Joan Harris Center for Gifted & Talented
Dance & Performance Arts - Northeastern Pennsylvania
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Meet the Staff

Joan A. Harris   Founder
Joan A. Harris

Mrs. Harris was a veteran of two Broadway musicals, Kiss Me Kate choreographed by the great Jerome Robbins and High Buttoned Shoes choreographed by Bob Fosse. She studied under Professor George Alexander and then traveled to New York City where she was accepted into the American Ballet under the direction of the legendary George Balanchine. She was a former owner of seven dance schools located throughout New York City including two studios on Broadway. Joan produced and starred in her own weekly live television show which ran on New York TV's Channel 9, WWOR for over seven years. She also produced shows locally for both WBRE and WNEP-TV. Mrs. Harris began her training at age three and first started working professionally when she was five years old. She served for several years on the Board of the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education and was elected to the National Organization for Gifted Children. Joan received the prestigious “A Place To Grow” award given to her by then Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburg. She was the first Executive Director of “College for Kids” which held classes at Kings College, Wilkes University, College Misericordia, Penn State Lehman, Penn State Hazleton, and L.C.C.C. Joan Harris is listed in both the Who’s Who of American Women and the International Who’s Who of Women. She has also authored two books.

Elisabeth Harris   Faculty Administrator/Master Instructor
Elisabeth Harris

Elisabeth began her formal training at the age of four in Toms River, New Jersey. Relocating to the region she continued her studies at local studios including in her early teen years with the Wilkes-Barre Ballet Theater under the direction of Jozia Miezkowksi and the Ballet Center under the direction of Marilyn Cavallari. Additionally, she attended the Tiffany Falls Summer Arts Camp, featuring instructors from the Lehigh Valley Ballet Guild, including most notably Alexi Ramov. Elisabeth began studying under Joan Harris the very first year the Joan Harris Centre opened. She is proud to say that she has been teaching at the studio for thirty years. Elisabeth has gained a national reputation for her innovative choreography as evidenced by her works, Nevermore and The Garden, both of which were chosen for exhibition in New York City's Performance Outlet, hosted by the famed Broadway Dance Center. Elisabeth was commissioned to create and present a piece for the Pennsylvania Governor’s Awards for the Arts celebration in Wilkes-Barre. She received the prestigious “Most Innovative Choreography Award” from the Dance Educators of America Organization. Elisabeth has choreographed several musicals and staged nearly twenty full-length ballets. She created the program “The Dance in All of Us,” a dance program for autistic children. Wyoming Area 10th street Elementary hired her as the Artist in Residence to teach dance and movement classes. A certified instructor with the Dance Educators of America organization and she has her college degree in Early Childhood Development. Elisabeth also has a specialized degree in Health, Fitness and Nutrition. For fourteen years Elisabeth has been hired by the Moscow Ballet of Russia to train area dancers for their appearance in regional productions of Swan Lake and The Great Russian Nutcracker. Recently, Miss Elisabeth continued education receiving a certificate of course competition on Autism. She is the proud mother of Jameson Joseph.

Sean T. Harris   Faculty Administrator/Master Instructor
Sean T. Harris

Sean is a certified instructor with the Dance Educators of America organization and a DEA award-winning instructor of Jazz and Tap at the Centre for the past twenty-six years. He is a faculty member of Kings College’s Theater Department where he teaches credited classes in Theater and Jazz dance. For the past thirteen years he has been part of the faculty of Wilkes University's Theatre and Dance Department as the director of the Tap Dance program. Mr. Harris choreographs musical numbers for the University’s Theater Department including Godspell, Guys and Dolls, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat and Le Revue Fairy Tale. His former students are currently working for Walt Disney World Productions, Cirque Du Sole, Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders and Manhattan Tap to name a few. Sean has worked professionally as both an actor and dancer with such groups as the Miami Civic Theater, the American Dance Theater of Miami and performed professionally in New York City and Philadelphia as well as locally in over 20 musicals. He has been hired as a judge at dance competitions in the Philadelphia region. Sean is a five-time recipient of the NEPTA Award for Best Choreography for the musicals, “Oklahoma!,“ “West Side Story,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Anything Goes.” Mr. Harris served as President of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Theatrical Alliance. Sean taught for the Keystone State Dance Festival and has choreographed pieces performed in the Pennsylvania Choreographers Showcase. Several of his works were featured on our local arts television station. Sean serves as a cantor for Our Lady of Fatima Parish at St. Mary’s Church in Wilkes-Barre. He is the proud father of Jacob Abraham and Alanna Joan.

Jennifer Harris   Faculty Administrator/Master Instructor
Jennifer Harris

Jennifer is a certified dance instructor with the Dance Educators of America organization and holds a college degree in Early Childhood Development. She teaches for King’s College as an adjunct dance instructor for their theater department and teaches courses in ballet. Mrs. Harris was the inaugural coach of the Pony Express, the dance team for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers of the Arena Football League 2. She has been an instructor of Ballet, Tap and Jazz at the studio for twenty-two years. Jennifer performed in the prestigious Performance Outlet on Broadway and West 57th Street in New York City. The Broadway Dance Centre hosted the sold-out performances. Her staging credits include production pieces, community events, liturgical dances and choreographing theatrical musicals such as Peter Pan for Marywood University and by The Rocky Horror Picture Show for Showcase Theatre, for which she received a nomination for Best Choreography from the Northeastern Pennsylvania Theatrical Alliance. She has also choreographed Bye Bye Birdie for Hanover Area High School and a Broadway Musical Review for the Bracken Theatre Company. Jennifer was hired by Kidz Bop Live! to train back-up singers and dancers for their appearance at the Kirby Centre. She is the director of the very popular “Dancing With Mommy” program. Jennifer is the proud mother of Jacob Abraham and Alanna Joan.

