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Faculty & Staff

History of ASIS Massage Education
(Arizona School of Integrative Studies)

The Arizona State Board for Private Post Secondary Education approved for the Arizona School of Integrative Studies to begin classes in the Fall of 1995. Directors Joseph and Jamie Rongo began training massage therapists in January 1996 at the Healing Arts Center at 753 North Main Street, Cottonwood, Arizona.

In January 2000, the first ASIS campus was opened at 701 South Broadway, Clarkdale, Arizona. Once again in January, but this time in 2005—five years after the original campus opened—ASIS Massage Education opened its second campus at 115 South McCormick Street in Prescott.

ASIS Massage Education opened its third Northern Arizona campus at 113 West Phoenix in Flagstaff's historic downtown district, just off the iconic Route 66.

And in May 2012, ASIS opened its fourth campus at 639 North 6th Avenue in Tucson, at the old Desert Institute of the Healing Arts Building.

Shortly after the grand opening in Tucson, a new partnership was born between ASIS founders Jamie and Joseph Rongo, and David Merwin and John Robinson, owners of the Finger Lakes School of Massage and the Central Maryland School of Massage. It was a natural merger as all schools share a common vision.

In the spring of 2016, ASIS moved its flagship campus to downtown Mesa, at 209 West Main Street.

We are proud to say that ASIS has produced, and continues to produce, well-trained, passionate, dedicated, and satisfied graduates that embody the spirit of trust, cooperation and integrity that ASIS prides itself on.



ASIS administration, staff, and faculty engage with students because they believe in the industry. The school offers a diverse group of qualified practitioners who believe in high standards, kindness, and generosity. With excitement for their respective fields and commitment to a collaborative educational process, our teachers choose to teach because they believe in the potential of their students and massage therapy as a profession.


School Directors

Laura Todd - Regional Campus Director Laura has almost 20 years experience working with students in all aspects of the education system.  Her passion is working with students, and following them from that first spark of interest through graduation and career placement.  Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she has completed programs in Cosmetology, Medical Central Service, Surgical Services, as well as trainings in Business and Marketing. Laura is both the Admissions Director and the Campus Manager at ASIS Mesa.

Kristyn Turi - Financial Aid Director, Prescott Campus Director Kristyn was born and raised in Orange County, CA until moving here at 17 to graduate high school. Since she graduated from University of Phoenix and went on with a focus in Elementary Education and Psychology. Financial Aid was something she fell into while obtaining her degree and it became somewhat of a passion along with Business Accounting. She has 10+ years experience of Student Financing/Accounting and working with the Department of Education. Higher Education has always been a focus, but on her free time she enjoys spending it with Gunner, her best friend and cat, and self-learning to play acoustic guitar.

Michelle Cordero, BA, LMT, CIMT - Education Director Michelle received her Bachelor's degree from Cornell University in 1999. After teaching English in Japan for 2 years, she moved to Arizona and received her Associates of Applied Science in Massage Therapy in 2003. She has run her own successful massage therapy practice and currently works in a chiropractic setting. She enjoys introducing new students to the art of massage therapy with humor and fun. Michelle completed her Certified Infant Massage Teacher training from the ‘Liddle Kidz Foundation’ in 2015 and holds classes for caregivers to give them the tools to bond with and help their babies through massage. In her spare time, she enjoys time with her family, tap dancing, crochet and volunteering for an animal shelter. She is an active volunteer for the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education and has served as a board member and past president of the Arizona chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association.

Carl Johns, BFA, LMT - Flagstaff Campus Director Carl’s journey into the massage and bodywork profession started in 1996 at the McKinnon Institute, in his hometown of Oakland CA. The journey led him into private practice, into teaching, into co-ownership of the McKinnon Institute, and eventually to Arizona, where he is now happy to be Campus Director at Arizona School of Integrative Studies, Flagstaff. His experience in practice and in the field of massage education is very broad, encompassing many modalities - primarily Shiatsu, Acupressure, Craniosacral Therapy, Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue, Sports Massage, Reflexology, and Lymph Drainage. He has also specialized in and developed curriculum for working with chronic illness and disabilities, and worked for 17 years as part of the wellness program at the Cerebral Palsy Center for the East Bay, in Oakland CA. Carl also holds a BFA from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, and is a life long jazz musician. His mission is to educate everyone he comes into contact with about the power and the art of touch.

Jessica Santana - Tucson Campus Director Jessica was born and mostly raised in Arizona. She has worked in the sales and banking industries prior to ASIS. Her favorite part of the job is connecting with the students and being a part of their growth into amazing therapists. Health and wellness have always been a huge priority in her life. She enjoys spending time with her two sons and husband when she is not working.  

