LJCC Instructors


Meet Our Instructors

Bob Spindler – Silver Age Yoga Bob Spindler
Bob has been practicing yoga for over 11 years. Shortly after being certified to teach yoga in 2007, he came to observe another yoga instructor teaching Silver Age Yoga to her students at the Riford Center. Shortly after, he was asked to teach an additional Silver Age Yoga class  and has been teaching at the center, now La Jolla Community Center, ever since. In his spare time he likes to read, hike and travel as much as his “semi-retirement” permits.

John Tessmer – LJ Theatre Ensemble Director
John co-founded the La Jolla Theatre Ensemble (previously the Riford Readers Theatre) with Davida Huchel in March, 2010.  The first performance was of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, which John directed and in which he played Eddie Carbone.  Other productions John has directed and acted in here at the LJCC include Tuesdays with Morrie ( in which he played the role of Mitch), The Savannah Disputation, Steel Magnolias, Harvey (Elwood), Goodbye, Charlie (George Tracy), The Trip to Bountiful (Ticket Man, Sheriff), Over the River and Through the Woods (Nick), Rounding Third (Michael), Driving Miss Daisy, On Golden Pond (Bill Ray, Sr.), Morning’s at Seven (Homer), Grace & Glorie, The Gift of the Magi (Digsby)/Telling Wilde Tales  (Woodcutter/Narrator/ Fisherman’s Soul/Ensemble), Chapter Two (George Schneider), the variety show “Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing,” and, most recently — just this April, Close Ties (Watson Frye).

John has a B.A. from Yale and an M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  He spent six seasons with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival between graduate school and moving back to his home town of San Diego in 2001.  Among others, he has acted with the Laguna Playhouse, Western Stage, the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Idaho Rep, Monomoy Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Intrepid Shakespeare Company, Lamb’s Players, New Village Arts, Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company, Playwrights Project, Poor Players, Grassroots Greeks, 6th@ Penn/ Compass Theatre, Carlsbad PlayReaders, Orchestra Nova, San Diego Ballet, and the San Diego Shakespeare Society.

Paola Baracco – Italian: Beginner & Intermediate, Italian for Travelers
Paola Baracco: born and raised in the city of Torino in northern Italy, Paola graduated from the Universita degli Studi di Torino with a Literary Arts Master and Degree. She also achieved a Masters in Communications Technique at the University of Leeds (UK). In Italy she worked for 12 years for several worldwide Advertising Agencies as a Director of Client Relationships. She moved to San Diego in 2004 and has two kids. Paola started teaching Italian in private Schools (Italian Cultural Center), the La Jolla Community Center and Elementary Schools.  Her passions are her kids, painting, reading, and doing yoga.

Amanda Penaloza-Banks – Ico-Dance
Amanda trained at London Contemporary Dance School, UK in the early 90’s and performed for ten years with European dance companies. She subsequently became a freelance teacher and choreographer working predominantly in Europe, with children and adults in the community and with dance professionals. In 2006, she undertook a two year professional development training in ‘Laban’ principles. These studies deepened her interest in developing a style of dancing that encourages internal balance and a connection with our bodies, our energy, our creative spirit and the surrounding environment. After relocating to California in 2012, Amanda created ‘Ico-Dance’, named after the icosahedron; the Platonic solid which is symbolic of water, emotion, flow and movement. To read more about Amanda, her poetry and her dance teaching, go to http://amandabanks.com

Anne Marie Welsh – Deep Healing Yoga and Deep Yoga Flow anne marie welsh
Anne Marie still trains with Deep Yoga founders Bhava Ram and Laura Plumb and is certified as an instructor at the 500-hour level by their Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts and by the national Yoga Alliance. She has also trained extensively in Yoga Therapeutics, Vedic Therapy and Happy Back Yoga with Ram, physical therapist Rachel Krentzman, as well as Gary Kraftsow, Aadil Palkhivala, Rod Stryker and others. A yoga practitioner since 1999 and a yoga teacher since 2010, Anne Marie is an author, editor and writing coach with M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English literature and drama. She was the San Diego Union-Tribune’s dance and theater critic for 25 years until Deep Yoga transformed her life and work.

Sherlie Miller – Qi Gong Style T’ai Chi sherlie miller
Sherlie has been practicing T’ai Chi since the 1980’s. She began teaching T’ai Chi and Qigong in 1998. There are weekly classes at the La Jolla Community Center, and in Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach. This short form of T’ai Chi is gentle meditative movement, a form that is easily learned and practiced. All are welcome to come to a class.

