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Continuining Education

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Office of Continuing Education & Off-Campus Programs
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Office of Continuing Education &
Off-Campus Programs

8695 College Parkway
Suite 1181
Ft. Myers, FL 33919

Phone #s: all area codes are 239
Continuing Education: 425-3270
Institute of Government: 425-3271
Renaissance Academy: 425-3272
Fax:  425-3260

Meet Our Staff

 
 
Organization Chart (Click to enlarge)

Dr. Paul Thornton

Paul Thornton

Executive Director of Continuing Education and Off­-Campus Programs

Paul is passionate about adult and extended education because he has lived it: His entire postsecondary education career—as student, educator, and administrator—has involved non-traditional education.  Paul holds a special affinity for adult learners, as that is how he got started in pursuing his own college education.  Paul earned his bachelor’s degree in management while on active duty with the U.S. Army at Ft. Benning, GA, attending classes far away from his home institution, Troy University in Alabama.  With a growing young family, Paul went on to earn his MBA from the University of Rochester, and then many years later again became an adult learner when he pursued a doctorate in higher education leadership, while maintaining a full-time career in academia.  Paul earned an EdD from the University of Delaware, where he focused on adult education, and his research interest pertained to online education.  At all levels of Paul's postsecondary education, he experienced the challenges, and benefits, of being an adult learner.

Paul's involvement with adult learners has been just as substantial as an educator.  As a full-time faculty member, and then as an administrator, Paul has taught in, developed, and/or led working adult learner evening programs on campus, as well as non-traditional programs at satellite locations away from the main campus, online, bachelor degree completion programs at community colleges, worksite locations, at two military installations, and non-credit community outreach programs.

Higher education is Paul's third career. He worked many years as a financial executive at a major corporation, and, for over 25 years Paul has been an entrepreneur, owning and operating a variety of small businesses in the retail sector.

John Guerra

John Guerra

Director, Renaissance Academy

John is the Director of The Renaissance Academy. He is a Columbia University graduate and former Wall Street merchant banker.

Joanne Hartke

Joanne Hartke

 Director of the Florida Institute of Government

Joanne is the Director of the Florida Institute of Government at Florida Gulf Coast University.  She has been in the field of training and organizational development for more than 30 years, most of it in Southwest Florida.  Joanne has been with FGCU for 15 years and understands the challenges and successes of the local community.

Joanne’s career experience includes 5 years as a social worker, 1 year as a consultant in the hospitality industry, and 2 years as a trainer and facilitator for the State of Florida.

Ms. Hartke earned her B.S. from Ohio State University, and her M.S. from Xavier University. 

In her role at the Institute Joanne markets the variety of professional trainings, organizational development services, and top-level trainer/facilitators/faculty that are available through IOG to assist individuals and local organizations to succeed and grow.  Joanne’s focus with the Institute is to provide high quality, priced-right services that clients need and want, and then follow up to ensure continuity of services.

Christina J. Gallagher, PhD

Christina J. Gallagher, PhD

Program Manager

Chris develops and teaches new and emerging programs in a number of subject areas, including contact hour programs for health and human services professions.

Dr. Gallagher has a range of experience in both the private sector and academia.  Her interests in continuing education and the arts intersect in current work at Lee Memorial Health System, where she provides expressive arts activities for oncology patients.  Prior to joining FGCU, she was Director of Education at Hope Hospice, overseeing health education efforts serving an 8-county area in addition to teaching silk painting workshops as stress relief for field personnel.  She's a graduate of Purdue University and University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was Director of Precollege Programs for the campus, collectively serving 12,000 K-12 students annually, and offering educational programs proving exposure, enrichment and enhancement. She began her career in inner-city Indianapolis, teaching K-8 art.

Dr. Robert Peterson

Consultant, New Business Development

Dr. Peterson has over 30 years’ experience in training managers and supervisors of several major Fortune 500 companies as well as numerous medium and smaller-sized firms.  Additionally, he has over twenty years of full-time university and college level teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, nine years working in the marketing department of a Fortune 250 company, and over 3 years’ experience as the Training Manager at a plant of a major US automotive manufacturing company.

Dr. Peterson has over twenty years of leading Six Sigma certification for all facets of business, including manufacturing, health care, government, education, and service.  He recently completed Six Sigma training for the Lee County Emergency Medical Service.  He holds a PhD in Organizational Development from Southern Illinois University.  Dr. Peterson is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and was trained in Six Sigma by General Electric.

Brenda DePasquale-Gerson

Brenda DePasquale-Gerson

Administrative Coordinator

Brenda joined FGCU in 2011 and is currently an Administrative Coordinator with The Renaissance Academy.  Her priority is displaying a “can-do” attitude in serving participants, staff, and instructors. Brenda moved to Florida from Westchester, NY where she worked for 17 years as an assistant to the Director of Finance and Administration for The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester New York. Brenda enjoys all the beauty that is SW Florida, its beaches, canals and palm trees. Brenda says, “It’s like living in paradise.” Additionally, she has enjoyed meeting new friends and is very happy to have made the move from NY.

Anita Gilmore

Anita Gilmore

Internet Marketing Specialist

Anita is the Internet Marketing Specialist for FGCU's Office of Continuing Education. Anita studied Advertising Design at The University of Maryland and started her career in graphics as a traffic manager and typesetter at a leading Washington Metro ad agency. Anita's career in marketing spans the movement of print graphics from paste-up production through desktop publishing and ultimately, web development. Anita runs Continuing Education's social media accounts, produces The Renaissance Academy's weekly online newsletter, and updates and maintains our web sites and blog.

