Faculty Bios

Dr. Latoyia Bailey, Phd., Principal

CLICK HERE to read Dr. Bailey’s bio

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Stephanie Henshaw, Assitant Principal

Mrs. Stephanie Henshaw grew up in Northeast Philadelphia. She attended Millersville University where she received a bachelor’s in secondary mathematics education.  After graduation she received a job with the School District of Philadelphia and started her career at Olney High School.  After a few months of special assignment Mrs. Henshaw received a permanent position at Roxborough High School, where she served as a Math Teacher, School Based Teacher Leader, Math Instructional Coach, Business Academy Leader, Cheerleading Coach, and Graduation Coordinator from 2004 to 2021.  During her time at Roxborough Mrs. Henshaw earned a Master Degree in Educational Leadership in 2009 from St. Joseph’s University and received certification as a Secondary Principal and Curriculum Supervisor.  During the Pandemic Mrs. Henshaw earned a position in the School District of Philadelphia Assistant Principal Pool which ultimately led her to the Arts Academy of Benjamin in July of 2021.  She is so very excited to work with all of the students and help them to have an amazing high school experience. Mrs. Henshaw loves spending time with her family, summers on the beach, and enjoys taking cycle classes.

Antoinette Davis – English 1, School-Based Teacher Leader

Antoinette Davis grew up in the Feasterville-Trevose area and attended Bensalem High School. She attended Millersville University and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.  In 2009, she decided that teaching and working with children was her passion and went to Cabrini College for her Masters in Education with Certification in English, graduating in 2011.  She taught at a Philadelphia charter school for three and a half years before moving to the School District of Philadelphia in December 2014. She began teaching at Rush in September 2015 and has made it her home. She finished her Post-Masters program and received her Principal K-12 Certification in July 2019. Antoinette cares deeply about the students, staff, and community at Rush.

Caitlin Parenti, Counselor

Mrs. Parenti recently joined the Rush community this year! She began her post-secondary journey at Boston University where she studied Math Education. After teaching middle school math in Massachusetts and later in Paoli, Pennsylvania, she decided to become a school counselor and went back to earn her Master’s Degree at Rosemont College. She has several years experience working with high school students and has a big passion for helping students with college and career planning.

Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her two children and husband, cooking, completing DIY projects, and trying new restaurants in the city!

Stanley Johnson, Climate Manager

Stanley Johnson is committed to the success of students inside the classroom and in life. Over the past 20 years he has been driven to help students overcome barriers that impact their learning and lives. He holds an M.S. in Criminal Justice, Cheyney University (1998), and a M.S. in Community Psychology Justice, Springfield University (2001). Stanley has spent the past 20 years working with children and their families in the Philadelphia area in the role of a behavioral specialist and mobile therapist. He is an advocate for mentorships, restorative justice, social emotional learning, and equal opportunities for all. This has molded his beliefs in celebrating diversity and developing relationships with students, families, and teachers in order to achieve success in education.

COURSES

Mathematics

Tasmara Davis – Geometry, Computer Science

Tasmara grew up in Philadelphia, attending Meredith Elementary School and Central High School. She studied Secondary Mathematics Education at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and received her Master of Education degree from Cabrini College. Through a partnership with Drexel University, Tasmara became certified to teach Computer Science.

The arts were a big part of Tasmara’s upbringing and family life. She studied instrumental and vocal music, dance, visual arts, and theatre. Tasmara also enjoys spending time in nature, crocheting, and cookie decorating.

Jon Goulet – Algebra II , Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus

Mr. Goulet grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, where he lived through High School. During his early years in school, he had a passion for Math and Science and loved working with computers. He came to Philadelphia in 2001 to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2005 with a BS in Computer Science and Engineering. After graduation, he began his first job working as a software developer and providing technology support at a large financial services company. After three years of working in that field, he decided that a career change was in order and joined the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows in 2008. He worked for two years teaching Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, and AP Calculus at South Philadelphia High School and joined the staff at Rush in the fall of 2010. Mr. Goulet has a Masters of Education from Drexel University. In his spare time, Mr. Goulet enjoys running, watching sports, reading, and traveling.

