Faculty and Staff
Home / Why Usdan? / Staff

The Usdan faculty is composed of renowned and experienced practitioners and instructors dedicated to encouraging students to be creative in every endeavor throughout their lives. The Usdan staff works year round to create a memorable, transformative summer experience for all students. 

Our Faculty & Staff

Aaron Korn

Horn, Lead Teacher

Abigail Hesselton

Archery, Assistant

Al Chiavaro

Facilities Maintenance Technician

Alana Weisenberg

Counselor

Alanis Vulpis

Sculpture, Assistant

Alex Della Ratta

Band, Senior Assistant to the Conductor

Alexa Finkelstein

Painting and Discovery, Assistant

Alicia Thompson

West African Fusion, Lead Teacher

Alycia Williams

Gaga and Basketball, Assistant

Amanda Signorelli

Nature, Ecology & Design, Lead Teacher

Amelia Dombrowski

Costumer

Amrom Svay

Jazz Ensemble, Assistant to the Conductor

Andre Feliciano

Sustainable Art, Lead Teacher

Andrew Ranaudo

Piano, Lead Teacher

Andrew Steinberg

Saxophone, Lead Teacher

Anna Penny

Photography, Assistant

Annie Ewaskio

Painting and Drawing, Lead Teacher

Annie Levine

Assistant Costumer

Anthony Amico

Director of Facilities

Anthony Renna

Chess, Lead Teacher

Anthony Romeo

Archery, Lead Teacher

Bailey Whitney

Sewing and Fashion Production, Lead Teacher

Barbara Morse

Costumer

Benjamin Prisamt

Archery, Assistant

Benjamin Rabinowitz

Conductor of Junior Choruses

Boris Deviatov

Viola, Lead Teacher

Brian Karen

Chess, Lead Teacher

Brianna Brickman

Junior Chorus, Accompanist

Carl Ferrara

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Carol Prisamt

Musical Theater, Director

Carolyn Popadin

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Cheryl Dobres

Lego Design, Assistant

Chris Vivas

Sculpture and Cosplay, Lead Teacher

Christina Pawl

Choreographer

Christine Roepken

Animation and Comic Art, Lead Teacher

Christopher Drobny

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Cindy Giron

Music Department Coordinator

Cindy Mcglynn

Nature, Ecology, & Design, Lead Teacher

Courtney Kassinger

Transportation Manager

Courtney Surmanek

Open Studio and Painting, Lead Teacher

Cristalina DeNicola

Ceramics, Lead Teacher

Dan Sussman

Theater Scene and Tech Shop

Dana Neger-Lagos

Metalsmithing, Lead Teacher

David Lake

Tennis, Lead Teacher

David Schecher

Conductor of Senior Bands

David Schecher

Dean of Students

David Surface

Creative Writing, Lead Teacher

Diana Crum

Dance Department Chair

Diana Foronda

Photography, Assistant

Dolores Sanchez

Tap, Lead Teacher

Donald Sherman

Low Brass, Lead Teacher

Dylan Bartlett

Theater Scene and Tech Shop

Edna Gruvman

Lead Teacher - Yoga

Eleanor Goudie-Averill

Discovery, Lead Teacher

Elizabeth Jeffery

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Elizabeth Rus

Art Adventure, Senior Assistant

Elizabeth Scanello

Registered Nurse

Emily Halper

Sculpture, Assistant

Emily Llewellyn

Nature, Ecology, & Design, Assistant

Ethan Usoskin

Band, Assistant

Eugene Rossi

Theater Scene and Tech Shop

Garrett Weinstein

Comic Art, Assistant

Gentry George

Ballet and Dance Adventure, Lead Teacher

Gráinne Josaphat

Aquatics Director

Isabella Marbella

Comic Art, Lead Teacher

Jackie Bulnes

Contemporary, Lead Teacher

Jackie Eggleton

Photography, Lead Teacher

Jaclyn Brautigam

Sewing and Fashion Production, Lead Teacher

Jacqueline Selesky

Hip Hop, Lead Teacher

Jada O'Neal

Assistant Teacher

Jaden Nogee

Store Manager

James Beneduce

Musical Theater, Director

James Crichton

Musical Theater, Director

James Incorvaia

Theater Department Chair

James Labrosse

Guitar and Ukulele, Lead Teacher

Jared Peer

Sculpture and Cosplay, Lead Teacher

Jasmin Smith

Student Supervision Assistant

Jason Keichline

Ceramics, Assistant

Javan Howard

Creative Writing, Lead Teacher

Jeffrey Hoffman

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Jerelyn Hanrahan

Art Department Co-Chair

Jessica Azenberg

Tap, Lead Teacher

Jessica Blair Lukasik

Broadway Jazz, Lead Teacher

Jillian Davis

Photography, Assistant

Jillian Greenberg

Director of Education

Jodie Embelton

Art Department Co-Chair

Joe Beganskas

Chess, Assistant

Joel Salman

Chess, Lead Teacher

John T. Harris

Painting and Discovery, Lead Teacher

John Viviani

Percussion, Assistant

Jordan Hue

Musical Theater, Director

Jordan Williams

