Learn from the leader in professional education with Elite Learning We have one purpose - to serve the hundreds of thousands of licensed professionals each year who want to maintain their license and advance their careers. Our StoryMeet the TeamOur InstructorsGo Meet our instructorsOur instructors aren't just great teachers — they're working professionals with years of expertise. You'll benefit from their real-world experience and genuine desire to see you excel in your career. Rick Vrenios Gilda Smith Jose DeArce James Menz Deborah Moody Danielle Almendinger Josh Maka Ben Dillard J. Nicholas Tortoreiello X X Rick Vrenios Rick Vrenios has been a noted therapist, speaker, and educator in the field for 29+ years. He is a Licensed Massage Therapist, a Reiki Master Teacher, a master healer in the spiritual and elemental healing traditions of Hawaii and old-style Ho’oponopono, and considered one of the leading experts in the chakra system. His specialty is the energetic and spiritual dynamics of health, disease, and vitality. Rick’s clients have ranged from major corporations, to elite professional athletes, world-class dancers, internationally renowned healers, and members of two royal families. He has written two books, several articles and numerous audio CD programs. His reputation for excellence attracts students from across the U.S. and from many countries around the world. X X Gilda Smith Gilda Smith LMT, CMT, PDMT, a graduate of Pennsylvania School of Muscle Therapy in 2001, established her massage practice immediately after completing her first of many certifications in massage therapy. During this time, she independently asserted herself to intern with Robert Williams in the Villanova University sports medicine department. From there, she continued to work for two prominent spas in Philadelphia – 3000 BC initially and then Blue Bell, Citrus Day Spa – while maintaining her private practice. Gilda’s career demonstrates her belief that acquiring more experience and education is the salt to her gift of massage. Having a vast amount of massage therapy experience, in addition to studying various modalities, allows her tool box to be filled with many ways to address bodywork on the table and in chair massage demonstrations to retain clientele and build referrals. Gilda’s education profile: corrective medical massage, pfrimmer deep muscle therapy, cranial fascial techniques under the tutelage of Dr. Barry Gillespie, sport massage, neuromuscular therapy and MRM myofascial release therapy a branch of Heller work. In addition, she is a certified yoga instructor and former personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Gilda has been a full-time massage therapist for fourteen years and counting, and is the owner and founder of Exhale AMTA Sports Massage PA Events Coordinator. Gilda’s strength is to aide homeostasis, a balanced mental and physical massage therapy experience. Clients appreciate her integrative body worker because the results of Gilda’s massage treatments are remarkable. She believes it is essential to make a difference in the mind, body and soul. We can awaken each client’s individual healing journey and alleviate the stressors in their lives. As a continuing education instructor, Gilda plans to bring the totality of her expertise for massage therapists to enhance their approach to massage therapy and compensation for their massage practice. X X Jose DeArce Jose’s journey in massage, health and fitness begin in 1986 when he began martial arts training, where he earned nine different black belts over the next thirty years. In Puerto Rico, in the early1990’s, Jose was one of only a handful of people to be certified as a Fitness Trainer. He was also the pioneer of fitness kickboxing while working at the famous Powerhouse Gym. Jose coached a cross-section of athletes from bodybuilders, powerlifters, fighters, to pro athletes. While working on his Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education, he was an athletic training student at the University of Puerto Rico, where he had the unique opportunity to work on hundreds of athletes; performing sport massage, therapeutic intervention, and injury rehabilitation. Jose has been a massage therapist since 1996 and a massage instructor since 2004. His education; experience, passion, and unique set of skills in massage, fitness, eastern/western philosophy towards bodywork will help you become a better therapist and prolong your career! X X James Menz Jim began his career in health and wellness in 1992. He was first certified in Massage Therapy over 20 years ago. In his career he has worked with a spectrum of clients in the community, athletic and rehabilitative settings. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a Corrective Exercise Specialist, holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and a Postgraduate Certificate in Rehabilitation Science. He is licensed for massage therapy in NJ, where he maintains a practice in corrective exercise and bodywork. Jim has been a college instructor for 7 years and has constructed programs in Exercise Science and Massage Therapy for Salem and Cumberland County Colleges. He is an approved provider by the NCBTMB. An engaging and energetic instructor, Jim has presented at numerous continuing education events for trainers, therapists and nurses since 2004. X X Deborah Moody Deborah Wooding Moody has been a practicing licensed massage therapist for over 20 years. She graduated from the Southeastern School of Neuromuscular and Massage Therapy in 1993. She earned her BA in Psychology and Behavioral Medicine from the University of North Florida in 1995. Deborah’s