Instructor Spotlight: Monica Casimiro

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Monica Casimiro - Italian Food Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Monica Casimiro - Italian Food Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Monica Casimiro - Italian Food Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education


The Mediterranean diet is heavy in vegetables and olive oil, while keeping protein to a minimum — a combination that has resulted in the population of this region being some of the healthiest people in the world.

But it’s not only highly nutritious: It’s downright delicious, too.

A native of Sardinia, Monica Casimiro has been crafting Italian food since childhood, and she recently began collaborating with Seattle Central’s Continuing Education program to share her passion with others.

Our Exploring Sardinian Cuisine & Culture series is comprised of three hands-on workshops, hosted at Monica’s beautiful facility in the SODO area of Seattle.

Each workshop will focus on a specific traditional dish; you’ll create it with your fellow students, eat it together, and then complement it with a delectable dessert pairing.

Interested in learning more about Monica? Read her profile below.

How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for nearly 10 years, and my students include both adults and children.

What's your educational & professional background?

I’m an early childhood educator, with over 20 years of experience.

What do you enjoy the most about teaching your classes at Seattle Central?

I love meeting new people, and revealing to them the secrets of an ancient cuisine.

Tell us about an inspirational teaching moment.

During one of my fresh pasta classes, one of my students — a very young financial consultant — said that, ‘Making ravioli is an emotional and fulfilling experience.’

That quote inspired me to focus on making fresh pasta, and teaching others how to do that. I want to have other people experience the same thing she described!

There are two types of people in the world, those who follow their dreams and those who keep on dreaming.

Monica Casimiro - Italian Food Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Monica's Favorites


  • Cooking, of course!


  • Chocolat


  • I love David Bowie
  • American Boy by Estelle

Restaurant in Seattle

  • La Carta De Oaxaca in Ballard

The Tools of the Trade: Project Management Tips & Resources

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If You Fail to Plan, You're Planning to Fail

Often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, this adage is at the heart of project management.

Regardless of your industry — or even your specific role — knowing how to effectively plan and execute a project is an important skill.

Other roles that would benefit from formal project management training include:

  • Project sponsors will learn how to initiate a project in a manner which increases the chance of success
  • Project team members will learn how they can contribute to the project to ensure its success
  • Supervisors and Managers will learn how they can influence the project outcome by providing effective leadership and support to project teams
  • Stakeholders will learn about their roles and responsibilities in keeping the project progressing in a timely manner

In fact, project management is a useful skill that can positively impact your personal life, too — it’s a great way to achieve larger personal goals, like getting a college degree or buying a home.

Here are a few insights, tips, tools, and resources that our expert instructor, Zahid Kahn, shared with us.

If you’d like to learn more, please join us for our Fundamentals of Project Management class.

The Top 5 Most Important Aspects of Project Management

  1. Efficiency – Plan, organize and manage your resources to achieve your project objectives and deliver your project on time.
  2. Customer Satisfaction – Ensure that you have a well-planned approach to determining who this project is important to, how you will engage them in planning, and communicate with them.
  3. Risk Management – Identify any potential risks from a strategic perspective, analyze them and then develop a plan to mitigate any adverse impacts on your project’s objectives.
  4. Role Clarity – Clearly define and document the team members’ roles and responsibilities.
  5. Communication – Keep your customers up to date on how the project is progressing, including the scope, schedule, budget, risk, and quality.

Project Management Best Practices

These project management concepts are useful across all industries and organizations:

  • All projects must be initiated with an approved project charter
  • All projects should be managed by applying the requirements of an approved project management plan
  • All changes in project must be reviewed and approved by applying an integrated change control process
  • Risk management must be planned to identify options to mitigate the impacts and the likelihood that they occur
  • A communications management plan should be developed to ensure project stakeholders receive the right information in a timely manner

Common Project Management Mistakes

While there are entire books written on this topic, here are a few of the big ones:

  • Poor Planning – A project has not been properly planned, or not planned at all; an effective project manager must develop a realistic plan
  • Budget Bloat – Every project should have an approved baseline budget, which should be compared regularly with actual expenses to track any deviations
  • Scope Creep – It’s easy to add items to a project as you’re working through it and realize it’s missing things, but you need to start with a realistic timeline for deliverables and try to maintain it in order to deliver the project on time
  • Ineffective Communication – Before beginning a project, identify everyone who has an interest in it, analyze their expectations, influences and requirements throughout the project, and then create a communication plan to meet their needs

Professional Boot Camp Will Get Your Career in Shape

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Amp up Your Career

Yvonne Freitas McGookin - Professional Development Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing EducationThe majority of us have to work for a living — and if we’re lucky enough to choose our work, we should definitely make the most of it.

