Meet our instructors and coaches!
You definitely understand child development and the variable paths that your students will take. I think you can equally teach students who want to become concert pianists or merely develop their hobby. Mary Weatherington, Parent
Patsy Rabinowitz is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music with a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati of the College Conservatory of Music where she was a recipient of a Van Cliburn Scholarship. She studied with David Bar-Illan and Bela Siki and has taught privately for 40 plus years. She has appeared as soloist with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and was named Ohio Music Teacher of the Year for 2005-2006 by the Ohio Music Teachers Association. She has served as the president of the Ohio Music Teachers Association, Southwest District, and has served on the executive board of the Ohio Music Teachers Association.
Robert is currently a student at Miami University and will finish with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. While attending Miami he has been the pianist in Miami’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo and has also participated in both Wind Ensemble and Chamber Music concerts. He had the opportunity to perform at Carnegy Hall with Miami’s Jazz Ensemble in 2012. He has received many honors while at Miami, such as the Miami University’s Owls Music Scholarship Award in 2013 and 2014, Mary Rees Piano Scholarship Award in 2015 and the Tom Teiney II Music Scholarship Award in 2015. Robert studies under Dr. Frank Haung.
At the beginning of Carmen's final year in the pursuit of a music education degree, newly married, her husband received notice of his military duty, which took them to Germany. A new path in music was initiated there as the Carmen Hood Trio performed at a jazz festival and various NCO and Service Clubs. Upon returning to the States, the stage was set for a 30-year career of vocal/piano performance in fine dining establishments, night clubs, hotels, etc. Carmen initiated many aspects of musical service at Montgomery Assembly of God, Cincinnati, which led to a position as director in music ministry for 10 years, but continuing into the present as accompanist, which is of particular delight to her. Her teaching career began while in high school, giving accordion lessons to beginners. Piano instruction involving ages 6 to 65 and beyond wound throughout these activities. Equipping her students with the very best possible tools for their learning and future capabilities is Carmen's continual challenge.
Rick Humphreys received his Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Ohio University in Athens, OH in 1974. He has had the opportunity to both teach and direct individuals and groups of all ages. His piano students have ranged from 3 to 60+ years old. His vocal coaching has encompassed children, youth, and adults. He spent 3 years as the American musical trainer for the India Children's Choir. Rick has taught preschool music education classes as well as general elementary music classes. Rick's approach to music education is one of facilitating enjoyment and early success, combining the interests and desires of the student with proven technical, rudimentary, and theory skills. Though teaching music is a serious passion with Rick, he encourages and fosters a relaxed, fun approach with his students.
Rosie is originally from Indiana but has been in the Cincinnati area for the past 24 years. She has an Associate Degree in Business, a Music Education Degree from Xavier University, and a Masters in Technology in Education. She is the proud mother of 4 grown children and is currently working for The Presbyterian Church in Hamilton as Christian Education Leader, Music Director, and Organist. She directs the choir and the handbell choir for the traditional service. Rosie taught public school vocal/general music for 16 years for Hamilton City Schools and Ross Middle/High Schools. She is a proficient pianist, organist, vocal coach, and a former trumpet player. She has experience teaching music to children, youth, and adults and loves to be able to share her love of music with others! She is excited to be a member of the staff of West Chester Academy!
Janice has been teaching piano and voice to students of all ages for over 15 years. She studied voice at the University of Georgia and the University of Evansville, Indiana. Janice sang with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under director Robert Shaw in the 1980's. She has many choral recording credits, one of which won two Grammy Awards in 1988. Janice is the choir director at Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Janice has a relaxed teaching style and endless patience, which make her a good choice for beginning to intermediate students.
A native of South Korea, Kwi-im Kim is an active musician not only as a soloist , but also a chamber musician. Ms. Kim is a graduate from Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University in Bloomington with a Master’s degree in piano performance, and she is currently persuing her Artist Diploma and Doctoral Degree in piano performance and pedagogy at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Kwi-im Kim has received many awards in piano competitions and has also performed actively as a chamber musician and collaborative pianist. She was awarded a Graduate Scholarship and Assistantship from the University of Cincinnati and she is serving as a collaborative pianist for CCM prep department.
Joanna Klett, originally from Strawberry Point, IA, began studying piano at the age of six. Initially she pursued a degree in Piano Performance at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI before transferring to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI where she received a Bachelors in Music Performance. After moving to Oxford, OH, she completed her Masters in Cello Performance at Miami University. Throughout her high school and college careers, Joanna has enjoyed serving as both a vocal and instrumental accompanist in addition to teaching private students.
