Faculty and Staff
Culinary Arts Faculty
Chef Thomas Capretta, Assistant Professor
Tom Capretta, Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Educator, has been an instructor in the Hospitality Management program at Tri-C® for the past 17 years.
He helped organize the opening of the Eastern Campus Hospitality department in fall 2009. In academic year 2014-2015, Capretta was granted a year of professional improvement leave to study issues surrounding sustainability in the hospitality industry and find ways to incorporate these topics into courses and practice at Tri-C. Developing new instructors and sharing his enthusiasm for the culinary industry with students are his passions.
Capretta won the American Culinary Federation (ACF) President’s Award in 2005 and 2008 and was named ACF’s Educator of the Year in 2003 and 2014. In 2002, he received the August LoPresti Fellowship Award. In addition to his teaching assignments, Capretta has served as president of the ACF Cleveland Chapter and currently serves on advisory committees for the culinary arts programs at Beachwood High School, Normandy High School and Polaris Career Center. He is also a board member for the ACFEF Accrediting Commission.
Capretta was employed as a chef at Canterbury Golf Club in Shaker Heights, where he supervised food preparation for the 1996 U.S. Senior Open as well as for other exciting events. Past experiences also include Stouffer’s Restaurant Group, Cleveland Racquet Club and Mitchell’s Fish Market.
He holds associate degrees in restaurant management and culinary arts in addition to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in technical education, all from the University of Akron.
Chef Michele Gaw, Assistant Professor
Born and raised in Akron, Chef Michele Gaw is a Northeast Ohio native whose passion for food and the hospitality industry pole vaulted her career. “My passion for food started at home, my mother is a tremendous cook, always making something different as I was growing up and spending time with my grandmother who cooked the old fashioned way. It was with my grandmother that I learned to can foods and still do so today.” Her love of the culinary arts drove her to become an executive chef, including winning numerous awards (Cleveland National Chicken Cookout, Taste of Cleveland and Ohio Pork Competition), as well as a consultant and business owner. She is a past president of the American Culinary Federation-Cleveland Chapter, and a founding member of Cleveland Les Dames Escoffier (LDEI).
Chef Gaw received her Associate Degree in Restaurant Management from Cuyahoga Community College, and her BA in Business from Tiffin University. Her career includes stints at Li’l Joe’s Pub in Akron, the Holiday Inn in Strongsville, and the Cleveland Airport Marriott. She spent 18 years as the Executive Chef for Cleveland’s Watermark Restaurant, known for outstanding seafood, a beautiful view and an award-winning wine list. It was this passion for the culinary arts and hospitality field that drew her to share her talents at Cuyahoga Community College, first as a part-time instructor for 20 years, and now as a full-time instructor and supervisor of Café 4250.
As Chef Gaw says, “I love teaching the restaurant class for Café 4250, as I can challenge the students to prepare new foods in a restaurant setting. It is a little like being back in the restaurant business. I am so happy to be teaching full time as I get to share my past experiences with the students and see them grow. The greatest reward is when the students are successful. Sometimes it is many years later and I will see a student who is so proud of what they have accomplished. It makes me beam with pride for them and our college.”
Chef Maureen Leonard, Assistant Professor
Chef Maureen Leonard is Tri-C’s only full-time tenure-track faculty member focused solely on Pastry Arts. A graduate of the French Pastry School in Chicago, she has spent years in the industry as an executive pastry chef.
Leonard began at Tri-C as an adjunct instructor before achieving tenure-track status. During her time at the College, the number of students achieving baking certificates has increased significantly. In addition, three new courses have been proposed: Chocolate and Confections, European and American Cakes and Production of
She teaches Introduction to
Leonard has taken continuing education courses at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and The Culinary Institute of America. She has also participated in the International Conference on Food Chemistry and Technology, hosted by United Scientific Group.