So: Do you love the work you do? Is it meaningful to you? Are you achieving your goals in life, and is your work supporting that? If your answers to these questions are anything but a resounding “Yes!” then it’s time for a little bit of a tune-up.

Check out our Professional Boot Camp, a series of five workshops designed to help you actively manage your career. You can sign up for the whole series, or choose to come to any of the following workshops individually:

  1. Setting clear career goals and making them known
  2. Cultivating your networks
  3. Quantifying your accomplishments
  4. Expanding your skill set
  5. Knowing what you’re worth

Instructor Yvonne Freitas McGookin shared more about her background with this Boot Camp, what inspired her to teach it, and why someone would want to attend.

And despite the class name, we promise that she will not make you sweat.

How long have you been teaching this class?

I’ve been teaching career development classes and workshops for about 10 years.

What inspired you to teach this Boot Camp?

My own experience of exploring meaningful work and career is what inspired me to teach folks how to develop and manage their careers.

The idea of work and career has changed dramatically over the past 25 years: There’s more freelancing, part-time and remote work opportunities.

Also, the way we work is more focused on gaining, sharing and leveraging knowledge, which has led to developing strong relationships and networks.

How is this class different from others that you teach?

In this class, we focus on the idea of career management — owning, enhancing and advancing your career.

Just as we care for anything we consider valuable, we need to pay attention to our career goals and manage them.

By doing so, we determine what we need to focus on or make adjustments to so that we can achieve our goals.

Think about it like an investment in your future.

Who would benefit from participating in the Professional Boot Camp?

This class is for anyone who needs to get their career “in shape.”

Maybe they’ve been feeling a bit sluggish, or discouraged by their current job or promotional prospects.

Or maybe they’re feeling a lack of direction towards their career goals.

By getting clear on their goals and identifying opportunities to support them, they’ll gain a sense of “career fitness.”

Instructor Spotlight: Sharon Hager

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Sharon Hager - Graphic Design Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Sharon Hager - Graphic Design Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Sharon Hager - Graphic Design Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Decoding Design

Graphic design has undergone a fairly impressive revolution over the past few decades, thanks in large part to the advent of personal computers, and the powerful design and publishing software that followed shortly thereafter.

But as they say: With great power comes great responsibility.

Once you’ve installed Adobe Illustrator or InDesign on your computer, do you really know what to do with it? And just because you know how to use the software, does that mean you’ll be able to design fetching brochures, logos, business cards, and more?

That’s where veteran designer and Continuing Education instructor Sharon Hager comes in.

With nearly 30 years of experience under her belt, she’s skilled in providing guidance on design best practices, as well as how to effectively use the Adobe suite of design software.

Sharon recently shared more about her background and experience with us; read on to learn more about her.

What classes do you teach for Seattle Central?

How long have you been teaching?

I believe I started in 1994.

In addition to the classes that I teach at Seattle Central, I’ve also taught on-location watercolor journaling classes, and I’ve led artists’ travel workshops in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Paris, France.

What's your educational & professional background?

I started as an English major, but quickly switched to Fine Arts, focused on painting. I then pursued additional classes in illustration and graphic design.

Professionally, I was a freelance designer for awhile, and then I landed a position as the graphic designer for Seattle Central College — which I’ve been doing for the past 26 years!

What do you enjoy the most about teaching your classes at Seattle Central?

I love interacting with students, and the energetic and diverse learning environment that Seattle Central promotes.

Tell us about an inspirational teaching moment.

I love it when a student has an “aha!” moment — they suddenly understand something they’ve been struggling with, and their excitement is palpable.

It’s like a flash of light!

For example, drawing with the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator can be a challenge to master, and there have been a number of “aha!” moments during that particular hands-on lesson.

There’s often a feeling of excitement at the end of a class when the students know that they have learned something new and useful.