Rachel Morris is a native of West Chester. After attending the School for Creative and Performing Arts, she attended the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and received a degree is music education. She was the Music Director at a non-profit organization in downtown Cincinnati called Uptown Arts. She has 15 years of varied music teaching experience, ranging from piano, voice, chorus, world drumming, and musical theater, both privately and in the classroom. She is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher in Early to Middle Childhood Music and enjoys all aspects of watching students grow and expand their musicality.
As a child, Pang Bo learned to play the piano from her father. Showing talent for music, she entered the school attached to the very selective Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. When she left China, Bo was enrolled with the highest scholarship possible in the Artist Diploma Program in Piano Performance at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (University of Cincinnati). Upon finishing the Artist Diploma, Bo served as visiting pianist of Alfred University and performed actively in Alfred, NY for Alfred State College as well as local choirs. As a piano teacher, Bo has experience in teaching all ages and skill levels from beginners to advanced. She particularly enjoys coaching students in preparation for piano examinations and competitions.
Kris Rucinski's playing has been descibed as both a “tour de force” (Music in Cincinnati) and “confidently elegant” (CityBeat). Originally from Ashland, KY, Kris has long been a proponent of new music, having given dozens of world premieres in Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. As an educator, Mr. Rucinski brings together his learning and experiences as a pianist, a composer, a lecturer, and an avid lover of music to inspire students to value the fundamentals of music for the piano through engagement and innovative teaching.
A graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Jenna Schwenk has studied piano since age five. Jenna is certified as a Music for Young Children instructor and a Music Pups instructor. She has won numerous competitions, and has attended summer camps and workshops. She is a member of the Music Teachers National Association and served as the Event Chair of the OMTA Masquerade Musicale. She teaches private and group piano lessons.
Born and raised in Bulgaria, Ms. Dennitza Vassileva started her formal music education at the age of 6 at the prestigious Dobrin Petkov Music School in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. After completing high school, Ms. Vassileva came to the United States to continue her studies with Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse and later Ms. Eda Mazzo Shlyam. She obtained her BM in Piano Performance at the Atlantic Union College and MM in Piano Performance at the Longy School of Music. Ms. Vassileva has performed as a soloist with the NEYE in US, Canada and Mexico. She has given recitals in Europe and the United States. Ms. Vassileva has been teaching piano since 2003 and is excited to share her love of music with her students.
A graduate of Cincinnati Christian University, Maggie Warmuth studied with Dr. Melinda Hickman and earned her Bachelors of Music. Due to her musical abilities and desire to minister through music, Maggie was awarded with the Rich Mullins Scholarship from CCU. During her time at CCU, she enjoyed her roles as a Teaching Assistant and grader for the freshman levels of Music Theory, accompanist for private voice lessons, and music tutor for assistance in voice, piano, theory, ear training, and composition. Maggie has taught private piano lessons, from both her home and her church. She is highly involved with Latino populations, both in her hometown of Lebanon and internationally in Oaxaca, Mexico. During her time in Mexico, Maggie taught group lessons in both general music and theory. Her musical background, which includes traditional classical instruction, contemporary by-ear playing, multicultural interaction, and a high priority on theory, impacts her teaching style to produce a unique and comprehensive learning experience.
Since she was little, Hannah has always had a passion for music. She first gained interest in the performing arts when she was 8 years old where she enjoyed participating in vocal solos and choirs at her church. Throughout the years, she continued to pursue music through choir and show choir in school, and vocal ensembles. Currently, she is heavily involved with her worship team at church, and loves to write music and play the piano in her spare time. One of her greatest joys in the performing arts world is to share in music with others, which is why she loves instructing the Music Pups class.
Angelina is a 2014 Vocal Performance graduate from Northern Kentucky University where she studied in the studios of Esther Nam, Errik Hood and Dr. Grant Knox. She performed with the university's award winning chamber choir, which traveled to Europe and performed in the 2012 Cincinnati World Choir games. Angelina has performed the roles of Miss Todd from Menotti's Old Maid and the Thief and La Zia Principessa in Puccini's Sour Angelica. A semi-finalist four years running, Angelina represented Northern Kentucky University in the Kentucky N.A.T.S vocal competition. Angelina brings to the academy nine years of vocal training, ten years of formal dance training, seven years of both participation and leadership in show choir and color guard, and musical training on trumpet and piano. She is thrilled to be a part of the academy's staff!