Video Game Art and Design, Lead Teacher

Juan Giraldo

Photography, Lead Teacher

Julia Forrest

Photography, Lead Teacher

Julio Garcia

Senior Groundskeeper

Kageki Nagao

Junior Orchestra, Conductor

Karen Lehman DiMartino

Conductor of Senior Choruses

Karina Aristy

Gaga and Basketball, Lead Teacher

Karine Falleni

Painting and Drawing, Lead Teacher

Kate Stocker

Absolute Beginner Strings, Lead Teacher

Kathleen Drohan

Director of External Affairs

Kathleen Mikolajczak

Senior Assistant

Katie Binder

Assistant Teacher

Kayleigh Junz

Counselor

Kelly Schulte-Smith

Lego Design, Lead Teacher

Ken Gilbert

Theater Scene and Tech Shop

Kennedy Burgess

Counselor

Kerry Barnhart

Senior Director of Student Affairs

Krista Biedenbach

Painting and Life Drawing, Lead Teacher

Kyra Leeds

Office Staff

Lafiya Watson Ramirez

Marketing & Communications Consultant

Laura Lannes

Comic Art, Lead Teacher

Laura Mara

Counselor

Lauren Brandt Schloss

Executive Director

Leighann Martone

Metalsmithing, Assistant

Les Dweir

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Lindsey Dannenberg

Painting, Assistant

Lisa Morabito

Counselor

Lorene Bouboushian

Discovery, Lead Teacher

Madeline Mirenda

Counselor

Marcos Flores

Junior Groundskeeper

Mariah Seignious

Painting and Discovery, Assistant

Marilyn Lehman

Piano and Choral Coordinator, Piano Accompanist

Marion Spencer

Choreographic Institute, Choreographer

Marissa Grill

Counselor

Mark Bligh

Music Department Chair, Conductor of Junior Bands

Megan Marino

Discovery Department Chair

Megan Sadlon

Counselor

Melissa Barnett

Counselor

Melissa Smith

Open Studio and Painting, Assistant

Michael Blutman

Trumpet, Lead Teacher

Michael Janover

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Michael LaMarca

Quidditch, Assistant

Mike Schwendemann

Usdan Troupe, Director

Molly Conklin

Ballet and Dance Adventure, Contemporary, Assistant

Morgan Hartley

Discovery, Lead Teacher

Motaz Elzalata

Senior Accountant

Nell Flanders

Senior Orchestra, Conductor

Nicholas Coacci

Archery, Assistant

Noah Ruff

Counselor

Oliver Valle

Architecture and Designing with Minecraft, Lead Teacher

Olivia Wise

Coordinator of Enrollment & Admissions

Oscar Amaya

Facilities Manager

Oscar Martinez

Music Librarian

Patrick Armann

Percussion, Lead Teacher

Patrick Wrynn

Counselor

Paula Berardinelli

Piano, Lead Teacher

Peter Downey

Counselor

Rachel Mazur

Ballet and Dance Adventure, Lead Teacher

Rebecca Vecchio

Assistant to Art Department Chair

Richard Blake

Band, Assistant

Rita Broughton

Scenic Design

Rob Gallagher

Musical Theater, Director

Robert Spahn

Chess Assistant

Sadie Pincus

Assistant

Sally Cappy

Registered Nurse

Sally Eckhoff

Animation and Comic Art, Senior Assistant

Sam Dillon

Conductor of Jazz Ensemble

Sari Sharaby

Senior Director of Finance & Operations

Sean Clark

Aquatics, Lead Teacher

Shane Helfner

Oboe, Lead Teacher

Shannon Haselton

Orchestra, Senior Assistant to the Conductor

Sherry Kfare

Costumer

Sibel Kececioglu

Art Adventure, Lead Teacher

Sofia Notar-Francesco

Counselor

Sonya Derman

Art Adventure, Lead Teacher

Stacey Jamieson

Admissions Counselor

Steve Ficurilli

Quidditch, Lead Teacher

Steve Finkelstein

Nature, Ecology & Design, Lead Teacher

Steven Estes

Nature, Ecology, & Design, Assistant

Steven Ross

Junior Chorus, Assistant to the Conductor

Sue Lehr

Cello, Lead Teacher

Susan Conte

Painting and Discovery, Lead Teacher

Taylor Cohen

Painting, Assistant

Thomas Brody

Double Bass, Assistant

Tyler Moore

Tennis, Lead Teacher

Tymberly Canale

Assistant to Dance Department Chair

Valerie Sciara

Usdan Troupe, Musical Director

Vasko Dukovski

Clarinet, Lead Teacher

Warren Bloom

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Xavier Pacheco

DIY Musical Theater and Improvisation, Director

Zac Selissen

Guitar and Rock Band, Lead Teacher

Kyra Leeds

Office Staff

Kerry Barnhart

Senior Director of Student Affairs

Anthony Amico

Director of Facilities

Administration

Jasmin Smith

Student Supervision Assistant

Administration

Jasmin Smith

Jasmin Smith teaches elementary school in Queens and holds a special passion for music and poetry. A Long Island native, Jasmin turned her love for both art and working with children into a career after earning her Master’s in Education from Sarah Lawrence College.

