TEACHING ARTISTS

SUSAN ALTMAN - Visual Arts (AHS) - Exhibiting artist in national & international exhibitions (solo and group); major grants & fellowships including a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship; Asst. Chair of Visual, Performing and Media Arts Department at Middlesex County College, & Associate Professor of painting, drawing & printmaking.  Education; MFA Tyler School of Art, Temple University, BFA State University of NY, Buffalo.  She is also a consultant and reader for the AP in Studio Art.

DAVID AMBROSE - Visual Arts (AHS)-Painter w/studios in NY & NJ. Exhibits works with Margaret Thatcher Projects, NY, Marcia Wood Gallery, Atlanta, GA & Pentimenti Gallery, Phila, PA showed with Gregory Lind Gallery, San Francisco, CA ,Mid Career Retrospective, NJ State Museum, Trenton, NJ 2016.  Received 2 fellowships from NJ State Council on the Arts, including a Distinguished Artist Fellowship.  Adjunct Professor of Drawing -  Parsons the New School for design.  Adjunct Instructor- Fashion Institute of Technology, Visiting Artist – Pratt Institute.  Education: MFA, Univ. of Pennsylvania; BFA, Muhlenberg College.

KAT BLOCK –Visual Arts (AHS & AMS) Career artist. Won numerous awards, Many solo, group & juried shows. Work featured in 2010 release, "Remember Me" starring Pierce Brosnan & Robert Pattison. Created images for Union County Jazzfests. Illustrated two children's books, "Little Mouse", & “Pancakes, No Thanks”  Art Director for calendars benefitting NJ Breast Cancer Research Fund. Well-known art educator. Currently teaches at duCret School of Art, Visual Arts Center of NJ & Institute of Music for Children. Conducts art workshops throughout New Jersey, such as Union County Teen Art Festival, numerous private art students, many of whom have gone on to win awards of their own. Education: BA Kean University Summa Cum Laude.

BARBARA BLUMENTHAL –Musical Theatre (AMS) – Directing adult & children’s theater productions for 22 years.  Founder & Dir - NJ Footlights Drama Workshops, conducts Theater Arts & Teacher-Training Workshops in NJ & NY.  Education: BA Theater Arts, Rutgers U.

MARC DAVID BONAGURA—Creative Writing (AHS) Professor of English at Brookdale Community College, received a Master's Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Georgia. Bonagura is the co-author with Holocaust survivor Leslie Schwartz of Freedom From Hatred and writes an internationally known blog called Talking Weeds. 

P.J. BRACCO – Film Making (AHS/AMS)-Owner/Executive Director- Red Hook Films®. Began his career directing & producing Off-Broadway in the 90’s. Launched production company (1997) w/ the award winning feature film “The Court”, Maintained a career on the fringes of the independent scene, producing films, music videos & commercials. Currently in development w/several new projects, pursues, & creates new opportunities in motion pictures, Brings experience & knowledge to the classroom. Each project is approached w/a focus on clear & engaging stories, exploring various styles & techniques to achieve cinematic excellence, while delivering on time & on budget. www.redhookfilms.com  Education: BFA, Acting, Boston University’s College of Fine Arts.

ELOISE BRUCE— Creative Writing (AMS)- Published collection of poetry, Rattle-CavenKerry Press. Member-Cool Women poetry performance group; 1998 Fellowship in Poetry-NJSCA; teaching artist-NJ Writers Project at Writer’s Theater and Young Audiences of NJ; Coach Educational Leaders as Scholars; Mentor NJ Poetry Out Loud; Youth Editor RavensPerch Literary Magazine; Governors Award for Arts in Education 2018.  Education: MEd, Mercer Univ.; MFA, Univ. of Alabama; BFA, Wesleyan College.

SHAWN BRUSH- Modern Dance (AMS)  from Woodbridge, NJ, graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts in 2015.  He currently dances for Keith  Thompson and has danced for Laura Peterson Choreography, Meagan Woods company, Hillary Pearson, and apprenticed with 10 Hairy Legs. In the summer of 2014 he performed in “Donmus Ruya (Frozen Dream), “an immersive dance piece set in Santrallstanbul in Istanbul, Turkey.  Shawn is also teaching at Raritan Valley Community College and several public schools in New Jersey.

