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Here is a little bit on my background: I was born in Seattle, Washington. I am the sixth of nine children born to John and Norma Michels. I graduated from Seattle Preparatory High School and attended Seattle University's German program in Graz, Austria and Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, and it was from Gonzaga where I earned my B.A. degree in English. I completed my M.A. in Literature from American University in Washington DC while assigned to military duty at Arlington National Cemetery. My master's thesis analyzed the loss of innocence and redemption in several of Henry James' novels. I completed my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at Gonzaga University. My doctoral dissertation explored William Faulkner's portrayal of leadership in his major novels.

I began my professional career, following a three-year enlistment in the army, as an administrative assistant to the President of the Consortium of Universities in Washington, D.C. Later, I began a twenty-year career with Farmers Insurance Group as a claims representative before going into claims management and then marketing. Prior to teaching full-time, I also worked for Wells Fargo Financial.

I have taught courses in composition, semantics, critical thinking, speech, Introduction to literature, American Literature, Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner at Mt. Hood Community College, Columbia College, Columbia Basin Community College, Globe University, and Kilian Community College. I was also an ESL instructor at Kilian College. I have taught Introduction to Claims and Underwriting, Property and Casualty Insurance, Sales Agency Management, Advertising, Supervisory Management, and Business Communications at Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls, and Speech, Business Communications, International Business Communications, and Writing at Colorado Technical University On-Line. I currently also teach writing at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD.

I received the Army Commendation Medal and am a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society. I am married to Pam and have seven children. I enjoy Italian Cooking, hiking, baseball history, and foreign cinema as well as 19th Century Russian Literature.

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John’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Gonzaga University - Bachelor in Arts, English

Graduate Degree: American University - Master of Arts, English


baseball, cinema, literature, Russian history, Civil War history, hiking, Italian cooking

Tutoring Subjects

Adult Literacy

American Literature

College English

College Level American Literature

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax


Essay Editing

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

IB Extended Essay

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing


Public Speaking

Spelling Bee


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