Elementary Level Teachers
Jonathan Parker was born in Miami, Florida as the second of five children. Homeschooled from kindergarten, Jonathan developed a love and passion for music while doing Math and English lessons as he listening to Beethoven and Tchaikovsky’s symphonies being played through his mom’s old-fashioned tape deck or record player. Despite not having the chance to perform in a middle or high school band, when the opportunity came to take flute lessons at the age of 15, Jonathan leapt at the chance. After taking lessons from his mentor, Dr. Terri Mitchell, for his junior and senior years in high school, he continued his studies with her as he completed his Associate of Arts Degree at Miami-Dade College where he also furthered his musicianship by taking vocal lessons and participating in the Chamber Singers ensemble as well as the Musical Theatre ensemble. It was also through all of the theory tutoring and vocal coaching of his peers at MDC that he also found his desire to pursue music education in his future studies. Upon graduating from Miami-Dade College, Jonathan auditioned and was accepted at Florida International University where he is currently a senior working on both a Music Education and Instrumental Performance degree.
Joshua A. Rodriguez is no stranger to the musical world, having spent eight years as a musician and five years as a private instructor, he has become to know and fully appreciate the importance of education and the role it has in society. Passionate about education and music, Rodriguez is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Music Education at Mount Olive College, to be able to educate many students through music and lead them down a path of success. Rodriguez is an active musician, currently playing local gigs at community churches, events, and surrounding venues. When Rodriguez is not performing, he enjoys sweet irreplaceable time with his 2 year old daughter, Anamarie Faith Rodriguez. As a proud single parent, Rodriguez strives to show everyone that no matter what the situation is, receiving an education is possible, and once knowledge is gained it can never be lost.
Priscilla Blanco is a Music Education senior at Florida International University. She has taught private piano lesson for five years and has been teaching private voice for one year. She is currently the voice instructor at Evolution Dance and Performing Arts. Priscilla has been music director for many musicals including "Aida," "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," "Sweet Charity," "Crazy for You," "Gypsy," "Damn Yankees," "The Wedding Singer," amongst others. Priscilla has presented at the FMEA conference, was Treasurer and then President of the CMENC chapter at FIU, was part of the Cayman Music Workshop, and is now Secretary of the Creative Music Project, Inc. She hopes to continue teaching music in a creative way and creating a life long musical experience for every student she has the opportunity to teach.
Carlos Hernandez was born and raised in Miami,Fl. He graduated cum laude from Ronald W. Reagan/Doral SHS. He is currently pursuing his Bachelors in Music Education from Florida International University. His musical teaching experiences include working instrumental ensembles as well as one-on-one private instruction. His hobbies apart from music, include teaching judo at a local non-profit organization called Baragua Judo Kai.
Natalie Fernandez began singing when she was only six years old. Since then she has been actively involved in music participating in her school choirs, show choir, barbershop group, the FACCS State Competition, Solo and Ensemble, University of Miami Honors Chorus, Broward All-County Honors Chorus, and Florida All-State Honors Chorus. During her junior and senior years of high school she held leadership positions in her Chorus class, Vice- President and President, respectively. Natalie’s love for music increased with time but her love for teaching began at a young age when she began teaching in the Children’s Ministry at her church. Natalie has served as a Life Kidz teacher at Metro Life Church for the past 8 years. She also worked as a summer camp and after-school care counselor at Parkway Christian School for 4½ years. Natalie continued her pursuit of music at the Florida International University School of Music where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and graduated Cum Laude this year. During her time at FIU she was actively involved with CMENC and served as Vice-President. She was one of the founding members of the Grand Cayman Music project. Natalie is currently a piano and voice instructor at Music Tech Studios. Natalie understands importance of education and her lifelong goal is to plant the seed of music in the lives of children.
