Expertise: Band, Curriculum, Danielson / teacher evaluation, Middle/secondary, School leadership, Student assessment & evaluation
Brian Frazee serves as Assistant Program Director. This is Brian's first year with Education Through Music and joins us from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where he was Manager of Educational Programs. Prior to this, he worked in Chicago Public Schools for 14 years as an educator and administrator, teaching band, orchestra, and general music and serving as a curriculum and programs coordinator for an arts magnet high school. Brian has a Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Ball State University and a Master's in Performing Arts Administration from Roosevelt University.
Expertise: Cross curricular development, Curriculum, Lesson planning, Literacy, Musical theater, Professional development, School leadership, SongWorks
began her career as a music teacher in parochial and charter schools in Minnesota and Florida. In 2009, Colleen
became the founding music teacher at Harlem Success Academy 2, one of the first Success Academy Charter Schools. She launched a general music, choral and band program at Success Academies that now serves 5,000 children in grades K-12. Colleen
then went on to found two Success Academy schools as an assistant principal and a principal before moving to the Success Academy central office to oversee all of the organization's arts, athletics and extracurricular programming.
Colleen has a BA in Music Education (Voice) from St. Catherine University and a MA in Music and Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Expertise: Band, Choral, Conducting, Danielson / teacher evaluation, Lesson planning, Music technology, Special needs students
Erin Giacinto has been working with Education Through Music for five years first as a music teacher, and now as an instructional supervisor. She is a clarinet player and vocalist who has been teaching general music and band in NYC schools since 2009. After obtaining her bachelor's degree from Five Towns College in Music Education in 2008, she returned for her Masters in Music Technology. Erin is very excited to move into a mentor position and work with ETM teachers in their schools.
Expertise: Composition, Cross curricular development, Curriculum, Early childhood, Lesson planning, Music technology, Musical theater, Professional development, School leadership
Joseph Fusca serves as an Instructional Supervisor. Originally from upstate New York, Joseph joins ETM after nearly 10 years of teaching and leading arts and music programs in NYC charter schools. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Music Production and Engineering from SUNY Purchase and a Master's degree in Music Education from Columbia University's Teachers College. In addition to his work with Education Through Music, Joseph is a founding member of the Brooklyn Brass Band Collective and a seasoned percussionist. His motto: We're all in this together.
Expertise: Curriculum, Early childhood, Lesson planning, Middle/secondary, Professional development, School leadership
Katherine Damkohler is Education Through Music's (ETM) founding Executive Director. A long-time educator of urban children, she is a former teacher and school principal. As a principal, she led one school to a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award, for which she was honored at the White House. Over her 26 years of leadership at ETM, she has grown the program from serving one school to over 50 schools, and the addition of an affiliate program in Los Angeles. Through ETM, she is a national education leader, advocating for music education as a core subject for all children.
Ms. Damkohler has spoken at arts education conferences and panel discussions in New York City and around the country, addressing principals, superintendents, teachers and business and community leaders on school leadership and using the arts to help revitalize schools. She has served as a guest lecturer in curriculum and pedagogy at the Manhattan School of Music. In 2016, she addressed fundraising for arts education on a panel led by the USDAN Sumer Camps for the Arts.
In 2006, ETM licensed an organization to replicate our model in Los Angeles, and Ms. Damkohler worked closely with ETM-LA’s Executive Director to build the affiliated organization. She served on the Arts Education Council of Americans for the Arts during 2011-12 and is a member of the National Advisory Board of Arts|Learning. In 2014, Ms. Damkohler began partnering with the Ibáñez Atkinson Foundation to help guide the Foundation in bringing music education for children in Santiago, Chile. In 2017, she spoke at an arts education conference held by the Ibáñez Atkinson Foundation in Chile.. Ms. Damkohler holds an M.A. in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. She lives in Pelham, NY with her husband.
Naomi L. Fernandez
Expertise: Band, Choral, Curriculum, Lesson planning, Methodology: Conversational Soulfege, Methodology: Dalcroze, Middle/secondary, Musical theater, School leadership
As an instructional supervisor, Naomi Fernandez looks to cheer on her heroes, music teachers. She brings to ETM 14 years of music teaching experience and a passion for music education. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in K-12 Music Education from Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, she went on to finish her Masters of Music Education at Boston University. Before coming to ETM she has worked at schools in Nebraska (grades 6-8), California (grades 1-12), and Oregon (grades 1-12) teaching a wide range of general music and ensembles, including Band, Bells, Choir, Show Choir, Steel Drums, Music Appreciation, and group Piano lessons. Naomi sees music as a core subject for every student. “I believe that all students are important and can learn music,” she says. “I believe that music should be fun and productive and that it can’t just be one or the other. I believe in the value of humor to educate and manage. And, I believe music is a core class of infinite value.”