Rebecca Herbst is a Miami University (OH) graduate that has performed in countless productions with Miami Opera. As an undergraduate student majoring in Vocal Performance, she has played the roles of Fiordiligi in W.A. Mozart's opera Cosi fan tutte, Nancy in Benjamin Britten's opera Albert Herring, and Madeline/Isabelle in Henry Mollicone's one-act opera The Face on the Barroom Floor. She was also in productions such as A Grand Night for Singing, where she performed a rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, The Christmas Waltz, The Christmas Song, and many more. Ms. Herbst has also received awards, such as, 1st place in the sophomore and freshman women categories at the NATS Buckeye Chapter competition, she also won 1st place in the Undergraduate Artist Competition held at Miami, and she was awarded the Richard Miller Award for Singing her sophomore year at the NATS Buckeye Chapter competition - this honor is awarded to the singer who best displays overall vocal excellence and performance.
Karen Mail is an accomplished soprano soloist and choral director. Her degree is from Indiana University's Jacob's School of Music, where she studied voice with Virginia MacWatters and Martha Lipton. While there, she was a featured soloist with the “Singing Hoosiers”, directed by Robert Stoll. She has done post-graduate work at Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and Miami University, studying with Renee Boyer-White, Ethan Sperry, and David Bell. She has also worked with prestigious choral arrangers and conductors such as Pepper Choplin, Joseph Martin, David Carrington, Arnold Eply, Lloyd Larson, Rollo Dillworth, and Moses Hogan. Karen proudly directs the Mason Chorale, Hamilton City School's All –City Elementary Honor Choir, and is the Music Director at Heritage Presbyterian Church in Mason.
Peter frequently collaborates with the area’s finest conductors and ensembles. Past appearances include engagements with Cincinnati Opera, Dayton Opera, Vocal Arts Ensemble, May Festival Chorus, Cincinnati Camerata, New Haven Symphony and the Cincinnati Symphony. Recent and future engagements include performances as tenor soloist with the West Chester Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Choral Society, and Clermont Chorale. Peter studied voice with Joan Heller and Richard Lalli at the Yale School of Music where he also attended master classes with Phyllis Curtin, Marilyn Horne, Doris Cross and Ned Rorem. Peter’s students learn to coordinate breath support with correct forward tone placement to easily produce their best sound in all styles ranging from baroque to belt. Peter coaches his students to communicate with audiences in all of the major singing languages.
Timothy Oliver holds a Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance from Northern Kentucky University and a Master's degree in Vocal Performance from Miami University. While at Northern Kentucky, Timothy sang leading roles in the operas including Father in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, and Bob in Menotti's Old Maid and the Thief. While at Miami University he sang the lead role of Mr. Gedge the Vicar in Britten's Albert Herring. Timothy has also been a soloist in several choral works including Mendelssohn's Elijah and Handel's Messiah. A three-time state finalist in NATS competitions, He has won several other awards including 1st place at NKU's Vocal Scholarship competition. Timothy has also performed with the Cincinnati Opera and was a part of the Opera Studio at the Aims in Graz summer program.
Affectionately known as "Amy," Amelia Plante has a real love for working with kids and youth. Her appreciation of the arts has blossomed into the life of an artist in the areas of poetry, song writing, singing, sketch, and illustration. Amy's classical training in voice began at age fifteen and she continued with private lessons through age twenty. She has lived internationally several times, and at age sixteen her family moved to the former Soviet Union where she entered musical college to study voice as a mezzo-soprano. She has experience singing professionally across many genres of music; in rock, folk, bluegrass, country, pop, indie, commercial anthems, worship, musical theatre, classical voice, and has taught vocal workshops and private lessons. The voice is her instrument of choice, and she is passionate to communicate to her students that it is the best instrument. She can be seen performing around town on stage with her sister duo, "The Carolines," and has a solo album in progress.
Mike has a strong background in wind performance and pedagogy. He is a 2016 graduate of the Music Education program at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Mike was part of the Musicianship and Advanced Pedagogy program while at BGSU, a program designed for students to have wide access to field experiences prior to student teacher. Mike performed with a variety of ensembles in the university’s band and orchestra programs, the Early Music Ensemble, and various chamber ensembles. At BGSU he studied with Andrew Pelletier (horn) and Susan Nelson (bassoon). Throughout his education, Mike has picked up instruments along the way, including trumpet, bassoon, flute, clarinet, and recorder. Recently, Mike has played with the Sycamore Community Band and Fairfield Summer Theatre. He is also a graduate student at the University of Florida pursuing his Masters of Music Education through their distance learning program. Mike looks forward to working with young dedicated musicians in the Cincinnati area.