work experience includes extensive training and practice in advanced bodywork, in addition to working with chiropractors, acupuncturists and neurologists. She is certified in Neuromuscular Therapy, Prenatal/Postpartum Therapy, Infant Massage and Aromatherapy. Deborah was in private practice at Alternative Medicine Specialists for over 10 years, while working adjunctively with a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, a Physical Therapist and other Massage therapists. She remains in private practice in the historic San Marco area of Jacksonville, Florida. For 10 years, Deborah was a key instructor at both Southeastern School of NMT & Keiser Career College, teaching students seeking licensure in Massage Therapy. She taught the Structural Anatomy & Kinesiology and the Neuromuscular Therapy courses of the program. She also developed and administered the Neuromuscular Certification Exam, both written and palpatory portions, to those students seeking advanced, post-graduate certification. X X Danielle Almendinger Danielle Almendinger is a Licensed Massage Therapist with over 10 years of experience. She is a graduate of Career Training Academy with an Associates Degree. As the founder of MOMASSAGE and a mom herself, Danielle is driven by a desire to help women of all ages enjoy all that makes being a woman special. She started her massage therapy career in 2005, graduating from Career Training Academy. In 2006 she started working at a prominent spa in Erie, PA. While there she gained valuable experience in providing relaxation to her clients. In 2008 she opened her own practice located in a wellness center. It was during her time there that she started taking a more mind and body approach to her sessions. In 2010 her interest in working with pregnant woman expanded to working with couples trying to conceive. In 2013 postpartum services were included to her practice. Danielle Almendinger is a Licensed Massage Therapy Fertility Massage Specialist. X X Josh Maka Josh has studied the human body, along with its functions and movements for many years. Beginning at the age of 4, he started training in martial arts, earning a 2nd degree black belt at the age of 12. At 8 years old, he began assistant teaching martial arts to both children and adult students alike. His passion for learning about the body thru martial arts led him to dig deeper leading him to the field of massage and body work. He studied holistic health & therapeutic bodywork at Body Mind College in San Diego, CA graduating in 2002. Since then he has taught full course massage therapy programs at Maric College, United Education Institute, as well as teaching select massage and communication classes at the School of Healing Arts, all based in California. He has also taught home health caregivers proper body mechanics and massage therapy to help care for their patients. Along with teaching massage therapy and martial arts, he is also a teacher of Bikram yoga. Currently, Josh is a seasoned massage practitioner with a thriving practice in Florida. With great passion, his goal is to share his love and knowledge of the body so that others can learn what true healing is about, not only a physical level, but a mental and emotional level as well. X X Ben Dillard The world of massage welcomed Ben into it’s “house” in 1979. His 37 years of service to others since then has been a varied and eclectic path. He has provided therapy for the general population, professionals across the athletic spectrum, hospice and oncology patients, and those with special needs. He has treated newborns that were less than an hour old with the most gentle approach and then worked on professional football linemen utilizing deep therapy techniques. He is unabashedly excited about his profession and “brings it” every day to his patients and his students. To his closest friends and family he is truly a therapy nerd. One of his favorite quotes is, “I stand on the shoulders of giants.”. Ben will readily credit, and share, the names of the individuals he has met through the health care profession during the last four decades that have changed his life and helped him grow professionally and personally. Some were health care mentors, others were patients, and still many more were his students. As an instructor Ben blends humor, a gift for analogy, and critical Socratic thinking skills to engage his students. His entertaining approach to presenting is purposeful in promoting assimilation and retention of the material being taught. In 2004 he was awarded the Florida State Massage Therapy Association’s “Service Award” for initiating an oncology massage program at his county hospital, and for traversing the state to help train therapists in hospice service while motivating several chapters to form Hospice Teams. He also served as a consultant for the formal hiring of massage therapists within hospice organizations. X X J. Nicholas Tortoreiello J. Nicholas Tortoreiello has been a LMT since 2004 and a certified personal trainer since 1995. Nicholas has been practicing Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) for over 13 years which is based on Neurological Proprioceptive Response Testing with a strong background in Biomechanics. Nicholas has worked with several ex-NFL Miami Dolphins football players as well as Florida Panther hockey players. He is a former Massage educator for several massage schools in Florida, Florida College of Natural Health, Everest University and Sanford Brown. He is a current continuing education provider for American Council on Exercise (ACE) personal trainers and holds 5 National certifications in Personal Training.