Where Funeral Service is Our Only Major
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Faculty

The Commonwealth Faculty

Raising the Bar of Educational Excellence

Glenn A. Bower, CFSP

President
Glenn Bower

Glenn Bower

Glenn Bower is a third generation Californian and comes to Commonwealth Institute as a second career. Mr. Bower has a bachelor’s degree in Religion from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA, a bachelor’s degree in Funeral Service Administration from State University New York, Canton, and a master’s degree from National University in San Diego. Mr. Bower has a Mortuary Science Certificate and Associate degree from Cypress College in Cypress, CA, and is a licensed funeral director, embalmer, crematory manager, and cemetery manager in California.

Mr. Bower started working in the Aerospace industry preforming in-process inspections and supply chain management. He then moved into the funeral service profession in 1992. Mr. Bower has worked at Fairhaven Memorial Park and Mortuary, Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary, Memory Garden Memorial Park and Mortuary, Hilgenfeld Mortuary and Saddleback Chapel. Mr. Bower joined the Mortuary Science Department of Cypress College and began teaching in 1999.  Mr. Bower assumed the duties of Department Coordinator and Program Director in 2003 along with being a full-time faculty member. Mr. Bower joined the staff here at Commonwealth Institute in January 2018.

Mr. Bower has been active in various local, state and national funeral director associations including the American Board of Funeral Service Education (Program and Curriculum Committees), California Funeral Directors Association (Professional Development Committee) and Orange County Funeral Directors Association (Continuing Education Committee and Past President).  He is a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in Texas and California

Stuart E. Moen, CFSP

Dean of Academics
Stuart Moen

Stuart Moen

Stuart Moen, a native of Rapid City, SD, graduated in 1978 with an M.A. degree in Adult and Higher Education from the University of South Dakota at Vermillion. In 1980, he graduated with a B.S. degree with distinction from the University of Minnesota—Dept. of Mortuary Science.

Dean Moen began his career in funeral service education in February, 1984. He teaches Anatomy I & II, Embalming I, II & III, Forensic Pathology, Microbiology and Thanatochemistry.

In May 1988, Moen became Dean of Academics at Commonwealth Institute.

Christopher C. Layton

Dean of Students, Title IX Coordinator
Christopher C. Layton

Christopher C. Layton

Christopher Layton has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and a master’s degree from the University of Houston. Layton graduated from the mortuary science program at Cypress College in Cypress, Calif., and is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in Arizona, California and Texas.

Layton  began working, as a teenager, for his cousin’s funeral home in Safford, Ariz. While attending Arizona State University, he served his apprenticeship at Messinger Mortuary in Scottsdale, Ariz. After graduation, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he taught school and continued working in the funeral profession on the weekends. In 1988, he joined the training department of Pierce Brothers Mortuaries, one of the largest and oldest funeral firms in Los Angeles. In 1991, he accepted a position with the training department of Service Corporation International in Houston, the world’s largest provider of funeral and cemetery services. At that time, he began teaching part-time at Commonwealth Institute and full-time in 1992, he accepted it. He is currently Dean of Students and teaches mainly in the funeral service arts.

In Los Angeles, Layton was a board member of the Los Angeles County Funeral Directors Association. He currently serves on the board of the Houston Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association and chairs the Programs and Education Committee of the Texas Funeral Directors Association.

Julia Watts

Financial Controller
Julia Watts

Julia Watts

Julia Watts joined Commonwealth with over a decade of corporate accounting experience. For nine and a half years she worked with the largest tank barge operation in the country, interpreting the logistical coordination of maritime equipment so she can send invoices to the biggest names of the oil and gas industry. To advance her accounting career and further apply her skillset of systems and process analysis, Ms. Watts earned her Advanced Technical Certificate in Accounting from Lone Star College (2016). Combined with her B.A. in English from Saint Mary’s University (2004), Ms. Watts is eligible and can look forward to sitting for the CPA Exams within the next two years.

Ms. Watts is a native Texan, raised in the flatlands between Waco and Austin. In 2000, upon arriving to the “big city” of San Antonio for college, she knew she could never live among the farms again. Of course, after Ms. Watts came to Houston in 2006, she has come to embrace every facet of this huge, diverse, energetic, and complicated city.

Patricia Moreno

Registrar
Patricia Moreno

Patricia Moreno

Patricia Ann Tamayo Moreno graduated from Commonwealth College of Sciences in 1980 and began her apprenticeship with Darling Mouser Funeral Home in her hometown of Brownsville, Texas. She completed her apprenticeship at Heights Funeral Home in Houston and came to work for the Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service in 1981. She is married to Jesse B. Moreno, who is also a graduate of Commonwealth College of Sciences.

Moreno is a member of the National Funeral Service Honor Society; president of Commonwealth Institute Alumni Association; member of Texas Funeral Directors Association; and past-president of the Houston Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association.

David Taylor

Clinical Coordinator
David Taylor

David Taylor

David E. Taylor, Jr. is a 1994 graduate of Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service. He served and completed his apprenticeship in 1995, with Huntsville Funeral Home in Huntsville, Texas. He spent 20 years, both in staff and management, serving many families and communities in the states of Texas, Missouri, and New Mexico. He joined Commonwealth Institute in 2014, where he loves teaching and being a mentor to those entering the funeral profession. In his spare time, David enjoys being out on the lake where he is licensed as a boat captain.