Sharon Hager - Graphic Design Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Sharon's Favorites


  • I especially like standard jazz and blues


  • TRAVEL — especially to Paris

Learning New Languages Enriches Your Perspective

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This is Your Brain on Language

Learning a language as a child is a very organic process for many of us, particularly because our brains are perfectly attuned to picking up what everyone is saying around us.

Depending on where you grew up, you may have had the opportunity to learn more than one language during this formative period; whether you lived in an area that speaks more than one language, grew up in a household with multi-lingual parents, or attended schools that focused on teaching multiple languages, you may have had more than one ‘mother’ tongue.

But if you didn’t have the chance to learn more than one language in your youth, there’s no reason you shouldn’t start now. In fact, learning new languages — be it second, third, fourth or twentieth — as an adult has many benefits, including:

  • Improving your focus & attention span
  • Increasing your ability to multi-task
  • Enhancing your ability to learn other things more easily
  • Increasing confidence in communicating with others
  • Expanding your perspective of the world

Need more of a case to pick up a new language? In addition to curating some excellent resources on the benefits of learning new languages, we asked two of our language teachers to share more about their experiences.

Ali's Story

Ali Houssein - French Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing EducationAli Houssein is a native of Djibouti and has been teaching French Conversation and French – Level 1 at Seattle Central since 2015.

His native language is Somali, but he also speaks French, English and Arabic. Learning these languages wasn’t really a decision for Ali: Djibouti’s history and the multicultural environment in which he was raised gave Ali the opportunity to learn these languages as part of his every day life.

“With each language comes a culture, a way of life, a way of thinking, and that changes your way of seeing the world and interacting with other people,” Ali notes. “You learn that everything is Relative, and you become more tolerant and compassionate with people from different cultures. You understand better where and why there is a culture clash between civilizations.”

While Ali doesn’t currently have children, he intends to expose them to multiple languages when he does. It’s particularly important to him that they understand that they belong to a multicultural, complex world. “They need to part of it as actors and not spectators,” he says. Ali believes that learning multiple languages will prepare his children to be less fearful, be more prepared to face challenges, and devise solutions that are fair and just.

That kind of perspective is what inspired Ali to teach languages to others — to build bridges, and decrease cultural misunderstandings. One tool that is particularly helpful is humor, as it helps his students see different cultures in a new light.

Here are a few of Ali’s favorite words and phrases in the different languages that he speaks:

  • Somali
    • Nabad iyo aano: “Peace and milk. It‘s a different way to say Bye but with more meaning (stay in peace and prosperity).”
  • French
    • Bon, bein, bof: “Interjections to use when undecided, not really impressed. I like the way it sounds.”
  • English
    • No way: “You can use for pretty much for anything: starting or finishing a conversation, disagreeing, surprise … “
  • Arabic
    • In shaa Allah: “If Allah agrees. It humbles your expectations.”

Teresa's Story

Teresa Ramon Joffre - Spanish Language Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing EducationTeresa Ramon-Joffre has been teaching Spanish Conversation Beginner & Intermediate as well as our Spanish for Business Professionals Level 1 & Level 2 classes since 2015.

Originally from Peru, Teresa’s first language was Spanish, but she also speaks English fluently, and knows some German, French and Sanskrit.

She began learning multiple languages as a child, when her mother enrolled her in a French preschool. “I started learning Cantonese at 5 years old. But I didn’t really learn any Chinese, the ‘teaching methodology’ at the school wasn’t very educational,” she says. “No one really learned it but it was fun, we even prayed in Chinese. I started learning English at around 6 years old.”

While her parents were initially responsible for exposing her to multiple languages at a young age, Teresa took the reigns in elementary school. “I took my English learning ‘in my own hands’ and taught myself a lot of what I know now,” she says. “My parents and I loved The Beatles and we enjoyed singing along. Then, I learned about John Lennon’s solo albums and was hooked on the lyrics. I memorized them first, and later on I found out what they meant. It was almost the same that happens when we learn our first language, through lullabies.”

Teresa considers languages to be her friends — albeit imaginary — because of all the time that she spent figuring out songs and singing along. It also enriched her relationship with her parents. “[My mom] is a theater person and some of the plays were in English so we had fun with language and sayings,” she remembers. “My dad also liked songs in English, so I guess language helped me connect even more with my parents, share common interests. I also loved Mark Twain and was able to read him in English as a teenager.”