Jim Harris   Manager
Jim Harris

Jim has been involved with the Joan Harris Centre for the past thirty-two years. He has appeared in or produced an excess of one-hundred shows. Jim has written and directed several one act plays as well as staged the biblical musicals Tales of Wonder, Feast Of Life and The Song of Mark. He directed Smokey Joe’s Café, for The Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre and was contracted by Broadway Bound, a theatrical production company out of New York City to help stage manage rehearsals for a show they were producing for the luxury liner H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth II. His degree in Restaurant and Hotel Management helps him in the daily operations of the centre as both endeavors require high costumer service and keen attention to support staff. Jim is the founder of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Theatrical Alliance (NEPTA), a group of regional theaters, college drama departments and area newspapers from across Northeastern Pennsylvania. He also created the Keystone State Dance Festival which brought professional dancers from Broadway and across the nation to our to teach a series of dance workshops at local colleges. Additionally he founded the Pennsylvania Choreographers Showcase, an event that featured an eclectic mix of works by professional and emerging choreographers from across Pennsylvania. He is a volunteer at Our Lady of Fatima Parish at Saint Mary’s Church in Wilkes-Barre. Mr. Harris is a former president of the Back Mountain Junior Chamber of Commerce where he won the prestigious Robert Eyerman Award naming him one of the top presidents in the state. Jim was the recipient of The President‘s Cup, a national award given to him by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Harris served on the boards of the Luzerne County Cultural Task Force, the Cultural Arts Council of Luzerne County and the Wilkes-Barre Cherry Blossom Festival. He is the proud father of Jameson Joseph.

Nancy Stout   Office Manage/Director of Development
Nancy Kingsbury

Nancy is heavily involved in the day to day activities of the Joan Harris Centre and additionally she is the Director of Development for the Harris Conservatory for the Arts, a collection of some of the most talented artists and schools currently active in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Her duties with the conservatory include overseeing the daily activities, serving as a liaison between all the member organizations and creating and directing all the community outreach programs. She directed the incorporation of the Harris Conservatory into a 501C not for profit entity and has secured grants from the Luzerne Foundation that will allow the organization to offer seminars to underprivileged children and autistic students. Nancy joined the studio as a student in 1988 and over the years has performed in literally hundreds of productions. In 1994 she was hired as part of the staff of the centre and quickly rose to desk manager. Interested in both dance and theater, Mrs. Stout was active in the regional drama community, first by appearing in a series of musicals at the Little Theater of Wilkes-Barre including Godspell, Annie, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat and Oliver. She later served for four years as the Executive Secretary for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Theatrical Alliance. As a choreographer, Nancy arranged the staging for Oklahoma!, Anything Goes, Bye Bye Birdie, Once Upon A Mattress and Grease, (to name a few) for Bishop O’Reilly High School. A familiar face at all of the Joan Harris Centre’s main stage production for the past 20 years, she has volunteered her time to work as a stage manager for all of the studio’s shows. In 1996 she graduated from Kings College with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and was immediately hired by the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. She was named Employee of the Year in 1997 and worked for the paper for eight years in the Sales and Marketing departments. From 2004 to 2006 Nancy worked for the American Heart Association traveling the state as the Youth Market Manager. She and her husband are the proud parents of Alexandra Joan and Westley Richard III.

Heather Soska   Instructor
Heather Soska

Miss Heather has studied Ballet, Tap, and Jazz at the Joan Harris Center for 25 years. This summer marks Miss Heather’s 12th year of teaching at the studio. In addition, she has studied at major and local dance conventions in Pennsylvania, including the Dance Educators of America in Philadelphia, and the Keystone State Dance Festival. She has appeared in numerous stage and theatrical productions, including the studio’s full length ballets and recitals, choreography showcases, and community theatre productions. Most recently, Miss Heather directed and choreographed “101 Dalmatians” for Kirby Kidz, the Harris Conservatory partnership with the F.M. Kirby Center (2011). Some of Miss Heather’s most memorable ballet roles include: Friend of Kitri in Don Quixote (2011); the lead role of the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (2010); soloist in Puss in Boots (2009); Swanhilda’s best friend, Irmegarde in Coppelia (2008); soloist in Sleeping Beauty (2007); one of the four Good Spirits in Corciev, The Grieving Wood (2005); and one of the Cygnets in Swan Lake (2003). In 2007, Miss Heather and Miss Rachael Sromovski were featured dancers at the F.M Kirby Center for “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Straight Outta Lynwood tour. In addition, Miss Heather has portrayed several children’s characters including, “Blue” (2010), “Elmo”, and “Daphne” from Scooby Doo (2008). Along with Miss Megan Brady, Miss Heather co-directed and played the role of “Santa” in the set, “The Night Before Christmas“, a spoof on the classic book for the 2009 Holiday Show. Miss Megan and Miss Heather also collaborated and directed the set, “Alice in Topsy-Turvy Land” for the studio’s 2007 Halloween Show. In 2001, she traveled to New York City where she appeared in the prestigious Performance Outlet, sponsored by the Broadway Dance Center. A 2002 Wyoming Valley West High School graduate, she was involved in many dramatic and musical productions, as well as numerous talent shows and concerts. Miss Heather graduated Cum Laude from Misericordia University in 2006 and received her Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology from Misericordia University in 2013. Miss Heather is a third-grade teacher in the Hanover Area School District . Miss Heather is the proud mother of her daughter, Lucia Rose.

