Staff

Nicole AhernNicole Ahern teaches kindergarten. She graduated from Towson University in 2010 with a degree in Early Childhood Education and joined the New Song faculty in 2011. She is a member of the school’s Instructional Leadership Team and has coordinated a home reading program to increase Kindergarten achievement in reading. She recently returned to Towson University to attend graduate school where she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Reading.

Talmadge Bennett My name is Talmadge Bennett, also known as “Fitt”.  Fitt is actually my nickname given to me by my aunt “Kathy”.  When my mom named me after birth, my aunt thought that my original named “Fitt” me, hence the nickname.  I was born and raised in Sandtown all of my 35 years of existence.  However I did attend and live at Cono Christian School in Walker, Iowa for my high school years.  After which I attended a small Christian college (Eastern College) in Pennsylvania, and then on to Coppin State University.

I have been involved with New Song Community Learning Center since it’s origination in 1991.  I first started in the “After 3” program and have pretty much been involved in some aspect or another since.  A group of neighborhood middle school students and myself actually gave the program its name.  I officially became a New Song Staff member in 2009 as an Administrative Assistant.

I am very pleased with New Song Learning Center/Academy and what it represents.  It should, in my mind, be a model for many of our school districts.  I have two children that love and wouldn’t want to attend no other school.

Kay BroadwaterKatherine Arwady Broadwater Ph.D. Towson University Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education Associate Professor

Dr. Kay Broadwater received a BA in Art Education from Capital University, an M.Ed in Art Education from Towson University and a Ph.D. in Arts Education from Union Institute & University. Currently, Broadwater is the Director of Art Education at Towson University where her work includes bringing urban children, from Baltimore City to the Towson University setting where they have the opportunity to explore the arts in a teaching and learning partnership with art education and elementary education students. Kay is the Curriculum Expert for the Arts Integration Institute of Towson University and is on the advisory board for the Asian Arts and Culture Center and the Multicultural Institute. She is serving as Higher Ed Chair for the Maryland Art Education Association and is a member of the AEMS (Arts Education in Maryland Schools) HEAT Force. In addition to prestigious awards for teaching, Dr. Broadwater brings enthusiasm into the classroom in addition to the dedication she maintains to ensuring positive educational experiences for her students in both theoretical and practical areas. She is a dynamic educator, ready and willing to put aside the task at hand to help her students succeed. Dr. Broadwater has contributed to numerous high profile publications in her field and her reputation precedes her as a leading figure in the field of art education. Her research constitutes an awareness of current theoretical directions in addition to a comprehensive knowledge of the historical importance and the progressive ideologies in art education. She continuously presents her research at national conferences, engaging scholars and sharing her expertise with generosity.

Latifiah BrownLatifahia Brown is the Middle School science teacher.  She has a Master’s degree in Elementary/Middle School Education from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with an undergraduate degree in Biology from Bennett College for Women.  She taught for 6 years, 3 years at New Song Academy and the rest at Red Bank Middle School in Chattanooga, TN.  She says, “I enjoy teaching middle school students the wonders of science.”  She provides a very hands on science classroom for her students with most of the learning accomplished though projects and labs.

Cynthia ChaneyCynthia D. Chaney came to New Song in 2006 to teach fourth grade.  After a year, she drew upon a love of preschool students to move into her current position as the teacher in the prekindergarten class.  Cindy has attended Coppin State University, Towson University, Loyola University, and Baltimore City Community College.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, as well as state teacher certification.  In her own words, “I chose to work at the New Song Learning Center because of its strong philosophy in educating children in a community oriented in the belief of God.”

Alohaa FullerAlohaa Fuller has worked as a reading specialist at New Song since 2008.  In addition to providing high quality reading resources, she currently serves as a literacy representative to Baltimore City Schools and a member of the schools Instructional Leadership Team.  She often leads professional development sessions.  She has a Master’s degree in reading and has been teaching since 1994.  Alohaa credits the school culture as the reason she chose New Song as her school:

“As soon as I walked into the doors of New Song Academy, I knew I wanted to become a part of the ministry and work here.  Many call our school an oasis in the midst of Baltimore City but it has been my own personal oasis as well.  The students are extremely sweet and loving on most days and put effort into their work.  Every teacher and staff member is dedicated to educating and uplifting students.  It is my privilege to be able to work in such a special place.”

