678-482-6333
Inspiring Excellence through Arts Education
Changing lives for the better through INTEGRITY and GRACE.

OUR TEAM

Co-Owners

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A child prodigy at the age of four, Berneta was sent to study under the direction of Tensia Fonseca with the Maryland Youth Ballet. She performed with the Atlanta and Bristol Ballets throughout her youth and graduated with a double major in Performance and Education of Ballet from Virginia Intermont College. Known simply as “Miss Bernie” during her 21 years of excellence in teaching, Berneta is committed to sharing the art of dance and proudly brings the Cecchetti Method of Ballet instruction to Suwanee. SAA is the first Cecchetti school certified in Georgia.

Berneta Bock-Davis

Co-owner, Ballet, Cecchetti
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Patty Weyen Etherton spent her youth singing in around central Illinois. The local celebrity she received helped her overcome her shyness and cement her passion for the performing arts in the lives of children. Never far from the stage, Patty toured professionally with Lake City Band and while living in Nashville she was often found on stage in a Circle Players production. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Music Education from Millikin University, Patty brings with her knowledge enthusiasm and a vast background in musical theater. She is passionate about inspiring young singers/actors to fulfill their potential.

Patty Etherton

Co-owner, Music, Theater

DANCE INSTRUCTORS

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A graduate from Brenau University with a BFA in Dance Pedagogy, Miranda received her earlier training from Atlanta Ballet, Dan and Company, Dancers Studio/Backstage and Gainesville School of Ballet, with additional training through notable summer programs with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Orlando Ballet and South Carolina Dance Conservatory.  Miranda’s eye for detail and her natural abilities to relate to “little ones” makes her a wonderful teacher, mom to her son Chase, choreographer and part-time administrator for SAA.  If that weren’t enough, Miranda is a certified Cecchetti instructor, and also teaches jazz, tap and ballet.  Can we say more about this multi talented multi-tasker!

Miranda Fox

Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Progressing Ballet Technique
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Gina started her aerial training in Charlotte, NC seven years ago. As a former gymnast, aerial silks became a passion immediately. After moving to Suwanee four years ago, it became a priority to find a place to continue aerial training.  She has trained at Akrosphere and Sky Gym and the Circus Arts Institute. She choreographed aerial elements for Broadway in the Park for Lion King and Aladdin. She loves working with such talented kids.  Gina loves the Suwanee area and lives here with her husband and three children.

Gina Hermansen

Aerials
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Taylor began dancing at the young age of 3. She began training in just ballet and tap, but now has over 19 years of training in a variety of styles including ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, and precision jazz. A recent graduate from Auburn University with a degree in Elementary Education, Taylor has a passion for working with young students. She loves to see students learn new things and grow as performers. Taylor had the honor of performing as a member of the Auburn University Danceline for 3 years where she performed jazz, hip hop, and precision jazz at SEC football games across the south for crowds of over 85,000 fans. Taylor also served as a choreographer for the Auburn Danceline, where she choreographed kicklines for their halftime shows. She has also studied ballet and jazz technique at Auburn University through their Dance program. Some of her other performance and training credentials include attending the Rockette Summer Intensive in New York City for 3 years, making it to the last day of auditions for the Radio City Rockettes in 2019, and making it to the final round of auditions for the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders in 2020. She plans to continue her professional dance career in Atlanta for now, but one day, plans to move to New York City to become a Radio City Rockette.

Taylor Hoff

Ballet
ballet pointe dance

Susan received a scholarship to the Dance Pedagogy and Performance program at Brenau University where she was a featured principal dancer for the Gainesville Ballet Company.  After graduating with honors, she became a founding member and Principal dancer with the newly formed Gainesville Ballet Professional Ensemble.  Susan’s strong background includes extensive training in Jazz, Tap, Modern, Contemporary, and Classical Ballet. Susan has trained dancers in both Local and Regional Companies, Universities and private studios for more than 30 years.  She continues to serve as a guest teacher for numerous Summer Intensives. She has helped her students find placement in many prestigious Companies and Summer Programs and she has coached students through the Youth American Grand Prix and Boston Ballet competitions.

