who we are

Aaron

Aaron Goldschmidt, founder & director

Aaron Goldschmidt received his BFA in acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Experimental Theater Wing with a minor in child psychology. While maintaining a successful writing and performing career, he worked promotions for a major record label, coordinated special events for a bustling NYC hot spot, and even appeared on CBS’ The Amazing Race. True fulfillment, however, was discovered in working with children and families and he dedicated himself to teaching full time. After a year in San Francisco apprenticing at the prominent California Street Preschool, Aaron took his newfound appreciation of the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophies and moved back to NYC. He then spent 6.5 years as the head teacher at The Educational Alliance’s Parenting and Family Center of the 14th Street/Sol Goldman Y in Manhattan’s East Village, where he developed and taught classes for children ages 1-5 and their families, as well as helped to run the department. Most notable was his popular 2×2 program, a year-long bridge class for 2 year olds, the success of which helped to solidify his reputation. Since then, Aaron has consulted and taught for a variety of businesses including the JCC of Manhattan and Citibabes, where he held the position of creative director and head teacher. Among other responsibilities, he created, implemented and ran CitiSchool, a renowned preschool program. Aaron’s multidisciplinary background directly affects his approach to early-childhood education and is evident in the classroom. His energy and passion, combined with his arts-based curriculum, have inspired both children and adults for years creating an outstanding reputation and large client following. Both his popularity and visibility in the community have lent themselves to securing him a local “celebrity status” with children, parents, and caregivers. Aaron’s stature as a respected and savvy educator has also been recognized by the global children’s publisher, Scholastic. He sits on the Teacher Advisory Board to the school Book Clubs, is an invited educator to the Scholastic Early Childhood Summit, and continues to help the company keep their finger on the pulse of what is happening in the urban early-childhood classroom. Aaron lives in Manhattan.

Jayme Taylor

Jayme Taylor, communications manager

Jayme’s interest in family and parenting issues took shape in college during her time as project manager on youth-related topics for the K-12 Coordinated Health Department at the Diocese of Tucson. After graduating from the University of Arizona with a MA in Near Eastern Studies, she moved to Manhattan and shortly thereafter found herself immersed in the kid-world of New York City. She worked as the marketing coordinator for a private family membership club in SoHo, where she was the editor-in-chief of their blog and bi-annual magazine prior to becoming a social media consultant for NYC children’s companies and schools like Shine, Dental Associates for Kids Only, and Green Ivy Schools. When she’s taking a break from keeping up with the latest NYC kid trends and events, you can find her at her day job – hanging out with dinosaurs at a prestigious cultural institution on the UWS.

 anna

Anna Baker, educator/office manager

Anna Baker is a theatre artist, arts administrator, and educator based in Brooklyn. She received her BA from Reed College in Art History with a focus on performance art. Anna has worked with children for the majority of her life; as a camp counselor, an acting teacher, wilderness guide, and ESL teacher. You can find Anna directing a play, at yoga, on a hike, or devising a new performance piece.

 

Ashlynn Manning, educator

Ashlynn Manning is a singer/songwriter/dancer/kids yoga teacher who started teaching with Shine Hamptons in 2017. Originally from Montauk, she studied theater at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA, and earned her B.A. in Musicology from Oberlin College and Conservatory. From 2006-2012 she was one half of the Brooklyn-based comedy and environmentalist duo Suspicious Package. From 2013-14 she played original music and beachside venues throughout Central America and Peru. Since 2016, she has been the vocalist for the gypsy jazz group, the Hot Club of Montauk, dazzling audiences in sequins and four languages. Also a licensed massage therapist and yoga teacher, Ashlynn has been teaching yoga to kids ages 2-13 in the Hamptons and Montauk since 2015.

 

Casey LoMonaco, educator

Casey LoMonaco earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Childhood Education from SUNY New Paltz in 2012. Presently, she is pursuing her Masters degree in Special Education at Hunter College. Casey has experience working with children with diverse needs and has a passion for helping each child discover their own potential. Most recently, Casey worked as head teacher with Shine in the Hamptons where she developed engaging and hands-on science and art projects. In addition, she presently works as a substitute teacher in various school districts in Suffolk County, Long Island. She has years of experience working with children as a teaching assistant and more recently began work as a 1:1 tutor for children with various disabilities. Casey believes teaching is not only about helping children to become successful students, but also about guiding them to become good people in their community and to be accepting and tolerant of the diversity around them.

