ASIS is owned and operated by a collective of educators who are committed to expending life experiences, spreading joy, and increasing a desire to seed the love of learning.
“Education is not the answer to the question. Education is the means to the answer to all questions.”
– William Allin
ASIS instructors engage with their students because they believe in the importance of this work. We offer a diverse group of qualified practitioners, who believe in high standards, kindness, and generosity. With excitement for their respective fields and commitment to a collaborative educational process, our teachers choose to teach because they believe in the possibilities of their students, and massage therapy jobs as a profession.
OUR ARIZONA FACULTY
Joseph and Jamie Rongo
Joseph and Jamie are co-founders, curriculum directors, and directors of teacher training for the Arizona School of Integrative Studies (now ASIS Massage Education ). Their energetic and creative style of living is reflected throughout their work in both the classroom and the business world. Together, and in partnership with all the ASIS staff, they envision massage therapy education and practice to be concrete steps toward self-empowerment and world peace. Joseph and Jamie are parents to three wonderful, individual children, and as a family they live in their hand-built home overlooking the Verde River in Clarkdale, Arizona.
Admissions & Administration
Sara Freeman, BA, LMT
Sara is the administrator and director of ASIS in Prescott. She is a graduate of Southwestern University with a BA in Biology and holds advance certifications in NMT, Teacher Training, and Sports Massage. Ten years of a massage practice in Texas and Arizona helped her discover a way of seeing through her fingertips. Her love for the human form and feel has influenced her as an artist. Currently, she creates figurative and abstract sculpture, with an emphasis on human form, as well as functional pottery commissions. With enthusiastic energy, good-will, active outdoor pursuits, and great quality of life, Sara brings an exciting learning experience to NMT and Therapeutic Processes.
Deanna Sylvester Tucson Campus Director
Deanna Sylvester received her Massage Therapy and Zen Shiatsu certifications from the Desert Institute of the Healing Arts in 2003, and began practicing bodywork professionally in 2004. In 2005, she found her true calling when
she began teaching science to future bodyworkers at the Desert Institute.
Deanna has participated in massage and bodywork education, program
administration, and curriculum development ever since. She believes that
the more we can learn about how our bodies work internally, and how to
create internal balance, the closer we can come to true health and well
being. Deanna owns Bodhi Work Touch Therapy in Tucson, Arizona, is a member
of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education, and is proud to have recently
joined the ASIS management team.
I am a mother of four amazing children, an enamored partner of an incredible person, a licensed Massage Therapist with 18 years experience in bodywork, and an avid promoter of urban agriculture and sustainable living. When I am not back yard farming, or performing bodywork treatments, my family and I are usually out hiking. I am currently working on a teaching curriculum that focuses on touch therapy for special needs children and families. I am so happy to be part of ASIS in Tucson!
Karen Mackenzie Hemleben, CMT
Karen Mackenzie Hemleben, was raised in southern England and spent a decade working in the Marketing & Media industry before moving to the United States in 1992. Curious for options in health, lead Karen to follow alternative treatments at a Chinese Hospital in London. The focus on Thai Chi & bodywork lead Karen to study Iyengar Yoga at a School in Southern California, followed by complimentary studies in Viniyoga. Karen completed her Yoga Teacher Training through ASIS in 1999 and had the opportunity to teach Yoga for over 10 years. The focus and fascination of the human system led Karen back to ASIS for the Massage Therapy Program, and she never left. Karen lives in the funky artists community of Jerome, with her son Cole Mingus.
Michele is the Administrator and Clinic Supervisor at ASIS Massage School in Prescott, AZ as well as a practicing Massage Therapist. She joined ASIS after completing the Massage Therapy Training in Prescott. Michele brings to ASIS a life experience as an entrepreneur and a member of local networking groups and community organizations. She works with a desire to help others achieve their goals and meet their desires to learn more of the human body, mind and spirit. Michele is also wife and a mother, two roles that she thoroughly enjoys. Outside of work, she enjoys time with her family and in nature, as well as drawing and painting, & sports. Michele is a collector of comic books and comic memorabilia.
