Bette Cassatt is a professional actor and has been fight director for many shows in the Washington DC area, performed stunts for TV and film, and has taught stage combat to all age levels – from children’s classes to the MFA program at Catholic University of America. She began her stage combat training at age 13 at a summer theatre workshop. Since then, she has trained with many teachers and fight masters from all over the world, including legend Patrick “Paddy” Crean (Errol Flynn’s stunt double and fight choreographer), who is known as “the father of modern fight directing.” In 2010, she was awarded “Best Female Actor-Combatant,” by the Society of American Fight Directors at the National Stage Combat Workshop. She has performed fights all over the area including: The Kennedy Center, The Shakespeare Theatre, The Folger Shakespeare Library, and The Women in the Arts Museum. She has done fights and stuntwork for America’s Most Wanted and several films. Bette is also featured as the Sith warrior in videos for international promotion of the Hasbro lightsabers as well as for the Saber Practice Bokkens for ThinkGeek.com.
Lassie Corbett is the instructor for all levels of Art Classes. Lassie is an accomplished local artist, passionate teacher, and gallery owner of a Place to Paint studio in Herndon. Lassie earned a Masters in Fine Arts from American University and a B.S. in Education from Murray State University. She earned a 4-year teaching certificate in Oriental Brush Painting from the Chinese Art Guild in Manila and studied fine arts and Asian studies at the University of the Philippines. She continues her arts education through annual workshops under nationally known artists. Lassie has an extensive history as an art teacher at the Vienna Arts Center, Herndon Community Center, and Northern Virginia Community College. She has taught classes at the Reston Art Gallery and Herndon Old Town gallery, and she has led fine arts workshops around the US and around the world including Bermuda, Turkey, Nepal, Greece, Mexico, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, and Hawaii. Lassie has won numerous awards, been accepted into juried art shows, and had work featured in many special exhibits. Professionally, Lassie is affiliated with the Reston Art Gallery, League of Reston Artists, Fairfax Council for the Arts, Vienna Arts Center, Virginia Watercolor Society, Potomac Valley Watercolor Society, American Watercolor Society , and others. Examples of Lassie’s work can be seen in her online gallery and samples of her student’s work can be viewed in the Compass gallery.
Laura DeLima is the instructor for humanities courses at Compass such as anthropology, archaeology, history, and geography. She will complete her doctorate in Educational Administration and Policy from The George Washington University in 2013. In addition, Laura holds an M.A in Education Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated summa cum laude from Vassar College with a B.A in Anthropology and Sociology. Her specialization within the two disciplines is in issues of equity and social justice, globalization, women and work, and education. Laura believes that humanities, are essential for youth to gain an understanding of the world, their place in it, and to value diversity. She has taught students in groups and individually since 2003, and is the founder of Holistic Achievement for personalized tutoring and college advisement. Laura has years of research experience in education, including studies on adolescent development, differentiated learning styles, and curriculum development.
Kofi Dennis is a drummer, performer, and educator. He earned a degree in Early Childhood Education at the Komenda Teaching College, University of Cape Coast in Ghana, West Africa, and a degree in Theater Arts (creative dramatics) from the School of Performing Arts at the University of Ghana. Before moving to the United States in 1995, Kofi taught academics and lead performing arts programs at schools, correctional facilities, orphanages, and child-care centers in Ghana. He also starred in radio and stage theaters, television and video productions in Ghana. Since being in the DC metro area, Kofi has educated and entertained as a drummer, storyteller, singer, and dancer at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Discovery Theater, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and Wolf Trap’s Theater in the Woods and Filene Center. He has taught creative drama at the Montessori School of Northern Virginia in Annandale for the past 10 years and has been a Wolf Trap Teaching Artist since 1998. He is recognized as a master teacher/trainer and presenter of West African Culture. Kofi runs Playing for Concepts and founded Class Acts Arts which features an outreach program is for at-risk youth in DC area correctional facilities. He has worked with World Children’s Choir to lead an African drumming for peace initiative and performs as half of the duo Anansegromma, presenting music, dance, drums, games, and stories.
Digital Kidz is a northern Virginia enrichment program that offers camps and classes focused on computers and technology. Digital Kidz offers instruction in robotics, animation, video game design, computer animation, movie making and more. Executive Director Sandra Beyer founded Digital Kidz in 2005. She earned a masters degree in business administration with concentration in IT from Johns Hopkins University. Sandra is responsible for all aspects of program development, curriculum implementation, and technology procurement at Digital Kidz. Digital Kidz instructors and aides under Sandra’s direction will teach all Compass robotics and computer technology courses. Instructors employed by Digital Kidz all have computer and IT backgrounds and most have completed their college degrees.