Rachael Sromovski   Instructor
Rachael Sromovski

Rachael has been dancing at the Joan Harris Centre since age five. In that time she has performed in hundreds of productions including full length Ballets, awards shows, professional productions, talent showcases and at a special event attended by over 5,000 people including the Governor of Pennsylvania. She appeared in several musical including The Little Theater of Wilkes-Barre’s productions of The Producers, Sweet Charity and Chicago. She choreographed Seussical Jr. for the Back Stage Pass Program and has written and directed dance sets including A Soldier’s Story, and a dance treatment to A Nightmare Before Christmas. which was presented at the centre’s Halloween Spooktacular. In 2007 she performed with Weird Al Yankovich in a concert at the Kirby Center. Rachael worked as an assistant instructor for the Deutsche Institute’s dance workshop. Miss Sromovski has also participated in many dance festivals and clinics where she has studied from professionals still active in the field. She is a graduate of Wyoming Valley West High School from which she received a level of distinction for her senior project on dance instruction. Additionally, she was a member for several years on the school’s cheerleading squad. Miss Rachael loves working with children and was a teacher for Kinderdance International, a program to teach basic education using dance and gymnastics to children ages two through five years. She has her certification in Early Childhood Development and in 2007 graduated from Misericordia University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Medical Imaging. Miss Rachael and her fiancé Christopher will be married next fall.

Theresa Kloeker   Instructor/Front Desk/ Drama Instructor
Theresa Kloeker

Theresa has been part of the centre for the past twenty years where she has studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Hip Hop. Throughout her years, she has appeared in literally hundreds of performances in both lead and supporting roles including her lead role as Carabosse in the 2014 production of The Sleeping Beauty. Theresa is a member of the centre’s desk staff and works periodically with the Girl Scouts of America teaching classes top help student’s earn their badges. In addition to teaching classes at the centre, Miss Kloeker also assists Miss Elisabeth with the “Dance in All of Us,” a dance program for individuals with Autism. She is also the former coach of the NEPA Minerettes Junior Dance Team. Miss Kloeker graduated from Holy Redeemer High School in 2009 with honors. Theresa is also a licensed Zumba Fitness instructor. Miss Theresa has directed “Cinderella Kids,” “Jungle Book Kids,” “Aladdin Kids,” and “Alice in Wonderland Jr.”, for the Kirby Kidz program and has been recently hired to direct and choreograph “ Aristocat’s Kids” as well as, “SHREK: The Musical JR” this summer. She currently attends Wilkes University, where she is on the Dean’s List and is majoring in Elementary and Early Childhood Education with a minor in Reading and a concentration in Special Education. At the school, she is the President of the Education Club. At Wilkes, she is also a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society, an honor society that recognizes students in the top 10% of their class in the university and Kappa Delta Phi. This year, Miss Theresa began working at a local private school serving as an instructor to their after school program “Dance and Drama.” She was recently awarded the “Teacher Education Service Award” at Wilkes University for her continued volunteer work a variety of on-campus and off-campus activities. She and her fiancé, Robert Gawlas will wed next August.

Aubrielle Smith   Instructor
Aubrielle Smith

Aubrielle studies ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop at the centre as she has continuously done for the past fourteen years. Aubrielle has performed in every production the school has staged over that time receiving several supporting roles in the full-length ballets such as Puss in Boots, Snow White and this year’s Don Quixote. She was the lead , Maria, in the 2008 West Coast Story set directed by Thomas Wilkins and Becky Bogdanovich. Ms Smith performed with the Moscow Ballet in their production of the Great Russian Nutcracker. She appeared in the Wilkes University’s Spring Dance Concert. She augments her studies by attending master classes by professional dancers from across the country as well as with Russian ballerinas and danseurs. Aubrielle graduated from Dallas High School in 2010 where she was involved in the Student Council, Student Government and a member of the National Honor Society throughout her high school career. While at Dallas High, she was a member of the school’s Dance Team. She is currently a junior at Wilkes University from whom she received several scholarships based on her scholastic achievements. Aubrielle is pursuing a doctorate degree in Pharmacy and has been on the Dean’s list each semester since she enrolled.

Tashara Sheperis   Instructor /Desk Staff
Tashara Sheperis

Since a very young age, Tashara has been in love with dance and today she can be seen at the Joan Harris Centre studying Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Hip Hop. She has performed in a wide variety of productions from full length Ballets to musical showcases and in several liturgical pieces at Saint Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception. Mrs. Sheperis is a graduate of Coughlin High School where she was a member of the National Honor Society and was named to the “Who’s Who of American High School Students.” Tashara was the captain of Coughlin’s Junior Varsity Cheerleading Squad and was given the opportunity to perform at a Temple University half time show. As a senior, she was named to the UCA All Star Team. Miss Tashara was an assistant in a specialized course of dance studies for the Deutsche Institute. It was her involvement with SAFE (Supporting Autism and Families Everywhere) that merited Tashara receiving the Catherine McCauley Scholarship for Community Service. Additionally, she received a Head Start Scholarship and a Coca Cola Scholarship (full tuition) to continue her studies. She graduated Cum Laude from Misericordia University. Mrs. Sheperis is a full-time special education teacher who was recently hired as the Coordinator of Special Education for the Wilkes-Barre Area School District. Tashara completed her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Bloomsburg University in August of 2012. She and her husband, Christopher, welcomed there first child, Delaney Denise in August.