Susan McGraw

Ballet, Contemporary
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Miss Terri has a tremendous ability to love her students through the tough parts of dance.  She expects a lot but make is fun! Terri has been teaching in the North Atlanta area and Florida since 1994.  She has performed with Atlanta Ballet, Carl Ratcliff Dance Theater, Harrison Jazz ensemble, The Kris Kangelosi Dance Project and aboard the M/S Westward cruise ship where she met her husband.  Terri teaches Ballet, Jazz and Musical Theater. She enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, reading, cooking and sharing her love of dance with her students.

Terri Miller

Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Theater Dance
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Sarah Stokes is an Atlanta-based choreographer, dancer, and dance instructor.  She began dancing at Suwanee Academy of the Arts and went on to study dance performance and composition at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. While at UMN she studied under Toni Pierce-Sands, Barry Leon, Abdo Sayegh Rodriguez, and Peggy Siepp Roy. Afterward, Sarah moved to Atlanta to perform, choreograph, and teach. She has had the great pleasure to perform in works by choreographers such as Shapiro & Smith, Carl Flink, Larry Keigwin, Nadya Zeitlin, Amanda Sieradzki, Mallory Baxley, and Stewart/Owen Dance. In 2015, Sarah joined with Britt Whitmoyer Fishel in order to establish Atlanta Dance Collective, a collaborative company of dance artists. Sarah’s choreography, described as “ambitious-and effective” by the Twin Cities Daily Planet, has been presented at Asheville Fringe Festival, Atlanta Fringe Festival, Decatur Arts Festival, Waxworks at Triskelion Arts, performed in Asheville, Minneapolis, New York City, and at various festivals and venues around Atlanta. Her recent work “IMPRINT” was chosen to be presented at  Dance Canvas’s 2019 Performance Series at the Georgia Tech Ferst Center for the Arts and was awarded the “Audience Choice Ensemble” at the 2019 Atlanta Fringe Festival. Sarah is certified in both Acrobatic Arts M2 and Alixa Flexibility and desires to instill a love of athleticism, technique, and creativity within all her students. She is incredibly excited to join the SAA team this year!

Sarah Stokes

Ballet
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Emily comes from a 12 year professional dancing career having performed all over the world.  Before taking on her 8 years with Royal Caribbean International Productions, she performed with the Atlanta Ballet and Bacchus Productions.   She began at the Atlanta Ballet Center for Dance Education under the direction of Sharon Story; performing with the company for three years after high school. We are happy that the world traveler is home at SAA, Emily brings a fresh burst of energy to her classes and to our entire team.

From 2003-2010, she performed with RCI in Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, the East Coast and all over the Caribbean.    In between contracts, she began teaching ballet, jazz and Broadway Movement, choreographing and coaching for the Georgia Youth Ballet Company in Fayetteville, Georgia under the direction of Magdalena Maury, Jonsie Pollock and Randi Lancaster.

Emily Vanderkley

Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary

DRAMA INSTRUCTORS

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Jenna is a choreographer, actress and teaching artist based in the Atlanta area. She received her masters in Educational Theatre from New York University and undergraduate degree in Acting from West Virginia University. Along with teaching at SAA, she is a teaching artist for Georgia Ensemble Theatre in Roswell, GA. 

Jenna Dorece

Drama, Acting Technique
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Abby started her acting journey here at SAA back when she was a student, and she is so excited to be home to teach her craft to others! She graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s of Arts Education and a minor in Theatre where she learned a variety of acting techniques but always felt called back to the Viola Spolin improvisation taught at SAA.

Abby Hamilton

Drama, Advanced Acting Classes
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Charity began her life in the theatre as an infant when her mother thrust her onstage and into a Christmas production. Since then she has never strayed too far. She is a graduate of Greensboro College with a B.A. degree and a license in Theatre Education. She is currently working towards a Master’s in Theatre Education at Columbus State. She has been working in the theatre for over ten years in a variety of roles from design to directing and has been acting even longer. With over 80 productions under her belt, she loves to see a passion for the arts ignited in the hearts of others.

