Meet the Inkandescent™ Learning Team

The Inkandescent™ Learning Team

Liesel Golden, Director of Education / School Principal
Liesel Golden is the Strategic Initiatives Branch Chief, Office of The Civil Engineer, Headquarters Air Force. She is responsible for the AF Civil Engineer’s Organizational Change Management to include, strategic planning effort, performance measures, governance structure, business process mapping, playbooks and strategic communications. She recently retired from the AF on 1 Sept 2009 where she spent the last three years as the Chief, Asset Management and Operations Division.
She led 55 personnel to provide policy, oversight and support for the Air Force’s $233 billion physical plant. Her duties included: developing Asset Management strategy for 166 installations, optimizing annual programs worth $16 billion; overseeing the $1.9 billion annual housing program and the development of the $33 billion master plan; managing the $3.5 billion environmental cleanup/quality support; justifying and defending $6.5 billion in base support and developing AF energy strategy for all aspects of the $19.5 billion utility infrastructure and utilities privatization programs. She also advised Air Staff, Secretariat, DoD, congressional and other agencies on Asset Management issues and requirements.
Liesel graduated from Union College in June 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and received her regular commission through Rensselear Polytechnic Institute’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) as a distinguished graduate. As the recipient of a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship from IBM, she conducted a participatory study of women in six foreign militaries from August 1985 to November 1986.

Melanie Downies, Director of Guidance
Bio coming

Hope Katz Gibbs, Director of Communications
Journalist, publicist, author, and entrepreneur Hope Katz Gibbs started her career as a newspaper and magazine reporter after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. Then, after studying for her master’s degree in educational leadership at The George Washington University, she launched her freelance writing business in 1993. Gibbs has won several awards for feature and column writing for her articles, which have appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Miami Herald, Costco Connection, and dozens of business, education, and general interest magazines, newspapers, newsletters, blogs, and websites.
She got into the PR business in 2001,when she founded Great Handmade Gifts, an online art and craft website that represented artists, artisans, and authors from around the world. In 2002, she began a decade-long stint working as the director of communications for the City of Fairfax Schools, and in 2006 added another client to her list, the international futurist think tank, Social Technologies.
In 2008, she incorporated as The Inkandescent Group, LLC, and since has helped increase the visibility and credibility of hundreds of entrepreneurs, educators, authors, and small-business owners through the services she offers. Her book, “PR Rules: The Plabyook,” has sold hundreds of copies on Amazon:
In 2018, she launched Inkandescent™ Learning, LLC — an educational organization that operates online and through facilities in the Washington, DC metro area to bring innovative academic programs to home school families, out-of-the-box thinkers, and innovative kids everywhere:

Michael Gibbs, Art Director
Michael Gibbs has been a freelance illustrator and designer since attending Pratt Institute as a photography and illustration major in the mid-70s. His award-winning artwork has appeared in Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Worth Magazine, Consumer Reports, Harvard Business Review, and publications for United Airlines, Verizon, IBM, Sears, American Airlines, CitiGroup and Oracle. He has also illustrated the covers and features of dozens of alumni magazines including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, the University of Chicago and American University.
His illustrations have been recognized by prestigious art publications such as Communication Arts, 3×3 Magazine, Print, and Spectrum. His work has also been exhibited at a variety of museums and galleries including the Society of Illustrator’s Museum of American Illustration in New York City, the Billy Shire Fine Arts Gallery in Los Angeles, and in Washington area at the Corcoran Museum of Art, the Sumner School Museum, Montgomery College Gallery and the University of Maryland Gallery.
View Michael’s portfolio at
Discover his award-winning alter ego M Glenwood at
Buy his stock illustration at

Meet our Video Team
Nelson Benavides
Anna Gibbs
Dylan Gibbs
Jack Anderson

Website development
Max Kukoy

Board of Advisors

George Stepp, former superintendent City of Fairfax Schools
Carol Kihm, principal, Longfellow Middle School
Carol Horn, former director of Gifted & Talented (currently Advanced Academics)

Chris Carbone, futurist
Carol Nahorniak, PR specialist
Michael Brown, mergers & acquisitions
Alec Rosenberg, attorney
Tony Simon, transportation specialist at Reston Limousine