Maria Hillard   Instructor
Maria Hillard

Miss Maria has been studying dance at the Joan Harris Centre for the past 27 years. Throughout her career she has performed in hundreds of dances and numerous supporting roles including the Bar Wench in 2011’s production of Don Quixote, Courtier in the school’s 2010 production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Mercedes in the 2000 performance of Don Quixote. She assayed the role of Queen Clava in the original ballet Corciev, the Grieving Wood. Mrs. Hillard was the eloquent Queen in this year’s production of The Sleeping Beauty. She was a member of the Wilkes-Barre-Scranton Pioneers Dance Team. Maria served as a stage manager for a production of Smokey Joe’s Café and worked for Broadway Bound, a touring theatrical company that choreographs shows for the Queen Elisabeth II cruise ship. Maria directed the “Munchkins” for the National Tour of The Wizard of Oz. She also choreographed the Biblical musical The Song of Mark at St. Mary’s Church in Wilkes-Barre and portrayed “GOD” in the 2010 production of Tales of Wonder. She also has performed in liturgical dance at the church for their Christmas and Easter Sunday masses. Maria graduated from Penn State University, main campus, in May of 2004 where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Human Development/Children Youth and Family and received her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Mrs. Hillard is a full-time teacher for the Wilkes-Barre Area School District where she also serves on the reading curriculum committee chairperson. Maria is the coordinator of the Dan Flood Elementary School’s, yearbook, recycling programs and she is one of the conductors of the school’s annual science fair. Maria works part-time for Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and is continuing her education towards another Masters in Education. She loves spending her “free time” with her handsome son Connor, beautiful baby girl Mia Ann, and her husband Michael.

Becky Phillips   Instructor
Becky Phillips

Becky has been dancing at the Joan Harris Centre for 9 years in Ballet, Tap and Jazz. Along with being in Main Stage Productions and Community performances she has been in the school’s full-length ballets playing supporting roles in “La Fille Mal Gardee” Lisette Friend, “Sleeping Beauty” Song Bird Fairy, “Puss In Boots” Princess Companion, the lead role in “Coppelia” Swanhilda, The Dove in Snow White and Amour in Don Quixote. Outside the studio Becky has been in Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian “Nutcracker” and “Swan Lake”. For the past two years Becky served as the assistant regional coordinator for the Moscow Ballet appearance at the Kirby Centre helping train area dancers for their appearance with the internationally touring group. In high school she was involved in the musicals “The Pajama Game”, “The Wiz”, “Crazy for You”, “Anything Goes”, and “Oklahoma” where she got the lead dance role of Ballet Laurie. She also has appeared in musicals at the Little Theater of Wilkes-Barre and Music Box Theater in roles that include Margot in Legally Blonde and Erma in Anything Goes. She will be playing the role of Rumpleteater in the upcoming production of Cats at the Grove Theater. Becky was an active member of the chamber choir at Wyoming Valley West High School and was honored by being one of the few chosen to represent her school at the District Chorus. Becky goes into New York City to take classes at Broadway Dance Center and Auditions for companies like the Rockettes and Disney.

Sarah Zulkoski   Instructor

Sarah began studying Ballet, Tap and Jazz dance at the Joan Harris Centre at age nine and has appeared in every main stage production the school has produced since then. This includes professional productions, community events and over ten full-length ballets. In 2007 Sarah became the youngest dancer to named the lead in a Harris Centre ballet assaying the role of Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. She appeared with the Moscow Ballet in their regional productions of both The Great Russian Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Miss Zulkoski also performed in the musicals West Side Story , Music Man and Legally Blonde, where she portrayed the role of Brooke Windham, at the Little Theater of Wilkes-Barre and Peggy in 42nd Street at PTPA. Sarah has excelled in her scholastic studies; being named to both the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. Miss Zulkoski was the Meyers High School 2010 Senior Class President as well as the captain of their cheerleading squad. As a volunteer, she assisted coaching the Mini-Mohawks Cheerleaders and is a cantor at St. Aloysius Church in Wilkes-Barre. She is a 2015 graduate of Luzerne County Community College’s Registered Nurse Program.

Jody Kocher   Instructor
Jody Kocher

Miss Jody has been studying dance at the Joan Harris center since the age of three. Her background consists of hundreds of performances including local theater shows, full length ballets, the Pennsylvania choreographers showcase, the NEPTA awards, the biblical musical Tales of Wonder, the Governor's Showcase for the Arts, Wax Works, Pirouettes in the Park, Riverfest and many more. Jody was a member of the tap company Tap Maniacs organized by Joe Melchiona and also the modern company Without Walls under the direction of Kristen Padden. Jody's creative passion has led her to choreograph for many organizations such as The Little Theater of Wilkes Barre, GAR High School, Back Stage Pass, the Deutsche Institute, Saint Mary's Church of the Immaculate Conception and Saint Jude Parish. Dance has always been a large part of Jody's life, but her greatest passion is her two year old son, Preston Joseph.

Megan Brady   Instructor
Megan Brady

Megan began studying dance at age three at the Joan Harris Centre where she continues to train in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Hip Hop. She has performed in hundreds of productions both professional and community based. Some of Megan’s more memorable roles include Queen Clava in the centre’s staging of Corciev, The Grieving Wood and as the Ogre in Puss in Boots. She has performed in many theatrical productions including West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Tommy, Hello Dolly!, Mame, and The Pajama Game, in which she was cast in the lead role. Megan has choreographed student run productions of Into the Woods and The Wiz as well as co-directed sets such as “Alice in Topsy –Turvy Land” and “The Night Before Christmas” at the Joan Harris Centre. Over the years, she has attended various dance conventions including Dance Educators of America in Philadelphia and the Keystone State Dance Festival. In 2004, Megan was a runner up for the Times Leader “Best and Brightest Award for the Fine Arts.” As a 2004 graduate of Wyoming Valley West, Megan was named to Who’s Who of American Students and won a special distinction for her senior project on dance. In addition to studying dance, Miss Brady plays the piano and violin. Megan graduated Cum Laude from Wilkes University with a doctorate in pharmacy and a minor in dance. In addition to teaching dance, Dr. Brady works as a pharmacist for CVS pharmacy. Miss Megan and her fiancé Luke will be married this fall.