David is a member of the Commonwealth Institute Alumni Association, Texas Funeral Directors Association, and Southeast Texas Funeral Directors Association.

Melissa B. Davis

Librarian
Melissa B. Davis

Melissa B. Davis

Melissa Brady Davis received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas, in 1972. She completed her Master of Library Science degree in 1980 at Sam Houston State University. For 34 years she served an area school district as campus Librarian, Technology Coordinator, and District Library Coordinator. She joined Commonwealth Institute in 2013.

Mrs. Davis is a member of the Texas Library Association, the Texas Classroom Teachers Association, and the Texas Retired Teachers Association. She and her husband are “The Invented Wheel Education Consultants”. In her spare time Mrs. Davis enjoys reading, woodworking, and flying.

Rene’ Altheimer

Admissions Specialist, Title IX Coordinator
Rene’ Altheimer

> Rene’ Altheimer

René Altheimer began her funeral service education career with Commonwealth Institute in October, 2012, as a member of the Admissions Team.  René came to Commonwealth with over 25 years’ executive administrative experience in the private sector, having worked for a multi-million dollar ethnic hair care company in Arkansas.

René became the Admissions Specialist in 2015. She currently processes new applications, provides detailed information about the two programs we offer, provides admissions counseling, schedules Entrance Exams for incoming students as needed and she proctors Board Certifying exam for graduates, along with various other duties as they relate to the admissions and graduation processes. René also currently serves as Title IV Coordinator for Commonwealth Institute.

Cody L. Lopasky

Associate Dean of Academics & Distance Education Coordinator
Cody L. Lopasky

Cody L. Lopasky

Cody Lopasky has an M.A. in Psychology and History from the University of Houston-Victoria, a B.A. in Psychology from Texas State University-San Marcos, and he is an A.A.S. graduate with honors and distinction from Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service. As a student at Commonwealth, Lopasky was a member of the National Funeral Service Honor Society. He is a Texas-licensed funeral director and embalmer as well as a certified crematory operator. Starting in high school, and continuing after licensure, Lopasky worked at Schmidt Funeral Home in Katy, TX. He was employed there as a funeral director and embalmer for several years before joining the education side of funeral service in 2016 when he accepted a full-time faculty position. Currently, Lopasky is the Associate Dean of Academics and teaches both face-to-face and online courses. Lopasky enjoys writing and academic research; especially in regard to funeral service. He has published numerous articles, written a continuing education course for funeral service practitioners, and was a contributor for a funeral service education textbook.

Marlene Perry

Financial Aid Advisor
Marlene Perry

Marlene Perry

Marlene joined Commonwealth Institute after spending over twenty years managing a doctor’s medical practice.  Marlene coordinates all financial aid activities and assists students with finding the funding to pursue their careers.

Marlene was born in Cartagena, Colombia, and moved to the United States as a child with her parents and siblings.  After finishing high school, Marlene attended Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

Marlene is married and has four children ranging in age from sixteen to twenty-two.  When not at the office helping students, Marlene enjoys the outdoors, is an avid runner, loves to cook, and volunteers at local charities.

Lauren Budrow

Instructor

M.B.A Butler University

B.A. Indiana University

A.S. Vincennes University

Professional Licensure: Washington and Indiana

Dr. Jose Cortes

Instructor

D.V.M., National University of Colombia

M.Sc., Lousiana State University

Jenine D. Fastuca

Instructor

M.L.A. Houston Baptist University

B.S. Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Coiette P. Gaston

Instructor

M.A. Texas Southern University

B.A. Prairie View A&M University

Quianna Glapion

Instructor

M.A. Texas Southern University

B.A. Loyola University

Jane Hemberger

Instructor

M.Ed. Boston College

B.F.A. University of California Berkley

A.A.S. Commonwealth Institute

Professional Licensure: Texas

Shantelle D. Holts

Instructor

M.A. University of Houston-Clear Lake

B.S. Prairie View A&M University

A.A.S. Commonwealth Institute

Jessika Jenkins

Instructor

M.Ed. Texas Tech University

B.S. Texas A&M University

A.A.S. Commonwealth Institute

Professional Licensure: Texas

Gustave Milburn, Jr.

Instructor

M.A. University of Texas at San Antonio

B.S. Texas A&M University

Remo Portelli

Instructor

M.S.W. Fordham University

B.A. Upsala College

Certificate of Proficiency, Funeral Directing – St. Louis Community College

Eugenia P. Robbins

Instructor

M.A. University of Alaska Fairbanks

B.S. University of Texas Austin

Certificate of Proficiency, Funeral Directing – St. Louis Community College

Professional Licensure: Texas

Jennafer Schnautz

Instructor

M.A. Texas A&M University

B.S. Rice University

Shannon Henderson

Receptionist

A.A.S. Commonwealth Institute

Main Campus

Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service
415 Barren Springs Drive
Houston, Texas 77090
Office Telephone: (281) 873-0262
Toll Free: (800) 628-1580
Fax: (281) 873-5232
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