NorthWoods  - School of the Arts
About Us
David McKenery  
NSA Director / Piano & Organ Instructor

David's professional career in music consists of over 30 years in music ministry, music performance (classical and contemporary), teaching and administration.  He has significant experience teaching fine arts to students, ranging from kindergarten to the college level.  He holds a Texas "all level" (K-12) certification and has also served as music minister, contemporary worship leader, orchestra director and fine arts administrator at several area churches.  David holds degrees from The University of  Houston and Houston Graduate School of  Theology with an emphasis in church music.  He has 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.
David is an accomplished pianist, organist and vocalist.  He currently serves as music director and keyboard artist/accompanist for musical theatre productions at various organizations, including 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 a session musician for local recording studios and has produced a wide variety of recordings.   Professional associations include TMEA, NFMC, MTNA, AGO, Conroe Jazz & More and 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.  Mark graduated in December of 2010 and now resides in the Woodlands area.  He 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 a degree in Piano Performance from Sam Houston State University. She has been involved in various local orchestras, playing violin as a secondary instrument.  Joanna 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 loves teaching keyboard and string lessons and has over twenty years of experience doing so. 

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 and 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 to study piano and organ 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 also taught organ & piano lessons.  During this same period, Jon played part-time at Pipe Organ Pizza on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre pipe organ for 8 years, played several seasons with the minor league Houston Apollos hockey team, and played four 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 from 1993 to 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.  Jon teaches and encourages keyboard students in the co-ordination of mind, eye and hand motor skills, which are the skills necessary to be a successful musician.  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 has performed in the Van Cliburn theatre.  He holds a Masters of Arts from East Texas Texas State University in Commerce.  While there, Davey performed in college productions and also worked as a crew member for many shows.  He previously taught at Blooming Grove,  Brazosport and Willis.  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 a trip to the state meet in 1994.  Davey retired from Willis High School and now directs community theatre, local high school productions and productions at NSA.  Mr. Vela is also a proud grandfather!

Matt Robison
Art Instructor

Matt is a graduate of Oak Ridge High School and a 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 does freelance art projects with churches and ministries, which include illustrations, cartoon characters, comics and murals.  He enjoys working with both children 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 on stage 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 received her Bachelor of Arts degree.  Carole formerly owned and operated her own theatre company near FM 1960 for many years.  Carole has an extensive acting resume that includes such roles as Ado Annie in OKLAHOMA, Susy Hendrix in WAIT UNTIL DARK, and Sylvia in SYLVIA. In addition to directing   children's shows, which include TOM SAWYER, LITTLE  WOMEN, and an original rendition 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.  She also develops and directs the very successful New Year's shows held at The Owen each year.  Carole has also directed OSTRICH RACE for Northwoods School of the Arts and Woodlands Children's Museum at Dosey Doe in May.

Joey Lamont 
Technical Director

Joey is an accomplished actor, whose extensive onstage credits include Petruchio in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, Captain Fisby in TEAHOUSE OF  THE AUGUST MOON and The Emcee in CABARET to name a few.  Joey has also worked in all facets of theatre production, from onstage to backstage tech to sound and lighting. He was an instructor at the Peter Sklar Drama Workshops in New York and has also taught for the Crighton Kidz organization in Conroe.  Joey has both performed and provided technical assistance to many Crighton Players productions.  He most recently performed in the New Year's Las Vegas Revue Show at The Owen theatre as a very convincing Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra!
Brenda Storseth 
Drama Instructor/Choreographer

Brenda is the theatre director and instructor at Montgomery Jr. High.  She brings 27 years of experience in performing, instructing, directing, and writing plays.  Brenda is also an experienced musician and vocalist.  She performs with Houston based "SpiritWind" worship band with David McKenery and works as a professional musician for a variety of events.  Brenda holds her Bachelor of Science degree in Education with an emphasis on Theatre and English.  Brenda has taught in Colorado, North Dakota, Florida, Guam and Texas.  As theatre director at Montgomery Junior High, Brenda has enjoyed great 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 timid kids.  Brenda has directed over 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 graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, where she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication.  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.  Tiffany 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.  Tiffany has performed in California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Texas and New York.  She has had the privilege of working with distinguished artists such as Bill Evans, Shapiro and Smith, Joy Kellman, Lisa Nicks, and Sabrina Madison-Cannon.  As a choreographer, Tiffany has set works in numerous settings ranging from concert dance to musical theatre.  In addition to teaching within the Lone Star College system, Tiffany 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.