Continuing Education

Wenoka Johnson, LMT Wenoka's career experience started in non-profit and administrative support, while her journey into massage, energy work, and natural health started when she was young and introduced to Reiki Energy around the age of 10. She decided to study Herbalism and Nutrition at American College of Health in Oregon in 2002. From there, wanting to further integrate what she learned about natural health and herbalism with the human body, she attended massage school at Irene’s Myomassology Institute in Michigan in 2006 and started her massage career working in wellness centers and at onsite wellness events and festivals. She circled back to her childhood experience to complete her Reiki Master Teacher training in 2016. In 2019, she received her Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage training and started a private practice in California, using her toolbox of modalities to reduce chronic pain and stress in her woman-centered clientele. In her free time, she enjoys spending time in nature, practicing the mandolin, attending music events, and volunteering in the community.

Campus Faculty

Prescott

Kristyn Turi - Campus Director

Admin

Instructors

Chaz Gilmore, LMT Chaz was born and raised in Wyoming. His passion for massage began after an accident involving his brother who needed physical and massage therapy in order to recover. He attended the Boulder College of Massage Therapy back in 2010. Chaz has been practicing massage at least part time ever since in various capacities including working for Massage Envy, chiropractor's offices and running his own practice. His goal was always to teach massage and get future students excited about the field. Chaz has also served on the Wyoming Chapter Board for AMTA and helped his home county require licensure for massage therapists since Wyoming doesn't have a state board yet. He is passionate about this field and happy to now call ASIS and Arizona his home.

David Argust, LMT David has been a mechanic pretty much all his life. He had his own business in grade school fixing and selling bikes. Then he went to motorcycles then vehicles. He painted vehicles and did bodywork. He dabbled in woodturning. Did fabrication and welding, now he installs fireplaces. He feels that all that hands on skills led him to massage therapy. He graduated from ASIS Massage Education and is happy to be back teaching new students.

Jay Lode, LMT, BS Jay became a massage therapist after a career in accounting. It inspired him to bring healing to others, having experienced the healing nature of bodywork himself. His unique background in business and the healing arts helps equip students to become effective therapists and financially savvy professionals. Jay is a Montana native and earned his BS in accounting from Montana State University, Bozeman, and is an ASIS alumni. He and his wife call Arizona home and love spending time with their three adult children.

JoDee Breame Vale HHP, LMT JoDee became an alternative health practitioner as a way to partner with people on their healing journey. She believes that the body has an innate wisdom through which it can heal itself if given the proper nutrition and tools to do so. JoDee is a board certified Holistic Health Practitioner, certified through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and a Licensed Massage Therapist in Prescott, Arizona. Her focus is to assist people in achieving optimal health by reducing stress and listening to what the body needs in order to heal. She has been practicing Massage Therapy since 1983, and has been working in Arizona since 1999.

Lance Spears, LMT Lance was born in Quincy Illinois, obtained a BA from Truman State University in PR/Mass Communications. He also completed a Masters Program in Professional Counseling from Lindenwood College in St Charles Missouri. During this time he also bought a Picture Framing Business and sold it 8 years later. He decided to become a Licensed Massage Therapist and enrolled at the Midwest Institute, in St Louis, Missouri. His wife had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and was experiencing severe effects due to pain and lack of sleep. He completed his program and passed the National exam. He also completed his Reiki Studies to become a Master in Reiki. He moved to Arizona and practiced massage and Reiki at Verde Valley Medical Center and later took over a Salon and Day Spa in Prescott Valley Arizona for a number of years. He originally began teaching at ASIS about 6 years ago and had to leave; but since returned to teach our fantastic students in 2020. He is married to his wife Victoria and they have 4 children, and 2 grandchildren, and live in Cherry Arizona.  

Flagstaff

Carl Johns - Campus Director

Admin

Gina Johns, LMT Gina was taught Shiatsu at five years of age by her mom, who was born in Tokyo. In the Japanese tradition, she became the family massage therapist from an early age. After a long career in the world of high-tech, she came back to massage and has been working professionally since 2009. Currently, Gina is a busy and much loved Flagstaff massage therapist, and she handles the administration of the ASIS Flagstaff campus. She is also an accomplished and creative chef, who is known to shower the people around her with varieties of scones, fudge, and other creative treats.  

Instructors

Molly Monahan Howe, DACM, CMT Molly holds a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and is licensed in both Arizona and Colorado. She has been working in healthcare since 2000, when she completed her massage therapy certification at the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado, and massage has remained a staple and love throughout her career. Dr. Howe came to teaching with the desire to positively influence the next generation of healers by giving them the tools and knowledge to treat clients while ensuring that they take care of themselves through the use of proper body mechanics. When not working, she enjoys spending time in the mountains, traveling, reading, creating, nurturing her budding writing career, and spending time with her husband and two sons.