Ken Taylor earned a Bachelors of Science in Music Education and Master of Music degrees from Miami University. Post-graduate studies in Music Education and Jazz Studies were taken at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Ken’s professional background includes performances with Dizzy Gillespie, the Manhattans, Mills Brothers, George Benson, and others. Trumpet studies include master classes with Bobby Shew, Arturo Sandoval, and Alan Vizzutti. Jazz ensembles in southwestern Ohio, of which he is a part, include Xavier University, Sinclair College (Dayton), Jazz Central Big Band (Dayton) and Maple Knoll Big Band (Cincinnati). Ken is also a part of the Miami University Campus Owls Tribute Band in Oxford. Ken’s professional affiliations include the American Federation of Musicians, National Association for Music Education, Ohio Music Education Association, and Jazz Education Connection of Ohio.
Rebekah Chesnes has been a flutist for over 20 years. She graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Music from the renowned University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music where she studied music industry and flute performance. She has done work for Classical KUSC Radio, New Line Cinema, Origination Television Studios, and Warner Bros. Records. In 2007 Rebekah recorded her debut album, Introducing Rebekah Chesnes. Becki has studied flute privately with Sandra Graef of the Indianapolis Symphony, Kyril Magg of the Cincinnati Symphony and Opera, Gary Woodward of the LA Opera, and Heather Verbeck, Adjunct Faculty at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. She has attended and performed in the masterclasses of Walfrid Kujala, Tadeu Coelho, Mary Stolper, Victoria Jicha, Jim Walker, Bradley Garner, Goran Marcusson and Stephen Preston to name a few. Becki was the Principal Flutist for the West Chester Symphony from 2007-2012 and a featured soloist with the orchestra in 2012. She is an avid freelance musician for weddings and was privileged to serve as a Trustee for the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra from 2012-2015. In addition to playing and teaching flute, piccolo, alto flute, irish flute, and beginning piano, Rebekah is a certified professional recording engineer.
Seika Fukumoto is an accomplished solo, orchestral, and chamber clarinetist, who has performed across the country. She has performed with the Louisville Orchestra in Kentucky and the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra in Colorado in 2016 and 2017. On top of her orchestral background, Seika has been involved in several opera productions with the Queen City Opera and the NANOworks Opera Ensemble. She is a winner of the 2016 Three Arts Scholarship Competition and actively performs throughout the community. She began her Bachelor of Music degree at the Michigan State University and completed the degree at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music with Ixi Chen, where she also completed her Master of Music degree.
Originally from New Hampshire, Charlotte Kies moved to Cincinnati in 2014 to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts in Clarinet Performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Jonathan Gunn. Prior to attending UC, Charlotte earned her Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance at Carnegie Mellon University studying with Michael Rusinek, and her Bachelor of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music studying with James Campbell. An active performer, Charlotte has been featured as a guest artist on the Block Island Summer Concert Series and on the faculty composers concert series at the University of New Hampshire. Passionate about collaborative and chamber music, Charlotte enjoyed performing with Tepki Music Collective, Incidental Chamber Players, and the Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra while living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As an educator, Charlotte has taught students from the beginning levels to college applicants on both saxophone and clarinet, and looks forward to continuing to educate and inspire students in her newfound home of Cincinnati.
Chuck Evans graduated from Middletown H.S. Class Of '72, mentored during that time by William Steihl, including private studies with Ray Brandoff. He also played with the Miami University Symphony Orchestra during Junior and Senior year of H.S., Southwest Regional Symphony, Southwest Ohio Symphonic Band. Chuck studied music at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory and Marin College in California. His early professional career includes tours with the Ohio Players, Rare Earth, and other Motown artists. Chuck has performed professionally with the Avenues, the Randy Linville Big Band. He has played with Blue Stone Ivory and Inspector 12. Chuck has performed with Bobby Rydell and Fabian as well as other touring professionals. He also performs regularly as a solo artist in the tri-state area. He has been teaching for 30+ years.
