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Our Leadership Team and Instructors

Our Leaders and Instructors

Working to help you succeed!

U.S. Career Institute instructors and employees are dedicated to you.

We want to:

  • Bring you high quality education
  • Support your learning journey
  • Help you achieve your career goals

Leadership Team

Leadership Team/ USCI
The Leadership Team at U.S. Career Institute is a group of dedicated, qualified, and knowledgeable individuals committed to providing valuable insights for potential students. Our team offers comprehensive information about program curricula, requirements, and outcomes. Possessing a profound understanding of the societal impact of career training, we serve as a guiding force in the development and implementation of career training, associate degree, and high school programs. Our aim is to empower individuals through education and contribute to their career success.

Our Leaders and Instructors

Janet Perry
Vice President of Academics and Compliance
Janet has served adult students in non-traditional education settings for over 30 years.
Janet’s Bio

Jill Bear
Dean of Faculty
Jill’s passion is to empower students to meet their goals and dreams.
Jill's Bio

Megan Bowen
High School Director
Megan Bowen serves as USCI’s High School Director.
Megan's Bio

Our Qualified Instructors

Amy Jackson, LVN, CET, CPT-2
Amy Jackson has 28 years of experience working in the medical field on both the clinical and education sides. Amy’s clinical experience includes a variety of departments including the operating room, phlebotomy, paramedic and EKG technician. Her education experience includes being a medical instructor for 17 years for allied health programs, and she’s wrote allied health curriculum for adults and high-school students for the past 12 years. Amy shares her knowledge by acting as a Subject Matter Expert for several different medical programs, offering curriculum review help as well as writing exams and national certification exam questions. Amy earned her Bachelor of Applied Science in pre-nursing studies from Fresno City College.

Beth Price, M.Ed.
Beth Price earned her master’s in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University. Her studies in HR provides her a solid background in hiring and training. Beth is able to navigate complex state regulations and has strong counseling skills. Her writing and organizational skills, along with effective conflict management skills has helped in many of per professional experiences. Beth is currently on faculty at U.S. Career Institute in their Human Resource program.

Beth Sack-Rogers, LMT, RCR, NCBTMB
Beth is the owner and project direct at Contatto Wellness Education Center. There, she heads the massage therapy program, designs its curriculum and coordinates instruction. In years prior, Beth earned vast experience as an instructor and overall educator. She holds several massage therapy related certifications.

Bonnie Kilpatrick, B.A., J.D.
B.A. in Sociology and Psychology (University of Nebraska); Diploma in Paralegal Studies (Paralegal Institute of AZ), Juris Doctorate (University of Denver); Paralegal (10+ yrs)

Brandy Palacios DPT
Brandy Palacios received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of St. Mary. She is a professional physical therapist with more than 14 years of experience in outpatient orthopedics, home health, acute care, and workers’ compensation. With a broad knowledge base across programs, she provides effective treatments and modalities restoring function and mitigating disability for diseased and injured patients. Brandy holds a deep commitment to delivering quality care and achieving superior patient outcomes through collaborative multidisciplinary case-management teams.

Briana Coleman, BS, Minors: Event Planning & Marketing
Briana Coleman earned her Bachelor of Science in Business with Minors in Event Planning and Marketing from Keystone College in 2014. Following graduation, she worked as the Director of Events and Marketing at North American Warhorse for two years, planning and executing onsite promotional events. Briana then secured the catering, sales and marketing coordinator position at Holiday Inn Wilkes Barre, where she coordinated and organized events, including marketing and social media. Briana was promoted to catering sales manager at Holiday Inn Wilkes Barre, where she coordinated, scheduled and executed onsite weddings and other social events. She earned her Wedding Plan Certificate in 2019 and opened Weddings by Bri in 2019, providing full wedding planning services. She also acted as the wedding coordinator for Edgewood by Sand Springs from 2020-2022, transitioning to her current role as director of wedding and event sales.

