Chef Venessa Almanza is a Certified Proctor Instructor for ServSafe and a member of the American Culinary Federation. She has an AOS degree in Culinary Arts and is ServSafe certified. Chef Venessa has been working in the culinary industry for over 10 years and has also been involved in catering for the past 5 years. Her externship took place in Las Vegas at Emerils’ New Orleans Fish House in the MGM Grand Hotel. She takes great pride in never having missed a TET meeting. Chef Venessa’s hobbies include baking, cooking, body building/weight lifting, and loving her dog.

Miss Rhonda has an Associate’s degree in Human Resources and is an ASHI First Responder Certified Instructor. She has attended San Joaquin Delta College, Andon College, Beverly Enterprises, and Institute of Technology. Her work experience includes holding positions as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant, a nationally-registered Emergency Medical Technician, an Emergency Medical Dispatcher, a clinical and administrative Medical Assistant (CCBMA certified), a Medical Assistant Instructor and Extern Coordinator, an American Heart Association BLS CPR instructor, and a Medical Division Director. Miss Rhonda also serves as a member of the Stanislaus County Immunization Coalition. She enjoys camping, fishing, gardening, various crafts, and wine tasting.

Instructor BIOs

        Chef Venessa Almanza

               CAS Instructor

            Rhonda Anderson

PMA Instructor/Extern Coordinator

            Kellie Case-Avara

             MBOA Instructor












                Chris Chaney

          Director of Education

        Josh Commander, M.A.

      LRC Manager/Instructor

          Chef Thomas Gould

              CAP Instructor/

     Director of Campus Safety




            Daniel “Danny” Key           

       Adjunct CERM Instructor       

Mr. Chaney loves studying almost any subject. He started college when he was 16 years old. He earned a B.A. which focused on intercultural communication and community development. He completed his internship for that degree through doing community development work in Africa (Uganda and Kenya). He has earned an M.Div. with a specialization related to Psychology. He has completed additional coursework as a part of previous positions which included an Associate's in Claims, Insurance Services, and Leadership Development. Each time he encounters a new student, he views it as an opportunity to revisit a subject matter from a new perspective and inspire others with the beauty of knowledge.
He began his career working in customer service and providing administrative support. He spent five years doing accounting and providing customer service for a retail chain in Ohio and Illinois. He spent four years streamlining accounting and administrative processes for an insurance company in Saint Louis. In the end, he decided to get directly involved with strengthening our communities. He has spent ten years administrating non-profit organizations, which provide educational, financial, and social services to different communities at home and abroad. He has taught all age groups and life stages from third grade classes to widower support groups.


Mr. Commander received a Master’s degree in English (British and American Literature) from Stanislaus State University, a Bachelor’s in English (Literary Studies) from Humboldt State University, and two A.A. degrees (Humanities & Communications; University Studies) and CRLA Certification from College of the Redwoods. He is currently working on a second Master’s degree in Humanities before moving on to a PhD program. His specializations are in the Victorian Novel and English Renaissance Drama.

Mr. Commander considers himself very fortunate to have taken his educational journey alongside his spouse, Kristl, who has also earned the same degrees he has. In fact, together they have also co-authored The Anglo-Saxon Companion (a website companion to an Old English textbook) and are co-editing a critical edition of a Wilkie Collins novel. Mr. Commander has also authored several articles on literature and critical theory, presented research at a number of academic conferences (including one at Stanford University), published poetry, and received several research awards, fellowships, scholarships, and grants. He is the head editor of Agasia: a Journal of Literary Chatter and a contributing editor to British Nautical Melodramas, 1820-1850 (an anthology of Victorian plays published by Routledge).

As black belts in Taekwondo, Mr. Commander and his wife have also instructed others in martial arts. Together they have volunteered at a wildlife rehabilitation clinic and continue to rescue abused/neglected domestic animals. Mr. Commander has also volunteered as an aid and tutor at K-8 schools and as a coach for little league baseball and soccer. In his spare time he enjoys frequenting literary festivals and plays, hiking, and spending time with his spouse, two dogs, and two cats.

Chef Thomas Gould is a certified Instructor/Proctor for ServSafe, ServSafe Alcohol, and the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF). Chef Gould is also a certified Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) and a member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF). He is also the Director of Campus Safety for the Modesto Campus.

Chef Gould has 45+ years in the Hospitality and Restaurant industry and has owned and operated his own restaurant/steakhouse called The Falls in Seneca Falls, New York. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology from CSU Sacramento.

His hobbies are gardening, reading, and travel. Chef Gould prides himself on having never missed a day of work due to illness in the 8 years he has been with IOT.

Mr. Key is a retired Sergeant of the Modesto Police Department. He served the citizens of Modesto for 33 years in various capacities while at the department. After retirement, Mr. Key went to work for the Gallo Wine family as a security manager handling onsite security for Gallo facilities in the Central Valley and executive protection for the Gallo family. During his career at the Modesto Police Department, Mr. Key taught firearms training, SWAT tactics, and weaponless defense for the department and at the academy. In addition to this, he was employed by a private company teaching weaponless defense around the country. Mr. Key holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and enjoys the outdoors, hiking, hunting, fishing, and also lounging around the pool with his rescue dogs Mabel and Lucy.

Mr. Key holds an A.A. degree in Law Enforcement from Modesto Junior College, a B.S. degree in Behavioral Science from Stanislaus State, and a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Organizational Leadership from California Coast University.

Miss Kellie Case-Avara is ICD-10-CM Certified (AAPC), HIPAA Certified (CMS), and a diploma graduate of the World Wide Education Medical Billing/Office Administration Program. She also is a CPR Certified Instructor (AHA) and has an Associate of Arts in Health Care Administration (AAHCA) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) (UOP).

She has 30 years of experience in specializing in Customer Service and over 15 years of experience in the medical field, including Medical Billing/Coding and Front Office Administration for DME, Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, Infectious Disease, General Family Practice, Orthopedics, Podiatry, Medical Authorization, Referrals, and Surgery Scheduling. Her experience with Medicare/Medicaid includes Government and Private Third Party Payer Billing and Reimbursement, and Expertise in ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, HCPCS level I & II, and CDT Coding. She also has served as a coordinator for Medical Extern Students and Extern To Hire Sites for two years.

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