Faculty and Staff
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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

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Abigail Hesselton

Archery, Assistant Teacher

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Al Chiavaro

Facilities Maintenance, Technician

Alanis Vulpis

Sculpture, Assistant Teacher

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Alex Della Ratta

Band, Senior Assistant to the Conductor

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Alexa Finkelstein

Painting and Discovery, Assistant Teacher

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Alice Clancy

Festival and Gala Stage Manager

Alicia Thompson

West African Fusion, Lead Teacher

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Alycia Williams

Gaga and Basketball, Assistant Teacher

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Amanda Signorelli

Nature, Ecology and Design, Lead Teacher

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Amelia Dombrowski

Theater, Costumer

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Amrom Svay

Jazz Ensemble, Assistant to the Conductor

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Andre Feliciano

Sustainable Art, Lead Teacher

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Andrew Ranaudo

Piano, Lead Teacher

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Andrew Steinberg

Saxophone, Lead Teacher

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Anna Penny

Photography, Assistant Teacher

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Annie Ewaskio

Painting and Drawing, Lead Teacher

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Annie Levine

Theater, Assistant Costumer

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Anthony Amico

Director of Facilities

Anthony Renna

Chess, Lead Teacher

Anthony Romeo

Archery, Lead Teacher

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Bailey Whitney

Sewing and Fashion Production, Lead Teacher

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Barbara Morse

Dance, Costumer

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Benjamin Prisamt

Archery, Assistant Teacher

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Benjamin Rabinowitz

Junior Chorus, Conductor

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Boris Deviatov

Viola, Lead Teacher

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Brian Karen

Chess, Lead Teacher

Brianna Brickman

Junior Chorus, Accompanist

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Carl Ferrara

Musical Theater, Musical Director

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Carol Prisamt

Musical Theater, Director

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Carolyn Popadin

Musical Theater, Musical Director

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Cheryl Dobres

Lego Design, Assistant Teacher

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Chris Vivas

Sculpture and Cosplay, Lead Teacher

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Christina Pawl

Theater, Choreographer

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Christine Roepken

Animation and Comic Art, Lead Teacher

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Christopher Drobny

Musical Theater, Musical Director

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Cindy Giron

Music, Department Coordinator

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Cindy Mcglynn

Nature, Ecology, and Design, Lead Teacher

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Claire Ezratty

Orchestra, Assistant Teacher

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Courtney Kassinger

Transportation Manager

Courtney Surmanek

Open Studio and Painting, Lead Teacher

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Cristalina DeNicola

Ceramics, Lead Teacher

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Dan Sussman

Theater, Scene and Tech Shop

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Dana Neger-Lagos

Metalsmithing, Lead Teacher

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David Lake

Tennis, Lead Teacher

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David Schecher

Senior Bands, Conductor

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David Schecher

Dean of Students

David Surface

Creative Writing, Lead Teacher

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Diana Crum

Dance, Department Chair

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Diana Foronda

Photography, Assistant Teacher

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Dolores Sanchez

Tap, Lead Teacher

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Donald Sherman

Low Brass, Lead Teacher

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Dylan Bartlett

Theater, Scene and Tech Shop

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Edna Gruvman

Yoga, Lead Teacher

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Elizabeth Jeffery

Musical Theater, Musical Director

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Elizabeth Rus

Art Adventure, Senior Assistant

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Elizabeth Scanello

Registered Nurse

Emily Halper

Sculpture, Assistant Teacher

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Emily Llewellyn

Nature, Ecology, and Design, Assistant Teacher

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Ethan Usoskin

Band, Assistant Teacher

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Eugene Rossi

Theater, Scene and Tech Shop

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Garrett Weinstein

Comic Art, Assistant Teacher

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Gráinne Josaphat

Aquatics, Director

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Jackie Eggleton

Photography, Lead Teacher

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Jaclyn Brautigam

Sewing and Fashion Production, Lead Teacher

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Jacqueline Selesky

Hip Hop, Lead Teacher

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Jada O'Neal

Dance, Assistant Teacher

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Jaden Nogee

Welcome Center Manager

James Beneduce

Musical Theater, Director

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James Crichton

Musical Theater, Director

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James Incorvaia

Theater, Department Chair

