Our Teachers

Leaves of Learning, Inc.
Joanna Abrams

Dr. Joanna Abrams

Joanna received her bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology from Earlham College before graduating with a Ph.D in neuroscience (focus on child development) from the University of Minnesota. Joanna has taught in many environments and at many grade levels, including as a camp counselor, a museum science educator, a substitute teacher at Cincinnati Public, a troop leader for Navigators USA (an inclusive, all-gender scouting organization), and a community college instructor focusing on biology. Joanna is thrilled to be part of our team and is excited to see science come alive through hands-on activities and experiments in her LOL classroom.

Paige Andrew

Paige was a student at Leaves of Learning beginning at the age of eight until high school graduation. In 2016, she joined the staff as the assistant teacher in the Little Sprouts classroom. In 2019, she began attending the Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education and earned her Early Childhood Montessori Teacher credentials in 2021. She is passionate about making children’s education a positive experience and is so grateful to have a place that helps make that possible.

Lisa Andrews

Lisa Andrews, M.Ed, RD, LD, has been a registered dietitian for thirty years and has experience in clinical, community, and culinary nutrition. As the owner of Sound Bites Nutrition in Cincinnati, she shares her nutrition knowledge through freelance writing, cooking demos, and other presentations. Lisa is a regular contributor to Food and Health Communications and Today’s Dietitian and is the author of The Healing Gout Cookbook, The Complete Thyroid Cookbook, and Heart Healthy Meal Prep. She is a regular guest on local TV stations and is frequently quoted by her peers. Lisa is passionate about food justice and reducing hunger. Her line of food pun merchandise, Lettuce Beet Hunger, supports those suffering food insecurity in Cincinnati. For more information, visit her website: www.soundbitesnutrition.com

Chelsea Borgman

Chelsea Borgman is an artist and educator. She received her master’s degree in art education and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies from Penn State University and her bachelor’s in studio art from Kenyon College. She was the 2019 recipient of the Judy Chicago Art Education Award. Chelsea teaches a variety of art classes at Leaves of Learning and has experience teaching across age groups and contexts. She was a teacher and gallery coordinator at Brazee Street Studios for six years, where she taught children and adults glass fusing techniques. Chelsea has also worked as an educator in art museums, galleries, and schools. She is passionate about learning and experimenting through art-making.

Shawn Braley

Shawn Braley

Shawn is the co-founder of the multi- Emmy-winning non-profit Cincy Stories, where he is involved in crafting the stories of the folks who call Cincinnati home. Through this work, he coaches everyday folks on how to better craft their stories and tell them on stage around the city. In addition to hosting events and coaching storytellers, Cincy Stories produces a PBS series and short films based on greater Cincinnati residents. His passion for storytelling and helping others understand the ways we both engage with the stories of our neighbors and embrace our own stories has been a driving force for this work. Being a part of the Leaves of Learning team and helping students better understand and craft stories is a huge honor for him.

 

Don Broerman

Donald Broerman

Donald Broerman, a Cincinnati native, earned his Bachelor of Music in classical guitar performance at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) under the direction of Clare Callahan, graduating magna cum laude in 2013. He has also studied with David Case at the University of Oregon (School of Music) and jazz guitar with Mike Denny and Chris Sorenson. He started his training at the Musical Arts Center in Cincinnati. His high school rock band won first place in the High School Band Challenge and fourth place in the Battle of the Bands at Bogarts. During his time at CCM, Mr. Broerman performed in master classes from internationally acclaimed artists such Oscar Ghiglia, David Russell, Robert Belinic and Rupert Boyd, and participated in classes given by Zoran Dukic, Marcin Dylla, Carlos Perez, Johannes Möller, Daniel Lippel, and others. Courses completed for degree include: Guitar Pedagogy, Guitar Repertoire and History, and Guitar Ensemble. Donald is an active composer, whose compositions are primarily solo guitar works. He briefly studied composition with Terry McQuilkin at the University of Oregon, Orchestration at CCM, and had private lessons with Jennifer Jolley (Composition Professor at Ohio Wesleyan, President and Co-founder of N.A.N.O. Works Opera Company). A budding interest in this field has led to performances of his own works at CCM’s Something Different, Classical Revolution, and a commission by The Ascend Project. Mr. Broerman serves the community through his work in nonprofits. He is the current president of Greater Cincinnati Guitar Society, as well as a member and guitar adjudicator for the Ohio Music Educators Association. Donald is a dedicated pedagogue. His students have won gold medals in the Royal Conservatory of Music examinations. He currently teaches at Indian Springs Academy of Music, Wyoming Fine Arts Center, and Northern Kentucky School of Music and is a co-director of and instructor for the CCM Guitar Youth Workshop.

