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Dr. Paul Thornton
Paulis 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.x
Dr. Petersonhas 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
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!
I’Riel is a recent graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University. She received a degree
in Psychology. She is a dedicated individual who enjoys helping others and making
sure that she excels in all that she does. I’Riel works for Continuing Education as
the Internet Marketing Specialist. I’Riel brings a warming personality to any environment
and is highly skilled in customer service and leadership skills. She brings a variety
of skills that are expressed through her maturity and practical experience.
In free time, she enjoys listening to music, cooking, writing and spending time with
her dogs, family, and friends. She also volunteers with a local rescue as their Adoption/Volunteer
Alisha obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Florida Gulf Coast University.
She excels in administrative support, customer support, and data management and brings
over five years’ experience working in the education and healthcare industries. Having
held administrative positions and a track record of strong performance in high-volume,
high-pressure environments, she proficiently manages administrative duties and client
relations at all levels. Alisha brings her passion, dedication, and ethics to her
role as an Office Assistant. She is a motivated team-player with remarkable organizational
skills who finds her work to be abundantly rewarding. She also enjoys traveling and
photography in her free time.
Andrea Muench works for Continuing Education as an Office Assistant. She moved to
Fort Myers from Libertyville, IL in the fall of 2014 with her husband and family.
Andrea was the Department Assistant for the Education, Religion and Theater Departments
at Lake Forest College for 13 years. She found it very interesting working for three
diverse departments. While at Lake Forest College she was involved in Intervarsity,
including being an advisor for a year, and was an Ally participant. She also started
a Bible study for female staff.
Andrea’s passion is helping people, especially the homeless. She volunteers at the
Rescue Mission, The Salvation Army and Come As You Are Ministries. In the past she
volunteered weekly at Community Cooperative. In Illinois she volunteered at Feed My
Starving Children, the county jail, was a mentor for homeless families in transition,
served at mobile food pantries, took classes on poverty and studied the effects of
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, ADD and ADHD in children and teenagers.
Her other passions are the beach and animals. She and her husband go to the beach
as often as they can to see the sunsets. She also dog sits Thursday through Sunday
for her daughter’s dog that she has fallen in love with.
Andrea misses her friends, family and colleagues back in Illinois but is very happy
to be in Florida and working at Florida Gulf Coast University!
Rose is an Administrative Specialist at Renaissance Academy, Naples, Florida. Rose
is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University where she received her BS degree
in Marketing. She also has an AS degree in Respiratory Therapy. Rose is a past member
of PPAI (Promotional Products Association International) and is CAS certified. (Certified
Rose is a Recipient of the Community Service Award 2010 Nominee for her years of service
and dedication to the community of Granby, CT. Rose is the past VP of the Granby
Chamber of Commerce, Granby, CT, and she is the past President of the CT Chapter of
the American Marketing Association.
Rose developed a non-profit organization (raising $100K annually) to support the development
of a high school football program in her hometown. That program is now entering its
Rose comes to us from Granby, CT where she resided for the last 35 years with her
husband Bill and where she raised her 4 children. Rose is an excellent addition to
our team here at FGCU and the Renaissance Academy.
Jessicais an Office Assistant at FGCU Herald Court. She is committed to fulfilling her role
as the first point of contact for students /staff; as she stands ready with a smile
and helpful direction for those who may need it. Jessica’s passion encompasses health,
wellness, and education. With an associate’s degree from the Florida College of Natural
Health, she extends her ever-expanding knowledge of holistic wellness to her part
time position at a local health food market.
In free time, she enjoys both listening to, and making music, singing, beach trips,
being a mom, and spending time with her friends and family.
Chris is a retired educator who joined the Renaissance Academy team in Punta Gorda
in 2018. She has more than 30 years in education as a teacher (middle school through
doctoral programs) as well as school and district level administration. She earned
a BA in Spanish from the State University of New York at Brockport, an MSEd from Nazareth
College in her hometown of Rochester, NY while raising her two daughters, and an EdD
with a focus on Educational Leadership from the University of Sarasota (now Argosy
In her free time, Chris enjoys activities with her daughters, 4 grandchildren, large
extended family and friends, reading, and traveling. Cruising has become a favorite
since her retirement from Charlotte County Public Schools in 2016.