Faculty & Staff
Two smiling art students stand next to the seated ceramics teacher who is working on a pot.
Home / Why Usdan? / Faculty & Staff

Our Faculty & Staff

 

Aaron Korn

Faculty, Instrumental Ensemble

Camp Faculty & Staff

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Alice Clancy

Operations Manager

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Alina Kiryayeva

Faculty, Instrumental Ensemble

Camp Faculty & Staff

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Amalia Drewes

Faculty, Art Adventure

Camp Faculty & Staff

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Amanda Marino

Faculty, Sculpture

Camp Faculty & Staff

Usdan Pink Paint U Icon

Amanda Signorelli

Faculty, Nature, Ecology & Design

Camp Faculty & Staff

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Anna Penny

Faculty, Painting & Drawing

Camp Faculty & Staff

Usdan Pink Paint U Icon

Annie Ewaskio

Faculty, Painting & Drawing

Camp Faculty & Staff

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Benjamin Rabinowitz

Faculty, Vocal Ensemble (Junior)

Camp Faculty & Staff

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Brian Karen

Faculty, Chess

Camp Faculty & Staff

Chess

Carl Ferrara

Faculty, Theater

Camp Faculty & Staff

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Carolyn Popadin

Faculty, Theater

Camp Faculty & Staff

Usdan Theater Comedy Mask Icon

Chelsea Parise

Faculty, Organic Gardening & Sustainability

Camp Faculty & Staff

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Chris Brown

Technical Supervisor

Courtney Kassinger

Transportation Manager

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

David Schecher

Dean of Students

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Diana Crum

Dance, Department Chair

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

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Hawley Hussey

Curriculum Specialist

Year-Round Faculty & Staff, Online Faculty & Staff

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Javan Howard

Writing, Coordinator

Year-Round Faculty & Staff, Online Faculty & Staff

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Jillian Greenberg

Director of Education

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Jim Incorvaia

Theater, Department Chair

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

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Jodie Embleton

Art, Department Co-Chair

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

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Joe Levy, CVE

Chief Operating Officer

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Julio Garcia

Senior Groundskeeper

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Kerry Barnhart

Senior Director of Student Affairs

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Kyra Leeds

Parent Support Senior Associate

Camp Faculty & Staff

Lafiya Watson Ramirez

Marketing and Communications, Consultant

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Lauren Brandt Schloss

Executive Director

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Lauren Kinane

Enrollment Coordinator

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Mark Bligh

Music, Department Chair

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

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Matthew Mantione

Parent Support Staff

Camp Faculty & Staff

Megan Powers

Discovery, Department Chair

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

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Motaz Elzalata

Assistant Controller

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Olivia Wise

Manager of Marketing & Communications

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Stella Shepherd

Donor Relations Coordinator

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Stephen Hodges

Facilities Manager

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Zach Rifkind

Parent Support Staff

Camp Faculty & Staff

Lauren Brandt Schloss

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Executive Director

Administration

Lauren Brandt Schloss Standing next to a windon

Lauren Brandt Schloss joined Usdan 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.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Marketing and Communications, Consultant

Administration

Headshot of a smiling Lafiya Watson.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez is a multidisciplinary artist, web and mixed reality developer, and graphic designer. She began working for Usdan in 2011. Formerly Usdan's Marketing and Communications Coordinator she now brings her talents to Usdan as a consultant. Her work has been used for Vandoren, BET, NPR.org, and countless other publications, websites, and album covers. She has recently begun to pivot to creating Augmented Reality experiences. At the beginning of 2020, she was accepted for the MIT Reality Hackathon and spend a week working with a team to build an AR experience using Nreal glasses. In October 2020, she was chosen for a Snapchat residency and created an AR game based on the game Simon Says. Lafiya continues to work in the realm of Immersive Design focusing on using AR for storytelling in her own work and beyond. 

 

 

Kerry Barnhart

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Senior Director of Student Affairs

Administration

Kerry Barnhart

Kerry Barnhart is a proud alum of Usdan. Here is where she discovered her passion for music and theater as a child, going on to study vocal performance at The George Washington University. After several summers spent in the Usdan administrative office during college, she became part of the year round staff in 2005 as Registrar. Following her work as Registrar, Kerry oversaw student admissions as Director of Admissions, and has now added student affairs and operations as Senior Director of Student Affairs. She is happy to share the magic of Usdan with her son who attends as a student.  