She began traveling with her family at a very young age, which helped to expand her ability to communicate with others who speak a different language. “My first trip was at 4 and we went to Amsterdam. After that, we never stopped traveling,” she recalls. “So, I think almost half of my interactions with people in my life have been in a second language. I can say languages allowed me since an early age to connect with people from other countries, other realities, and also allowed me to share what I had.

“My mom remembered an incident in Germany. I was four and she took me to a park and in a second or two I was playing with all the little girls … and we were ‘speaking’ in our own language.”

In terms of the benefits she’s experienced as a result of learning multiple languages, Teresa thinks it has helped her adapt more quickly to different cultures, and to feel more comfortable in new surroundings. “It makes you feel more independent and self-assured,” she notes. “Also, it is great for connecting with others and creating meaningful connections.”

In her experience, taking a language class is about more than just learning how to communicate differently. “It’s also an excuse to socialize, and socializing usually makes us happier,” she smiles. “Have you seen the movie Italian for Beginners?”

She also believes that knowing how to speak multiple languages is a great addition to any resume; our work is getting even more and more globalized, and it can help you land your dream job.

It’s one thing to learn languages, but what inspired Teresa to teach others? “I think there are two words in Sanskrit that can best answer this question: Dharma and karma,” she laughs. “In the sense that teaching became my path at a very young age. I started teaching (informally) when I was 12 years old to a friend who wanted to learn English and didn’t have the means to afford it. Later on, a school principal, who was also my friend, invited me to teach English in her school. Since then I haven’t stopped. In a way I didn’t decide it, it happened naturally.”

Here are a few of Teresa’s favorite words and phrases in the different languages she speaks:

  • English
    • Gorgeous: “I love the sound and when I first learned the word I thought it meant chubby because it sounds like gordo in Spanish.”
    • Whatever: “It is just perfect and I don’t think we have just one word in Spanish that encompasses the meaning of whatever. I specially love it when life gets challenging.”
  • French
    • Tant pis: “This means never mind. It is one of the first words I learned in French and my dad still jokes about it with me. I think what we liked the most was the sound of it.”
  • German
    • Est tut mir leid: “It is very handy. It means I am sorry.”
  • Sanskrit
    • Adho mukha svanasana: “Really, all the yoga words!!! But this is one of my favorite poses, down dog. It doesn’t mean that literally, but this is how it is being used in yoga.”
  • Portuguese
    • Saudade: “Even though I don’t speak it, I love this word, which is a concept to say you are missing someone or something, but it means so much more. It is nostalgia, longing.”

Lost in Translation

Here are a few fun words from other languages that don’t have a direct English counterpart:

  • Kummerspeck (German)
    • Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.
  • Gigil (Filipino)
    • The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is irresistibly cute.
  • Lagom (Swedish)
    • Maybe Goldilocks was Swedish? This slippery little word is hard to define, but means something like, “Not too much, and not too little, but juuuuust right.”
  • Luftmensch (Yiddish)
    • There are several Yiddish words to describe social misfits. This one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense.


Strengthen Your Bookkeeping Skills With a Certificate in Small Business Accounting

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Small Business Accounting Certificate | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Learn the Basics of Applied Accounting

Susanne Elliott - Small Business Accounting Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing EducationBeginning in the Fall of 2016, Seattle Central College is offering a completely revamped approach to training professionals in Business Technology Management.

This multi-track program allows students to customize their degree and certifications by choosing their area of focus — from business process to office management to user support and more.

One of these focuses is Applied Accounting, and we’ve collaborated to offer these credit-level classes as a non-credit professional certificate program to the community.

Comprised of three classes — Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 — this certificate program starts Fall Quarter and continues through Spring Quarter.

Upon completion, you can choose to sit for a national bookkeeping certification exam. You’ll be prepared to start a new career in accounting or to handle your business’ finances on your own.

We asked veteran instructor Susanne Elliott to share more about what you can expect from this program.

How long have you been teaching this class?

This particular course is a new addition to Seattle Central’s Business Technology Management program.

I have taught and created similar courses for other colleges, but I am especially excited for our college to offer these courses to our community.

