NorthWoods  - School of the Arts
"About Us"
 
David McKenery - NSA Director/Piano & Organ Instructor. David has over 30 years of professional experience in music ministry, music performance (classical & contemporary), teaching, and  administration. David  is an  experienced  piano teacher, college instructor, and has served as both high school & middle school choral director.  David holds degrees from The University of  Houston and Houston Graduate School of  Theology with emphasis in church music.  He worked with many distinguished professors including Bob Bennett, Carol Vaughn, David Wehr, Bob Jones  and John Paul.   David also has professional experience in both corporate &  fine arts  administration.  He is a Texas certified  EC-12 "all level" music teacher, and has served as music minister, contemporary worship leader, orchestra director, and fine arts administrator at several area churches. David is an accomplished pianist,  organist and vocalist.  He  is active as music director and keyboard artist/accompanist for musical theatre productions at NSA, area high schools, Lone Star College, Sam Houston State University  and community theatre.  In addition, he enjoys composing and recording contemporary Christian music. He has worked with Houston based "SpiritWind" as well as several leading Christian artists in the Nashville area.  David is band leader for "The DJ Mac Dance Band" of  The Woodlands providing a dance band and big band for corporate and community events.  He is also band leader for "SpiritWind" Praise Band.  David is a session musician for local recording studios & he has produced a wide variety of recordings.   Professional associations include TMEA, NFMC, MTNA, Conroe Jazz & More, American Guild of Organists, & Chorister's Guild.
 
Mark Latham.  Guitar Instructor. Mark is a Woodlands based musician specializing in guitar. He began playing when he received his first guitar for his fourteenth birthday. What started out innocently enough as a vague interest and hobby, eventually turned into a life altering passion. After high school he attended the Sam Houston State University School of Music and majored in Music Theory and Composition. He was especially interested in pursuing  jazz studies, and put much of his focus into jazz composition and performance.  He graduated in December of 2010 and now resides in the Woodlands area. Mark currently plays in a contemporary worship band, and is available for gig bookings and guitar lessons at NSA.
 
Joanna Garcia - Piano/Violin Instructor.  Joanna holds her degree in Piano Performance from Sam Houston State University.  She has also been involved in various local orchestras playing violin as a secondary instrument. She studied piano with Ann McCloskey, Sandra Davidson, Dr. John Paul and Hiromi Matsunaga. She has served as an accompanist for private lessons, choirs, orchestras, musical theatre, and school competitions. Joanna also plays piano for weddings and freelancing in various cafés. She was a member of the SHSU Symphony Orchestra and studied violin with Barbara Allen, Joy Plesner, Barbara Rask, and Andrew Wilson. She has enjoyed teaching a wide variety of pedagogical methods including Mayron Cole, Music for Little Mozarts, Suzuki and Kindermusik. She has loved teaching keyboard and string lessons for over twenty years. 

Dawn Monachino - Voice, Piano & Flute Instructor.  Dawn holds a Masters Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Northern Colorado and a Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance from Houston Baptist University.   She also completed one year of graduate studies at The Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.  Dawn has been a professional vocalist since the early 1980's. Dawn's experience includes both classical and contemporary genres of music.  From Chamber Choirs to Las Vegas Shows, Cole Porter Cabarets  to Cruise Ships, Dawn has been active in performing all types of music.  She has performed overseas and locally with TUTS, The Houston Grand Opera, community theatre groups, churches and synagogues. We are pleased to have Dawn as our principal voice teacher, flute teacher and  instructor for beginning piano students.  

Jon M. Steen, Piano & Organ Instructor.  Born in Canada in 1941 Jon moved to the USA in 1947, studied piano and organ privately in Western Pennsylvania. Jon played the 3-manual Moeller pipe organ at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA for required Chapel attendance from 1959 to 1963. Moving to Texas in 1976 with his family Jon was employed with Brook Mays Piano & Organ Company in keyboard sales and teaching organ & piano lessons. During this same period Jon played full-time and part-time at Pipe Organ Pizza on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre pipe organ for 8 years, several seasons with the minor league Houston Apollos hockey team, and 4 seasons as organist with the National League Houston Astros. From 1987 thru 1993 Jon was the organist at Airline Manor Baptist Church and Long Point Baptist Church. Jon became organist at Spring Baptist Church in 1993 until 2001.  Being semi-retired now, Jon devotes his musical interests to the Houston Theatre Organ Society, being a Sunday morning organ substitute in Montgomery County, dabbling in musical written arrangements on the computer using Encore! software, and working with David McKenery at Northwoods teaching and encouraging keyboard students the co-ordination of mind, eye and hand motor skills necessary to be eventual successful musicians.  Jon and his wife, Martha, have lived the past 15 years in The Woodlands.
 
Davey Vela - Drama Instructor/Director.  Davey received his
received his AS Degree from Kilgore College and performed in the Van Cliburn theatre. He holds a Masters of Arts from East Texas Texas State University, in Commerce Texas. While there, Davey appeared in college productions and worked crew for many shows as well.  He taught in Blooming Grove,  Brazosport , and Willis, Texas.  He received national recognition as an outstanding Yearbook Advisor in 2009. Davey has directed over 150 productions including musicals, dramas and comedies. He has won many awards in UIL One Act Plays including one trip to the state meet in 94. Davey retired from Willis High School and now directs community theatre as well as local high school productions and our productions at NSA.  Mr. Vela is also a proud grandfather!