FutureMakers is the mobile makerspace for elementary and middle school students in the metropolitan DC area. FutureMakers’s workshops are designed for kids who love to build, invent, take things apart and explore how they work, using hand tools, real materials, and cutting-edge technologies. FutureMakers programs ignite curiosity, seed big ideas, and build skills among young makers: hands-on problem solvers who tinker, build, play, and create. The FutureMakers program was launched in 2010 by Matt Barinholtz, a digital fabricator and woodworker, along with a team of educators, engineers and artists who believe that kids need tools, not just toys.
Jeannie Genoese-Zerbi earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science and engineering from MIT and a Master of Science in Mathematics from George Mason University. She has taught students of all ages in homeschool environments, junior and senior high school students in a private school setting, and public university students as a recitation instructor for Calculus I and II at GMU. Most recently, Mrs. G-Z designed a math enrichment program for grades 1-6 for a private elementary school in Singapore. Her love and enthusiasm for mathematics results in an upbeat, energetic classroom environment that works for students who love math as well as those who don’t yet know they love math! Mrs. G-Z has five children, the youngest of whom is homeschooled.
Labyrinth Games & Puzzles
Labyrinth Games & Puzzles is a family-friendly, community-focused, game and puzzle store located on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Shortly after opening in 2010, Labyrinth began offering game classes for children throughout the area. Their educational outreach program has grown exponentially each year, and they are now teaching game club classes and game design classes to more than 350 students in thirteen schools in DC and Virginia. For the past two years, they have also taught teacher professional development classes about learning through non-electronic games for DCPS, and they have co-hosted numerous family game night programs at local schools. The store has won numerous awards including Washington City Paper’s “Best New Retail Store” and a “Livable, Walkable Award” for its strong community support. The business was recently named one of the 25 coolest small businesses in Washington, DC by Business Insider.
Lori Goll is the art instructor for drawing and pastel classes at Compass. Lori earned a degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech and worked in telecommunications before deciding to pursue her passion for drawing and painting. Lori remembers loving art from a very young age when she was taught to draw by her great-grandmother. Lori’s passions including drawing and painting vast natural vistas such as seascapes and landscapes, birds and animals, ocean waves, rural and bucolic scenes, dark, moody silhouettes, and golden skies. She enjoys working in pastels, paints, and charcoals in addition to etching and printmaking. Lori is pursuing an associates degree in Fine Arts from Northern Virginia Community College where she has completed courses in printmaking, drawing, painting, and art history. She has taken several watercolor and drawing classes from Compass’s other art instructor, Lassie Corbett, in addition to media-specific workshops with other experts. Lori has an art studio in Great Falls and has had several solo art exhibitions including those at ArtSpace Herndon and the Soundry in Vienna. Her work has been exhibited at many public venues, including George Washington University and has been selected for many juried shows including the Vienna Arts Society Treasury of Art show. Lori has received numerous accolades for her work including awards at the League of Reston Artists, Loudoun Sketch Club, Fairfax Spotlight on Arts, ArtSpace Herndon Public Art in the Windows, Reston Century T-Shirt Art Competition, and Paint Herndon Competitions. Lori’s work has also been published in regional magazines. Examples of Lori’s work can be viewed in her online galleries.
Ideaventions is a children’s STEM, science, technology, engineering and math enrichment program and discovery lab located in Oakton, Virginia, and founded by Ryan and Juliana Heitz. Ryan and Juliana are both graduates of Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Ryan earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Environmental Science at the University of Virginia. Ryan worked as an Environmental Scientist and Geographic Information Systems Program Manager before launching Ideaventions in 2010. Juliana earned dual degrees in Management Science with a concentration in Information Technology and Economics from MIT. Juliana She started management consulting after graduation and for more than a decade, she was in charge of business operations and project management for major corporations. Her day-to-day work ran the gamut of the business world, including managing multi-million dollar technology projects, financial planning, complying with complex accounting standards and meeting aggressive deadlines on budget. Ryan and Juliana are responsible for all aspects of program coordination, curriculum development and innovation at Ideaventions. Ideaventions is a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers, and is involved with the Thomas Jefferson Partnership Fund, USA Science and Engineering Festival, and currently working on a partnership with National Geographic. Ideaventions’ STEM Educators under Ryan’s and Juliana’s direction teach all Compass science classes. Educators employed by ideaventions are all degreed professionals with relevant background in science and engineering and experience teaching children. Ideaventions’ educators are members of professional associations including, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Ryan and Juliana live in Oakton, VA, with their two young sons.