Brittany Gautreau, LMSW, MSW
Brittany Gautreau is an accomplished social services professional with more than seven years of experience managing programs and staff in the New York City area. As current Program Director at Inter-Care, Ltd., she leads a 30-member team and oversees operations, compliance and growth strategies. Brittany previously held roles of increasing responsibility at Breaking Ground, including Assistant Director, Program Coordinator, Team Lead and Outreach Worker. She earned a MSW from Hunter College and is a NYS Licensed Master Social Worker.

Celeste Yeik, AAS
Celeste Yeik graduated from Laramie County Community College with her AAS degree in Dental Hygiene. She works as a full-time clinical hygienist for Peak Dental Services where she acts as a Lead Hygiene Mentor. Celeste resides in Colorado and enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and their three daughters.

Chris Kolopanis, B.A.
Chris Kolopanis earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Illinois College Jacksonville in 2002. He has worked in the banking industry in various capacities, first as a senior investment representative at Chase, an office manager at PNC Bank and finally a customer service manager at Bank of the West. Besides banking, Chris has expertise in the insurance industry as a claims generalist/managed repair representative with over six years as a claims adjuster. He has also explored entrepreneurship by owning and operating his construction company, Summit Construction, from 2017-2019.

Christopher Pimental, B.A.
Christopher Pimental earned his Bachelor of Arts from Boston University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He worked in the private security industry, including five years as head of security for a South American pharmacy company. He also served as a third-party fraud investigator for Walt Disney World, Allstate Insurance, United Healthcare, Liberty Mutual and Publix Supermarkets. For nearly a decade, Mr. Pimental presented seminars on non-polygraph lie detection. He taught writing at Espiritu Santo University for seven years. He currently owns and operates a restaurant in Ecuador.

Connie Wang, MA
Connie is an early childhood consultant for the Salt Lake and Utah county child development corporation, with more than 15 years in the early childhood education field. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Early & Exceptional Education, and a Master of Education in Trauma & Resiliency. She is affiliated with a number of related organizations, from the National Indian Child Welfare Association to the Utah Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Her extensive training for continuous professional development includes work with the University of British Columbia, the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative and Vital Smarts.

Cynthia (Cindy) Bracy, MPH, RHIA
Cindy Bracy earned her Master of Public Health Informatics (MPH) degree from the University of Chicago. Cindy holds a certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA). She has over 15 years of experience as a medical coder and has worked as a practice management specialist before becoming an instructor for health information management. Cindy is in the process of obtaining her Master of Health Analytics from Northwestern University.

Dan Knowles
After earning an Associate’s degree in electronics from Front Range Community College, Dan embarked on a multi-decade career in the trades, including 20 years as a welder/steel fabricator, 15 years as an HVACR Technician, and 25 years as an HVACR business owner. Dan also spent several years as a licensed electrical apprentice. Along the way, he found time to work for a season as a horse guide at a dude ranch! Dan currently inspects furnace equipment for large companies like Aerotek and Advanced Energy.

Dana Brown, MBA
Dana Brown earned his Bachelor of Science degree with an emphasis in Finance from the University of Colorado. He subsequently earned his MBA in Finance from Mississippi State University. He has nearly two decades of experience in pension and investment management, working in both the public and private sector. He is the current Director of Public Markets for the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana in Baton Rouge.

Jeanie Sutter, M.S.
Upon completion of her master’s degree in Exercise Science from Boise State University, Jeanie Sutter pursued personal training and started Mind Body Design to help people with their health and fitness goals. Jeanie founded the company to educate clients on movement, nutrition, personal motivation and long-lasting health and wellness. She brings expert personal training to clients and works with individuals and groups of clients outdoors and at various locations. Jeanie completed her bachelor’s degree in Science from Colorado Mesa University, and has experience as a personal trainer, wellness consultant and manager for a variety of fitness establishments.

