Instructors/Facilitators


Fred Abramson, Ph.D

Fred Abramson was born and raised in Columbus Ohio.  He received his bachelor’s degree at Case-Western Reserve and his Ph.D. at Ohio State University, both in Chemistry.  Following two years of postdoctoral research and five years in industry, in 1972, he joined the faculty of the George Washington School of Medicine.  Thirty-one years later he retired as Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology.  His research interests focused on how drugs are metabolized in the body and the development of novel methods to identify and quantify these metabolites.  His resume’ includes more than 100 papers in scientific journals, five patents, and advisory service to committees of the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Department of Agriculture.

Beverly Battaglia, Ph.D

Beverly Battaglia had twenty-six successful years in human resources management, organizational development, training, consulting, sales, and program development in both the public and private sectors. She holds a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems from The Fielding Institute, Santa Barbara, CA.

Liliane Bazerghi-Fymat

Liliane Bazerghi-Fymat has been a translator, recruiter, and French teacher. She is the mother of three children and enjoys tennis, bridge, and all arts and crafts, including stained glass work.

Jerry Blatt

Jerry Blatt's interest in politics and history began when he was student body president of his university during the Vietnam War. His expertise in marketing and decision-making came from over 40 years as a television advertising sales executive. He was a partner in a TV production company that produced an award-winning children's show.  Additionally, Jerry has taught television marketing at CSULB.

Gary Ceriani, J.D.

Gary Ceriani grew up in a small town in the mountains of Colorado. After graduating from Colorado College, he spent a year doing post-graduate work in literature at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1972. He formed his own firm, Davis & Ceriani, in 1976 and developed a national reputation and national practice as a trial lawyer specializing in complex, and often high profile, cases representing Plaintiffs (often institutional investors) in multi-million dollar securities fraud litigation. He has represented Plaintiffs and Defendants in over 175 cases tried to verdict (mostly jury trials), has defended numerous criminal cases (including first degree murder), and has obtained multiple 8-figure verdicts in both commercial and personal injury cases. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is listed in Best Lawyers in America (for “Bet the Company Litigation”), Colorado Super Lawyers (for Securities Litigation), and other “best lawyer” lists. He and his wife of 44 years divide their time between Colorado and Palm Desert.

Alan Lawrence Cohen

Alan Lawrence Cohen is a Life Coach, Personal and Business Strategist, and Attorney. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Composition from the University of Southern California, a Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School, and is a student of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He is a Crisis Counselor, Chaplain, and a lifelong student of psychology, physics and philosophy. His increasing appreciation for the mysteries of the Universe, the human condition, cultures, and performing arts, inform his attempts to improve his own life and the surrounding world, which he perceives as participation in a process larger than himself.

Chris Considine

Chris Considine is a graduate of Fordham University and Michigan State University. She spent her early career as a high school French and English teacher. Later, she pursued a graduate degree in psychological counseling and practiced as a clinical therapist for 15 years before retiring.

John Considine

John Considine's academic background in psychology and statistics lead him to a career in advertising, where he directed the marketing, media, research and strategic planning divisions of Doner Advertising.  Retired, he and his wife Chris, who also facilitates a class at LIR, split their time between LaQuinta and West Bloomfield, Michigan.

John Curran

John Curran has a BA in English Literature from Ohio State University and an MS in Environmental Science from George Washington University. He spent almost 40 years in information technology as a database administrator, software applications trainer, and network manager.  He has run help desks, email servers, built websites, and has 20 years in computer security. He worked in both the private and public sectors and retired from the US Government in 2013. John is a movie buff and has an extensive collection of movies that spans Western, film noir, Hitchcock, science fiction and comedy.

Charles Derry, Ph.D

Charles Derry received a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and an MA from USC.  He has coordinated and taught in the Wright State University Motion Pictures program in Dayton Ohio, now housed in the new Tom Hanks Center for Motion Pictures. He is the author of Dark Dreams 2.0: A Psychological History of the Modern Horror Film and The Suspense Thriller: Films in the Shadow of Alfred Hitchcock, as well as other books and articles on the cinema. He has written several plays, published short fiction and memoir, written and directed short films, and worked as a stage director, including acclaimed multi-media productions of The Laramie Project & Wings.