Taliesin Knol has nearly ten years of experience fabricating intricate historical dioramas. Taliesin has been involved with the Smithsonian “Soldiers and Dioramas” series of summer camps, first as a student, then as a youth teaching assistant, and then for three years as an full instructor. Through the unique medium of dioramas and miniatures, Taliesin has taught science, history, and literature topics to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. His area of expertise is on military history and strategy which he “brings to life” with dioramas and strategy games. Taliesin has studied with and uses the diorama methods and materials pioneered by award winning, professional diorama artist Al Gaspar of Philadelphia. Taliesin has studied History and Environmental Science Northern Virginia Community College and Randolph College.
Leila Leoncavallo is the instructor for civics classes at Compass. She earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Rochester and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law. Leila serves as a docent at the US Supreme Court where she conducts tours and lectures on the history and role of the Supreme Court. She also worked as an instructor at the Newseum in Washington DC, where she taught classes on first amendment topics such as the Bill of Rights, media ethics, the Civil Rights movement, and the role of the press in the presidency. Her legal experience spans a state supreme court, district attorney’s office, circuit court, and positions in consumer advocacy. She is the founder of Fairfax Dyslexia Tutoring in which she provides remedial reading and spelling support to children with dyslexia. Leila also works as a tutor and educational advocate for students with learning differences such as the gifted and twice exceptional students. She resides in Fairfax with her husband and two school-aged daughters.
Arthuretta Martin is a professional storyteller, keynote speaker, trainer, author, vocalist and facilitator. Arthuretta is a Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest achievement in Toastmasters International. She is a professional member of the National Speaker’s Association, National Association of Black Storytellers and the Virginia Storyteller’s Alliance. She serves as the Youth Leadership Program coordinator for Toastmaster’s International District 29 and President of the Virginia Advance Speaker’ Toastmaster’s Club (VAST). As a business owner of her company, Words and Melodies, L.L.C., she speaks on subjects that range from public policy, effective public speaking and success strategies for life to folk tales, singing a repertoire of jazz and classical music, oral history and folklore. She credits Toastmasters with showing her how to weave “vocal animation and arousing color” into presentations that captivate. She sprinkles her stories with her vocal talents providing a special experience for the listeners. “Toastmasters helped me to build my confidence and clarity to run effective meetings and deliver concise instruction in the classroom to audiences all ages. I want to help others do the same.” Prior to retirement, she had dedicated 25 years to public service in the field of federal acquisition and contract management. Arthuretta earned a master’s degree in Management from the Florida Institute of Technology, an undergraduate degree in public administration from James Madison University, and post graduate work in communication and public policy from George Mason University.
Regina McCann is the vocal instructor at Compass. Regina is a professional classical vocalist and private voice and piano teacher. She is a Soprano and has performed as a concert soloist, recitalist, in operas, and under numerous well-known conductors around the US. She is the director of Choirs at the Pennington School in Manassas and formerly worked as the choral director at Herndon Middle School. Regina served as a Music Teaching Fellow at the Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York and as the assistant to the Artistic Director at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. She earned a Bachelor in Music for voice and music education from University of Delaware and a Master of Music from Indiana University- Bloomington. She earned a music certification from George Mason University, and holds a Virginia license as a Postgraduate Professional in Vocal and Choral instruction for K-12 grades. In addition to instruction at Compass, Regina teaches at the Contemporary Music Center in Chantilly and from her home studio in Herndon.
Mylene “Mimi” Nyman is the Compass instructor for culinary classes. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, and ten year veteran of the finance profession, Mylene made a career switch and broke into the culinary arts profession in 1997 when she opened “Chocolate by Mimi.” Within the realm of that business, Mimi began teaching chocolate candy making classes to children and adults. Over the last 7 years, Mimi’s cooking classes have expanded to all kinds of nutritious delights, as she has taught dozens of cooking and confection classes for hundreds of students at Reston Community Center. Mimi loves to cook, especially in large quantities (why make one pie when the oven can hold eight!) Mimi lives in Great Falls with her husband, two children, and a variety of pets.
Dolores Peck is the instructor for Hands on Art History classes at Compass. Dolores is the co-founder of the Gifted Education Time for Students (GETS) program which takes an integrated, theme-based, multidisciplinary approach to discovering the humanities by facilitating connections among the disciplines of history, math, science, literature, and geography from the angle of art history. She has experience as a teacher in public, private, parochial, and Montessori schools in the US and UK and has worked as a private tutor and academic coach. She is fluent in French and Italian in addition to English with additional knowledge of Russian and Latin. Dolores earned a BA with a minor in Art History from Chestnut Hill College, a Diploma from the Johns Hopkins Center in Bologna, Italy, and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University.