Courtney Kassinger

Transportation Manager

Administration

Courtney Kassinger has spent her summers at Usdan since 2002 when she first attended as a student. She has served as Discovery counselor, transportation staff, and is now Transportation Manager. Courtney is a teacher (and proud alum!) at Harborfields Central School District, teaching band, chorus, and music, as well as director of the annual Variety Show. She is a member of SCMEA and NAfME.

Julio Garcia

Senior Groundskeeper

Administration

Jillian Greenberg

Director of Education

Administration

Jillian Greenberg is an artist and educator, and Usdan’s Director of Education. Prior to joining Usdan, Jillian managed Studio In A School’s Artist Residency Program. Jillian has taught visual art in schools, organizations, and museums across New York City. She holds a Master’s in Art Education from Teachers College at Columbia University and an MFA from the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London.

Sally Cappy

Registered Nurse

Administration

Lauren Brandt Schloss

Executive Director

Administration

Jaden Nogee

Store Manager

Administration

Jaden Nogee is Usdan’s store manager and attends Binghamton University, where she studies accounting and information systems management. Jaden is a Usdan alum and continues to pursue musical theater and classical percussion in her spare time.

Elizabeth Scanello

Registered Nurse

Administration

David Schecher

Dean of Students

Administration

Dave Schecher returns to Usdan this summer for his 31st season. He is a trombonist, private music instructor and retired public school teacher who has also been the Director of The Long Island Brass Guild for many years.

Olivia Wise

Coordinator of Enrollment & Admissions

Administration

Olivia Wise is in her third year as Usdan’s Coordinator Enrollment and Admissions. For the last eight years, Olivia has worked for arts and culture organizations, and enjoys being surrounded by young people experiencing the creative process all summer.

Sari Sharaby

Senior Director of Finance & Operations

Administration

Motaz Elzalata

Senior Accountant

Administration

Kathleen Drohan

Director of External Affairs

Administration

Marcos Flores

Junior Groundskeeper

Administration

Stacey Jamieson

Admissions Counselor

Administration

Stacey Jamieson is an Admissions Counselor at Usdan. She previously served as Assistant Dean and enjoys interacting with students and teachers. Stacey boasts more than 20 years experience as an attorney and advocate for children.

Al Chiavaro

Facilities Maintenance Technician

Administration

Lafiya Watson Ramirez

Marketing & Communications Consultant

Administration

Oscar Amaya

Facilities Manager

Administration

Juan Giraldo

Photography, Lead Teacher

Art

Juan Giraldo is a New York City-based photographer. Born in Colombia and raised in Paterson, New Jersey, Juan’s work explores the textures and personal space of working people and domesticity -- developed by his own experience as a first-generation immigrant and laborer. His work has been exhibited across the country, from Hawaii to Brooklyn.

Karine Falleni

Painting and Drawing, Lead Teacher

Art

Karine Falleni has been practicing yoga for 20 years and instructing for 13. Her teaching has brought her to special programs in Arizona and schools, outreach programs, and studios across Greater New York City. Karine is passionate about making yoga more accessible to all people by bringing the practice outside traditional studios. She has taught meditation, restorative yoga, breathing, yoga therapy, prenatal yoga, and Anusara.

Jared Peer

Sculpture and Cosplay, Lead Teacher

Art

Jared Peer is an artist and educator. He currently teaches art at Urban Assembly School for Media Studies and is pursuing his Master’s in Technology Specialism from Columbia University. Jared’s work explores combining technology and traditional woodworking with wearable interfaces. He is a Teaching Assistant at Usdan’s architecture program.

Dana Neger-Lagos

Metalsmithing, Lead Teacher

Art

Dana Neger-Lagos is a master model maker, jeweler, sculptor, and Usdan’s metalsmithing instructor. She has designed jewelry and accessories for Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, QVC, Calvin Klein, Susan Lucci, and other brands. As an educator, Dana teaches at the Art League of Long Island, Dix Hills, Plainview-Old Bethpage School District, and Long Island Libraries. Her artwork fuses metalsmithing and nature, and is on exhibit throughout Long Island.

Oliver Valle

Architecture and Designing with Minecraft, Lead Teacher

Art

Oliver Valle is an interdisciplinary designer and artist in the fields of architecture and urban design, and teaching artist at Usdan. Prior to founding his own design practice, he served as an urban designer with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, where his mixed-use development, transportation design, and urban design won multiple awards. Oliver continues to publish research internationally and he is a frequent guest at Columbia University, Syracuse University, Parsons School of Design, and other universities. Oliver instructs the Designing With Minecraft and Architecture courses at Usdan.

Sally Eckhoff

Animation and Comic Art, Senior Assistant

Art

Jackie Eggleton

Photography, Lead Teacher

Art

Taylor Cohen

Painting, Assistant

Art

Garrett Weinstein

Comic Art, Assistant

Art

Jodie Embelton

Art Department Co-Chair

Art

Jodie Embleton is a visual arts educator who has dedicated her career to bringing art education back to inner-city students. Beginning as a ceramics assistant and kiln technician at Usdan to teacher and now co-chair, she has a true passion for inspiring young people. After working at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Jodie is now a visual arts teacher in the Copiague School District and co-chairs Usdan’s art department.

