Abbie Wang Mandarin Instructor
Ms. Yiwen (Abbie) Wang is the Upper School Chinese teacher at Isidore Newman School since the fall of 2015 and also teaches StarTalk Chinese at the University of Mississippi during the summer. She received her M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from The University of Mississippi. She also trained to be a qualified Chinese teacher at Portland State University in a program conducted by ALLEX Foundation (Alliance for Language Learning and Educational Exchange). She taught Chinese at Lafayette High School in Mississippi for two years and the Chinese Language Flagship Program at the University of Mississippi for a summer. She is in her 10th year of teaching languages. Before she came to United states, she was an English teacher from K to 9 in Taiwan, she has been enjoying working with the kids at different ages.
Alex Peña Guitar Instructor
Alex Peña received his B.A. from University of New Orleans cum laude in 2010 and is an active performer with numerous groups in the New Orleans area. Alex has over ten years of teaching experience, both private lessons and in various New Orleans area schools.
Amanda Wadsworth has a Bachelor and Masters degree in Piano Performance. She has been teaching private piano lessons and music at Newman since 2004. She teaches piano lessons in traditional methods, as well as the Suzuki method. In addition to teaching, Ms. Wadsworth is active as a performer and adjudicator around New Orleans, and she is the Staff Accompanist for the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans.
Bryan Spitzfaden Visual Arts Instructor
Bryan Spitzfaden—aka Mr. Spitz—is a graduate of Jesuit and the University of New Orleans. He is a writer, performer, puppeteer and co-founder of the Hoot-n-Holler Inn. Mr. Spitz has a published collection of poetry, and co-created and performed in the acclaimed Fantastic Mr. Fox at the CAC. In addition, Mr. Spitz has served as the much loved Ambassador of Energy and a member of the Cardboard Mountain team at Newman Summer Day Camp.
Chase Ludeau Music Instructor
Chase Ludeau, a native to Lafayette, LA has been playing the piano and singing for over twenty years. He holds a double bachelors degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in classical piano performance and pedagogy with a minor in voice, and is a member of the Music Teacher’s National Association. Chase has also been involved with musical theater for years, taking on roles as a collaborative pianist, actor, dancer, music director, and has even composed for musicals. As an eclectic and diverse musician, Chase regularly accompanies himself vocally in a variety of styles as well as performs with classical chamber groups, choirs, jazz ensembles, and many soloists. Chase currently resides in New Orleans where he plans to expand and develop his career as a performing artist and instructor.
Cristy is a Pre-K/K counselor for After 3. Originally from north of Atlanta, she graduated from Loyola in 2016 with a Bachelors in Criminal Justice. She is currently in her last year of law school at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and intends to use this degree to pursue a career in Criminal Law. In her free time, she likes to travel, spend time with friends, babysit, and watch Netflix. Cristy has been a part of the Newman family since Summer 2014. Her favorite part about working at Newman is getting to know the kids. She is looking forward to another great school year!
David Lopez Kinder Chess & Soccer Superstars
David Lopez received a B.S. in Biology from Loyola University New Orleans and is currently an instructor for Chess and Soccer Superstars in Newman’s After 3 program. A strong advocate for interactive and inquiry-based learning, he involves his students in various group activities that highlight the importance of teamwork, leadership, and of course, fun. David resonates a unique character that has developed through his communities, his culture, and his education. He has served in multiple organizations that range from volunteer work, musical performance, and education—including Newman Summer. He loves to travel, play guitar, and simply give back. David aims to further develop his career in medicine in New Orleans.