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Renay KelleyRenay Kelley learned about New Song after meeting founders Mark Gornik and Susan and Allan Tibbels in 1986 while he was working as the center director of the Lillian Jones Recreation Center on Stricker Street. This began a rich connection:

“Allan came to my job and said he wanted to volunteer along with a guy from Mississippi named Kelly Simpkins. The center participants thought they were the police. I truly believe God allowed me to be in the Sandtown Community to meet the Tibbels because I was assigned to work in Sandtown about a year and a half before they came. We became the best of friends after our first meeting. He always said I was the first person he met when he came to Sandtown.”

Kelley came to work for New Song Learning Center in 1997, filling various roles as the school developed. Some of his responsibilities have included hall monitor, teacher’s aide, after school director, high school student placement coordinator, volunteer coordinator, and Director of Operations.

Sara McCallumSara McCallum has been an early childhood teacher since she came to Baltimore in 2001 from the Pacific Northwest. Eight years ago she was drawn to New Song because of the emphasis on supporting the growth of the whole child through community development. She creates vibrant learning communities in her first grade classroom by working hard to help children build the foundational skills, self-confidence, and critical thinking they will need to be successful in and out of the classroom. In addition, Sara has spearheaded school-wide assessment and technology initiatives, served on the Instructional Leadership Team, mentored new teachers, and supervised student teachers from several universities. She holds advanced certificates in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, a Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University,and a National Board certificate as an Early Childhood Generalist.

Emily MaunzEmily Maunz has been teaching at New Song Academy since the fall of 2000. She is currently teaching middle school Language Arts to the 5th through 8th graders. graders. Emily has an MS in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College and an MA in Reading from Loyola University. She is also a National Board Certified teacher in literacy. “I came to New Song because of it’s commitment to providing quality education to students, but also because of the larger mission to meet family needs in areas such as housing, jobs, and healthcare.” Emily currently lives down the street from the academy and is happy to be able to walk to work every morning.

Sean Stevenson is a graduate of Douglass High School and a life long Sandtown resident. He started at New Song as a volunteer parent in 1998 when his daughter, Shawntay, was an 8th basketball coach and was promoted to head coach in 2000. Since then, he has taught physical education for the past 13 years. In addition to PE, Sean currently coaches basketball for third grade, elementary boys/girls, and the middle school boys/girls teams.

 Guy ThadaGuy Thada joined the New Song Academy staff during the 2012-13 school year. He graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching and is currently one of the Middle School Math teachers. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports and reading.

Claire TorrefrancaClaire Torrefranca grew up in Cebu City Philippines.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of San Carlos in 2001.  She completed her master’s degree special education at Cebu Normal University in 2005.  After earning her degree, she spent 5 years teaching elementary students with special needs at several private schools in Cebu City.  In 2006, she moved to Baltimore City and has taught at New Song Academy as a Special Educator ever since.  Claire is resposible for providing academic services to special needs children.  She works very closely with the general educators and administrators for planning instruction and implement individualized education plans.  Most of the time, Claire works with the children in a regular classroom alongside the classroom teachers.  Claire serves on the IEP team, along with parents, administrators and other teachers to review the students’ progress and ensure goals are met.

Mary Lee Williams has been a part of New Song for 20 years. She entered the New Song community when she enrolled her preschooler. (Mary Lee has graduated three of her own children from New Song.) After becoming a star parent volunteer, she was asked to join the afterschool staff in 1994. During her time at New Song she has filled many important roles: office assistant, parent liaison, hall monitor, and front desk assistant. Currently she is a teacher in the three year olds program. She moved to Sandtown in 1991 and became a Habitat for Humanity homeowner purchasing a house just a block from the school.

Rebekah Yarian has worked at New Song Academy for five years and currently teaches fourth grade. She has a degree from Wheaton College in Elementary Education and will complete her masters in At-Risk education at Goucher College summer of 2014. She chose to work at New Song Academy because of the committed community working together to help all students be successful in all areas of their lives. Rebekah has lived in Sandtown for five years and enjoys being a part of this community both in and out of school.