Faculty and Staff

Administration

Kevin J. McCloskey
President

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 owns Modern Gun School (MGS) which is approved by the Delaware Department of Education as a private business and trade school and provides an Internet-based distance learning curriculum. MGS is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, Washington, D.C. and regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools CESS, Philadelphia, PA.

Kevin’s previous experience includes over 15 years in senior management. He was Vice Chairman and managing partner of NLKK, Inc. the former operator of K12 owned Keystone 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 Accrediting Commission (DEAC), served on the Business Standards Committee (Vice Chairman), and was Chairman of the International Marketing Workshop of the DEAC in 2000. Other professional affiliations include the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association, the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, and the Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators. He has also served on the school board of St. Thomas More School as fundraising chairman.

 

Zeke Stout
Director

Zeke Stout is a certified firearms specialist with IFSA (International Firearms Specialist Academy). He has served as an executive at a large conglomerate of businesses in Nashville, TN where he honed many aspects of marketing to different demographics. He then started one of the most popular podcasts in the firearms industry, expanding his pre-existing gun knowledge. He then went on to help build one of the largest online gunsmithing schools in the nation as an Executive Vice President. In that role, he was certified as a Higher Education Professional in leadership through the DEAC and became an armorer in several platforms, including the 1911 and Penn arms grenade launcher.  He was also the host and gunsmithing subject matter expert for the Discovery channel show Master Of Arms.

Zeke Stout brings his expertise in firearms and business to Modern Gun School. Mr. Stout is a strong leader that is also a visionary for the school’s future. Responsible for maintaining the creative consciousness of MGS, and ensuring that it blends well and in proper coordination with other companies in the firearms industry. In keeping with accreditation standards, he will recommend changes to the curriculum, delivery methods of the same, and recommend which firearms programs will best benefit the industry as a whole. Mr. Stout will create marketing campaigns and implementation methods, with the input from students and staff, while maintaining a consistent reputation and standard that Modern Gun School is striving to achieve.

 

Valerie L. Behrle
Director of Education

Valerie L. Behrle, holds both a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Masters’ Degree in Education from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. She has 20+ years of teaching experience with more than 15 years in distance education. As the Director of Education, she oversees the internal and external instructors and is responsible for program research, editorial revisions and branded marketing strategies relating to gun repair. In addition, she develops and edits new programs in conjunction with MGS’s master gunsmith/instructor, Skip Walters.

Faculty and Staff

Harry “Skip” Walters III
Master Gunsmith/Instructor

A graduate of the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School, Skip has worked as an engineer, Technician, Model-maker, and Gunsmith for over 30 years. In addition to his role at MGS, Skip also works as a gunsmith for Sarco, Inc., one of the world’s largest suppliers of gun parts, kits, and accessories.
With his extensive education and real-world, experience, Skip provides MGS students with unique insights into what it takes to be a successful gunsmith. Have a question about your course or the firearms industry? Skip’s experience and expertise in the firearms industry is an invaluable resource.

Donnita Fisher
Accounting/Finance Manager

Donnita is the Accounting/Finance Manager and joins DLS with over 25 years of experience. She graduated from Franklin University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and a Minor in Finance. Her professional experiences and educational background in Accounting, Finances, and Human Resources enable her to coordinate the financial needs and human resources development at Direct Learning Systems, Inc.

She is a member of the National Association of Certified Accounting Paraprofessionals (NACAP), Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), and the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP). In addition to being certified in desktop QuickBooks and QuickBooks online, she is also a certified public notary.

Casey J. McCloskey
Manager of Business Operations

Casey McCloskey is the Manager of Business Operations. Mr. McCloskey graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.) and a Master of Education in Counseling & College Student Affairs (M.Ed.). In addition to his two degrees, Casey also earned his Teacher Certification through the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

Previous to his role at Direct Learning Systems, Inc., he worked in Higher Education within Student Affairs. This included working and collaborating with Orientation, Admissions, Housing & Residence Life, and Career Development. After several years in Higher Education, Casey shifted to the world of Business and worked in Sales. During his time in Sales, Casey exceeded his quota, earned Sales Rep of the month several times, and attained President’s Club.

