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Meet Our Instructors

Interested in becoming an OLLI at LSU instructor?

OLLI at LSU is fortunate to have a variety of highly qualified and interesting instructors. Our instructors have taught everything from art and history to clowning and sailing. Instructors for OLLI have the option to receive an honorarium for teaching and can also enjoy other benefits such as taking a free course.

For information on how to become an instructor, send an email to

Instructor Forms

Course Submission Form

Use this online form to submit a course for a regular semester review. Please complete it entirely and return it along with the Instructor Hiring and Biography Form below. Email any additional attachments, such as the supply lists or waivers, to your chapter's Curriculum Committee for review and approval. Be mindful that there are deadlines throughout the year to ensure the course is published in the applicable bulletin.

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Instructor Hiring and Biography Form

Submit this online form with instructor information and biography. Your chapter's Curriculum Committee will review and contact you regarding approval.

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Donald Beale has an MALA from LSU in general humanities with an emphasis on film studies. He has done additional graduate coursework in English, with a concentration in American literature and film. He has taught composition and technical writing for the LSU English department and a course on Russian cinema for the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures. He is the director of Distance Learning Programs at LSU Digital & Continuing Education.
Thomas Beard has a Ph.D. from Duke University and is an alumni professor emeritus of economics at LSU. He is an opera enthusiast and collector of opera recordings. He has taught 35 opera courses for the Lagniappe Chapter of OLLI at LSU and eight opera courses for OLLI at Auburn University.
Agnes Bickham attended the Shambhava School of Yoga in Kona, Hawaii, after practicing yoga for many years. She earned her RYT 200 in Hatha-based tradition. After certification, she has been employed as a yoga instructor at the Women’s Wellness Center in Baton Rouge for seven-plus years and is still employed there. She has taught at various other studios. Agnes believes yoga is a stabilizing practice that grounds students, promoting a sense of wellbeing, strength, and confidence.
Jim Bolner, Sr., professor emeritus of political science (LSU), received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Virginia. His area of expertise is American constitutional law and history. He has taught at LSU and several universities in the United States and France. Since his retirement from LSU in 1999, he has taught courses in the OLLI program on American politics and digital photography.
Henry Bradsher has, in his not-exactly retirement, lectured on cruise ships all over the world. Multiple trips stimulated a variety of lecture subjects based on his career as a foreign correspondent and, later, intelligence analyst, on every continent except Antarctica. Other subjects were researched out of curiosity arising from extensive reading.
Peter Callery is a Jesuit priest with a BA in philosophy and an MDiv in theology. He taught in high schools for 36 years. He is currently a retreat director at Manresa House of Retreats in Convent, Louisiana. He has long had an interest in how the stories that we experience affect our own life stories.
Phil Chenevert was born in New Orleans but moved to Baton Rouge almost 40 years ago. He is 78, retired, and lives in Central with his wife Betty and their two cats (Both cats were sleeping when this was typed and refused to comment). He is excited to present these lectures on sleep, having a sleep disorder himself (sleep apnea), which finally explained why he fell asleep at inappropriate times for most of his life. Even when Driving! Phil has a Master’s in Counseling from USM. He still does not play the tuba.
George Cochran is a professor of mathematics at LSU who has played competitive croquet nationally for 20 years. He is a three-time national champion in 9-wicket croquet and his current USCA American Rules handicap is -1.5.
Erica Daigle, Ph.D., University of Iowa, is a native of Louisiana and received her BS and MA from LSU. Her primary research interest is English Renaissance literature and medicine, especially Shakespeare. She also has a special interest in ancient literature and cultures.
Dennis Demcheck resides in Baton Rouge and is an avid birder and nature photographer. He graduated from LSU with a BS in Biology in 1975. After graduate work in zoology from 1975-1977, he was employed by the US Geological Survey until retirement in March 2018. He has been a birder all his life, with bird photography becoming more important as the years roll by. His favorite birds are hummingbirds and raptors.
Claire Fontenot has been a master gardener for 15 years. She presently coordinates the volunteers at BREC Independence Park Botanic Garden, where she has developed an American Daylily Society display garden, and the Louisiana iris and ginger displays. She continues to provide information about home gardens to OLLI members and interested members of the public.