Matt RobisonArt Instructor. Graduate of Oak Ridge High School and member of The Woodlands United Methodist Church.  Matt is also a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design with emphasis in Sequential Art.  In addition to teaching at NSA, Matt is doing freelance art projects with churches and ministries that include illustrations, cartoon characters, comics, and murals.  He enjoys working with kids and adults.  Matt currently works with a children's ministry in an apartment community near The Woodlands.  He loves sharing his gift for the arts with kids.  Call today for current openings.
 
Carole Lamont. Drama Instructor/Director.  Carole  first appeared onstage at the age of  seven and has enjoyed performing and directing ever since. She studied theatre and political science at Texas  Christian University where she she received her Bachelor or Arts Degree.  Carole formerly owned & operated her own theatre company in the FM 1960 area for many years. Carole has an extensive acting resume that includes such roles as Ado Annie in OKLAHOMA, Susy Hendrix in WAIT UNTIL  DARK, Sylvia in SYLVIA. In addition to directing  children's shows, which include TOM SAYWER, LITTLE  WOMEN, and an original version of TREASURE ISLAND  that she wrote, Carole has directed over twenty main-stage productions.  She recently directed "DEARLY DEPARTED" for Crighton Players at The Owen Theatre in Conroe, and developed and directed the very successful New Year's shows held at The Owen each year.  Carole also directed OSTRICH RACE for Northwoods School of the Arts and Woodlands Children's Museum at Dosey Doe's in May.

Joey Lamont, Technical Director.  Joey is an accomplished actor whose onstage credits are extensive and include Petruchio in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, Captain Fisby in TEAHOUSE OF  THE AUGUST MOON, and The Emcee in CABARET to name several.  Joey has also worked in all facets of theatre production from onstage to backstage tech,  as well as sound and lighting.  He was an instructor at the Peter Sklar Drama Workshops in New York and has also taught for the Crighton Kidz in Conroe.  Joey has both performed and provided technical assistance to many Crighton Player's productions.  He most recently performed in the New Year's Las Vegas Revue Show at The Owen theatre as a very convincing Elvis Presly and Frank Sinatra!
 
Brenda Storseth, Drama Instructor/Choreographer. Brenda is the theatre director and instructor at Montgomery Jr. High and brings 27 years of experience in performing, instructing, directing and writing plays.  Brenda is also an experienced musician and vocalist performing with Houston based "SpiritWind" worship band with David McKenery and working as a professional musician for a variety of events.  Brenda holds her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education with emphasis in Theatre and English.  Brenda has taught in Colorado, North Dakota, Florida, Guam and Texas.  As theatre director at Montgomery Jr. High Brenda has enjoyed much success as her students have won first place in the district UIL competitions for the past four years.  She has high expectations of her students and has the ability to bring out the "star" in even the most shy kids.  Brenda has directed 35+ plays and has written monologues, scenes and scripts specifically for her students to perform.
 
Tiffany R. Nirider, Choreographer/Ballroom Dance Instructor. Tiffany is a native of Lafayette, LA, and has been involved in the world of dance for over 30 years.  She holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (summa cum laude). In 2004 she obtained the M.F.A. in dance from Sam Houston State University where she taught as adjunct faculty for five years.  Other adjunct faculty appointments include Lone Star College (LSC)-North Harris, LSC-Kingwood and LSC-Montgomery.  Nirider has 20 years of experience in teaching dance and has taught modern, ballet, jazz, tap, choreography, dance appreciation, dance performance, ballroom, acrobatics and aerobics.  Among her performance credits are Kista Tucker Dance, Inc., Chrysalis Dance Company, SHSU Dance Company, Raven Dance Project, and Dancesation Entertainment and has performed in California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Texas, and New YorkShe has had the privilege of working with distinguished artists Bill Evans, Shapiro and Smith, Joy Kellman, Lisa Nicks and Sabrina Madison-Cannon among others.  As a choreographer, Nirider has set works in numerous settings ranging from concert dance to musical theatre.  In addition to teaching within the LSC system, Nirider continues to teach master classes and workshops in the greater Houston area and has taught for the American College Dance Festival.  She is currently co-founder and co-advisor of the LSC-K Dance Ensemble.  

Doris May - Piano, Strings & Wind Instruments Instructor.  Doris received her Bachelors Degree in Music Education from A&M Commerce.  She also did her Master's work in Elementary Education.  Doris is certified and highly qualified in pre-k through 12th grade music.  She served in the public school system as a band and choir teacher.  Doris brings a tremendous amount of experience to NSA.  Her students have participated in The Piano Guild, Gold Cup Festival, and CMTA.  She has been a member of ATPE, TMEA, ASSBD, TCDA, TBDA and Tau Beta Sigma.  Doris is the assistant conductor for the Houston Flute Choir and a member of The Woodlands Concert Band.  Doris has a passion for teaching music to young people.  After retiring from the public school system Doris now enjoys teaching private lessons and classes at NSA.