Meet Our Instructors

Community Education instructors hail from a wide range of professional backgrounds. They are lecturers, counselors, motivational speakers, coaches, therapists, writers, and teachers. Some live and work regionally, and some travel to teach here. Ithaca is well-known as a welcoming environment for alternative wellness practices and holistic health  educational interests. Our central location, agency history, and deep roots into the community and the Finger Lakes region make F&CS the ideal place to emerge as a regional hub for wellness education.

Continuing Education instructors offer research-based courses on the most current approaches to assessment, treatment, care management, and organizational leadership. Programming is based on a careful analysis of current priorities in practice, research, and new policies that impact treatment. 

Lourdes Barche-Tabar

Lourdes Barche-Tabar is a member of the clinical staff at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services at Ithaca College. She earned her MA in counseling psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and a doctorate in Expressive Arts Therapies. One of her passions is a belief that the arts are healing and that dreams are part of every culture. In her practice, she uses an integrative approach embracing expressive arts, dream work, existential, humanistic, Jungian, and psychodynamic theories. Her clinical interests include anxiety, depression, grief and loss, LGBT concerns, and trauma. When not at work, she lets her imagination and curiosity guide her through the expressive arts.

Regi Carpenter

Regi Carpenter is a solo performance artist, author, retreat leader and performance coach. An award winning performer, Regi has toured her solo shows and workshops in theaters, festivals and schools, nationally and internationally. Her writings and blogs about storytelling, ancestry and identity have been published in various print and online publications. Regi holds a BFA from Ithaca College where she currently teaches storytelling.

Regi is the recipient of the JJ Reneaux Emerging Artist Award, a Leonard Bernstein Teaching Fellowship Award, the Parent’s Choice Gold Award, the Parents’ Guide to Children’s Media Award and the Storytelling World Award. Her performance piece Snap! won the 2012 Boston StorySlam. Snap! is a featured Listen story on The Moth website.

Celia Clement

Celia Clement  is a clinical social worker in her 30th year as a social worker with the Ithaca City School District. During her career she has developed bully prevention programs for secondary and primary schools that empower students to be the change agents in creating safe, inclusive and kind schools. Her areas of special interest are internet safety, mindfulness education, bully prevention and intervention, and creating student led cultures of kindness and inclusion. She teaches these programs in classrooms and provides trainings for parents, and professionals. . Her formal education includes degrees from Cornell University and Columbia University.

Denyse Variona

Denyse Variano, RN, MPS, recently retired from Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County, where she was a Family and Consumer Science Issue Leader for over 20 years. She was responsible for recognizing the need, writing grants, and bringing the Relatives as Parents Program to Orange County in 1998. The program has expanded from a simple support group to include a nationally recognized youth component, parenting education, nutrition education, mental health counseling, legal consultations, financial management services, and a peer-to-peer mentoring program. The program has become a "best practice" model.   She is a co-author of the Parenting A Second Time Around (PASTA) curriculum, and has extensively trained facilitators in its use. 

Ann Dolan

Ann Dolan is a licensed clinical social worker who has been working as a guide and support for individuals and families since 1992.  She has worked for the Alzheimer’s Association chapters in Syracuse and Milwaukee, WI, as well as in public mental health. She is now able to combine her areas of expertise in her role as clinician in the Geriatric Mental Health program at Family and Children’s. She received her master’s degree from Binghamton University and lives in the Ithaca area with her husband.

Rachel Dunifon

Dr. Rachel Dunifon provides leadership for the College of Human Ecology’s Outreach and Extension activities, as well as Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Parenting in Context Project. She studies child and family policy, with a focus on factors influencing the development of advantaged children. Dr. Dunifon will share findings from her studies the role of grandparents in the lives of youth.  More specifically, Dr. Dunifon is examining whether and how grandparents influence youth; whether living with a grandparent benefits youth living in a single-parent family; and how children fare when they are raised by their grandparents.

Catherine Hodes

Catherine Hodes, LCSW, is the Director of the Safe Homes Project of Good Shepherd Services, which provides crisis counseling, safety planning, shelter, and advocacy to survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence.  Ms. Hodes conducts trainings for a wide range of audiences, including parents, youth, law enforcement, social service providers, and education professionals.  Ms. Hodes is a member of and collaborates with the Brooklyn Family Justice Center, the NYC Coalition of Residential Domestic Violence Service Providers, the NY State LGBTQ Domestic Violence Network, and the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  She is the author of “Abusing Privilege: Broadening the Domestic Violence Paradigm,” published in Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly, Vol 3, No 4, Spring 2011, Civic Research Institute, and co-author of an article about conflict vs. abuse, which is awaiting publication.

