Instructors share interior design theory and application through their personal and professional knowledge. Each instructor has their own design business and have a wealth of design experience to share. The instructor’s passion for interior design is only surpassed by their passion for teaching interior design.
STEPHANIE PLYMALE, PRESIDENT & CEO
Stephanie brings her passion for empowering others and helping them grow personally and professionally to Heritage School of Interior Design. Her professional background includes 18 years as an independent interior designer with experience in commercial design, residential design, staging for realtors, and custom window treatments and furnishings. The knowledge she gained helped her to grow not only as a designer, but also as a leader and business owner. She also worked as a top producing in-home designer for Calico Home. After a successful design career, and a thorough understanding of the value of hard work, her passion turned from working as an Interior Designer to empowering and inspiring others. It was soon after this realization that she was given the opportunity to purchase Heritage School of Interior Design, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Since purchasing the school she has utilized the rich history and success of Heritage to transform the program. She has integrated the artistic and creative elements and principles of design and its history with the business and technology of design. To support this transformation, she has developed several new courses, which provide students with the well-rounded education they need to succeed in the industry. Stephanie is currently an active member of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network as well as a volunteer and speaker for Dress for Success Oregon. Stephanie is devoted to the highest quality education and making it accessible to anyone who wants to start or enhance their career in the interior design industry. She does this by providing the educational experience and ongoing support that students need to be successful. Read more about Stephanie here.
RHONDA LARSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR | DENVER
Rhonda is the owner and executive director of Heritage School of Interior Design in Denver, CO. She brings extensive background in design, management and delivery of high quality training and education programs, which followed an early career in critical care nursing and the medical device industry. A lifelong yearning to help people craft their interior spaces into extraordinary havens drew her to attend Heritage School of Interior Design in Portland, OR. She became an independent interior designer as “RL Design Studio” and shop owner of “Velvet and Burlap Home”. When presented with the opportunity to open the first Heritage School of Interior Design outside of the original Portland location, she exclaimed “there is nothing I would rather do!”. Her business savvy, education background and interior design success provide a perfect synergy for this role. She has achieved a beautiful balance between her passion for education and her passion for design. She encompasses the values of the school and shares the Heritage spirit for helping people achieve the career of their dreams. Rhonda is also a designer, maker, finder and curator of beautiful things, an artist in jewelry and metalsmithing, mixed media painting, bookarts, collage and assemblage. She holds a deep appreciation of vintage pieces that tell stories: eclectic collections with history, soul and style. She loves integrating unique, well-crafted, authentic treasures with an artful character into interior spaces. “My spaces become my art projects”, representing truly cultivated character. She enjoys international travel, good books, good food, even better wine, and outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, mountain biking, rafting and everything Colorado. Rhonda is committed to maintaining a high standard educational experience and cultivating a supportive, creative community at Heritage Denver. She is excited to share her skills and enthusiasm to inspire and guide new designers to discover and develop their talents to obtain a truly fulfilling career in interior design.
JIM PLYMALE, DIRECTOR OF FINANCE
Jim has over 25 years of startup and growth stage company leadership experience. He is currently the CEO of Machine Research, a cloud-based software company in Portland that helps custom manufacturers win more profitable business by improving their quoting and manufacturing business processes. In 2014 he helped his wife, Stephanie, launch Heritage School of Interior Design leveraging experience from her 20+ year successful interior design career. In addition to supporting Heritage School of Interior Design, he is an active member and leader of Vistage Portland, an organization that works with leaders and CEO’s to grow and transform companies. Jim truly enjoys coaching and development of startup phase companies and is excited to share his knowledge with students at Heritage School of Interior Design. In 2003 Jim founded Clinicient and pioneered cloud based services to outpatient therapy practices. He led Clinicient through years of revenue growth and raised more than $25M in capital from local and national investors. Clinicient now employs more than 120 people in Portland, OR. Prior to Clinicient, Jim held senior marketing and management roles at several Oregon based companies including OrCAD, where he helped lead the company to a successful IPO in 1996. Jim has extensive experience in all aspects of building and growing businesses through innovative sales and marketing programs including educational marketing, online/digital marketing, social media marketing and traditional marketing.