Dave has taught Music Theory, Keyboard Theory and Guitar Theory at the Post-secondary level and incorporates elements of Theory, Ear Training, and the Nashville Number System at all Levels of Instruction in addition to teaching Guitar, Bass, Piano, Banjo. He was the Bass Player for the rock group Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods (originally from Cincinnati) when the 1974 hit “Billy, Don't Be a Hero” achieved “#1 with a Bullet” status on Billboard Magazine's “Hot 100” for which he received a Gold Record. The group appeared on many TV Shows such as Dick Clark's American Bandstand, Action '73 (and '74), Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Dinah Shore. Dave has relocated from Florida to the Cincinnati Area to be centrally located amongst his Children/Grandchildren. As a “Southerner”, Dave served as Rhythm Guitarist (and Bass Guitarist when needed) at a church that held services nationwide and were seen on GOD-TV worldwide. As a Faculty Member at Brownsville Revival School of Ministry at Brownsville Assembly of God from 1999 to 2006, Dave arranged for Worship Teams and Choirs and taught students enrolled in the Worship Ministry curriculum how to create Master Lead Sheets, Chord Charts with Rhythmic Notation, and write Vocal and Horn Parts for Small Ensembles and Choirs. He has a special love for Musical Theatre and has played Bass Guitar, Rhythm Guitar and Ragtime Banjo in the Orchestra Pits for The Sound of Music, Frog & Toad, Godspell, The Wizard of Oz, Fiddler on the Roof, Snoopy the Musical, Meshuggah-Nuns, Hairspray, High School Musical, Victor/Victoria, Sweet Charity, Floyd Collins, and Seussical the Musical. Dave has a Master Certificate in Arranging from BerkleeMusic Online (Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA).
Bob Ross began his musical journey at 11 years old with the trumpet and continued for 7 years. At age 14 he began playing guitar and realized music was his calling in life. In 2008 he graduated from Morehead State University with a Bachelor of Music and in 2010 from The University Of The Arts in Philadelphia, PA with a Masters degree in Jazz Studies. Bob has had the opportunity of studying under several great teachers including Ray Ross, Glenn Ginn, Gordon Towell, Steven Snyder, Tom Giacabetti, Mike Kennedy, Ben Schachter, Don Glanden, Richard Lawn, Jimmy Bruno, and Pat Martino. Besides teaching private lessons, Bob has also taught guitar classes at the college level, led jazz bands, and directed jazz groups. After finishing college Bob moved to Cincinnati and began performing as a solo jazz guitarist. Shortly thereafter he formed the Bob Ross Quartet and can be heard in a variety of setups that include duo, trio, quartet, and quintet. Some more notable performance locations include Chris' Jazz Cafe, The Celestial, The Greenwich, Chez Nora, Pappadeaux's, The Symphony Hotel, Marty's Hops and Vines, York St. Cafe, and a variety of festivals and weddings. Not only can you catch him live, but you can also check out his debut album entitled “Arriving” which has been featured on Philadelphia's radio station, WRTI.
Sean Herzig has been teaching private drum set students for over a decade. He began his own studies at age 9 with Shawn Elsbernd (Ringling Bros) and in high school, studied with Jason Smart (Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey/Ray’s Music Exchange). Post high school led him to study at Northern Kentucky University where he obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Jazz Studies under the direction of Brian Hogg, Dan Dorff, Phillip Burkhead, John Zappa and Scott Lang. There he gained a vast knowledge of music beyond just drum set and became versed with mallet percussion as well as jazz theory. He was the founder and bandleader of local jazz-fusion-rock group, Don’t Fear the Satellites (2008-2015). Currently he performs and tours as a solo live-looping artist (ZiG) and also plays for the Cincinnati jazz group, Jon Kohne Trio.
Dr. Mackenzie (Mack) LaMont holds a BM in Percussion Performance with concentrations in Music Composition and Music Recording from the University of Indianapolis, a MM in Music Composition from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, and a DMA in Music Composition with a cognate in percussion at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. His composition teachers include John Berners, Michael Fiday, Joel Hoffman, and Douglas Knehans, and his percussion teachers include Paul Berns and James Culley. In addition to his focus on composition, he also leads an active career as a percussionist and music educator, and owns and operates a small recording company. He currently resides in Middletown, OH with his wife, Whitney, and his dog, B.B. King.