Edwige Pinover is the instructor for French classes. Edwige is a native of Saint Jean de Monts, France, and has lived in the US since 1998. Edwige earned dual undergraduate degrees in English and French from George Mason University and a masters degree in education to teach French as a foreign language. She also received a license from George Mason University for teaching French in grades K-12. Edwige taught French in the immersion program at Kent Gardens Elementary School in McLean, and at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna. For the past four years, Edwige has worked exclusively as a private teacher for homeschool families and as a tutor for public high school students. She has a passion for traveling and for the francophone world. Edwige lives in Herndon with her husband and two children.
Play-Well TEKnologies is the instructor for hands-on, LEGO based engineering classes. The company has been ‘Teaching Engineering to Kids’ since 1998 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The company has expanded all over the country thanks to overwhelming support from kids and families. PlayWell Teknologies currently offers camps, classes, parties, and events in 17 states and DC. Their instructors have varied careers and educational backgrounds in engineering, science, or architecture, and more importantly, all share a common enthusiasm for kids, engineering, and LEGO.
Kathy Preisinger is the instructor for Little Hands Family Music and Worlds of Music classes. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, and a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University, both in Music Performance. She is Master Certified (Level 3) in the Orff Schulwerk methodology from the GMU Potomac Arts Academy. Orff Schulwerk is total, active involvement in music making that incorporates speech, singing, movement, and instrument playing in a creative environment. Kathy teaches studio flute and recorder lessons, and previously maintained teaching studios in Texas, California, and Alabama. Kathy has taught in the Little Hands music program since 1997, and has contributed to writing several early-childhood music programs and curricula for Kindermusik International and Little Hands. She lives in Centreville with her musical husband and children.
RunFit Kidz is a northern Virginia-based physical education program for students founded by fitness enthusiast Corky Sturtevant. Corky is dedicated to the mission to “educate, foster and promote the benefits of running and healthy living to children.” She has been involved in youth fitness for over 11 years as a lacrosse and volleyball coach and physical education teacher. She discovered her passion for running over a decade ago and has since completed nine marathons including two Boston Marathons, the New York City Marathon, numerous half marathons, 10-milers and 5k’s as well as many triathlons including a Half Iron Man. Corky is a Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) certified running coach. She also holds the designation of USA Track & Field Coach – Level 1 as well as Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Group Fitness Instructor. Corky earned a B.S. in Communications and K-8 Teaching Credential. She is the mother of three elementary-aged children. All other RunFit Kidz instructors are equally qualified to teach youth fitness as certified running coaches, personal trainers, group fitness instructors, or physical education teachers.
Anne Sharp is a writer, editor, and educator who graduated from The College of William and Mary and taught in the Virginia Beach and Fairfax City Public School Systems. As a middle and high school teacher, she developed curriculum, taught creative writing, English, journalism and sponsored the yearbook, literary magazine, and student newspaper. After leaving full time teaching, Anne has kept writing in her life by designing newsletters and writing articles for community and professional organizations. She has tutored students in English, history, and the college application process. Higher education became a focus of Anne’s work when she was invited to serve on boards at several Virginia universities. In that service, she integrates writing through designing brochures, writing articles, letters, and blogs. She is most proud though, of establishing an interdisciplinary non-fiction writing program that pairs college students with professional journalists. Through her business Well Penned! Anne also works as a coach to writers of all ages working on college essays, memoirs, poems, journals, articles, and travel stories
Peter Snow is the instructor for Beginning Chess and Intermediate Chess. Peter has more than 37 years experience playing in tournaments of the U.S. Chess Federation and is rated in the top 8% of all U.S. Chess Federation players in the nation. Peter has over 13 years of experience teaching chess including the last eight years as the owner and operator of Snow’s Chess Academy. Peter serves as the instructor and coach for the 2008-2011 Virginia State Scholastic Championship chess team from Greenbriar West Elementary School. He teaches and coaches at several other elementary schools that are regular top ten finishers in state competitions. Prior to teaching chess full time, Snow made his career as a business trainer for an accounting firm, a financial institution, software companies, and an educational product company. Peter has lived in Herndon for the last 22 years and raised his four children in Fairfax County.