Courtney Kassinger

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Transportation Manager

Administration

Courtney Kassinger

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

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Senior Groundskeeper

Administration

 

Jillian Greenberg

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Director of Education

Administration

Jillian Greenberg

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 M.F.A. from the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London.

David Schecher

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Dean of Students

Administration

David Schecher

Dave Schecher has been a member of Usdan's staff for over thirty years. He is a trombonist, private music instructor, and retired public school teacher. Mr. Schecher is also the Director of The Long Island Brass Guild.

Olivia Wise

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Manager of Marketing & Communications

Administration

Olivia Wise

Olivia joined Usdan’s full time staff in 2017. Formerly Usdan's Admissions Counselor and then Enrollment Coordinator, she now brings her knowledge of Usdan's program and enrollment process to her role of Manager of Marketing & Communications. Raised by a professional muralist and actor, Olivia was exposed to the life-changing power of art making and creativity at a young age. While her expertise lies in administration, Olivia’s personal art making practice includes mixed media collage and cooking. Olivia holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from The New School and has worked for arts and culture organizations in the New York City region since 2011.

Motaz Elzalata

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Assistant Controller

Administration

Motaz Elzalata

Motaz Elzalata joined Usdan in 2017 and has more than 10 years of experience in Accounting and Finance. He began his career as an Internal Revenue Service Agent in in Alexandria, Egypt. After immigrating to the United States in 2013, he became a tax preparer with the Food Bank of New York and then worked as a Staff Accountant at a payroll consulting company in Midtown Manhattan. Motaz earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting & Finance from Alexandria University, Egypt where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He is currently pursuing his CPA license. Motaz resides in Brooklyn with his loving wife, where they are devoted parents to their 3-year-old daughter Nadia and newborn son Zain. 

Stella Shepherd

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Donor Relations Coordinator

Administration

Stella Shepherd

Stella Shepherd is originally from London, United Kingdom. She moved to New York to study Musical Theater and graduated from The New School with a BFA in Musical Theater and Liberal Arts. Prior to working at Usdan, Stella worked at a few non-profit Off-Broadway Theater Companies in their Fundraising departments. At Usdan she is the Donor Relations Coordinator and loves visiting the studios in the summer whenever possible. 

Lauren Kinane

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Enrollment Coordinator

Administration

Lauren Kinane

Lauren Kinane is a clarinetist, educator, and currently serves as the Enrollment Coordinator at Usdan. Prior to becoming the Enrollment Coordinator, Lauren worked with the Leadership Institute and Supervision team, and she spent four summers as a camper at Usdan. Her summers at Usdan inspired her to pursue her passion for clarinet further. Throughout the year Lauren can be heard performing with the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, and she can be found teaching masterclasses and coaching clarinet sections at schools throughout Long Island. She can also be heard on the Massachusetts Chamber Players' album Frank Martin: Music for Winds. Lauren is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Stony Brook University. She also received her Master of Music from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst and her Bachelor of Music from SUNY Fredonia. 

Joe Levy, CVE

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Chief Operating Officer

Administration

Headshot of Joe Levy sitting in Usdan Amphitheater.

Joe Levy joined Usdan’s team in 2021 bringing with him 30 years experience managing, building, and renovating cultural arts organizations, overseeing multi-million dollar operating budgets, extensive physical plant operations, multi-phased construction projects, and safety and security.

Joe’s professional experience includes leading operations and facilities at The National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Harlem’s World Famous Apollo Theater, Kaufman Center, Jack Morton Worldwide, The Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival, and the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. Levy was also owner and operator of Radiant Construction; a contracting, construction management, and capital project consultancy committed to green-building practices.

Levy is the current chair of the Venue Safety and Security Committee for IAVM, which serves over 7,000 members worldwide. He received the Chair’s Citation at the 2017 annual IAVM conference and his Certified Venue Executive designation in 2018.

Alice Clancy

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Operations Manager

Administration

Headshot of Alice Clancy.

