Meet Our Teachers

All classes are taught by artists who are passionate about their art form. They are generously dedicating their time to instruct and inspire youth in their community.

Read more about our amazing teachers below! 

Luca Berti

Luca Berti has studied music for 11 years. He started studying music at the age of 7 playing the piano and violin. After four years, he transitioned to the viola, which he's been playing every since. He joined ACMA's orchestra and chamber music program and has been part of both the PYP and MYS organizations. He has played in the MYS symphony orchestra for the past two years. He really enjoys making and performing music; it gives him an opportunity to escape and focus on something productive and beautiful. Next year, he will be majoring in music at New York University.

Kennedy Howard
Improv Dance

Kennedy Howard has studied dance and movement arts for nearly seventeen years. She’s been fortunate to train with Alonzo King LINES Ballet in their BFA program, while also participating in their rigorous summer intensives - where she was honored to receive a full tuition scholarship in memory of the late Homer Avila. She is currently an apprentice GYROTONICⓇ trainer, and hopes to complete her full certification within the year. Looking forward, Kennedy has every intention of continuing the pursuit of dance and movement practices. She firmly believes that motion is the driving force behind health, happiness, and wholehearted living.

Leilu Wasielewski

Acting is my primary passion but my passion in the arts is also based around storytelling. Especially on stage, but even with my visual arts I still strive to create a narrative around my work. My future goal is to be able to tell stories that change people's lives and make the world just a little bit better. After graduation, I'll be movie forward to continue my art by attending The American Academy of Dramatic Art, and pursuing a degree in stage craft. After that my goal is to begin working towards my goal of telling important stories and hopefully inspiring people to follow their passion as well. 

Lauren Grover

Lauren has been dancing since she was 4 years old. She found her passion for dance at a young age after watching the Nutcracker and began taking creative movement classes soon after. She started taking pre-professional classes at The Portland Ballet at the age of 10 and has participated in summer programs at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, City Ballet of San Diego, and Miami City Ballet School. Lauren is currently pursuing a professional dance career as a student at Arts and Communication Magnet Academy and Oregon International Ballet Academy. She hopes to attend college to major in dance and pre-medicine but is also open to joining a professional company after high school.

Taylor Grandy
Jazz Dance

Taylor Grandy began dancing at 3 years old and has been dancing ever since. Her mom enrolled her in classes at a local Portland dance studio after she saw how much she enjoyed dancing in Gymboree music classes. Taylor danced competitively for several years before enrolling at the Arts and Communication Magnet Academy (ACMA) as a freshman. She trained daily at ACMA and was a member of Dance West, ACMA's pre-professional dance company, throughout high-school. Taylor is planning to attend the University of California: Irvine in the fall of 2020 to pursue a double major in dance and biological science. She hopes to eventually join a dance company as well as study dance medicine in depth. 

Carl Swinford

I started as a visual artist with painting and pencil sketches. I went into music in middle school but didn't have the skill to get into an artistic school through music; so I got in through visual arts. Ever since I switched to playing drums, I've been studying jazz, rock, and latin/afro cubin drumming with Tim Stubelek (father of Tyson Stubelek) for 5 years, I've gotten to the highest band in my school, I joined my church to play in songs during service and I've played drums in jazz concerts, rock concerts and pit orchestra. After high school, I'm going to Portland State University for computer programming and music theory. I do plan on continuing playing drums and even learning more instruments even if music won't be my main job or source of income. I do plan on going into programming as a main profession.

Jalyn Calas

I enjoy finding unconventional ways of visually representing ideas, places, people, and objects through combining abstract and representational imagery with textures and shapes. Expressing creativity and imagination is the most important for me.

I’ve been doodling ever since I was young but was able to develop my skills the most during middle school and highschool. I’ve taken many different types of art classes and while I have experience in painting, drawing, and sculpture, I enjoy drawing the most.

Currently, I am focusing on illustration and digital art. My goal is to become a character designer for 2D animation.

Esme Fife-Adams
Song Writing

Esme has been writing stories and poems for as long as they can remember, though they didn’t start to take this hobby seriously until seventh grade, when they wrote their first full song. They didn’t fully develop their musical talents until ninth grade, when they began teaching themself guitar by looking at the tabs for Taylor Swift songs. Inspired by artists like our aforementioned Taylor Swift, Lorde, Julien Baker, Sufjan Stevens, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Phoebe Bridgers, Esme writes songs in order to process emotions. Besides music, Esme also enjoys theatre and is working on writing a novel. Now a rising senior, Esme hopes to continue their passions and make art that inspires people.

Hannah Marty
Arts & Crafts

Hannah is a visual artist and works with a variety of media, from drawing and painting, to ceramics and sculpture. From a young age, she loved to draw and create sculptures out of  construction paper. She attended Arts and Communications Magnet Academy where she spent the next 7 years learning about and creating art. Although she plans to major in civil engineering at the University of Portland, she still wants to continue and grow her art focus. She can't wait to teach all that she has learned to younger students and hopes that her passion for art may inspire others to create and have a great respect for the arts.

Athena Pappas
Tik Tok Dances

Athena Pappas is going into her junior year at Arts and Communication Magnet Academy and has been dancing since the age of 2. She started with competition dance but gradually decided to focus only on classical ballet. Since starting classical ballet she has attended summer programs at Sultanov’s Russian Ballet Academy, The Portland Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Oregon International Ballet Academy. She then chose to join her school dance team called Dance West, where she continued to do classical ballet as well as modern, broadway, and African dance. Dancing has always been a part of her life and has given her so many unforgettable experiences and memories. She hopes to double major in dance and nutritional science in the near future! 

David Lefevre

My artistic journey began in 1st grade when I decided to take Ballet classes after having seen my older sister in her dance classes. Throughout middle and high school, I became more involved by taking art classes and joining competitive dance companies. Some notable moments in my artistic career include placing in national competitions, performing professionally as well as in non-profit shows, leading the painting of a large mural, and creating an art exhibition. Art to me is not only a means of expressing myself, but also to understand myself and my emotions. Dance is what you want it to be; it can be athletic, emotional, elegant, and more. This coming fall, I plan to enroll in University of Oregon’s honors program, where I will major in Physics with a minor in Dance.   

Bergen Patokoski

I have been in Theater since I was about 3 years old. My journey started when my grandma started taking me to plays... little me was instantly in love with the art form. Once I was old enough I started attending explore lab classes at North West Children's Theater. I continued with these classes all the way through elementary school. In the 5th grade, I had the opportunity to apply for ACMA. A school that would allow me to dive even deeper into the art form I love. I also joined Kids Co and Studio Nw at North West Children's Theater in middle school. I am now a rising Junior at ACMA, and intern at NWCT and have had the opportunity to work on multiple professional shows. After High school, I hope to pursue my passions for theater. My love for the arts will stay with me forever. 

Alicia Lee

Hi my name is Alicia Lee and I am super excited to be dancing with all of you! I started dance when I was in the third grade and I fell in love with performing. I started out with learning jazz but as I kept learning I branched out to ballet, tap, hip hop, and contemporary dance. I will be a freshman in college in the fall and although I won’t be majoring in dance I still plan to continue with light dance training more as a hobby. I’m super excited to start dancing with all of you so hope to see you soon!

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Leif Baker
Music Production

I’m a music composer and producer with a passion for making dreams come to life. My primary goal is to use music to reinforce narratives from dance and film in a way that speaks loudly to audiences. I believe anyone can express creativity through art, and I want to help you find your unique voice through improvisation and by reimagining your creative process. My class will be a window into the world of music production and the creative process from small idea to full track. Let’s make some noise!