Ted Walch holds a BA from Kenyon College and an MFA from Catholic University of America. He also studied at Yale School of Drama. Now in his 50th year of teaching, Walch has taught in the summer program at Northwestern University, at University School in Cleveland, St. Albans School in Washington, DC, and The Branson School in Ross, CA. He has founded four professional theaters – Gambier Summer Playhouse, St. Albans Repertory Theater, Shakespeare & Co. (D.C.), and Kenyon Festival Theater, where, as Artistic Director, he worked with Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, Chris Cooper, Jonathan Winters, and Clancy Brown, among others. In 1991, Walch arrived at Harvard-Westlake School to head the theater program and to develop a course in the study of film. His Cinema Studies course, taught annually to scores of seniors, is offered in truncated form to adults on selected Sundays in the spring.
Shawn Costantino is Director of Jazz Studies and Instrumental Music at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles where he directs 3 Big Bands, ten small combos, an intermediate jazz rhythm section class, and a wind ensemble. He also teaches directed studies in improvisation, jazz history, music technology, song writing, and recording. Shawn is a Yamaha sponsored Artist & Clinician. As such, he has conducted dozens of clinics, residencies, and performances around the nation. Shawn has played with Phil Woods, Wynton Marsalis, Jim McNeely, John Faddis, and David “Fat Head” Newman, and regularly performs and records with such artists as the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Pete Christlieb, and Snoop Dogg. He is completing work on his Doctorate in Music Performance & Conducting at the University of Northern Colorado. Shawn received his Master’s in Music from DePaul University in Chicago and his Bachelor’s in Music from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.
Melissa received her BA in Linguistics and MA in English from CSU, Northridge and has had several of her poems published in the Northridge Review, a semi-annual journal produced by CSUN. In her free time she enjoys writing and painting. She began working at HW in 2011.
Cynthia Winter is a performer, choreographer and director. Winter was born and raised in Los Angeles and began her professional career as a dancer when she was seventeen years old. She danced in numerous local dance companies and later received her Master of Arts Degree in Dance from UCLA where she met Margalit Oved. Winter joined Margalit Dance Theater and became a principal dancer, touring internationally with the company for 15 years. Ms. Winter has been a Master Teacher of Dance for many years, mentoring dancers and choreographers alike. She developed the dance program at Harvard-Westlake School where she is the Director of Dance at the Upper School. She is currently Artistic Director of WINTER DANCE THEATER, created in 2012.
Rees Pugh, a native of suburban Boston, Massachusetts, attended Milton Academy and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. (BA, Drama) A classically trained actor (Guggenheim Theater, A.C.T., Stella Adler Institute) and founding member of the L.A. based classical theater company, A Noise Within, he spent his 20s and 30s as a working actor, first, in and around New York City and later, in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. At the same time, he worked extensively behind the scenes on TV, film and theatrical productions. Before joining Harvard-Westlake as the Master Set Carpenter and Co-Technical Director in 2001, he spent 8 years building expansion projects for Disneyland Theme Parks in Florida, Tokyo and Anaheim and France, for Walt Disney Imagineering.
Rodger Guerrero has conducted choirs at all levels for 29 years. He earned his BA in Choral Conducting from Loyola Marymount University, his MM in Choral Conducting from the University of Miami, and has completed course work for a DMA in Choral Conducting from USC. Choirs under his direction have performed at state, regional, and national music conventions and have won many prestigious regional and national choral competitions. Mr. Guerrero has conducted high school choirs for 26 years, children's choirs for five years, church choirs for 25 years, and collegiate vocal ensembles at Fresno State University, the University of Miami and USC. Mr. Guerrero is in great demand as a choral adjudicator throughout the western United States and has made presentations on conducting, repertoire, rehearsal technique, and educational goals and standards at numerous SCVA, ACDA, and CMEA workshops and conventions. This year he will conduct regional high school honor choirs throughout California. Finally, Mr. Guerrero is currently the Past President of the Southern California Vocal Association and Chair of the California State Commission on Choral Festival Standards and Alignment.
Sara Shakliyan is in her fifth year at Harvard-Westlake School as staff accompanist and vocal-instrumental collaborator. Dr. Shakliyan earned an MM in Choral Music from the Bulgarian State Conservatory and an MM and DMA in Choral Conducting from USC. She also leads the Contemporary Choral Ensemble at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood. Dr. Shakliyan is a published composer with Santa Barbara Music Publishing. Her Bulgarian folk song " Sednalo e Djore dos" was premiered by the Harvard-Westlake Chamber Singers at the 2005 American Choral Directors Association National Convention. She has accompanied the Southern California Vocal Association High School Honor Choirs for the past five years, most recently in November 2013. She is in high demand throughout California both as an accompanist and as a composer.
