How to Register
How to Register
We Need Donations
Want to Volunteer?
Weekly Schedules, Fall 2016
Weekly Schedules, Winter 2017
Weekly Schedules, Spring 2017
Argosy University (ARG)
Center for Arts & Humanity (CAH)
Everglades University (EVG)
First Congregational United Church of Christ (CON)
First Presbyterian Church (PRE)
Friendship Center (SFC)
South Florida Museum-Bishop Planetarium (MUS)
Our Officers, Staff, and Board Members
Janis Cohen, President
Janis is a retired attorney, formerly vice-president and managing counsel of the investment lawyers at Unum Group in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Portland, Maine, where her work focused on commercial real estate. In addition to working at Unum, she was in-house counsel at a non-profit educational and social services corporation, served as compliance director for the State of Maine on a right-to-treatment consent decree case, and was in private practice. She is currently a board member of the Maine Justice Foundation, and has served on a number of boards and commissions, including the Finance Authority of Maine, the Maine Turnpike Authority and the Maine Civil Legal Services Fund Commission.
Janis holds a J.D. degree from the University of Maine School of Law, a M.A. degree in psychology from West Georgia College, a M.Ed. degree with a focus on guidance and counseling from the University of Southern Maine, and a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois. She served as Executive Director of Pierian Spring Academy during the 2012-2013 academic year.
Victoria Eckl, Vice-President
Vicki has coordinated development programs for diverse nonprofit organizations ranging from the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and the Easter Seal Society of Metropolitan Chicago to Family Shelter Service, a large domestic violence agency in suburban Chicago. She has cultivated long-term relationships with individual donors, organized and completed successful capital and corporate campaigns, and provided leadership to boards of directors and volunteer groups. Vicki's career with non-profit organizations was launched when she was on loan to the United Way Campaign representing First Bank-Milwaukee in the mid-1970's. As a Consumer Banking Officer/Product Manager of demand deposits, she collaborated with a team of legal, financial, data processing and marketing professionals to create one of the nation's first shared ATM networks, TYME/Take Your Money Everywhere.
Since moving to Sarasota Vicki has enjoyed volunteering for various nonprofit organizations and programs. They include the Literacy Council of Sarasota, PALS Partnership in Education, Friends of the Sarasota Ballet, Girls Inc. of Sarasota County, Therapy Dogs, Inc., SPARCC and Pierian Spring Academy. Vicki is passionate about enriching her understanding of the world, enjoying friendships and exploring fascinating subjects while taking Pierian courses.
Richard Dyer, Treasurer
Dick retired after a 37 year career with The Indiana National Bank of Indianapolis, working in the Investment Division of the Trust Department. He started as an Investment Research Analyst and retired as Vice President and Senior Investment Portfolio Manager. In that position he managed investments for Pension Funds, Endowments and Foundations, and High Net-Worth Individuals. Dick received a BS degree, with honors, from Indiana University School of Business. He was elected to the Business Honorary, Beta Gamma Sigma, and received the Senior Scholarship Award. Dick also obtained an MBA from Indiana University and has received the Chartered Financial Analyst Certification. Dick has served on many Not-for-Profit Boards and Committees over the years, including several as President or Treasurer.
Joanne Swick, Secretary
Joanne was a Senior Staff Aide for the Board of Supervisors, Fairfax County, Virginia. Prior to that she worked for United Airlines and was a Realtor for Mt. Vernon Realty. She was involved in Community Organizations such as PTA Boards, Boy Scouts of America, Virginia Crisis Hotline, and Civic and Homeowner Associations. Her degree is from George Mason University, Fairfax VA, with a special emphasis in American History.
Robert V. Carlson, Director Emeritus
Bob is an emeritus professor at the University of Vermont as well as president of ABC Associates, Inc., an educational consulting firm. He has had wide experience as a teacher and educational administrator over the last 25 years. He was a full professor at the University of Vermont, a visiting professor at the University of Oulu in Finland, a laboratory school administrator at the University of Iowa and has also had experience as a public school administrator and an elementary classroom teacher. Dr. Carlson is an author of three books in the educational field as well as many articles and research papers. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, a master's degree from S.U.N.Y. at Brockport, and a doctoral degree in education from the University of Rochester.