 

sharon cardona

Sharon Cardona

Sharon Cardona has been working as a sign language interpreter in the Greater Cincinnati area for the last fourteen years. Prior to that she worked as a teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the public schools, both in Ohio and in Indiana. Sharon has been homeschooling her two children, both of whom are students at Leaves, for the last eight years, and she loves the balance of working as a freelance interpreter with the homeschooling. Sharon is really excited to be working at Leaves of Learning, teaching and sharing her passion for ASL and the culture of the Deaf.

Heather DeLaVega

Heather began homeschooling her two boys in 2000 and has been a part of the Leaves of Learning community since 2001. In 2012, she started back to work as a part-time assistant in the Little Sprouts classroom, where she was inspired to go back to school and obtain her Montessori Early Childhood Education credentials. She attended the University of Cincinnati and the Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education. The opportunity to work with young children is very rewarding for her. She is energized by their wonder and enthusiasm, and thoroughly enjoys watching them blossom in the classroom. Heather is passionate about the Montessori Method and Leaves of Learning. She loves the way they both foster peace, independence, and a natural love of learning in the children. When Heather is not enjoying her time in the Little Sprouts classroom, she loves traveling and hiking with her family, nature and nature photography, gardening, and reading.

Jennifer Deming

Jennifer Deming

Jennifer has been teaching for over twenty-one years. The first nine years were spent full-time in both public and private schools. When her first child was born she decided to become a stay-at-home mom—a decision that quickly led to becoming a homeschooling mom. During that time she continued to teach small groups part-time, and she also directed several children’s choruses and theaters. Jennifer believes that hands-on exploration and play are vital to learning, and she strives to create a respectful environment in which work, active play, and creativity go hand-in-hand. She is looking forward to a great adventure at Leaves this year.

Julie Doughty

Julie Doughty

Julie Doughty graduated from James Madison University with a B.S. with honors in early childhood education. After graduation she moved with her husband to Blacksburg, Virginia, where she took classes from a professional potter and participated in the annual art show and sale in Baltimore for several years. Julie began homeschooling her children in 1999 and teaching at Leaves of Learning in 2008, but she has been involved as a parent here since 2001. Julie loves working with clay with her students and watching their projects evolve as they gain new skills.

Allison Evans

Allison Evans

Allison is entertained and energized by teens — she has launched three successful young adults from her now-empty nest and enjoys her semi-retirement by supporting adolescents on their path to adulthood. Qualifications include a BS in metallurgical engineering and a license in professional engineering -manufacturing. Allison also earned an MBA at Xavier and many professional certifications along the way, including Six Sigma Blackbelt, Certified Myers-Briggs Facilitator, and ACT Educator. She has lived in multiple countries, been a lifelong volunteer leader with youth organizations, and continues to play oboe and English horn with local community music-makers.

Dianne Feltz

Dianne is excited to join the Leaves of Learning community. She is passionate about books and language and is looking forward to sharing that with students. Dianne graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in English. She brings classroom experience from the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and Carroll High School in Dayton. Born and raised on the east coast, she has lived in the Cincinnati area for seventeen years and raised a family here. Outside of books she enjoys music, cheering for Notre Dame, and going on family adventures. Most recently Dianne created and led literary workshops and book discussions for middle-schoolers and adults at Book Bums.

Julie Hamman

Julie Hamman

Julie Hamman is thrilled to be part of the Leaves of Learning community. She previously taught middle school math and science in a private school in Chicago. Teaching in Chicago was such a wonderful experience, and she is so happy to be back to teaching and living in Cincinnati with her husband and children. Julie received her education degree from The University of Dayton and her master’s from Concordia University in Chicago. Julie loves working with the students and parents each year at Leaves of Learning.

