Our Instructors

Kerry Abram

Kerry Abram is a Harvard-trained DC political veteran, but her retirement passion is to empower others to successfully take charge of their health as she has. A Deepak Chopra Certified Instructor, Kerry’s easy, light-hearted approach conveys a powerful regimen of health practices, backed by the latest science.

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.

Steve Bluestein

Steve Bluestein was in on the ground floor of the comedy explosion. He was an opening act for Donna Summer, Barry Manilow, Frankie Valli, and more. He wrote TV sitcoms and variety shows, was a segment producer on Fox TV, an author of five books, a playwright and a founding member of the Groundling Theater.

Terry Boyle, Ph.D

Terry Boyle, Ph.D., originates from Derry, Northern Ireland. In 2004, he left Ireland to take a teaching position at Loyola University, Chicago, and worked there until he took early retirement in 2019. Terry's area of expertise is modern Irish and British Literature. He is also a playwright who has had work produced in Chicago, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. Terry writes a monthly column for the Irish American News in Chicago and Ohio. Since moving to the desert, he has enjoyed hiking and exploring the many trails throughout the Coachella Valley.

Sid Burks

Sid Burks is a student of desert, aviation, and military history. He enjoys sharing what he learns and has been giving presentations to interested groups in and around the Coachella Valley for the last several years. He retired from the California Community College system as an instructor and administrator. He is currently a full-time lecturer for California State University San Bernardino in Career Technical Studies.

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 both domestic and international. 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.

Larry DeBuhr, Ph.D

Larry E. DeBuhr holds a B.S. degree from Iowa State University and a M.A. and Ph.D from Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, CA. As a graduate student, he spent hundreds of hours studying plants in the desert, as well as other plant communities in California. He taught botany and science education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, spent 10 years as the Director of Education at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, and served as the Vice President of Academic Affairs (Education and Research) at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Following his retirement from full-time work, he taught part time at the Institute of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University-Chicago. He is currently a volunteer for the Friends of The Desert Mountains in Palm Desert and loves to hike the desert trails.

Nancy Dowling

Nancy teaches courses for LIR on birds and literature. She has a master's degree in English and a B.A. in French. In Minnesota, she spent several years as a college writing instructor before moving into the corporate sector as an ethics trainer and paralegal.

Michael Eleff

Dr Michael Eleff is a senior, semi-retired academic psychiatrist from Winnipeg, Canada. After 35 years at the University and the major teaching hospital, he moved to a part-time community practice in 2016. His interests include adult psychiatry, major mental disorders, neuropsychiatric illness and the integration of psychotherapeutic and biological treatments.

Adair Fell

Adair Fell is an avid reader who has participated in the Short Stories class at LIR for over ten years. She studied adult education at the University of Illinois, and has a degree in Liberal Arts. More recently, she completed courses in the facilitation of Shared Inquiry, a discussion method developed for the Great Books program at the University of Chicago.

Jacob Frick

Jacob Frick MD, FACP worked for 31 years in Milwaukee, WI as a hematology/oncology physician. In addition to patient care duties, he worked as a safety officer for a large hospital, a hospice director, and as director of the medical oncology programs at 20 hospitals in Wisconsin and Illinois. He has a special interest in process improvement in care of cancer and hematology patients in outpatient settings.

Steve Garfein

Steve Garfein began his career in "Howard Hughes Hobby Shop," where he was a member of the team that developed today's Apache Helicopter, he was responsible for project management systems, technical and cost oversight of the Apache program, and corporate financial reporting. In 1980, he founded RPM Systems Corporation. Since its founding 43 years ago, Steve’s focus has been on assisting a wide range of organizations in product portfolio planning, product marketing, and new product development across a wide range of organizations, including the City of New York, UBS, Microsoft, Intel, GSA, Johnson & Johnson, Amtrak, Lockheed Martin, Ford, Eli Lilly, and F Hoffman-La Roche. Steve has been a visiting professor teaching masters-level courses at Oxford University, Stanford University, University of Technology Sydney, and Queensland University of Technology. He was a Captain in the Army Field Artillery before joining Hughes. Steve has business degrees from UCLA and USC.

David George

After a 4 year (Vietnam era) stint with the US Air Force, Dave capped his long time education career with a 35 year stint at College of the Desert where he served as president (1986-96) and then faculty member (1996-2020). Among his several academic credentials is a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts with specializations in organization and personal development, and adult education.

Jeff Gindin

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 48 Years trading for his own Account. He owned membership seats on the New York Stock Exchange, Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and Chicago Board Options Exchange. Leonard was a Director on CBOT & CME Pacs and made numerous trips to Washington DC to lobby for the Exchange Industry, including several functions where he spoke about the Exchange Industry.