Dimitri Papadopoulos is a 5th dan black belt of the Japan Karate Association. He trains karate at Tulane Karate Club under Kyriakos Papadopoulos and at the Louisiana Karate Association under Takayuki Mikami. Dimitri is an international competitor and has been on the US national Team since he was 15 years old. He still travels the world to represent the United States in World Championships. He holds the record of national and regional titles in the kumite (fighting) division of the Japan Karate Association in the United States. Academically, Dimitri holds two Bachelors and one Masters degrees from Tulane University, and, besides being a karate instructor, he teaches full-time Biology and Human Anatomy and Physiology at a Community College. Dimitri is a certified instructor of the Japan Karate Association (JKA) and has been teaching professionally within the New Orleans community for the past 11 years. This is his 10th year as an After 3 instructor. Newman Orleans Shotokan Academy
Gretchen Erickson Ballet Instructor
Gretchen Erickson began her formal dance training in the pre-professional division at Louisiana Dance Theatre under the direction of Carol Anglin. With LDT, Gretchen preformed at Regional Dance America Festivals, Jazz Dance World Congress, and the Tanzsommer Festival in Austria and Germany. Additionally, she has studied at Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Joffery Ballet School in New York, and in the BFA program at New World School of the Arts. In 2014, Gretchen received a Leverhulme grant for further postgraduate study at Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London, where she graduated with a Masters of Dance Performance. She toured throughout Europe with Transitions Dance Company performing works by Bawren Tavaziva, Zoi Dimitriou and Miguel Pereira. This is Gretchen's third season dancing with the Marigny Opera Ballet in New Orleans. She is also a certified Pilates teacher at Romney Studios and ballet teacher at New Orleans School of Ballet.
Gretchen Schultz Newman Head Gymnastics Coach
Gretchen Schultz has a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from LSU Medical Center. Gretchen competed internationally in acrobatic gymnastics for TEAM USA. She is the Newman Varsity Gymnastics Head Coach and is a certified USAG Junior Olympic Women's Team Coach. Her company NOLA Gymnastics teamed up with Newman to provide a Junior Olympic Gymnastic Training Center on campus.
Ivan Ivanov Gymnastics Coach
Ivan Ivanov is a former Bulgarian Acrobatic Champion. He is an internationally ranked judge and Master of Sport in Acrobatic Gymnastics.
Jeff Krause Ukulele & Guitar Instructor
Jeff Krause has 16 years of experience teaching guitar, bass, ukulele in individual and group settings. A professional guitarist, bassist, singer-songwriter, and lead guitar/recording artist for Lena Elizabeth, Brianna Lane, Julia Christiann, Luke Leblanc, Nick Hensley, and many others. Jeff holds an AAS in Guitar Performance from McNally Smith College of Music in Saint Paul, MN with years of continuing education, including 3 semesters of pedagogy, and has settled in New Orleans to continue his teaching and performance career.
Jeff York Scholastic Chess Coach
Coach Jeff York has been teaching scholastic chess to kids professionally for over 15 years. His education includes a B.A. from University of South Florida, an M.A. from Tulane University in Latin American Studies, and an M.A. in Linguistics from University of South Florida. He has taught at all levels, from kindergartners to University students. He is a twice published author and is a Spanish and Portuguese speaker. In his chess teaching career, his students have won four Florida State Scholastic Championships, one National Scholastic Championship, one National Team Championship, and two Louisiana State Scholastic Championships. His hobbies and interests include soccer, running, chess, languages, and playing music as a bassist and drummer. Most of all, he loves seeing kids achieve success in chess and in life by learning chess.
Jeremy Parker Newman Lower School Music Teacher
Jeremy Parker holds a Bachelor’s in Music Composition from Kansas State University and a Master’s in Music Theory from the University of Minnesota. He teaches Pre-K through 3rd grade music at Newman during the day, primarily employing the music ed. philosophies of Zoltan Kodaly. He is in his seventh year in the classroom and has also taught private piano and guitar lessons for 11 years, in both Louisiana and Kansas (where he grew up). Mr. Parker fell in love with music at a very early age, taking his first piano lesson at age five and going to his first Def Leppard concert at age 9. In his spare time he finds great personal fulfillment in composing for piano, exploring New Orleans’ music scene, doing harmonic dictation and other dorky music theory things, and seeing just how many times he can eat Chipotle in a week.
Joanna Izaguirre Strings Instructor
Joanna joined the Newman community in the 2017-2018 year. She holds a bachelor’s in Music Education from Loyola University of New Orleans and is the Band, Strings, and Music Theory Teacher at Newman working with 4th-12th grade. In the past, she taught on both North and South shores. Over the coming years, and with the support of her community, Ms. Izaguirre hopes to rebuild the Newman orchestral program and bring another musical outlet to its students. When not teaching or performing, Ms. Izaguirre loves being outdoors and dressing her beloved dog, Indigo, in costumes. Indigo loves the costumes too.