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James Labrosse

Guitar and Ukulele, Lead Teacher

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Jared Peer

Sculpture and Cosplay, Lead Teacher

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Jasmin Smith

Student Supervision Assistant Teacher

Jason Keichline

Ceramics, Assistant Teacher

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Javan Howard

Creative Writing, Lead Teacher

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Jeffrey Hoffman

Musical Theater, Musical Director

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Jessica Azenberg

Tap, Lead Teacher

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Jessica Blair Lukasik

Broadway Jazz, Lead Teacher

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Jillian Davis

Photography, Assistant Teacher

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Jillian Greenberg

Director of Education

Jodie Embelton

Art, Department Co-Chair

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Joe Beganskas

Chess, Assistant

Joel Salman

Chess, Lead Teacher

John T. Harris

Painting and Discovery, Lead Teacher

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John Viviani

Percussion, Assistant

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Jordan Hue

Musical Theater, Director

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Jordan Williams

Video Game Art and Design, Lead Teacher

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Julia Forrest

Photography, Lead Teacher

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Julio Garcia

Senior Groundskeeper

Kageki Nagao

Junior Orchestra, Conductor; and Bass, Lead Teacher

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Karen Lehman DiMartino

Senior Choruses, Conductor

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Karina Aristy

Gaga and Basketball, Lead Teacher

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Karine Falleni

Painting and Drawing, Lead Teacher

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Kate Stocker

Absolute Beginner Strings, Lead Teacher

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Kathleen Mikolajczak

Art, Senior Assistant Teacher

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Kayleigh Junz

Discovery, Counselor

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Kelly Schulte-Smith

Lego Design, Lead Teacher

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Ken Gilbert

Theater, Scene and Tech Shop

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Kennedy Burgess

Discovery, Counselor

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Kerry Barnhart

Student Affairs, Senior Director

Kimaada Le Gendre

Chair, Student Leadership and Supervision

Krista Biedenbach

Painting and Life Drawing, Lead Teacher

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Kyra Leeds

Office Staff

Lafiya Watson Ramirez

Marketing and Communications, Consultant

Laura Mara

Discovery, Counselor

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Lauren Brandt Schloss

Executive Director

Leighann Martone

Metalsmithing, Assistant Teacher

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Les Dweir

Musical Theater, Musical Director

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Lila Pollack

Violin, Lead Teacher

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Lindsay Smilow

Donor Relations Officer

Lindsey Dannenberg

Painting, Assistant Teacher

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Lisa Morabito

Discovery, Counselor

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Lorene Bouboushian

Discovery, Lead Teacher

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Madeline Mirenda

Discovery, Counselor

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Marcos Flores

Junior Groundskeeper

Mariah Seignious

Painting and Discovery, Assistant Teacher

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Marilyn Lehman

Piano and Choral Coordinator, Piano Accompanist

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Marion Spencer

Choreographic Institute, Choreographer

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Mark Bligh

Music, Department Chair; and Junior Bands, Conductor

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Megan Powers

Discovery, Department Chair

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Megan Sadlon

Discovery, Counselor

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Melissa Barnett

Discovery, Counselor

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Meryl Weinsaft Cooper

Public Relations and Social Media, Consultant

Michael Blutman

Trumpet, Lead Teacher

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Michael Janover

Musical Theater, Musical Director

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Michael LaMarca

Quidditch, Assistant Teacher

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Michelle LaPorte

Flute, Lead Teacher

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Mike Schwendemann

Usdan Troupe, Director

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Molly Conklin

Ballet and Dance Adventure, Contemporary, Assistant

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Morgan Hartley

Discovery, Lead Teacher

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Motaz Elzalata

Senior Accountant

Nell Flanders

Senior Orchestra, Conductor

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Nicholas Coacci

Archery, Assistant Teacher

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Noah Ruff

Discovery, Counselor

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Oliver Valle

Architecture and Designing with Minecraft, Lead Teacher

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Olivia Wise

Enrollment and Admissions, Coordinator

Oscar Amaya

Facilities Manager

Oscar Martinez

Music Librarian

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Patrick Armann

Percussion, Lead Teacher

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Patrick Wrynn

Discovery, Counselor

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Paula Berardinelli

Piano, Lead Teacher

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Peter Downey

Discovery, Counselor

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Rachel Mazur

Ballet and Dance Adventure, Lead Teacher

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Rebecca Vecchio

Art, Assistant to the Department Chair