Nancy Dowling

Nancy Dowling has an undergraduate degree in French and a master's degree in English. She is a recent transplant to the desert from Minnesota, where she taught college writing and literature courses. After her teaching career ended, she worked as paralegal and then transitioned into corporate ethics training. She enjoys reading, pickle ball and birding.

Michael Feldman

Mike Feldman has served the community of Toronto for many years with devotion and distinction. In addition to chairing and membership in various committees for over 30 years, he served as Deputy Mayor, City of Toronto from 2002 to 2006. Professionally, Mike was the president and founder of Teela Data Management, a company specializing in real estate information.

Adair Fell

Adair Fell is an avid reader who has participated in the Short Stories class at LIR for five years. She is a Liberal Arts graduate from the University of Illinois and a retired Human Resources professional from Chicago.

Howard Fishman

Howard Fishman is a writer, coach and advocate for Baby Boomers.  His dual objectives are keeping Boomers relevant in the workplace and purposeful in retirement.  His website, https://boomerrising.com/, concentrates on writings that support a productive outlook on our elder years.  Working with clients in his coaching practice, Howard employs a highly interactive process that leads to solid solutions for Boomers intent on a successful retirement.  Toward the end of nearly 40 years of work in the contract furniture industry, he developed a support program for Boomers in a workplace of almost 16,000 employees.  His passion for advocacy on behalf of Boomers will be further explored in two upcoming books:  The Intentional Boomer:  Remaining Purposeful in Retirement; and, The Intentional Boomer: Remaining Relevant in the Workplace.  Howard hails from Brooklyn and Manhattan.  The majority of his adult life has been spent in both Northern and Southern California.  He attended Brooklyn College and the University of Southern California.

Martin Frank

Martin Frank graduated from UCLA with a BA in Pyschology, with a minor in Spanish. He attended the University of the Americas in Mexico for six months. He worked in the corporate business world doing risk management for large fortune 500 companies. The last few years, he was responsible for creating and implementing a training program for entree level brokers. Since his retirement he has done volunteer work at LIR, The Betty Ford Center and Animal Samaritans.

Gary Fredericksen

Gary Fredericksen is a retired university administrator from Cal Poly Pomona. He is in his 6th year as President of the Sun City Palm Desert Genealogy Club and is Newsletter Editor for the Palm Springs Genealogical Society. He has over 15 years experience researching families. He teaches a variety of classes including Researching Places, Source Citations Made Easy, Using FindAGrave and others. He annually teaches beginning Genealogy both in clubs and in libraries.

Jeff Gindin, J.D.

Jeff Gindin has been a practicing Criminal Defense Attorney in Canada for over 46 years. He has taught Trial Advocacy and Criminal Law for over 30 of those years. He has lectured extensively on the Criminal Justice System at the Police Academy, The Law Society and various conferences.

Leonard Goldstein

Leonard Goldstein was a Professional Trader for 46 years and owned seats on the CBOT, CME, NYSE, and CBOE. He traveled to DC to lobby for the Exchanges and was a Director of the PACS for 20 years.

Joanna Grollmus

Joanna Grollmus is a native speaker of Spanish.  Originally from Chile, she taught Spanish to secondary school students in Ohio while earning a Masters in Secondary Education from the University of Akron.  Additionally, she holds an M.A. in Linguistics from USC and a TESL Certificate from UCLA.  She has over 25 years experience teaching ESL to adults and college students.  Even though teaching is her first love, her passion is learning languages, which she hopes to pursue while in retirement.

Bill Gyles

Bill Gyles is a Canadian and a Professional Quality Surveyor.  He has 45 years experience in the construction industry having worked on more than 1,000 projects.  His early career was spent in Winnipeg, MB working for large architectural practices and construction cost consulting firms.  He co-founded and for 33 years managed a general contracting company in Victoria, BC specializing in commercial, institutional, multi-unit residential, and industrial projects.  He has taught courses in construction estimating, scheduling, project management, and conflict resolution.  He enjoys golfing, tennis, and collecting wine.

Karen Harvey

Karen Harvey holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Social Work from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Throughout her career she worked in the field of mental health and addictions. She has worked in psychiatry both in-patient and out-patient and for many years facilitated therapeutic support groups. During her retirement she has discovered a keen interest in the recording of memoirs and would like to encourage others in this pursuit.