Jessica Cain, Ph.D. Early Education and Teaching Candidate (ABD)
Jessica Cain earned her A.S. in Interdisciplinary Early Child Education from the Bluegrass Community and Technical College. She then attended Eastern Kentucky University, earning her B.S. in Criminal Justice and M.A. in Special Education, Emphasis in Early Education. Jessica is finishing her Ph.D. in Early Education at Northcentral University, San Diego, CA. Jessica has over 23 years of experience in early childhood education, including working with her local Head Start and as a contractor for special projects at various state agencies. Jessica has worked for the past four years as a program manager with the Kentucky Division of Child Care. She is a Master Trainer for the Strengthening Business Practices Training. She contracted with the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (NCECQA) to provide this training series to other state agencies. Jessica has also worked as a content director. She is now co-founder of the Early Child Training Center & and Early Childhood Consumer Education and Technical Assistance Center (ECCTC), a nonprofit Child Care Resource and Referral Agency for southern Kentucky.

Jill Bear, MSW
Jill Bear earned her bachelor's degree in social work from Colorado State University and began her career in a Skilled Nursing Facility working with the elderly and mental health clients. Her work experience includes Child Protection Services and case management, working with at-risk youth transitioning into independent living and the Chafee program and volunteering for several years with Hospice Palliative Care. Jill currently works for U.S. Career Institute as the Dean of Faculty.

John Stivers, B.S.
Jon Stivers is a licensed Home Inspector. He began his career as a marine design engineer, CAD designer, carpenter and computer network installer. He currently owns and operates Top Inspections LLC, specializing in home inspections, radon inspections and termite inspections. His education includes a BS in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania. His publications include 400 practice test questions for the National Inspector Exam for Mometrix Test Preparation.

Judith Kaufman, B.S.
Judith Kaufman is an accounting professional with more than two decades in the field. She earned her bachelor’s in accounting from Regis University. Her resume includes a decade as the CFO for a multi-national geospatial firm. Judith currently works as the Controller for a county government department of eight accountants. In her spare time, she is a published author/poet and a mother of three.

Kaylah Thornton, B.S., RN
Kaylah Thornton obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Azusa Pacific University. As a Registered Nurse, she has provided nursing care in a variety of specialties, including surgical, orthopedics, neurology, cardiology and rehabilitation. In her nursing position, Kaylah monitored, documented and communicated patient conditions to a multidisciplinary care team. She collaborated with numerous disciplines to coordinate patient care, including patient transfer, discharge, referral and spiritual/psychosocial needs. Kaylah evaluated the learning needs of patients and families and educated them as needed.

KimDao Collier, B.A., PharmD
KimDao Collier is a staff pharmacist at SCL Health Lutheran Outpatient Pharmacy and also fills in as the Pharmacist at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy as needed. KimDao gained experience working as a Pharmacy Technician, Pharmacy Intern and then Staff and Floater Pharmacist while working for Walgreens from 2005 until 2016. KimDao helps future pharmacists by mentoring and evaluating assignments as the Writing Preceptor for the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy. KimDao received her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy in 2010. She also received a Bachelor of Arts Humanities (Psychology/Asian studies) from the University of Colorado in 2006.

Lance Elmore CMA, EMT-B
Lance Elmore is a phlebotomist with more than 15 years of experience. He currently works as a Phlebotomist Site Lead for Quest Diagnostics. He previously taught phlebotomy courses at IBMC, such as Phlebotomy Skills and Techniques, Basic Phlebotomy Anatomy and Physiology and Components of Blood/Safety Protocols. Lance received certificates in Emergency Medical Technician from Front Range Community College and Medical Assisting from Institute of Business and Medical Careers.

Laura Stanley, RHIT
Laura Stanley holds certification as a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). She is an active American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) member. Laura completed ICD9/ICD10 medical coding training aligning with the education requirements of the AHIMA. Previously, she attended Paris Junior College and Sulphur Springs High School of Texas. Her professional experience comprises 25 years in medical transcription, including onsite and remote work. Laura is currently a remote quality documentation specialist at Nuance Communication.