Tom Harmon

Tom spent 23 years in business management before making a career move to follow his life goal of being a teacher. For the last 16 years, he has worked as a Philosophy and Music teacher for Great Oaks Schools Adult Education. He continues his work there.His love of philosophy began while attending Miami University when he was first assigned the work of Baruch Spinoza. Since then, he has studied and taught the combined works of not only Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, but also the evolving ideas of Kierkegaard through Satre. Tom has also been a jazz fusion, rock, and blues guitarist for many years, playing both solo and with his own bands. Tom lives in Cincinnati withhis wife, Tami. They are the happy and proud parents of two incredible adult children and two wonderful grandchildren.
Kelly Hilgeman

Kelly Hilgeman

Kelly is a graduate of Miami University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She taught for thirteen years in the Northwest Local School District. During that time, she taught all subject areas and all grade levels but spent a majority of the time teaching third grade language arts and math. After having her fourth baby boy, Kelly stayed home to focus on her family. She is happy to be back in the classroom and a part of the Leaves of Learning community. Kelly brings an enthusiasm for educating and enriching young students and inspiring them to have a love for learning.

Julia Jackson

Julia Jackson

Julia received her undergraduate degree in communications and public relations from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree in elementary education from DePaul University. After teaching kindergarten in Chicago for six years, she relocated to Cincinnati in 2013. For the past seven years, Julia has been raising two daughters, as well as running her family owned service technician dispatch company. She loves traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family. She is thrilled to join the Leaves team this year to provide a unique, challenging, and fun experience in the classroom.

Trelan Jones

Trelan Jones

Known for her talents as a whimsical collage artist with a self-reflective vision and approach to fine art and art education, it is no surprise to some that Trelan Jones is a highly talented studio artist, Smithsonian recruited, and an art educational professional. Her unorthodox and intricate mixed media artwork and creativity have made her a highly sought after artist and art educator. In 2004, she graduated with a BFA in painting and graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah, Georgia. Additionally, she possesses an Art Education Licensure and studies toward an MFA from the University of Cincinnati DAAP, Cincinnati, Ohio. Soon after undergrad, Trelan continued her work as a studio artist and began substitute teaching. She has experience teaching in the Indian Hill Primary and Princeton High School Districts, and as a resident art teacher at Wyoming Middle School. Similarly, she has taught private art classes for young people and adults for over ten years. Trelan incorporates STEM into art instruction through mixed media exploration, painting, collage, use of color, drawing, photography, commercial art, installation art, and art history. She is an advocate of self-reflection and fun in her classroom and utilizes oral presentations and creative group critique methods for class assessments. In her spare time, she enjoys hosting fun art classes with her girlfriends in her front yard, flea-marketing, art show exhibitions, and spending time with family.

Julie Klettke

Julie Klettke

Julie taught for nine years in an elementary school and has been at Leaves of Learning since 2007. During those years Julie has taught a variety of high school, middle school, and elementary school classes. Julie has an associate’s degree in nursing and spent four years working in healthcare as a registered nurse. Julie received a BA in biology and a BS in elementary education from UC. She has completed twelve hours of graduate work in gifted education at XU. Teaching is not just imparting knowledge; it is about inspiration as well. She encourages children to take part in their learning by sharing ideas and insights, using creative methods to solve problems, and reflecting on their progress and feelings about their work. Julie uses hands-on activities and critical thinking problem sets to encourage children to learn in different ways. Being a teacher is more than a job, it’s a calling. It’s where she feels happiest and most content, as though the very reason she exists has been revealed.

Joe Kozak

Joe Kozak

Born in Philadelphia, PA (and a huge Eagles fan) Joe is proud to be a part of the Leaves of Learning family! He graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in history. After calling Chicago home for ten years (Go Cubs) he met and married Elizabeth, the love of his life, but they soon relocated to Cincinnati, where they now share a house with two cats and their daughter. He has taught some fun classes over the years including history, reading, mythology, film analysis, drama, psychology and law, and speech and debate. When he is not teaching or directing at Leaves of Learning, he enjoys acting in community theater. His theater credits include Paul in Barefoot in the Park, Gus in It’s Only A Play, Uncle Louie in Lost in Yonkers, Sidney in the Stagecrafters Theater production of Catch Me If You Can, and Owen in the Beechmont Players production of The Foreigner.

Elena Licu

Elena Licu

Elena has lived on two continents and attended school in three countries. She is fluent in Romanian, French, and Italian. Elena loves to cook and bake with her LOL students. She enjoys listening to chamber music, and jogging in the company of her two dogs. Elena attended law school in Bucharest, Romania, where she was born and raised. She continued her studies in Vancouver, Canada, where she focused on criminology and law. Elena married and followed her husband to Cincinnati, Ohio, when he landed an engineering job in aviation at GE. She attended graduate school at University of Cincinnati on a full merit scholarship. Here, Elena earned her MS in criminal justice. As a doctoral student at UC, Elena taught research methods and statistics for social sciences on campus, as well as facilitated distance learning for criminal justice graduate students. She conducted research, reviewed for Security Journal, and published work in the areas of international crime, victimization, statistics, and workplace violence. When her first daughter was born, Elena became a homeschooling mom. In 2012, Elena and her two daughters joined the Leaves of Learning community. Ten years later, she is excited and honored to share her passion for cooking, languages, and social sciences with her students. Elena loves teaching at Leaves of Learning!

