Meet the Directors
- Dr. Sherronda Brown, Director of D-E 360°
- Michele Wright, Director of Summer & Enrichment Programs
Dr. Brown has enjoyed her roles as advisor to students in the Upper School AIDS Awareness Club, Middle School HomeBase as well as her voluntary trustee seat on the Board of NJ SEEDS. An Englewood resident, Dr. Brown takes great pride in the “community” that is Dwight-Englewood School. Among all of her responsibilities, her favorite endeavor is in working with educators and families in the local community to create programs after school, on weekends and during the summers that allow learners to cultivate their passions. “Dwight-Englewood School is defined by the connected learning experiences we share. In my time here, I have been overjoyed with the tremendous gifts and talent people bring to this community.” Dr. Brown holds her Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She also has an M.P.A. from New York University, and a B.A. from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.
We are excited to have Michele as our new director for Summer Connections. Michele has had extensive leadership experience with program development. Most recently, Michele worked as the director of music programs and new initiatives at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Arts Education Department. As an educator and administrator, the position gave her opportunities to work with children and faculty in grades pre-k through twelve throughout the State. Michele holds a bachelor’s degree from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and a master’s degree from The Julliard School. Michele has greatly expanded on her education by also taking education-related courses and certificate programs at local universities, including Columbia University.
In her time here at D-E since August 2015, Michele has already been instrumental in designing the 2015-2016 AfterCare and Enrichment schedule for the Lower School. This year’s offerings included a range of topics from Shakespeare, robotics, cooking, and yoga to chess, basketball, and Mandarin. In the fall, she also worked collaboratively with faculty and staff from the Summer Connections program to build this dynamic catalog of offerings for Summer 2016. Recently she stated, “I am impressed by the openness to new ideas and ways of approaching new opportunities are embraced. The level of organization and desire for high quality learning experiences for children is also very clear from my conversations and interactions with administrators and faculty at D-E.”
Faculty and Staff
- Patrick Durkan
- Diego A. Garcia
- Tsolak Gevorkian
- Scott Levy
- Liza Littlefield
- Michael McCarthy
- Annaliesa Place
- Trevor Shaw
- Larry Umaña
Founder of Durkan Fencing Academy, Maestro Patrick Durkan picked up a sabre at the New York Athletic Club when he was only five years old, and has been fencing ever since! For the past 32 years he has represented the USA in all levels of fencing, including being a part of the Cadet, Junior, and Senior National Teams. As a student athlete, Durkan competed at Regis High School in New York City where he won the New Jersey State Championship and at Columbia where he was a four time All-American. He is dedicated to building a truly American system of fencing using his training in the Hungarian fencing system under various international coaches and his background in the Russian, Polish and Italian systems. He began implementing this specialized fencing system when he became head sabre coach at the New York Athletic Club in 2008, creating a program including sport-specific weight training and nutrition protocols. He also earned his Maestro (Master’s) Degree in Sabre Coaching from the United States Fencing Coaches Association. D-E 360° Summer Connections is thrilled to be newly offering fencing this year in partnership with Durkan.