Leslie Ballentine, M.S.,
Leslie is an accomplished Instructional Designer with 15 years of experience developing, writing and editing educational materials. She’s an expert in producing distance education materials, learning objectives, assessments, workbooks, online courses, study guides and textbooks. Her expertise also ranges into adult-learning theories and how to apply the ADDIE framework to curriculum development. Currently an education specialist at Pfiedler Learning, Leslie is the former Dean of Curriculum for Weston Distance Learning.

Liz Viscardi, B.A., APR
Liz has a B.A. in Technical Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Business Administration; She’s has the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential and owns her own event-planning business. Experienced Owner with a demonstrated history of working in the public relations and communications industry. Strong business development professional skilled in Public Engagement, Crisis Communications, Journalism, Corporate Communications and Special Events.

Michael Adams, MBA, MSCIS
Michael Adams is a Contract Specialist with the United States Government. In this position he is responsible for developing contracts and their supporting documents. He has spent time working in Marketing as well as Information Systems Development at HSBC, a large international financial services company. During his time with HSBC, Michael helped develop sales and marketing training materials and sales tracking database systems. He has recently written several study guides for Marketing and Business courses.

Nicole Kolopanis, MBA
Nicole Kolopanis earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She also studied at the Harvard Business School Online and UC Berkeley Extension in Teacher Education and Professional Development. She is the founder of IXL Enterprises, LLC, providing such services as education and career development advising, business planning, budget analysis, leadership evaluation, cost estimation and marketing. In addition, she is a member of the degree faculty at Weston Distance Learning. Nicole holds an E-Learning/TESOL certification.

Renee Weeks, MBA with HRM
Renee Weeks earned her college and graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin system through distance education and online education and has been an online educator for 13 years. Her Master of Business Administration (MBA) includes an emphasis on human resources management. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in a variety of business administration and management areas, including human resources management, supply chain management, and information systems. She is a former dean of student learning, business and accounting program coordinator, and student faculty mentor with experience in curriculum development. In addition, she is a former corporate general manager in retail/service in the private sector and a former mid-level manager in the public sector. She has served as an associate editor/contributing writer for a business magazine in Houston, TX for over two years, and is a mystery/romance novelist with her first fiction novel in the production process and is due out late 2020.

Richard A. Serrano, B.S.,
Richard Serrano earned his degree in Business Administration and Management from Empire Business College. He began his career with Norlarco Credit Union, where he became a branch manager. At First National Bank, he became an Assistant Vice President. At Guaranty Bank and Trust, he was promoted to Vice President. In 2014, he left the banking industry to become the CEO of Kaufman & Robinson Inc., a tech manufacturing firm producing ion power sources.

Samone Dixon
Sa’mone Dixon has spent more than 12 years working in a variety of medical billing roles after obtaining an insurance billing and coding certificate in 2008. She’s currently a Medical Biller at Colorado Integrated Care Network. Sa’mone has experience in a variety of insurance billing and coding areas, including anesthesia, pain management, ASC and physical therapy coding and billing. She has expertise with various billing and coding software programs, such as Medical Manager, Centricity, AdvantX, Avid (anesthesia), APS and Practice Fusion.

Tammy Petrelli, LCSW, MSW
Tammy Petrelli is a clinical therapist with her own practice. She earned a Master’s in Social Work from Barry University and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Miami.

Weston “Hank” Balch, BS, MDiv, CRCST, CER, CIS, CHL
Hank Balch earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University before co-founding Beyond Clean. This company connects individuals through podcasting, social media and new technology. In early 2018, Beyond Clean began offering consulting services to Sterile Processing departments needing regulatory assessments, accreditation preparedness, processing improvement opportunities and quality reviews. Throughout 2018 and early 2019, interim management and education services were added to support facilities needing temporary leadership and targeted clinical education in SPD departments. Hank serves as a subject matter expert for U.S. Career Institute to ensure that the course materials provide the knowledge needed for success in the Sterile Processing field.

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