Jessica Brown, Principal
Jessica Brown is the principal of The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush. She has had personal experience with the performing arts. She attended the J.R. Masterman School and Germantown Friends School where she played in both schools’ orchestras as a horn player. She was a member of the All-City Orchestra. For many years she took classes at The PA Ballet Company (PBC) and White’s Studio in Narberth. She had the rare opportunity to dance in the Nutcracker Suite with PBC. Ms. Brown received a B.A. in history. She has a Certificate of Advanced Study (ABD) and Masters in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Administrative Leadership from Lehigh University.
Tasmara Davis, 9th grade Algebra
Tasmara attended Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and studied Mathematics with a concentration in Secondary Education. While attending Shippensburg, she received honors and mentored freshmen students assisting with the transition from high school to college. Tasmara grew up in South Philadelphia and attended Meredith Elementary and Central High Schools. In school she played the violin and oboe, sang in choirs, and held acting roles in school plays. Outside of school she studied piano and guitar at Settlement Music School as well as took lessons in ballet, tap, and jazz.
Melissa Hogg, 9th grade Biology
Originally from the Pittsburgh area, Ms. Melissa Hogg graduated from Kittanning Senior High School in June of 2001. Upon accepting a full academic scholarship, Ms. Hogg attended Edinboro University of PA for four years. During her college career she worked at the Edinboro University admissions office and fitness center. Ms. Hogg was an active member of the Highland Ambassadors as well as Tri-Beta, an honors Biology club. She graduated magna cum laude in May of 2005 earning a degree in Biology – Secondary Education, and immediately accepted a teaching position at Harrisburg High School. While teaching Environmental Science and Biology in Harrisburg, Ms. Hogg took upon the leadership roles as the Key Club adviser and the after-school step aerobics instructor. Ms. Hogg enjoys being outdoors, going to the gym, and traveling.
Kevin Katz, 9th grade World History
Mr. Katz grew up in Warminster in Lower-Bucks County. He attended King’s College, where he played baseball, while majoring in Communications with minors in Marketing and History. Mr. Katz was originally in the corporate world for 7 years as a web designer.
He has his Masters in Secondary Education with a concentration in Social Studies. He is certified to teach Social Studies, English, and Business Education. He is committed to the new 3 Rs – Relationships, Rigor, and Relevance, and the use of technology as a conduit to learning. Mr. Katz is the basketball and baseball coach. He is married with a 1 year old son.
Nicole Siering, 9th grade Spanish I
Raised in the Pine Barrens, Nicole Siering is a New Jersey native. She graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University, where she double-majored in English and Spanish Linguistics, concentrating on New Media and Second Language Acquisition. She wrote her undergraduate thesis “Re-mixing Identity in Image Culture and the MySpace Revolution” on the play between semiotics and identity in consumer culture. While at Rutgers, she became a Phi Beta Kappan and member of two national foreign language honor societies. She spent one and a half months teaching English in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica in 2005 where she studied Afro-Carribbean history and culture. During 2008-2009, she received a grant from the Ministerio de Ciencia y Educación de España to teach English in a secondary school in Huelva, España.
Nicole has a deep-rooted appreciation for nature, and is passionate about wildlife and open space conservation. She is an avid canoeist and hiker. Nicole is also music-lover, to put it lightly, with interests ranging from folk and country blues to garage and experimental rock.
Karenin Loinaz, Spanish III
Karenin Loinaz was raised in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. She moved to Philadelphia when she was 14 years old and attended Edison High School. While at Edison, Ms. Loinaz was enrolled in a bilingual program where she learned English as a second language. In addition, she was an active dancer in school performances and wrote poetry for Spanish class. Upon graduation, she attended Temple University College of Education, where she majored in secondary education and Spanish literature. While attending college, Ms. Loinaz worked at her former high school as a bilingual tutor where she had the opportunity to work with a diverse population of students. From teaching them English as a second language to helping them with the transition from High school to college, Ms. Loinaz gained meaningful experience in guiding youth into the next stages of their lives. Besides working in schools, Ms. Loinaz co-founded an evening program for adults in North Philadelphia, who desired to improve their English and Spanish skills. During her Junior year of college, Ms. Loinaz had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain where she attended the University of Oviedo and took advanced Spanish courses. Upon completion of her study abroad program, Ms. Loinaz entered her final year at Temple University and completed her student-teaching semester at J. R. Masterman High School, where she taught Spanish. Ms. Loinaz graduated from Temple University in the Spring of 2009 with a B.S. in Education and a concentration in Spanish.