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Richard Blake

Band, Assistant Teacher

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Rita Broughton

Theater, Scenic Design

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Rob Gallagher

Musical Theater, Director

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Robert Spahn

Chess, Assistant Teacher

Sadie Pincus

Discovery, Assistant Teacher

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Sally Cappy

Registered Nurse

Sally Eckhoff

Animation and Comic Art, Senior Assistant

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Sam Dillon

Jazz Ensemble, Conductor

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Sari Sharaby

Finance and Operations, Senior Director

Sean Clark

Aquatics, Lead Teacher

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Shane Helfner

Oboe, Lead Teacher

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Shannon Haselton

Orchestra, Senior Assistant to the Conductor

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Sherry Kfare

Theater, Costumer

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Sibel Kececioglu

Art Adventure, Lead Teacher

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Sofia Notar-Francesco

Discovery, Counselor

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Sonya Derman

Art Adventure, Lead Teacher

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Stella Shepherd

Donor Relations Associate

Steve Ficurilli

Quidditch, Lead Teacher

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Steve Finkelstein

Nature, Ecology and Design, Lead Teacher

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Steven Alexander

Junior Chorus, Assistant to the Conductor

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Steven Estes

Nature, Ecology, and Design, Assistant Teacher

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Sue Lehr

Cello, Lead Teacher

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Susan Conte

Painting and Discovery, Lead Teacher

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Taylor Cohen

Painting, Assistant Teacher

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Thomas Brody

Double Bass, Assistant Teacher

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Tyler Moore

Tennis, Lead Teacher

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Tymberly Canale

Dance, Assistant to the Department Chair

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Valerie Sciara

Usdan Troupe, Musical Director

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Warren Bloom

Musical Theater, Musical Director

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Zac Selissen

Guitar and Rock Band, Lead Teacher

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Kyra Leeds

Office Staff

Kimaada Le Gendre

Chair, Student Leadership and Supervision

Administration

Lindsay Smilow

Donor Relations Officer

Administration

Alice Clancy

Festival and Gala Stage Manager

Administration

Marcos Flores

Junior Groundskeeper

Administration

Lafiya Watson Ramirez

Marketing and Communications, Consultant

Administration

Al Chiavaro

Facilities Maintenance, Technician

Administration

Kerry Barnhart

Student Affairs, Senior Director

Administration

Oscar Amaya

Facilities Manager

Administration

Anthony Amico

Director of Facilities

Administration

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. 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.

Sally Cappy

Registered Nurse

Administration

Lauren Brandt Schloss

Executive Director

Administration

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.

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

Enrollment and Admissions, Coordinator

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.

Stella Shepherd

Donor Relations Associate

Administration

Motaz Elzalata

Senior Accountant

Administration

Jasmin Smith

Student Supervision Assistant Teacher

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.

Jaden Nogee

Welcome Center 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.

Sari Sharaby

Finance and Operations, Senior Director

Administration

Meryl Weinsaft Cooper

Public Relations and Social Media, Consultant

Administration

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Alexa Finkelstein

Painting and Discovery, Assistant Teacher

Art

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Mariah Seignious

Painting and Discovery, Assistant Teacher

Art

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Jason Keichline

Ceramics, Assistant Teacher

Art

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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.

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Lindsey Dannenberg

Painting, Assistant Teacher

Art

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Bailey Whitney

Sewing and Fashion Production, Lead Teacher

Art

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Anna Penny

Photography, Assistant Teacher

Art

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Jillian Davis

Photography, Assistant Teacher

Art

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Diana Foronda

Photography, Assistant Teacher

Art

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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.

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Cheryl Dobres

Lego Design, Assistant Teacher

Art

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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.

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Rebecca Vecchio

Art, Assistant to the Department Chair

Art

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Sonya Derman

Art Adventure, Lead Teacher

Art

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John T. Harris

Painting and Discovery, Lead Teacher

Art

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Jaclyn Brautigam

Sewing and Fashion Production, Lead Teacher

Art

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Kathleen Mikolajczak

Art, Senior Assistant Teacher

Art

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Jordan Williams

Video Game Art and Design, Lead Teacher

Art

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Alanis Vulpis

Sculpture, Assistant Teacher

Art

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Abigail Hesselton

Archery, Assistant Teacher

Art

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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.

