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.

 

Juliana Collins, social media manager

When not managing the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts of Shine, Juliana loves eating dessert and taking long naps with her Syrian hamster. Originally from Singapore, she has had more than 10 years of experience teaching children and hosting children’s parties and events in Singapore and NYC. She believes that every child should be given the opportunity to develop in their own time, growing up to be independent and happy.

 

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.

 

Christina Soriano, educator

Christina is an artist, art teacher, and blogger currently living and working in the East Village of New York City. As an elementary art teacher for seven years she has the natural ability to connect with young children and bring about the fullest expression of themselves through creative exercises and projects. The results are empowered, happy, and successful artists! When she’s not teaching you can find her doodling, strolling around the city at museums and galleries, or writing for BELLA NYC and other blogs. She is a proud auntie to her beloved nephews Simon and Benny (aka Sime and Ben-Ben). For more information visit www.christinasoriano.com or follow her on twitter and instagram @sorianodesigns.

 

Claudia Chung

Claudia Chung, educator

Claudia is a born and raised California girl who always knew she was a New Yorker at heart. After a decade-long career in marketing and public relations, she re-ignited her first love of writing and teaching. She is currently completing her first children’s picture book.

 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!

 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!

Lesley Perez, educator

Lesley received her B.A. double majoring in History and Spanish Language and Literature from Stony Brook University in addition to attending Spain’s Universidad de Alcala in a language-based program. She has a M.A. in Bilingual Childhood Education from City College of New York. Ready to pursue a career in education, she worked as a pre-kindergarten assistant teacher at Stony Brook University and became a tutor for New York City’s Learning Champion. She has worked as a preschool teacher at CitiSchool, teaching both 3’s and 4’s program as well as art classes. She has an innate passion for her profession and a natural ability to spark the curiosity of her students.

 mary-sabo

Mary Sabo, educator

Mary is a full-time East End resident with a strong background in theater performance and music. Holding an M.S. in Ed and a 200-hr RYT she combined all her passions to help children and teens build confidence through age-appropriate yoga activities, mindfulness games, music and movement.

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.

pauline-pisano

Pauline Pisano, musician/educator

Pauline is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who holds a B.F.A. from NYU’s Tisch School Of The Arts CAP21.  She has run hundreds of music classes, workshops, birthday parties, charity events, and children’s concerts throughout the tri-state area. Additionally, she has created and revamped music curriculum for multiple pre-schools around NYC. Learning music at age 3 and writing her first song at age 11, Pauline is an award winning singer/songwriter who plays guitar, piano, keyboard, and drum machines.

 

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.