Molly Thacker, 10th grade English
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Ms. Thacker made the decision to become a high school English teacher while still in high school herself, where she was active in choir and musical theater. She graduated magna cum laude from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO with a B.A. in English and departmental honors. Upon graduation, she joined Teach For America and moved to Philadelphia where she began teaching and received her M.S. in Education from University of Pennsylvania. Since 2005, she has taught English and Theater in Philly and has been involved in student government and the Passport Residency Program with Philadelphia Theater Company. In 2009 she received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for distinguished teaching. She is a proud member of the National Council of Teachers of English, Philadelphia Writing Project and Phi Beta Kappa. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, running, cooking and traveling. She is excited to share her love for the arts, literature and learning with the students of AABR.
Lorraine Ustaris, 9th grade English
Ms. Ustaris has lived in Texas, California, and Pennsylvania but completed most of her formal education in Philadelphia. At St. Joseph’s University, she majored in English with a concentration in creative writing, minored in gender studies, and successfully completed all of the course requirements for pre-medicine. As an undergraduate, she attained membership into the prestigious honors society Phi Beta Kappa and received various other awards for her academics, writing, and activism. Ms. Ustaris earned her masters in secondary education with teaching certification in English at Villanova University. Through her rigorous graduate assistantship at Villanova, she became involved in research on dysconscious racism and coauthored a scholarly manuscript concerning the philosophy of teaching literature. Ms. Ustaris has taught at St. Joseph’s University, where she had a summer teaching assistantship, and has had prior experiences working with students at Overbrook High School and teaching 12th grade Honors English and AP Literature at Phoenixville High School. In 2009, Ms. Ustaris joined The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush after a year at Harcum College, where she taught freshman courses in composition, reading, critical thinking, and college math and tutored ESL, math, chemistry, and writing for a range of disciplines.
Ms. Ustaris plays the piano and has trained vocally. She has also studied studio art in the past and still dabbles in drawing and painting. Because of these personal experiences, Ms. Ustaris truly believes that the arts have a powerful place in the lives of students in the midst of forming their identities as whole-minded artists, innovators, and global citizens. As a literacy teacher, she aims to bring her students culturally relevant, multidisciplinary lessons that will not only help them fine tune the skills central to the language arts curriculum, but also engage them in realizing how the linguistic, visual, and performing arts can awaken their understandings of themselves and their worlds. It is her hope that the social justice curriculum that she and her students construct together will incite students to use their talents to raise critical awareness and effect change in their communities. This fall, Ms. Ustaris and interested students will be establishing a chapter of buildOn, a local and global community service network, at Rush.
The creative and analytical work that her students accomplish in 9th grade English is work that Ms. Ustaris has showcased and hopes to continue showcasing at professional conferences on 21st century education. This year, Ms. Ustaris will be collaborating with a researcher from The University of Pennsylvania who will be studying student success within an English curriculum fostering 21st century literacies through the arts.
Ms. Ustaris is a proud member of the Philadelphia Writing Project.
Paul Wagenhoffer, 10th grade Chemistry, AP Chemistry
Mr. Wagenhoffer began his college career attending Widener University studying chemical engineering. After concluding that was not the path he wanted to traverse, he ventured into new territory at Temple University and began to study education, wherein he earned a BS in Secondary Education – Chemistry and graduated cum laude. During his time at Temple, Mr. Wagenhoffer spent four months teaching students Biochemistry at Science Leadership Academy, another 21st century learning high school. It was here that he began to hone his teaching craft, focusing on teaching life skills and content through student-driven inquiry. His long-time interests of science and mentoring have taken Mr. Wagenhoffer to elementary grade schools and summer camps where he designed and implemented science clubs and science theme weeks. He enjoys an active life-style, specifically running, hiking, football, and Ultimate Frisbee along with his other hobbies of reading, music, writing, cooking, and watching movies.