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Jackie Eggleton

Photography, Lead Teacher

Art

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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. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Susan Conte

Painting and Discovery, Lead Teacher

Art

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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.

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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.

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Sibel Kececioglu

Art Adventure, Lead Teacher

Art

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Sally Eckhoff

Animation and Comic Art, Senior Assistant

Art

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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.

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Taylor Cohen

Painting, Assistant Teacher

Art

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Elizabeth Rus

Art Adventure, Senior Assistant

Art

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Garrett Weinstein

Comic Art, Assistant Teacher

Art

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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.

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Emily Halper

Sculpture, Assistant Teacher

Art

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Leighann Martone

Metalsmithing, Assistant Teacher

Art

Joe Beganskas

Chess, Assistant

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.

Anthony Renna

Chess, Lead Teacher

Chess

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.

Robert Spahn

Chess, Assistant Teacher

Chess

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David Surface

Creative Writing, Lead Teacher

Creative Writing

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Javan Howard

Creative Writing, Lead Teacher

Creative Writing

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Lorene Bouboushian

Discovery, Lead Teacher

Dance

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Marion Spencer

Choreographic Institute, Choreographer

Dance

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Molly Conklin

Ballet and Dance Adventure, Contemporary, Assistant

Dance

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Barbara Morse

Dance, Costumer

Dance

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Dolores Sanchez

Tap, Lead Teacher

Dance

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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.

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Jada O'Neal

Dance, Assistant Teacher

Dance

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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.

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Alicia Thompson

West African Fusion, Lead Teacher

Dance

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Jessica Blair Lukasik

Broadway Jazz, Lead Teacher

Dance

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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.

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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.

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Tymberly Canale

Dance, Assistant to the Department Chair

Dance

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Patrick Wrynn

Discovery, Counselor

Discovery

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Peter Downey

Discovery, Counselor

Discovery

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Sadie Pincus

Discovery, Assistant Teacher

Discovery

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Laura Mara

Discovery, Counselor

Discovery

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Sofia Notar-Francesco

Discovery, Counselor

Discovery

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Lisa Morabito

Discovery, Counselor

Discovery

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Kayleigh Junz

Discovery, Counselor

Discovery

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Noah Ruff

Discovery, Counselor

Discovery

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Kennedy Burgess

Discovery, Counselor

Discovery

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Madeline Mirenda

Discovery, Counselor

Discovery

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Megan Powers

Discovery, Department Chair

Discovery

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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Megan Sadlon

Discovery, Counselor

Discovery

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Melissa Barnett

Discovery, Counselor

Discovery

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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.

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Brianna Brickman

Junior Chorus, Accompanist

Music

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Richard Blake

Band, Assistant Teacher

Music

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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.

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John Viviani

Percussion, Assistant

Music

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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.

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Ethan Usoskin

Band, Assistant Teacher

Music

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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.

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Thomas Brody

Double Bass, Assistant Teacher

Music

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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. 

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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.

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Steven Alexander

Junior Chorus, Assistant to the Conductor

Music

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Kageki Nagao

Junior Orchestra, Conductor; and Bass, Lead Teacher

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. 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 and High School, and serves as Double Bass Instructor and Orchestra Director at Usdan.

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Benjamin Rabinowitz

Junior Chorus, Conductor

Music

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Karen Lehman DiMartino

Senior Choruses, Conductor

Music

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Marilyn Lehman

Piano and Choral Coordinator, Piano Accompanist

Music

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Morgan Hartley

Discovery, Lead Teacher

Music

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Nell Flanders

Senior Orchestra, Conductor

Music

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Mark Bligh

Music, Department Chair; and Junior Bands, Conductor

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.

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Donald Sherman

Low Brass, Lead Teacher

Music

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Sam Dillon

Jazz Ensemble, Conductor

Music

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Patrick Armann

Percussion, Lead Teacher

Music

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Shane Helfner

Oboe, Lead Teacher

Music

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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).

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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.

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Kate Stocker

Absolute Beginner Strings, Lead Teacher

Music

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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.

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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.

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Oscar Martinez

Music Librarian

Music

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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.

