Darrek Benish has been involved with Kirkwood since 2001, where he earned an AAS degree in Graphic Communications Technology and has been teaching for Kirkwood Continuing Education since June 2016. Although he has experience with many art mediums, his main passion includes the 3D arts – with glass work being toward the top of his list. He loves to provide the fun opportunity of working with glass and glass-blowing to his students, especially to those who never expected to experience it in person. When he isn’t teaching glass classes at Kirkwood, Darrek is a freelancer and also works as a forklift operator for Worley Warehousing. He loves baseball (Go Cubs go!) and is excited to teach his son the love of the game as well.
Mike Chapman is a proud graduate of Kirkwood Community College (Business) and the University of Iowa (Education). He is active in motorcycle rider education and has helped hundreds of students reach their goal of learning to safely ride and operate a motorcycle. Mike also teaches train-the-trainer and Microsoft Office computer classes to beginners.
Amanda Childs is a learning facilitator for Kirkwood Continuing Education where she teaches leadership and professional development classes. She earned a Master of Organizational Leadership from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa and earned undergraduate degrees from both Mt. Mercy University and Kirkwood Community College. Amanda has been leading others in the workplace for more than 20 years, and she strives to prepare future and current leaders to make a positive influence wherever they go.
Ray Reasland is an experienced educator/coach that has served student-athletes, coaches and families at the K-12, Div. I and Div. III levels for over 35 years. He has a Master’s Degree in Kinesiotherapy, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is certified as a 3Dimensional Coaching Presenter. He currently coaches HS Baseball at Mt. Vernon and HS Football at Marion Independent Schools. In his free time he does personal training with retired clients, consults student-athletes through College Prospects Of America and loves to travel the world. Ray has been teaching Coaching Authorization classes at Kirkwood since 2006.
John (Jack) Aldridge is a retired veterinarian, now operating Vignes de Jacques, a hobby farm, cheesemaking venture, winery and vineyard outside of Iowa City. He has been making wine since 1983, primarily in California, before moving to Iowa. A former member of an international competitive wine tasting team, Jack has extensively studied the wines of California and Europe. He recently completed certificate courses at Kirkwood Community College on Vineyard Management and Wine Making & Winery Facility Management. He has lately been producing a variety of aged and fresh cheeses with milk from the family Jersey cow.
Teresa Boston, RN, is an adjunct instructor at Kirkwood Community College and is also employed full-time at the Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha. She also works as a school nurse at St. Pius X Elementary School and teaches CPR/First-Aid for Think Safe. A graduate of Kirkwood, Teresa has been working as a nurse for the last nine years and was previously in elementary education for 17 years. She currently lives in Cedar Rapids and loves spending free time traveling, antiquing, scrapbooking and spending time with family.
Lisa Bergmann-Smithey is a fine art and commercial photographer originally from New York and Los Angeles, now based in Iowa. She studied her craft at the Brooks Institute of Photography, and continued her education in Art History and English at Santa Barbara City College and UCLA. She has been a professional photographer for 30 years and has taught all ages and levels of photography for more than 25 years for Kirkwood. A dedicated teacher known for her friendliness and contagious enthusiasm, Lisa takes special pride in helping those students intimidated by the technology of digital photography learn to overcome their anxiety and express their unique creative vision.