Ingrid Shinskie, 11th grade Physics
Ingrid is very thankful to be teaching Physics at Rush Arts. Ingrid recently graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia, earning a degree in Secondary Education for Physics. During her college years, she was a Resident Assistant and loved helping underclassmen have a wonderful college experience. Ingrid is happily married as of August 14th, 2010 and her husband, Luke, is an eleventh grade math teacher at Freire Charter School. In addition to enjoying married life and teaching, Ingrid likes to sing, be outdoors (especially in hot weather), and keep up with all that is going on in the lives of her family and friends.
Candace Dare, Autistic Support, Special Education Liaison (SEL)
Originally from South Jersey, Ms. Dare attended Rowan University where she graduated with a degree in English. During her time at Rowan she began working with two sisters who had Autism in a unique home-based program. After finishing the degree, she remained full time with
the home program gaining experience and developing a child-based philosophy of education. After two years, Ms. Dare began working with adults with a wide range of disabilities in northeast Philadelphia and dedicating herself to working on a Master’s degree and certification in Special Education from Arcadia University. Next, Ms Dare became a teacher in an early education Autistic support classroom at Special People in the Northeast (SPIN).There, Ms. Dare worked on her skills supporting families and parents and trying to meet their diverse needs. During this process, she gained tremendous knowledge and strategies related to sensory processing issues and how they affect children with Autism
Laura DeFurio, Learning Support, English Honors
Laura DeFurio is originally from Tampa, Florida. She attended the Great Books program at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California. There she earned a BA in Liberal Arts with double distinction for her thesis and defense that explored the intersections of scientific inquiry and literary form in George Eliot’s Middlemarch. She earned a MA in English from Villanova University with a thesis entitled, “Milton’s Indeterminate Theodicy: Will, Grace, and Cause in Paradise Lost”. Laura has presented her critical writings at conferences at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland. She has also served as a supplementary editor to books and articles published by Palgrave Press and “Studies in English Literature” among others. In 2008, her essay, “Salvation in a False Direction”: How Domestic Materiality Reconfigures the Victorian Family”, was published by Concept, an interdisciplinary journal. Since high school, Laura has been an active participant in non-profit organizations that support special needs populations. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Education in Secondary Education with Special Education certification at Chestnut Hill College.
Jeff Evans, Graphic Arts, Mentally Gifted Coordinator, Student Activities Sponsor, Student Government Sponsor
Jeff Evans is an illustrator, painter, and arts educator from Philadelphia. He has worked in various capacities for MAD magazine, New Yorker, the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, PS Magazine (preventative maintenance guide for US Armed Forces) and THIRTEEN New York Public Media (PBS). A graduate of both The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art and The Tyler School of Art, Jeff’s current projects include an independent long-form graphic novel based on his childhood antics, logo design for a soon to be announced beverage company in the Fishtown section of the city. He was the recipient of the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2009.
Jeff Loda, Music
Originally, from the Chicago area, Mr. Loda holds both a Bachelor’s of Music Education and a Bachelor’s of Music – Trumpet Performance – from Northern Illinois University. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2006. While at NIU, Loda played principal trumpet for the Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestra. Most recently, Mr. Loda taught general music and started/directed a choir program at Neal Math and Science Academy in North Chicago, Illinois. He has special interests in world music and composition.Mr. Loda’s performing background includes the Chicago Brass Band and the Sicilian Band of Chicago,
among others. He has performed with trumpet legends Allen Vizzutti, Niklas Ecklund,and John Foster. He is an active church musician and an eight year member of the Wheaton Municipal Band, which is recognized as one of the finest community bands in America. Mr. Loda is a member of the Illinois Music Educators Association, The National Association for Music Education (MENC), and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
Andrea Lyons, Fine Arts
Andrea Lyons is both a working artist and a veteran teacher of Art. She received a B.F.A. in printmaking and art education from Tyler School of Art, and a certificate and M.F.A. in painting. She won a full scholarship to attend Tyler upon graduating from Northeast High School. Years later, Ms. Lyons received scholarships and a grant from the Barnes Foundation to attend The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Ms. Lyons has been a muralist, illustrator, painter, printmaker and sculptor. In 2000, she won the prestigious Leeway Grant for Women in the Arts: the $15,000 Edna Endrade Award. Her paintings have also been purchased by the fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Ms. Lyons grew up in the Bells Corner section of Northeast Philadelphia and now resides in Horsham, Pa. She taught at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, The Philadelphia Creative & Performing Arts High School, and Kensington Creative & Performing Arts High School. She encourages
students to seek her out any time and she wants to involve them in numerous contests and outside art programs as well.
