Meet Our Faculty and Staff

The mission of the staff at PMTI is to provide a strong and efficient organizational foundation embodying integrity, harmony and compassion, while initiating and supporting the growth, diversity and changing needs of the PMTI community. Our staff is fully committed to helping provide the tools necessary for students, faculty, and alumni to have the most positive educational experience possible. They are deeply committed and dedicated people!

 

Our instructors exemplify PMTI's core values and continually strive to create and maintain a positive and supportive learning environment for all of our students. They bring a vast array of experience along with a knowledge of and passion for massage to the classroom.  

 

The long-standing and continued success of our students is due in no small part to the tireless efforts of both our administrative staff and our faculty. It is an immense joy, honor and privilege for all of us to be part of your journey!

 

All PMTI faculty are licensed in the field of massage therapy, often in multiple jurisdictions, and meet all of the licensure requirements of the Maryland Higher Education Commission. ​

Gaia Baytop, LMT

Clinic Instructor

Clio Berney, LMT, AMTA

S1 Practical Lead, Clinic Manager, CPR/First Aid Instructor

A graduate from the University of MD with a BS in Natural Resource Management. In a past life Clio worked for the American Red Cross and volunteered as an EMT. Massage school seemed a logical way for her to help other people in a more holistic way. Clio is a PMTI graduate from February 2012, and has worked in the graduate clinic and privately offering mobile massage. Trained in Swedish, Deep Tissue, Cranial Sacral and Myofacial release. She is happy to be able to give back to the community in which she has learned so much.  

Shannon Cannedy, LMT

Clinic Instructor, Reception

After graduating from PMTI in 2005, Shannon stayed by working as a practitioner in the PMTI Graduate Clinic until 2008, when she started her own private practice. In 2011 she began working in conjunction with an acupuncture clinic, taking on clients with sensitive health issues, which lead her to add Oncology Massage and Manual Lymph Drainage. She continued her education by studying Pregnancy Massage, Ayurveda, and Shiatsu techniques. Most recently, she has become a Reiki practitioner. Shannon loves to stay involved at PMTI, currently as a Student Clinic Instructor and a member of the front desk receptionist team.

Faylene Dane, LMT

Reception

Yohannes Demoz, LMT

S3 E Practical TA

Michael Duggan, LCMT

Level 3CE MYO and BCS Lead, Curriculum Advisor

A 1993 graduate of the Baltimore School of Massage, Mike has long been renowned for his ability to understand, practice, and convey the concepts of myofascial bodywork to students and colleagues. He has completed a two and half year foundational training in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. Additionally, he has studied Mechanical Link I, and Visceral Manipulation. For 14 years, Mike has taught Anatomy and Pathology in Segment 1 academic, Deep Tissue technique in Segment 2 practical, and now leads PMTI’s Structural Myofascial Certification. Mike also serves as the Curriculum Advisor for our Professional Training Program. 

Jen Float, LMT

Team Member

A PMTI graduate in 2013, Jen holds a B.S. in psychology and a Master's degree in special education from the University of Maryland, College Park. She taught special education for 6 years. Jen maintains a private massage practice in Laurel, Maryland. She is also certified in pregnancy and postpartum massage, fertility and hot stone massage. Jen currently teaches the segment one practical class.

Molly Farwell Gavin, LMT

Level 2C Practical Lead, S3 BUP Co-Lead, Alumni Relations, Workshops Coordinator

Molly is a Maryland-licensed massage therapist (LMT), certified practitioner of Integrative Reflexology®, and Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher (RYT®200). She graduated from PMTI in 2017. Prior to beginning her studies in massage, she came from a background in immigration legal work and advocacy, and is fluent in English and Spanish. Her training includes over 100 hours of study and practice in trauma-informed client services within and beyond the bodywork field. Molly's other passions include aromatherapy, herbalism, and meditation.

