Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dan Sherman on Hamilton: The Man and the Music

Thanks to Encore Learning Instructor Dan Sherman, and all who joined our virtual presentation about Hamilton on June 29, 2020. Dan asked that we share the following with you:

Dear All:

I hope you enjoyed today’s “Hamilton: Man and Musical” talk with Encore Learning and the Arlington Public Library.

As promised, here are some clips that you may want to view about the show and its creators.  You can click on the links to see them, or if that doesn’t work, copy them into the address line of your web browser.

Here is the clip from the 2016 National Archives award event that I showed that gives background on the musical, beginning with Miranda’s 2009 performance at the White House of what became the show’s opening number:

Here is an interview from the same award event with some of the creators of Hamilton. It is about 42 minutes long; a very interesting bit comes at about 35 minutes in when biographer Ron Chernow talks about why he thinks Hamilton (the show) is important, especially in making history live for young people:

Here is an interview with Alex Lacamoire, the show’s music director who explains how he and Miranda worked together to create the music we hear in the theatre: .

I think this is quite wonderful! 

Here is a short clip from the show’s choreographer that explains some of the dance moves that are so much part of the show:

Finally, here is the clip of the young girl who missed seeing Hamilton for her birthday due to the theatre shutdowns, but was serenaded on Zoom by Lin-Manuel Miranda and other cast members in the show’s opening number. 

The Hamilton part begins about 8 minutes and 30 seconds in the video clip:

Thank you again for attending the talk. Stay well!!

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

Dan Sherman

You may reach Dan by sending an email to our office:

Dan will be teaching a virtual course entitled “American Musical Geniuses” from September 24 – November 12, 2020. Please check back in August for more details.

Thanks again to Dan for his presentation, volunteers Louise Kenny and David Tate, and all of the participants for the great questions.

We hope you will join us for our upcoming Special Events.

Video and Slides Now Available! Scott Sklar on Sustainable Energy

On June 1, 2020 Scott Sklar joined us to talk about using sustainable energy to both save money and help combat climate change.

Photo courtesy Scott Sklar.

Scott presented a lot of valuable information about climate change and then moved on to solutions for every household, from super easy (LED lightbulbs) to more complex (solar panels and back up batteries).

Scott graciously agreed to allow us to record his presentation and to share his slides. Find the video on our YouTube Channel. Here are the slides – broken into three sections:

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Thanks to Scott for his presentation, volunteer David Tate for moderating, and all of the participants for the great questions.

We hope you will join us for our upcoming Special Events.

Virtual Special Event Monday, June 15, 2020

The Industrial Revolution’s Influence on American Women’s Rights Movements

Advance registration is not required, and this event is open to all. When joining the meeting you may be prompted to enter your name and email address before being admitted to this free event.

Speaker Jim Grefer posits that throughout human history, gender roles have been determined by a confluence of factors such as economics, religion, and law. These produced varying degrees of social egalitarianism and dominance. But, for much of American history, the result was the nearly complete subjection of women, especially married women, to men.

The emergence of the industrial revolution altered this course, modifying the roles of women in families, product markets, education, and social norms. Within a few generations, women came to influence society in powerful ways, leading to the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848 and a trajectory toward basic civil rights.

Grefer discusses his perspective how the industrial revolution contributed to these remarkable changes, and enabled women to organize and fight for their rights and the rights of other suppressed people. He is an economist, retired from a career as a defense contractor. He studies economic history and teaches a class in Economics of Antebellum America for Encore Learning.

Online meeting details:

Cosponsored by Encore Learning and Arlington Public Library.

New Board of Directors Announced at Annual Meeting

May 21, 2020 – Thanks to all of our members who voted online and then joined us for today’s virtual Annual Meeting.

President Art Gosling recognizing long-time members of Encore Learning. Thank you all for your continued participation and service over the years!

Congratulations to our new Board of Directors for 2020-21. Their term begins on July 1, 2020. We would like to thank our outgoing board members for their service:

  • Arthur Gosling – President
  • David Rhoad – Vice President
  • Jere Cummins – Class Aide Committee Co-Chair
  • Jill Neuville – Publications Co-Chair

We’re especially indebted to Art Gosling for his six years of leadership. We will hold an event to recognize Art when we begin meeting in person again. Art has graciously agreed to continue to serve the on the Board in an ex-officio capacity.