Christopher has been a full-time teacher in the Theater Department at HW since 1997. He holds dual degrees in Theater and Radio, Television and Film Production from Northwestern University. Before becoming a full-time teacher Christopher worked for over thirty-five years as a professional actor in theater, film and television. He has worked as an actor, director, writer and has produced theatrical productions in Miami, Chicago, New York and California. He continues to work professionally when possible. Along with directing and producing many of the main-stage productions at HW Christopher is the producer of the annual Playwrights Festival; a festival which features original student written one-act plays. He is also the faculty mentor and director of HWOP, “The Harvard-Westlake Outreach Performers,” a community service outreach program taking student performances to Children’s hospitals, Senior Citizen Care Centers and elementary schools.
Katie Lowry Chang teaches dance and is the Assistant Director of the annual Upper School Dance Concert. Ms. Lowry Chang graduated from Harvard-Westlake School and Wesleyan University where she received a BA in both Dance and Psychology. Ms. Lowry Chang has performed with the Rudy Perez Dance Ensemble and Skoveworks Dance Company and has presented her own choreography at the Dance Moving Forward Festival in Los Angeles. She received a grant from The Field to present work and curate two weeks of performance at the FAR Space in New York. Prior to teaching at Harvard-Westlake, Ms. Lowry Chang worked for STREB and the American Dance Festival in New York and North Carolina. Ms. Lowry Chang received her yoga teaching certification from the Center for Yoga and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and teaches yoga in the Physical Education Department.
Michele Spears is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has been working as a performer, musical theatre director, choreographer, and arts educator for over 25 years. She has worked at the O’Neill Theatre Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Pasadena Playhouse, The Musical Theatre Guild, Cornerstone Theatre, The L.A. Gay Men's Chorus, the Edinburgh Theatre Festival, Disney Productions, and Universal Studios, among others. She has performed in numerous musicals including national and European tours, and currently performs with the improvisational theatre company Impro Theatre. Her work has been recognized with LA Weekly, Dramalogue, StageScene LA, Santa Barbara Independent, American Choreographers, and N.Y. Night-Life awards. She has taught improv and acting for USC, UCLA, LA Acting Corps, and the LA Unified Artists in Residency Program.
Lisa Peters has worked as a professional costumer for over twenty years and has taught at Harvard-Westlake Upper School since the fall of 2004. She has designed and built costumes for Universal Studios, the Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival, and Center Theater Group, among others. She also works with individual and commercial clients on a freelance basis. Lisa earned a BFA in costume design from the California Institute of the Arts.
Emily Reola is the Director of Orchestras and Chair of the Performing Arts department at Harvard-Westlake Middle School in Los Angeles, where she has been in residence for the last 10 years. In addition to conducting the Middle School Symphony and directing the chamber music concerts, Ms. Reola teaches Beginning Strings and conducts the Concert Strings Orchestra at the middle school. As department chair, Ms. Reola leads a comprehensive and inter-disciplinary performing arts program in music, theater, dance, and choral music. Prior to her appointment at Harvard-Westlake, Ms. Reola directed junior high and high school orchestras in the Brentwood Union Free School District in Brentwood, NY. Ms. Reola holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Duquesne University and a Master of Arts in Music Education from New York University. A lifelong musician, Ms. Reola started playing the violin at the age of 6 while growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Joe Schenck, Director of Middle School Dance, is thrilled to join the Harvard-Westlake performing arts faculty this year! Still an active performer, Joe is currently a core company member with the site-specific dance company Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre. He has also performed with Diavolo Dance Theatre (where he also served as Director of Education), Open Gate Theatre Ensemble, Hollywood Fringe Festival, Attic Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Civic Light Opera South Bay Cities and the Moving Arts Theater. Since moving to LA in 2006, he has taught dance and theatre throughout the city, including the Sweat Spot dance studio in Silverlake, the LA County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), everybody dance!, Gabriella Charter School and the Festival of the New American Musical. Before starting his dance career, Joe majored in Theatre at Northwestern University in Chicago and performed with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Co., Second City, Porchlight Music Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, Marriott Theatre and sketch comedy group GayCo.
Kate Benton is an Academic Dean and a director and teacher of Theatre Arts at the Harvard-Westlake Middle School in Los Angeles. Previous to her academic career, Kate worked at the William Morris Agency in the Motion Picture Literary Department and at Columbia Pictures as a development assistant for director, Ridley Scott. She was Vice President of Indian Neck Productions, an independent film company, and a main stage performing member of LA’s premiere Improvisation Troupe, “The Groundlings”. Kate has acted in numerous television shows, films and commercials. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s theatre program.
Before arriving to HW, Jim Doughan taught History, English and Drama at the Westridge School in Pasadena. He has been a mentor for student writers, and a director for the HW Playwright’s Workshop, he has taught at the HW Summer Intensive Actor’s Workshop as well as an improvisation master class at USC Business School and Execuprov in Orange County. He has been working as a professional actor and writer since 1981 in theatre, film, and television. He was a resident company member of the famed Improvisational Theatre, THE GROUNDLINGS, from 1985 to 1993 and the Dudley Rigg’s Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis from 1981- 1985. Jim Doughan received his BFA in Theatre from the University of Minnesota- Duluth.