AMY WHITE, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Amy Van Ditti brings her knowledge of marketing and her passion for interior design to Heritage School of Interior Design. She graduated from Portland State University with a business degree in Marketing and Advertising Management and worked in the marketing field for several years. Amy attended Heritage School of Interior Design where she learned the essentials of design and received her Certificate in Interior Custom Design. Amy interned at Garrison Hullinger Interior Design as a Marketing Assistant, was the Social Media Coordinator for award winning builder Westlake Development Group LLC., and spent time working with an independent designer as a Design Consultant.
Amy began working with Stephanie in 2015 to enhance the online presence of the school with an updated website, blog and social media. Over the last several years her role has grown and she is now the Director of Operations at the school. Her role includes student relations, business management, website management and marketing.
KRISTIN SIDORAK, DIRECTOR OF LEARNING & ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Kristin Sidorak brings a decade of experience in Learning & Organizational Development, Sales, Marketing and Analytics from Google, Airbnb and NIKE as well as the dynamic pulse of a lifetime of creative pursuits as a recording musician, visual artist and most recently, interior designer. Kristin completed Heritage Fundamentals in 2018 while working full-time in sales and sourcing at Nest Showroom in Portland, OR. Her ultimate goal is to collaborate and orchestrate the most effective and empowering learning experience for each Heritage student in every location.
This goal will be met by bridging analytical tendencies, passion for effective learning programs and creativity with a listening-centered, open-minded collaboration among staff, students and the design community in each HSID location. HSID course offerings will always optimize per student and instructor feedback and the progressive design industry and local communities. We aim to empower individuals to live the life they’ve always wanted. We believe this involves being forward thinking while making constructive moves in the present.
As well as being a certified interior designer and independent artist, Kristin is a certified health counselor via Institute for Integrative Nutrition. In her free time she’ll be found adventuring and eating well with loved ones, working on a new painting or song, evolving the look and organization of her or her friend’s homes or running cathartic laps around Portland’s local parks. Kristin moved to Portland almost six years ago after seven years of climbing the ranks within both Google and the independent music scene in NYC.
EMILY YATES, STUDENT RELATIONS & OPERATIONS MANAGER
Emily recently completed the Master’s Certification at Heritage School of Interior Design in Denver. She decided to tap into her true passion for interior design after spending several years coaching the sport of fitness while training to reach her own personal athletic goals in the sport of CrossFit. Before opening her own CrossFit gym, Emily earned her BA in Kinesiology and Master’s Degree in Education. Although Emily loved her role as an athlete and coach in CrossFit, she was ready to open her world up to new experiences and begin focusing on her artistic abilities and design skills. Emily embarked on her education at Heritage excited to begin a design career that would focus on working with a wide range of clients and budgets while completing projects both large and small. As a designer, Emily focuses on creating spaces that feel like home, embody functionality, and highlight each client’s individual tastes and desires. Using the interpersonal skills she developed as a coach, Emily takes the time to get to know each client so that she can create a space that reflects their unique personality and vision.
Emily joined the Heritage team excited to combine her love of education and interior design. Her role at Heritage will allow her to use her previous experience as a business owner and coach to help our students have the most fulfilling and rewarding experience possible. Emily’s warm and inviting personality and passion for the industry help to make the Heritage learning environment fun, non-intimidating, and inspiring for all students.
JENNY O’NEILL, FUNDAMENTALS INSTRUCTOR
Jenny is an accomplished Interior Design professional with 19 years of experience in a wide range of project types. Her areas of expertise include Programming, Design Development, Finish and Furniture Selection, Client Presentation, Construction Documentation, Specifications, Construction Administration, Management and Mentoring. While attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Architecture, she traveled to Denmark to further study Scandinavian Architecture and Interior Design. During her time overseas, Jenny had the privilege of traveling to many countries, and experiencing different cultures, art and architecture. This ignited a new passion for travel, and an appreciation for the importance of getting out of one’s comfort zone. Upon graduating, she took a position at Gensler, in Denver, Colorado. During her 4 years at the firm, she was able to work on both domestic and international teams. In 2004, she started O Interiors, which gave her the flexibility to work on passion projects as well as teach AutoCAD and Interior Design Presentation workshops. Teaching and helping junior designers understand the demands and eclectic offerings of the industry, is what brought Jenny to Heritage School of Interior Design. Currently, Jenny is building her brand at Method Interior Design and working with contractors and investors as a Colorado Real Estate Broker. Jenny loves creating art, reading, hiking and spending time with her husband, Keith, and their three children. She will be teaching Fundamentals of Interior Design Day Certification Program.