Alice first joined Usdan in 2019 as the Festival and Gala Stage Manager. As a child, Alice was a serious saxophone player, and jumped from the pit to the wings in the early years of high school. She continued her study of theater at SUNY Fredonia, graduating with a degree in scenic design. Her nearly 30-year career as a stage and production manager has taken her to Santa Fe, Utah, a million hole-in-the wall theaters in Manhattan, NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, and Harlem's World Famous Apollo Theater. She is thrilled to return to her roots of music, playing with tools, and running around in the woods in her first official role in an Operations Department. Alice is the proud mother of three budding artists and engineers, lucky wife of a second career Social Studies teacher, and dedicated student (and soon to be teacher!) of yoga.

Stephen Hodges

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Facilities Manager

Administration

Stephen joined the year-round Usdan staff in April of 2021. He has 30 years experience in construction and maintenance; from the Rebirth of lower Harlem, as a project manager, to a classically trained "chippie" (carpenter) in London England. Stephen is the father of two young men, the eldest of which is a Usdan alum.

Chris Brown

Technical Supervisor

Administration

Kyra Leeds

Camp Faculty & Staff

Parent Support Senior Associate

Administration

Matthew Mantione

Camp Faculty & Staff

Parent Support Staff

Administration

Smiling man with glasses in a suit.

A New York native, Matthew has been involved with Usdan for the majority of his life. Starting in 2004 as a camper, Matthew attended Usdan as a student for 11 years studying music and the trombone. Concluding his tenure as a “Usdanite”, Matthew sought to pursue music performance professionally and now holds a B.M. from Purchase College Conservatory and an M.M. from The Mannes School of Music. Currently, Matthew is pursuing an advanced degree from Hunter College studying Music Education. When Usdan is not in session, Matthew balances a full-time schedule of school, performing, music administration and teaching. During his free time, Matthew enjoys the sport of Archery in which he holds a coaching certification. When he is not in the office, Matthew is frequently seen on Usdan’s Archery range. Matthew will also tell you how the New York Mets are doing this season as he is an avid baseball fan!

Zach Rifkind

Camp Faculty & Staff

Parent Support Staff

Administration

Headshot of Zach.

After attending Usdan as a student, Zach joined the staff in 2017 and has served in Administration and the Music Department. Zach is a multi-instrumentalist, primarily focusing on Saxophone and Clarinet. Zach's favorite styles to perform include Jazz, Rock, and Classical and he regularly performs with Jazz Ensembles and Pit Orchestras. During the school year, Zach is the director of bands at Lynbrook North Middle School in the Lynbrook School District. Zach holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education and a Master of Arts in Education with Honors from the Hostra University Honors College. Zach is an avid distance runner. 

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Annie Ewaskio

Camp Faculty & Staff

Faculty, Painting & Drawing

Art

Headshot Annie

Annie has an MFA from Hunter College, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She has participated in solo and group shows at spaces including Elijah Wheat Showroom, NADA FAIR, Orgy Park, Underdonk, GP Presents, AIR Gallery, and Temporary Agency (New York), Zolla/Lieberman (Chicago), Boehm Gallery (San Diego), Current Space, Metro Gallery (Baltimore), The Institute Library (New Haven), Miami University (Oxford), Texas Christian University (Fort Worth), Moncton University (Canada), and Salamanca Arts Centre (Australia). Her oil paintings investigate strange happenings in a supernatural Arctic land of past, present and future, so she has done research in Alaska and Svalbard, Norway. She started teaching at Usdan in 2018, and helped create Usdan’s online programming during the pandemic. She is excited to get back to the woods of Usdan!

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Jodie Embleton

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Art, Department Co-Chair

Art

Jodie Embleton

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 visual art in the Copiague School District and co-chairs Usdan’s Art Department.

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Hawley Hussey

Year-Round Faculty & Staff, Online Faculty & Staff

Curriculum Specialist

Art

Hawley Hussey

Hawley Hussey is an artist who is working between the visual, the written word, and the performing arts. Throughout her career she has engaged in diverse mediums including painting, printmaking, small press publications, artists books, sculpture and installation. Hawley got her BFA from The University of Massachusetts in Amherst and her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Art where she has presented as Workshop Faculty for the Masters Program in Art and Design Education. Hawley served as Education Coordinator and Director of Contemporary Art Education at BRIC Arts Media and as an Art Education Mentor for the New York State Council on the Arts. Hawley is proudly a co-founder of the arts integrated high school, Bronx Envision Academy and she is also a founding member of the Park Avenue Armory Artists Corps where she remains active as a Teaching Artist. Hawley is a contemporary art education activist engaging recent immigrants and special needs students in immersive art laboratories that she builds and calls the HH:ArtLab. 

