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.
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
Nathalie Yanguas, is originally from Switzerland. She has an MA in Egyptology from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Before moving to the United States in 2015, Nathalie taught French for 11 years, working primarily with adults and teenagers, in particular immigrants and refugees. She now lives in River Forest with her husband and her daughter. Nathalie started at the Academy as a parent volunteer when her daughter was in preschool, then as an aide in 2017 and as a French teacher in 2018. She worked in almost all the A.R.T.S. classes, from Art, Creative Art and Literature & Culture to Music, Creative Movement and Physical Fitness. On Fridays, she has worked in the Montessori/Practical Life area. She also taught French at Lincoln Elementary School in River Forest and works from time to time as a freelance translator. She is excited to be back at the Academy as Upstairs A.R.T.S. Director.
Judy Bianchi, Physical Fitness, Creative Music (Upstairs/Downstairs) has been on staff since 1999. She began as an aid for physical fitness, and since has emerged through the Academy programs. She has taught Physical Fitness, Montessori, and Upstairs Montessori. Judy is married and has three daughters. Two of her daughters have danced at the Academy and were Momenta dancers. Judy has also taken a number of dance classes at the Academy herself. She was a Gymnast as a student. Floor exercise was her specialty. She also learned the art of Rhythmic Gymnastics. Judy has taught teens floor exercise at High school camps. She also volunteered at Whittier Elementary School as a classroom aide helping children better develop their reading and comprehension skills. Judy truly enjoys working with young children and is very happy and gratified to have the opportunity to work in all the creative programs at the Academy. Judy is now a grandmother of four. Two are Academy Preschool Alums. Her granddaughter is now in her second year of dance at the Academy.