Art Gosling (L) and Tom Adams (R)

Here is our incoming Board of Directors, along with brief bios:

President – Thomas C. Adams

Tom spent over 40 years in the U.S. Government, with most of it at the State Department managing foreign assistance.  He currently consults on foreign affairs and is engaged in teaching and training.  He has taught courses at Encore Learning, as well as training at both the Foreign Service Institute and the USAID Training Center.  He has also served as a class aide and Board Member of Encore Learning. During his career, he held two positions in the Senior Executive Service, as the Special Coordinator for Haiti responsible for U.S. efforts to rebuild that country after the devastating January 2010 earthquake, and earlier as Coordinator of Assistance to Europe and Eurasia, responsible for U.S. assistance to the 29 countries that emerged from communism after the end of the Cold War. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1972 with a B.A. in History

Vice President – Mildred Patterson

A retired Foreign Service Officer, Mildred served in Denmark, Belgium and Turkey (twice). She has been a Managing Editor of the Encore Learning course catalog and served as co-chair of the Publications Committee from 2010 – 2014. In 2011 she was a member of the Ad Hoc Committee that proposed the name change from the former Arlington Learning in Retirement Institute to today’s Encore Learning. Mildred has a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a volunteer instructor in Arlington’s Community Outreach Program, teaching citizenship classes to aspiring American citizens.

Vice President – Steven Shapiro 

Steve is a retiree from Fairfax County Public Schools, where he taught math and served as the department co-chair at Falls Church High School. He also served in a variety of education leadership roles. Prior to his teaching career, he spent 25 years in management positions with several leading technology companies, including SAIC, Bell Atlantic and GTE. In 2020, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP).  He is a graduate of Tufts University and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Steve has served as an instructor for Encore Learning, was a member of the Special Events Committee, is the coordinator of the Tech Hobbyists Club, participates in five Encore Learning clubs, and has served as a class aide several times. He was elected Volunteer Committee Chair in 2017.

Treasurer – Kevin Connors

Kevin was a Foreign Service Officer for the US Department of State from 1975 to 2005.  While abroad in the Foreign Service, Kevin served in management positions in the Sinai Desert, Yemen, Finland, Cameroon, Tunisia, Poland and Bulgaria, and also while working in Washington.  His duties overseas ranged from managing logistical, security and operational responsibilities, including Congressional and Executive Branch visits, to training employees in emergency situations and coordinating overseas building projects abroad in Washington.  His duties were dependent on interacting with senior officers within the Department of State and with fellow representatives of other USG agencies.  A native of Irvington-on-Hudson, NY, Kevin is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and has a M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.  He is an ardent tennis player and biker, and also volunteers at the Smithsonian Institution.  At Encore Learning he has helped edit the course catalog.

Secretary Joan Carter

Joan retired from the Department of Justice in 2003 to move to Germany with her husband.  While there, she worked as a tour guide with the USO out of Kaiserslautern, leading tours throughout Europe for military families.  Returning to the U.S. in 2011, she quickly became a member of Encore Learning, serving as Co-Chair for Encore Learning’s 10th anniversary celebration, twice serving as Chair of the Nominating Committee, member of the Membership Committee and the Bridge Club, and as class aide. Her other volunteer activities include working with Animal Welfare League of Arlington and with the activities committee of Fairlington Condo Association and ushering at several theaters. Joan received her BA from Auburn University, MSW from Barry University, and JD from University of Louisville.