Paul Graham received his Ph. D. in English, with a concentration in American film and a secondary concentration in Medieval literature, from LSU in 2002. In 1997, he completed his master’s degree in English at UNO, concentrating in Medieval literature with a thesis on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. His B.A. in English is also from UNO. While working at LSU, West Virginia University, and the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he taught Beowulf on several occasions.
Jerisse Grantham owns the Jeffie Jean Dance Studio, which her mother started more than 75 years ago. Grantham teaches all forms of dance at the studio, and at public and private schools in the Baton Rouge area. She is a 12-year adjunct faculty member of Tulane University in the theater and dance department. She is also certified to teach by Dance Masters of America. She earned her BS from LSU and has enjoyed the art of teaching and sharing the passion of dance for more than 30 years.
Mary Guarico studied at Scottsdale Artist school under sculptor Bruno Lucchesi, Loncoln Fox, and Willa Shalit. My first introduction to portrait sculpture was with Kinzy Branham in a Leisure class at LSU. I was commissioned to sculpt three historical busts for the museum in Plaquemine, LA, and one for the West Baton Rouge Museum. I went on to learn mold making and creating original porcelain dolls. I spent a year casting recognizable faces in Baton Rouge for an exhibit at the Centroplex Library on March 1989.
Erin Halloran is originally from Minnesota where she earned her BA in History from the University of Minnesota-Morris. She graduated with her Ph.D. in British History from LSU in Spring 2019. She has taught a number of courses at LSU including Western Civilization 1500- present and England 1300-1500. Summer 2018 she was an instructor on LSU in Ireland, where she taught the courses Medieval Ireland and England, and Early Modern Ireland and England.
Sally Hermann is recently retired. She taught music for 27 years in private and public schools. She received her vocal performance degree from the University of Illinois, Campaign-Urbana, teaching certification from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge and became National Board Certified in 2010. She resides with her husband in St, Francisville where she now continues her passion for music at her leisure.
Amanda Heroman has been a yarn enthusiast for many years. She started with knitting and then moved on to crochet, where she discovered blankets she couldn’t buy. She is dedicated to helping others find joy in making beautiful things. Handwork brings joy to the mind and beauty of the soul.
Pat Heurtin holds an MEd +30 hours. She is a retired teacher, having taught and coached health, physical education, and English 23 years at the high school level, and educational teaching methods two years at the university level. Following her teaching retirement, she served seven years as the physical director for the Lake Charles YMCA. After retiring from the YMCA, she served as the public information officer for the Calcasieu Parish Library System. She now stays very busy serving as an ambassador for pickleball in the West Feliciana area.
Kari House has served as both staff and volunteer for Period Open Hearth Cooking for over 30 years. She has given demonstrations at Ft. Gaines in Alabama and Mansfield, Centenary, Port Hudson and Audubon State Historic sites in Louisiana. She has presented training classes and outreach programs for interpretive personnel for the Office of State Parks and other agencies. Kari serves as the volunteer coordinator for the kitchens at Audubon State Historic Site.
Trenton L. James, MD, FAAFP, is a retired, board-certified family physician who still serves as a preceptor for residents in family medicine and medical students from Tulane and LSU. James serves as an associate medical director of the Quality Innovation Network/ Quality Improvement Organization for Medicare in Louisiana, which improves the quality of healthcare and patient safety in hospitals, nursing homes, home health and hospice agencies, and in provider offices across the state.
Claire Kantrow is a physical therapist and chronic pain specialist practicing at Elevate Wellness Studio in Baton Rouge, LA. She graduated in 2009 with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, LA and then went on to complete a Residency in Orthopedics and Practice Management. She has practiced in outpatient orthopedic settings and has developed a niche practice in managing patients with chronic pain and complex neuro-orthopedic conditions. Claire has lectured in a variety of settings including at the LPTA State Conferences, in the Doctor of Physical Therapy programs in the state, and in the community.
Owen Kemp has been a yoga instructor for several years, and received her yoga training through the Living Yoga program at the Barsana Dham Ashram in Austin, Texas. She attended training sessions at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and various venues around the country and internationally. Owen’s yoga style is best described as flow.