Patrick Anderson – Opera Wednesdays Co-Director
Patrick Anderson is the co-director of the Opera Wednesdays series, along with Derek Legg. He is a native Southern Californian, born PatrickAndersonand raised in Los Angeles. A long-time opera lover, Patrick has sung semi-professionally for many years. Back in a previous century, he sang a number of seasons with Opera a la Carte, Los Angeles’ premier Gilbert & Sullivan repertory company, and has recently taken part in operatic productions by the Pacific Lyric Association. Since moving to San Diego County, Patrick has sung with several notable choral ensembles, including Pacific Camerata and the Bach Collegium San Diego. He is the director of the North County Opera Soiree, a group of professional musicians who present classical concerts to benefit local charitities. Patrick lives in Fallbrook, where he spends his rare free time working in his enormous garden and tending to three very spoiled dogs.

Alesia Stanford – Essentrics/Aging Backwards
Alesia Stanford teaches Essentrics at LJCC. Alesia spent more years than she is willing to admit working as a television news producer and reporter Alesia 1for CNN and several local stations around the nation, including two here in San Diego. As a result of the high paced atmosphere and hours on a computer, Alesia developed a painful condition called carpal tunnel syndrome. Before she left her last job as a morning news producer, she was going to physical therapy 4 times a week. It wasn’t working well and felt she was doomed to a life of pain. About 6 months later, Alesia discovered Classical Stretch on television and started recording the workouts. She noticed after doing them for a week or so, she was starting to feel better and experience less pain. That led her to the Essentrics website, where she immediately signed up for instructor training. Alesia has trained with Essentrics creator Miranda Esmonde-White . She is a Level 2 certified trainer and looks forward to receiving her Level 3 and 4 certifications in the next year or so. “I love the way the Essentrics program can heal and strengthen a body,” she says, “I’m living proof that it works.”

Ester Castruita – Meditation and Inner Self Workout ester meditation
Ester has studied and  meditated for over 16 years and has led group meditations as a volunteer for more than 9 years but it wasn’t until 4 years ago in one of her meditations that her heart pointed her to a new direction: her passion is in teaching and helping people achieve their goals through self-knowledge.After finishing an MBA in Communications and having experienced teaching Marketing for university students, she created a workshop for creativity based on meditation and felt that it should be complemented with psychology. After working more than 10 years in advertising agencies and living a comfortable life she stepped out of her comfort zone to follow her heart. Ester moved from Brazil, where she was born and raised, to San Diego to study and started her new life from scratch.Today, she has many gifts coming from the courage of trusting her intuition and not giving up despite all the challenges. In San Diego, Ester met the love of her life and got married, she received a professional diploma in Expressive Arts Therapy (Psychology); she created the Inner Self Workout – an innovative and unique method for self-empowerment – and started her new company Dharana Star. She has definitely made California her new home.

At the La Jolla Community Center, Ester has met wonderful people in her Meditation Classes and Inner Self Workout sessions. She is very grateful and blessed for being part of this community. Ester loves what she does and wants to share her passion with you. Attend her classes to create a culture of happiness!

Phillis Carey – The Casual Gourmet, Cooking Classes Phillis Carey
Phillis Carey has been teaching cooking classes throughout Southern California for more than thirty years. Her classes cover a wide range of topics, from basic techniques to holiday feasts, from quick ways with chicken to vegetarian cooking, international and regional cuisines. Her focus is on easy-yet-elegant menus for entertaining with a gourmet accent and a minimum of fuss. Her students remark that she is easy to follow and her recipes are “home-cook” friendly. As a free-lance food writer, Phillis’ articles have appeared in COOK’S ILLUSTRATED and COOKING PLEASURES magazines. She has also written cover stories for the food section of the San Diego Union-Tribune and has self-published four cookbooks, including her currently available book, FAST AND FABULOUS CHICKEN BREASTS. A native of California, she resides in Carlsbad.

Linda H. Pequegnat – A Day In La Jolla History Linda Pequegnat
Linda graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. with a major in Zoology.  Then got interested in Marine Biology and moved to La Jolla in 1954 to study at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where I received my Master’s degree in Biological Oceanography.