Richard Gallagher

Richard Gallagher is a practicing psychotherapist based in Ithaca, NY. His specialties include relationship and family issues, cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders and depression, workplace and academic stresses, and other areas. He also offers online therapy for New York residents, and facilitates the Anxiety Camp group program for anxiety sufferers. Rich has a particular interest in treating anxiety disorders such as fears, phobias, agoraphobia and fear of public speaking. He is one of few therapists in Upstate New York trained by the International OCD Foundation’s Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI).

Kate Halliday

Kate Halliday, LCSW, is a practicing psychotherapist based in Ithaca, NY.  She has more than 40 years of experience in Human Services; the past 26 years have been dedicated to clinical social work practice. Her practice serves adolescents, adults, and families. She has advanced expertise treating complex attachment trauma, PTSD, and affective disorders. Her formal education includes degrees from Vassar College and Syracuse University of Socil Work.

Arpi Hovaguimian

Arpi is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Ithaca, New York. Her work with clients is based on Dr. Murray Bowen’s Family Systems Theory: Bowen emphasized the importance of systems thinking to recognize and disrupt malfunctioning patterns of interaction between people. Arpi is the former Executive Director of the Alcohol & Drug Council, Inc, where she had several roles, including clinic director and clinician.

Jane Margaret Hunt 

Jane Margaret Hunt is a Jungian psychoanalyst and a graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute-Boston, with a private practice in Ithaca, NY. She has been a psychotherapist for 20 years, and now works with adults of all ages, offering Jungian analysis, dream interpretation, psychotherapy, and art therapy. She has also worked extensively with elementary-age children, using sand tray and play therapy. Her MSW is from Marywood University, and she has a BA in Creative Writing from Linfield College. Jane served as co-director for two Clinical Intensives at the Jung Institute-Boston in 2016 and has taught there on the religious complex in film, in 2014, and on childbirth as initiation, in 2016.

Paula Ioanide

Paula Ioanide, PhD. is an associate professor at the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity at Ithaca College. Her teaching and research focus on the negative effects of present-day injustices. She examines the social and spiritual wounds caused by mass incarceration and militarized policing, anti-immigrant discrimination, and increased poverty. Paula has conducted numerous workshops on increasing racial and gender equity in higher education and employment settings. She believes in creating social justice cultures and movements that foster healing, interdependence, dignity and freedom. More information about her book can be found at:

Barbara Jastran

Barbara Jastran, RN, LCSW-R is a registered nurse, licensed clinical social worker and certified sex therapist. Barbara affirms the fundamental value of sexuality as an inherent, essential and beneficial dimension of our lives. She understands the challenges individuals face when trying to navigate the physical, emotional and psychological complexities of human sexuality. Her approach is multi-faceted, client centered, educational, supportive, sometimes directive and collaborative. She works with individuals and couples across the life span who may be struggling with some aspect of sexuality. Having worked in the field of sexuality & reproductive rights for all her career, she supports an individuals' journey for personal growth and development.

Loch Kelly

Loch Kelly, M.Div., LCSW, is an author, meditation teacher, psychotherapist, and founder of the 501c3 non-profit, Open-Hearted Awareness Institute.

Loch teaches in a non-sectarian human being lineage using an adult education style based in the earliest non-dual wisdom traditions, modern science and psychotherapy. 

He served on the New York Insight Teachers Council, studied extensively with Mingyur Rinpoche, and was invited to teach direct realization by Adyashanti. Loch has collaborated with neuroscientists at Yale, UPenn and NYU in the study of how awareness training can enhance compassion and wellbeing. As a licensed psychotherapist, Loch has been teaching seminars, supervising clinicians and practicing awareness psychotherapy in NYC for 30 years.

Loch is a graduate of Columbia University and Union Theological. He was awarded a fellowship to study forms of non-dual meditation in Sri Lanka, India and Nepal from 1981-1982 and has studied with teachers from around the world. He studied Buddhism with Professor Lily de Silva at the University of Kandy, Sri Lanka, Insight Meditation with Godwin Samararatne and at the Theravada monasteries, Inter-Spiritual Contemplative Meditation with Fr. Bede Griffiths and Anthony de Mello, Advaita at Sri Ramana Ashram, and Dzogchen and Sutra Mahamudra with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche in Nepal.

WA Kelly

WA Kelly, LCSW-R, AASECT is a licensed clinical social worker and certified sex therapist. He has been in practice since 1980 providing treatment of sexual dysfunction, issues around sexual minorities, including transgender and intersex, sexually compulsive behaviors, individual, groups and couples therapy. His approach to treatment is generally a cognitive - behavioral approach. Bill’s background includes teaching a number of courses on human sexuality, consultation to schools, and mental health / addictive disorders clinics. 