Executive Director, S3 Case Report Co-Lead

Tam attended Middle Tennessee State University prior to a long-term career as an entrepreneurial commercial mortgage banker and broker – establishing one of the largest closing operations of its kind in the US. Upon graduating from PMTI in 2002, Tam became involved in academic, administrative and board related activities at PMTI.  Acting as PMTI’s real estate consultant in 2002, Tam orchestrated the school’s relocation to its former D.C. home on Wisconsin Avenue, and she has led the relocation team that makes our new home in Silver Spring possible. Joining the Board of Directors in 2003, she served as PMTI’s Board Treasurer until 2008, and has twice served as Acting Co-Director before assuming her current role in 2011.  Tam has been a teaching assistant and a lead instructor in PMTI’s deep tissue and integrative massage practicums.  Her continuing education pursuits include biodynamic craniosacral therapy, myofascial release, Zero Balancing, Trager, Reiki, ARCH, Reconnective Healing, therapeutic essential oils, and sound and tuning fork therapy.  She has a passion for excellence and a steadfast commitment to serve the PMTI community as well as the ongoing development and professionalism of massage therapy.  In addition to her professional life at PMTI, Tam is the owner of Core, a Center for Wellness located in Kensington, MD,  She resides in Laytonsville, MD with her husband, Jeff, their two labs - Bessie and Truman, and Dewey the wonder cat.

Bill Getz, LMT

S3 C Practical Lead

Bill is a 1993 graduate of PMTI. He has a full time practice in massage therapy with specialities in Swedish, deep tissue, NMT, myofascial release and AIS stretching. He is an AMTA member who sees clients in his New Market, MD office, at PMTI, and on an outcall basis. Bill rejoined the PMTI teaching staff in the fall of 2016 and teaches in the third level of the professional training program.

Joanne Goodwin, LMT

S1 C Practical Lead

Joanne graduated from PMTI in July, 2011.  She has experience in Swedish and deep tissue massage, and incorporating myofascial techniques into client sessions. Joanne also has studied Reiki, and as a volunteer has provided Reiki to patients at a local hospital.  Her previous teaching experience at PMTI was as a teaching assistant for segment three and segment one. Currently, Joanne is teaching segment one (Swedish massage). When not at PMTI, she sees clients at a massage studio in Virginia.

Dean of Students

Aja graduated from PMTI in 1997 and has continued her previous training in Shiatsu and other energy modalities. One of our longest serving faculty members in the practical classroom, she has previously brought her calming presence to the post of Registrar and now serves as our primary student touchpoint as Dean of Student Services. 

 

Prior to graduating from PMTI in 1997, Aja received advanced training in Namikoshi Shiatsu, which she has practiced since 1989. Aja is also a Reiki Master/Teacher. She practices Oncology massage, which she used extensively over 10 years with the National Institutes of Health. Aja has also trained in Ancient Rainbow Conscious Healing, Infant Massage, and Tui Na Seated Stool. She maintains a private practice in Germantown, MD, when not serving as a Segment 1 Lead and Dean of Students. She says, “When teaching and giving massage, my desire is to impart kind intention, energy from the heart, an open mind and soft hands. Add a little mindfulness and only good can happen.” 

 

Ellen Jarvis, LMT

S2 E Practical TA

Diane Kendall

Reception

Susan Landau, LMT, NCTMB

Fieldwork Manager

Susan has a B.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park, MBA studies at Florida Atlantic University, and is a PMTI Graduate, where she is now the Fieldwork Manager. She brings with her a background in Recreational Programming for Community Centers and Forensic Institutes. Susan is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor and has advanced training in Seated Massage. She also runs SEL & ASSOCIATES, her seated massage business in the Tri-State area, while maintaining a private practice in Frederick, MD.

Peter Langsdorf, LMT

S1 C Academic Lead, S1 E Practical TA

Peter Langsdorf is a Virginia-licensed massage therapist (LMT) specializing in Swedish, Deep Tissue, and Neuromuscular Therapy techniques. He graduated from PMTI in 2018, and stayed on as an intern assisting with the Segment 1 practical class. He went on to assist with and then teach Basic Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology for Massage Therapists, and the Medical Terminology and SOAP Charting workshop. Peter shifted his focus to massage therapy after a career spent in litigation support (as a paralegal) and Federal recordkeeping.

