Meet Our Faculty
English FacultyApril served in the Air Force National Guard from 2002-2016 as a Personnel Specialist. She has exciting memories of traveling around the United States and overseas to Okinawa, Japan, and Ballad, Iraq (during the Operation Iraqi Freedom War). She completed her service as a Technical Sergeant (E-6: Non-Commissioned Officer). Before beginning her journey at CFK, April taught high school English at Boiling Spring High School (SC), Adult Education in the Monroe County School District (FL), and abroad in China during the summer of 2014. She volunteered to teach Chinese teachers how to teach English Language Arts to their high school students in Shijiazhuang and Handan, China. April enjoys teaching Introduction to the Teaching Profession, English Composition I, English Composition II, and Short Fiction at CFK.
Hospitality and Ecotourism faculty
Timothy Bratt is a Hospitality and Ecotourism Instructor for The College of the Florida Keys. Prior to this, he worked with Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, NC as an Adjunct Hospitality Management Instructor. Additionally, Bratt has 15 years management experience working in hotel and resort accommodations operations management including front office, reservations, revenue optimization, housekeeping, maintenance, uniform services, activities, and compliance. He has previously worked in some of the biggest national brands including Hyatt, Hilton Grand Vacations, and Wyndham, along with some regional and independently owned properties within the Myrtle Beach, SC market. The bulk of my experience has been working in resorts, condotels, and vacation ownership along with multi-property-management experience. Academically, he has achieved an A.A.S in Travel and Tourism Management from Finger Lakes Community College, a B.S. in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from Clemson University, a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration on management and strategy from Western Governors University, and a Doctorate of Business Administration with a concentration in management from Grand Canyon University. During my time at GCU, Bratt was accepted into the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society. He has also achieved the Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), Certified Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA) and the Certified Housekeeping Manager (CHM) distinctions through the AHLEI. His research interests include the utilization of contingent workforces within the accommodations and resort industries.
Exceptional Student Education Faculty
Kama Cannon is a K-12 Gifted Education Specialist with a background in Exceptional Student/Gifted Education, Geography, Oceanography, Diving Safety, and Scientific Diving instruction. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in International Education at The University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2020. Kama earned her B.A. in Geography with a concentration in Honors Human Geography and a minor in Cultural Anthropology; her M.A. in Middle Grades Social Science Education; and a Graduate Certificate in Academically/Intellectually Gifted Education at UNCW. She also holds a graduate certificate in Oceanography and Meteorology from California University of Pennsylvania and studied Coral Reef Ecology at Florida Atlantic University. She was a Gifted Education Specialist in North Carolina prior to moving to Florida where she has taught Education courses at the College of the Florida Keys from 2016 through 2021. Her interests include facilitating pre- and in-service teacher education, science identity development in young adolescents, identifying and serving gifted and twice-exceptional learners of all ages, and using place- and problem-based learning to engage at-risk students in STEM and Humanities disciplines. In 2016, Kama founded DiveN2Life, a non-profit educational organization, and continues to serve on its Board of Directors and as an Education Volunteer. She lives in the Lower Keys with her husband Richard and Spanish Water Dog, Mia.
Marine Science FacultyDr. Abigail Clark holds a Master’s Degree in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire and a Doctorate in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from the University of Florida. She has been studying marine diseases in the Florida Keys for over a decade. In 2018, Dr. Clark joined Mote Marine Laboratory’s Coral Health and Disease Program in Summerland Key where she spent several years studying coral and lobster diseases in Florida and the Caribbean. In 2022, Dr. Clark joined The College of the Florida Keys as an Assistant Professor of Marine Science and Technology. Her research focuses on the ecology, epidemiology, and diagnosis of diseases in marine invertebrates. When not teaching and conducting research, Dr. Clark enjoys gardening with her husband, Dr. Jason Spadaro, and their two dogs.
Kelly Conklin-Penwell holds a BS in Marketing from Bentley University, an MBA from SUNY Empire State, an MSEd from Dowling College, and a graduate certificate in forensic accounting from Southern New Hampshire University. Dr. Conklin-Penwell completed her doctoral studies at Touro University Worldwide in 2023. Her research interests include ethics, experiential learning, and entrepreneurship. In 2014, Kelly Conklin-Penwell's research was awarded an innovation in practice grant by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for her work related to student-athletes and access to internships. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys travel (especially to see her daughter, who lives in London, UK), reading, cooking, and upcycling.
Laura Cox, MSN-Ed., RN
Nursing FacultyLaura Cox has worked in Critical Care and Emergency Nursing since graduating from Florida Keys Community College in 2011. She went on to obtain an RN-BSN and a Master's in Nursing Education from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is certified as an Acute/Critical Care Knowledge Professional (CCRN-K) and is a member of the National League of Nursing (NLN).
Marcial Echenique , Ed.D
Dr. Echenique’s formal education includes a doctorate in Education (Florida Atlantic University), an MBA (University of Georgia), a master's in Mathematics (University of Texas at Arlington) and a bachelor's in Applied Mathematics (Auburn University). In addition to formal education, attending workshops and conferences contribute to his pursuit of education as a life-long learner.
Dr. Echenique has extensive experience teaching a wide range of mathematics and education courses ranging from developmental courses to differential equations. Other courses include statistics and math methods for teachers. In addition, Dr. Echenique has worked outside academia for multiple companies as an engineer, computer programmer, systems analyst and consultant.
Arts, Hospitality, Business and History Faculty
Barry "Gene" Graham, DNP, MSN-Ed., RN
Nursing FacultyDr. Graham holds a terminal degree, (Doctor of Nursing Practice [DNP]) from Abilene Christian University in 2018, where his studies focused on Executive Nursing Leadership. He also earned a Master of Science in Nursing Education (MSN-Ed.) in 2015 and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN with honors) in 2013; both degrees were earned from Grand Canyon University. Earlier academic endeavors comprised of an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing degree earned from Gloucester County College in 1988, which began a professional nursing career. Additionally, he earned an Associate in General Studies from the Community College of Philadelphia obtained in 1987 after he completed a Practical Nursing diploma from the Presbyterian University of Pennsylvania Medical Center School of Practical Nursing in 1984. Very soon, Dr. Graham will celebrate four decades in nursing. Dr. Graham is also a Ph.D. candidate at Barry University in Miami Shores, FL. He is working towards a second terminal degree, a Doctor of Philosophy degree in qualitative nursing research.
Faculty, Culinary Arts & HospitalityStephan fell into a cooking maze as a child and hasn’t found his way out yet. While in school he designed catering events on the side and was appointed Head Chef of a kitchen at age 17. A NY Times review gave him two stars at age 19. From this, at 22 the Grateful Dead made him their national tour chef. Chef Juliusburger turned to the hotel industry, designing and developing food concepts in executive positions with Marriott, Westin, and Sonesta Hotels, Cable Beach Resorts, and Baha Mar, rising to the level of Corporate Director, holding positions in New Orleans, Chicago, Dallas, Bermuda, Argentina and The Bahamas. Stephan holds the Le Cordon Bleu Masters in Gastronomy; he will be published in 2023 as an author of Culture & Cuisine - A Food History of the Caribbean.