Academic Programs Committee Co-Chair Barbara Spangler

Barbara served as a Senior Human Resources Manager at the U.S. Marshals Service. In that capacity, she worked closely with all levels of the organization, including senior executives and presidential appointees. She managed the recruitment and selection program for administrative employees and law enforcement officers. She retired with 30+ years of federal service. She is an undergraduate of Marietta College with a BA in Speech, English and Education. Upon retirement, Barbara joined Encore Learning and served as a class aide for several courses. In 2017 she became an Encore Learning Vice President. She is a member of the Academic Programs Committee.  Her community service includes volunteering as a Master Food Volunteer focusing on healthy nutrition and food preparation for kids through senior citizens. She also volunteers with the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Academic Programs Committee Co-Chair Jeanne Labella

Jeanne retired in 2014 as a senior vice president of the American Public Power Association, where she spent 36 years as a reporter, editor and manager of the organization’s journalism and other publishing activities. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism from Syracuse University and American University and as a journalist covered national energy policy.  She has been a member of Encore Learning’s Academic Programs Committee since 2018. She volunteers weekly at the food pantry at the Father McKenna Center in Washington and fills her happy retirement years with many interests, including theater, piano, travel, quilting, politics, yoga (and other workouts) and Encore Learning courses. 

Class Aides Committee Co-Chair Eileen Janas

Eileen holds a BA in History and Anthropology from Marquette University and a Master of Librarianship degree from Emory University. Following a 30-year career as a librarian, she has participated in Encore Learning since 2011. Eileen also serves as the Arlington Heights Civic Association representative to the county’s Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee.

Class Aides Committee Co-Chair Gail Massot

Currently re-engaging with painting and crafts, Gail retired from a 30-year career teaching French and heading the language department at Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC. eight years ago.  She completed her undergraduate and graduate work in French at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, following which she lived and worked in France as a textile artist. Gail has been a member of Encore Learning for seven years and has served as a volunteer class aide. She served as Co-Chair of the Class Aides committee for several years and after a brief hiatus is ready to serve again.

Community Advisory Council Chair Christine Milliken

Chris is a retired attorney, serving 15 years as the Executive Director and General Counsel of the National Association of Attorneys Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. She has a BA in Political Science from George Washington University and a law degree from The Catholic University of America. She has served on a number of Boards, most significantly as member and Chair of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (2001-09) and locally as a longtime member and former Chair of the Arlington Community Foundation. She has taken several Encore Learning courses and serves presently on the Encore Learning Community Advisory Council.

Information Technology Committee Co-Chair Stephen Spangler

Steve retired from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 2005. He also had worked with the Agency for International Development in Liberia and Vietnam. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama from 1964-1966. Steve was President of the Arlington Soccer Association for five years. He has a BA in Political Science from Miami University (Ohio) and a Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. He has served as chair or Co-Chair of the IT committee since 2009.

Information Technology Committee Co-Chair Martin Suydam

Marty has had several careers: military, government civilian, industry executive and as a college and university educator in subject areas of mathematics, computing science, information technology, and management. His first career was as an Army Corps of Engineer officer retiring as a Colonel. In 1983, he was selected as a member of the Senior Executive Service with positions in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Navy. After his government career, he was a Vice President and Corporate Officer of the following corporations: General Dynamics, Alcoa, JJMA, BMY (now BAE Systems), Burke Industries, and FOCUS Consulting. He taught at Colorado School of Mines 1970-1974, Washington College 2000-2014, George Mason University 1995-2008, and Marymount University 2014-2017. He has taught the “Writing a Memoir” course for three years and has been an instructor in the “Parks, Streams, and Birds” course.  Marty has been a member of the Encore Learning Board since 2017 and serves as the IT committee Co-Chair.

Membership Committee Co-Chair – Carol Cochran

Carol was born in San Diego, grew up in Anaheim, and graduated from U.C.L.A. Even though she came to Washington in 1971, she still can’t get used to the cold weather.  She taught junior high and high school, but at the end, was a counselor for Fairfax County Schools.  Her main outside volunteer activity is being a docent at the National Gallery of Art.  She and her husband Tom have two daughters: one who assists other countries with alternative energy and one who is an organic farmer.  They produced three grandchildren who are wonderful.

Membership Committee Co-Chair – Kathy LaPier

Kathy holds an AAS Degree in Fashion Design from FIT and both a BS and MS in education from SUNY at Plattsburgh. Originally from the NY/NJ area her professional titles included Manager of Consumer Affairs for the Grand Union Company, Director of Consumer Affairs for Kings Super Markets, and Manager of Global Consumer Affairs for the Colgate-Palmolive Company. Kathy has traveled the world and in 2014 relocated from NYC to Arlington to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren. Kathy has worked with the Encore Publications Committee in addition to handling numerous special assignments.