Gerri Herron   Instructor
Gerri Herron

Gerri has been studying dance for over three decades. Her experiences include; performing, singing, dancing and acting in variety shows, dramatic presentations, full length ballets and student recitals. Gerri has appeared on virtually every stage in Wyoming Valley as well as on television. She has also performed in local theatrical productions, such as Anything Goes, and Jesus Christ Superstar. In 2012 she was hired to choreograph Steppin’ Out for the Little Theater of Wilkes-Barre. Gerri worked for three years as a dance instructor in Mountain Top Pennsylvania before joining the centre in 1987. At the studio she studied ballet, tap and jazz dance for several years and was later placed in the school's teacher training program. She achieved the position of instructor in 2003. As a parent of two fully grown children, Geri brings with her a "mother's perspective" into the classroom.

Becky Wychock   Instructor
Becky Wychock

Rebecca Wychock has been a Joan Harris Dancer since the age of three. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop as well as performed in hundreds of dance recitals and numerous plays. Miss Becky is a graduate from Hanover Area High School, where she served as captain and choreographer for the dance team, as well as varsity cheerleading captain. Academically, she was a member of the National Honor Society and participated in dual-enrollment programs. Miss Becky attends Penn State World Campus studying business marketing/ management, where she will graduate from this summer. She is a Dean’s List student and recipient of the Barry Trustee scholarship. Athletically, Miss Becky was named MVP of the Penn State Wilkes Barre’s cross -country team and is a PSU-AC Academic All American, as well as runner up PSU-AC champion. In addition, Miss Becky works at Morgan Stanley as a Client Service Associate, and is the proud mother of her 2 year-old son, Karson Lee.

Kelsey Hall   Instructor
Kelsey Hall

Kelsey has been studying dance at the Joan Harris Centre for over seventeen years and continues her studies at the school taking classes a minimum of five days a week in ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop disciplines. She has literally appeared in hundreds of productions over the years with the school as well as performing at the Youth Talent Expo sponsored by the Luzerne County Intermediate Unit. Kelsey danced in several productions of the Great Russian Nutcracker presented by the Moscow Ballet, assaying various roles. Most recently, Miss Kelsey danced the leading role as Princess Aurora in last year’s production of The Sleeping Beauty. As a young girl, Kelsey competed in several beauty contests across the state and was named the 2002 Miss Pennsylvania Sweetheart Hostess. Throughout her schooling, she kept herself busy cheerleading when she wasn’t dancing and served as an assistant coach for the West Pittston Rams. She is a 2011 graduate of Dallas High School where she was an active member of the Key Club, chorus and mini-THON each year. She is a 2015 Penn State graduate where she received her Bachelors of Science in Administration of Justice. She is continuing her education online with Regis University, where she will receive a Masters of Science in criminology. She hopes to work with victims of domestic violence and one day obtain a job with the government.

Kim Price   Instructor/ Desk Staff
Kim Price

Kimberly began studying dance at the Joan Harris Centre at the age of five. She has performed in countless productions from full length ballets to musical showcases and has danced with the Moscow Ballet in their production of The Great Russian Nutcracker at the F.M. Kirby Center. Ms. Price is a recent 2015 graduate of Wilkes University where she majored in Biology and minored in both English and Women’s Studies. She graduated with Biology honors, Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors and Sigma Alpha Pi Honors. During this time, she held the office of Secretary of the Health Sciences Pre-Professional Society, Vice-President of the National Society of Leadership and Success, and was involved in the biology club, ski and snowboard club, health and fitness club, the Women Empowered by Science Program, and was an E-mentor to incoming freshman. Kim is an active volunteer with many organizations including Wilkes University Alternative Spring Break in Mesa, AZ, Relay for Life and Camp Sunshine located in Maine where she volunteers to help children who have been diagnosed with cancer and their families. She was awarded the Who’s Who Among College Students and E-mentor award this year. This summer she will continue teaching and taking lessons at the studio. She hopes to continue her education to earn a Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree with specialization in pediatrics.

Rebecca Schnable   Instructor/Desk Staff
Rebecca Schnable

Rebecca has been part of the Joan Harris Centre for the past 15 years where she has studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Modern. She has appeared in countless performances over the years and most recently danced the role of Prima Swan in the studio’s production of the classic ballet Swan Lake. Miss Schnable graduated from Dallas High School in 2013, where she received awards for both her high level of academic achievement, and her community service. Throughout high school, Rebecca served as a head cheerleading coach for the Back Mountain Bobcats Youth Football and Cheerleading Organization. She was also the treasurer of the Student Leadership in Civics Club, a member of Key Club, and a member of the National Honor Society. Rebecca is currently attending Misericordia University where she is majoring in History, Secondary Education, and Pre-law, as well as minoring in Government, Law, & National Security. She has been honored with a spot on the school’s Dean’s List every semester since beginning her collegiate studies. Rebecca has recently been inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, the national History honor society, for her outstanding academic performance. In addition, Rebecca is a member of Misericordia’s Education Club as well as the school’s Commuter Council. Rebecca works part-time as a waitress for Grotto Pizza at Harvey’s Lake, in addition to working as both an instructor and front desk staff at the Joan Harris Centre. Rebecca hopes to one day pursue a doctorate in Constitutional Law and teach at the collegiate level.