Hawley has been working as Usdan's Curriculum Specialist since the beginning 2020 and played an integral role in the development of Usdan Online. 

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Amalia Drewes

Camp Faculty & Staff

Faculty, Art Adventure

Art

Headshot of Amalia.

Amalia Drewes is a Mixed Media Artist, a lover of nature, and a spiritual explorer. Amalia graduated from Parsons School of Design, The New School in 2015 with a BFA in Illustration. Over the last few years Amalia has continued to add new creations to her portfolio, operating as a freelancer and graphic designer and one of her biggest joys was becoming a teacher of Reggio and nature-based learning at Spark Elementary. Amalia started online teaching Mixed Media Exploration at Usdan in 2020 and also had the pleasure of attending camp as a young girl, starting when she was in 3rd grade. Her summers at Usdan were some of the best memories of her life. She is very excited to be on the campgrounds this year and can't wait to see what magic awaits us!

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Amanda Marino

Camp Faculty & Staff

Faculty, Sculpture

Art

Headshot of Amanda

Amanda has been with Usdan in some capacity since 1993. Amanda started as a camper, became a counselor, and graduated on to teaching. During the year, Amanda works as a high school art teacher - teaching the art of drawing, painting, and sculpture.  She received her undergraduate degree in Art Education from Buffalo State College and her masters degree in Oil Painting from Long Island University.  In her own work, Amanda works mostly in oil paint and colored pencil focusing mostly on portraiture. She is very excited to be back at Usdan teaching Sculpture for another exciting summer.

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Anna Penny

Camp Faculty & Staff

Faculty, Painting & Drawing

Art

Headshot Anna

Anna started at Usdan as a Photography teaching assistant and 2021 will mark her first season as a lead teacher in the Art Department. She considers herself an "art nerd" and loves creating things using many different mediums including painting, printmaking, bookmaking, and more. Anna is currently an art teacher at Bay Shore Middle School and has four cats at home. She cannot wait to meet her students this summer. 

Chess

Brian Karen

Camp Faculty & Staff

Faculty, Chess

Chess

Headshot Brian

Brian is ranked within the top 3% of tournament chess players by the United States Chess Federation (USCF) and Federation Internationale Des Échecs (FIDE). Brian has been awarded the Candidate Master Title. Brian has directed the Usdan Chess program since 1997. Brian founded and conducts chess programs across Long Island as a full time chess teacher, tournament director and organizer. Brian founded and administrates chess groups on social media encompassing over 100,000 members and was hired by IBM to give web commentary during the famous Deeper Blue – Kasparov match.  

Brian was elected by chess instructors from across the United States to the USCF Scholastic Council. This is a five-person body that manages National Scholastic events and regulations involving thousands of children across the United States. 

Brian Received a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University.

 

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Javan Howard

Year-Round Faculty & Staff, Online Faculty & Staff

Writing, Coordinator

Creative Writing

Javan Howard

Javan Howard is a poet and writer from the Bronx. He believes that the lived experience is the ultimate teaching tool and uses poetry as a social forum to foster discourse about love, culture, and identity. He currently is the Tap lead mentor for Teaching Artist Project at Community-Word Project. He is also a teacher at Teachers & Writers Collaborative. He has also facilitated for The New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Voices UnBroken, The GO Project, and others.  Howard participates in open mic events under the moniker "@RighteousTPoet." His work has been featured online at Black Heart Magazine and Brooklyn Stories Vol. 13. He has read his work at The HBO Shop, The Inspired Word Reading Series, Lamprophonic, The Dead Rabbits Reading Series, and more. Javan joined Usdan's faculty in 2018. For more: www.Javanjhoward.com

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Diana Crum

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Dance, Department Chair

Dance

Diana Crum

Diana Crum works at the intersection of dance and education. She currently serves as Program Director for Movement Research’s Dance Makers in the Schools and teaches dance in NYC and NJ public schools with ArtsConnection, Brooklyn Arts Council and New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Her choreography has been presented in New York, Atlanta, Mexico, and across Europe. Recent honors and awards include Brooklyn Studios for Dance Artist in Residence position (2018), Su-CASA artist residency (2017), and Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant (2015). Diana started at Usdan in 2018, where she enjoys dancing in the woods with young people.