Mr. McCloskey’s background in Secondary and Post-Secondary Education along with his experience in business brings strong leadership to manage and support a team in the operational functions at Direct Learning Systems, Inc. In his current role, Casey works closely with school directors in his oversight of day-to-day operations, budgeting, technology, student data, compliance, and academic operations to support our mission and help students reach their personal and professional goals.

Maggie McCloskey
Marketing Manager

Maggie brings several years of experience in Customer Service, Management, Brand Awareness, Marketing, Strategic Lead Generation and Administration to DLS. In 2015, she graduated from the University of South Florida, earning a BA in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. After graduating, Maggie spent two years at a law firm in New York City, working in account management & brand research. For the next three years, Maggie worked for Warby Parker, in their CX headquarters in Nashville, as a Customer Experience Lead—supervising a team of 15 advisors engaging with nationwide customers to provide solutions and seamless experiences. In her role at DLS, Maggie manages the day-to-day aspects of all DLS brand endeavors. She leads the collaboration of the DLS brand teams on various projects, from ideation and strategy to implementation and reviewing results, in an effort to achieve company growth goals.

Stacy Feifel
Education / Development Manager

Stacy has been with Direct Learning Systems since 2007 in various administrative and educational capacities. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Telecommunications from Kutztown University and a Masters’ Degree in Education with a specialization in Instructional Design and Technology from the American College of Education. Her responsibilities include assisting the Director of Education, leading the educational and development team to construct and revise various educational material for the school, and working with the school’s administration to maintain and comply with licensure and accreditation standards. She is also the administrator of the school’s online learning management system. Stacy also provides educational assistance to students with a special concentration on our veteran, military, and military spouse population.

Tammy Kromer
Student Services Representative / Mail Room Manager

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 processing student exams, assignments, and graduation documents. She also assures each student has their appropriate course resources. Tammy assists the General Manager in various duties including printing processes.

Jacque Irizarry
Student Services Manager / IT Project Manager

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 MGS, her responsibilities include: inbound and outbound calls, student correspondence, providing educational assistance to students, and creating/coordinating various IT projects with our programmers. Jacque loves basketball and enjoys dabbling with black and white photography in her spare time.

Laura Conaway
Student Services Representative / Content Writer / Editor

Laura graduated from Kutztown University in May 2020, in the middle of a global pandemic, with a degree in Library Science B.S. Ed., with an add-on English teaching certificate, and a minor in Professional Writing. She has a few published works with various companies including Sadie Robertson’s organization, Live Original. At DLS, she works with the education department and will be implementing a library database for the courses offered, in addition to being a content writer and editor for blogs and social media. Outside of work, Laura enjoys writing creatively and maintaining a blog while dabbling in music and continually adding instruments to her repertoire of skills, which thus far includes violin, guitar, and piano. She also enjoys spending time outdoors with friends and family and volunteering at community events.

Carolyn Nasto
Student Services Representative / Content Writer / Editor

Carolyn is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, with a concentration in Community Health. Some of her professional experience includes previously working for Lehigh Carbon Community College as a Program Coordinator. While at LCCC, she created curriculum, instructed courses, and assisted students with career development. At Direct Learning Systems Inc., she works with the education department in development, editing, and content writing. Carolyn provides educational assistance to students and completes daily business operation tasks. In her spare time, Carolyn enjoys singing, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Anthony Germani
Student Services Representative / Sales Development

Anthony is a Penn State graduate where he majored in Education. Professionally, he has worked in education and as a sales representative. At Direct Learning Systems, Inc., he is responsible for continuously evaluating and developing our processes in order to grow our business and provide quality experiences to attract and retain our students. Outside of work, Anthony enjoys spending time with his family and enjoys playing/watching sports (especially basketball and golf).