Julie Locker

Julie earned her B.A. in performing and media arts from Cornell University and her M.A. in acting from East 15 Acting School in London, where she completed a residency at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. She additionally has training and experience in several styles of dance, including ballet, tap, modern, hip hop, Bollywood, and Middle Eastern dance. She moved to Cincinnati for the acting internship at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, where she remains as both a teaching artist and a recurring performer, writer, and director for their Off the Grid series. She also teaches theatre with Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati and dance with Cincinnati Ballet, The Carnegie, and Pones, and additionally tutors academic subjects and SAT/ACT test prep. When she’s not teaching, she’s usually rehearsing or writing a play — ask her about her upcoming projects!

Tara Maddock

Tara is a geographer who enjoys learning and teaching about world cultures and the environment. She has degrees in geography from the University of Hawaii (BA), University of Georgia (MA), and The Ohio State University (Ph.D.). Tara has taught geography and environmental courses at the University of Kentucky and Ohio University, and most recently the University of Cincinnati, Blue Ash Campus. She has also worked for the Mill Creek Watershed Council assisting local governments and residents with water quality and storm water management. In her spare time, Tara loves to read, try new restaurants with her husband and two teenagers, and explore local trails with her dog, Maya.

Sarah Mahoney

Sarah Mahoney

Sarah has been a part of the Leaves community since 2013. Her two children attended Leaves of Learning for their preschool and elementary education. She has worked as a long-term substitute teacher and a tutor at Leaves. Sarah graduated from University of Cincinnati in 2005 with an Applied Science degree in radiologic technology with a focus on physics and math. Sarah’s teaching approach is teaching the whole child, learning from them, and digging deep into their passions. Sarah is thrilled to be a permanent member of the staff and is excited to create an engaging learning environment where students feel happy, healthy, safe, engaged, and supported to explore new challenges.

Christina Matthews

Christina Matthews

Christina is the happy flower farmer-florist behind The Flower Lady LLC. She earned a BA in mass communications from Wright State University, and horticultural training through Berea College and The Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati. Christina specializes in growing flowers using organic growing practices and creating beautiful and fragrant solutions for just about every floral need. Her primary focus is serving brides, private clients, local restaurants, and small businesses in the Over-the-Rhine (OTR) neighborhood where she lives, works, and gardens. She also LOVES to teach her trade of flower farming-floristry and is grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn with the staff, students, and families of Leaves of Learning.

Diana Matson

Diana Mattson

Diana has a Chemical Engineering degree from Purdue University. She worked in research and development for a polymer manufacturer where she specialized in adhesives for food packaging applications. During her nine years in the industry, she earned several patents for adhesives in coextrusion applications. Diana’s passion for teaching in the classroom was kindled after becoming involved in several science outreach programs that connected technical professionals with K-12 teachers and students. She decided to make the switch to teaching and has loved it ever since! Diana brings a practical and problem solving approach to the classroom. Her goal is to foster curiosity in students through a hands-on and process-oriented science program.

Tiffany Medcalf

Tiffany Medcalf

Tiffany is a mechanical engineer from Purdue University. She worked as a process engineer at Procter & Gamble and as a manufacturing engineer at Cummins (diesel engines) before joining Leaves. She is teaching engineering the way she wishes she had been taught—learning concepts through hands-on experiments first instead of deriving equations. In addition to understanding science and engineering concepts, she believes it is important for students to develop skills in teamwork, writing and communication, recording and interpreting data, and drawing conclusions.

Amy Owens

Amy has a degree from Ball State University School of Architecture and has practiced architecture in Georgia, Indiana, and Ohio. She has also worked in the graphic arts field, owning her own design studio creating wedding and event stationery. Presently she is a homeschool mom of four boys. She is also a certified instructor of the American Cursive Handwriting System created by Master Penman Michael Sull and teaches lettering, calligraphy, and cursive to students all over the country. She is a member of the International Association for Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH) and the Greater Cincinnati Calligrapher’s Guild. When not teaching or practicing calligraphy, you can find her hiking and enjoying the outdoors with her husband and sons.