My career as an author occurred when my book, “This Day in San Diego History” was published by Sunbelt Publications in 2009.  This book was a “labor of love” that I started writing after being so happy to return to the San Diego area after all those years in Texas !  I wanted to learn more about the San Diego area — and about La Jolla — that I love so much!  I joined the San Diego Historical Society and the La Jolla Historical Society, and I started reading many books about San Diego history.  Somewhere along the way, I got the idea to write a book with a story for each day on the calendar about events that happened in San Diego’s past history — and “This Day in San Diego History” was born !  There are many stories about La Jolla’s past history in the book.  I have enjoyed doing presentations and readings from my book to many local groups, including the La Jolla Community Center.

Pat Murray – Line Dancing patmurray
Patricia has over 35 years of experience teaching and training in the public school system and has since helped and trained Line Dance teachers in the San Diego County. In the summer of 2009, inspired by her love of teaching and dancing, Patricia called together a small group of women for a time of fun, fellowship and exercise. With the goal of taking their line dancing experiences and expertise beyond “The Electric Slide” to “Go Hard or Go Home,” the group began to meet regularly to learn a variety of old and new dances. When an observer casually remarked “you all look pretty good, maybe you should perform,” the Dancing Divas were born! Since then, the group has included men, children and couples and is now called ERRRVERYBODi!! The group has performed for many groups including UNCF, Relay for Life, Every Voice, Padres Heritage Day and many more

Amy Burfitt – Big Picture Planning for Seniors AmyBurfitt
Amy joined the San Diego office of LivHome in August of 2014 as their new Eldercare Consultant. Amy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and minor in Sociology, at Sonoma State University in 2000. Amy has been in the Senior Industry for over a decade and has now helped develop Big Picture Planning for Seniors, a program for designed to let you take control of your future and avoid costly mistakes. This 90 minute clinic takes place every second Tuesday of the month at 9:30am at the LJCC and will teach you: What legal documents you need to remain independent, How to age in place, What are your options for care, When moving makes sense, Who qualifies for a government benefit and more

Victoria Fuller – Ashtanga-Based Flow Yoga Victoria Fuller
Victoria began practicing yoga in 2002.  She quickly gravitated toward Ashtanga Yoga, and she now studies with Tim Miller at the Ashtanga Yoga Center, and also with Trevor Monk at Infinite Yoga.  The foundation of her teaching style comes from her sense that the benefits of her dedicated practice have exceeded anything she could have imagined when she first began, and she enjoys sharing her experience in classes that are challenging, but also fun and not intimidating.  She is
 a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 200-hour level with Yoga Alliance.

Anne Cleveland – Gentle Yoga
Anne began her journey into yoga early in life during her childhood, with an avid curiosity about all things unseen. When anneclevelandAnne discovered yoga during her “fitness epiphany” in the mid-1990′s, she discovered those practices to be the doorway to the deeper understanding she had been seeking.

During that time, Anne took her first yoga class at the renowned health spa Rancho la Puerta. A few years later, in 2000, she earned a 500-hour hatha yoga teaching certification from Master Yoga in La Jolla. Specializing in teaching restorative yoga and meditation, Anne deepened her own yoga practice, both teaching and in the arena of elite open water swimming. This became a time for Anne to “take yoga off the mat” into daily life and even explore her own human capacity with marathon swimming. Her yoga practice became the cornerstone of her training. During these years, Anne swam the English Channel four times, including a rare non-stop two-way swim from England to France and back to England. In 2010, Anne continued her yoga training at La Jolla Yoga Center, completing an additional 200-hour multi-style teacher training and studying Raja Yoga. Anne has been studying yoga’s sister science of Ayurveda for several years, both at the Ayurvedic Institute and Kerala Ayurveda Academy, and is an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor.

Anne Cleveland, C-IAYT, is the owner of La Jolla Yoga Therapy and provides personalized yoga, designed especially for an individual’s constitution. Anne is also a Level III Reiki Master-Teacher and certified in Quantum Touch Hands-on Healing. Her accomplishments as an elite open water swimmer were recognized in 2010 when she was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. Anne has been featured inYoga JournalThe Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesLos Angeles TimesSWIMMER Magazine, Swimming World Magazine and other national publications. She currently sees private clients for yoga therapy and Ayurvedic counseling and coaches open water swimming around the world.

Jackie Warfield – Art Class: How to Start A Painting image1(1)
A graduate of Visual Arts from UCSD. She has resided in La Jolla since 1996 with her two young daughters. A student of Sebastian Capella, her lifelong artistic passion and imagination began as a child in Oklahoma. Amid the cloud filled skies and vast plains grew her creative interests. Her work is based off of a limited palette and she enjoys painting with either oil or acrylic. In her free time, Jackie enjoys creating art demonstrations for local retirement communities.

