Full-time Faculty

James McCampbell, B.F.A.
Department Head

University of Tennessee (Communication Design). Jim has been a senior animator with Rowland Productions, Inc., and senior art director, animator and creative director for The McAmis Agency. His clients include TNN, A&E, HGTV, Time Warner, CBS, NBC, ABC affiliates, University of Tennessee. He is the recipient of numerous ADDY® awards, and received a First Place Gold Award for Computer Animation, New York Festivals. He is a member of the Advisory Board for 3D Magazine.  

Wala Alhadad, M.F.A.
Academy of Art University, San Francisco (Visual Development for Animation, Film and Game). His philosophy of teaching is to combine his range of experience with his ability to be a compassionate, enthusiastic, intelligent teacher to build the visual, conceptual and creative abilities and the problem solving strategies that are essential to students’ development as professionals; as well as preparing them for the entertainment industry they undoubtedly face as they graduate. 
Career highlights include teaching Drawing Fundamentals, Figure Drawing, Digital Painting, Design Basics, and Concept Art classes for animation and game art programs at Ex’pression College for Digital Arts. Mr. Alhadad has worked in the animation field for more than five years as a Visual Development artist, Matte Painter and Texture Artist for Rubicon Group Holding. He has also worked in the game industry with Nassons Entertainment Studios and Aranim Media Factory as a Concept Artist, Matte Painter and Texture Artist. 

Dominic Avant, B.F.A.  

Rhode Island School of Design (Illustration). Dominic was employed at Cecropia Inc. in Orlando, FL where he was the Assistant Animator for the video game The Act. His professional experience includes conducting painting and drawing workshops at Manor Gallery, and Breakdown Animator at Walt Disney Feature Animation in Orlando. Productions he has worked on include MulanTarzanEmperor’s New GrooveLilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear.  

Jason Bennett, B.F.A.
Ringling College of Art and Design (Computer Animation). Mr. Bennett has been working as a Concept Artist and freelance artist in the gaming industry. His clients include Ubisoft, Take Two, Electronic Arts, THQ,  4mm Games, Paizo, and Wizards of the Coast. Recent projects include THQ's Homefront and Irrational's Bioshock: Infinite. He has developed games on console, PC, mobile and social platforms. Jason continues to draw and paint regularly outside of his personal work, which has been shown at fine art spaces throughout the greater NYC area. 

Jeremy Cantor, B.F.A. 

Marywood University, Scranton, PA (Illustration & Computer Science). Mr. Cantor has been animating professionally for nearly twenty years. He completed a 7-year stint as an Animation Supervisor at Sony Imageworks and previously held that title at Tippett Studio in Berkeley, CA. His past film credits include Starship TroopersHollow ManHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and Evolution. Prior to Tippett, Mr. Cantor worked as an artist and animator in the games industry at various companies including Sega and Malibu Interactive. He has had 3 short films in touring animation festivals and has taught CG Character Animation classes at various venues including CalArts in Valencia for six years, Gnomon school of VFX, the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and M.I.T. He co-authored a book entitled Inspired 3D Short Film Production in 2004, which includes imagery from several Ringling graduates and an interview with Jim McCampbell. Jeremy headed up the animation department at Insomnia Games in Burbank and then relocated to Denmark to serve as the Animation Director and CG Animation Instructor at Truemax Studios/Academy. He later found work animating on the CG feature Sunshine Barry & The Disco Worms at Radarfilm in Copenhagen. After two years in Europe, Mr. Cantor returned to the States and has been animating at Industrial Light and Magic ever since. His ILM credits include Transformers 2AvatarRangoI Am Number 4Pirates of the Caribbean 4, and Super 8.  

Scott Carroll, B.F.A.
Ringling College of Art and Design (Computer Animation; Minor – Photography). Scott is a commercial Game Designer and has worked on successful franchises for some of the biggest publishers in the electronic entertainment industry including Skylanders (Activision Blizzard), Forza Motorsport (Microsoft Game Studios), and Medal of Honor (Electronic Arts). He started his game industry career in the Support Department (QA/Production) and worked his way into Development as a Game Designer where he learned finer points of Level Design/Layout, Scripting, and System Design. 

Jamie DeRuyter, B.F.A.

Ringling College of Art and Design (Computer Animation). Five years of 3D animation and effects production experience and eight years of education related to the Computer Animation industry. Former animator, The Pixel Factory; Lighting and Rendering Supervisor, Victory FX; Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company; and Visual BookProductions. 

Jon di Venti, B.F.A.