Justine Patton

Justine Patton

Justine has her B.A in Montessori education from Xavier University and over twenty years of teaching experience. Montessori is a way of life for her. She loves to watch the progression of children through the three-year cycle and to be able to participate in their development. By the time they complete the cycle, they have grown into confident, capable, curious, and caring people. She treasures being a part of the process and is so happy to have the opportunity to work at Leaves of Learning. Justine is a Cincinnati native and has two sons.

Layla Reed

Layla is an e-RYT 500 yoga teacher who has been teaching yoga for over eleven years. She graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and from Wright State University with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. She taught fifth and sixth grade for a few years before finding her calling teaching yoga. Layla loves creating community and connecting with people. Her classes reflect her welcoming and inclusive style. She is excited to invite Leaves of Learning students to the mat and explore all yoga has to offer. Her personal yoga practice is rooted in mindfulness, meditation, movement, and Ayurveda. Off the mat, Layla loves to cook, read, travel, listen to music, garden, bicycle, and hike. She and her husband adore their grey pitbull named Byrd.

Dr. Rich Rees

Dr. Rich Rees teaches language arts, literature, graphic novels, writing, and movie making. He has a Masters and Ph.D. in English and Literary and Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University. He has been teaching English and cultural studies for twenty-five years at Miami, Antioch, and Wilberforce Universities, and was a sub at Leaves of Learning in 2021. Rich is the author of Shades of Difference: A History of the Concept of Ethnicity, published in 2007 by Rowman & Littlefield as part of their Perspectives on Multiracial America series. The American Library Association’s Choice magazine selected the book for their Outstanding Reference/Academic Book Award. His research areas are racial identity, pedagogy, pop culture, film, and screenwriting. He’s presented his research at many conferences including the Rod Serling Conference. He is also a member of the Cincinnati Fiction Writers and Cincinnati Screenwriters groups.

Rich grew up in South Bend, Indiana, where his hobbies were collecting monster models, making Super-8 home movies with his friends, and swimming. At ten years old, he became Indiana state champ. He went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he discovered the love of life-long learning. He majored in British literature and western philosophy. Rich completed his graduate work at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he joined Pittsburgh Public Access TV as a community producer. He now lives in Monroe, Ohio with his wife and son. 

Rich is very excited to be a part of Leaves of Learning and believes the human mind is a miracle and every kid is unlimited in their creativity and abilities.

Jennifer Showalter

Jennifer Showalter

Jenny graduated from Miami University with a BA in mathematics and statistics and a BS in secondary mathematics education. She taught everything from algebra to calculus at Middletown High School for four years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. She taught part-time at Miami University Middletown. She has taught at Leaves of Learning since 2006. While teaching at Leaves, Jenny earned her master’s degree in education. She lives in Franklin with her husband, two children, three cats and one dog.

Sarah Skeggs

Sarah Skeggs

Sarah Skeggs is an engaging teacher known for her creativity and animated personality. Her lifelong love of literature led to her pursuit of a career in language arts, and her enthusiasm and energy help to foster a warm, welcoming environment where creativity can blossom. Sarah has a passion for Shakespeare and is an engaging, energetic teacher who can’t wait to continue the tradition of Shakespeare performance at Leaves! Sarah studied Shakespeare extensively in her graduate program at Xavier University, closely analyzing A Merchant of Venice in her coursework. While at Walnut Hills, she attended Cincinnati Shakespeare Company productions with English classes. Sarah has also taught AP English Literature, in which her class read and discussed Hamlet and Macbeth. Sarah received her B.A. from Ohio University in psychology, where she also cultivated skills in social science, film, media studies, and art. She earned her Professional Licensure in Secondary Education, Integrated Language Arts, grades 7­ to 12, and M.Ed. from Xavier University. Sarah also enjoys swimming, hiking at her favorite parks, and animals (especially dogs).