Maritza Mercado-Narcisse Show Time! | Musical Theater Instructor
Maritza Mercado-Narcisse is a choreographer, educator, and mother. Her work has been performed on the Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out stage, the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, and at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. New Orleans, La. has served as home base since 1988, where Maritza has worked with a variety of dance and theater artists and organizations, including ArtSpot Productions, Moving Humans, and Mondo Bizarro. She is a Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellow and resident artist at Dancing Grounds. Maritza has studied with Susan Marshall, Doug Varone, Beppie Blankert, and Milton Myers, among others, and she’s been a participant and faculty member with the Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute held in New Orleans, a relationship that has fostered her ongoing exploration of the intersection between art and activism. Most recently, Maritza has been creating work for television and film, including TNT’s Claws, AMC/History Channels remake of ROOTS, and the upcoming film, The Green Book with Mahershala Ali.
Marshall Winters Tennis Coach
Marshall Winters is currently a pro at the Abrie du Plooy Tennis Academy- working with top ranked players where he serves as the Head of Youth Programs at private schools. Marshall is a former top ranked junior that trained at Saddlebrook FL. He graduated from the University of Milan, Italy and attended Oxford University in the U.K. He has previously worked at the Mid Town Athletic Club in Chicago and started different programs for the youth that made him the top pro at this prestigious club.
Patrick Scioneaux Piano Instructor
Patrick Scioneaux is currently working on a Master's of Piano Performance. He has a BA in Music Studies with an emphasis on piano teaching methods, a specialty in Classical music and 12 years of teaching experience. He has been working with students in After 3 for 4 years.
Sarah Devlin Media Arts Instructor
Sarah Devlin has been teaching Media Arts to elementary school students in New Orleans for over 6 years. Sarah is an experimental filmmaker whose work has screened at Carnegie Hall and Parson's School Gallery. She has received several awards, including Gambit's 40 under 40, Louisiana Film Fest's Best of Festival, Scholastic Portfolio Gold Medal, and more. When she’s not teaching the craft of filmmaking, Sarah enjoys making music videos with local musicians.
Sebastian Bharj Piano Instructor
Sebastian Bharj is a Newman alumus with a BA in Music Performance and Politics from Vassar College, NY. He has played professionally in London, New York and New Orleans and plays a diverse range of music spanning Jazz, Gospel, Latin, Pop, and R&B. Sebastian grew up in England where he was taught classical piano from an early age but it wasn’t until he moved to New Orleans at age 13 and starting playing jazz that he really fell in love with the piano. He has gone on to receive music scholarships for Jazz performance and can be found playing locally as a soloist and with various groups at venues like Tipitina's and the House of Blues. Sebastian personalizes each lesson to suit the musical interests of the student and seeks to instill joy and enthusiasm for learning. His lessons emphasize musicianship skills such as ear training and creativity whilst providing a solid technical foundation.
Susan Scharff Lower School Science Teacher
Susan Scharff has been teaching Pre-K - 1st Grade Science at Newman since 2008. In addition, Susan has enjoyed teaching Science and Cooking in the After 3 program for the last 5 years. She has also been the Head of Science for Newman’s Summer Day Camp Program since 2009. Susan loves incorporating the real world in her teaching of Science so that kids are aware of, understand, and enjoy the fact that Science is all around us!
Tova Steele Newman Plus Coordinator
Tova Steele is thrilled to be expanding her role at Newman in 2019 as the Newman Plus Coordinator. She has been working with children for over eight years, four of which were as a part-time After 3 employee. Tova holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Early Childhood Education from Tulane University. Through this program she completed such coursework as Emergent Literacy, Child & Adolescent Literature, and Classroom Management, while working in various charter schools in New Orleans as a student teacher. A native of Seattle, she explored alternative auxiliary programs at the social justice focused Giddens School before moving back to New Orleans. She is excited to embrace this new position by creating innovative, empowering auxiliary programming for the students at Newman. Tova looks forward to bringing her favorite After 3 activity to Pre-K/K students with Little Innovators! In her free time, Tova is a stage manager for local theater companies and enjoys biking around the city.
Travis Blotsky Tech Instructor
Travis Blotsky is a classically trained musician and self-taught electronics whiz. He studied music education at The University of South Dakota. Travis has been experimenting with electronics since childhood and has taught robotics around the New Orleans area at some of the city's most well respected camps, including a serving as the Tech Lab Environment Head at Newman Summer Camp. As a lifelong tinkerer, Travis is excited to pass his passion for exploring how things work to future generations.
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