Croton Academy After School Enrichment Program for Performance and Fine Arts




Natalie Arneson has extensive experience teaching several disciplines, including ballet, tap, jazz, singing, acting, and stage combat. Her successful career as a musical theater actress has expanded into that of director and choreographer of many children’s musical theater performances. She has directed and choreographed for several companies, including her own company, Spotlight Performing Arts, in Manhattan.  CET: Musical Theater: Sing, Act, Dance. Grades k-2 and grades 3-4.


Tim Carrier is an artist and printmaker.  He has more than twenty years’ experience in graphic, design, illustration and art direction. He is in the process of a career change to become a full-time art teacher. Tim's art instruction philosophy is: Art is valuable. Art conveys meaning, emotion, wonder and thought when words do not work. When an artist uses an eraser it isn’t for removing mistakes; it is just another rendering tool. Students, as artists, discover their environment and community by practicing critical observation thinking skills, evaluation, and analysis.  PVC: Introduction to Drawing




Ellen Elchlepp - BFA, University of Tennessee in 1972. In 1980 Ellen received an MFA in mixed media from Hunter College while working full-time at The Brooklyn Museum. After graduate school, Ellen studied graphic design at SVA while working full-time at ArtNews Magazine. Ellen has worked as a full-time graphic artist for 37 years, 24 years of which were as Senior Art Director at Doubleday publishing. Since retiring from full time work in the City, Ellen works as a Realtor and studio artist. From the late 1970’s to the mid 1980’s Ellen showed her work in a variety of self-curated group shows in many NYC non art establishment venues (i.e. The Bird House in the Central Park Zoo, NYC taverns and art bars…). Her work caught the eye of two East Village Gallery owners, who included her in shows at Civilian Warfare Gallery and other East Village haunts. Ellen met David Wojnarowicz, a brilliant artist, writer and AIDS activist. Through her friendship with David, she became involved in collaborative, ephemeral, alternative art. Her mural at Pier 34, NYC in 1983 was featured on the cover of The East Village Eye and in The Soho News. CHHS: Exploring Modern Portraiture
Marc Ferris, author of Star-Spangled Banner: The Unlikely Story of America’s National Anthem, is a semi-professional musician who has taught history at New York University, Stony Brook University and Hofstra University.  Marc now teaches music history courses at Westchester Community College and performs music history programs at local venues. CHHS: History of Popular Music in the United States

Nanette Garcia born and raised in the Bronx, grew up hearing the sounds of Afro-Cuban drumming all around her. She began her study of the tradition with percussionist Frank Malabe at the Boy’s Harbor in Spanish Harlem NY, then went on to study the sacred drumming tradition with Felipe Garcia Villamil f rom Matanzas, Cuba. After field work in Cuba, Nanette co-authored the instructional book: Sacred Drumming of Cuba: Bata Drumming Matanzas Style published in 2000. Nanette has a master’s degree in Experimental Music Performance from Empire State College, and since 1999, has directed numerous percussion performance ensembles. She is the creator/director of the Talk n Drum Language & Music Program for Preschoolers, which employs drumming, singing and movement as methods to teach Spanish, Italian and sign language. She is presently piloting a program for students with special needs.  CET: Talk n Drum



Brian Gunning has had extensive training in musical theater acting and dancing, which has included HB Studios, Stella Adler Conservatory, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and instruction with Bob Audy, Toni White and Henri Le Tang. Brian is returning to theater after an extended stint running his own fine art brokerage business and raising two teens, both of whom have inherited his love of theater and performing.  CAA Acting: Grades 4-8; CET: Movement! Action! Music!, Gr. k-4 and CET: Musical Theater: Sing, Act, Dance. Grades k-2 and grades 3-4.




Sine Hjort, an artist, designer, and musician, grew up north of Copenhagen, Denmark where she benefitted from schooling that focused on creativity and allowed her to care for animals. An eclectic and multi-faceted practitioner, she traveled to NY in 1986 and has worked and collaborated with many well-known talents in many disciplines. Sine has recently been intrigued by the art of paper cutting and enjoys sharing the techniques she has pioneered with students of all ages.  PVC: Cutting Pictures in Paper



Hillary Hostetler, MFA, is a practicing painter and former clothing designer with advanced degrees in both fields, She has a wealth of experience in teaching art for students of all ages from children to seniors at all levels including college. She, herself, is a prolific painter who often works in acrylics and her painting are shown regularly in galleries in the greater metro area, and online. PVC: Acrylic Painting Studio