Ringling College of Art and Design (Illustration). Professional experience: Character artist, Animated StoryBoards, Ltd., New York, NY; freelance illustrator (editorial, book, advertising and character design). Jon is the recipient of various awards, including two Best of Ringling Juried Student Shows and Best Junior Illustrator Award, Ringling College of Art and Design.

Paul Downs, B.F.A.

Ringling College of Art and Design (Computer Animation). Mr. Downs is a professional screenwriter/ animator with ten years of experience spanning film, commercial and video game production. Mr. Downs is currently the Director of Development on the upcoming King Kong film for 20th Century Fox Animation with 21 Laps Entertainment producing, and is writing the screenplay for an in-development feature film he sold to the studio. In addition, he has co-written a live action screenplay that has John Jacobs (Blades of GloryAnger Management) attached as producer, and Raja Gosnell (SmurfsNever Been Kissed) attached as director. Concurrently, Mr. Downs has been working at Blue Sky Studios for the past eight years as a Character Animator, where his credits include Robots, the Ice Age franchise, Horton Hears a WhoRioLeafmen, and the Academy Award-nominated short No Time for Nuts. Previously, he worked as an animator in the video game industry and helped develop the animation curriculum for Boston University. His thesis "Serenade" has screened at several festivals and won Best in Show at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. 

Ed Gavin, B.F.A., M.F.A.

Ringling College of Art and Design (Computer Animation); Florida Atlantic University (Computer Arts). Former animator, Blue Sky Studios; former lead cinematic artist, n-Space. Course director for computer animation at Full Sail Real World Education. Awards: First Place, USA Dallas; Experimental Video Award, Athens International. 

Eric Gingrich, B.F.A.

Savannah College of Art and Design (Art Video Production). A veteran Cinematics and Design Lead, Eric has thirteen years in the video game industry and has been credited with 15 titles across 11 platforms and 9 genres. A partial title list includes: Where the Wild Things Are (X-Box 360, PS3, Wii); X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Wii, PS2); Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings (PSP); Call of Duty: Roads to Victory (PSP); Algorithmics Rock the World (L-Max); Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (PC Unreal engine). Eric comes to Ringling from Amaze Entertainment in Kirkland, WA. 

Deborah Healy, M.A.T., M.F.A.

Montclair State University (Filmmaking/Animation); Syracuse University  (Visual Communication); Rutgers University (Creative Art Studio; Minor - Psychology Education). Coordinator, Foundations of Disney Animation at Disney Feature Animation, Burbank, California; traditional animation lead, stop motion lead Disney Institute, Orlando, Florida. Independent filmmaker (animation). Films licensed to Danish, Swedish and Italian public TV, and U.S. cable channels. Festivals include: Annecy, Zagreb, Ottawa, Lincoln Center, Vanderbilt, Sinking Creek, Chicago Art Institute, etc.. Clients include: Simon Schuster, HarperCollins, Forbes, New York Magazine, Atlantic, Boston Globe, Johnson & Johnson, Business Week, American Express, Grey Advertising, Foot Cone & Belding, Warner Bros., UNICEF, United Nations, The New Yorker, Paramount Studios, Farrar Straus, Giroux, Verlag Antije Kunstmann, Scholastic, Pocket, Doubleday, Random House, Monsanto, Hershey, etc.  (animation, animatics, storyboards, illustration, character design, environment design, concept development).  Awards/exhibitions: Society of Illustrators, M Gallery Sarasota, Aquavella, New York, Donnell, Newark Museum, New Jersey, New York Art Directors Club, etc. Fellowships, professional grants, interviews: Chicago Art Institute for animation Invitational; Vanderbilt, award for film, N.J. Council for the Arts fellowships (four); Black Maria Film Festival, interview. Former President, Art Directors Club of New Jersey; former Chair, Moore College of Art & Design Illustration Department; Air Force Artist (work included in Pentagon Air Force Museum). Who’s Who in American ArtInternational Who’s Who of Women. 

Steven Kaplan, B.F.A.

Cooper Union (Studio Art). Freelance writer and cartoonist. Work published in newspaper, magazine and book form. Work exhibited in New York and Florida. Former assistant director of admissions, Parsons School of Design. Former radio consumer reporter. 

Ryland Loncharich, B.F.A. 

Savannah College of Art and Design (Interactive Design and Game Development). Over the past seven years of working with Electronic Arts, THQ, Snowblind Studios and Warner Brothers Games, Ryland has created environments that push the limits of the visual standard of the games industry. Ryland’s shipped titles combined have sold more than six million copies and include Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Guardians of Middle Earth, Batman: Arkham City and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. As he developed games for these popular franchises, he was responsible for vast sections of levels, system development and AAA quality environment assets. As the tools and technology advanced in the games industry, Ryland was a key individual at the studios in applying these changes directly to content creation pipelines and trained groups of professional artists on how to execute efficient art with these new advancements. 