Dian Killian

Dian Killian, PhD, is a Certified Trainer with the International Center for Nonviolent Communication, a certified life coach with the Coaching for Transformation program and author of two books, Urban Empathy: True Life Adventures of Compassion on the Streets of NY, and Connecting Across Differences: How to Connect with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere (now in its third edition, and in German). Founder and former director of the Center for Collaborative Communication, she now offers coaching and training via her company, Work Collaboratively, to diverse organizations from small and large NGOs to multinational and Fortune 100 companies. Lean more and join her blog post and mailing list at

Killian, Dian.jpg

Terry Lee

Terry Lee is Associate Professor of English at Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Virginia. His areas of research and publication include video documentary projects focused on end-of-life hospice stories: "Wisdom of Age Project" documents insights and reflections from older citizens about what makes life meaningful. 

Claudia Voss Lewenstein

Claudia Voss Lewenstein, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, has worked at Family and Children’s Service for the past 24 years. She received her MSW from Syracuse University in 1992 specializing in Family Mental Health. In her years at F&CS she has worked with children of all ages and their families, in individual clinical settings and in groups. Presently she works mostly with very young children and their families through the Zero to Five Project, but she remains committed to improving outcomes in families with children of all ages. Claudia was a founder of the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group when it first met in July 2002, seeing a need for caregiving grandparents to meet and share their experiences with one another. Since that time she has been the facilitator of this group, which has met continuously, on a monthly basis for the past 14 years.  

Dwight Myers

Dwight Myers is a Florida native who received his MSW from Florida State University. He has 27 years of experience in the field of social work, including 17 years of experience as a certified advanced Imago Relationship Therapist. Dwight is also a certified presented in Harville Hendrix’s “Getting the Love You Want” weekend workshops. For the last six and half years, he has worked at Family & Children’s Service as a senior clinician working with couples and adults.

Dwight Myers2.jpg

Myra Sabir

Myra Sabir received her PhD in human development and family studies from Cornell University in 2004. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship, funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIH), at the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging (CITRA). Sabir's research focuses on a type of attachment-focused integrative reminiscence (AFIR) called Life Writing. Her research is published in first-tier journals (e.g., Journal of Applied Gerontology, The Gerontologist, Aging and Mental Health, International Journal of Reminiscence & Life Review) and has been accepted for presentation at national conferences such as that of the Gerontological Society of America, the American Psychological Association, and the American Association of Black Psychologists.

Anna Salamone

Anna Salamone is a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher and a psychotherapist in private practice in Ithaca, New York. In her clinical practice she works with people who have mild to severe symptoms across diagnostic categories, as well as with those seeking help with potentially stressful life situations, such as loss, transitions, physical changes, and health concerns. In addition to insight orientated psychotherapy, she offers individual and group work in mindfulness based techniques. Anna received training and teacher certification in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School for the 8-week program that was developed there by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Ellen Schmidt

For the past 20 years Ellen Schmidt has led and participated in writing workshops, including leading numerous weeklong summer workshops at Star Island, NH. Her background includes a Master’s Degree in Education, many years teaching early childhood education, special education, German, and teacher education. For 15 years she was the education director in a counseling center and for 17 years directed the Cayuga Community Role Players, an intergenerational, interactive theater troupe.

Joseph Strayhorn

Joseph Strayhorn, M.D., has been occupied continuously in the clinical practice of psychiatry and child psychiatry since 1974. He is now in private practice in Ithaca, New York.  In 2001 he founded Psychological Skills Press, through which he has published 18 books or manuals to be used in psychoeducation. In July of 2014, he and his two daughters founded the Organization for Psychoeducational Tutoring, a nonprofit aimed at providing training to children in both academic and psychological skills.

Denyse Variona

Denyse Variano, RN, MPS, recently retired from Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County, where she was a Family and Consumer Science Issue Leader for over 20 years. She was responsible for recognizing the need, writing grants, and bringing the Relatives as Parents Program to Orange County in 1998. The program has expanded from a simple support group to include a nationally recognized youth component, parenting education, nutrition education, mental health counseling, legal consultations, financial management services, and a peer-to-peer mentoring program. The program has become a "best practice" model.   She is a co-author of the Parenting A Second Time Around (PASTA) curriculum, and has extensively trained facilitators in its use. 

G.P. (Gepe) Zurenda

Gepe Zurenda is a family systems therapist whose practice is strongly influenced by the work of Milton Erickson, MD, and the tenets 12 Step Programs, and Buddhism.  His clinical work includes working with  individuals, couples, and families who are struggling with issues including alcohol and drug issues, co-occurring disorders, depression, relationships, work and career issues, anxiety and phobias, sexual identity, PTSD and others conditions.

How do I become an instructor?

F&CS seeks New York State-licensed social workers and cross-disciplinary professionals who are interested in providing or presenting continuing education workshops. Instructors who are qualified to teach include but not limited to, faculty of a licensed master social work or licensed clinical social work program offered by a higher education institution; or instructors who are specially qualified authorities in activities that are directed at developing and enhancing a licensee’s practice as a LMSW or LCSW.

If you're interested in learning more about becoming an instructor please email Linda Bryan, Program Director, at