John Waldron is the instructor for the acting class at Compass. He also serves as the Elementary Education Director for Dodgeball Theatre. John has been working as an actor, instructor, and director for nearly 20 years. He received a BFA in Theatre from Virginia Commonwealth University. John has toured the country with the National Players performing in ’A Midsummer’s Night Dream’. He has also toured with Theatre IV and performed with Adventure Theatre, Classica, and Murder Upon Request. John has directed at numerous theatre camps and workshops, as well as at Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre.
Ashley Walsh is the instructor for Latin classes at Compass. Ashley earned her B.A. in Classical Studies from Virginia Tech and received her Virginia Professional Teaching License in Latin. Ashley taught Latin at all levels, from beginning to AP classes, for four years at a technology magnet school in Chesapeake, Virginia, and for one year in the Prince William County Public School system. Ashley served as the advisor to her school’s Latin Club and Latin Honor Society and accompanied her high school students to the Virginia Junior Classical League Convention in Richmond where Latin pupils compete in competitions such as tests in grammar, literature, culture, and vocabulary, as well as dramatic interpretation and student artwork. Ashley is a member of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia, American Classical Association, and the Classical Association of Virginia. Her personal interests in Latin include Vergil’s Aeneid, as well as, Greek and Roman Mythology. Ashley lives in Alexandria with her husband and twin daughters.
Libby Wiebel is the instructor for Beginning Folk Guitar and Song Writing classes. Libby is singer, song writer, and teacher of classical piano, folk guitar, and music theory. She has performed with several jazz bands, has sung in choirs and on stage, performs with her church’s musical program, and has written songs since childhood. She began to play guitar in high school and can be seen performing at area coffeehouses, restaurants, and regional music festivals. Libby loves many genres of music but feels at home with folk music explaining that, “I need the lyrics to mean something,…and can only hope that the music I’m writing will do the same for someone else.” She studied piano pedagogy at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, where she also earned a BA in Mathematics.
Sheila Wise is the instructor for Spanish classes at Compass. She earned her undergraduate degree in Education with a concentration in Spanish from the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas. Sheila taught second grade Spanish bilingual students in Texas before obtaining her early teaching certificate. She taught English and science at a bilingual school in Madrid, Spain. During her assignment, she refined her Spanish fluency and enhanced her cultural experience by travelling throughout the Iberian Peninsula. She later taught Spanish for pre-K through 8th grade students at Morgan Park Academy in Chicago. “Profe Sheila” looks forward to sharing her lifelong passion for the Spanish language and culture to Compass students.
Xinyu “Cindy” Zhang
Xinyu Zhang is the instructor for Mandarin Chinese tutoring. Xinyu earned a masters degree in education from Northern Virginia Community College and an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. She has taken several courses and workshops in Chinese language instruction. Xinyu earned a certificate as Teacher of Chinese as a Foreign Language from Beijing Language and Culture University in 2011. She completed a workshop through George Mason University and the Chinese Language Teachers’ Association. She completed a month long program for teaching Chinese as a second language at Beijing University in July 2012. Xinyu has provided intensive Chinese language training for the Department of State and the Diplomatic Language Centers for eight years. She also works as a private tutor to adults and students, including homeschoolers. As a hobby, Xinyu has amassed an extensive library of instructional materials and textbooks for Chinese language instruction. She lives in Vienna with her husband and teenaged son.
All Compass instructors have undergone a criminal background search and clearance of sex offender status and crimes against minors.
Jenny Grove-Bradshaw is the Director of Compass Homeschool enrichment. Jenny earned an undergraduate degree in Building Construction from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters degree in Building Construction Management from Purdue University. She also runs a small construction consulting business. She is involved in numerous professional and community organizations and the homeschool community. Jenny is frequently invited to speak on panels, at conferences, and at meetings on the topic of homeschooling. In 2014 Jenny was honored with the Toastmasters International District 29 Communication and Leadership award for “dedication, leadership, and contributions in the area of education” for her work with Compass. Jenny lives in Centreville with her husband and twin daughters whom she homeschools.
Jackie Elliott is the Program Manager for Compass classes. Jackie earned an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, specializing in Finance, from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She also earned her Master of Business Administration degree, specialized in Marketing and Operations Management, from Case Western Reserve University. Jackie has held significant professional positions in both Fortune 50 and start-up companies, with her most significant career achievements in the areas finance and marketing. Jackie lives in Reston with her husband and her three children, one of whom she homeschools.
Laura Hammond is the web developer for Compass Homeschool Enrichment. Laura earned her degree from Cornell University, and worked for many years doing database development, web design and programming for various companies and government contractors. She now does freelance web work from her home in Bristow, Virginia, and homeschools her four children.