James Martin, B.F.A.
Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA (Illustration). Upon graduation, James was hired as a storyboard artist by the legendary comic artist Neal Adams. This culminated in a collaboration of comic covers with the artist. He then worked as a freelance illustrator and sketch artist for the advertising and film industry. This included working on toy packaging, prop paintings for film, billboards, and print advertising. Clients include Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, The Grammy Awards, Mattel, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, The Disney Magazine, Lightstorm Entertainment, Marvel Comics and commissions from directors James Cameron and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. 
 While at Walt Disney Feature Animation, James was a Background Painter and visual development artist. He worked on such films as The Hunchback of Notre DameHerculesTarzan and Treasure Planet. James has worked as a texture and matte painter at DreamWorks Animation where his responsibilities included helping to train the artists in painting environments and figure drawing. He is frequently a guest lecturer and internationally exhibited fine artist. 

Sean McLaughlin, B.F.A.

Ringling College of Art and Design (Computer Animation). Sean worked for 12 years at Dreamworks Feature Animation as a Lead 3D Character Animator and FX Developer/Animator, assisting in the creation of the Computer Graphics department as well as transitioning Animators from 2D to 3D.  He also taught part-time at AnimationMentor.com. Screen credits include the Dreamworks feature films Bee MovieOver the Hedge, Shark Tale, Shrek 2, Sinbad: Legend of the 7 Seas, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Road to El Dorado, and Prince of Egypt.  In 2010, Sean animated on the 3D Looney Tunes theatrical short Rabid Rider for RealFX, and most recently animated on the Academy Award®-winning short The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore for Moonbot Studios.  

Billy Merritt, B.F.A.

Ringling College of Art and Design (Computer Animation). Billy has been animating at Pixar Animation Studies for over eight years, and has been teaching animation part-time to graduate and undergraduate students at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He also taught part-time at AnimationMentor.com. His experience in film at Pixar includes working on A Bug’s LifeToy Story 2Monsters Inc.Finding NemoThe Incredibles, and Cars. In addition to feature work, he has also animated on Toy Story 2 commercials, Monsters Inc., ABC Television interstitials, and the short film Boundin’.  

Martin Murphy, B.F.A.

Ringling College of Art and Design (Computer Graphics). Martin has sixteen years of experience in the entertainment industry.  He has contributed his talents to feature films, numerous broadcast design packages and commercials, and to the creation of more than twenty games ranging from the arcade and SEGA Genesis era to the current console systems. He comes to Ringling from the position of Senior Producer at Midway Games, where he assisted in the development of an original, multi-platform game concept to a playable prototype ready for production. Prior to his position as Senior Producer, Martin was Midway's companywide Director of Art, shepherding the transition of almost three hundred artists to current generation technologies and fostering collaboration across five development studios to improve product quality and reduce development costs. He previously was an adjunct professor at Columbia College in Chicago where he taught computer animation and portfolio development.  

Gary Schumer, B.F.A., M.F.A.

Washington University (Painting; Minor - Drawing); Ohio University (Painting; Minor - Drawing). Previously, Gary has been the Academic Department Director of the Art Institute of Tampa, teaching Drawing and 2D Animation. He has worked as a freelance drawing instructor for Electronic Arts video game producers. Gary worked for Walt Disney Feature Animation from 1996-2004 as Effects Animator, Assistant Animator, Manager of Training Department and Training Coordinator. He has worked on Brother BearMulanTarzanEmperor's New Groove and Lilo & Stitch. He has more than 13 years teaching experience at the Cleveland Institute of Art and Bowling Green State University, and has numerous exhibitions and several publications.

Karen Sullivan, B.F.A., M.F.A.

Indiana University (Fine Arts); University of Massachusetts (Computer Animation). Cover editor, SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Quarterly. Chair, SIGGRAPH Art Gallery 2002. Published focus issues on Visual Literacy, Concept Development for Computer Animators; former department head, Art and Visual Communications, Hood College; former department head, BioMedical Communications, University of Connecticut Health Center. Numerous national shows and publications.

Heather Thomson, B.F.A.

Ringling College of Art and Design (Computer Animation). Former animator, The Pixel Factory, Orlando, FL. Former character animator, Lightpoint Entertainment. Former character setup supervisor/senior animator, Victory FX. Clients include Planet Hollywood, Orlando Magic, Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, Six Flags, Sea World, MGM Studios, Disney Cruise Line, Hard Rock Cafe, ABC, MasterCard, IMAX, and PBS. 