Leonard’s years of experience, combined with her passion for sharing the craft and science in the art of pastry, promote student retention and dedication to the trade. Diligently networking within the hospitality industry, she has presented opportunities that have earned her students positions at three-star Michelin restaurants and other prestigious venues.
Her classes provide an environment of excitement ― tempered with discipline, integrity
Chef Ky-Wai Wong, Assistant Professor
Chef Ky-Wai Wong, known as Chef KY, is an assistant professor in the Hospitality Management program at Tri-C®. He holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from UCLA and master’s degree in hospitality management from Auburn University.
Wong has a strong background in fine dining. His first restaurant job was at Giovanni's in Beachwood. From there, he went to culinary school in London, England. In addition to earning a certificate in cuisine and baking/pastry from Le Cordon Bleu in London, he completed an apprenticeship at Michelin 2-star restaurant Le Gavroche.
He returned to Cleveland and continued to work in fine dining at places such as Blake's Seafood Grille, the Century Restaurant and Bar at the Ritz-Carlton, fire food and drink and Seballos Pastries. With much experience under his belt, Wong worked his way up to top positions at some of the area’s premier fine dining establishments, including sous chef at AAA Five Diamond restaurant Classics at the Intercontinental Hotel; executive chef at LockKeepers and Park City Diner; chef de cuisine at DANTE in Valley View; and chef de cuisine at Lucky's Cafe.
Wong loves sharing his passion and knowledge about food with his students. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and doing fundraisers that help the community.
Lodging / Restaurant & Food Service / Event Planning Faculty
Melanie Adams, Assistant Professor
Ms. Adams is an Assistant Professor of 13 years, specializing in the lodging/tourism and event planning programs in the Hospitality Management Center of Excellence at Cuyahoga Community College. Her career began 20 plus years ago. Ms. Adams knew she wanted to be involved in hospitality management at the age of 16 when she was a housekeeping supervisor for the Sheraton. She received a full four-year scholarship to, and graduated from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. She continued her education with an MBA in Hospitality and Tourism Business Management from Columbia Southern University. She currently holds the status of Certified Hospitality Educator and is in the process of achieving her Certification as CMP, (Certified Meeting Professional).
Ms. Adams has worked in many executive positions as General Manager, Director of Guest Services, Operations Manager, Residential General Manager, Director of Sales, and Executive Director of Event Planning. These positions were working with major hospitality companies and resorts such as Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Accor, Studio Plus, Wyndham International, Lakeside Resort, and the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida. She resides on the west side of Cleveland with her two sons.
Paul Glatt, Assistant Professor
Paul Glatt has been an assistant professor in the Hospitality Management program at Tri-C® since 2002.
Born in the Cleveland area, he worked his way across the country in a wide variety of hospitality positions including dishwasher, chef, nightclub manager, hotel manager and bartender. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Arizona and a Master of Management in hospitality from Cornell University.
In 1999, Glatt returned to his Northeast Ohio roots to work with Restaurant Associates as beverage manager at the new Cleveland Browns Stadium and the newly renovated Severance Hall. Before joining Tri-C, he owned and operated JoJo’s Colony Tavern in downtown Cleveland, recipient of the Free Times Best New Restaurant award in 2001.
As a faculty member, Glatt strives to contribute to the community and campus, most notably working with such charities as the Cleveland Food Bank and the Cleveland Animal Protective League. He is married and has two great dogs, Harvey and Jupiter.
Deanna Manners-Ford, Assistant Professor
Assistant professor Deanna Manners-Ford is a Tri-C class of 2012
Manners-Ford has been with the Tri-C hospitality department since 2009. In 2016, she was hired as a tenure-track assistant professor. She considers teaching an honor and enjoys bringing her real-life experience into the classroom and sharing her stories with students.
“There’s nothing like seeing students light up when they finally realize why we do what we do; when they start finding gratification in their major and start to experience what they have learned in the classroom in the real world,” she said.
What Manners-Ford loves most about Tri-C is how the College continues to help students after graduation ― helping them find jobs, providing mentoring, assisting with business plans and more.