Rick Sowash

Rick Sowash

Rick Sowash is an accomplished composer, author, publisher, storyteller and filmmaker. You might ask how Rick became a teacher at Leaves of Learning! In 2013 he spent a day here presenting his touring program to our language arts classes and was taken with the students and program. He inquired about the possibility of becoming more involved, and the rest is history! All his life, Rick Sowash has loved stories and music. He has earned most of his living by weaving the stories of his native Ohio into books which he writes, publishes, and markets himself. His books include Ripsnorting Whoppers: A Book of Ohio Tall Tales; Critters, Flitters and Spitters: 24 Amazing Ohio Animal Tales; Heroes of Ohio: 23 True Tales of Courage and Character, and The Boy Who Would Be Famous (a comical boyhood autobiography.) Over the past twenty five years, Rick has presented storytelling assemblies based on his books at more than 2,000 Ohio schools, entertaining and inspiring more than 750,000 students. Rick is also a filmmaker, having written, produced, and starred in two documentaries, Johnny Appleseed and Storytelling Know-How for Teachers, Preachers, & Speechifiers. But Rick’s true calling is the composition of classical music. He publishes sheet music and produces CD recordings of his 400+ compositions. Rick’s music has been featured in several film scores for Florentine Films, Ken Burns’s production company. His cello concerto was premiered in Carnegie Hall in April of 2007. His newest major work, Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, was recently recorded by the St. Petersburg Symphony in St. Petersburg, Russia. His music has been performed many times in Europe and many, many times in the United States, and his CDs are broadcast regularly on classical music stations all over North America. He has also been an elected public official, an arts administrator, a classical music radio broadcaster, an innkeeper, and a church music director. Rick lives in Cincinnati with his wife, Jo, and they have two children, poet/teacher Shenandoah, and trombonist/chef Chapman.

Jess Summers

Jessica Summers

Jess has been active in the photography field as a professional for over three years with her company, ‘Say Yes To Jess’, but she has been a practicing photographer for over ten years. Jess has a background in digital arts, video, and business. In the past couple years she has taught several after school enrichment classes to children looking to further their skills in the arts. She is excited to be able to share her passion for photography with Leaves students.

Elizabeth Tillis-Gilland

Elizabeth loves the hands-on philosophy LOL embraces, the passion with which children are encouraged to learn, and the opportunities for success LOL provides. She is excited to meet her students and delve into learning with them! Elizabeth has a B.A. in international affairs and a M.Ed. in elementary education from the University of Cincinnati and is a certified teacher. She taught sixth grade at Freedom Elementary in the Lakota school district for five years. She has also tutored children in math, reading, and writing. Elizabeth believes strongly in creating a nurturing learning environment in which children are supported in their individual learning styles. As the workshop facilitator for the Bullies and Victims program, she worked with students, parents, and educators throughout the Greater Cincinnati area to teach strategies to eliminate bullying. Additionally she has been a teacher at Camp Invention. Her son, Evan, attended Leaves of Learning for 10 wonderful years before graduating and heading off to college. Elizabeth enjoys reading, cross-stitch, playing board and card games with her son and husband, and attending cultural events.

Justin West

Justin West is a composer and artist whose work integrates sound, electronics, and installation. As a member of the art collective Intermedio, Justin creates interactive and immersive musical experiences using speakers, computer programming, and live performers. His installations create spaces where observers become participants. Throughout his work he explores the roles of composer, conductor, performer, instrument, and listener — what they are and what they will become in the age of the bit. His artwork and performances have been featured at the Contemporary Arts Center, BLINK, Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival, and most recently with a new outdoor installation called “Twist” in the Court Street corridor in downtown Cincinnati. Justin was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1988. He received his B.M. in music composition from Heidelberg University in 2011.

Madelaine Wilkerson

Madelaine is a performer with a background in musical theater, jazz, and rock and roll performance. She attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA where she earned a Bachelor of Music in jazz vocal performance and then began a master’s in K-12 music education. She left the master’s program in order to work in private childcare while working as a performer for the next several years. She returned to the Cincinnati area in 2015 and continued working in the performance arts as the front woman for a local wedding/event band while also managing two local businesses and volunteering with various community theater groups. Madelaine left her role as a general manager in order to be able to dedicate more time to the performing arts and is thrilled to be teaching at Leaves in the 2022-2023 school year. She has a deep love for choral music and musical theater and is delighted to be sharing the joy of music and theater with students of all ages.

Jennifer Wilkey

Jennifer Wilkey loves learning and teaching about the languages and cultures of the ancient world. Before parenthood, she taught Latin I through Advanced Placement Latin at St. Ursula Academy. She has an MA in classical archaeology from the University of Cincinnati, and a BA in history and classics from Indiana University. She has traveled all over the Mediterranean on excavations and study abroad trips, and even spent a summer at the legendary site of Troy in Turkey. She homeschools her two daughters and loves camping, historical fiction, and crochet