Margaret King has managed group discussions around difficult topics during her career in college student affairs and program development and later in leadership development for university administrators. Relevant experiences include developing a public policy program for Newcomb/Tulane students, oversight of The University of Alabama’s program for developing civic engagement, and training in mediation, facilitation, and conflict resolution. Her Ph.D. is in Educational Administration (Higher Education) from The University of New Orleans.
Alan and Nancy Kirkpartrick have been traveling in RVs for over 30 years. They have owned pop-ups, Class C’s, fifth-wheels, and Class A’s while traveling across North America. They have even lived in a motorhome on a Native American tribal reservation for six months while volunteering for the National Park Service.
Nancy Kora is a native of Baton Rouge. She graduated from LSU with a BS in Dietetics. Following graduation, she completed her Dietetic Internship at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA, which is a requirement to become eligible for taking the exam. Upon completion of the exam, she became a Registered Dietitian (RD). After being a RD for 2 years, and accumulating a 1,000 hours of patient education in the field of diabetes, she was eligible to take the Certified Diabetes Exam (CDE) After passing the exam, she acquired the CDE credentials. To keep up her RD, CDE credentials, she has to obtain 75 hours in each profession. Being a RD is one of the 5 professions required to becoming a CDE. Being a RD, CDE gives her the formal credentials that are needed to teach this class.
Noelle LeBlanc has been playing bridge since she was 14 years old (more than half a century!). She played bridge almost thirty years in the New Orleans officially sanctioned duplicate bridge game at the Bridge Center of New Orleans. Noelle has great expertise in both bidding and playing of the hand as evidenced by the accumulation of numerous master points over the years. Presently, she plays both duplicate and rubber bridge in the St. Francisville area.
Linda Lightfoot, BA journalism and political science, University of Mississippi, is retired from The Advocate where she worked 42 years, the last 15 as executive editor. She has put together several OLLI courses with guest lecturers on Louisiana institutions and issues facing the state.
Roberta Loflin After obtaining a B.A. in Art History from George Washington University, she studied communication design at Northern Virginia Community College. She also studied color theory, watercolor, and drawing at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA. Since moving to Louisiana, she has been teaching watercolor and acrylics at the Art Guild of Louisiana, OLLI at LSU, LSU Leisure classes, Congregation of St. Joseph, and other venues.
Merrie Lee Logan and her husband moved to Louisiana from the Midwest. She attended the University of Iowa before graduating from LSU with a degree in French, Spanish, and English. Merrie Lee taught languages in public and private schools for 20 years and is excited to be part of OLLI.
Fara Mabrey is a native of Italy who has taught Italian and French in schools in both Italy and France. She has a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages from the Università Di Bari and has lived in Switzerland and France for extended periods of time. She has taught Italian for LSU Leisure Courses since January 2001.
Denise Magnat has a BA in education from the University of Algiers, North Africa. She has taught French as a foreign language to all age groups for 40 years in several countries in Africa, Europe, and the South Pacific, a few states in the US, and for twelve years with the OLLI at LSU program.
Marchita Mauck has a PhD from Tulane University, and is retired from the LSU College of Art & Design.
William McClendon, III has taught at various universities and given numerous talks at various groups on building better relationships, civility, history, negotiation and creativity. He is a retired attorney with a degree in history and did extensive research in restoring Oakland Plantation. He gave demonstrations on open-hearth cooking for over 25 years in the separate kitchen building at Oakland.
Tom Moore, PE, received a BS in mechanical engineering from University of Kansas, and completed post-graduate studies in management and engineering at UCLA and the University of Delaware. He graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and is a colonel, U.S. Army (retired). Through his engineering and military professions, and through serving with the Olympics as a judge and director in the sport of marksmanship, he has traveled to all seven continents and 106 countries and faraway places.
Olivia Pass has a PhD from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and two master’s degrees from LSU, in English and journalism. She enjoys both taking and teaching OLLI classes.
Brian Pope, MA, University of Texas at Austin, is well known in the Baton Rouge arts community. He is the host of “Center Stage,” a weekly one-hour radio show on WRKF that examines a topic or theme dealing with musical theater. A retiree of the Dow Chemical Company, Brian has produced more than 30 musicals locally and has appeared in more than a dozen musical productions. He was inducted into the Theatre Baton Rouge Hall of Fame in June of 2012. He is an adjunct instructor at Northwestern State University, where he teaches a course in musical theater history and literature.