 Christina Sahr

Christina Sahr, educator

Christina Sahr has been working with children in a variety of settings for over fifteen years. After graduating from Furman University with a B.A. in Art History/Studio Art and graduate work in Museum Education at George Washington University, she worked in the art departments of Princeton University and The Parsons School of Design and as a Photo Research Editor at Redbook Magazine. It was while her son and daughter were growing up, however, that she found her true passion was working with, nurturing, and being inspired by children in creative environments. She spent countless hours as director, prop mistress, and scenic designer in their school district’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts and eventually became a teacher at a Montessori pre-school and the Long Island instructor for a mobile art studio. Presently she is an Art Specialist for The Central Queens Y where she conceives of, develops, and teaches art classes in an after-school program at various elementary schools throughout NYC. Chris credits growing up in the Hamptons, surrounded by the stunning landscape and beautiful natural light, for instilling in her at a young age an innate connection to the arts and is thrilled to begin her association with Shine as an instructor in the summer Hamptons pop-up camp.

 cori

Cori Rende, educator

Cori earned her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Long Island University CW Post. She has been an early childhood educator for 5 years and is currently teaching Pre-K in Soho. In addition to teaching, Cori enjoys crafting and teaching art to children. Cori believes that children benefit from the process and exploration of creation which can lead to new ways of thinking well beyond the art class. Outside of the classroom, Cori is an avid runner, die-hard Mets fan, and enjoys cooking and creating new recipes.

 

Danielle Balog, educator

Danielle earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and English from the University of Rhode Island in 2009 and was a student at The Art School at Old Church. In addition to teaching private art classes, she has been an early childhood educator for over four years with experience in both preschool classrooms and specialty art classes at the River School and Citibabes. Danielle spends her free time traveling, drawing, doing yoga, and seeking adventure!

 

Emilie Stoll, educator

Emilie Stoll received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance at Connecticut College in 2017. Though the focus of her studies was in dance, Emilie found interest in Human Development and French, both deepening her passion for people and culture. Emilie took a semester off from school in the Fall of her Junior year to live on her own and dance in Paris, France. She credits those few months as the most rewarding and adventurous experience of her life. Her time away also taught her how the arts bring people together in such welcoming and open-minded ways. More recently, Emilie became a certified children’s yoga instructor, giving her the opportunity to teach and spread her love of movement to the next generation. On her free time, Emilie loves being outdoors, whether walking through scenic Central Park, or the serene beaches in East Hampton, NY.

 emily-tafur

Emily Tafur, educator

Emily graduated with her BFA in Musical Theatre from Long Island University in 2015. Alongside her career in the performing arts, she has worked with children throughout her life, exploring her drive for educating and sharing with young minds. From private Spanish lessons to teaching young preschoolers at Manhattan’s Citibabes, she has discovered a true passion in working with children. Originally hailing from Colombia, Emily loves to bring her globalized and multi-cultural background and native tongue Spanish into everything she does!

Megan Payne, educator

Megan Payne has been working with children for over fifteen years as an elementary school teacher, literacy specialist, and tutor. After graduating from Lycoming College with a B.A. in Psychology and Elementary Education, she later pursued her Master’s Degree in Literacy Education. Megan has had the pleasure of working at a charter school in the Hamptons, which met the needs of both general and special education students. Megan believes in educating children in a creative, loving environment filled with fun ways that address the needs, as well as interests of children both academically and socially. Megan currently lives in the Hamptons where she spends much of her time with her family.

Meredith Wright

Meredith Wright, educator

Meredith Wright is a creative play specialist and focuses on movement and music in early childhood programs. For over ten years she has taught, developed curriculum, and served as a consultant for play programs throughout New York City. Meredith received her BA in Theatre Arts at Barnard College/Columbia University. In addition to teaching, Meredith partners with the PJ Library Foundation to promote early literacy through a storytelling program and also writes and performs original music with her family project Sweetbeatz: soulful songs for city kids.

Meredith is a dance enthusiast and studies Caribbean Dance and culture in NYC. She is a featured vocalist with Oyu Oro Experimental Dance Ensemble.

Nick Moran

Nick Moran, musician/educator

A New York musician & singer/songwriter, Nick brings his love of great bands and legendary artists to Shine classes and parties. Kids will rock, roll, shake, and sing in his highly interactive and entertaining classes. Kids and their adults will jam along to classic artists & bands like The Rolling Stones, Journey, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, and more.

 

Randi Spoon, educator

Randi graduated with a BFA from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, majoring in fashion design with a minor in Textiles. Randi went on to start a line of women’s contemporary apparel under the name of SPOON Fashion. After working in the fashion industry for five years, she decided to transition away from entrepreneurship and focus on teaching the arts to children. Randi believes instilling a love of art and creativity is essential to a child’s self expression and joy of learning.

 

Rebecca Fitton, office assistant

Rebecca Fitton is an English-born/Wisconsin-raised interdisciplinary artist. Using the mediums of the body and text to engage communities through movement and conversation, she advocates for the arts through both her administrative and performance practices. She has previously worked in an administrative capacity for Movement Research and the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography and has presented her own projects in a variety of non-traditional spaces in Florida, Wisconsin, New York City, and Austria. She holds a BFA in Dance from Florida State University.