Joel Larus, Ex-officio, Founder & First Executive Director (1997-2002)
Joel is emeritus professor of international relations, New York University. He is the founder and first executive director of the Pierian Spring Academy.
Dean of Faculty
Stan received his M.A. from the University of North Carolina and his Ph. D. from the University of Maryland. He taught at the universities of George Washington, Maryland and Massachusetts at Boston. He was President of Urbanistics Foundation, an organization serving the language and employment needs of over 4500 clients from 58 countries and their employers. He has authored two books, a college text and an historical guide. After retirement he has taught at Pierian Spring Academy for eleven years, serving as Dean for the last ten years. He has bicycled 500 miles along the route of the Santa Fe Trail, the length of the Connecticut and Hudson Rivers, the Erie Canal, along the Missouri River following the Lewis and Clark route and is presently attacking the Appalachian Trail in modest bites.
Debbie retired from a career in higher education administration. Most recently, she managed an online program for the preparation of school administrators with an enrollment exceeding 600 students and 90 instructors. Mrs. Cowles has extensive experience in the management of academic operations, student relations, marketing, and website administration. She received Wright State University President's Award for Excellence in Innovation.
Phil has a B.A. and M.A. in English from California State University. He was a professor of English for 10 years and Dean of Instruction for 19 years in the Colorado State University System. Phil has taught English and American literature at California State University; the University of Colorado, Boulder; and at Regis University, Denver. His present area of interest and research is American realism, naturalism and modernism.
William (Tom) Dietrich
Tom retired after a 43 year career with Caterpillar in Peoria, IL. He received his BSIE from Millikin and MBA from Case Western Reserve. Over a span of many years, Tom trained or managed the training of over 45,000 employees with over 75,000 classroom participant hours of training. He served in various positions as Learning H.R. Associate, Sr. Training & Development Consultant, Sr. Management Development Consultant and Manager, Program Development. Tom was on the corporate training staff when Caterpillar was named Best Corporate University by the American Society of Training and Development in 2004. He also served as President of the Central Illinois chapter of ASTD and has served on National Committees of ASTD.
John was self-employed as a marketing consultant for more than 25 years, supporting corporations, government agencies and nonprofit institutions with market research, strategic planning and marketing communications services. Previously, he served as a commissioned engineering officer in the U.S. Public Health Service and was a marketing executive for several companies including International Paper, Xerox, Albany International and Ecology & Environment. Mr. Gartner holds a B.S. in Engineering from Princeton and an M.B.A. from Columbia. He has held leadership positions in many professional and religious organizations, the Princeton Alumni Association of Western NY and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College.
Judy got her BA degree from Beloit College in WI, her MSW from the University of Illinois, and her LCSW in Illinois. She took continuing education courses from the Jung Institute in Chicago. She was employed as a psychotherapist in the Community Mental Health Center in Peoria, IL, and then opened a private practice in Individual, Marriage, and Family Counseling. She also taught classes at Illinois Central College and gave numerous workshops in the community. As a volunteer she served as Board President of the YWCA, Board President of the Junior League, Board Member of the United Way, and Board Member of the Center for Abused Women. Since moving to Sarasota she has volunteered at the C. G. Jung Society, serving as Board President and as a workshop and seminar presenter. She was also a support group facilitator for victims of domestic violence at SPARCC, and has taught classes at the Lifelong Learning Academy at USF and at Pierian Spring Academy.
Dan came to Sarasota as the retired senior vice president and general counsel at Booz Allen Hamilton and has taken classes at PSA since 2001. He had much experience on philanthropic boards, including the presidency of the Longboat Key Arts Center. He guided Pierian Spring Academy through a series of growing pains involving several changes of venue, experimenting with various programs of course length – always maintaining focus on seminar-style sessions featuring instructor/student interaction. Dan chaired the Development Committee since completing three years as President in 2010 and plans to continue assisting efforts to build the PSA endowment.