John Williams, B.F.A., M.F.A.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design (Sculpture); Maryland Institute of Fine Arts (Sculpture). Assistant professor, Rhode Island School of Design, Reinhart Fellowship, National Foundation for the Humanities Grant. Exhibitions: Walker Art Center Bi-Annual; Minneapolis Institute of Art Bi-Annual; Baltimore Museum Annual; Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design Annual; numerous private and corporate collections. 

Morgan Woolverton, B.F.A., M.F.A.   

Hampshire College; University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC (Studio Arts). Morgan Woolverton comes from a career in video games spanning over a decade. He worked on a variety of block buster franchises such as Halo, Shadow of Mordor, Forza and more. Morgan has experience as a pod lead where he was responsible for large areas of a game environment often complimented by a small environment team under his purview. In addition to shipping nine video game titles, Morgan has also been a muralist, a freelance illustrator, and a fine artist. 

Morgan’s arts education started in high school, when he attended North Carolina School for the Arts. It was there he received a foundation of traditional arts which has been the cornerstone of his career.

Ron Zeitler, B.F.A.

Louisiana Tech University (Graphic Design); Ringling College of Art and Design (Computer Animation).  Ron worked on the following animated feature films for Walt Disney in Orlando, Florida: Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Tarzan, The Emperor's New Groove, The Little Match Girl (animated short), Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear. Later, Ron was hired by the Department of Computer Animation at Ringling College, where he taught a variety of courses, including Traditional Animation 1 & 2, Drawing for Animators 1 & 2 (concept art) Concept 1, 2, & 3 (film language, composition, storyboarding, shot sequence and timing, story structure) and Animation Pre-production.

Ron’s career includes working for Digital Domain's Tradition Studio as a story apprentice on their first animated feature film, The Legend of Tembo; as well as a Senior Project and Concept Development Instructor in the Motion Design Department at Ringling College of Art and Design. He currently teaches Drawing for Animators and Figure Drawing in Ringling’s Computer Animation Department.

Adjunct Faculty

Nancee Clark, B.A.A., M.F.A.

University of Florida (Painting and Drawing). Nancee has previously taught life study, drawing and painting courses at University of Florida and Santa Fe College where she was tenured. She received a residency grant from the Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy, and a residency at the Vermont Studio Center. She is a two-time recipient of the State of Florida Visual Artist Fellowship, and has exhibited work across the United States and abroad. Her work is included in various public and private collections. www.nanceeclark.blogspot.com

Kurt Karussi, B.F.A., B.S.

Cleveland Institute of Art (Industrial Design); Ohio State University (Mechanical Engineering). Kurt began his design career at Hasbro Toys, Inc. as an associate designer, where as part of the JP Action Figure Group, Kenner Division, he worked on character development and new concepts through ideation sketching, rendering, pattern/sculpting drawings, and digital layouts properties such as Jurassic Park, Small Soldiers and Batman. Later positions included: Senior Project Designer, Boys/Electronics Group, Mattel Toys, Los Angeles, with brands such as Hot Wheels, Caterpillar, Tyco RC, Matchbox, WB, Fisher Price, Nickelodeon and NASCAR; Design Manager, Neurosmith Toys, LLC, Los Angeles; Senior Global Design Manager, Procter & Gamble, Inc., Household Care Business Unit, where he spent three years in Singapore as the studio leader responsible for all design initiatives for southeast Asia and India; Global Retail Marketing and Design Manager, Specialized Bicycle Components, Morgan Hill, CA, where he led development of all global and U.S. in-store marketing and design collateral and developed design programs to enhance and maximize brand representation, while working closely to create design executions that best embrace the cycling community. Kurt recently returned to Venice, FL where he continues to work within the toy industry as a design consultant for companies such as JAKKS Pacific, CDI and Mattel.

Tammy Zeitler, A.A., B.F.A.

The American Academy of Art - Chicago (Illustration; Minor: Cartooning); Ringling College of Art and Design (Sculpture). Tammy’s professional experience includes 17 years as a traditional animator, illustrator, and layout artist, having worked for companies including Warner Bros. Animation and Walt Disney Feature Animation (WDFA). A selection of her film credits includes Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Darkwing Duck, Mulan, Tarzan, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear. Her work has been included in private collections and Ringling College’s Bookmaking and Printmaking Collections. Currently Tammy continues her work with Ringling College as an Adjunct Instructor in the Computer Animation Department, leads workshops, courses, and offers tutoring for state-wide schools and organizations. She continues to develop her personal body of work out of her Sarasota home and studio.