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Shannon Haselton

Orchestra, Senior Assistant to the Conductor

Music

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Alex Della Ratta

Band, Senior Assistant to the Conductor

Music

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Carl Ferrara

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Music

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Claire Ezratty

Orchestra, Assistant Teacher

Music

Claire Ezratty is a current student at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, studying Music Education with concentrations in cello and classical guitar. She has performed and worked in many orchestral programs, including the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York, New York State Summer School for the Arts, the Crane Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, as well as various string festivals on Long Island. Claire gives lessons on beginner cello and guitar with her private music instruction studio and performs avidly in both areas.

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Michelle LaPorte

Flute, Lead Teacher

Music

As a performer, educator, and world chamber music advocate, Michelle LaPorte tours extensively as flutist/founding member of the award-winning flute and guitar ensemble, Serenade Duo. She is an acclaimed Miyazawa Flutes Performing Artist, Centaur Recording Artist, and is the Professor of Flute at Suffolk County Community College in New York. She also maintains a private teaching studio, Serenade Music Academy, located in Saint James. She is happy to be a part of the creative team at Usdan! 

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Lila Pollack

Violin, Lead Teacher

Music

Lila Pollack is a NYC based violinist. She made her solo debut at eight years old. Since then she has performed  at venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and in countries outside the U.S. including Spain, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Wales, China and Holland.  She received a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from the Eastman School of Music, and graduated from the Royal Academy of Music (UK) with a Masters degree in violin performance. There she earned her licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music (LRAM) teaching certificate and was awarded first place of the Wolfe Wolfinsohn Prize 2011. As well, she has completed the two-year Suzuki certification program at School for Strings. Ms. Pollack is on faculty at Avenues: The World School for Lower and Upper School as both strings teacher and Private Music Lessons Coordinator.

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David Schecher

Senior Bands, Conductor

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.

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Andre Feliciano

Sustainable Art, Lead Teacher

Nature & Sustainability

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Steve Finkelstein

Nature, Ecology and Design, Lead Teacher

Nature & Sustainability

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.

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Emily Llewellyn

Nature, Ecology, and Design, Assistant Teacher

Nature & Sustainability

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.

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Amanda Signorelli

Nature, Ecology and Design, Lead Teacher

Nature & Sustainability

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, she uses Usdan’s campus to connect her students to the artistic beauty in nature.

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Cindy Mcglynn

Nature, Ecology, and Design, Lead Teacher

Nature & Sustainability

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Steven Estes

Nature, Ecology, and Design, Assistant Teacher

Nature & Sustainability

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David Lake

Tennis, Lead Teacher

Recreational Arts

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Edna Gruvman

Yoga, Lead Teacher

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.

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Steve Ficurilli

Quidditch, Lead Teacher

Recreational Arts

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Benjamin Prisamt

Archery, Assistant Teacher

Recreational Arts

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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.

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Nicholas Coacci

Archery, Assistant Teacher

Recreational Arts

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Alycia Williams

Gaga and Basketball, Assistant Teacher

Recreational Arts

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Sean Clark

Aquatics, Lead Teacher

Recreational Arts

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Michael LaMarca

Quidditch, Assistant Teacher

Recreational Arts

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Tyler Moore

Tennis, Lead Teacher

Recreational Arts

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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

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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.

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Dan Sussman

Theater, Scene and Tech Shop

Theater

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Les Dweir

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Theater

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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.

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James Beneduce

Musical Theater, Director

Theater

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Christopher Drobny

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Theater

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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.

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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.

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Christina Pawl

Theater, 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.

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Eugene Rossi

Theater, Scene and Tech Shop

Theater

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Valerie Sciara

Usdan Troupe, Musical Director

Theater

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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.

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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.
 

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Annie Levine

Theater, Assistant Costumer

Theater

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Jeffrey Hoffman

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Theater

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Amelia Dombrowski

Theater, Costumer

Theater

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Jordan Hue

Musical Theater, Director

Theater

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Elizabeth Jeffery

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Theater

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Ken Gilbert

Theater, Scene and Tech Shop

Theater

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Dylan Bartlett

Theater, Scene and Tech Shop

Theater

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Sherry Kfare

Theater, Costumer

Theater

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Rita Broughton

Theater, 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.

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Mike Schwendemann

Usdan Troupe, Director

Theater

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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.

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Warren Bloom

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Theater