Expertise: Band, Certification, Curriculum, Danielson / teacher evaluation, Lesson planning, Middle/secondary, Orchestra, Professional development, School leadership, Strings, Student assessment & evaluation
Nicholas LaFleur serves as the Director of Partnership Programs. He received his Master of the Arts in Performing Arts Administration from New York University, Advanced Certification in Music Education from Brooklyn College, and his Bachelor's of Music in Jazz Performance from the University of Massachusetts. He came to ETM in 2008, after having served as General Manager of Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center in Bronx, NY since 2006. After finishing his Bachelor's Degree, Nick spent three years teaching music in the school systems of Boston and Los Angeles before turning to a full-time career of performance in the U.S. and Asia, eventually settling in Bangkok where he stayed for 11 years working extensively in its commercial music industry and in education. Before returning to the U.S. from Thailand in 2003, Nick spent three years as Director of the Jazz & Contemporary Music program at MIFA-The International Academy of Music. Nick plays saxophone, flute and trumpet.
Expertise: Early childhood, Middle/secondary, Professional development, School leadership
Penny Swift serves as the Chief Operating Officer. Penny has had an extensive career, particularly in low-income neighborhoods and communities, as an operational and strategic leader in early childhood education. Initially, she worked as a teacher and a special education administrator, but over the last decade, she has had progressively more complex leadership roles overseeing early childhood centers. Ms. Swift was Divisional Vice President with Brightside Academy, overseeing all academies in the New York and Philadelphia regions.
A lifelong New Yorker, Ms. Swift’s career in education started at the City College of New York, where she graduated cum laude with a master's degree in special education and a professional diploma in educational administration.
Expertise: Choral, Composition, Curriculum, Danielson / teacher evaluation, Early childhood, Lesson planning, Music technology, Orchestra, Special needs students, Strings
Rachael Carson serves as an instructional supervisor. Originally from rural Eastern Pennsylvania, Rachael joins Education Through Music after making the great state of New York her home for the last three years. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Violin Performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Music Education from Arizona State University. During her time in the Arizona, Rachael worked as a strings and general music teacher in the public schools of Glendale and Scottsdale, and maintained a private studio of aspiring string, piano, and vocal students. In addition to her work at Education Through Music, Rachael enjoys an active career as a performer, specializing in genres ranging from classical to jazz, rock, and folk music. She has an eclectic musical background, with experience teaching and performing on a wide variety of musical instruments, including a rockin’ red, five-string electric violin! In her spare time, Rachael enjoys composing, arranging popular music, and transcribing solos of famous jazz artists.
Expertise: Band, Choral, Cross curricular development, Curriculum, Danielson / teacher evaluation, Early childhood, Lesson planning, Literacy, Musical theater, Student assessment & evaluation
Stephanie Nantell serves as an instructional supervisor. Stephanie joins Education Through Music directly from teaching elementary music in NYC public and charter schools for the past six years. She has two Masters from NYU; a Master of Arts in Music Education and a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance. While at NYU, Stephanie taught as a private trumpet instructor for NYU undergraduates (non-music majors), tutored with America Reads, and worked as a digitization assistant in the archives department of the New York Philharmonic. Since graduating from NYU, Stephanie has pursued her Level I (Kodály) and II (Orff) Methodologies Certifications, and used those skills as a Kodály Musicianship Instructor with the National Children's Choir. Stephanie also has a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Rollins College, where her primary instruments were voice and trumpet. While living in Orlando, Stephanie worked as a trumpet player at Walt Disney World, and performed in local elementary schools in a show about positive character traits for Radio Disney.
Taione K. Martinez is an active music educator, conductor and organist specializing in works in the African American tradition. He has served on the faculty of Westminster Choir College as an Assistant Professor within the Conducting/Sacred Music department and conductor of the Westminster Jubilee Singers. Additionally, he is director of music/organist at the church of Saint Philip Neri in the Bronx.
Ensembles under his leadership have won numerous regional and national competitions, and they have performed in some of the country’s most notable concert and historical venues. In 2005 Mr. Martinez created the Heritage Singers, a 15-voice high school vocal ensemble specializing in the spiritual. He also formed a second Heritage Singers ensemble to serve the entire Rochester, N.Y. community. As an organist, Mr. Martinez has presented the organ works of African American composers in such venues as the Princeton University Chapel, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Interchurch Center.
Prior to his appointment at Westminster, Mr. Martinez served as executive artistic director of the Trenton Children’s Chorus, and he was the director of choral and vocal music at the School of the Arts of Rochester, N.Y., where he oversaw a vibrant and growing choral program. In 2006 Mr. Martinez served as the assistant conductor of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra and Festival Singers, preparing both ensembles for their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah and spring concerts.
Taione studied organ performance at Hampton University and continued is formal education at the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School.
Expertise: Choral, Conducting, Cross curricular development, Curriculum, Danielson / teacher evaluation, Early childhood, ELL / ESL, Lesson planning, Literacy, Methodology: Conversational Soulfege, Methodology: Dalcroze, Methodology: Gordon, Methodology: Orff, Musical theater, Professional development, School leadership, Strings
Ulises Solano serves as an Senior Instructional Supervisor. Hailing from Costa Rica, Ulises Solano is a graduate from Indiana University, performer and teacher and a veteran with Education Through Music. He has taught in several ETM schools both in the Bronx and Harlem since 2007. Ulises has a strong vocal performance background as an operatic tenor. This year, he has joined the ETM staff as a mentor, working to advance our teachers through his years of experience and patience.