KRIS HANSON, FUNDAMENTALS INSTRUCTOR
An award-winning interior designer of residential and commercial spaces, Kris strives to design unique interiors that positively impact her clients lives. With more than 20 years of experience, she possesses an innate desire to create comfortable, functional, exciting, and visually appealing spaces. Kris is a successful team leader and has provided a variety of training and education events within the interior design industry.
In her previous role as a Senior Interior Designer with Andrea Wood Interior Design and later, Thrive Home Builders in Denver, Colorado, Kris led large-scale residential and hospitality projects. She coordinated architectural details, designed and specified custom construction elements, and created and implemented the full interior concept. Developing client relationships based on respect, trust, and confidence has always been at the heart of Kris’s design work.
In 2006 Kris embraced her entrepreneurial spirit, founding Atmospheres Interior Design. Her mission is to assist clients in creating timeless spaces. Whether classic or contemporary, Kris balances colors, textures, and lighting to create a space that reflects her clients’ personalities and suits their design needs. Working in collaboration with architects and builders to execute her vision, she takes each project very personally.
Kris earned a degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado and a degree in Interior Design from Arapahoe Community College in Littleton Colorado. She is also trained by Green Leaders in Sustainability Design. Kris is passionate about the future of design and excited to share her vast experience with students to explore how we can all positively impact clients lives and our shared environment. In her spare time, Kris enjoys seeking out our city’s cultural, art, and food scene, as well as traveling worldwide for experiences and design inspiration. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast and animal lover, and can often be found hiking or biking.
HEATHER STENSBY, EXECUTIVE FUNDAMENTALS INSTRUCTOR
Heather’s passion for organic design began on the shores of Northern Michigan. Growing up in the Great Lakes state, her design style was forged, juxtaposing nature with an obvious synthetic. Her unique approach to interior design has made her a leader in the industry.
While still in her formative years, Heather learned to read construction documents astride her traditional education. She earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in interior design from Wayne State University while interning with an internationally-renowned architectural firm where she collaborated on projects at Michigan State University’s Spartan Stadium, Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena, and Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions.
Upon graduation, Heather joined an award-winning firm in Chicago, enjoying a broad array of design applications: adaptive reuse, mixed-use developments, clubhouses, spec homes, sale centers, as well as multi-family and active adult life style communities.
In 2006, She eventually formed her own company, embarking on an exciting chapter that was punctuated by joining forces with Forest City Enterprises and collaborating and consulting on a widely-celebrated Washington, D.C development at the former Navy Ship Yards. The Yards, a 48-acre site on the shores of the Anacostia River, was hailed as a template of mixed-use redevelopment, and the bellwether of revitalization across the region.
Heather moved to Colorado in 2013 and has continued to ply the craft with boutique developers, full builds, and remodels in both residential and commercial ventures. She still enjoys blending the organic and synthetic, and working with inspired developers not averse to the path less traveled. She is excited to share her extensive industry knowledge and passion for design with Heritage students!
CANDICE WILCKEN, COMMERCIAL DESIGN INSTRUCTOR
Candice knew what she wanted to be when she was only thirteen years old. It was the gentle nudges of art teachers who helped her develop her natural skills in drawing, painting, photography, drafting, and sculpture, and encourage her road to design.
She won several art awards in junior high and high school including the National New York Golden Key Award. She then earned her Associates of Arts in Interior Design and immediately went into teaching college-level art and opened her own design business. That later grew into being featured in a prestigious art gallery in New Mexico and owning and operating a construction company, an art school, and a successful design firm.
As her passion grew for teaching she went back to school to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design. Then continuing on to earn a Master of Arts in Interior Architecture from Washington State University with an emphasis on biomimicry and parametric design, graduating Magna-Cume-Laude.