Denise Masters, Dance
Ms. Masters trained at Knecht Dance Academy and competed throughDance Masters of America during her fifteen years of training. Her disciplines include ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, modern, dance history and world dance traditions. She received many awards including the Isadora Duncan Award and the Sarah Hilsendager Professional Educators Award.
Ms. Masters choreographed numerous Broadway musical theatre productions with children of all ages.Her performance experience includes shows at the Adrienne Theatre, Arden Theatre, Arts Bank and Conwell Theatre. In 2006 she received a fellowship to receive her masters degree in dance education from Temple University, becoming one of Pennsylvania’s first certified dance teachers. After graduation she continued to teach her favorite undergraduate course, Dance in Human Society. She is a staunch advocate for dance education in public school and is extremely devoted to the advancement of dance as a career.
Louis Mazza, Media Arts, Library Media Specialist
Louis Mazza received his B.F.A. in Media Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art + Design and his M.A.T. in Visual Art from the University of the Arts. He has been involved in visual art, design, and education in various combinations for the past twelve years, including jobs as Education Technology Specialist (Walker Art Center, 1997-2001), Web Producer, (Urban Outfitters 2001-2002), education and design consultant (Tides Foundation, Princeton University Art Museum, Minnesota Public Radio, and Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership). Mr. Mazza contributed two lesson plans to “Making Media Matter” (Vols. 1 & 2), a collection of media literacy projects for classrooms published by the National Council of Teachers of English. His photography and design work have been published in New Media Design: Reloaded, (1999) Wired, (2000), and the Philadelphia City Paper, (2001). Louis has been a high school educator since 2006, when he was part of a site-selected 13-member faculty at the “School of the Future”, a partnership between Microsoft and the School District of Philadelphia. Mr. Mazza lives in Media, PA and has two sons entering University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN in September, 2010.
* Mr. Mazza received the 2010 Lindback award for Excellence in Teaching.
Suzanne Spencer, Vocal Music
Suzanne Spencer has been a performing musician and teacher in the Philadelphia area for five years. Ms. Spencer moved to Philadelphia to finish her Bachelor of Music in Jazz Vocal Performance at the University of the Arts. After completing her degree, she continued on to earn her Masters of Arts in Teaching in Music Education from the University of the Arts. In addition to teaching, Ms. Spencer is an avid performer and studio musician. While living in Philadelphia she has performed at the Merriam Theater, the Academy of Music, The World Live Café, the Tritone, the Tin Angel, and overseas at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Ms. Spencer is also presently the lead singer of the Love Jones Band- a Philadelphia based dance/cover band who won the 2008 Fox 29 “Best of Philadelphia”. Ms. Spencer believes firmly in training her vocal students to not only be the best singers they can be, but the best musicians as well.
Sally Wojcik, Theatre Arts
Sally Wojcik is originally from Springfield, MA. She studied Theatre, English, and Secondary Education at Albright College where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and with Departmental Distinction. Sally spent a semester at the prestigious National Theatre Institute in Waterford, CT. Directly after graduation, Sally accepted a position at Arden Theatre Company in the Arden Professional Apprentice Program, one of the country’s most competitive and rigorous theatre training programs. Sally remained on staff at the Arden in the Education and Marketing Departments for five years. She has also worked a teaching artists for Philadelphia Young Playwrights. Sally is currently pursuing her Masters Degree at Temple University.
Susan Senner, Counselor
Susan Senner joins the staff of The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush as the counselor for the inaugural 2008-2009 school year. Working at the Arts Academy will be a coming home of sorts, as she attended Rush when it was a middle school. No stranger to the School District of Philadelphia, she has worked in the District for the past 20 years. Coming in to the District through a co-op program right out of nearby George Washington High School, Ms. Senner started as a secretary while attending school in the evenings to work on a degree in sports administration and journalism at Temple University. After finishing a Bachelor’s degree at Temple, she moved on to Eastern University to pursue a degree in Secondary School Counseling. After receiving her certificate, she worked at Chichester High School in Chester County briefly before returning to Philadelphia to serve as the 9th grade counselor at Overbrook High School. Most recently, she completed her principal’s certification program at Penn State University, Great Valley campus. For the past five years she has worked in both the North Region and Northeast Regional offices as the No Child Left Behind District Liaison. The NCLB Liaison was responsible for overseeing Title I programs, working with schools on budgets, school improvement plans and compliance issues as well as working with parents around supplemental educational services and the school choice program.