Paula Heritage   Instructor
Paula Heritage

Paula's introduction to the performing arts began quite literally from birth, having parents professionally trained in the arts. She began studying dance at a young age in Buenos Aires City, Argentina, first attending the Jose Neglia dance school with the intention of becoming an instructor in ballet and Spanish Flamenco. Mrs. Heritage later attended the Michel Borowski Superior Institute of Ballet on Scholarship under the direction of former leading dancers of the Colon Theater and English National Ballet. Upon arriving in the United States, she continued her studies with Russian instructors furthering her knowledge of various schools of ballet including the Royal, Cecchetti and Vaganova methods. Paula joined the Joan Harris Centre in December of 2009. She has performed in many full length ballets including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Don Quixote where she assayed the role of Dulcinea. She was a soloist in the original ballet Corciev, one of Lisette's friends in La Fille Mal Gardee and the Court Entertainer in this year’s ballet, The Sleeping Beauty. Though some might consider her a "bun head" due to her dedication to the art of ballet, she also enjoys taking Jazz, Hip-Hop and Modern classes. She attended Penn State University majoring in Business Management and Marketing and is the Office Manager and Legal Secretary at the Belt Law Firm.

Jackie Kocher   Instructor
Jackie Kocher

Jackie has been a Joan Harris Dancer since the age of three. She has been studying ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop. Over the years she has been in hundreds of recitals. Ms. Kocher has been in the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker as an Angel and also as a mouse. This past spring, Miss Jackie danced as one of Carabosse’s rodents in The Sleeping Beauty. She graduated from G. A. R. High School where she was active in extracurricular activities like cheerleading and chorus. Her senior year she was one of the cheerleaders that was picked to go to England and cheer with cheerleaders from all over the country. She was the captain of the Minerettes dance team for two years and the following year became an assistant coach. Jackie is currently enrolled as a biology pre-vet major at Wilkes University, and is a member of the pre-professional society.

Jamie Burns   Instructor
Jamie Burns

Jamie has been dancing at the Joan Harris Centre for the last 17 years where she has studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop and Modern Dance. She is a 2011 graduate of Wyoming Valley West where she was on the Junior/Varsity Cheerleading Squad. She was a UCA All-American Cheerleader in 2008/2009.Through Jamie’s years of growing she has been awarded a Scholarship for winning a State Bowling Championship. While a Girl Scout, she mentored a Daisy scout Troop. Jamie performed with Pioneers Mini Cheer/Dance team and on the NEPA Minerettes Cheer/Dance Team where she went on to become assistant Coach/Choreographer for the Minerettes. She studied acting with The Backstage Pass program, performed in her High School Musicals and continues to be a part of community theaters. Jamie is continuing to pursue her degree in journalism.

Melissa Reynolds-Appel   Instructor
Melissa Reynolds-Appel

Melissa Reynolds-Appel began her dance training 22 years ago at the Joan Harris Centre. It was here, where she fell in love with dance and knew she couldn't live life without it. She continued her dance education and received a Bachelor's degree in dance from DeSales University, located in Center Valley, Pa. While studying at DSU, she performed in many student and faculty ensembles. Melissa was hand selected by faculty and dance professionals to participate in three dance residencies. During this time, she had the opportunity to study and perform choreographic works presented by Marisa Cervias (New York City Ballet), Dan Joyce (Mark Morris Dance Company) and Sean Curran (Sean Curran Dance). She also traveled to South Carolina to perform a modern dance ensemble choreographed by Jessica Fultz, The Collective Dance Company. After graduation, Melissa relocated to Boston, Massachusetts where she taught ballet and modern at Mendon Dance Center. Additionally, Miss Melissa auditioned and was selected to perform with the Acton Ballet/Boston Dance Company. To name a few, Melissa also studied under the instruction of Angeline Wolf, Trinette Singleton, Vincent Brosseau, Gretchen McLaine, Kristin Feisler, Tim Cowart, Kun-Yang Lin, Andrew Pap, Eva Szabo, Ronen Koresh and Luis Bravo. Melissa returned to NEPA, married the love of her life and is now a proud.

Kiera Gross   Instructor/Desk Staff
Kiera Gross

Kiera Gross has been dancing with the Joan Harris Centre since age 11. She has performed in a variety of performances including the rooster in La Fille Mal Gardee, “Pop” in the Chicago set, and Royal Entertainer in The Sleeping Beauty, as well as other roles. Kiera has also been active in theater. Miss Gross starred as a dancer in Footloose at the Little Theater of Wilkes Barre and Iris Kelly in their production of Fame. She is an award-winning gymnast and was a competitive cheerleader. She is also a student aide and working with three classes per week. Kiera was accepted into the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City from which she received scholarships for based on her audition along with the VIP Scholarship and an AMDA grant. This fall she will be attending Temple University in Philadelphia where she auditioned for and won a spot on the university’s dance team. A champion diver, in 2014 Kiera was named “Most Outstanding Female Diver: by all the officials in the PIAA Wyoming Valley Conference.