What inspired you to teach Small Business Accounting classes?

Being able to teach a student a new skill, one that can translate into a lifelong career, and to help change or shape another person’s future is inspiring.

Perhaps it’s cliche, but there have been many teachers and mentors in my past that have changed and shaped my life, and I aspire to do the same.

How is this class different from others that you teach?

Most college accounting courses are geared toward the traditional student, those in their late teens and early twenties, most of which will transfer to universities to pursue bachelor degrees in accounting, finance or business.

This certificate program is designed with the adult learning in mind, someone who isn’t interested in transferring to another college, and who needs real-world skills today.

Who would benefit from getting this certificate?

The Small Business Accounting Certificate is a great fit for:

  • Individuals that are seeking a new career in accounting
  • Small business owners that wish to do their bookkeeping themselves
  • Anyone who is curious about the ins and outs of accounting

Upon completion of all three Applied Accounting classes, you’ll be prepared to take a national bookkeeping certification exam, and ready to seek employment as either an entry level bookkeeper or accounting clerk — or even to start a new career as an independent bookkeeper.

Describe an inspirational moment you've had while teaching.

What inspires me and keeps me motivated to continue teaching are the many successes and achievements of my students, many with whom I stay in touch via Linkedin.

Instructor Spotlight: Colleen Comidy

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TESOL Certificate Program in Seattle WA
Colleen Comidy - TESOL Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Colleen Comidy - TESOL Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Your Next Adventure: Teaching English Abroad

Traveling to other countries can often focus on sightseeing, sometimes at the expense of truly getting to know a place — and the people who live there.

An exceptional way to learn more about a specific culture is to move there, and just stay awhile. And you can do that by learning a marketable skill — like teaching English — that will not only support you while you live in another country, it will give you an instant introduction to your new community.

The first step on this adventure? Get certified to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages — or TESOL for short.

Seattle Central’s TESOL Certification 90-hour program is comprised of a Basics and a Grammar course, with on campus and online educational elements.

Your sherpa is skilled instructor Colleen Comidy, who uses her extensive experience in teaching foreign languages and English as a Second Language to guide budding teachers in the fine art of teaching English to non-native speakers.

Read on to learn more about Colleen’s background and experience.

What classes do you teach for Seattle Central?

I teach a wide range of ESL classes in Seattle Central’s Institute of English (SCIE) — from beginning level to college bridge, in all 4 skill areas: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

In addition, I teach the TESOL Certificate classes — Basics and Grammar for TESOL — for Continuing Education.

How long have you been teaching?

32 years!

What's your educational & professional background?

While teaching has been my longest career — I have been at Seattle Central 16 years — I have done many interesting and varied things.

My BA from the University of Washington is in Clothing, Textiles and Art, and I worked for several years making leather bags and garments for a local Seattle shop.

I went on to working in the costume shop at Pacific Northwest Ballet, and after a few years managed the shop for a time. I was also a dresser for theatrical productions in Seattle.

While studying for my BA, I also took Italian classes and my love of the Italian language inspired me to go to Italy, where I found work with a bridal couturier. I spent a year there and when I came back, I decided to further my love of Italian by earning an MA in Italian Language and Literature at New York University.

While I studied, I worked for several costumers in New York, making costumes for Broadway plays and the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park productions. I also worked for a year at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Upon completion of my MA, I started to teach Italian at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Pratt Institute.

After some years, I decided to go abroad again and, at that time, I transferred my skills from teaching Italian to teaching English and I have been teaching English ever since!

What do you enjoy the most about teaching your classes at Seattle Central?

The students!

I meet so many interesting and inspiring people in the classroom.

I also enjoy just getting to know students, hearing their stories and watching them grow as learners and speakers of English.

I love Seattle Central’s diversity and commitment to serving all students.

I also love the lively urban setting, eating lunch in the Culinary Program’s dining rooms and Friday afternoon BOGO pastries!

Tell us about an inspirational teaching moment.

When students “get” it: They make a breakthrough and demonstrate proficiency in something they have been struggling with.

Colleen Comidy - TESOL Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Student Testimonial

Colleen did a great job, and I immensely enjoyed her class and teaching style! It is clear that she is very dedicated to the material and her students.