Veronica Hanley, Academic Support Staff
Born in Germantown and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, Ms. Hanley attended Archbishop Ryan High School where she played flute for the school orchestra and marching band. She began her college education at East Stroudsburg University, then put a hold on college to marry and raise six children. During this time, she took classes at LaSalle University and Community College of Philadelphia, earning a Liberal Arts degree with honor in 2003. She slso studied voice at Settlement Music school for two years. She was a staff member of the Keystone State Boychoir during it’s inception, managing the music library, chaperoning concert performances, as well as tutoring new members in music theory and sight reading while her son was a member of the choir. She most recently spent two years as secretary for the Board of Directors of the Academy Sabres Sports Association, where she coached softball and basketball.
She is currently serving as President of Home & School Assocoation for the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush. Her hobbies include geneology (she has traced her family history to about 640 A.D), hiking, reading, and she has traveled with her husband and children throughout the United States, including Alaska, and to Europe, Nassau, and South Africa.
Chris Kingsbery, MS MEd, Professional Development Specialist
Chris is the principal in her own consulting practice, Acknowledging the Knowledge: Strength Based Professional Learning. She acts as a consultant to schools and school districts. Chris spends most of her time working in K-5, K-8, 6-8 or 9-12 institutions of learning; working with teachers and administrators. Most of Chris’ work centers on capacity building in schools and she has also supported implementation initiatives over time. Chris is a member of the National School Reform Faculty and a practicing critical friends coach. Chris’ work focuses on changing conversations in schools one teacher at a time. She works with teachers to collaborate around provocative text, student work, standard data and teaching practice. While Chris spends most of her time in urban settings, she also has experience in suburban and rural settings. Chris has taught in Lehigh University’s Graduate School of Education and in Rosemont College’s Middle Level Master’s Degree programs. She teaches aspiring principals a course in facilitative leadership in Lehigh’s Urban Leadership Program, and a parent engagement class in Rosemont’s Middle Level program. Chris facilities online graduate courses for Learning Sciences, International. She has also written course text for their Learning in the 21st Century series.
Joining us this year…
Todd Corabi, Physical Education & Health, Athletics Director
Mr. Corabi was born and raised in Philadelphia and spent most of his youth living in the Harrowgate section of the city near Port Richmond before relocating to Huntingdon Valley in 2002. He attended Olney Elementary, Conwell Middle Magnet and Mastbaum AVTS High School before attending Temple University. A 1997 graduate from Temple, he currently has 99 credits in addition to his Bachelor’s Degree including a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design with an emphasis on Educational Technology.
Jeff Bevilacqua – Geometry
Jeff Bevilacqua is joining the faculty at The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush for the 2010-2011 school year after spending last year at Overbrook High School. He is excited to be working with such talented, enthusiastic students, and hopes to share his love of mathematics with each student, regardless of his or her prior math experiences. After being born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Jeff attended Ohio Wesleyan University, earning a BA in Mathematics while also attaining minors in both Physics and the Humanities. After spending a year living and teaching at Perkiomen School, a boarding school in Pennsburg, PA, he went on to earn an MA in Mathematics from Villanova University, and spent three years pursuing a PhD in Mathematics at Temple University. Although he has lived in the Philadelphia area for the past six years and considers it his home, he is still hopelessly loyal to Cleveland’s sports teams. He also enjoys running through the woods, bowling, playing video games, and watching tv and movies.
Christina Tasca, 10th grade, Spanish II
Christina is a native of Norristown, PA. As the granddaughter of a celebrated playwright, she has spent much of her life in the theatre learning every aspect from acting to set design. While still in high school, she interned with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival as a costuming intern. During her sophomore year at Temple University, Christina studied abroad in Mérida, México where she developed a love of Latin American culture, Spanish, and the myriad Latin American art forms. She also had the privilege of going on a human rights delegation where she served as an interpreter and worked to improve conditions for indigenous and human rights activists in post- genocide Guatemala.