Julia Forrest

Photography, Lead Teacher

Art

Julia Forrest is an artist who works exclusively through the medium of film. She eschews digital processing for the home-made darkroom she built in her apartment, and enjoys pushing the bounds of reality through the camera lens. Julia also works as a teaching artist at the Brooklyn Museum, Medgar Evers College, and Lehigh University. As Usdan’s photography instructor, she is devoted to helping students push their own boundaries not only in film, but whatever medium of art they choose.

Emily Halper

Sculpture, Assistant

Art

Kelly Schulte-Smith

Lego Design, Lead Teacher

Art

Kelly Schulte-Smith is a multidisciplinary artist, experimenting with crochet, bead-weaving, wire-weaving, resin, polymer clay, fused glass art, stained glass, steel, and mosaic art. Since graduating with a degree in interior design, Kelly has continued her own artistic exploration, while helping young people find their own voices as creators. She brings her unique perspective to Usdan’s Lego Design courses.

Leighann Martone

Metalsmithing, Assistant

Art

John T. Harris

Painting and Discovery, Lead Teacher

Art

Annie Ewaskio

Painting and Drawing, Lead Teacher

Art

Annie Ewaskio is a painter and artist in Brooklyn, New York. She has participated in prestigious solo and group shows across the country, and her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Brooklyn Rail, and New American Paintings. She is the recipient of numerous fine arts grants, including two Kossak Painting grants, and teaches painting and drawing at Usdan.

Krista Biedenbach

Painting and Life Drawing, Lead Teacher

Art

Krista Biedenbach is a Long-Island based artist and educator with a passion for sharing her love of art-making and art history with young people. She currently teaches drawing, sculpture, and studio art at Hicksville High School, and painting at Usdan. Krista previously directed exhibits and galleries in exhibits in Manhattan and on Long Island. Her mixed media drawings and paintings can be seen at galleries across the tri-state area.

Alexa Finkelstein

Painting and Discovery, Assistant

Art

Jaclyn Brautigam

Sewing and Fashion Production, Lead Teacher

Art

Courtney Surmanek

Open Studio and Painting, Lead Teacher

Art

Courtney Surmanek is a multidisciplinary artist, strategist, and organizer. Their work uses performance-poetry, art installations, and community initiatives to explore law, trauma, public space, and gender. Courtney is currently a Fellow of the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics’ EMERGENYC program and The Performance Project at University Settlement. They were a recent guest artist with the Broadway Advocacy Coalition at Columbia Law School and have participated in art residences at Cornell University, the Center for Artistic Activism, and others. Courtney has exhibited work across New York City and enjoys sparking creative exploration and risk-taking as a painting and drawing teacher at Usdan.

Susan Conte

Painting and Discovery, Lead Teacher

Art

Mariah Seignious

Painting and Discovery, Assistant

Art

Kathleen Mikolajczak

Senior Assistant

Art

Cristalina DeNicola

Ceramics, Lead Teacher

Art

Cristalina DeNicola is a ceramic artist, sculptor, and educator specializing in three-dimensional artwork that expresses flow and movement. While she primarily works with clay, Christina enjoys working with unique materials and experimenting with different mediums. During the summer, Christina helps Usdan students discover the joy of ceramics.

Sibel Kececioglu

Art Adventure, Lead Teacher

Art

Jason Keichline

Ceramics, Assistant

Art

Alanis Vulpis

Sculpture, Assistant

Art

Lindsey Dannenberg

Painting, Assistant

Art

Laura Lannes

Comic Art, Lead Teacher

Art

Laura Lannes is an illustrator and cartoonist, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, and dozens of other publications. She has released several of her own comic books and appeared in multiple anthologies in the U.S. and Latin America. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Laura now resides in New York City and teaches Comic Art and Painting and Drawing at Usdan.

Christine Roepken

Animation and Comic Art, Lead Teacher

Art

Christine Roepken is a freelance animator, educator, and fine artist. In addition to her many comic book and animation projects, Christine serves as Animation Workshop professor at the School of Visual Arts. She teaches Animation and Experimental Animation at Usdan.

Anna Penny

Photography, Assistant

Art

Elizabeth Rus

Art Adventure, Senior Assistant

Art

Jillian Davis

Photography, Assistant

Art

Abigail Hesselton

Archery, Assistant

Art

Diana Foronda

Photography, Assistant

Art

Jordan Williams

Video Game Art and Design, Lead Teacher

Art

Cheryl Dobres

Lego Design, Assistant

Art

Rebecca Vecchio

Assistant to Art Department Chair

Art

Melissa Smith

Open Studio and Painting, Assistant

Art

Sonya Derman

Art Adventure, Lead Teacher

Art

Isabella Marbella

Comic Art, Lead Teacher

Art

Jerelyn Hanrahan

Art Department Co-Chair

Art

Chris Vivas

Sculpture and Cosplay, Lead Teacher

Art

Chris Vivas is a ceramic artist whose work has been exhibited across the United States and Europe, as well as Turkey, Korea, and Japan. Drawing inspiration from the existential literature of Nietzsche, Sartre, and others, Chris’ work has brought him to notable ceramic residencies throughout the world. Chris instructs sculpture and cosplay courses at Usdan.