Candice has been working in the Interior Design industry for over 20 years and takes pride in her ability to transform spaces by bringing new ideas and inspirations to life. She has won several awards throughout her design career.
Currently an adjunct professor at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design and an instructor at Heritage School of Interior Design, she is passionate about sharing her talents and knowledge of all aspects of design with both her students and her clients. A long-time on-and-off Colorado native, Candice enjoys being with her four children, listening to good music, traveling, and soaking up the sun.
ERICA SWANSON, TECHNICAL RENDERING INSTRUCTOR
Erica has always had a love for design but it was the idea that she could Design a house so that it felt like Home that drove her to study design. Erica studied Interior Design and Architecture and earned degrees from the Art Institute of Colorado and CU Boulder. Upon graduating, Erica worked for a local designer and managed several kitchen and bath projects. She also assisted in the custom design of high end homes. In 2011 Erica created two design companies, ESDesigns and Distinctive Wedding Design,LLC to allow herself the freedom and flexibility of working from home. ESDesigns focuses on interior design for residential and commercial clients. Erica has worked on a variety of projects from conceptual building designs to corporate offices. Distinctive Wedding Design focused on wedding invitation design; creating custom graphics and designs then hand making wedding invitations, programs and other stationery. Erica volunteers frequently at her church, mentoring middle school girls, chaperoning retreats and even teaching. In 2012 Erica became a mom and now has 2 young children. In her free time, when there is any, Erica loves to read, especially classics or historical fiction. By becoming an instructor at Heritage Interior Design School, Erica joins a long line of teachers in her family, which includes her mother and two brothers. Erica is excited to pass on the knowledge she has gained in the industry and inspire the next generation of designers.
KERRI BURCHAM, KITCHEN & BATH DESIGN INSTRUCTOR
Kerri believes that harmony in design is created by blending the organic with structural knowledge. Understanding the vision and goals of a project, and then being the creative force that brings it all together.
Her passion for design started in high school with an unexpected interior design course that would change her career path. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Northern Colorado, she moved to Denver to pursue her Bachelor of Art in Interior Design from Art Institute of Colorado.
Kerri interned with a prominent kitchen and bath showroom while attending college, it was here that she began to hone her design skills. After graduation she moved to Chicago to pursue an interior design career. While in Chicago, she worked at an award-winning design firm specializing multifamily developments, clubhouses, spec homes and sales centers. In 2009 she moved back to Denver to assist a design firm with residential drawings for condos in a new five-star hotel. After a few years in Denver, she launched her own firm and has had the opportunity to work with both residential and commercial clients. Her background in kitchen and bath has allowed her to be a strong force in the residential design market, incorporating this knowledge into a full design package.
Outside of the design world, Kerri spends most of her time with her beautiful family and raising their boys. She also loves to travel, whether it is up into the mountains or on a plane to Italy. If the opportunity arises, she will find a way.
Each opportunity has allowed Kerri to strengthen her passion and knowledge and she looks forward to sharing it with Heritage students.
JENNIFER MCDANIEL, REVIT INSTRUCTOR
Jennifer is a licensed architect, who completed her Bachelors of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology and Masters of Architecture at University of Texas at Austin. She first surrounded herself in the commercial design world at the age of 19 in Chicago, IL where she worked for a collaborative studio in a large firm that believed strongly in the continuous collective efforts between architects and interior designers. She was fortunate enough to learn under both for the majority of her first decade in the profession, giving her the unique ability to take on a wide breadth of project variety both in size and type. Jennifer loves helping clients see their vision come to life through both drawings & physical materials. Such experiences have included restaurants & breweries, medical facilities, banks, commercial offices, schools, sports facilities, and even historic renovation. Realizing she had a lot to offer the Denver community, and with amazing support from colleagues, friends, & family, Jennifer ventured out on her own in the beginning of 2018 creating FLUENCY architecture + design, PLLC.
For over a decade now, Revit has been Jennifer’s go-to tool of choice for creating both schematic design ideas and final construction documentation. She learns more of its capabilities with every passing year and is excited to share her knowledge with the Heritage School of Interior Design students!