Enereida Valentin

Enereida Valentin

Business Manager

Enereida started working for FGCU in 2001, upon relocating from Puerto Rico.  Currently, she is the Business Manager for Continuing Education.  She has over 20 years of experience in the business industry, 13 of these years working in the higher education environment.  Enereida holds a bachelor's degree in Office Systems from the University of Puerto Rico and a Master's degree in Education, with a major in Special Education from Florida Gulf Coast University.  Enereida enjoys reading, loves to write and play music and is actively involved with her community volunteering and sharing her passion with others.

Cynthia Focks

Cynthia Focks

Program Assistant

Cynthia joined FGCU in January 2011 and is currently the Program Assistant at the Renaissance Academy at FGCU Naples Center.  Cynthia is originally from Massachusetts, where she worked as the Financial Assistant to the Director of Pupil Personnel in the Andover Public Schools.  She and her husband moved to Florida in 2007 when their son entered Florida State University.  Now graduating and attending Rice University as a Piano Performance major, Cynthia spends her spare time supporting her son in his promising performance career.   

Richard A. Ramos

Richard A. Ramos

Student Advising Assistant/Hendry & Glades Counties Coordinator

A member of Continuing Education since 2008, Rick began as a Graduate Assistant Academic Advisor, primarily helping Edison State College graduates transition to FGCU, while pursuing his own History MA at Florida Gulf Coast University.  Since then, he has been named CE's Hendry/Glades Counties Coordinator, and the Coordinator for online Driving Courses, as well as assisting with Charlotte County's Renaissance Academy program when required. 

Rick graduated from FGCU with a History BA in May 2008 after attending the university for three years.  He enrolled at FGCU in 2005 after serving 28 years in the Untied States Coast Guard.  In the Coast Guard, Rick rose to the rank of CWO4 (BOSN) and commanded the Coast Guard Station in Fort Myers Beach, before retiring in 2003.  

Nancy Staub

Nancy Staub

Program Assistant

Nancy is currently overseeing the new facility for the Office of Continuing Education at the Herald Court Centre in Punta Gorda.  In the past, Nancy worked with the Institute of Government for almost 4 years.  In this position, her passion is customer service excellence and strives to ensure that participants, clients and facilitators have exactly what they need.

An interest in life-long learning helped Nancy make the decision to leave a previous position, go back to college and earn her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education.

In her spare time, Nancy enjoys live music, her two rescue dogs, and being out in the Florida sunshine!

Patricia Lasser

Patricia Lasser

Naples Center Office Assistant

Soon after discovering the Renaissance Academy, as a student in its inaugural year, Patti became the FGCU Naples Center Office Assistant.  That was 7 years ago.  She has enjoyed watching the curriculum in Naples grow from a dozen classes in 2003 to over 200 in the 2010 Winter term.  The reward of her position is witnessing the joy as new students discover us.  Her promise is to continue welcoming back our returning students each year with a familiar smile.

Matthew Donatelli

matthew_donatelli

IOG Business Assistant

Matthew started working for FGCU on July 1, 2013 as a Budget Assistant with the Florida Institute of Government. Matthew holds a Master’s Degree in Arts and Cultural Management, and recently relocated to Southwest Florida. He has over 10 years’ experience focusing on project management, business growth and world class customer service. Matthew’s most recent experience includes almost 7 years with the Nashville Symphony and Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee, where he worked events, production, merchandising, food and beverage, A/V production and much more. He is also a Certified Personal Trainer, has served as an adjunct faculty, and was a small business owner. In his role with IOG, Matthew handles accounts receivable/payable, assists with budget reconciliation, works with certification programs, and working directly with IOG clients-trainers-participants to ensure expectations are met and exceeded.

Nancy Panozzo

Nancy Panozzo

Renaissance Academy Marketing Coordinator

Nancy is the Renaissance Academy's Marketing Coordinator. She is a Bradley University graduate and former educator and entrepreneur.

Douglas Coventry

Douglas Coventry

Program Assistant at FGCU Herald Court

Douglas is proud to be a member of the staff at FGCU. He comes to us from the world of real estate and insurance, having worked as an Office Assistant at Riverwood Realty in Port Charlotte and as an Independent Insurance Adjuster with Coventry Insurance Claims Adjusters in Lake View Terrace, California. Douglas is also involved with the Herald Court TheatreKids program, which produces ballets and shows for students ages 5 to 15 in Punta Gorda, FL.

Catherine Brown

Catherine Brown

IOG Program Assistant

Catherine joined the Institute of Government in July 2012 as part-time Program Coordinator.  She is also the proprietor of a gourmet coffee shop she opened when she relocated to Fort Myers in 2011.

Catherine worked for eight years as a Senior Executive Assistant at Integra LifeSciences Corporation in Pennsylvania before returning to Ft. Myers and to FGCU.  She was the third employee hired by the university when it opened, and she spent ten years as Senior Administrative Assistant to the Provost at FGCU.  Catherine comes to work each day with a focus on customer satisfaction, providing quality programs and services, and enjoyment of the continuing growth and success of FGCU.