Lisa Herbst

Lisa Herbst studied Styles in Art and Applied Arts at the Sotheby's Institute in London from 1990 to 1992, and at the University of Kingston - upon- Thames, art history, architecture and design history. Spending her summers in Europe, she regularly takes study weeks and summer school. Since moving to the desert in 1996, she has been teaching for the La Quinta Arts Foundation and facilitating classes for LIR since 1999.

Basia Hoffman

Basia Hoffman is an American, born in Canada, lived in Switzerland and France whose first language is French. She is a published Children's Book author, former Educational and Informative Talk Show host, Executive Producer of a Documentary on Breast Cancer and was trained at UCLA  in medical hypnosis, which she currently practices in Palm Springs.  She enjoys teaching French in an innovative, comprehensive way with joy, laughter and fun!

Harold Jacobs, Ph.D

Harold Jacobs received a BA from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He was Professor of Sociology at SUNY New Paltz for 35 years, including Chair of the department for six years. He is a recipient of the SUNY Distinguished Teaching Award and has published extensively in his field. He enjoys chess, travel, cooking and film.

Thomas Jones, Ph.D

Thomas Jones is a retired professor of U.S. History. His career includes teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels, academic administration, faculty development, and consulting. He received a B.A. degree from the University of Minnesota (1964) and received a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship for graduate study in History at Cornell University (Ph.D 1968). His publications include books and articles on U.S. history, college teaching, and liberal education, as well as a novel.

Donald Kagan

Donald Kagan is a college drop out and graduated from the School of Trial by Fire. He is a retired entrepreneur with former IT businesses in Nicaragua and the San Francisco Bay Area. He is an avid Economics enthusiast and active in helping the Latino community and other causes in the Coachella Valley.

Li Kokesh

Li Kokesh has taken Art Appreciation Classes for the last two years and has made class presentations based on her unique cultural background. Her love of art and music is rooted from growing up in Shanghai, China and exposure to classical music from an early age. She earned her MS in Engineering from Wayne State University, Michigan. She has worked as a Business Consultant and traveled the world working on large scale international automotive projects for the past 25 years (including 5 years in UK, Germany and Italy). Art and music have always been her passion, especially the Impressionism and Renaissance periods. She just completed five months of a European Culture immersion trip where she was able to gain additional knowledge on some of the world’s finest Masterpieces. Her style of teaching includes multidisciplinary discussions to draw together the entire classroom as they collectively discover the facets of art appreciation.

Joyce Kornbluh

Joyce Kornbluh is an avid reader and a retired lawyer from Michigan and New York.

Reesa Manning

Reesa Manning was Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor at UBS Financial Services for 12 years. Prior to her career in financial services, she founded Southern California based, 140 store franchise, Penguin's Frozen Yogurt. She served as president of the nonprofit, 2000 member National Council of Jewish Women in Los Angeles for three years, and was past president of the Desert Cities Chapter of NAWBO (National Organization of Women Business Owners) and Women Leaders Forum of the Coachella Valley. She resides in Rancho Mirage with her husband and currently serves on the Board of Temple Sinai and The Springs HOA. She is a firm believer in women's empowerment and financial literacy.

Angelica Miller

Angelica Miller is a native Spanish speaker. She attended college in Mexico City and worked as an executive secretary. She has given private Spanish lessons.

Jim Miller

Jim Miller is a year-round resident of Palm Desert. He has an MBA from Columbia University in NYC. During his 30+ year career, he held a variety of financial positions in industry and finance. He has considerable experience in debt and equity markets, project finance, municipal finance and structured finance. He has been a personal investor for more than 50 years and is looking forward to networking with fellow investors in his never-ending quest to beat the market.

Michele M Miller

Michele M Miller is a Broadway veteran and award-winning playwright.  She holds a B.F.A. in Drama and English Literature from Hofstra University in New York. Semi-retired, she created and taught a musical theater curriculum to young adults with Down syndrome, and was awarded the Mayor’s Citizenship Award. Michele currently teaches Improvisation, Comedy, and Acting to older adults throughout North America.

Les Modie

Les Modie has both BA and MA degrees in Spanish and History, has studied in Spain, Ecuador, and Mexico and traveled throughout the Spanish speaking countries of the world.