JOHN BUKOVEC – Theater Arts (AHS) - Head of Theater Dept -Brookdale CC. Teaches Acting I - IV, Directing & Contemporary American plays. Founded Brookdale Summer Shakespeare Ensemble. Taught & acted w/McCarter Theater Outreach Dept. Acted in NJ/NY/Chicago/Wash D.C. Favorite acting roles:  Weston. The Fifth of July; Macbeth, Macbeth; Theramanes, Phadre; Juror #7, Twelve Angry Men.  Education: BFA, Ramapo College; MFA Acting, Theater School in Chicago-formerly Goodman School of Drama

MEI LI CHEN—Vocal Music (AHS) Graduated Tunghai University, Taiwan, major in piano. MFA, Westminster Choir College, major in choral conducting and church music with Dr. J. flummerfelt, Mrs. F. Haasemann and Mr. A. Crowell. Taught music at Tainan Theological Seminary, served as music director at First Reformed Church , New Brunswick. Currently serves as music director at Wesley United Methodist Church, So. Plainfield. Awarded outstanding teacher by Piano Teacher Assn., maintains a private piano studio in Piscataway.

RALPH COLOMBINO Theatre Arts (AMS) has been a professional actor and educator for nearly 30 years. He received a BFA degree from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Ralph has either acted in or directed over 50 equity theater productions. He is the founder and artistic director of Actors Playground School of Theatre in Freehold New Jersey which, for the past 14 years, has served as NJ’s premiere acting conservatory boasting over 200 students every semester since its inception.He is also the company director of Playground Theatre Project which is one of the most successful social issue theater companies in American history. Last year Ralph was inducted into the Point Pleasant Hall of Fame for education.

DAVID DZIEMIAN-Visual Arts (AMS) Artist and educator who lives and works in NJ with his wife, two kids, three cats, and a whole bunch of fish. His primary media is oil paint and his work is based in realism with a slightly fantastical bend, but he also works with a variety of media including watercolor, colored pencil, and ink.  He received his MFA from Montclair University and has exhibited his works across the country.  He is represented in New York by Marion Royael Gallery and has received numerous awards including a state fellowship for painting.  In addition to teaching in the Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean Arts Middle and High School program, David is an adjunct professor at Brookdale Community College and also teaches privately.

MARJORIE ENERSON-Theatre Arts (AMS) Teaching artist for Count Basie performing arts academy 2012-present.  Teaching artist for outreach and education for Count Basie 2012-present.  7th grade theatre arts for Middlesex Arts and Ed 2008-present.  Ranney in the Summer- Theatre program 1999-2016 Education: BFA Montclair University.

TERRY GEERDTS- Photography (AMS)- Business owner for 13 years with a studio in Metuchen. Council member of Professional Photographers of NJ. Member of Professional Photographers of America. Regional speaker for NY & NJ Photographers. Regional & National award winner. Education: BA Fashion Institute of Technology. 

LISA A. ILARIA  Creative Writing (AMS) MA Graduate of Kean University. Writing and Literature Instructor at Ocean County College and Brookdale Community College.  Thirty   years teaching all levels of English and Writing at middle and high school level. Private tutor.Freelance proofreading and editing of short stories, novels, business plans, research papers, etc.  Author of personal stories and memoirs. 

RANDY JAMES—Modern Dance (AHS & AMS) Founding Artistic Director of 10 Hairy Legs, has made a significant impact in dance for more than 3 decades locally, regionally, nationally and internationally as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, guest lecturer, panelist and staunch advocate of the arts. James has created more than 40 works on his own companies and on 16 other professional companies throughout the US. NJSCA honored him 3 times with Choreography Fellowships in 1995, 2002 and in 2014 and as "Distinguished Teaching Artist." 

CHARLES H. JOHNSON -- Poetry (AHS) - 2014 NJPAC main stage reader in program honoring veterans & their poetry, 2013 2nd place winner of Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards for his poem “Sunday Comics” & winner of County College of Morris' 2011 NJ Poets Prize for his poem "Leaving." For his 3rd book "Smoke Signals," he received the 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence. A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, he is poetry instructor for Middlesex & Monmouth Counties Arts HS, & visiting poet for Paterson, NJ school system.  A 1998 first-place winner of Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, he has been poetry editor for the online literary e-zine Identity Theory, poetry instructor for the Middlesex County Youth Shelter & night editor & poetry reviewer for the Home News Tribune. A graduate of Rutgers University, he is a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Poet in the Schools. His Web site:charleshjohnsonpoet.net

JOYCE KAY Vocal Music / Musical Theatre (AMS) Experienced piano soloist, accompanist and vocal coach who enjoys music directing community and school theater productions.  Joyce entertains with a cabaret duo that performs standards and musical theater repertoire.  Joyce is a certified Music Together teacher in Princeton, offering music class experiences for families and their very young children.  She also teaches music in many pre-schools in Trenton, helping teachers learn the value of using music in their classrooms.  Joyce holds BM degree from the Univ. of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of  Music in Music Theory and Piano Performance. 