Colleen's Favorites


  • I don’t really have one favorite — I enjoy jazz, blues, Motown, funk and more
  • Some of my all-time favorites are the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and Tina Turner, but I also enjoy many contemporary artists


  • Reading
  • Sewing
  • Walking


  • It changes all the time — I like “slice of life“movies that have happy, sad, humorous and unexpected moments
  • Recently, I really enjoyed Brooklyn and Boyhood

Tai Chi Brings Balance to Your Life

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Tai Chi - Kew Gardens | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Tai Chi - Wounded Warriors @ Fort Bragg | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Tai Chi - Grand Rapids | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Snapshots of Tai Chi from around the world:

A group of women practicing it together in Kew Gardens; soldiers at Fort Bragg using it to reduce stress; a community celebrating it during the Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids, MI.

Go with the Flow

While Tai Chi was originally conceived of as a martial art — and there are some styles and forms that still emphasize this element — the Yang style hand form was transformed by Yang Chengfu to create a slow and steady style of movement.

Because it was easy for anyone to pick up and practice, it gained in popularity in China, and then rapidly spread around the world.

People of all ages and abilities practice Tai Chi because it helps them:

  • Improve their balance and flexibility
  • Develop and maintain muscle strength
  • Positively impact their cardio-vascular system
  • Reduce stress
  • Bring more mindfulness to their posture

Be simple and true to your own nature. Be selfless and at peace with the way things are.

— Lao Tsu

Instructor Richard Aries has been offering the Yang style of Tai Chi at Seattle Central since 1980, and it continues to be one of our most popular classes.

He began practicing it in 1974, when a back injury led him to research ways in which he could strengthen the muscles in his lower spine. He had heard that Tai Chi was very good for the lower body, so he began to study the Yang Short Form with a Taiwanese teacher.

Now at the age of 67, he has found that practicing this short exercise for the past 40+ years has helped him maintain his overall health, as well as his balance.

“As we age, we may begin to experience balance issues,” he noted. “Tai Chi brings better kinesthetic awareness, reducing the possibility that we’ll fall as we get older.”

Tai Chi has been called moving meditation, or meditation in motion, and Richard has found it has helped him keep is mind off of the day-to-day issues that inevitably arise in our busy world.

When he practices as part of a group, it brings an atmosphere of community and connection that is sometimes missing in the modern world. And when he practices it on his own, he finds it to be a self-healing and meditative experience.

Student Stories

Here are what a few of Richard’s students have to say about the benefits of practicing Tai Chi:

This class is a perfect way to end the work day. Gentle warm-up movements, focused movements, kind reminders that wherever we are is just right — it doesn’t matter if we’ve been practicing for years or this is the first time — sprinkled with laughter, good humor, and wonderful classmates. These are the ingredients that inspire me to continue with the class.  — Debra

I am a 71 year old woman who was having balance problems, such as falling off my bicycle. After only a few weeks of taking Richard’s class, I was falling much less. He is a great teacher: Serious, knowledgeable, fun, patient and kind. — Cassandra

I have taken Richard’s class at Seattle Central for over four years. Besides being extremely well-versed in massage,Tai Chi, martial arts and more arcane whole body healing methods, I would classify Richard as a Shaman of Kinesiology. He has expertise in the movement of body and mind throughout life. — John

Wu Wei: The Art of Doing Nothing

If you enjoyed learning about Wu Wei, pick up the Tao Te Ching for more inspiration.

Tell Your Story in a Brand New Way

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Creative Writing Workshop | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Learn to Capture Your Readers' Attention in Our Creative Writing Workshop

Do you have a story in you, just waiting to get out? We’re pretty sure the answer to that question is a resounding YES!

But all the drive and ideas and passion in the world won’t magically turn into a finished manuscript — that’s where some serious structure and expert guidance comes in.

Our Creative Writing Workshop is designed to give you just that: Tailored to meet the needs of each student, award-winning writer EC Murray will lead you through the process.

Budding writer? Great! She’ll show you the ropes.

Seasoned novelist in the midst of a challenging revision? She’s here to provide you just the constructive feedback you need.

Read on to learn more about EC’s approach to the class, and why you’ll benefit from joining her this Fall.

How long have you been teaching this class?

The Creative Writing Workshop is actually a new class, but it’s an amalgamation of several classes I’ve taught at Seattle Central and Tacoma Community College over the years.