Gene is a retired systems engineering manager and Master Technologist with a 31 year career at Hewlett-Packard and its merger partners, Compaq and Digital Equipment. Over the span of his career, Gene has enjoyed doing pioneering work in diverse areas ranging from collaborative document publishing and office systems to modular virtualized system building blocks for cloud computing. Gene has been a speaker at major industry conferences and has helped to develop and deliver numerous corporate training events. As a corporate sponsor and then volunteer staff member, he delivered IT services to the Nantucket Film Festival for 10 years. Since retiring to Sarasota, Gene has revived his love of bicycling and is a member of the Rails to Trails Conservancy and People for Bikes national advocacy organizations. Gene received his engineering degree from Northeastern University and is an enthusiastic advocate of the co-op program.
Mary Lou Morton
Mary Lou enjoyed a varied career with her husband, a Foreign Service Officer, in seven overseas locations. She earned a BA at the University of California, Davis and an M. Ed. at The College of New Jersey. Before moving abroad, Mary Lou served as Director of the Penn State University Community International Hospitality Council where she recruited and managed a professional volunteer staff. The Council was responsible for organizing orientation events to serve its new international arrivals and families. Working with the US Ambassador in Armenia as the Community Liaison Officer, Mary Lou spearheaded the creation of the International School opened in 1995. The majority of Mary Lou’s work years were devoted to teaching in California and at American/International Schools abroad: Dhaka, Bangladesh, Bucharest, Romania and Kiev, Ukraine.
Since retiring to Sarasota in 2005, she volunteers actively at Planned Parenthood and Booker Elementary and enthusiastically enrolls in PSA courses. She joined the PSA board in 2013. Mary Lou still loves travel, music of most genres, entertaining friends and family who now include five grandchildren, and anything you can do on Sarasota’s warm beaches.
Stan received his M.A. from the University of North Carolina and his Ph. D. from the University of Maryland. He taught at the universities of George Washington, Maryland and Massachusetts at Boston. He was President of Urbanistics Foundation, an organization serving the language and employment needs of over 4500 clients from 58 countries and their employers. He has authored two books, a college text and an historical guide. After retirement he taught at Pierian Spring Academy for three years, serving as Dean for the last two years. He has bicycled 500 miles along the route of the Santa Fe Trail, the length of the Connecticut and Hudson Rivers, the Erie Canal, along the Missouri River following the Lewis and Clark route and is presently attacking the Appalachian Trail in modest bites.
Charles has been a PSA Board Member since 2013. He is a past instructor for PSA in American History. For the past two years he has been adjunct Professor at USFSM teaching American History at the freshman level. Prior to that he was adjunct Professor of United States History at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa for thirteen years. Work experience includes thirty years of sales and sales management at Exxon Corp. (3 years), Xerox Corporation (20 years), and Apple Computer (8 years). Education includes a B.A. in International Affairs at Florida State University, and a M.A. in United States History at USF, Tampa, specializing in the period 1877-1960. Charles has been married for forty-eight years to Lorraine Marsha with two children, Nicole Keating, and Erin Lee.
Colleen is a retired teacher/administrator living with her husband in Maine and in Florida. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Barry University, a Master of Science and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from Lesley University. During her thirty-four year career, Colleen taught gifted and talented middle school students and served as a public school Curriculum Director. Following her retirement from public school service, she worked as an educational consultant instructing teachers in using effective teaching strategies.
Colleen is the author of two books published by Create Space. Her first book,
The Jacksonian Papers: A Portuguese Water Dog Grows Up On An Island in Maine
, is a coming of age story written in her dog's voice. It tells the story of Jackson enjoying summers on Little Diamond Island, Maine. Her new book,
The Weight of Coal and Lace: The Story of Andras and Sophie Kuchta
is an historical fiction based on the lives of her maternal grandparents from 1904-1924. It is an American story of immigration, coal mining, and the struggles to live in a Pennsylvania coal town. The book has been accepted into the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Slavic Society of Ohio.
Browse all courses
It's easy to register
Get to know us
Our thanks to these
people and organizations
Useful and interesting info
Map of class locations
Pierian Spring Academy
221 Beach Road #128
Sarasota, FL 34242
Send us e-mail
© 2015 Pierian Spring Academy