Secondary Level Teachers
Ernesto Fernandez has been playing the flute since he was six years old. He was born in Cuba, lived in Dominican Republic, and moved to the United States when he was twelve years old. Ernesto learned the art of improvisation when he met famous Jazz flutist Nestor Torres, and shared the stage with him in multiple occasions. He has also performed alongside artists Arturo Sandoval, Dave Valentin, Oscar D’ Leon, and Gilberto Santa Rosa, amongst others. Ernesto has performed in Masterclasses for flutists Keith Underwood, Bradley Garner, Amy Porter, Trudy Kane, Peter Lloyd, and Sir James Galway. He earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Performance and Education from Florida International University this year, graduating Magna Cum Laude from The Honors College. He is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Kappa Psi, Florida Music Educators Association, and Music Education National Conference (MENC). Ernesto is the recipient of the National Arion Award in Music, a Silver Knight nominee in Music, and winner of the FIU Concerto Competition. He has been the principal flutist of the South Florida Youth Symphony, FIU Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, Miami Music Project Honors Orchestra, and the Florida Intercollegiate Band. Ernesto is one of the founding members of the Creative Music Project, and will begin pursuing his Master’s of Music in Flute Performance this coming fall.
Andy Zweibel is a senior in the undergraduate Music Education program at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. His primary interesst are in the use of social media in the classroom and in secondary instrumental music. He recently served as the president of the University of Miami’s Collegiate MENC chapter, as well as holding leadership positions in numerous organizations related to UM’s marching band, the Frost Band of the Hour. Andy also serves as a freelance web designer and is the creator of the popular Music Educator’s Twitter Chat, #MusEdChat. You can find out more about Andy at his homepage (http://andyzweibel.com) and by visiting the website he founded for Music Education Majors (http://musicedmajor.net).
Marlina Diaz-Portorreal is a Florida International University Music Education major in her third year. She is Dominican, but was born in Boston, MA, and raised in Miami, FL. She has been studying voice for twelve years and has also studied piano. She is actively involved in The Salvation Army church as the music director of the Miami Sunset Corps. She loves singing and performing, and is a member of The Salvation Army Florida Divisional Praise Team. She is passionate about educating students and inspiring them to be their best through music education.
Dr. Kathleen Kerstetter
Mrs. Michelle Berra
Mrs. Michelle Berra graduated with a B.M from James Madison University, Virginia with a concentration in general/vocal music and piano in 2001. While teaching music in Fairfax County, Virginia, Mrs. Berra earned her Masters of Music with a concentration in Music Education (MME) from George Mason University. In 2006, she graduated with the award of Outstanding
Graduate in the MME program and attained Orff Schulwerk Certification, Level III. Mrs. Berra relocated to Miami from the greater Washington D.C. Metro area in the summer of 2006. Since moving to Miami, Mrs. Berra has enjoyed leading many professional development workshops in music education, arts integration, and the Orff Schulwerk process. She also has served as a guest conductor for local choral events. Ms. Berra was a member of the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards Writing Team, is the current President for the South Florida Chapter of the American Orff Schulwerk Association, and is a recipient of the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award for 2011.
Janelle Tibbetts is currently aundergraduate student at Florida International University (FIU), and will graduate with a BM in Music Education, summa cum laude in May 2011. Raised in the Cayman Islands, Janelle has been a player of baroque recorder for the past 15 years. She has been a musician since the tender age of 5 years old and is now an avid player of piano, recorder, flute, and steel pan. She has completed many Trinity Guidhall Music Examinations in piano, recorder and flute; most recently the Recorder Performer’s Certificate in November 2006. Her love for music and inspiring others has grown tremendously over the years and motivates her every day in her current path to becoming a music educator. She strives to become a great force in music education while advocating that music is for everyone and there is more to music than just performance. She will be returning to the Cayman Islands in May 2011, where she will enter into the public school system as a music educator.
Dr. Catherine Rand
Rand is the Director of Bands at Florida International University where she conducts the Wind Ensemble, Chamber Winds and teaches courses in graduate and undergraduate conducting, and music education. She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in wind conducting from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Tampa and a Master’s degree in wind and orchestral conducting from the University of South Florida. Prior to her collegiate teaching career, Dr. Rand taught band and orchestra for fourteen years in the Florida public school system. She haspresented numerous workshops to music educators and undergraduate students. Dr. Rand is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the Southeast. Her professional affiliations include the College Band Director’s National Association, and the Music Educators National Conference. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Honorary Music Fraternity, and is an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma National Band Fraternity.