DIANA LANG -Art Photography (AMS) Photographer based in Central NJ. Portrait & Wedding Studio for over 6 years with an additional 20 years of photographic experience. President of the Professional Photographers' Association. On the committee for Hightstown Harvest Fair Photography Exhibit.

KAREN LESTER—Musical Theatre (AMS)-Choreographer. Teacher-Dance Carousel, Spotswood-25yrs. Teacher-- Waves of Motion Dancer,  Spotswood. Choreographer -  Middle School plays at St. Bartholomew’s , E. Brunswick-22 years. Teacher– Monroe Twp. Theater Camp. Certified thru Dance Educators of America, NYC. Member -Assoc Dance Teachers of NJ, Level III trained thru Dance Masters Inc

DANIELLE MONDI –Modern Dance (AHS) BFA, Dance, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers U, & her 200hr Yoga Teaching Certificate, OM Factory, NYC. Worked w/Marie Alonzo Snyder & currently w/JKing Dance Company/Joyce King. As a member of JKDC, Danielle performed original works by King in NYC & internationally at HIGH FEST Performing Arts Festival, Yerevan, Armenia. Performed in ‘Slow and Soul,’ a concert tour w/Korean Pop Star, Wheesung. In addition to performing, continues to spread her passion for teaching dance at Center Stage Dance &Theater School & is a Teaching Artist for Young Audiences of NJ & Eastern PA & 10HL/Randy James where she teaches dance residences in the public school setting. Choreographed for the Phineas & Ferb, Perry the Platypus Tour Kickoff in Times Sq., honoring Disney Channels original Movie Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension.

JOE MONTELEONE- Modern Dance (AHS) “the “Andy Warhol of modern dance” (The Moving Beauty Series 2015) is “A one-man-band soloist & choreographer - who mixes his own music, video art, records monologues, & controls his own lighting –the rare control freak who can do it all” (Huffington Post 2017). His multimedia solo work & company (Monteleone Dance) presented extensively in NYC, nationally, internationally, listed in Huffington Post’s “Best Dance Performances of 2017”. forefront of movement innovation “Extraordinary confined explosive physical force & motion-filled movement variety” (Critical Dance 2018), hyper-dexterous movement vocabulary that illustrates Maya, the world of forms & illusion. “Far & away the most moving & meticulous dancer to take the stage” (Phoenix New Times 2017)

TIMOTHY NOREK –Theatre Arts (AMS) fancies himself a professional make-believer. Co-founder, co-director, & instructor with Death by Improv since 2004. He has been performing improv since high school way back when, and then in college he co-founded Backstage Players Improv Thingy, which led to the co-founding of Death by Improv. Tim has also studied improv with instructors from around the country at numerous improv festivals, schools, and retreats; such as the Boston Comedy Arts Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, Philly Improv Festival, Gainesville Improv Festival, Richmond Improv Festival, Camprov, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Armando Diaz’s 24 Hours of Improv for Sandy Relief.

CARLYLE OWENS—Theatre Arts (AHS) has appeared onstage at Shakespeare and Company, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Cleveland Play House, Monomoy Theater and the McCarter, as well as in a number of off-off Broadway productions. He has also worked as an artist in the schools in New York City, Jersey City. Carlyle teaches theater history in the International Performance Ensemble program at Pace University.  He has previously taught acting and voice while a member of the resident acting company at the Cleveland Play House, at About Face Theater, The Laurel School and while earning his MFA at Ohio University. He is an original member of Raconteur Radio, performing staged radio plays throughout New Jersey and in New York City.

RICH PALMROS Theatre Arts (AMS) s a graduate of Rutgers University with a BA in Theater Arts. A long time teacher and student of the Actors Playground School of Theatre, Rich has dedicated his time to persueing a life in the arts. He has worked in numerous plays in and outside of New York City, and worked on a number if independent films and webseries. He has also directed his own full length feature film due to be released soon. Personal projects aside, Rich is happiest working with young actors and passing on the knowledge he's gained.