Charity Hamilton

Drama
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Patrick is thrilled to be a new member of the SAA team! Originally from Charlotte, Patrick attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he found his love for acting. Upon graduating with a BA in Drama, he began his professional acting career, performing with the Actors Theatre of Charlotte, Waterside Theatre, and the National Players, the oldest touring theatre company in the United States. He then began expanding his career to include film and television. He has appeared in TV shows such as AMC’s Turn, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, and TNT’s Good Behavior, as well as over 40 national and regional commercials. As he continued his acting career he began directing and teaching acting classes, and soon discovered a new passion, sharing his love and knowledge of acting with students. He has taught acting classes for over 6 years and developed a film program that taught students the entire filmmaking process from pre-production to post. Patrick is looking forward to this new chapter of his life with SAA.

Patrick Hogan

Drama, Advanced Acting Classes
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Gem is our resident comedic relief and positivity-bringer! Gem has been involved in theatre since the ripe age of 3 and has always shown a passion for telling stories, whether through song, interpretive movement, or word of mouth. She began taking improv drama classes in grade school, then discovered a love of backstage work in middle school, going on to pursue her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre at Converse College (c/o 2018) with a focus on Directing and Shakespeare. She has received 4 years of studio training with the Michael Chekhov Technique and is always looking for ways in which to grow as a professional artist. On her days off she can be found either at home tutoring ESL online, or out having a meal with friends. You’ll know she’s in the studio when you hear singing – sing along and you might make a friend!

Gem Taylor

Musical Theater Voice, A.I.M. Director
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For more than twenty years, Susanna has been grappling with Shakespeare’s texts. Even before learning techniques to help the language “come alive,” she worked extensively as a professional actor, director, and arts educator. A lifelong learner, Susanna recently received an MA in “Theatre Practice” at the University of Exeter (England), which included a residency at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.

Susanna Wilson

Shakespeare, Advanced Drama

MUSIC INSTRUCTORS

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Shaunise’s passion for music started at a very young age. As a finalist on the Showtime at the Apollo Kid’s Tour in Cleveland, OH, she kicked off her career in vocal performance and never looked back. Since that time she’s diversified her vocal skill set to include genres such as classical, jazz, country, pop, soul, R&B, gospel, and musical theater. Shaunise earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from Spelman College, where she added to her teaching experience in her position as section leader with the nationally acclaimed Spelman College Glee Club. During her tenure, she performed in various cities around the country including New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Holiday, John Legend, and Patti Labelle on the BET Honors. She has also worked on various recording projects with celebrity vocal coaches Robert “RAab” Stevenson and Justin Levy where she received credits on One Republic’s Oh My My Album as well as Phish’s Sigma Oasis Album. Shaunise’s musical success is built on the foundation of passion, dedication, and professionalism. She is excited to bring new energy to the academy as she shares her expertise and experiences with her students.

Shaunise Brown

Voice
kindermusik

Christy received a degree in Early Childhood Education from Berry College and has been teaching Kindermusik for 16 years.  She and her husband TJ have 5 wonderful children that keep them on their toes.  Christy loves working with young children and their families,  and looks forward to meeting you in a Kindermusik class very soon.

Christy Dixon

Kindermusik
guitar music private

Even as a young boy, Keith knew he wanted to be a professional musician.  Keith is a classically trained musician and earned his Bachelor of Music degree in guitar performance from UGA in 1990.  Today he enjoys a successful career as a performer, recording artist, composer/arranger, and teacher.

His numerous performances have delighted audiences at universities, music festivals and community concerts throughout the Southeast as well as weddings, dinner events and corporate gatherings.  Keith’s extensive training with master guitarists has helped him become a sought after teacher in his own right. Since 2000, he has served as adjunct professor of applied guitar and music technology for Toccoa Falls College in northeast Georgia in addition to offering private lessons.

Keith Gehle

Guitar
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John studied classical guitar at the Lovett School of the Performing Arts with teacher Jack Winchester and later with Mary Ackerman, chair of the guitar department at Kennesaw State University. John met his wife in 1982 and began a long career of writing and performing professionally.  John offers instruction in percussion and guitar, teaching both popular and classical styles.  Taking his lead from the student,  John works diligently to find just the right approach to bring out the best in each musician.