Tucson

Jessica Santana - Campus Director

Financial Aid

Nicole Willenbrock Nicole has worked in the financial aid field since 2008. She took a break from financial aid in 2013 and was excited to get back to it. ASIS had an opening and she jumped on it right away. She feels at home here at ASIS and thinks the staff here is very helpful and kind. The Financial Aid Director Kristyn is her right hand and has groomed her to be the best she can be. She loves spending time with her friends and family and going to church. She has a dog named Gussy who she adores, and a son, who lives in Tucson and a daughter who lives in California.

Admin

Instructors

Breanne Soukup, LMT, CD(DONA) Bre has been a licensed massage therapist for over 13 years and lives by the philosophy of treating the whole self. After graduating from The Desert Institute of the Healing Arts in 2008 she began exploring the need for prenatal support in the Tucson community and developed a prenatal partner workshop designed for expectant couples. She has created successful practices in both Tucson and Los Angeles specializing in prenatal massage, fertility massage, birth support, and corporate massage therapy programs. She loves to share her passion for the massage profession with the students of ASIS!

Christine Merrill Christine changed careers from teaching and coaching at the high school level to practicing massage in 2006. After graduating from the Nevada School of Massage Therapy, she worked at Massage Envy in Oro Valley, as an independent contractor at a local pilates studio and at Miraval Life in Balance for a few years before finding her niche as a sole practitioner in her own evidence-based practice. Teaching at ASIS brings her career full-circle, allowing her to use all of her skills.

Jason Grey Jason is a graduate of the University of Arizona. After receiving his Bachelor's degree in liberal sciences he began his studies in massage and bodywork at the Desert Institute of Healing Arts. Jason began his professional work career in the massage and Bodywork industry at the Mii Amo Spa facility on the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona. Jason has worked at various roles within the industry including Spa Supervisor and Director. He is passionate about teaching the ways to activate the clients natural healing mechanisms and has an active practice on Tucson’s East side. Jason believes massage and bodywork is an art that should be customized to optimize the effectiveness.

Jennifer Leising A true believer in the power of positive touch, Jennifer graduated from the New York Institute of Massage and holds a Bachelors in Business Administration. She has worked in NY, CA and AZ as a Massage Therapist and enjoys her role in helping to educate up and coming therapists at ASIS as they begin their journey through the art and science of our massage program. In her free time she enjoys traveling, the outdoors and time with family and friends.

Laura Yates Laura graduated from the Desert Institute of the Healing Arts in 1992. For 29 years she has had her own private practice specializing in deep tissue and injury management. For 19 years she has been a massage instructor for the student clinic, Swedish, hot stones, and ethics. She is pursuing aesthetics to add to her career. Her passions are her 3 grandchildren and flowers.

Todd Edwards, LMT Todd spent years as a copper miner before he found his calling as a massage therapist, graduating from the Desert Institute of the Healing Arts in 2001. Shortly thereafter he found his second calling—teaching massage therapy­—and has been teaching ever since. Todd currently teaches kinesiology at ASIS Tucson.  

Mesa

Laura Todd - Campus Director

Admin

Claire Hofstetter, LMT, CA, NCBTMB, BA Claire has lived between the Prescott and Phoenix area most of her life. With the exception of living on Catalina Island as a child and on Oahu, where she attended University of Hawaii, Arizona has been home. She received her bachelors degree from Northern Arizona University in public administration and graduated from the Prescott ASIS campus in 2012. As a massage therapist, she emphasizes movement education and injury rehab with a holistic approach. She now helps others find their true path at ASIS!

Jessica Hessling Originally from Ohio, Jessica moved to Arizona in 2017 to get away from the snow and the cold. She is an avid lover of dad jokes, coffee, dogs, outside activities, and good conversation. She is currently going to school for business. Her favorite quote is "Today is a good day for a good day."

Jordaine Penaflor, BA Jordaine is originally from the small town of Sterling, Illinois but has basically become an Arizona native. She attended NAU to receive her bachelors in English with a minor in Journalism but have since realized her true passion is in a more creative field: makeup. She loves to travel and has been to 20 states and counting but never out of the country! She was raised by a single mom who worked 3 jobs while earning both of her degrees in criminology and forensics and she is the one that taught her great work ethic! Jordaine is in the process of editing her short prose/poetry book which she hopes to publish by the end of 2021.