Bailey Whitney

Sewing and Fashion Production, Lead Teacher

Art

Anthony Renna

Chess, Lead Teacher

Chess

Brian Karen

Chess, Lead Teacher

Chess

Brian Karen is a top-ranked tournament chess player for both the United States Chess Federation and Federation Internationale Des Échecs. As an instructor, Brian has served as co-director of Usdan’s chess program since 1997, coached three-time Long Island chess champions Friends Academy, and director of chess programs for the Roslyn School District, Long Island School for the Gifted, and St. Patrick’s. He additionally serves on the United States Chess Federation Scholastic Council.

Joel Salman

Chess, Lead Teacher

Chess

One of Long Island’s top 10 players, Joel Salman is a professional Chess Master who has been teaching chess to children in schools and libraries on a full time basis since 1994. The Long Island native joined the faculty of Usdan in 2003, where he co-chairs the Chess Department.

Joe Beganskas

Chess, Assistant

Chess

Robert Spahn

Chess Assistant

Chess

Javan Howard

Creative Writing, Lead Teacher

Creative Writing

David Surface

Creative Writing, Lead Teacher

Creative Writing

Tymberly Canale

Assistant to Dance Department Chair

Dance

Lorene Bouboushian

Discovery, Lead Teacher

Dance

Marion Spencer

Choreographic Institute, Choreographer

Dance

Jackie Bulnes

Contemporary, Lead Teacher

Dance

Molly Conklin

Ballet and Dance Adventure, Contemporary, Assistant

Dance

Dolores Sanchez

Tap, Lead Teacher

Dance

Diana Crum

Dance Department Chair

Dance

Diana Crum is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, dancer, teacher, administrator, and advocate, and Interim Chair of Dance at Usdan. Her choreography has been presented in New York, Atlanta, Mexico, and across Europe. She currently serves as Program Director for Movement Research’s Dance Makers in the Schools and teaches dance at 92Y, Brooklyn Arts Council Brooklyn Arts Exchange, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and more.

Katie Binder

Assistant Teacher

Dance

Jada O'Neal

Assistant Teacher

Dance

Jacqueline Selesky

Hip Hop, Lead Teacher

Dance

Jacqueline Selesky is a multi-talented dancer, proud Long Island native, and Usdan hip-hop instructor. Since the age of seven, Jacqueline has studied ballet, modern, jazz, Latin, hip-hop, and more. She has danced alongside Demi Lovato, Cardi B, and G-Easy in televised appearances, and appeared in Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It.” Jacqueline performed as lead soloist in Martha Graham’s Daughters of the Night and is a member of Asha Dance Company. She also teaches dance in Orange County Public Schools in New Jersey.

Alicia Thompson

West African Fusion, Lead Teacher

Dance

Jessica Blair Lukasik

Broadway Jazz, Lead Teacher

Dance

Barbara Morse

Costumer

Dance

Gentry George

Ballet and Dance Adventure, Lead Teacher

Dance

Dancer/choreographer Gentry George began his artistic studies at age eight with the Founder of The Community Book and Dance Academy Linda Agyapong. He went on to graduate from New World School of the Arts in 2008 and graduate from Juilliard in 2012.  A former Dance Artist for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Ailey II, Gentry is currently a Guest Artist at Randolph College; Central Connecticut State University; and Newark Arts High.  He also teaches Ballet and choreographs for the youth ensemble both at the Dance Project of Washington Heights. Gentry received a Level 1 ARTS award, given by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, and is featured on HBO’s “Masterclass.” He has presented work throughout New York, New Jersey, and Florida including NYC’s SummerStage; Dixon Place; HarlemStage Gatehouse Theater; The Wassaic Project; Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning; Madiba Harlem; and Fort Tryon Park, among others.

Eleanor Goudie-Averill

Discovery, Lead Teacher

Dance

Eleanor Goudie-Averill

Ellie Goudie-Averill is a dance artist and educator based in New York City.  Since graduating with her MFA in Dance Performance from the University of Iowa, she has served as a professor at Temple University, Bucknell University, Franklin & Marshall College, the University of Kansas, and also as Associate Director of Dance at the Lawrence Arts Center.  Ellie has danced professionally for a variety of choreographers, including Susan Rethorst, Lucinda Childs, and Bronwen MacArthur, and performed with Group Motion Multimedia Dance Theater for five seasons. Her choreography has been shown at Movement Research at Judson Church, the Kimmel Center's International Festival for the Arts, and RAW Material.  She is a regular collaborator and dancer with Tori Lawrence + Co. in dance films and site-specific works, and currently teaches as a guest artist in ballet and modern at Connecticut College.

Jessica Azenberg

Tap, Lead Teacher

Dance

Jessica Azenberg has studied acting and dance since she could walk, training at the School of American Ballet, Manhattan Youth Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and others. She started tap dancing at 8-years-old while attending Usdan and went on to pursue a career in theater. She has performed with companies across the country and currently teaches tap, ballet, and jazz in New York City.

Rachel Mazur

Ballet and Dance Adventure, Lead Teacher

Dance

Rachel Mazur is a ballet dancer, choreographer, and educator who leads Usdan’s ballet courses. Trained in performance and pedagogy, Rachel earned her master’s in dance instruction before joining the faculty at American Youth Dance Theater and Brooklyn Ballet. She continues to partner with and bring dance to local public high schools and community organizations.