John Hightower

Guitar (Acoustic, Electric), Percussion
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Teri is a professional vocalist and music teacher with more than 35 years of experience in both the private and classroom settings. Teri is the music teacher, choir director and MS fine arts teacher at St. Catherine of Siena School in Kennesaw, where she also teaches private voice, piano and guitar. She enjoys her summers playing the role of Fairy Godmother during Enchanted Princess Adventure camps,directing the musical theater camps at Suwanee Academy of the Arts, and directing the junior show at Broadway  in the Park.

Teresa Khan

Piano, Voice, Guitar
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Justin started his career as a prodigy student and vocal arranger working alongside Robert (RAab) Stevenson, arranging vocals for artists like Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Pharrell Williams, Kelly Rowland, Austin Mahone, Rihanna, B5, and The Gardiner Sisters.  Justin has worked as assistant vocal trainer on tour with Kelly Clarkson and has clients in three countries.  Other artists blessed to have worked with RAab and Justin are jMarie, Roma Acorn, Zach Martari, Nate Larson, Diana Diez, Ashea, and he has also worked with Robert DeNiro, Zac Effron, Julianne Hough and Zoe Deutch on the set of Dirty Grampa.  Justin has mastered the techniques necessary to safely develop the voice to its greatest potential. He treats each student – no matter their experience level – with the same focused commitment, and welcomes all genres of music.

Justin Levy

Voice
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About Greg

Greg Morgan

Voice, Piano
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Lisa is a 2006 University of Georgia graduate with studies in Child and Family Development, Education and Music. She began her journey with music at the age of 5 and has a strong love for both making and sharing music with others while helping create that musical spark that she knows can last forever! Lisa has been educating young musical minds and families for 10+ years in both public and private settings, with her specialty in beginner piano and flute. Ms. Lisa truly believes that early music education can richly shape children for the rest of their lives!

Lisa Ogg

Piano
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Ioannis Papaspyrou was born and raised in Thessaloniki, northen Greece. He was thirteen when he began practicing the bouzouki, (a dominating string instrument in Greek popular music) and soon he started studying European and Jazz music theory at the Synchrono Odio and Neo Odio conservatories of Thessaloniki and received the Harmony, Woodwind Band Arranging, Counterpoint and Fugue (1990, 1992, 1994) with Ioannis Angelakis and Christos Samaras accordingly. Also, he studied classical piano with Patritsia Aliberti, jazz guitar with Makis Stefanidis and jazz piano with Grigoris Simadopoulos. After his graduation from high school he worked proffesionally as a performer (bouzouki, guitar, Greek lute, ud, piano, keyboards) and as an educator (bouzouki, ud, lute, mandolin, guitar, piano, keyboard, European music theory, jazz, and Byzantine Music). He has performed numerous gigs at night clubs, restaurants, hotels etc. He has taught in several conservatories such as Neo Odio of Thessaloniki, Pithagorio Odio of Thermaikos, and Mousiko Kollegio of Thessaloniki. In 2005 and 2007 he received his Composition (studied with Alkis Baltas) and his Byzantine Music diplomas (studied with Miltiadis Pappas) from the Mousiko Kollegio of Thessaloniki Conservatory. In 2008 he moved to Atlanta, U.S.A. where he studied composition at Georgia State University with Dr. Nickitas Demos, receiving several undergraduate and graduate scholarships and graduating with “Suma cum Laude” (BA, 2011 and MA, 2013). During his studies at GSU he served as a graduate assistant in the composition area. He taught composition and organized a concert with the collaboration of the Greek Consulate of Atlanta with his arrangements. Also, during his residence in U.S.A, he toured with Alpha Omega Sound Band to all the south – east states performing at Greek Festivals and other gigs. Since 2013 he has been organist and assistant chanter at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Atlanta. As a composer and arranger he has a portfolio with a considerable number of works. His compositions have been performed in Greece, U.S.A., and Germany by the Trio Epsilon, ACM (Access Contemporary Music), Anaphora, Soli Fan Tutti and several ensembles of Georgia State University. He has composed two symphonic poems, string, woodwind, and brass quartets and quintets, duets, trios and solo works for various instruments, and music for three theater plays. His composition “Mysterioso Agitato”, for flute, clarinet in A, viola, and piano was selected among the finalist at the “Soli Fan Tutti” composition competition at Darmstadt, Germany and was performed live and recorded for the cd production with finalist works. The same composition and the “Blue Lullaby for Nefeli”, for alto saxophone and piano were included to the Weekly Readings of ACM, in Chicago and have been recorded. Also, “Mysterioso Agitato” was presented via composer Seth Boustead’s radio show of contemporary music. Ioannis Papaspyrou has also written numerous arrangements for saxophone and string quartet, brass quintet and other mixed ensembles, many of them have been performed in Greece by the Macedonian Saxophone Quartet, Kou Klou Sax saxophone ensemble, Locos de Atar Ensemble and in U.S.A. by the Classic V Brass Quintet in Athens, Georgia. As a composer, he has participated in the Silent Sound Film Festival 2016 and 2017 in Chicago with his score for the movie “Games we Played” by Brett Rogstad and for the movie “2028” by Jorge Mendes accordingly. He is the artistic director of the Atlanta – based Greek Band “Bouzouki Express” and member of the also Atlanta – based Greek Band “Alpha Omega Sound” and member of the Greek band “Endasi”.