Elizabeth has studied viola with Louise Zeitlin at BW along with participating in numerous masterclasses with Lembi Veskimets of The Cleveland Orchestra. She has performed with the Baldwin Wallace Symphony Orchestra for four years as well as serving as Principal Violist and Section Leader during her last year three semesters. She has also taken music education method courses that include beginner-level playing tests on every instrument in a full orchestra. Through her exploration of the various instruments, the string family has remained her main focus and specialty. While at school, she taught private violin and viola lessons through the local community college, Cuyahoga Community College. During her time off from school, Elizabeth has worked for the Baroque Violin Shop cleaning and repairing all of the string instruments. She currently performs with the Cincinnati Community Orchestra.
Tera Hamilton graduated from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with a degree in Music Education. She also pursued graduate studies in violin performance and education at Kent State University. She has studied with Ronald Konieczka (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), Si-Hon Ma (Kent State University) and Bernhard Goldschmidt (Cleveland Orchestra). Tera directed the orchestra program in Wooster, Ohio and later joined the faculty at Kent State University, Stark Campus, and taught Suzuki violin. She helped start a Suzuki Program at Southern Illinois University, while she was teaching at Unity Point School District and directing the Carbondale Community High School Orchestra. Currently, Tera maintains a private studio through Princeton High School in Cincinnati since 1982 and has taught many outstanding young people. Her students have been in Cincinnati Jr. Strings, Cincinnati Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Regional and State Orchestras. She has performed with the Canton Symphony Orchestra and is currently performing with the Middletown Symphony Orchestra, Clermont Philharmonic Orchestra, Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra and Lebanon Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Minhwa Kim was born in the Republic of South Korea. She received Master and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in violin performance, both from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Dr. Pitro Milewski and Professor Kurt Sassmannshaus. She was the recipient of the Starling Scholarship award at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, was the scholarship and concerto competition winner at the Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea, and received First Prize at the Junior Hanguk Music Competition in Chonbuk, Korea, and Second Prize at Weurm Competition in Seoul, Korea. Dr. Kim has extensive experience teaching violin, viola, chamber music, and string orchestra coaching. She is active as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. Her international career has taken her to South Korea, Europe, and the United States. She was first violinist for a performance of Vivaldi Concerto for 3 Violins with the Ewha Orchestra and soloist for the E. Lalo Symphonie Espagnole with the Korean-American Symphony Orchestra. As a Chamber Musician, she is the founder of the Ammigus String Quartet. Dr. Kim has been a member of the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and Clermont Philharmonic Orchestra. She teaches a wide variety of students ranging from young children to graduate students. Her students have won university scholarships and string competitions and have successfully auditioned with orchestras. Currently, she is a violin and viola instructor at West Chester Academy and Mount St. Joseph University.
Jennifer has been teaching dance in the Cincinnati area for over 15 years. She first pursued her interest in dance at the age of three and was trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Lyrical and Adagio. She was also very accomplished in the competition arena. While in high school, Jennifer was captain of her dance team and was invited to perform at the Blue Bonnet Bowl in Texas and the Hula Bowl in Hawaii. Jennifer attended Ohio State University where she continued to study dance and performed with the OSU dance team. With a degree in education, Jennifer started her work with young adults as the Director of the Centerville High School’s dance team and helped lead them to several State titles. She has also been awarded many national choreography awards in both Lyrical and Jazz. Jennifer has choreographed and taught many award winning teams; many of them taking overall awards at competitions both regionally and nationally. She has had many of her students further their dance careers at colleges throughout the country and several of them working in the dance field post-graduation. Jennifer truly loves working with her students and brings that passion to the classroom.
Savannah Biedenbach of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, trained at the New Paltz Ballet Theater with former New York City Ballet members Peter Naumann and Lisa Chalmers-Naumann, as well as former Radio City Rockette, Deanna Ford. One of her favorite performances includes the ballet/opera Carmina Burana, where she danced the leading role of The Girl in Red with Principal dancer of New York City Ballet, Nilas Martins. Savannah was accepted into many prestigious schools throughout her training, such as the School of American Ballet, San Fransisco Ballet, Kaatsbaan Extreme, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet. In 2005, Savannah joined the National Broadway tour of Contact, performing at countless theaters throughout the United States and Canada. Shortly after, she enjoyed a season of varied repertoire as a trainee with the Cincinnati Ballet. She worked with such choreographers as Mark Godden, Shelly Washington, Graham Lustig and Alun Jones as a member of Louisville Ballet. Some of her performances include Eight Ladies in Vespri in the production of Visionary Forces and the pas de trois of Chinese in The Nutcracker. Savannah joined Columbus Dance Theatre in 2008 as company member, performing a variety of both contemporary and classical pieces in both Soloist and Principal roles. Savannah has been a teacher and choreographer throughout her performing career and is very passionate about doing so for many years to come.