Alana Weisenberg

Counselor

Discovery

Kayleigh Junz

Counselor

Discovery

Kennedy Burgess

Counselor

Discovery

Madeline Mirenda

Counselor

Discovery

Megan Marino

Discovery Department Chair

Discovery

Megan Sadlon

Counselor

Discovery

Melissa Barnett

Counselor

Discovery

Sadie Pincus

Assistant

Discovery

Patrick Wrynn

Counselor

Discovery

Laura Mara

Counselor

Discovery

Peter Downey

Counselor

Discovery

Sofia Notar-Francesco

Counselor

Discovery

Lisa Morabito

Counselor

Discovery

Marissa Grill

Counselor

Discovery

Noah Ruff

Counselor

Discovery

Oscar Martinez

Music Librarian

Music

Shannon Haselton

Orchestra, Senior Assistant to the Conductor

Music

Alex Della Ratta

Band, Senior Assistant to the Conductor

Music

Aaron Korn

Horn, Lead Teacher

Music

Aaron Korn is a freelance horn player, performer, and educator. He has played alongside the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony, and Allentown Symphony Orchestra. Aaron’s musical credits include Cinderella on Broadway, Rocktopia on Broadway, and the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. He currently teaches in the Music Advancement Program at the Julliard School.

Andrew Steinberg

Saxophone, Lead Teacher

Music

Andrew R. Steinberg is an accomplished saxophonist, lecturer, and educator. In addition to teaching saxophone at Usdan, Andrew is a doctoral candidate at New England Conservatory and serves as Music Director of Megalopolis Saxophone Orchestra. As a music historian, Andrew has revived numerous neglected works and lectured at leading universities and conservatories.

Carl Ferrara

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Music

Boris Deviatov

Viola, Lead Teacher

Music

Boris Deviatov is an award-winning violinist and conductor. After earning his doctorate of music in his native Ukraine, Boris toured the major concert halls of North America and Europe as a member of the Leontovich String Quartet. He teaches viola at Usdan.

Andrew Ranaudo

Piano, Lead Teacher

Music

Andrew Ranaudo is an award-winning performer, teacher, and composer. Andrew has played, toured, and recorded with top musicians at historic venues across the United States and Europe. His penchant for contemporary avant-garde music and eclectic artistic partnerships has seen his music played at MOMA PS1, Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, and the Mattress Factory Museum. For the last 18 years, Andrew has maintained an active teaching studio in Brooklyn and he looks forward to another summer teaching piano at Usdan.

Kageki Nagao

Junior Orchestra, Conductor

Music

Kageki Nagao

Dr. Kegeki Nagao is an acclaimed musician and educator who has performed under conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Comissiona, Paul Zukofsky, James DePriest, and Sixten Ehrling. Performing as a soloist, orchestral player, and chamber music performer, he has served as principal bass for the Westchester Chamber and Symphony Orchestras, Merrick Symphony, Atlantic Philharmonic, Strauss Symphony of America, Berkshire Opera, and the Transfiguration Chamber Ensemble. He currently directs the string department of Long Island Lutheran Middle & High School and serves as double bass instructor and orchestra director at Usdan.

Karen Lehman DiMartino

Conductor of Senior Choruses

Music

Michael Blutman

Trumpet, Lead Teacher

Music

Michael Blutman

Michael Blutman enjoys a diverse career as a trumpeter and music educator. A graduate of Juilliard and the University of Maryland, his teaching, performing, and recording credits include: Ithaca College, Five Towns College, Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts, Sting, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orch, Broadway shows, and many others. Michael also co-founded the music education publishing company Pinnacle Music Press (www.pinmusicpress.com).

Marilyn Lehman

Piano and Choral Coordinator, Piano Accompanist

Music

Mark Bligh

Music Department Chair, Conductor of Junior Bands

Music

Mark Bligh is the director of the Denton Ave Elementary Band (Herricks UFSD) where he teaches winds, brass and percussion for grades 3-5. The Denton Ave Band regularly attends NYSSMA Majors and consistently earns Gold with Distinction honors. Mark Bligh is an active NMEA member who has chaired several All-County festivals and presented at the Balanced Mind Conference. The past few years he conducted the Winds, Brass and Percussion sectional for the NYSSMA All-State Symphonic Orchestra and will conduct the 2018 SCMEA Division 1 Central All-County Band. Mark performs regularly as Principal Alto Saxophone for the Northwinds Symphonic Band, has performed with the Atlantic Wind Symphony as well as various chamber recitals. Mark is a past member of SCMEA and current member of NMEA, NYSSMA, NYSBDA and NafME.

Patrick Armann

Percussion, Lead Teacher

Music

Sue Lehr

Cello, Lead Teacher

Music

Sue Lehr

Sue Lehr is a musical director, teacher, and freelance musician, who is returning to Usdan for her 20th summer as cello instructor. Sue served as orchestra director at the Waldorf School for 20 years and continues to teach freelance today. She maintains a teaching studio in Freeport, NY and her quartet performs often at special occasions across Long Island.