George Haas

George Haas began his foray into the magical arts about ten years ago, after retiring from a successful business career. He joined the local and international magic clubs. George met some very famous and many not so famous magicians, all of whom were happy to mentor a noob. He has performed in various venues, and is excited and happy to share his newfound hobby and knowledge, and help you find out what’s up your sleeve.

Lawrence Hurwitz

Lawrence Hurwitz is Founding Chairman of Lawrence Financial Group in Los Angeles. He started the investment banking company to provide financial services to middle market companies. In its 34 years since founding in 1990, the firm has made billions of capital available to more than 1,500 firms nationwide. Larry began his career as an investment banker on Wall Street after receiving his MBA with Distinction from Harvard. He ultimately became CEO of a New York Stock Exchange member broker/dealer prior to moving to Los Angeles. A native of Austin, TX, and an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin, Larry has 2 children and 2 grandchildren. He also serves as Chairman Emeritus of Woodbury University in Burbank, CA.

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.

David Jones

David Jones is a British citizen who has worked for American FMCG corporations in over 50 countries and lived in five. This experience helped him develop a skill of ‘getting by ‘ in a wide variety of languages by learning vocabulary focused on situations commonly experienced by visitors: greetings, asking for directions, shopping etc. He will also cover some of the important cultural differences between France and the USA to help make the best impression. David is a fluent French speaker and will enjoy focusing the class on learning enough French to better enjoy a visit to France - one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations .

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.

Josh Kanin

Josh Kanin has been a Professor of Cinema Studies since 1973, teaching at UCLA; USC; California State Universities Northridge and Long Beach; Art Center College of Design, and Santa Monica College. In addition to his academic work, Josh has written a musical theater adaptation of his parents’ play of “Rashomon”, which is destined for Broadway, and he is developing a limited TV series on the life of Winnie Mandela, on which he and his production partner, David Field, will serve as executive producers.

Phil Kibort, MD

Dr Phil Kibort is a retired pediatric gastroenterologist and was the Chief Medical Officer of Children's Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota for two decades before retiring in 2017. His avocation has been US Presidential History for the past 25 years. A history major at the University of Minnesota, he has been reading and studying the Presidents on a truly daily basis over this time. He has lectured on the topic over the past 15 years at multiple venues. He lives now in Rancho Mirage for 6 months and Minnesota for 6 months. Married for 50 years and has three sons and 4 grandchildren.

David Klingenberger

David Klingenberger taught film and composition in the English department at Niles West High School in Skokie, IL for almost 30 years. He moved to the desert four years ago and became an RN.

Joe Kokesh

Most automotive industry professionals never get to actively participate in bringing to market a new automobile. Nor being on a team that designs, engineers and manufactures new vehicles. Joe's forty-five years within the industry has allowed him to do exactly that before retiring. His career afforded him an opportunity to work in twelve different countries and with teams of uniquely talented automotive engineering and executive level personnel. Joe's passion was process and procedure requirements at all levels within the automotive industry for meeting timing, budgets, resources and product readiness. Now in retirement Joe is challenging himself to develop and craft insightful classes about the affinity people have with their cars.

Li Kokesh

Li Kokesh received her MS in Engineering. She 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 takes continuing education courses in Art History from Oxford University, and enjoys taking multiple Asian and European Culture immersion trips. Her style of teaching includes multidisciplinary discussions to draw together the entire classroom as they collectively discover the facets of Art Appreciation.

Shirley Lipner

Shirley Lipner is a psychic medium with a comedic edge and a lighthearted perspective. She began 30 years ago as a comic doing a cable public access show, calling herself 'The Psychic Housewife'. What began as entertainment turned into a calling. Shirley has been featured in GOOP, Buzzfeed, Hay House Publishing and You Tube. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram @PsychicShirley.

Barry Mantell

Barry Mantell is a Los Angeles native. He attended El Camino Junior College, then transferred to Cal. State University Long Beach, earning a B.S. degree in Zoology. Next, he attended medical school at UC Irvine followed by a radiology internship, residency and fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He worked virtually his entire career at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs as a staff radiologist specializing in abdominal and breast imaging. His teaching experience includes teaching medical students and teaching international folk dancing classes in Rochester, and one-on-one birding classes in Palm Springs. He is currently serving as a docent at Moorten's Botanical Garden in Palm Springs. A birder for the past 20 years, he developed an interest in butterflies in 2021.

Felicia Martin, PhD

Felicia Martin has a PhD in Clinical Psychology and is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist. She has taught psychology courses in both undergraduate and graduate universities. As a therapist, she has treated those struggling with mental health disorders as well as children and families in the adoption/foster care system. She has also worked in forensic psychology providing suicide assessments in detention facilities and criminal risk assessments for the parole department. She is currently semi-retired and continues to see a few patients in private practice.

