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Meet Our Experts



Road Scholar's expert lecturers and group leaders create exceptional educational opportunities for you by contributing their extensive knowledge about the culture, heritage and history of the places you're visiting. They are both authorities on your destination and lifelong learners themselves who are excited to answer your questions, hear your opinions and share your experience.

On our educational programs you will be led by people such as:



Ms. Sharon Franco


Sharon Franco holds a master’s in English literature from the University of Illinois, as well as a literary translator's diploma from El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City. She teaches literature and writing at the University of New Mexico and Santa Fe Preparatory School, public speaking at Santa Fe Community College, and Spanish language and literature privately. She has translated books of fiction to and from Spanish. In Mexico, she was a translator of films, fiction and scholarly publications.


See: Santa Fe and Taos: A Tale Of Two Cities

Mr. Kevin McCarthy


Kevin grew up in Gloucester, Mass. and settled in Fernandina Beach in 1968. He spent 41 years sailing the waters of northeast Fla. and southeast Georgia. He holds a 100 ton master’s license and developed his knowledge of the wildlife and history exploring the waters that surround Amelia Island, Cumberland Island and St. Mary's, Ga. Generations of Kevin’s family have been shrimpers, and he shares with participants his knowledge of shrimp farming and the future of the shrimp industry in the U.S.


See: Amelia and Cumberland Islands and the Okefenokee Swamp

Harlan Humphrey


A native of South Dakota, Harlan Humphrey has always loved to capture the beauty of nature through his photography. For 20 years, Harlan traveled the world during his Army career, retiring as a LTC. He spent 15 years in Alaska, enjoying the wonders of nature, before moving back to his native state of South Dakota. Within the last few years, he has had the time to devote to his love of wildlife and nature photography, and has had his work published numerous times in South Dakota Magazine. He has received honors at the Dahl Mountain Photo Contest, and serves as president of the Black Hills Photography Club. The beautiful Black Hills and Badlands National Park are Harlan’s favorite haunts for pursuing his love of nature photography.


See: Digital Photography: Black Hills, Badlands, and Mount Rushmore Area

Mr. Gary Goold


Gary Goold graduated from the University of Utah with a dual major in geology and geography in 1975. Upon graduation, his family moved to Alaska where Gary worked on the construction and operation of the Trans Alaskan Oil Pipeline for the next 22 years. Gary retired and moved to St. George in 1997, where he enjoys the outdoors, hiking, climbing, skiing and rock climbing. Gary has been an instructor with Road Scholar for the past seven years and enjoys sharing his love for the region.


See: Hiking Bryce and Zion National Parks

Pietro Buttitta


Pietro Buttitta grew up in the Russian River Valley just outside of Santa Rosa, surrounded by French Colombard grapevines. As a student at Western Culinary Institute in Portland, he worked in several of the city’s finest establishments, serving in roles such as chef de cuisine, banquet chef, sous chef and pastry chef. Pietro spent his spare time working on his father’s vineyard in Kelseyville, and a connection to the vine was slowly rekindled. In 2008, he made the jump back into the wine world and is now the winemaker at the family’s Rosa d’Oro Vineyards. Rosa d’Oro’s focus on Italian cultivars has produced double gold medals at the California State Fair and the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. In 2010, Pietro became a certified sommelier and member of the Court of Master Sommeliers. He has judged at wine competitions, and in 2011, co-chaired the Lake County Wine Competition with Sonoma State University’s Ray Johnson, gaining an inside perspective to evaluation and judging.


See: North of Napa: California Wine Country as It Used to Be





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