Vasko Dukovski

Clarinet, Lead Teacher

Music

Vasko Dukovski is an award-winning performing artist and composer whose work transcends genre and global boundaries. Since training at the Juilliard School, Vasko has become a prolific composer and advocate of contemporary classical and experimental music. He has collaborated and recorded with dozens of ensembles, and toured across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, China, and the United States, including dates at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Met, and MOMA. Vasko brings his talents to Usdan’s clarinet players every summer.

Zac Selissen

Guitar and Rock Band, Lead Teacher

Music

Zac Selissen is a guitarist, composer, arranger, and teacher. He has studied and performed across genres -- from rock and avant-garde to classical and tango. Since relocating to New York City, Zac has composed and performed scores for films, theater productions, ballets, and modern dance pieces. He is currently a teaching artist at Trinity Wall Street and teaches guitar and rock band at Usdan.

Brianna Brickman

Junior Chorus, Accompanist

Music

Paula Berardinelli

Piano, Lead Teacher

Music

Paula Berardinelli is a pianist, organist, and doctor of music. She is a freelance performer and has often accompanied major pop artists. She was featured at the Chelsea Center Concert Series and appeared with the Minnewaska Chamber Music Society. Paula currently teaches piano at Hofstra University, Molloy College, and Usdan. 

Richard Blake

Band, Assistant

Music

David Schecher

Conductor of Senior Bands

Music

Dave Schecher returns to Usdan this summer for his 31st season. He is a trombonist, private music instructor and retired public school teacher who has also been the Director of The Long Island Brass Guild for many years.

John Viviani

Percussion, Assistant

Music

Ethan Usoskin

Band, Assistant

Music

Nell Flanders

Senior Orchestra, Conductor

Music

Thomas Brody

Double Bass, Assistant

Music

Sam Dillon

Conductor of Jazz Ensemble

Music

Steven Ross

Junior Chorus, Assistant to the Conductor

Music

Amrom Svay

Jazz Ensemble, Assistant to the Conductor

Music

Amrom Svay is a jazz saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, and music educator. He instructs students in saxophone, clarinet, flute, and jazz theory. Amrom has studied and performed alongside Ralph Lalama, Eric Alexander, Kenny Washington, and Jon Faddis at notable venues across the country, including The Blue Note and Dizzy’s Club.

Benjamin Rabinowitz

Conductor of Junior Choruses

Music

Cindy Giron

Music Department Coordinator

Music

Cindy Giron

Cindy Giron is a composer, performer, music educator, and arts administrator currently living in The Hague, Netherlands. Her studies include stops at Boston’s New England Conservatory Preparatory School, Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. She enjoys writing music for ensembles and has collaborated with dancers, visual art installations, and live electronics. Cindy is Usdan’s Music Department Coordinator.

Morgan Hartley

Discovery, Lead Teacher

Music

James Labrosse

Guitar and Ukulele, Lead Teacher

Music

James Labrosse

James Labrosse is a musician, songwriter, and Usdan guitar teacher. James grew up in a French-Canadian household in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood in South Florida, instilling a love of world music. He moved to Spain when he was 18 to pursue his love of Flamenco music and performance, and went on to graduate from Berklee College of Music.

Donald Sherman

Low Brass, Lead Teacher

Music

Shane Helfner

Oboe, Lead Teacher

Music

Kate Stocker

Absolute Beginner Strings, Lead Teacher

Music

Amanda Signorelli

Nature, Ecology & Design, Lead Teacher

Nature

Amanda Signorelli is an arts educator devoted to helping young people foster a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. She currently teaches middle school art in Nassau County. Amanda is inspired by the natural world and, as Nature, Ecology, and Design instructor, uses Usdan’s campus to connect her students to the artistic beauty in nature.

Cindy Mcglynn

Nature, Ecology, & Design, Lead Teacher

Nature

Steven Estes

Nature, Ecology, & Design, Assistant

Nature

Andre Feliciano

Sustainable Art, Lead Teacher

Nature

Steve Finkelstein

Nature, Ecology & Design, Lead Teacher

Nature

Steve Finklestein is a former park ranger, resident naturalist, environmental educator, and interpretive design consultant. For the past 30 years, he has taught at East Wilson School District. As a musician, Steve is a freelance percussionist who has performed internationally and recorded with acts that include Mariah Carey, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Dave Valentine, Selena, Randy Brecker, and others. Steve leads Usdan’s Nature, Ecology and Design class.

Emily Llewellyn

Nature, Ecology, & Design, Assistant

Nature

Emily Llewellyn

Emily Llewellyn is currently a sophomore at SUNY-New Paltz, where she is studying theater performance and psychology. She is a keen choreographer, makeup artist, and singer, and also enjoys golf and nature. At Usdan, Emily teaches in the Nature, Ecology and Design program.

Edna Gruvman

Lead Teacher - Yoga

Recreational Arts

Edna Gruvman

Edna Gruvman is a dancer, yoga instructor, movement therapist, and proud Usdan alum. For the last decade, Edna has used dance and movement to support children with autism, and taught yoga to young people. Edna danced professionally with contemporary troupes prior to becoming an educator. She is the lead yoga instructor at Usdan.