While living and working abroad and in Philadelphia, Christina became acutely aware of the inequalities in the education system and lack of opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Her passion for social justice has fostered a strong desire to help others through education and using the arts as a vehicle for change. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Education and aspires to be an excellent educator.
Max Feldman: 11th grade English
Born and raised in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia, Mr. Feldman graduated from J.R. Masterman High School. It was during high school that was inspired to become a teacher after having a series of amazing, mind-expanding English teachers. He attended Penn State University where he majored in Secondary Education and spent his extracurricular time rowing for the Penn State Crew Team. Mr. Feldman has spent the last two years teaching 9th and 11th grade English in Philadelphia at Olney West High School and is new to The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush for the 2010-2011 school year. His interests in English include American literature, literary theory and analysis, and critical media literacy. Outside of school, Mr. Feldman enjoys traveling, camping, and biking. He biked across the United States during the summer after his college graduation as an adventure before his transition from student to teacher.
John Goulet – Algebra II and Pre-Calculus
Mr. Goulet grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, where he lived through High School. During his early years in school, he had a passion for Math and Science and loved working with computers. He came to Philadelphia in 2001 to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2005 with a BS in Computer Science and Engineering. After graduation, he began his first job working as a software developer and providing technology support at a large financial services company. After three years of working in that field, he decided that a career change was in order and joined the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows in 2008. He worked for two years teaching Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, and AP Calculus at South Philadelphia High School and joined the staff at Rush in the fall of 2010. He is currently completing his Masters of Education at Drexel University. In his spare time, Mr. Goulet enjoys running, watching sports, reading, and traveling.
Miss Kim, Newcomer Academy (Math)
Miss Kim earned a BS in Civil Engineering with a minor in Creative Writing from Bucknell University and a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Princeton University. She worked in the environmental restoration field, earning her Professional Engineering license and cleaning up some streams along the way. She launched her second career as a teacher by serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, where she taught high school math in a small village for two years. When she is not pondering new ways to help her students understand and love math, she is probably cooking up something delicious, dreaming about her next trip, working on a crafting project, or reading a great book.
Becky Horner, Newcomer Academy (English)
Becky has been teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in the School District of Philadelphia for 11 years. She received a fellowship to pursue her Masters of Ed., TESOL, at the University of Pennsylvania (2003) and recently became a National Board Certified Teacher in English as a New Language. Becky has played the cello most of her life and is a trained Suzuki cello teacher. She also plays some violin and electric bass. As an enthusiastic language learner, Becky speaks French, as well as some Spanish and “Bahasa Indonesia,” having taught at the Jakarta International School for two years.
Clare Kobierowski – physical education/health
Jessica Johnson – SE
Jessica Johnson loves three things: music, special education, and playing sports. Her musical experience began in middle school. She played the clarinet from 6th grade on, eventually receiving a full-scholarship to Louisiana State University in 2004. While at LSU, she was in the Tiger Marching Band, Symphonic Winds, and Wind Ensemble. She graduated in 2008 from LSU with a B.S. in Psychology and promptly uprooted herself from the south and moved to Philadelphia. There she taught at Simon Gratz High School in North Philadelphia for two years and earned her Master’s Degree from Chestnut Hill College in Secondary Education with a Certification in Special Education and English. In her spare time, Mrs. Johnson plays on two soccer teams, devours books, attempts to write poetry, and tries not to make her husband sick with her experimental cooking.
Dana Rapoport, 11th Grade Social Studies – African American History
Dana Rapoport was born and raised in New York City and arrived in Philadelphia in August 2008. She completed her AB in History at The University of Chicago and her MA in Social Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. In high school she dabbled in multiple academic and extracurricular activities such as dance, photography, French literature and Calculus. She has worked in professional theaters, in professional research labs, played soccer with Scottish National players, traveled extensively throughout Europe and visited each continent (except Antarctica). After teaching in the South Bronx and inner city Philadelphia, she looks forward to joining the staff at Arts Academy to get back to her roots by integrating the arts into core academics and opening the minds of younger learners to the excitement of the past and the possibilities for the future.
David Moffa, 10th Grade Social Studies – American History