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
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.
Director of Education
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. She has taught visual art in schools, organizations, and museums across New York City. Jillian 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.
Dean of Students
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.
Manager of Marketing & Communications
Olivia Wise is in her third year and is Usdan’s Manager of Marketing & Communications. 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.
Facilities Maintenance, Technician
Donor Relations Coordinator
Meryl Weinsaft Cooper
Public Relations and Social Media, Consultant
Stephen Trombetta II
Director of Facilities
Lauren Brandt Schloss
Lauren Brandt Schloss joined Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts in 2015. With her appointment, she became Usdan’s third leader in a half century and the first woman to hold the position. Bringing 20+ years experience in arts education, at the Queens Museum, MoMA, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Lauren is committed to ensuring that Usdan is at the forefront of educational and artistic practices. Ms. Schloss earned a B.A. in art history from Princeton University and an M.A. in arts administration from Columbia University.
Donor Relations Officer
Lafiya Watson Ramirez
Marketing and Communications, Consultant
Senior Director of Student Affairs
Art, Department Co-Chair
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. Following work at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Jodie currently teaches a visual arts in the Copiague School District and co-chairs Usdan’s art department.
Dance, Department Chair
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.
Discovery, Department Chair
Megan Powers is a lifelong Usdanite whose family has been educating at Usdan since the inaugural summer of 1968. She joined the Usdan community as a student in 1996, and since then, has worked as a Counselor in Training and Counselor in the Discovery Department, before proudly stepping into the role of Department Chair in 2017. Megan has her Masters degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education from Long Island University.
Music, Department Chair; and Junior Bands, Conductor
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.