Some of my other classes include More Writing, Please; So You Want to be a Writer?; and Intermediate Creative Writing.

What inspired you to teach the Creative Writing Workshop?

I once knew a brilliant man who’d always dreamed of being a writer. Whether due to fear, pride or distraction — I don’t know — he died without ever writing a story or book. But, he did inspire me to pursue my writing, no matter how hard or scary it was. And indeed, my first pieces should never have seen the light of day!

One can only write better if they learn the skills necessary to structure their talent, and that is where I, as a teacher, come in. It took six years for me to become an award-winning author, and I never would have succeeded if it weren’t for the inspiration, encouragement and often tough love of my teachers and editors.

So, what inspired me to teach? The desire to pass it forward. My goal is to offer a sanctuary where students can have fun, learn, share and grow in creativity.

Two quotes come to mind:

  • “Compare writing to playing the piano. People think they can start off playing Bach, but they need to begin with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
  • “Sometimes your first book isn’t publishable. But, you can’t write your second book until you’ve written your first.”

How is this class different from others that you teach?

The unique approach I’ve developed is dividing story writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, into three components:

  1. Plot
  2. Character development
  3. Prose

Through lecture, writing in class, review and modest critique, I will help students strengthen their writing to create a solid foundation for their story.

In order to individualize the class as much as possible, I will tweak the syllabus to meet each students’ needs.

It’s important for students to feel the freedom to “just it let flow” and get the words on paper, but then they must begin to master skills to shape those words into a piece, which cause their readers to keep turning the page.

Who would benefit from participating in this workshop?

This is a great class for anyone who ever felt a little tickle, telling them to write.

We’ll work on fiction, non-fiction, short stories and full-length books, so all styles are welcome.

Some of the types of writers that would find this experience valuable include:

  • Those who’d love to write but either know where to start, or haven’t been able to finish their first work
  • Writers that have written a great deal, but don’t have the tools to capture their readers’ attention
  • First time writers, as well as those working on revisions to existing pieces

This workshop will give students the structure and guidance to start, work on and/or finish their work!

Student Testimonial

I consider workshops a success if I can take away one good idea.

Taking Ms. Murray’s class was a breath of professional air, as every single one of her class sessions yielded notes and notes of new ideas.

I can’t believe how much I learned in a short period of time.

Ms. Murray covered topics from achieving emotional depth, to narrative coherency in ‘maintaining the dream,’ to practical advice on publishing.

I am thankful for the opportunity to learn from her, and I highly recommend Ms. Murray.

— Michelle Marshman, former student, Intermediate Creative Writing

Describe an inspirational moment you've had while teaching.

One student came to class saying she didn’t like to read, but had a story to tell.

I funneled books to her that she loved reading, and eventually, her drafts became better and better. She could see the flaws in her own writing, and recognized how other authors overcame similar kinks.

I also love when a student understands which details enhance a story, and which aren’t important to convey their intention.

It’s most inspiring when a student takes feedback to heart, revises until it becomes a strong piece; when they understand the power of motivation, intricacy of plot, or a more rhythmic pattern in prose.

Publication is not always the end goal, but I was thrilled when one student won Honorable Mention from Glimmer Train and another self-published her book.

Yoga Poses for Morning, Noon & Night

posted in: How-To's and Guides | 0
Yoga Poses for Morning, Noon & Night | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Yoga Poses for Morning, Noon & Night | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Yoga Poses for Morning, Noon & Night | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Rejuvenate, Revitalize & Relax

Yoga is like a gentle massage for your muscles and internal organs, and you don’t have to be a skilled yogini to benefit from regularly practicing simple yoga poses.

We asked our resident expert, Julia Goldie, to help us develop easy-to-reference guides that will help you start your day off right, take some time for yourself during a hectic workday, and relax and unwind before you turn in for the night.

If you’re interested in some guidance on how to incorporate yoga into your daily life, please download our Morning Yoga: Sun A Salutations, Mid-Day Yoga: Desk Stretches and Evening Yoga: Relax + Unwind guides. They incorporate illustrations and step-by-step instructions on when to breathe, how to safely achieve the poses and how long you should hold them.

And if you’re looking for more hands-on guidance, please join us for one of our yoga classes:


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