Rhiannon Harwi
Student Services Representative / Content Writer / Media

Rhiannon graduated from Muhlenberg College’s School of Continuing Studies in May of 2020 with a double major in Media & Communication and Studio Art. While a student there, she worked as a Presidential Assistant in the Language Department for 2 years, where she assisted students, professors, and staff regularly with technological inquiries. Before transferring to Muhlenberg, she attended classes at LCCC and served as a student editor for the college newspaper during her last semester. She additionally has 8 years of retail experience. At DLS, she works with the Education, Development, and Marketing teams to improve course content and support brand awareness. Outside of work, Rhiannon enjoys spending time with her family and friends, beachcombing at the Jersey Shore, and creating art (especially painting and embroidery).

Michael McCloskey
Student Services Representative / MGS Coordinator

Michael graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business (B.S.), specializing in Project/ Supply Chain Management. In addition to his degree, Michael earned an SAP certificate that focuses on ERP systems. Prior to his role at Direct Learning Systems, Michael worked in sales for Sysco, the world’s largest broad-line food distributor. While at Sysco he was involved in marketing and distributing food products, small wares, kitchen equipment, and tabletop items to restaurants, healthcare, and educational facilities, hospitality businesses like hotels and inns, and wholesale to other companies that provide foodservice (like Aramark and Sodexo). Before Sysco, Michael spent 8 years working in hospitality management for Ruby Tuesday INC. As General Manager, he was responsible for a 3 million dollar restaurant and 50+ employees. Michael’s background in business, sales, and management help bring strong leadership to the team and day-to-day functionality at Direct Learning Systems. At MGS, his responsibilities include inbound MGS student calls, student correspondence, providing educational assistance to MGS students, and ordering inventory items related to the MGS line of business. Michael loves going to the shooting range and is a member of the Ranger Rod Club.  He also enjoys staying fit by running and spending hours at the gym in his free time.

Jamie Nerenberg
Student Services Representative / Shipping Associate

Jamie spent four years as an Operations Specialist on board USS Taylor, FFG-50. A Public Safety Management graduate of Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ), Jamie has interned with the City of Orlando’s Office of Emergency Management. Jamie also acted as the Chapter President for FSCJ’s Student Veterans of America Club, advocating for student veterans and their future personal, and professional goals. Jamie has several years of experience in Inventory Management and Warehouse Operations with over 10 years in customer service and Public Safety. Jamie is currently pursuing a B.A.S. from Penn State in Information, Science and Technology, with a Minor in Security and Risk Analysis. His interests are in public health and safety, emergency management, security, and information technology. He enjoys reading, fishing, hunting, and traveling.

Cheyenne DeThomas
Shipping Associate / Administrative Assistant

Cheyenne, the newest member of the shipping room team, also works in student services as an administrative assistant. In the shipping room, Cheyenne assists in daily inbound and outbound production and shipping. As an administrative assistant, her daily responsibilities include grading, data entry, preparing graduate documents, and relaying student survey feedback to administration and staff. Cheyenne is currently enrolled at Cedar Crest College pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in hopes of one day becoming a Civil Rights Attorney. Interests outside of work include true crime television, investigative journalism, and mass communication through media. In her spare time, she enjoys researching emergency preparedness, finding and making new recipes, and playing with her three cats.

Linda Bowers
Digital Production & Print Specialist

Linda has been working in the printing and graphic design field since the five-inch floppy disk was considered state-of-the-art. She has contributed her skills to many corporations in the greater Lehigh Valley area, including local colleges and hospitals. At DLS, Linda is responsible for generating printed content for students and revising student courses as directed. Additionally, she provides printing support for our other brands. When not working, Linda enjoys attending concerts, visiting her daughter, and finding incredible deals on Facebook Marketplace.