Jeff Bevilacqua – Algebra 2

Jeff Bevilacqua has been teaching math (and sometimes science) at The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush since 2010. He enjoys working with such talented, enthusiastic students, and hopes to share his love of mathematics with each student, regardless of his or her prior experiences with math. After being born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Jeff attended Ohio Wesleyan University, earning a BA in Mathematics while also attaining minors in both Physics and the Humanities. He then spent a year living and teaching at Perkiomen School, a boarding school in Pennsburg, PA, before returning to college, earning an MA in Mathematics from Villanova University and pursuing a PhD in Mathematics at Temple University for three years. Although he has lived in the Philadelphia area since 2004 and considers it his home, he is still hopelessly loyal to Cleveland’s sports teams. He also enjoys running through the woods, bowling, playing video games, and watching tv and movies.

Daniel Ritzheimer – Algebra 1

Born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, Daniel Ritzheimer is a proud product of the Philadelphia public school system. As a graduate, Daniel is committed to serving the school district which helped him become the lifelong learner that he is today. While studying Mechanical Engineering at Temple University, Daniel volunteered as a Calculus tutor. It was during this time that he discovered his passion for teaching. He quickly changed his major and received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education from Temple University. Since then, Daniel has taught at Olney West High School, George Washington High School, Philadelphia High School for Business and Technology, and Harding Middle School. Mr. Ritzheimer ensures the future success of his students by providing them with challenging curriculum that is relevant to their needs and interests.

Martin Power – Algebra I and II

Mr. Power is a Philadelphia native who grew up in South Philadelphia but recently moved to the Greater Northeast. He is a proud class of 2014 graduate of the School District of Philadelphia where he spent his middle and high school years at G.A.M.P.. During his time there he specialized in both vocal and instrumental music. After high school he attended Drexel University where he received his Bachelors in TV Production and Media Management. Upon graduating he quickly realized that education was where he wanted and needed to be. He then went on to teach Math and Science at String Theory Charter School for 3 years while earning his Masters in Math and Science Education from Temple University. Mr. Power is ecstatic to be teaching at a school that values arts and academic excellence as that mirrors his K-12, Undergraduate, and Graduate experience.

Science

Suzanne Bachman – Biology and Anatomy and Physiology

Suzanne Bachman was born in Illinois and grew up in a military family, living in Germany, the Philippine Islands, Bolivia, and Iran. Her high school years were spent in the farm country of the Lehigh County. She obtained a B.S. in Biology and a M.S. in Physiology from Penn State University. Teaching is a career change for Suzanne, who previously worked at Thomas Jefferson University Medical School as a Research Assistant doing AIDS research and later with a physician who conducted AIDS clinical trials with pharmaceutical companies. In 2002, she obtained her M.S. in Secondary Education from Arcadia University.

Suzanne taught for 11 years at a Philadelphia charter school before coming to The Arts Academy at Rush in 2015. She hopes to make science applicable to students and inspire a love for science and learning. South Philadelphia has become home and she enjoys the beach, concerts and shopping for antiques.

Glenn Dyson – Physics, AP Physics

Mr. Dyson is a local boy, born and bred in Northeast Philadelphia.  He actually attended Rush back in the days when it was a Middle School.  Graduating from Washington High School, Mr. Dyson obtained his B.S in Education from Temple University and his M.A in Education from Cheyney University.

Mr. Dyson began his teaching career in the Philadelphia School District in 1991. He has taught Music, Mathematics, and Physics at various schools including Creighton Elementary, Shoemaker Middle, Olney High, and Northeast High.  He has served in numerous other school-level capacities, such as SLC Coordinator, Dean, and Roster Chair.

In his spare time, Mr. Dyson enjoys playing the piano, composing, conducting his church choir, taking walks, biking, making bad puns, listening to classical music, eating deep, dark chocolate , and compiling endless lists.