ALLAN ROBINSON—Musical Theater and Vocal Music (AHS/AMS) -Middlesex County College:  Music Faculty/ music theory, keyboard studies and music history.  Organist and choral conductor for two religious organizations in Red Bank and Livingston, Teaching Artist for Middlesex and Monmouth Counties Arts and Education Program . Choral Adjudicator for Teen Arts Festival of NJ, Education: B.Mus., Westminster Choir Coll, Princeton;M.Mus., Rutgers Univ. Mason Gross School of the Arts; D.M.A. Boston University (School of Fine Arts ).

ARIEL E. SAULOG—Photography & Filmmaking (AHS/AMS) More than 20 years working in the Motion Pictures, Advertising, Photography industry as an award winning Motion Graphics Animator, Video/Audio Editor, Cinematographer, Special Effects/Post Production Supervisor, Director & everything in between. As a Photographer shooting stills for movies, portrait & events working numerous advertising campaigns for Commercial and the Entertainment industry. Currently manages his own Cinematography, Photography & Post Production studio. Education: BFA, School of Visual Arts (SVA), NYC.

DAVID SCHLOSSBERG—Musical Theatre (AMS) pianist, composer, and arranger from Monroe, NJ.  He has spent his professional life accompanying many vocalists, instrumentalists, and choirs around New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.  Dave's new solo piano CD, A Place Beyond Words, won a Silver Medal from the Global Music Awards, and his choral compositions have also garnered recognition.  He frequently presents programs and concerts for synagogues, libraries, and community events around the area.  More information on Dave can be found at www.daveschlossberg.com

RADAM SCHWARTZ – Jazz Improv (AHS) --Noted jazz performer, staple on the NY/NJ/Philly jazz scene. Arranger, composer, organist, pianist. Last 5 CDs on national charts( high as #9). Many other recording credits. CD in 1995 was named in B3 Organ Bible as an essential organ record of all time. Performed throughout US & Europe. Played on over 40 recordings. Educator at Jazz House Kids & the former Jazz Institute of NJ (music director), Jazz  Connections, Middlesex County Arts HS. Mentioned in the 2009 Downbeats Critics Poll. Received Sesac award for Jazz Composition in both 2008 and 2009.Masters in Jazz History and Theory from Rutgers Newark, Recipient of the Morroe Berger -Benny Carter grant. Worked with David Fathead Newman, Arthur Prysock, Al Hibbler, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Cecil Brooks III, and many others.  Mentioned in 2009 and 2015 Downbeats Critics Poll    ARLENE SMELSON-Visual Arts (AMS) more than 35 years’ experience teaching art on all grade levels. She obtained a BA Degree in Art Education from Kean University and a MA Degree in Instructional Technology in the Visual Arts from Georgian Court University. Arlene received the Monmouth County Teacher of the Year Award from the Monmouth County Arts Council and continues to be one of the adjudicators for the Congressional Awards for the state of New Jersey. Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the area. Although her passion is in painting and sculpture she has developed a unique style in all Medias. 

AMY SUZNOVICH Vocal Music (AMS) A Soprano, has performed as a soloist with the Hunterdon Symphony, Newtown Chamber Orchestra, Southern Vermont Lyric, Boheme Opera, and George Street Playhouse, among others. She is known for singing God Bless America and the National Anthem for teams such as the Phillies. She has a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance from Ithaca College, is an alum of OperaWorks and has had a thriving voice studio for the past 9yrs. www.AmySuznovich.com

CHRIS TOMAINO – Theatre Arts (AHS) Professional actor, director & educator for 32 years, with over 60 productions to his credit.  Mr. Tomaino has been happily involved with The Mottola Theater Project for the past 20 years, in addition to multiple theater companies in both New York City and regionally.  Mr. Tomaino teaches a variety of performance-based classes at Brookdale Community College.  The County College of Morris and The Count Basie Theater’s Performing Arts Academy, where he also teaches professional workshops for teachers and other teaching professionals.  He has been a proud member of AEA for the past 26 years.  Mr. Tomaino holds a BA in Communications from Monmouth University and an MFA in Acting from Indiana University

ROBYN TRIMBOLI-RUSSO - Visual Arts 3D (AMS) Artist, designer and teacher. Illustrator & designer at Gannett newspapers & various publications for 20 yrs, winning several awards for design & illustration. Later returned to her love of painting & drawing, opening Metuchen Creative Studio, an art instruction studio for adults & children. Her painting and sculptures have been exhibited at Metuchen Junebug Artfest. Education: School of Visual Arts, NYC