Barbara Mudge

Barbara Mudge began her adult life teaching junior and senior high school in the Long Beach Unified School district then segued to a forty+ year career in motion picture sales and marketing. Her expertise has been called upon instructing college level film students in movie distribution at both Loyola University, LA and for the American Film Institute; she's participated on panels at multiple international film festivals; and since 2011 moderated a yearly roundtable seminar at the American Film Market. An experienced copywriter, she recently completed her first memoir entitled MY HOOMAN AND ME.

Harry Nugent-Patten

Harry Nugent-Patten has a Bachelor Degree in Music Education, a Masters in Secondary Education and another in Educational Administration. He also 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. He was also a profession musician (French Horn) for 25 years. Harry was lucky enough to be on stage with many accomplished musicians like Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett. He also played many Broadway shows for thousands of theater goers a night at Detroit’s Fischer and Masonic Temple Theaters doing multi-month runs of shows from West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera. Harry moved to the desert in 1999 and taught band at a middle school in Indio for two years and 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 also 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.

Mark Podrazik

Mark Podrazik moved to Palm Springs in Sept 2023 to begin early retirement. Mark’s primary focus for nearly 30 years was assisting state governments design, implement and conduct oversight of their Medicaid programs. In 2006, he started a consulting firm of about 20 employees with a business partner, eventually selling to a larger firm in 2020. Mark has a B.S. in Finance from Syracuse University and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.

Susan Reinke

Susan Reinke is a retired educator. She received of BA in Foreign Languages from Washington State University and a Masters of Education in the Teaching of French from Eastern Washington University. Susan taught English, French, Spanish, and Creative Writing for 34 years. She has taught Creative Writing and Writing Creative Fiction for three years through LIR. She is working on the revision and edit of her first novel. In addition to that, she enjoys writing poetry and essays.

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.

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.

Lee Schwartz

Lee Schwartz started speaking Spanish when he was in the 3rd grade in St. Louis, MO. He continued studying the language every year, all the way through college where he received a BFA in advertising and design with a minor in Spanish. In his words....."Spanish was so much fun and a lot easier to learn than arithmetic!" He taught Spanish for many years at the Indio Senior Center, mostly to Snowbirds who felt it was a real advantage to know, especially here in the Coachella Valley. According to Lee, Spanish is "the most popular and easiest language to learn in the world."

Ralph Sinbaldi

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

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.

Gerald Swirsky

Gerald (Jerry) Swirsky is a graduate of Yale University and a retired attorney. He has tried cases in the State Courts of Connecticut and the U.S District Court prior to retirement. As a result of a strong interest in American History and the Law he has taught courses on The Federalist Papers, Landmark Supreme Court Cases, The Roberts Court , and Here Comes the Justice, dealing with the various Associate and Supreme Court Justices who have sat on the Supreme Court since John Marshall. Jerry has also lectured recently at the Rancho Mirage Library on the Supreme Court and enjoys engaging students in discussion regarding various cases and their impact on society. Presently, Jerry is anticipating teaching a course on the Amendments/Bill of Rights and the Courts.

Julie Timmer

Julie Lawson Timmer has written a number of novels, four of which she sold to traditional publishers (Putnam, PenguinRandomHouse, Lake Union). She has spoken extensively (at numerous writers’ conferences, book festivals, book launches, libraries, and other community events) about the craft and process of writing as well as the process of acquiring a literary agent, and has written extensively about these topics for various online publications, including Writer’s Digest. Julie grew up in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, and received her undergraduate degree at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, before moving to the United States. She earned a law degree at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas, and practiced law for almost 30 years in Texas and Michigan. After raising their blended family of four children in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Julie and her husband, Dan, retired and relocated full-time to La Quinta in 2021. Julie is an avid hiker, tennis player, CrossFitter, community volunteer, and writer.

Stephen Weinberg

Stephen E Weinberg, MD FACC FACP Dr. Weinberg 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 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 southern New Jersey. As a consultant to several local and national insurance companies, he has intimate knowledge of financial aspects of the healthcare industry. His subspecialty was cardiac catheterization, angioplasty and stent insertions. During his career, he has been the principal investigator on dozens of national and international research trials. Dr. Weinberg has been on the boards of directors of several hospitals and medical organizations.

Steven Weinraub

Since he attended high school in the 1960's and was first introduced to the writings of J.D. Salinger, Steven Weinraub has resonated to the charismatic characters developed by Salinger. However, not so much to Holden Caulfield and Catcher in the Rye. Steven's interest has always been in every other book and short story written by J.D. Salinger. Especially anything related to The Glass Family and the character of the oldest brother Seymour Glass. Retirement has afforded Steven the time to re-read all of these stories and now he loves teaching, talking about and sharing The Glass Family with anyone else who has the same interest.

Jim Wobig

Jim Wobig has 30 years of experience as an Information Technology consultant, supporting Fortune 500 companies. He has also pursued photography for over twenty years and has been a commercial drone pilot for over five years. Jim retired and moved to Rancho Mirage 2 years ago, and he is now focused on photography and droning.