Financial Aid

Instructors

Amanda Streeter, LMT Amanda is a licensed Massage therapist, Manual Lymphatic Drainage therapist and Stretch therapist who operates her own mobile massage business. She is also an Alumni of ASIS Mesa campus! She has had the opportunity to work with everyone from tiny infants to the elderly; the chronically ill to semi-pro athletes. She feels blessed to have touched so many lives, and every one of them has left their mark on her heart and added knowledge to her hands. Being a massage therapist is more than a career, it’s a passion that leads to the changing of lives, for both the client and the therapist. Having the opportunity to teach and see that passion ignited in new students is both a joy and an honor to be a part of. When she’s not working, Amanda is busy raising 3 incredible little humans with her loving husband of 12 years. They are a very close family who love to play video games, watch horror movies, collect snakes and see who can say “I love you” the most before bedtime.

Emily Vandevier, BS, LMT Emily graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Northern Arizona University in 2012. She is also a graduate of ASIS in Prescott in the same year. She has been a practicing Licensed Massage Therapist since 2013 and spent the bulk of her career working in high volume clinics, touching the lives of thousands of clients allowing her to hone her skills . Presently, she focuses her efforts on teaching Swedish massage at ASIS in Mesa and providing massage services to a limited client base outside the classroom. Her style of massage is a blend of several modalities including deeper-pressure Swedish massage, Myofascial Release, stretching and energy work. When she isn't filling her heart and hands with massage, her favorite hobbies include: camping, hiking and dancing with her fiance, playing guitar and bass guitar, watching TV and movies while snuggling with her dog, Dude, and her three-legged cat, Evaline: The Evil Three-legged Thing (Eva), writing and performing stand-up comedy and performing in other theatrical endeavors, knitting and crocheting and tinkering with her life long VW Camper Van project, and its name is Gustav (Gus the Bus). She loves to have fun, laugh, and spread her love of bodywork everywhere she goes.

Jennifer Grisham-Dobbs, LMT Jennifer has been a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2000. She is originally from Chicago and received her massage diploma certificate from the Chicago School of Massage Therapy, under the direction of Bob King. Jen also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from The University of Arizona. She has always been passionate about education, specializing in teaching dance composition, dance technique, pedagogy, anatomy and injury prevention. She is happy to have the opportunity to share her knowledge of Massage Therapy with the students at ASIS Massage Education. She currently is teaching Swedish Massage, Intro to Anatomy & Physiology and CrainoSacral Therapy. Jen is also a member of the American Massage Therapy Association and the owner of Southwest Therapeutic Massage, LLC.

Mario Castro, LMT A licensed massage therapist since 1993, Mario has worked with an array of clientele encountering many true to life situations. It is many of these antidotes that Mario shares with class participants to balance and validate the theoretical terms and concepts. Humor, class participation and inspiration are important components of classes taught by Mario. In 2006, Mario started teaching continuing education courses to licensed massage therapists. The subjects include Postural Analysis, Neuromuscular massage for; Cervical/Neck, Shoulder/Rotator cuff and Lumbar/ Low Back regions Mario has been an instructor for 28 years. Subjects Mario teaches are, Anatomy/Physiology and Pathology, Sports Massage, Neuromuscular massage, and Postural Analysis. Regularly described by his students as inspirational, enthusiastic and humorous he has the ability to take a topic such as Anatomy and make it understandable and fun. Mario enjoys the challenge of educating students and changing their preconceived notions about a topic.

Melissa Voight, LMT, BCTMB, BCSI Melissa became a Licensed Massage Therapist and Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork in 2003 after graduating from the Central Florida School of Massage Therapy. She later became a Board Certified Structural Integrator, completing Tom Myers’ Anatomy Trains Structural Integration program in 2010. She began her massage career in outpatient rehab and sports medicine at the Florida Hospital. There she worked closely with many physical therapists in patient care, providing therapeutic massage for athletes, pregnant women, and patients rehabilitating from surgery and injury, as well as patients seeking pain management for chronic conditions. Since moving to Arizona in 2005, she has maintained a private practice administering goal-based therapeutic massage and structural integration and has contracted her services to several resorts and therapeutic offices for specialized client care. Her basic massage training provided her with a solid foundation that has allowed her to pursue a successful and meaningful career, and she’s passionate about passing on that education to another generation of massage therapists so that they’re given every opportunity to succeed in this ever growing career field.

Morgan Strong, LMT Morgan is a licensed massage therapist and massage educator located in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is the owner of Integrative Manual Bodywork, a practice that takes an integrative approach to manual therapy focusing on pain management, injury rehabilitation, and life in general. He received his training from the Finger Lakes School of Massage in Mt. Kisco, NY and holds a license to practice massage therapy in the state of Arizona and New York. As a massage instructor at ASIS, he enjoys taking part in helping students become new therapists. He is a Board Approved Continuing Education Provider through NCBTMB, and also teaches with Advanced BodyWork Education and LMT Success Group. He creates a dynamic learning environment with an energetic teaching style, keeping classes interactive and creative. As an educator, his focus is on enhancing skills and helping each massage therapist grow in their own unique styles.

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