Publications Committee Co-Chair Mildred Lawson

Millie is a proud product of the Arlington Public Schools. She earned her BA from George Washington University, MEd from The Citadel, and a Post Masters Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Catholic University. Most of her professional life was spent in the Arlington Public Schools as counselor, school psychologist and Director of Counseling Services, and administrator for special education at Williamsburg Middle School from which she retired in 2011. Millie was first elected Co-Chair of the Publications Committee in 2016.

Publications Committee Co-Chair – Ann Kaupp

Ann retired in 2012 after 34 years with the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Anthropology in the Museum of Natural History.  She headed the Anthropology Outreach Office, which distributed educational materials on a range of anthropological topics. She was managing editor of an anthropology publication for educators and museum and anthropology professionals that culminated in a co-edited publication. She produced a series of videos, organized workshops for teachers and professional meetings, and founded a department newsletter.  For several years she has enjoyed taking Encore classes and has served as a proof reader and editor for the Encore Course Catalog.

Special Events Committee Chair Kris McLaughlin

Kris retired after a 30+ year career in corporate strategic communications with companies such as General Dynamics, General Electric and IBM. She volunteers for a variety of nonprofit organizations, including WETA and Bowen McCauley Dance. At Encore Learning, since 2014, she serves as Chair of the Special Events Committee.

Volunteer Committee Chair – Charles Hallahan

A native of Eastern Massachusetts (and lifelong fan of its sports teams), Charlie received a PhD in math from Rutgers University.  He taught math at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and American University in Washington before embarking on a 41-year career in the Federal government with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Economic Research Service of the Department of Agriculture.  Charlie and his wife Claire have traveled extensively, and since he retired in 2016 he has been very active in Encore Learning: co-teaching the Numbers and the News course since the Fall 2017 semester, volunteering as a class aide, assisting with the catalog, and participating in several Encore Learning clubs.

Members’ Annual Meeting May 21, 2020

Please join us at the Encore Learning Annual Members’ Meeting to be held virtually this year.

You must be a current member to attend. Check your membership by logging in to Member Account Manager. The date will be shown under My Account. If your membership has lapsed and you would like to rejoin, follow these directions.

Plan to attend this once-a-year event. It provides an opportunity for you to hear from Encore Learning’s leadership.   

Thursday, May 21, 2020

10:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. 

Connect to the meeting online for video or audio via Zoom:
or connect by phone for audio only:
Meeting ID: 952 8534 4374

You will be prompted to enter your name and email address prior to joining the meeting. 

Annual Meeting Agenda

10:15 A.M.       Join the Meeting

10:30 A.M.       Business meeting

  • Call to order
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Election of Encore Learning Board
  • Encore Learning Organization Update
  • 2020-21 President’s Comments and Plans for the Future
  • Highlights of year ahead
  • Volunteer Appreciation
  • Member Q&A

11:30 A.M.       Meeting concludes

May 6: Get Acquainted with Zoom

We are offering another Get Acquainted with Zoom session.  

Created and delivered by Encore Learning specifically for our members, this session will help you learn how to navigate Zoom so that you can comfortably and confidently participate in our virtual activities. If you attended one of the sessions on April 6 or April 8, this is the same content, so no need to attend again unless you want a refresher.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 2:00 P.M.

Join Zoom Meeting:

Dial for audio only  301-715-8592

Meeting ID: 822 2640 6203

April 2020 Clubs Update

Here’s an update on which Clubs are meeting virtually and which ones are waiting until restrictions are lifted. Members, to join any club, just send an email to Thanks to all of our wonderful volunteer Club Coordinators.

Breakfast Club

Our pioneer club in virtual meetings! Coordinator Ron Wise writes: The Breakfast Club continues to have our Zoom get-togethers every Wednesday morning. We’re trying to replicate our in-person format as much as possible. We’ve discussed what each of us has been doing as well as general topics, most of them related to the pandemic. Best of all, the participation has been good.