Michael Oliwa

Marketing Director, IT Coordinator

Michael started in the advertising world as an assistant in his father’s photography studio on Madison Avenue. While in art school he began working for ad agencies and publications, following his creative interests to specialize in corporate identity, graphic design, and illustration. He opened his own graphic design studio in 1998, which he sold in 2001. In 2008 he launched a new studio, operating there before coming on board at PMTI in 2017. Michael also serves as PMTI’s IT Coordinator

Meredith Osterman, LMT

Team Member

From an art background at Drew University to PMTI graduation in 2012, Meredith is a teaching assistant in our practical classroom. She is certified in Myofascial Release and some of her art graces the Clinics of PMTI. 

Ross Pastel, PhD, LMT

S1 Academic Lead, S3 Case Report Co-Lead

Ross has a B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Neural and Endocrine Regulation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After 26 years in the U.S. Army as an officer and research scientist, he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He graduated from PMTI in 2016 and stayed on to intern, then teach Basic Anatomy and Physiology, and Body Systems Pathology for Massage. He also co-leads Case Report (with Tam Gelman) and teaches the Research Literacy workshop. He is currently pursuing certification in the Trager Approach, Zero Balancing, and Upledger CranioSacral Therapy. Other continuing education pursuits include Feldenkrais, Neuromuscular Therapy, Bowen Technique, and FlexAware.

Patti Prestigiacomo, LMT

Level 3E Practical Lead, Clinic Instructor

Patti graduated from PMTI in 1989 and led scores of PMTI students in our practical and academic classrooms through- out the 1990s and beyond. She combines a successful real estate business with her massage practice, focusing on the elderly and cancer patients. Patti has studied trigger point release and craniosacral therapy and now teaches Business Practices.

Brenda Rayner, LMT

Director of the Professional Training Program, Level 2E Academic Lead

Brenda Rayner, LMT, completed the PMTI program in 2002. Brenda has continued to teach and practice massage part time while working full time as a Business Manager. Her continuing education training in massage therapy includes Orthopedic, Sports and NMT. Brenda has also taken numerous classes specific to adult education in massage therapy programs. She is currently serving on the national committee of AFMTE addressing development of instructors in massage therapy education. Brenda received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Dramatic Literature from Goucher College in Towson, MD.

Hannah Ryan, LMT

S1 C Academic TA

Hannah grew up in Kensington, MD and received a bachelor's of science in biology from Union College in Schenectady, NY. She studied the intricate beauty of biology in many labs before seeking a way to interface with the body's amazing physiology more holistically. At PMTI, Hannah has been enjoying learning, teaching, and exploring massage therapy. She is always happy to share her love of physiology, cell biology, genetics, classics, dancing, reading, and excellent food.

Bob Schleichert, LMT, RMP, NCTMB

Level 1 Practical Lead, Fieldwork Instructor

Bob graduated from PMTI in 2004 and has additional training in Reiki, Compassionate Touch, Couples Massage, Massage for Low Back Pain, Massage for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, HIV/AIDS and Ethics for Massage Therapists. He teaches in the multiple levels of the Professional Training Program as well as Fieldwork and our community workshops, while maintaining a private practice in Maryland and DC.

Solana Shaw, LMT

Clinic Instructor

Solana, a 2012 graduate, came to PMTI seeking to transition into a healing profession. We are delighted to have her as an instructor in our Student Clinic, while she continues her training in Ayurveda and Oncology massage. 

Rob Sherrod, LMT

Adjunct Faculty

Rob attended the University of Maryland and graduated from PMTI in 1998. He has advanced training in Connective Tissue Massage, Infant Massage Instructor Training, Massage as Medical Intervention, Repetitive Strain Injuries, and Hot Stone Massage. Rob is a lead instructor in the Level 1 and Level 3 practical courses and maintains a private practice in massage therapy. 