Caroline is a recent ASIS Massage Therapy graduate who fell in love with the school’s program and decided to stay on board to work at the Prescott administrative office. Before beginning her massage therapy journey, she worked in the corporate world as a business analyst, business office coordinator, and in sales and marketing. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Technology from Purdue University. Caroline lives in Prescott with her partner Kurt, a professor at Prescott College. In her free time she can be found outdoors enjoying the sunshine while mountain biking, trail running and hiking.
Annette joined ASIS in late September of this year after moving here from Colorado. She comes with years of experience in the corporate world working in real estate, banking, non-profit entities, engineering and education with her most recent experience working in a sound healing studio and volunteering her time assisting in animal rescues. Annette is certified in Canine Massage and in Equine/Canine Acupressure. In her spare time Annette likes to spend time hiking in the mountains with her husband and dog, reading, traveling and doing volunteer work.
Aaron Wilson, BA, LMT
Aaron left his home in the southern Appalachian Mountains to follow his path in the healing arts profession at ASIS. Studying yoga in ashrams, living in eco villages learning about plant medicine and permaculture for the past 6 years; Aaron embodies the essence of experiential learning! Aaron believes he can best facilitate his passion to help support people in their path to wellbeing, through education, compassion, and awareness. It is his great honor and joy to shine his light in the classroom teaching Swedish Massage and serve as an administrator of the new Flagstaff school. Aaron has his own private massage practice, in Flagstaff, where he drawls upon many massage modalities, integrating them to fit the individual client needs.
Gina has lived in Tucson for over 20 years with her family, taking advantage of all the Sonoran Desert has to offer. She loves all aspects of nature; hiking, camping, geology, fire-pits, as well as music, dancing, and massage. She strongly believes in the healing power of human touch, and has been helping people with her “gift” of massage since she was very young.
Keelee Forsberg, CMT
Keelee is the Assistant Admissions Director for ASIS at the Tucson office. She is also a graduate from the Tucson campuses first program. It was her journey through the course that motivated her to share her experience with others. While she pursues an education in psychology, she continues to dive into the culture and therapeutic aspects of massage. It is her hope one day to try to help others with both forms of healing.
Keelee loves life and when she’s not working she’s traveling, playing and laughing with her partner, puppy, and tubby kitty.
History of ASIS Massage Education
(Arizona School of Integrative Studies)
Joseph & Jamie Rongo were approved by the Arizona State Board for Private Post Secondary Education to begin classes as Arizona School of Integrative Studies in the Fall of 1995 and began training Massage Therapists in January 1996 at the Healing Arts Center at 753 N. Main St, Cottonwood.
To celebrate the new millennium, ASIS expanded to its current location purchasing land at 701 S. Broadway, Clarkdale, on January 2, 2000.
With the work of Sara Freeman, on January 2005 ASIS Massage expanded to a second location at 115 South McCormick St, Prescott, in the Sharlott Hall facility. At this campus students can co-matriculate with Prescott College for dual enrolment.
In March of 2010, ASIS Massage Education opened its third Northern Arizona campus, at 113 W. Phoenix, Flagstaff, in historic downtown, just off historic route 66.
In May 2012, ASIS opened its fourth campus at 639 N 6th Ave, Tucson, in the old Desert Institute of the Healing Arts Building.
Shortly after the grand opening in Tucson, a new partnership was born, which now includes original founders, Jamie and Joseph Rongo, as well as the owners of the Finger Lakes School of Massage, David Merwin and John Robinson. The merging of these two institutions has felt natural, since both schools share a common origin.
We explore human anatomy and physiology, personal awareness and communications skills, along with a wide variety of massage modalities, all while heightening our sensitivity to the human soul.
“An educational system isn’t worth a great deal, if it teaches people how to make a living,
but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.”
In a safe, supportive, yet evocative setting, we wish to prepare students to meet the challenges they will face as contributing members of the health care system.