Kimberley Susbauer, Assistant Professor
Kimberley Susbauer focuses on courses for the Lodging and Tourism concentration in the Hospitality Management program at Tri-C®. Prior to joining the College, she was a manager with the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. She studied commercial recreation administration at Bowling Green State University and holds a master’s degree in adult learning and development from Cleveland State University.
Susbauer is a member of the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association and the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education, and she serves as a commissioner for the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration. Her academic and industry passions are customer service and food safety. In her free time, she likes to talk to strangers and make people laugh, and she is active in animal rescue.
Chef Jack Ahern, Hospitality Lecturer
Chef Jack Ahern has made a career in the restaurant industry. After bussing tables in high school, he started on his culinary path at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. His internship at Le Francais restaurant in Wheeling, Illinois, solidified his passion for the industry.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from the Culinary Institute, Ahern returned home to Cleveland to work at a number of the city’s finest establishments, including Pier W and, most recently, L’Albatros. Before joining L’Albatros, he spent a summer working and traveling in Normandy, France.
Ahern began teaching at Tri-C® in 2015 and has a passion for passing on his experience and knowledge to students in the classroom. He teaches Garde Manger at the Hospitality Management Center on Public Square and previously served as chef instructor at the Metropolitan Campus’ student-run restaurant, Bistro 87.
Chef Michael Slater, Hospitality Lecturer
Chef Michael Slater has been an instructor at Tri-C for just over a year. Prior to joining the Tri-C family, he worked at local restaurants Paladar Latin Kitchen, Gamekeepers Taverne
Born in New Hampshire, Slater grew up in various areas of New England and still has family there. He attended the Culinary Institute of America from 1997 to 1999 and has always enjoyed educating others about the amazing field of hospitality.
Slater came to Cleveland about nine years ago and now lives in Cleveland Heights with his wife and son. He loves calling Ohio home.
Westfield ACFEF Culinary Apprenticeship
Chef Brandon Stevens
Administration and Support
Wendy Cox, Coordinator
Wendy Cox has almost 20 years of experience in the administrative professional field. If you call the main Hospitality Management phone number, you may get Cox on the other end — the friendly voice who can answer your questions or connect you to the person who can. She currently serves as administrative coordinator for the Hospitality Management Center on Public Square, where she supports the Hospitality Management program’s associate dean and general manager/dean, focuses on faculty workload and budget and assists students and prospective students with questions, tours and whatever else they might need.
Cox has served in various administrative capacities at Tri-C® since 2002. Most recently, she was the coordinator-scheduler for the Unified Technologies Center at the Metropolitan Campus, scheduling meeting spaces and classrooms and coordinating hospitality and meeting services. Previous positions also include office assistant and program coordinator for the Organizational Excellence Institute at Corporate College® and administrative assistant to the president of Corporate College.
Before joining Tri-C, Cox worked as a senior administrative assistant at Lamson & Sessions. During her four-and-a half-years in the Carlon business unit, she supported the vice president and manager and, later, the national sales manager.
Cox holds an Associate of Applied Science degree in office service administration with a concentration in legal secretary skills in addition to a Bachelor of Science degree in office administration, both from Youngstown State University. She is an active member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), for which she has served twice as publications chair. She also served in multiple roles on the Forest City IAAP chapter’s executive board.
Cox received her Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) rating in November 2000 and was recertified in 2005. She received her Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) rating in November 2007 and recertified her Organizational Management (CAP-OM) rating in 2012.
William Scully, Lab Assistant
Don't let his job title fool you. William Scully is responsible for procuring ingredients and equipment for the Hospitality Management program, along with any other last-minute needs. His behind-the-scenes knowledge of suppliers, food markets and more keeps the program and daily classes on track.
“I have been in the food industry, in some way, for 27 years,” Scully said. “You need to keep up with everything happening around you. Non-industry people don’t understand the constant deadlines that need to be met and the sense of urgency that is needed. Most importantly, the planning needed to have the right food, at the right time, in the right amounts.”