Steve Moyer, J.D.

Steve Moyer is a retired trial attorney from Los Angeles. He currently serves as a mediator and teaches law at the California Deserts Trial Academy College of Law in Indio.

Harry Nugent-Patten

Harry Nugent-Patten has a Bachelor Degree in Music Education, a Masters in Secondary Education and another in Educational Administration. He holds an MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer) that specialized in database and web design. Harry was an instrumental music teacher (strings) in inner city Detroit for 21 years and a professional musician (French Horn) for 25 years. He was lucky enough to be on stage with many accomplished musicians like Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett. He played many Broadway shows for thousands of theater goers at Detroit’s Fischer and Masonic Temple Theaters, doing multi-month runs of shows from West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera. He moved to the desert in 1999 and taught band at a middle school in Indio for two years, then went into the technology department in the Desert Sands Unified School District, where he was a Teacher on Special Assignment, teaching teachers and administrators how to use technology in their jobs. He was the web coordinator for the entire district including all schools and all teacher websites. He was also a graphic and web designer for multiple companies throughout the states.

Tom Preston, MD

Dr. Tom Preston created and chaired a coalition to sponsor a ballot initiative in WA state that was passed by the voters to become the WA Death with Dignity Law. Since then, he has advised physicians and counseled patients regarding accessing the law. Dr. Preston has been a hospice volunteer in WA state and in the greater Palm Springs area, and has written three books on end-of-life issues, including assessment of physician aid in dying. He is a retired Cardiologist.

Susan Reinke

Susan Reinke retired after thirty-four years as an educator, primarily at the secondary level. She received her BA in Foreign Languages and Education from Washington State University and an MA in Education from Eastern Washington University. During her teaching career, she taught French, Spanish, English Literature, Composition and Creative Writing. She was a participant in the Puget Sound Writing Project. In addition to having been a teacher, Susan is a published essayist and has completed her memoir. She also writes poetry and is currently working on a novel.

Gloria Reynolds

Gloria Reynolds is retired from business in Sacramento, California.  She has a BS in Liberal Arts (Political Science, Business Administration-Accounting, and Social Welfare) and some graduate studies in Business and Humanities from California State University Sacramento.  As a young adult, she lived seven years abroad, 3 years in Libya and 4 years in Italy, learned to speak Italian and studied German and Chinese.  Her interest in foreign films began in 2010 when she offered to coordinate a foreign films seminar for the Renaissance Society at California State University Sacramento.  The Renaissance Society is an on-campus, learning-in-retirement association established in 1993.  She left that position in 2015 but has a notebook of 600+ foreign film titles that she has watched and rated.

Marc Rosen

Marc Rosen received a BA from the University of California in Political Science, an MA from Cal State University San Francisco in Education of Exceptional Children, and an MA from San Jose State University in Counseling and Guidance. He was a high school educator and counselor for 36 years, and has initiated and participated in numerous discussion groups on current events and controversial issues. Photography has been a favorite hobby since 1978. He has developed and printed black and white film and color cibachrome, as well as digital. He uses several photo editing programs including Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Nx Capture and others. Marc enjoys photo restoration, video editing and producing. He and his wife, Irene, have recorded & produced many DVDs of special events with stills and video, such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, family histories and travel documentaries. He has been a Sun City Camera Club participant and award winner, is a past V.P. and has presented and assisted in several workshops.

Mike Ruark, J.D.

Mike Ruark was born and raised in Seattle, WA.  A graduate of the University of Washington (64 - BA, 67 - J.D.), after a tour in Vietnam, he practiced law for over thirty years.  As a King County deputy prosecutor, he prosecuted traffic tickets to first degree murder cases, both capital and non-capital cases.  He was selected to organize and head up one of the first sexual assault units in the country.  He moved to the US Attorneys office for the Western District of Washington, where he prosecuted public corruption, drug, white collar and tax cases.  He finished as Chief of the Trial Division, responsible to the US Attorney for all federal criminal prosecutions in the Western District of Washington.  He entered private practice in 1982 and focused on representing local municipalities, public utilities, municipal finance and water law.