Ioannis (Johnny) Papaspyrou

Piano, Guitar, Mandolin
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Mary graduated from Shenandoah Conservatory with a B.A. in Music Education, Major in Piano and Minor in Violin.  She has performed in several operas and plays with her college orchestra including a performance at the Kennedy Center.   Mary has worked with children for over fifteen years and has many years experience in private music lessons.  She strongly believes Music is an important form of expression for children, and that music helps develop self-esteem, focus and artistic values that last a lifetime.

Mary (Hyeon Joo) Sway

Piano, Violin, Viola
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Sally earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Western Carolina University.  A vocal teacher for 20+ years we are excited to have her share her wisdom here at SAA.  Sally sings in the Johns Creek Chorale, and is a member of the Main Street Symphony Orchestra, where she plays cello and violin.  Past performance credits include Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Atlanta Opera Chorus, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and Like the Dickens Carolers.

Sally Walsh

Voice, Piano, Cello
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Tim’s love for teaching encourages and builds musicianship in his students- whether music theory, piano, composition, or audio production. Tim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a Master’s degree in Piano Pedagogy, both from Georgia State University. A teacher for over 35 years, Tim’s musical background is diverse and includes classical, jazz, and rock. He is a published composer, arranger, and song-writer. He owns DoubleSharp Music Recording Studio where he can be found recording, mixing, or producing a variety of music. Tim is also an adjunct faculty professor at the Art Institute of Atlanta under the Audio Production program.

Tim Wheeler

Piano
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Robin has been teaching in the DeKalb/ Gwinnett area since 1978. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Georgia State University. Her philosophy of teaching is that each child learns differently and needs a program created especially for them. Robin uses a variety of methods to keep a student motivated – she has heard from countless adults that wish their parents had made them continue taking piano lessons. Robin strives to keep the student motivated, so they will continue with piano lessons. As a final goal, Robin wants a student to take piano long enough to be able to teach themselves new music and to love playing piano all of their lives. She is an active member of MTNA, GMTA, and GCMTA.

Robin Whitworth

Piano

STAFF

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Amy’s past experience as a supervisor, marketing manager, contract negotiator, and office manager for major corporations and a degree in management from Georgia Tech in 1990, makes her an invaluable asset to our team.  Pulled into the academy by her talented daughter Scarlett, she volunteered at SAA for several years before officially joining the staff in 2012. Amy also served on the Board of Directors for Suwanee Performing Arts.

Amy Kimball-Niepmann

Office Manager
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–bio coming soon —

Tashia Similao

Customer Relations Manager
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About Kristi

Kristi Schneider

Finance Manager
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About Bill

Bill Karp

Building Maintenance