Steve Ficurilli

Quidditch, Lead Teacher

Recreational Arts

Karina Aristy

Gaga and Basketball, Lead Teacher

Recreational Arts

Karina Aristy

Karina Aristy is a musician and private string instructor. She first began attending Usdan as a student in 2007 and is now counselor in the camp’s Recreation department. She earned her Usdan Lifer Award in 2017 and enjoys helping Usdan students develop lifelong experiences and friendships in a fun and safe recreational environment.

Sean Clark

Aquatics, Lead Teacher

Recreational Arts

Gráinne Josaphat

Aquatics Director

Recreational Arts

Gráinne Josaphat is Usdan’s Aquatics Director and a multi-sport teacher, coach, and athlete. Passionate about sport, health, and fitness since her youth in Ireland, Gráinne is a full-time Health and Wellness Educator and track coach locally. She competes as a triathlete across the country and internationally.

Benjamin Prisamt

Archery, Assistant

Recreational Arts

Nicholas Coacci

Archery, Assistant

Recreational Arts

Alycia Williams

Gaga and Basketball, Assistant

Recreational Arts

Michael LaMarca

Quidditch, Assistant

Recreational Arts

Tyler Moore

Tennis, Lead Teacher

Recreational Arts

Anthony Romeo

Archery, Lead Teacher

Recreational Arts

Anthony Romeo

Anthony M. Romeo II is a music educator with nearly 30 years experience and a certified archery instructor. Anthony’s gift for teaching now inspires students daily at Seaford High School, where he serves as Director of Bands. As lead archery instructor at Usdan, Anthony is a USA Archery Level II Instructor and participates in archery societies and programming across New York state

David Lake

Tennis, Lead Teacher

Recreational Arts

Xavier Pacheco

DIY Musical Theater and Improvisation, Director

Theater

Valerie Sciara

Usdan Troupe, Musical Director

Theater

Annie Levine

Assistant Costumer

Theater

Rita Broughton

Scenic Design

Theater

Rita Broughton is the artist behind Usdan theater program’s imaginative backdrops. She is a professional artist and master of murals, faux finishes, trompe l’oeil, and decorative art. Rita’s paintings have been exhibited across the region, and her work has been acquired by many private collectors. She enjoys working with Usdan students to create backdrops that embellish and enrich their performances.

Warren Bloom

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Theater

James Beneduce

Musical Theater, Director

Theater

Amelia Dombrowski

Costumer

Theater

Elizabeth Jeffery

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Theater

Dylan Bartlett

Theater Scene and Tech Shop

Theater

Les Dweir

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Theater

Christopher Drobny

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Theater

Carol Prisamt

Musical Theater, Director

Theater

Carol Prisamnt has been directing regional theater on Long Island for over 25 years. Her numerous credits include shows at Broadhollow Theater, Studio Theater, Bayway Arts Center, and more. She teaches English during the school year and the performing arts across the Hudson Valley during the summer, including Musical Director at Usdan.

James Incorvaia

Theater Department Chair

Theater

Jim Invorvaia is a high school AP English and Theater teacher returning to Usdan for his 27th year.  A Long Island native, Jim lives in Westbury and leads the charge for Usdan’s Theater Department, planning, scheduling, and producing the Camp’s annual 35-day, 11-show season for 300-plus theater students.

Carolyn Popadin

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Theater

Carolyn Popadin is a teaching artist, actress, and Usdan Musical Theater Director. Her work has brought her into schools and theaters throughout New York City and Long Island. She currently serves as a program director for Broadhollow Theater Company and co-director of the Infinity Arts Studio. She trained professionally with British American Drama Academy and has toured with the National Theatre of Performing Arts.

Christina Pawl

Choreographer

Theater

Christina Pawl is a dancer, singer, actor, and educator. She has appeared in multiple Broadway productions, including the Tony Award-winning CABARET, Meet Me In St. Louis, and South Pacific. She teaches dance at Broadway Dance Center, Main Street Theater, and Dance Alliance Roosevelt Island, and is a musical director at Usdan.

Eugene Rossi

Theater Scene and Tech Shop

Theater

James Crichton

Musical Theater, Director

Theater

James Chricton is an actor at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, Shakespeare Theater Company, Pioneer Theater Company, Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, and Prospect Theatre Company. He tourned nationally with Peter and the Starcatcher and serves as vocal director at Beyond the Stage Studio in Plainview, NY.
 

Sherry Kfare

Costumer

Theater

Jeffrey Hoffman

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Theater

Jordan Hue

Musical Theater, Director

Theater

Michael Janover

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Theater

Michael Janover is a Long Island-based musical director, actor, composer, and arranger. He is passionate about sharing music, and believes it has the power to heal and connect people. Michael enjoys directing theater and performing as a pit orchestra musician, and teaching musical theater at Usdan.

Ken Gilbert

Theater Scene and Tech Shop

Theater

Mike Schwendemann

Usdan Troupe, Director

Theater

Rob Gallagher

Musical Theater, Director

Theater

Rob Gallagher is an actor and vocalist who relocated to New York from the midwest in 1995 to pursue a career in musical theater. He starred as Javert in the Broadway production of Les Misérables and Emile Debeque in the Broadway revival of South Pacific. He is currently adjunct professor of voice at Long Island University and applied music at Five Towns College, as well as Musical Theater Director at Usdan.

Dan Sussman

Theater Scene and Tech Shop

Theater