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Megan Powers

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Discovery, Department Chair

Discovery

Megan Powers

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.

 

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Benjamin Rabinowitz

Camp Faculty & Staff

Faculty, Vocal Ensemble (Junior)

Music

Benjamin began working at Usdan in 2010 and has covered many different positions at the camp, most recently and returning as the Junior Vocal Ensemble Director. Benjamin holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia, and a master’s degree in Music Education from Kent State University. Benjamin studied voice and is a passionate performer. When not working at Usdan, Benjamin teaches 6 through 8th grade chorus in Webster, New York. Benjamin is excited to get back on the Usdan grounds and make some wonderful music once again. One fun fact about him is that he is a die hard Mets fan and will love anyone instantly who shares the same fandom.

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Mark Bligh

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Music, Department Chair

Music

Mark Bligh

Mark Bligh is the director of the Denton Ave Elementary Band (Herricks UFSD, New Hyde Park, NY) where he teaches winds, brass and percussion for grades 3-5.  The Denton Ave Band regularly attends NYSSMA Majors and consistently earns Gold and Gold with Distinction honors.  

Mark Bligh is a graduate of the Esther Boyer College of Music at Temple University where he received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education with Honors. He received a Master of Arts from Stony Brook University.  Mr. Bligh was published in Scholastic for his contributions in an article entitled, “10 Best Musical Apps for Kids”. Mark has been honored to conduct the Winds, Brass and Percussion sectional for the NYSSMA All-State Symphonic Orchestra.  Mark was privileged to conduct the 2018 SCMEA Division 1 Central All-County Band and the 2019 WCSMA All-County Elementary Band.  Mr. Bligh has performed with the Long Island Wind Ensemble, Atlantic Wind Symphony, Northwinds Symphonic Band as well as various chamber ensembles.  Mark is the current Music Department Chair at Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts where he has worked since 2005.

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Aaron Korn

Camp Faculty & Staff

Faculty, Instrumental Ensemble

Music

Headshot of Aaron

Aaron Korn has been teaching at Usdan since 2009. Aaron is an active New York freelancer, playing on Broadway shows and as a member of the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra. Aaron has previously held positions with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, in Israel, as well as the Allentown and Princeton Symphony Orchestras. Aaron has performed with artists of all different genres including Carrie Underwood, Kanye West, MGMT, Frank Sinatra Junior, and many others. He can be heard on many movie soundtracks including the recent releases of “The Joker” and “Gemini Man”. Mr. Korn is on faculty at The Juilliard School Music Advancement Program. Aaron received his BM from the Manhattan School of Music and his MM from the Yale  School of Music. Aaron was a student at Usdan many years ago!

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Alina Kiryayeva

Camp Faculty & Staff

Faculty, Instrumental Ensemble

Music

Headshot of Alina.

Alina is excited to join Usdan's Music Department as a faculty member for the first time this summer. Alina is a professional concert pianist and chamber musician best known for her innovative approach to presentation of classical music and superb command of her instrument. Alina has performed in over a dozen countries with venues and collaborations including the Kharkov State Philharmonic and State Opera Theatre Orchestras, The Imperial Valley Symphony Orchestra, the New York Symphonic Ensemble Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, the Morse Recital Hall, the Concerto Takes Manhattan Series at Yamaha Hall, the Smithsonian Museum and Library of Congress. 

Alina has released two albums including “Sonatas” and “Moving Pictures”. She is one of few classical pianists that completed both Bachelor and Master degrees at The Juilliard School of Music on full scholarship; and was also awarded the Fannie Gottlieb-Harkavi Scholarship and Susan Rose Piano Scholarship. Her awards include top prizes in Senigallia International Competition, the Grace Welsh International Competition and the California Young Artist International Competition. Kiryayeva has been honored by Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, with the State Award for Achievements in Arts. 

In addition to her performing and teaching career, in 2020 she a Doctoral degree from The City University of New York upon completion of research on the relationship between classical and popular music. 