Gerald Salomon

Gerald Salomon received a BS in Liberal Arts from the University of Cincinnati. He has been a life long aficionado of music and has accumulated an extensive collection of musical CDs and DVDs, which he draws upon as teaching aids in his course. He looks forward to sharing his knowledge and love of music with other enthusiasts.

Mario Sewell

Mario Sewell has a BA (Chicago), an MA (Stanford) and MPH (UCLA). He spent 28 wonderful, at times frustrating, but satisfying years with the LA County health system. He and his wife moved to La Quinta in 2003. After retirement, he taught adult English as a Secondary Language in classes in LA, Indio and Oasis, volunteered as a reading tutor in Mecca and Las Palmitas and with many others, helped raise funds for books for second and third grade children in the East Valley schools. For the past four years he has been facilitating the LIR foreign films series.

Ron Sharrow

Ron Sharrow began his writing career in 1998, after retiring from his Baltimore law practice. He has written and published 10 of his own books, plus a number of others which he has ghost-written, edited, or formatted for other writers.

Ralph Sinibaldi, Ph.D

Ralph Sinibaldi has worked in molecular biology research and development for more than 35 years. He is an innovator in the areas of genomics, gene expression, DNA microarrays and drug discovery. He has more than 25 years of experience in biotechnology management and has been involved in both startups and large global life science companies. He was awarded the Sandoz Presidential Award for innovative research and has published over 45 scientific articles and abstracts on original research and received 3 patents. He completed business management training at UC Berkeley and has BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in Biology from the University of Illinois. He received postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois Medical Center and the University of Chicago. He was the recipient of a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Fund postdoctoral fellowship.

Harold Ivan Smith, DMIN, FT

Harold Ivan Smith was a bereavement specialist on the teaching faculty of Saint Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri for 18 years.  He has a doctorate from Asbury Theological Seminary.  His current research and writing focuses on White House bereavement and the presidency of Harry S. Truman.  He has also conducted research in ten presidential libraries.

Jerry Swirsky, J.D.

Jerry Swirsky is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English and a J.D. degree from the University of Connecticut Law School. He practiced law in Hartford, CT and tried cases in both State and Federal courts for approximately 40 years. He has always had a strong interest in American History  and an even stronger interest in the Federalist Papers.

Hazel Warlaumont, Ph.D

Hazel Warlaumont received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington and had a career as a Professor of Communications at California State University, Fullerton, where she also directed the graduate program and founded University Women for Peace. Her publishing and research areas include advertising, global communication, information processing, social media and public policy, and media and the American character. She  has lectured as a visiting professor at the Sorbonne in Paris, the University of Granada in Spain, Round Earth Study Abroad in Morocco, and Hawaii Pacific University. One of her favorite pastimes these days is creative writing . She has published two novels - 'The Second Translator' and 'Madeleine and Therese'.  She divides her time between the desert and Whidbey Island, WA. 

Steve Weinberg, MD

Stephen E. Weinberg, MD, FACC, FACP, has been a cardiologist since 1978.  He authored a book entitled "US Healthcare on Life Support" in 2007 detailing the financial crisis surrounding the nation's healthcare delivery system.  As a lecturer at the Wharton Healthcare Graduate MBA program in Philadelphia, and a professor of medicine at two Philadelphia area medical schools, he has been an educator for more than 30 years.  Following the publication of his book, he lectured in numerous medical schools and other academic venues on healthcare financing, including locally at UCLA.  Additionally, he was a founder and managing partner of a 26-person cardiology group in New Jersey.  As a consultant to several local and national insurance companies, he has intimate knowledge of financial aspects of the healthcare industry.  Dr. Weinberg's subspecialty was cardiac catheterization, angioplasty and stent insertions.  During his career, he has been the principle investigator on dozens of national research trials.  Additionally, Dr. Weinberg has served on the board of directors of several hospitals and medical organizations.

Flora Wiegers

Flora Wiegers is a lifelong learner and has enjoyed working as training and organizational development consultant, school psychologist, media literacy educator, diversity and inclusion manager and manager of training and strategic planning. After graduating Cum Laude from Boston University, she was offered a full teaching scholarship to U.S.C. where she received her first Masters’ degree in International and Intercultural Education. She received a second Master’s Degree in Counseling from Cal State LA. She has been very active in her community, serving on several community advisory boards, bridging cultural barriers through education, dialogue, and collaboration.