Rosemary Luksha   Instructor
Rosemary Luksha

Miss Rosemary teaches Adult Ballet at the Joan Harris Conservatory and also substitute teaches Ballet and Jazz. In addition, she is our Ballet Illustrator and creates our poster and t-shirt designs for our annual Spring Ballet. She is an artist in every sense of the word having graduated from Kutztown University with a B.S. in Art Education and an M.S. in Educational Strategies from Wilkes University. Miss Rosemary is a retired teacher and has taught Art at Wyoming Valley West for 10 years and at the Northwest Middle and High School for 23 years, where she was the mentor of the Dance Club and the Head Coach of the Northwest Dance Team. Her Ballet training began under Ms. Jozia Mieszkowski at the Wilkes-Barre Ballet Theatre. Here she studied Ballet, Modern, and Jazz, and danced in classical, modern, and originally created works performing as a Wilkes-Barre Ballet Theatre Company member. She has performed in such classics as The Sleeping Beauty, Graduation Ball, and Raymonda. Miss Rosemary studied modern dance under Jonette Lancos Wentzel and appeared in her originally choreographed modern pieces for the Wilkes-Barre Ballet Theatre such as Mass by Leonard Bernstein and Scheherazade, both of which were produced for and shown on national television. She was a soloist in Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff, a modern work also choreographed by Ms. Wentzel. Miss Rosemary was awarded a summer scholarship to the Melissa Hayden School of Ballet for a work entitled Continue the Balance We Hold which was adjudicated and shown on the Young Choreographer Workshop Program of the Northeast Regional Ballet Festival in 1979.

Mary Ann Ulichney   Stage Manager/Desk Staff
Mary Ann Ulichney

Mary Ann has been associated with the Joan Harris Centre for the past 33 years as a stage manager, performer and desk manager. Most incredibly, she has stage managed every main stage show the studio has produced over the past 31 years. Miss Ulichney has a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from College Misericordia, and has been involved in stage work since high school. For twenty two years she has worked with the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre where she currently serves as secretary on the Board of Directors and also as concessions manager. She received the 2001 NEPTA Award for Best Choreography for her work with the musical H. M. S. Pinafore which was staged at the F. M. Kirby Center. She also choreographed Pirates of Penzance and most recently The Wizard of Oz for the Little Theatre. She has appeared in a wide variety of dance and theatrical productions including Tommy, Footloose, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cinderella, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, and Children Of Eden. She was the assistant director of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown and most recently choreographed A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. Mary Ann served as the Charter Secretary to the Northeastern Pennsylvania Theatrical Alliance.

Amanda Ryan   Desk Staff
Amanda Ryan

Amanda has been studying dance since a very young age and can still be seen taking ballet, jazz, and hip hop classes at the Joan Harris Centre in her spare time. She has appeared in a variety of productions including musical showcases, professional performances and full-length ballets. Amanda danced with the Moscow Ballet in their production of The Great Russian Nutcracker at the F.M. Kirby Center. Amanda is a recent 2015 graduate of King’s College where she achieved Summa Cum Laude. During this time, she held three officer positions as President of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society, Vice President of Council for Exceptional Children and Secretary of the Education Club. She also volunteers her time at St. Robert Bellarmine’s Parrish in Hanover as a CCD Teacher. This summer she will be continuing lessons at the studio and furthering her educational career in Elementary and Special Education. She hopes to pursue her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and further her dance studies.

Alysha Barber   Instructor/ Desk Staff
Alysha Barber

Alysha has been dancing at the Joan Harris Centre for 15 years. Over the course of her enrollment, she has studied many forms of dance including Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, and Hip Hop. In addition, she has participated in every Joan Harris production since 1999, including her most recent role as a Prima Swan in the classic ballet, Swan Lake. In addition to her dance studies, Alysha found time to volunteer with the Joan Harris Conservatory’s program “The Dance in All of Us” where she was able to work closely with autistic children and help them express themselves through movement. Also, she is currently working as both an instructor and front desk staff at the studio and looks forward to continuing this employment in the coming years. In addition to her employment with the Joan Harris Centre, she works part time at Chacko’s Bowling Alley in Wilkes-Barre. Miss Barber graduated from Wyoming Valley West High School in 2013. Alysha is proud to have recently completed her first two years at Luzerne County Community College, and was able to complete all of her general education courses. Next year, she hopes to transfer to Wilkes University and major in communications. Alysha hopes to one day use her communications degree to work in a public relations position.

Ashlyn Catina   Desk Staff
Ashlyn Catina

Ashlyn Catina is a graduate of Dallas High School class of 2014. Miss Catina joined the Joan Harris Centre on her third birthday and has been dancing ever since. For the past seventeen years, she has performed in countless performances and currently studies ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and modern. Some of her most notable roles include a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz at the F.M. Kirby Center and one of Carabosse’s rodents in The Sleeping Beauty last spring. Miss Ashlyn loves to be at the studio so much that she considers the other members as part of her family. Miss Catina recently completed her cosmetology courses at Empire Beauty School and received her state cosmetology licenses. She is currently studying to achieve a barber license and plans to work at Stella’s Baber Shop with her mother, sister and grandfather.

Dawn Zdan   Desk Staff
Dawn Zdan

Dawn has been involved with the Joan Harris Centre since 1999 working as a stage manager, front of house manager and currently with the front desk. As a child she studied dance at Miss Becky’s Dance Studio in Nutley, N.J. and is thrilled to be back in the “dance world.” Ms. Zdan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management from Fairleigh Dickinson University and worked with Stefanini as a Project Manager. She has worked with major corporations across the United States, in the Caribbean and even in Europe. Dawn assists with costume design and creation, set and lighting design. She has stage directed several liturgical musicals, and is a member of the Bell Choir for Saint Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception in Wilkes-Barre. Ms. Zdan also works with the extremely popular Kirby Kidz program. She works in the Enterprise Project Management Office at TMG Health.