Darcey Stewart McDonough has been involved with creative arts since childhood. She has also worked as a Pre-K teacher for over twenty-five years, many of them spent at Childrenspace in Croton-on-Hudson where she delighted many, many children with untold creative projects and her mastery in teaching. She has recently begun an adventure that involves paper mache creations. She calls them "Quirky Beings." Darcey believes that anything you can think of, you can create — almost. The only limit is your imagination, which she has in spades.  PVC: Papier Maché Sculpting; CET: Papier Maché Sculpting Grades 3-4, Papier Maché Creations; Adult /Teen Papier Mache Creations



  Linda Meo teaches Painting at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk,CT. She has a Masters in Teaching from The   Evergreen State College and an M.A. in Studio Art, with a concentration in painting, from New York University. She lives in   Fairfield, CT. She was a popular fine art and A.P. Art teacher at Croton-Harmon High School. ADULT: Painting






Dillon O'Keefe is an award-winning mural artist, alum of Croton-Harmon schools, and a BFA major in animation at FIT. Many of Dillon's own murals can be found in the Village of Croton on Hudson. He recently won a National award from Essentia Water to design a billboard mural which was displayed in NYC. Essentia featured him in this video:   Video showing Dillon creating a mural for Pampered Pet, Croton on Hudson:   Dillon will collaborate with PVC students to make their creative ideas and visions a reality painted up throughout the walls of the entire school. PVC: Mural Painting on the Walls of PVC with Dillon O'Keefe


Kazuko Omori has been teaching Japanese art & culture to children for more than twelve years. Her BOCES program, “Discover Japan through Art,” is taught many Westchester and Rockland schools. It offers unique hands-on activities which stimulate children’s interests in another country and exposes them to a new and exciting culture. She also teaches private language lessons and an adult education course PVC: Japanese Art of Origami, CHHS: Japanese Language and Culture; CET: Pet Shop Origami




Meredith Phillips - Meredith has published books for kids about extinct animals, bank heists, and daredevils. She has taught at Gotham Writers Workshop, worked for Scholastic, and developed lots of reading and writing curriculum. She is a parent to a 5th and a 2nd grader, and is always ready to read—or write—a good story! PVC: Fan Fiction Hangout; CET-Fan Fiction Writing Club




Gwenveria Marcell (Chisholm) Sargeant, a Fashion Design graduate of F.I.T. and a well-traveled, seasoned and innovative Woman’s wear Designer/Merchandiser is possessed with a wealth of experience in both the Women’s & Children’s wear markets.  Her entrepreneurial efforts (in association with her partners) resulted in a licensing agreement with “Sears, Roebuck and Co ” in association with G-lll Apparel Co., Cathy’s of California & Berkshire Hosiery, which resulted in the nationwide distribution in over 100 stores. These unique garments and accessories were manufactured under their F.A.I.T.H. (Fashion Art In The House) label and featured original urban/ethnic textile designs & graphics for Women’s Coats, Ladies Accessories & Children’s Sportswear. Gwen is the founding member (1994) and Chairman of the Board of the Fashion & Arts Xchange Group Inc., a 501c3 not-for-profit organization that provides fashion after school programming and internships.  F.A.X. offers opportunities for networking and an interchange among the diverse community of African-American professionals in the fashion and arts industry. Gwenveria has served as adjunct professor in the Fashion Design Art department at F.I.T and as Fashion Design Professor for the Educational Opportunities Programs, teaching fashion design to underprivileged, inner-city high school students.  She continues to design for private clients and has had various endeavors of teaching Fashion Art & Design at Purchase College (Summer camp), Katonah Art Gallery, Harlem Children’s Zone (after-school),Yonker’s YWCA, Peekskill & Ossining City sponsored Summer & After school programing through FAX Inc. PVC: Rip the Runway: Fashion and Art Class; CHHS: Rip the Runway: Fashion and Art Class



Myrlin Valerio is a theatre director, producer, and costumer working in the Hudson Valley for over twenty-five years, and has been director of Croton Academy for over fifteen. She works with children, teens, and adults teaching drama and comedy improvisation. Myrlin is a professionally trained actor with a BA in Theatre.






Young Rembrandts program research has demonstrated that there is a correlation between involvement in the arts and academic success! Children who learn to draw using the Young Rembrandts method develop spatial reasoning and fine motor skills, order and sequencing abilities, visualization and self-discipline as well as fundamental art skills.  Our weekly classes introduce concrete ideas and techniques that enlarge children’s vocabulary, enrich their imaginations and build their minds.  Our teachers come from all walks of life; having previous experience in managing groups of children.  All of  Young Rembrandts instructors go through the NY State Board of Education Background check and are held to the highest ethical standard.  Their passion for art and kids help our students excel and create amazing pictures.            CET: Elementary Drawing and Cartoon Drawing