 

Demara Stamler, LMT, CDBC, CCLC

Advisor to Administration and Students, Instructor for Communications Ethics and Boundaries of Touch, Psychological and Ethics Perspectives, Clinical Scenarios, and Business Practices and Ethics.

Demara graduated from PMTI in 1989.  She previously served PMTI as a Lead Instructor in Segment 3 Practical and Case Report; Director of Education; and Executive Director.  Demara served the massage industry as a board member of the AMTA Council of School for 6 years (Re-formed as the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education).  She went on to serve industry educational standards through her work at a national accrediting agency, NACCAS.  In 2016, Demara certified as a coach and consultant through the Life Mastery Institute and the A.R.E. and opened Awakened Dreams Coaching and Consulting with a focus on supporting massage therapists (and allied professionals), businesses and schools to create thriving, lucrative and fulfilling businesses.

Teaching at PMTI again is a blessing, says Demara, and she’s thrilled to be giving back to the profession as a lead instructor for Communications, Ethics and Boundaries of Touch; Psychological and Ethics Perspectives; and Clinical Scenarios as well as a member of the teaching team for Business Practices and Ethics.  Demara deeply believes in PMTI’s mission and supports its vision through her role as advisor to the administration and students.

Roger Tolle

Adjunct Faculty

Roger Tolle is an internationally renowned instructor who has been teaching for the world wide Trager community since 1989. After 15 years of professional dance, Roger discovered the work of Milton Trager, MD, and trained with him extensively. He has also studied with other movement re-education pioneers including Judith Aston, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, and Emily Conrad Da'oud. The fluidity, playfulness and elegance from his dance career are everywhere evident in the way he embodies Trager® principles.

Lisa Vigdor-Peck, LMT

Level 2C Academic Lead, Clinic Instructor

Lisa graduated from PMTI in February 2006. She worked in a spa for three years, then at a fitness center for five years. In addition, she has a private practice. Her continuing education has included a multitude of classes and modalities such as Deep Tissue, Reiki, Reflexology, Assisted Isolated Stretching, Assessment and Treatment of Low Back Pain and Hot Stone therapy. She returned to PMTI to teach, in 2016, and now teaches in the second semester Anatomy and Physiology students. Lisa also works as a Clinical Supervisor in the student clinic.

Elissa Webber, LMT, ABMP

Level 2E Practical Lead, Clinic Instructor, Workshops Coordinator

A librarian for 20 years (with bachelor's and master's degrees from Florida State University), Elissa graduated from PMTI in 2013, and has been here ever since! Now part of PMTI's Workshop Coordinator team, she has also been a teaching assistant in Segment 2 and 3 practical classes. She really appreciates supporting and working with students going through the Professional Training Program, as well as assisting massage therapists and the community with their workshop needs. 

In her private practice, Elissa shares massage office space with five other PMTI grads in downtown Silver Spring, specializing in gentle and connected Deep Tissue focused work. She also enjoys providing Swedish relaxation massages, and is a student of Alchemical Alignment: Bodywork for Trauma Resolution and Embodiment of Spirit, Shiatsu, and Seva Stress Release.

Elissa is the mom to 2 teenage sons, and lives with her husband, 2 cats, and a dog, and practices yoga, meditation, and 5Rhythms dance. http://elissawebber.massagetherapy.com

Deletha Wilson

Admissions Director

Robin Younginer, LMT

Fieldwork Instructor

Robin graduated from PMTI in 2004. She is certified in Hot Stone Therapy and has completed courses in CranioSacral and Trager modalities. She also completed the Compassionate Clinical Service: Oncology / Hospital Massage Intensive course. Robin provides corporate chair massage and has a home studio practice, Knead To Relax Massage Therapy. 

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8380 Colesville Road, Suite 600 • Silver Spring, MD 20910

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