Alex Bowden is originally from Baltimore, MD. She started her teaching career at age 13, working with younger students as a teacher’s assistant. At 15 she assisted with an evening program for young children with special needs. While attending Ohio State University, she majored in dance with a specialized focus on Performance, Education, and Choreography. Throughout her education, Alex focused on developing complex lesson plans and teaching various styles and levels of dance to Pre-K students through adults. She was a teacher's assistant for college Ballet & Modern classes, taught in the OSU Childcare Pre-K center, and taught for a competitive studio in Delaware, OH. Alex honed her skills in teaching dance for special needs by doing her honors research and thesis in this area. After college, Alex continued her teaching in Baltimore through a multitude of avenues. She ran dance programs for the League for People with Disabilities, while also teaching Hip Hop, Tap, Ballet, and Contemporary in multiple Baltimore City schools. When Alex moved to NYC, she taught various forms of dance as well as some sign language for daycares and preschools around the NY/NJ area. At Dancewave, a non profit organization, she was hired as a coach for their pre-professional dance Company 1 which worked with famous, current artists and performed all over the city. After leaving NYC and moving to Cincinnati, Alex further developed her scope of dance genres by being hired to teach and perform professionally in Ballroom Dance.
Stacie Fancher began dancing at Downie School of Dance in Fairfield, OH when she was 9 years old. Later renamed The Dance Company, she studied tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical, hip hop and acrobatics for over 10 years under Elizabeth Eckhoff. She has performed with the Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre, and loves to continue her education with different genres of dance as often as possible including Bollywood, swing, and modern. She loves sharing these techniques and styles with her students in order to ensure a well-rounded dance education, and hopefully spark a lifelong passion for the arts.
Ariel Grace started taking gymnastics classes at age seven and then began her dance career after watching a friend's recital. She started out in instructional tap and quickly joined the competition tap team the next year. Ariel has training in instructional tap, jazz, lyrical, and ballet as well as competitive tap. The competition teams, of which she was a member, won many overall awards at the Stage One Nationals in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for three years in a row. Ariel's inspiration is watching her students improve each and every week. Her greatest reward is seeing that she has inspired them to have a lifetime appreciation of dance.
Olivia found her love for dance at age three. She was trained in Cincinnati, with Jennifer Cole as one of her teachers. She has experience in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and lyrical. In high school, she was very involved in competitions receiving many overall awards. Olivia student taught during high school and then continued on with her own classroom for three years after graduating. She loves choreographing and challenging her students. Olivia attended Miami University for English with a minor in Spanish. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in school counseling.
Nicole began dancing at age 3 but at age 12, she really discovered her love of dance studying under Jennifer Cole at Oui Danse. She performed with her teams at numerous competitions and won many overall awards throughout high school. Nicole was also awarded a Rising Star Specal Award at Stage One Nationals in 2006. Along with competiting, she studied ballet and pointe under Nancy Fountain and Daniel Simmons at Ballet Theatre midwest for 3 years. While there she performed in The Steadfast Tin Soldier and Cinderella with Solist roles. Nicole participated in different summer ballet intensive programs at Cincinnati Ballet and Nutmeg Conservatory of the Arts in Torrington, Conneciciut. After graduating in 2008, Nicole went on to study nursing and dance at Otterbein University. While there she studied tap, jazz, modern, ballet, pointe and musical theatre. Nicole is extremely excited to join our team and is excited to share her passion of dance with her students.
Andrea Meyer began dance at the age of 6 for Darla's Dance studio. At 6 she joined The Dance Line Express where she danced competitively for 10 years. She has studied tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, clogging and hip-hop. She has over 16 years of dancing experience combined with 6 years of teaching experience. She is very eager to work with the budding new dancers and believes that building good core dance skills are important for the futures of our tiny dancers.
Kaitlyn started her dance career at age 4 at Oui Danse, and later West Chester Dance Academy under the instruction of Denise Edsall and Jennifer Cole. She trained competitievly in jazz, lyrical, and tap. After graduating high school, Kaitlyn attended Clemson University with a major in Communications. There she was a member of the TigerStrut competition team. She also taught a contemporary class for Clemson Dancers. During her college years, she began her teaching career at The Dance Warehouse in styles of jazz, tap, lyrical, broadway, and hip hop. She received several choreography awards and had a soloist win first overall at StarPower nationals. She believes that hard work and determination can lead to greatness and is very excited to be working with the beautiful dancers of West Chester Academy.
