Oak Park native Mark Anderson is an ardent educator, performer, recording artist, and composer. Mark believes strongly in the power of music to build connection and community. This belief is what lead Mark to become involved with strong arts community at the Academy of Movement in Music. Teaching not only as a private guitar instructor but also with the Academy A.R.T.S. preschool program has enabled Mark to engage with students and build relationships from the ground up. As an in-demand educator Mark is also on faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University and in addition works as a Site Coordinator and guitar mentor with Guitars Over Guns.
Audrey Deziel, Downstairs Aide, has a BS in Child and Family Studies from Ohio University. Audrey first came to the Academy to watch her sisters Caroline and Teresa perform. She soon followed their footsteps to dance at the Academy. During her years dancing at the Academy Audrey was a class demonstrator and performed with MOMENTA. She started working in the Upstairs A.R.T.S. program during her summers home from college. During these summers she also worked in Downstairs A.R.T.S. as the Physical Fitness aide. Once Audrey graduated college she served as a Downstairs hallway aide for a year. She then became the Creative Movement aide and this coming year will be the aide for Physical Fitness as well. Audrey is also a Youth Development Specialist with Hephzibah Children’s Association.
Downstairs A.R.T.S. Director, Practical Life, Montessori
Maureen Fahey joined the Academy family as in 2004 when her two sons began attending preschool. In 2009 when her daughter started preschool she became the Practical Life teacher in the Art/Music/Montessori room. She enjoyed learning more about the Montessori Method and introducing the children to new ideas each week at the Practical Life table. Maureen loves the unique preschool experience that the A.R.T.S. program offers families in the community. She studied Family and Consumer Science at Eastern Illinois University and worked in management and consumer relations after college. In her free time Maureen enjoys reading, yoga and spending time with her family especially outside in nature! Maureen lives in Oak Park with her husband and 3 children and is excited to begin her fifth year as Downstairs A.R.T.S. Director.
Creative Movement, Physical Fitness, Montessori
Melissa Taub graduated from Columbia College with a B.A. in film/video. While her children attended the Academy, Melissa was a parent volunteer in the DSA/USA which lead to becoming a hallway aide and then moving to a teacher's aide in the USA the following year. Melissa has been at the Academy for 12 years and this is her 7th year teaching Creative Movement and Physical Fitness upstairs. On Fridays she has worked in the snack, science, and the Montessori/practical life area. Melissa taught creative movement in the Downstairs program, as well as being a physical fitness aide. She was a Reading Buddy at Longfellow School for 10 years and is currently attending Triton College for an Early Childhood Education degree. Melissa has attended: paraprofessional training at Seton Montessori, has taken various workshops through the Early Childhood Collaboration, Gateways and a 7-month training on, “Equity in the Early Childhood Classroom.”
Upstairs A.R.T.S. Director, Art, Cultural Awareness, Literature
Anja Riis Wachter
Anja Riis Wachter is originally from Denmark. Anja studied construction and design before earning an MA in English Literature and Language, with a minor in History, from the University of Arhus, Denmark. Prior to moving to Chicago in 2003, she was an editor with an educational publishing company, a career she continued in Chicago while simultaneously operating her own design and dressmaking business. Anja lives in Oak Park with her husband, two daughters, and two very large dogs. In her spare time, she tries to squeeze in some running and yoga, she is on the board of directors of Pro Musica Youth Chorus, she volunteers with her daughters' schools and after school activities, and she enjoys creating design and sewing projects. Anja started at the Academy as an aide, then Art Teacher, and is thrilled to continue as Director of Upstairs A.R.T.S.