Alexis Schutz   Desk Staff
Alexis Schutz

Alexis Schutz is a graduate of the Hanover Area class of 2014. While in high school Alexis was an active member of her school’s Student Council and Key Club, acting as secretary her junior and senior year. Ms. Schutz was a member of her school’s National Honor Society throughout her high school career and was also part of her school’s Dual Enrollment program, where she took college classes at Wilkes University. At the studio Alexis studies ballet, tap and jazz and is also a student assistant and has been for the past three years. Since joining the studio in 2007, Alexis has danced many roles including the lead role of Lisette in the ballet La Fille Mal Gardee and the Woodland Glade Fairy in the ballet Sleeping Beauty. This fall Alexis will be moving to New York City to attend Pace University to pursue Communication Studies.

Anna James   Desk Staff
Anna James

Anna James has been dancing at the Joan Harris Centre since she was three years old. In that time she has held many lead roles, including Princess Joan in Corciev (2011), and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty (2014). She has been a part of the Harris Conservatory theater program for 7 years, and was assistant director of the past three Kirby Kidz productions. Anna also volunteered with the Conservatory's dance and movement therapy program for children with autism, "The Dance in All of Us." Anna is a member of the reception desk staff, a student assistant, and studies ballet, tap, jazz, and modern. Anna graduated from Lake-Lehman High School within the top 5% of her class. As a student at Lake Lehman, Miss Anna was a member of National Honors Society, Student Council, and various clubs. She is also Vice President of her class. Anna will be attending Pennsylvania State University, Main Campus, in the fall and will be majoring in advertising.

Doreen Ignatovich   Musical Director
Doreen Ignatovich

Doreen Ignatovich holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education with a concentration in Instrumental Music from Mansfield University and has continued her studies on the graduate level at Marywood University and through numerous workshops, seminars, conferences and classes in a variety of music related topics. She has served as the musical director for Seussical JR, 101 Dalmatians Kids, Into the Woods JR, Fames Jr, Cinderella Kids, Jungle Book Kids, Little Mermaid Jr., Aladdin Kids and Alice in Wonderland JR for the Kirby Kidz program. For more than 20 years she has served as Director of Choirs at St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception in Wilkes-Barre. In addition to directing the choirs for liturgies, concerts and liturgical musical theater performances. She taught Instrumental for the Diocese of Scranton at Bishop Hoban/Holy Redeemer High School System for over eleven years. In this position Doreen taught lessons/classes on all band and orchestral string instruments to students in grades 4 through 12. Additionally Doreen taught Music Appreciation, Music Theory/History/Technology classes in grades 9-12, directed the Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Orchestra, Chamber Music Ensembles in grades 9-12 and directed the Junior High and Elementary Band and Orchestra for combined elementary schools grades 4-8. She is the Director of the Crystal Band of Scranton, an all-volunteer community band which has been sharing it’s music with Northeast PA for more than 130 years. Since 1981 she has been a private music instructor in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area specializing in French Horn and piano. Currently she is offering instrumental music lessons through Ripple Effect Music Studio at the Harris Conservatory for the Arts. Doreen and her husband Mark are the proud parents of a quartet of very musical children – Erica, Tara, Paul and Joel.

Jacob Abraham Harris   Assistant TO the Officer Manager/Maintenance Apprentice /Part-Time Chaperone
Jacob Harris

Jacob has been with the company for ten years. He currently studies Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Acting at the studio. He also studies piano with Mrs. Iggy. He is a straight A student attending fourth grade at Bear Creek Community Charter School. Jacob appeared in all five school recitals this year most notably portraying the role of Phil in the Halloween show’s Hercules set. He has also appeared at the F.M. Kirby Center in the musical productions of Cinderella Kids, playing the role of the King, and Aladdin Kids playing the role of Head Guard. Jacob is a former member of the Bear Creek Bobcats soccer team and continues to working on his business venture with his cousin Jameson, “J & J’s Ice Cold Lemonade Stand LLC.” His uncle Jim wants to charge him rent for storing the lemonade stand at the studio and also wants a percentage of the profits, but Jacob says.. “That ain’t happening.” This past year Jacob began a new entrepreneurship “Hot Chocolate and More.” Jacob is the proud big brother to his sister, Alanna Joan.

Jameson Harris   Dynamic Assurance Engineer/ Forward Response Facilitator/Principal Tormentor
Jameson Harris

Jameson is in his sixth year with the company. He is a graduate of the “Dancing with Mommy” program directed by his Aunt Jennifer and has been studying piano for two years from Mrs. Iggy of Ripple Effects Music Studio. He is an alumni of the Dallas Area Kindergarten Program and will be attending first grade at Wycallis Elementary this fall. Jameson is a student of Sensei Amy at The Dragons’ Tale School of Karate (white belt with yellow stripe) and studies ballet and tap at the studio. This past season he assayed the roles of; Elmo in the summer show, a warrior in the Hercules set, a caroler for the Christmas performance and a hunter in Swan Lake. Most recently he spread his acting wings appearing in his school’s much heralded production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, where he won rave reviews as “the sausage” with one critic commenting that “he was the most convincing piece of meat” he ever saw. He spends much of his free time working as an “Evil Doctor” engaging in malicious plots using his father as his foil and referring to him as “Assistant”. He also enjoys setting traps for his father, cooking up secret dishes that “only Daddy can taste” and inquiring about his father’s life insurance. The rest of his days consists of telling his mother he loves her, driving his cousin Jacob crazy, and shopping for a sports car.

Alanna Harris   Public Relations
Alanna Harris

Alanna recently celebrated her first year at the studio and also on this planet. She is the proud sister of Jacob and cousin of Jameson. Alanna already has shown traits similar to grandmother, Joan Harris. She dances in her highchair to the tunes of the 70s, has a continuous smile on her face and likes to cause trouble. Alanna’s favorite hobby is playing with the cat’s dish and opening every cupboard in the kitchen. Next year, Alanna will be starting the Dancing with Mommy program.