Tejal Patel is originally from Bollywood City – Mumbai, India. She has lived in Cincinnati since 2001. She has a passion for dance and loves to learn new dance styles. She has been teaching kids Bollywood Dance as well as other Indian Folk Dances for more than 12 years. She has 2 daughters who share her passion for dance. Ms. Patel is excited to introduce the Bollywood style of dance to West Chester Academy.
Megan Straub started gymnastics at age 3. She then went on to compete at the optional level for 6 years at Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy. After gymnastics, she moved on to compete with both competitive and school cheerleading. She was an all-star cheerleader for 5 years and a Varsity cheerleader for Lakota West High School. During high school, she was a tumbling instructor at her all-star gym, where she gained her early on experience. Megan's extensive gymnastics training and love for cheerleading helped her earn her spot on the University of Cincinnati's cheer team, where she cheered for both football and basketball. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati in Communciations/Marketing/P.R. After graduating, she moved on to coaching, where she has coached cheerleading teams and tumbling ever since. She has coached at Kentucky Elite North, Southern Ohio Rebels, Sycamore High School, Matrix All-Stars and she is currently the Lakota West High School cheerleading coach. She loves working with girls and boys of all ages and helping them achieve new skills! Megan met her husband while cheering at UC, when he was playing football for the university. They have two children, Parker, their daughter, who plays basketball and a son, Mason, who cannot wait to be old enough to play football just like Daddy! She looks forward to seeing new faces in the gym and getting to work with all of the extremely talented and excited new gymnasts and cheerleaders!
Olivia Clendenin participated in cheerleading, gymnastics, and dance starting at 18 months old. In 2001 she won the title "Little Miss Dance USA". In 2005 she was crowned "Little Miss Greater Dayton" of Dayton, Ohio. At age 13 she was an assistant for tumbling and dance classes. By age 16 she was coaching her own gymnastics and dance classes. Olivia has also made an appearance throughout her high school career as an All Star Cheerleader at TOPS located in Centerville, Ohio, winning 5 grand championships with 7 first place awards. She has taught kids from age 2 through 18, and has been teaching for over 7 years. She always has had a passion for gymnastics and she's very honored to have an opportunity to teach at West Chester Academy. She enjoys helping kids of all ages advance and improve in their tumbling skills. She looks forward to meeting new people and to helping everyone reach their gymnastics goals!
Tia Corris has been practicing gymnastics along with dance since age 3. In high school she picked up the art of cheerleading which encouraged her to further her skills in gymnastics. After graduating high school Tia gained her Associates of Applied Science along with CPR and first aid certifications but it didn't give her the opportunity to continue practicing dance or gymnastics. So Tia decided to teach children two of the things that she thoroughly enjoys in life. Being a cheerleading coach for young kids for over 2 years, and now coaching gymnastics has allowed her to take her passion to the next level. She loves teaching kids and seeing the joy on their faces when they learn a new jump, cheer or trick. Working at West Chester Academy has enabled Tia to spread her love of gymnastics and teach amazing kids. She truly loves working with kids!
Stacie Fancher began gymnastics lessons when she was 6 years old, and gravitated towards acrobatics a few years later. She is USAG Safety and Risk Management certified, as well as CPR and First Aid certified. Besides gymnastics, she has 15 years of dance experience ranging from ballet to hip hop to modern. She practices yoga and enjoys blending dance technique, gymnastic instruction, and yoga discipline. She finds that it creates a stronger athlete overall. While participating in a dance workshop a few years ago, she discovered the art of Aerial Silks and fell in love with it. She has trained under Erin Welch and is fond of sharing this unique and challenging art form with her students, both dance and gymnastics alike.
Liz is originally from northwest Ohio where she competed as an optional gymnast at Gold Medal Gymnastics. After high school, she attending Tennessee Temple University where she received her B.S. in Sign Language Interpreting and met her best friend and husband Jordan. While in college, Liz had the great opportunity to coach compulsory and optional gymnasts at American Elite Gymnastics club. Here she realized the great influence afforded to her in not only sharing her love for the sport of gymnastics but also in leaving a lasting impression on tomorrow's generation. Liz's most rewarding accomplishment by far is getting to be a mother of three and serving the Lord.