DIEGO A. GARCIA (Associate Director of Strings/Conductor), born in Cali, Colombia, he entered the Antonio Maria Valencia Conservatory at the age of five, where he began his musical studies in piano, cello, and conducting. This set the stage for a multifaceted career as performer, conductor, and educator. At the age of fifteen, Diego won a cello position with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Valle where he performed for six seasons. Simultaneously, he routinely conducted the AMV String Chamber Orchestra as conducting assistant to his teacher, Alexander Korjenko. Three years later, Diego came to New York City to pursue musical opportunities outside his native country. A cello prizewinner in the 1996 Carolina Oramas Competition, Diego received his Bachelor of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music as a student of Alan Stepansky. During this time, he toured extensively in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, and Central America as a chamber musician, recording artist, orchestral player, and soloist. In 2000, Diego continued his studies on cello with Alan Harris and conducting with William Wienert at the Eastman School of Music. Soon after, he began teaching cello at Eastman in the pre-college division. In 2004, he was named Music Director of the Eastman String Fellowship Orchestra. In addition to his work in the pre-college, he began conducting other orchestras including the New Horizon Symphony Orchestra, Greece Symphony Orchestra, Eastman Kaleidoscope Community Orchestra, and Finger Lakes Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Garcia was also a guest conductor at Parnu Symphony Orchestra (Estonia), Hampton Roads Chamber Players, and the Traveling Notes Orchestra throughout the Dominican Republic and Belgium. During the summers, Diego studied conducting at Bard College as a conducting fellow working closely with Harold Faberman, Marin Alsop, and Leon Botstein. He also worked closely with Markan Thakar and Larry Rachleff. An avid chamber musician and composer, Mr. Garcia was a founding member of Gibbs & Main, a string quintet that promotes classical music of all styles including his original compositions and arrangements. Over the past decade, Diego has become a sought after composer for instrumental and choral works. His music has been broadcasted several times on NPR’s ‘Live from Hochstein’. Recent commissions have included the original score to the independent film Heart of Tango, Rochester Oratorio Society, and Gibbs & Main. Currently, Diego is a conductor and cello instructor at D-E. 2014-15 marked his first year as Orchestra Director of Thurnauer School of Music Symphony Orchestra. He is the co-director of String Society, a one-week summer festival for string students. Bowstruck, a violin/cello duo he formed with his wife, Annaliesa Place, creates a unique voice with original compositions and arrangements of the classics.
Together with his wife, violinist Annaliesa Place, Mr. Garcia will be directing the music program at a new festival in Geneva, Switzerland in collaboration with the Juilliard School. This summer festival is open to students ages 10-18 in music, drama, and dance. For more information, please click here. The dates of the festival are July 9 – 22, 2016. Questions about this festival may be directed by Email to Ms. Place at: email@example.com.
Leading the Tennis Academy offerings at D-E 360° Summer Connections 2017, Tsolak Gevorkian is the founder/director of Tag International Management, Inc. He was a player and captain for the Armenia Davis Cup Team, involved in international competition from 1996 – 2005. Tsolak has his B.A. in International Marketing from Boise State University, where he led BSU to a #2 Division One ranking and earned Team MVP honors. In Tsolak’s words: “My goal is to teach both kids and their parents the game of tennis, and through the process of teaching, make a positive change in their lives. I wish to educate them with the beauty, ethics, basic tactics, and competitive nature of the sport.”
Scott Levy has been a constant figure here at the Dwight-Englewood Enrichment program for the past 20 years. He is responsible for creating the popular Debate and Verdict classes, as well as writing the curriculum for the Literary Skills enrichment course. He also teaches a high-energy theater class.
During the school year, Mr. Levy teaches at Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School in Wyckoff, NJ. At Eisenhower, he serves as an 8th grade language arts teacher, the theater director and the publisher of the school newspaper. Mr. Levy produces two school plays and several editions of the school paper throughout the year.
Together with her husband, cellist and composer Diego Garcia, Ms. Place will be directing the music program at a new festival in Geneva, Switzerland in collaboration with the Juilliard School. This summer festival is open to students ages 10-18 in music, drama, and dance. For more information, please click here. The dates of the festival are July 9 – 22, 2016. Questions about this festival may be directed by Email to Ms. Place at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Larry Umaña is the Co-founder/director and Head Trainer of T2S Basketball, with more than 15 years spent coaching, training, and teaching. He was recruited to swim for a Division 1 program at Saint Peter’s University. As a D1 swimmer, he understood what hard work, dedication, and determination meant. As a physical science teacher, he has developed the gift of making difficult scientific concepts simple to understand. When he volunteered to coach middle school basketball in 2000 in Paterson, NJ, he applied the same strategies to simplify the game to increase understanding and ability to my players. Throughout the years he has focused more on individual development by breaking bad habits and strengthening weaknesses. He has gained an extensive knowledge on footwork mechanics, which has been the key to his success as a skill development trainer. In his words: “My philosophy as a trainer is to teach basketball efficiency through fundamentals, footwork and muscle memory repetition through innovative drills. I am a certified USA Youth Basketball Coach/Trainer and currently preparing to take my career to the next level as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). This will allow me to incorporate speed, agility and explosiveness training through proper resistance training and repetitions. My goal is to provide the best training possible to develop confident and successful athletes.”