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Chelsea Parise

Camp Faculty & Staff

Faculty, Organic Gardening & Sustainability

Nature & Sustainability

Headshot chelsea

Chelsea is very excited to make 2021 her first year in the garden with Usdan! She loves all things at the intersection of plants and people, especially farming, public park horticulture, and botanic natural history. Previously, Chelsea worked in horticulture at the High Line and Riverside Park Conservancy, and with scientific plant collections at Boston’s Arnold Arboretum and Harvard University Herbaria. Chelsea’s favorite form of art practice is drawing plant doodles, which utilizes active close looking to counteract “plant green blindness.” When not gardening, she is pursuing a master’s degree in geography investigating how urban forests reflect their neighborhoods, creating site-specific “novel ecosystems.” Fun facts about Chelsea: her work with botany collections includes a 100-year-old tortilla, mushrooms that turn caterpillars into zombies, and Henry David Thoreau’s plants from Walden Pond!

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Amanda Signorelli

Camp Faculty & Staff

Faculty, Nature, Ecology & Design

Nature & Sustainability

Headshot of Amanda

Amanda began teaching at Usdan for the 2018 summer season. Her personal artmaking includes incorporating mixed media and natural objects for collage, photography and altered image making, ceramics, illustration and painting. Art and nature are her true passions and she is so excited to be returning to Usdan this summer! During the rest of the year, Amanda loves teaching elementary art for a local Long Island school and teaches students from kindergarten through fifth grade. She graduated with her master's degree in art education from Adelphi University and has been teaching art since 2009. Amanda loves mint chocolate chip ice cream, her family, and her silly dog Goji! Her son is super excited to be joining the Usdan family this year as a first-time camper.

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Jim Incorvaia

Year-Round Faculty & Staff

Theater, Department Chair

Theater

Jim Incorvaia

Jim Incorvaia is a producer, actor, director and theater administrator who has been a member of Usdan’s Theater faculty since the summer of 1990.  As Theater chairperson, Jim plans and oversees the camp’s summer theatrical season. He works to ensure all our theater students experience what some former campers describe as “the marriage of summer stock and day camp.” After thirty summer seasons, Jim has produced more than two hundred Usdan shows. He has directed a number of events for the camp including the 50th Anniversary Gala concert and Usdan's recent live virtual programs “Under The Lights” and "Usdan Happy Hours.” Jim is the founder of the consultancy group, On Stage Strategies.

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Carl Ferrara

Camp Faculty & Staff

Faculty, Theater

Theater

Headshot Carl J. Ferrara

Carl taught at Usdan from 2003 to 2004, and returned to the Theater Department in 2019. A songwriter and composer, he has written two musicals, several songs and choral works. He has been Music Director for theatrical productions and cabarets across Long Island and NYC; including CAP, Broadhollow, Kids 4 Kids and South Shore Theatre Experience.

Carl has been a music educator for close to 30 years. He is an alumnus of the Crane School of Music and SUNY Stony Brook, with degrees in Music Education. He is a member of NYSSMA, SCMEA, and NAfME. Currently, he is teaching in the Amityville School District

Carl has been conductor of the Silver Chords, a community chorus in Smithtown since 2014. This year, they will celebrate their 40th anniversary season. He is also the Music Director for Setauket United Methodist Church, served as Associate Music Director for L.I. Voices, and has sung with the Brookhaven Choral Festival.

Carl loves to grill outdoors during the summer, and is looking forward to relaxing outside in nature.

 

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Carolyn Popadin

Camp Faculty & Staff

Faculty, Theater

Theater

Carolyn began in Usdan’s Theater Department in the summer of 1997. She had a few gap years when her children were young and returned in 2013. During the year she is a New York-based teaching artist, director and performer. She brings her love of theater to students throughout Long Island and Brooklyn directing school musicals and incorporating theater arts into class curriculums.

Carolyn began her theater education at Brooklyn College and then studied arts administration at NYU. This eventually led her to acceptance in the professional acting program with the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, UK. She has toured the US with the National Theatre for the Performing Arts and has appeared in numerous east coast, regional, and Off-Off Broadway productions. Carolyn is the proud mom of two teenage girls who loved taking classes in Usdan’s Dance Department.