Polina Sisman – Music Appreciation 
Mrs. Sisman moved to San Diego in 1989 from the former Soviet Union. A native of Lviv, Ukraine, she earned an Honorable Bachelor Diploma in polinaMusic and Conducting from Kolessa Music Pedagogy College. While in college Mrs. Sisman was privileged to study piano under the guidance of Maria Kokotailo, now an esteemed Professor at the Wroclaw Music Academy in Poland. After her arrival in the United States Polina enhanced her pedagogic skills at San Diego State University under the tutelage of Professor Nancy McDonald.

Mrs. Sisman has worked as an accompanist for the California Ballet Company, Dance Department of Grossmont College, Campobello Dance Co. Mexico, and Ballet des Arts International, Montreal, Canada. Mrs. Sisman was chosen to accompany for Master Classes of the legendary dancers Maya Plisetskaya and Alonso King.

Currently Mrs. Sisman works as an accompanist and teaches Music Appreciation Classes for Dancers at San Diego Civic Youth Ballet. Mrs. Sisman has been a member of the Music Teachers Association of California since 1993, and has award winning students in Lviv, Ukraine and San Diego. She teaches students of all levels and backgrounds at her private studio. Mrs. Sisman brings knowledge and understanding of music thorough inspiration, patience, passion, and enthusiasm. Her students frequently join her at the symphony and often bring their musical talents to the rehabilitation centers and senior homes.

Douglas R. Barker M.A. – Art Historydouglas barker
Douglas is a professional art historian, educator and metaphysical researcher who lived for fourteen years in Europe and has taught over one hundred courses in art history at a number of colleges and universities, most recently as a full-time instructor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.  He has been an enthusiastic researcher of the megaliths and has visited many of them in a number of different countries. His particular expertise is in relating the history of art to the evolution of consciousness in the Western world.

Chris Burns, M.A. – Music History 
Chris has taught “history through music” for over 35 years, originally focusing on world history through the lens of classical music. At Valley Center Chris BurnsPauma Unified School District he served as a Music Demonstration Teacher, Mentor Teacher for Music, and Music Teacher for the Advanced Learner Program. He also taught classes at UCSD and SDSU Extension; classes included “Using Music to Enhance Learning,” ”Basic Musicianship,” and “Classical Music for the Educator.”

Chris continues his commitment to teaching history through music at the San Diego History Center, providing their education program with interactive music events on the history of California through music. In addition, he has performed music events in U.S. History and San Diego History for OASIS, Cabrillo National Monument and Mission Trails Park.  His classes on classical music focus on the beauty and variety of the music and its historical context. Chris also performs regularly as one-half of ‘Many-Strings.’  This hammered dulcimer and guitar duo focuses on popular classical themes, Celtic, and American folk music.  They perform regularly at Scripps Health, local art galleries, libraries, parks, and retail environments.

Wilfredo Guilbiac Rodriguez – Salsa Suelta & Rueda de Casino 
Wilfredo was born in Havana, Cuba. Entering the world of dance at the age of 8, he decided to follow the family tradition, as his siblings are all wilfredorecognized professional dancers and musicians from Havana. Wilfredo had the opportunity to attend the school of arts in Havana.

Evolving into a solo dancer and professional choreographer, he specialized in all the popular and traditional styles of Cuba which include mambo, cha cha cha, son, danzon, Afro-Cuban, and modern dance among others. He was selected to be a part of some of Cuba’s most prestigious dance companies. He has also represented Cuba internationally. Currently, he resides in San Diego, California, where he offers dance classes at various levels. He participates in the most recognized dance festivals throughout the country as well as internationally, teaching workshops and performing. His mission is to spread the Cuban culture to all the corners of the world with the cadence and idiosyncrasy which so uniquely characterizes his people.

Kristina Vedeikaite – Mandala Meditation
FullSizeRender1(1)Over past 8 years I had an opportunity and a privilege to call myself a world traveler. I lived in 3 different continents, 5 different countries. Yoga was, is and will be the most precious life and travel companion. I discovered yoga almost 7 years ago while volunteering in India. It was a magical and spiritual way to see power of yoga – ability to build relationship between the body, the mind and the breath that leads to sustained happiness. I completed my 200 hour Vinyasa Flow training with Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla, California. The training helped me to build a strong foundation of asana practice and expand my knowledge of pranayama and meditation. My yoga teaching is focused asana, pranayama practice and meditation. I am specialized in office yoga and madala coloring meditation.