Faculty and Staff


At Your Service

For over one hundred years, Blackstone has been widely recognized as a leader in distance education. Our success revolves around our students’ eagerness to learn, and the dedicated faculty and staff who support them. Faculty members are leaders in their field of expertise, and the Blackstone staff has many years of experience in distance education. Our faculty includes instructors with years of practice in teaching and developing distance education programs. Their educational and professional backgrounds, as well as memberships in professional organizations, give them access to the most up-to-date training and changes in the field.

They work closely with our administration and staff to provide timely answers to students’ questions. Blackstone’s support and development team assists in writing and editing our educational materials, as well as updating and reviewing them for accuracy, and helps maintain our electronic databases and the Online Student Center. All of the staff, instructors, and support and development members work under the guidance of a skilled administration that has student satisfaction and course quality as its primary goals.



Kevin J. McCloskey

Kevin J. McCloskey is president of Direct Learning Systems, Inc. (DLS), a Lehigh Valley, PA, based distance education publishing company, which he founded in 1999. DLS is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a private licensed school and provides an Internet-based distance learning curriculum through Blackstone Career Institute. Blackstone is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council, Washington, D.C.

Kevin’s previous experience includes over 15 years in senior management. He was Vice Chairman and managing partner of NLKK, Inc. the operator of Keystone National High School, a nationally accredited Internet-based secondary school with an enrollment of over 15,000 students. In 2000, he orchestrated the sale of NLKK, Inc. to KinderCare Learning Centers, Inc., a publicly traded firm. Prior to that time, he held various senior management positions in the medical equipment field. Kevin was primarily responsible for marketing, sales, business development and strategic planning throughout this period. He holds a BA degree from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Professionally, Kevin is active within the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), served on the Business Standards Committee (Vice Chairman), and was Chairman of the International Marketing Workshop of the DETC in 2000. Additionally, he has served on the long-range planning and membership committees of Brookside Country Club. Other professional affiliations include the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association, the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, and the Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators. He also serves on the school board of St. Thomas More School as fundraising chairman.

Paul Grumbein
General Manager

Paul Grumbein graduated from Salem College with a bachelor of science in secondary education, earning a dual major in physical education and art with a minor in health sciences and safety education. Upon graduation, Paul was employed as a high school teacher for several years, and was active in the school’s scholastic sports programs, theatrical productions and other extracurricular activities. During this time he continued his education by enrolling in a master’s program at Millersville College, where he pursued a degree in school guidance. His career took a turn into the business world, where he elevated himself through the sales ranks to the position of district sales manager in a career spanning twenty-four years. Along the way he continued his education, enrolling in Albright College, where he took business-related courses. With the opportunity to merge his educational background and management abilities, Paul joined the staff of Direct Learning Systems, Inc. where he is responsible for the school’s operations.

Valerie L. Behrle
Director of Education

Valerie L. Behrle holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. She has over 20 years’ experience in education and has worked with students of all ages, including K-12 and post-graduate. She is currently the director of education at Blackstone Career Institute, where she supervises the evaluation staff for our distance-education schools. In addition, she writes and edits new programs for Blackstone. She has edited and written more than ten distance education courses over the past five years.


Darlene Boyle
Financial Administrator/Human Resource Coordinator

Darlene earned her Human Resource Certification at Penn State University. She is a member of the Society of Human Resources. Darlene is also a Certified QuickBooks user. Her professional experience and educational background in bookkeeping/human resources enable her to coordinate the financial needs and human resources development at Direct Learning Systems, Inc.

Stacy Feifel
Educational Development Coordinator

A graduate of Kutztown University with a BS in telecommunications, Stacy has many years of experience in the administrative field and has been with Direct Learning Systems since 2007. Her responsibilities include working with the development team to construct and revise various educational, marketing, and web-based material. Stacy also provides educational assistance to students with a special concentration on our veteran, military and military spouse population.

Tammy Kromer
Financial Assistant/Sr. Student Services Representative

Tammy has over 20 years of experience in customer service and began at Direct Learning Systems in the fall of 2001.  As a Sr. Student Service Representative, Tammy serves as a mentor to the staff.  Her responsibilities include assisting students with their financial accounts and assuring each student has their appropriate course resources.  Tammy enrolls new students and assists the General Manager and Financial Administrator in matters that concern the school and students accounts.