Bridge Club

Co-coordinator Joan Carter writes: We’re just waiting for things to open up again before we resume our monthly games. We’ll let you know when we’ve started playing Bridge again. Co-Coordinator: Sharon Bisdee.

Cinema Club

The Cinema Club is meeting virtually. See the April eNewsletter for an update. Co-Coordinators: Kathie Burch and Lee Cooper.

Current Events Discussion Group

The Current Events Discussion Group is planning a virtual meeting on May 20, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:00 P.M. If you’d like to participate, please send an email to so that the volunteer Coordinators can add you to their list. Coordinator: Pete Taylor.

Ethnic Lunch

Coordinator Arlene Kigin writes: No news from the Ethnic Lunch Club. We are hunkering down, shopping in our pantries, and trying to cook from our supply of frozen pizzas, pastas, and pastries.


It goes without saying that this club cannot meet until Fletcher’s Boathouse reopens. Club members will receive an email when the club is ready to resume activities. Co-coordinators: Wayne Moore and Janice Yeadon.


Coordinator Dwight Rodgers writes: The Mindfulness Club will be meeting virtually each week on Wednesdays from Noon to 1:00 P.M. Our general format is 5 minutes of opening and technical trouble shooting, 10 minutes of a talk, 20 minutes of meditation, and the rest of the hour open discussion among participants. Any Encore Learning members interested in joining our meetings should send an email to Staff will forward join requests to me and I’ll follow up with an email with Zoom meeting entrance instructions.

Nonfiction Book

Co-coordinators Pat Chatten and Carter Vaden write: We are postponing the discussion of Tony Horwitz’ book, Spying on the South, until the July 13 meeting, hoping Arlington Library will have reopened by then. Meanwhile, enjoy your reading of that book and other works you may have on your bookshelves or on your devices.

Tech Hobbyist

The Tech Hobbyist Club is currently exploring whether members want to meet virtually. Coordinator: Steve Shapiro


Coordinators Connie Collins and Charlie Hallahan are sending monthly email updates to club members with suggested online travel and travel-related sites to visit. They have offered to host a virtual travel presentation if someone is willing to give the presentation – stay tuned!

If you are a tech-savvy member and would like to help your Club meet virtually, please email your Club Coordinator or staff at

Video and slides now available! Kasha Helget on Safely Enjoying the Outdoors

On April 20, 2020, Kasha Helget of the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists, in collaboration with Virginia Cooperative Extension and Master Gardeners of NoVA, gave a interactive and highly informative talk on identifying and controlling mosquitoes and ticks in an environmentally safe manner – without killing beneficial insects. You can view a video of her presentation and/or view her slides. Thanks to Kasha for her presentation, volunteer David Tate for moderating, and all of the participants for the great questions.

Your Zoom Questions: Answered! Check out our new FAQ

Thanks to everyone for their patience as we continue our virtual learning journey with Zoom. We’ve had great participation so far in our virtual Courses, Clubs and Special Events. As with any new technology implementation, there have been a few hiccups along the way. We’ve drawn up a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document which we hope will be helpful to you. Our Virtual Learning with Zoom FAQ document will evolve as we continue to meet in cyberspace. Let us know if you have more questions by emailing

You can always find this document on the FAQ page of Member Account Manager. This page has many helpful reference materials – you might want to bookmark it so you have it handy.

Video Now Available! Panel Discussion on Historic Virginia Legislative Session

On April 6, 2020, we held our first-ever virtual Encore Learning Presents, our co-sponsored event series with Arlington Public Library. We were lucky to have some seasoned professionals join us – Former State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple led our panel of State Senator Adam Ebbin, State Senator Barbara Favola and Delegate Patrick Hope of Virginia in a robust discussion of the recently concluded Virginia legislative session. View the video. Thanks to our distinguished participants, our co-sponsor Arlington Public Library and our Special Events Committee, especially David Tate, for making this event happen.

Top Row: Mary Margaret Whipple, Barbara Favola
Bottom Row: Patrick Hope, Adam Ebbin