Growing up in an Italian family, Scully would garden with his grandfather and cook with his grandmother. This created a foundation of growing food and cooking for guests, making sure everyone was happy and fed. He got his first real job at age 15, cleaning up after pastry chefs in a bakery after school. Since then, he’s worked at a grocery store, a catering company, a private yacht club and corporate restaurants in addition to working in sales, health care and now, education.
Scully holds a bachelor’s degree in restaurant and institutional foodservice management from Bowling Green State University. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife of 13 years and their two children.
Traci Turner, Unit Operations Specialist
Traci Turner began her hospitality career in 1980 in Beachwood. Her passion for helping people allowed her to flourish in the industry. She joined Tri-C® in 2004 as a student and work-study office assistant, later becoming a student ambassador and, eventually, a Health Careers enrollment specialist. From there, she became the program assistant for the College’s EMT program. In fall 2016, her career came full circle as she rejoined the Hospitality Management program.
At the Hospitality Management Center on Public Square, Turner focuses on assisting students as they enter various programs, ultimately helping them become successful graduates. She earned an Associate of Applied Business degree from Tri-C and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business from Tiffin University.
Turner is a native Clevelander and a die-hard sports fan. She loves her city and the Lake Erie Monsters, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Chef Karen L. Monath, Associate Dean
As a young girl, Karen Monath tended the garden, peeled a lot of apples and helped with the canning and preserving of the bountiful harvest from her family’s quarter-acre garden. At the young age of ten, she knew she wanted to be a chef.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Monath rose to become executive chef at a very successful restaurant by the age of 20. She has spent the better part of her life refining her craft through a diverse range of experiences. She has served royals and billionaires, catered meals for two and for a thousand, peeled grapes tableside and planned and executed weddings for 600.
Monath holds a master’s degree in hospitality management from Florida International University. She has taught at the Pennsylvania State University and is an assistant professor at Tri-C®, teaching culinary arts as well as hospitality management.
Monath draws from her years of experience as a chef and as the owner of a large banquet and catering facility to bring real-life knowledge and skill to the academic program. Her passion is helping students be successful in life and in business.
Barbara Pitrone, Program Director of Hospitality Management
Barbara Pitrone joined Cuyahoga Community College in March 2003 as supervisor of the Eastern Campus Adjunct Services office, where she and her team provided administrative support part-time faculty and their students. She became program director of Hospitality Management in September 2018, bringing her extensive people skills and organizational skills to the role.
She also teaches College Composition and First Year Experience courses at Tri-C.
Regardless of her location or position, Pitrone’s primary focus has always been customer service. “Making sure that those around me — be they faculty, staff or students — have what they need to succeed makes me and the institution succeed as well. It’s a win-win situation!”
Prior to coming to Tri-C, Pitrone worked for more than 20 years in a variety of administrative roles at the Cleveland Museum of Art. She holds a master’s degree in English from Cleveland State University and a bachelor’s degree in humanities from John Carroll University.
Pitrone’s interests include cooking, gardening, traveling, exercising and spending quality time with family and friends, including her two rambunctious grandsons.
Michael Huff, General Manager/Dean
Michael Huff brings a broad spectrum of industry background and education to the Hospitality Management Center of Excellence, at Tri-C.
His career began in culinary, working in the kitchens of the eclectic restaurant scenes of Sedona and Phoenix Arizona. He crossed over to the front of the house managing in both
His move to Cleveland was by design, and he moved from hotels to what would have been a capstone position as the General Manager for Special Events and Fined dining at the Cleveland Museum of Art. However, the opportunity to provide leadership as the Dean of the Hospitality Management Program in the city that he
He has a BS in Marketing and an MBA from Arizona State University. Additional studies include the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Fetzer Oaks Food and Wine Center and the Hudson House St. Helena. His personal passions are for travel, family and time in the outdoors.