Julie Rushe
Student Services Representative

Julie has over 15+ years of experience in account support, business development and marketing strategy. She attended Muhlenberg College where she majored in Business Administration and Management. Julie also has extensive experience in database management, lead generation and compliance. Her responsibilities include student queries, student correspondence and providing educational assistance to students.

Jacque Irizarry
Student Services Representative

Jacque is a graduate of Lehigh Carbon Community College where she majored in General Studies/Arts. She has over 8 years’ experience in Customer Service working for Telerx Marketing where she was responsible for several accounts including, M&M Mars. At BCI, her responsibilities include: inbound and outbound calls, student correspondence, providing educational assistance to students, processing student exams, assignments and graduation documents. Jacque loves basketball and enjoys dabbling with black and white photography in her spare time.

Korey McNulty
Student Services Representative

Korey designs a multitude of digital and print marketing materials for all brands under Direct Learning Systems, Inc., as well as completing daily tasks essential to business operations. She currently attends Northampton Community College for Commercial Design and also runs her own freelance design business, KM Graphic Design.

Consultant Instructors

hauckbiopicJeffrey Hauck

Chief Operations Officer- Hauck Risk Management
Paralegal Consultant

As COO Mr. Hauck oversees the functions that support all cases and programs at Hauck Risk Management (HRM), a solution consulting firm where organizations are guided to turn risk and compliance efforts into opportunities to drive sustainable business value.  HRM clients have included the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, PA, and the Wal-Mart Corporation.

Mr. Hauck holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree (J.D.) from Widener University School of Law where he graduated from the Law and Government Institute with a concentration in Constitutional and Administrative Law.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (B.A.) in Criminal Justice from DeSales University.  Mr. Hauck is a retired Municipal Police Supervisor and is a Licensed Private Detective.  In addition to his position as COO Mr. Hauck holds a Commission as an Officer in the U.S. Army and is the Company Commander for a USAR CBRN Unit.  Through HRM Mr. Hauck has consulted with hundreds of clients providing competent paralegal/legal-assistant services either by working with contracted counsel or in-house counsel necessary to the achievement of their individual planned success.  Mr. Hauck understands that the law affects nearly every decision and action businesses and individuals pursue on a daily basis.  As such he knows that a skilled paralegal professional can make the difference between success and failure in the legal and/or corporate environment.

Mr. Hauck has been certified as a police academy instructor and as a law enforcement trainer.  He has been a Professor of Criminal Justice since 2005.  In addition Mr. Hauck has been recognized as a qualified expert witness in the Pennsylvania State Court System.  He is an author and has been published several times in the Administrative Law Journal of the PA Bar Association (among others).  Mr. Hauck is certified in many law enforcement disciplines such as police firearms training, close quarters combat, and defensive and control tactics.  He holds Shodan rank in Karate and is proponent of self-defense and situational awareness.

Mr. Hauck maintains or has held membership in numerous professional organizations such as the American Bar Association, Police Executive Research Forum, American Society for Law Enforcement Trainers, Council of International Investigators, American Society of Industrial Security, and others.

Mr. Hauck is an active volunteer in his community counseling various veterans organizations.  He donates time and resources to the Child Rescue Network in Orlando, FL.  His leisure activities include spending time with his wife and family, chauffeuring kids to sports and functions, attempting to cook in the kitchen and on the grill, reading multiple books at one time, and generally pursing balance in a hectic modern world.

tcopplerbiopicTami Coppler

PharmD, BCPS

Tami Coppler graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2009. She completed a PGY1 Pharmacy Residency Program at the Pittsburgh Veterans Hospital in 2010 and received her Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS) Certification in 2011. Prior to graduation, Tami worked as a pharmacy technician at an independent retail pharmacy. Tami has worked in a hospital setting since graduation and currently works as a clinical inpatient hospital staff pharmacist.

Kara Silvers

Medical Billing and Coding Consultant

Kara Silvers is an instructor in the Medical Billing and Coding Department. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business and a Master’s degree in Vocational Education, both from Auburn University. She also holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from Western Governor’s University and a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Ottawa University. She currently works as an instructor at a couple of universities teaching Medical Billing and Coding classes, as well as independent coding for various companies. She is CPC and CPC-I certified through the AAPC.

lopkinski copyDonna S. Lepkoski

Professor, Luzerne County Community College
Dental Office Consultant

Currently and for the past 37 years Donna has been a full-time faculty member in the Dental Health Department at Luzerne County Community College Nanticoke, PA and holds the rank of Professor. Prior to working at the college she worked in private practice as a chairside assistant.

