Mamager/Evaluator at Community Counseling Institute in Tacoma. Now I teach in Human Services and Chemical Dependency full time at Tacoma Community College and part time at Highline College. I am the Chair of the DOH SUD Advisory Committee, the Treasurer for WACASE, the Secretary for the TCC Teacher's Union, and the Treasurer for the State Teacher Union and I am a consultant for several SUD Agencies.


For over two decades, Mark Richards has been sharing his love of music with aspiring guitarists in the Gig Harbor area. As an experienced instructor, he has helped countless students discover their musical talents and master the art of playing the guitar. Beyond teaching, Richards is also an accomplished musician in his own right, having served as the lead guitarist for The Shy Boys, Gig Harbor's number one cover band, for 17 years. His passion for music is infectious, and his dedication to his students and craft is truly inspiring. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player looking to take your skills to the next level, Mark Richards is the perfect guide to help you achieve your musical goals.



Headshot of Ron SnowdenRON SNOWDEN

Ron is a member of the American Watercolor Society and a Signature Member of The Northwest Watercolor Society. He has participated in numerous classes and workshops taught by renowned artists, and also teaches watercolor classes himself. Ron's paintings have won many awards at juried art shows throughout the Northwest. His artwork is inspired by the stunning scenery of the region, including mountains, beaches, and boats. We are thrilled to have Ron as a part of our community and look forward to seeing more of his beautiful watercolor paintings.



Jeff waters stands to the side of three of his prized watercolor works.JEFFERY "JEFF" WATERS

Jeff Waters is a retired financial advisor. He lives with his wife, Carol and two cats in Canterwood, Gig Harbor. He is the editor and past president of the Northwest Watercolor Society and teaches watercolor classes for the Washington Corrections Center for Women, Tacoma Community College and various other organizations. He regularly sells his work. He is active in St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Peninsula Art League. His greatest joy is teaching.