Sue Potts’ highest degree is an Educational Specialist in administration and supervision (30 specific hours above a masters in education) from LSU. After 40 years of teaching middle school and high school history in the EBR Parish School System, Potts retired to become an independent tour guide in the Baton Rouge area. Currently Potts serves as a volunteer guide at the Old Governor’s Mansion, Old State Capitol, and the new Governor’s Mansion. She has been a plantation guide for several of the riverboats that dock in the Baton Rouge area.
Freya Rivers is an author, consultant, superintendent, principal, and teacher. Educational background: post-doctoral work at Michigan State University, EDD BIO: (Vanderbilt), MED (Southern University), BS (Louisiana State University). She is currently, the director of The Genius Academy, consultant in leadership and diversity and author of Swallowed Tears: A Memoir, The Nightmare Before Xmas 2016 From the Black Side, co-author of Faces of Racism A Case of Genocide and lead author of Challenging the Genius Curriculum.
Patt Roberson earned a PhD in mass communication from University of Southern Mississippi. She is a retired journalism professor, former business manager of The Southern Review, bingo caller for a charity, and avid recycler. She grew up in the Panama Canal Zone and lives in a geodesic dome in Baker with two black cats and one stray dog.
Martha Robson loves to play bridge! A retired Pastpr, she directs the Saturday afternoon game at St. James Place, and she spends way too much time at the bridge club in Metairie. She also believes that playing bridge is one of the best things you can do for your brain, and she loves helping people learn how to approach this complex and fascinating game. Martha lives in New Orleans, works as a tour guide, and love to cook (and eat).
Nancy Sidener earned her AB at University of California, Berkeley, and her PhD at UC, Davis. Before retiring, she taught economics at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and parttime at LSU, while directing the Louisiana Council for Economic Education.
Jane Simmons has been a yoga instructor for several years, and received her yoga training through the Living Yoga program at the Barsana Dham Ashram in Austin, Texas. She attended training sessions at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, and various venues around the country and internationally. Jane’s yoga style is best described as flow. Through her yoga practice and teaching, she has studied other aspects and influences on health and incorporated the use of essential oils associated with healing and stress relief into her yoga classes. She has studied the health claims of using herbs, and avoiding toxins in household cleaners.
William Stickle received his PhD from the University of Saskatchewan, Regina in biology with a minor in oceanography. He worked in zoology and physiology and then biological sciences at LSU from 1972-2015, where he taught Marine Communities, Environmental Physiology, and Human Physiology. He also developed the LSU Marine Biology in Southeast Alaska Program, which has included 249 LSU students in the last 10 years. Stickle has published 97 research papers and graduated 15 MS students and 11 PhD students.
Emily Toth is a longtime professor at LSU, where she has taught courses about women’s lives and writings, humor, food, Louisiana literature, and more. She has a PhD in the humanities from Johns Hopkins University, where she wrote her dissertation on Kate Chopin. She is the author of eleven published books, including two biographies of Kate Chopin (one nominated for a Pulitzer Prize), one of Grace Metalious, an award-winning historical novel, and two books of advice to academic professionals from her alter ego “Ms. Mentor.” For nearly 20 years, the Chronicle of Higher Education online has published Ms. Mentor’s advice columns.
John Vinson is trained in Tushkalusa Apalachee tribal medicine (herbals, water therapy, health foods, etc.). He has taken health and nutrition classes at Arizona State and has taught at Mesa Community College. He is a Certified Nurse Assistant (National Nurse Aide Assessment Program, NNAAP). Vinson has served as Apalachee Daktari (Tribal Health Advisor) for 20-plus years.
Vernon Wright retired in 2004 after 26 years at LSU and seven years in wildlife and fisheries in Iowa and Illinois, specializing in the use of statistics to monitor and manage wildlife species. He received degrees from Iowa State University (BS), Purdue University (MA), and Washington State University (PhD in zoology). After completing a postdoctoral program at Cornell University (biometrics), he worked as an experimental statistician at LSU. He then switched to the LSU Department of Forestry, Wildlife & Fisheries as a professor of wildlife where he worked on alligators, water fowl, egrets, eagles, and other birds and reptiles.
Sandra Zaid is a native of Guatemala and has been teaching art several years, most recently in Pennsylvania. She earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, with a concentration in painting, and a minor in art history from Kutztown University. Her passion is to teach intuitive art and help students build their own confidence in their own artistic journey. She was recognized as a certified urban artist by Eastern University, Philadelphia, where she did public art. Philadelphia was her hometown for 17 years until she recently moved to Baton Rouge.