Donna is a Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant and a Pennsylvania Certified Expanded Functions Dental Assistant. She was awarded a Fellowship in the American Dental Assistant Association in 2001 and holds a BS degree in Dental Health Education. Donna teaches in the Dental Assisting Program, Dental Hygiene Program, and the Expanded Functions Dental Assisting Program at LCCC along with being faculty advisor for the dental assisting students and serving on various college committees. She also serves as consultant for the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and is a member of the Commissions’ Dental Assisting Review Committee. Donna has developed, presented, and published seminars and articles on dental infection control on a state and national level.

She enjoys traveling with her family, discovering new places, and enjoying time with her friends.

geigerbiopicAlexandra Boyle

5th Grade Teacher
Child Day Care Consultant

Alexandra received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Kindergarten Education from Penn State University. She was selected as the program marshal to represent the Elementary and Kindergarten education program at the Spring 2011 Penn State commencement ceremony, and graduated with highest distinction.  Alexandra also acquired a minor in Special Education, which has allowed her to work with students with diverse needs.  Alexandra helped co-teach a kindergarten and first grade summer program at World of Imagination Childcare center and has volunteered at Neff’s Union United Church of Christ’s children’s church and vacation bible school programs, working with children aged infant to nine. Currently, Alexandra is a 5th grade teacher in the Parkland School District.

Joan Harp

Medical Transcription Consultant

Joan Harp is a qualified Medical Transcription Consultant and holds a degree in Business Administration from Cornerstone University, Michigan. Before joining Blackstone Career Institute, Joan worked for over 15 years for a diverse range of organizations, including legal, healthcare, cardiology, and radiology.  She has received an intermediate linguist certification from The Defense Language Institute of Monterey, California.

In the role of Transcriptionist and Report Editor, Joan was responsible for transcribing legal briefs and correspondence for the labor relations department of a large law firm, cardiology reports for an office of eight cardiologists, and worked as an executive assistant to the radiology department manager.  She was also responsible for ensuring 99% accuracy of reports done by all transcriptionists while performing as report editor.

Drawing on over 15 years of experience in transcription, report editing, and general executive level administrative assistance, Joan Harp now focuses on medical transcription sciences for the healthcare industry. She currently lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin with her husband, Brian.

Dr. Mary Powers

Veterinary Consultant

Dr. Mary Powers has over 15 years of experience working for a progressive small animal practice as an associate veterinarian.  She has experience in orthopedic and soft tissue surgery, as well as internal medicine, dentistry, and radiography.  Dr. Powers focuses her practice on small animals, but has worked on many exotic species and large animals as well.  She received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 and her B.S. in Biology, Pre-Medicine from Messiah College in 1994.

She is an active member of many professional associations including the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Animal Hospital Association.

Catie Grumbein

Physical Therapist
Physical Therapy Consultant

Catie is a recent graduate of a Doctoral program in Physical Therapy from the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, NY.  She graduated with honors, is a member of the Alpha Eta Honor Society, and received an award for the highest rating in clinical performance in her graduating class. She has completed various clinical affiliations, primarily focusing in the field of pediatrics in the acute care, outpatient, and school-based settings.  In addition, Catie has obtained clinical affiliations in orthopedics and cardiac rehabilitation.  She has completed research while obtaining her doctorate on patients with Parkinson’s disease, where she, along with her research group, were selected to present at an annual Research Symposium. Catie is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and plans to promote evidence based practice to her future patients.

Catie’s other passions include dancing and exercising, going to the beach, and having fun with friends and family.

koberbiopicHeidi N. Kober

Children’s Clinic at LVHN
Medical Office Assistant

As a Registered Nurse in the outpatient setting, Heidi is involved in front office responsibilities as well as planning and implementing patient care. She also provides private consulting services to individuals wanting to meet a health goal.

Heidi holds a B.A. degree from DeSales University as well as an ADN, RN from Lehigh Carbon Community College. Heidi’s career in the healthcare field began in 1995 as a unit clerk on an inpatient unit, progressing to a technical partner/nursing aid with direct patient care, and then finally a Registered Nurse. Heidi has been in the outpatient care setting for two years.

Heidi lives in the Lehigh Valley, PA with her husband and 3 teenage children.  She became interested in medicine after her first child was born with multiple challenges.  She is active in research, and passionate about health, fitness and wellness; particularly, educating how lifestyle choices can prevent diseases that plague America today.  She enjoys watching her children play sports, working out, reading, and helping people take control of their health.