Gregory Goddu has been with Harvard-Westlake since the summer of 2000. Initially working as an administrator for the school’s Admission office, he soon began teaching Rhythm Section Workshop classes and assisting with Performing Arts events. Additionally, for the past eight years, Greg has been teaching Music Technology classes, formerly Electronic Music, where has been working to keep this course relevant to the modern musical world. Greg obtained his Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Mexico and was born in raised in New England.
Kathleen M. Davidson began her professional career at age 18 with the Houston Ballet. She went on to earn her BFA in dance from The Juilliard School and upon graduation, became the first American modern dancer hosted by the Chinese government to perform in Nanning, China. There she received an honorary professorship award for her teaching at the Guangxi Arts College. Returning to New York City, Kathleen joined Shen Wei Dance Arts and danced both in the U.S. and abroad in Shen Wei's critically acclaimed works Folding, Behind Resonance and Rite of Spring. Commercially, she has danced in Julie Taymor’s film, Across the Universe and with the Los Angeles-based String Theory – a collaborative ensemble of artists - at such venues as the Grammy’s, Wynn Hotel and Segerstrom Center for the Arts. A member of the Harvard Westlake Performing Arts Faculty since 2011, Ms. Davidson also teaches at the summer dance program and choreographs for the drama productions. She is a certified gyrotonic and pilates instructor as well as a member with the National Dance Education Organization.
Christopher Wong is a pianist, composer, and conductor, and is currently the accompanist for the Harvard-Westlake Middle School choirs. His activities as a pianist have included accompanist positions with the Crossroads School, Seven Arrows Elementary school, and First Baptist Church of West Los Angeles, as well as maintaining a studio of private piano students. Trained in classical and jazz piano in his youth, he went on to study music composition at UCLA. Near the end of his education at UCLA, Christopher studied privately under Academy Award winning composer Jerry Goldsmith, who encouraged Christopher to pursue a career in film composing. His composing credits include 21 feature films, 19 short films, and 3 stage musicals, as well as numerous concert and religious works.
Starr Schaftel Wayne has taught Instrumental Music at the Harvard-Westlake Middle School in Los Angeles since 2000. Additionally, she maintains a private clarinet studio, and has taught many students who have won numerous competitions, including The Los Angeles Spotlight Awards, The Young Musicians Foundation Chamber Music Competition, as well as gained acceptance in the Disney Summer Youth Orchestra. Ms. Wayne is a graduate of The Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland and the USC Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles, California, where she earned the degrees of Bachelor of Music, and Master of Music, both with a major in Clarinet Performance.
Nina Burtchaell is the director of Vocal Music at Harvard-Westlake Middle School in Los Angeles. Prior to her arrival at Harvard-Westlake, Nina taught at the Mirman School for Gifted Children in Los Angeles and at The Perry School in Austin, Texas. Nina is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin where she studied opera with Walter Ducloux and performed as orchestral flautist with Carl St.Clair. Her graduate studies include the University of Illinois study abroad program, where she was a student of William Bennett, London Symphony Orchestra. Nina is in her twenty-second year at Harvard-Westlake, where she has enjoyed building a vibrant choral program, and is proud to have served as Dean of Faculty and Performing Arts Department Chair.
Tim Schmall joined Harvard-Westlake in 2013, arriving to the west coast from Cincinnati, Ohio. He received his undergraduate degree in Theatre Arts from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and an M.F.A. In Theatrical Design and Production from the University of Cincinnati. Before joining the Harvard-Westlake community, Mr. Schmall worked as a designer and technician in the Cincinnati area for several companies including the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Ballet, Children’s Theatre Cincinnati, The Falcon Theatre, and the University of Miami (OH). He has spent time working in many different areas of performing arts, from shakespearean drama in Fairbanks, Alaska, to opera and instrumental concerts in Spoleto, Italy. Mr. Schmall is very excited to make his home in Los Angeles and is eager to continue the tradition of excellent productions at Harvard-Westlake.
Before joining Harvard-Westlake School, Mr. Kolmanovsky was one of the designers who worked on the former World Trade Center.
Alex Kolmanovsky has designed scenery and lighting for over two hundred theatrical productions in educational and professional theatre.
He has been involved in Theme Park Design all over the world since 1988. The work includes scenery for rides in USA, Japan, Korea and Jordan. He worked on projects for Disneyland and the Universal Studios. Kolmanovsky was a set designer for “The Viking Adventure” at Wakayma Park, Japan which is still the largest water park attraction in the world. Mr. Kolmanovsky was one of the designers for a theme ride at a Korean Pavilion at Expo’93 in Seoul, Korea, as well as for Starquest Samsung.
Mr. Kolmanovsky designed rides and themed architecture in Las Vegas. Some of the architectural projects are New York, New York Casino, Buffalo Bill Casino, and Whiskey Pete Casino. Some of the rides are “Lost Silver Mine” at MGM Grand and “Treasury Island.”
His design work for Performing Arts includes scenery for Neil Diamond World Tour as well as countless MTV music videos.
Mr. Kolmanovsky designed scenery for TV commercials and Industrial Shows. Here are some of them: The Water Park for the US. High Diving team, AT&T Phone Company, Miller Brewing Corporation, Lexus, and LA Gear Industrial Show in Munchen, Germany.