Boris Dubinchik – Biology, Chemistry

Mr. Dubinchik started his education in the Philadelphia School District, going to Loesche Elementary and then Baldi Middle School before moving to the suburbs (boooo, I know).  He then came back to the city to get his Bachelor of Science in Biology and his Master of Education from Temple University.

Mr. Dubinchik has been teaching in the Philadelphia School District for five years, starting at Edison High School and now at The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush.  He is always looking for ways to make science relevant and enjoyable for all students.

When he is not teaching, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, playing hockey and ultimate frisbee and watching a variety of sports ranging from football to curling.

Michael Piechoski – Chemistry & Forensic Science

Mr. Piechoski was born and raised in Philadelphia, and can say he was alive when the Flyers won their two Stanley Cups. He is a partial product of the School District of Philadelphia, having graduated from W.B Saul High School. He has bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Philadelphia University (now Jefferson University) and his Maters in Education from Chestnut Hill College.
Michael has been teaching in the school district since 2007 (at South Philadelphia High School) and at The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush since

SOCIAL STUDIES

Kevin Katz – African American History

Mr. Katz grew up in Warminster in Lower-Bucks County. He attended King’s College, where he played baseball (and 1 year of football), while majoring in Communications with minors in Marketing and History. Mr. Katz was originally in the corporate world for 7 years as a web designer. He has his Masters in Secondary Education with a concentration in Social Studies. He is certified to teach Social Studies, English, and Business Education.  Mr. Katz is currently the boys basketball coach, and has previously coached baseball and girls basketball.  He lives in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia with his wife and two kids (10 and 13).  He enjoys fishing and power tools and considers himself a “semi-pro” baseball historian. He currently teaches 10th grade African-American History.

Julie Merkins – African American & American History

Mrs. Merkins originally hails from South Dakota, where she lived until she left to attend college at the University of Minnesota.  While at the U of M, she studied History and Global Studies and spent her junior year studying abroad in Rome and Budapest.  After college, she joined the Peace Corps and moved to the West African country of Guinea for two years to work as a Health Education Volunteer in a rural village.  Following her time in Africa, she decided to follow her passion for teaching by moving to Philadelphia and joining the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows.  She started her teaching career at Germantown High School, where she has taught history for the past four years.  During this time, she received her Masters of Education from Arcadia University.  She also became involved in working with students in extracurricular activities through BuildOn and Students Run Philly Style.  Mrs. Merkins is looking forward to starting the next chapter in her teaching career by working at the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush.

 Matt Byrne – World History/Spanish

Señor Byrne grew up outside of Reading, Pennsylvania and attended Albright College where he graduated with a degree in Spanish and Environmental Studies. He has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and has lived, volunteered, and studied in 11 countries including Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Bolivia.  He met his wife while volunteering at a school in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and now lives with her and their adorable dog in Philadelphia. He moved to Philadelphia and joined the Philadelphia
Teaching Fellows in 2010. He taught Spanish previously at University City High School and the High School of the Future. Señor Byrne enjoys traveling, running, cheering on the Philadelphia Union, and training his dog.

Rhonda Feder – Social Science / English 1

Ms. Feder came to teaching after careers in both law and the non-profit world. She studied Psychology at Louisiana State University and upon graduating, moved to New York to study law. She practiced law for a number of years, including serving as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. Ms. Feder eventually found her way to teaching by joining the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows in 2011 and completing her Masters in Education with a concentration in secondary education/social studies in 2013. Teaching young people to appreciate living in a democracy, and doing so at Rush, is a dream come true. Without a doubt, Ms. Feder finds teaching infinitely more rewarding than practicing law.

Leonard Fletcher – African American History/English 1

Leonard Fletcher grew up in central Pennsylvania, graduating from Cumberland Valley High School before attending Lock Haven University graduating in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree of Science in Education concentrating in History and Social Studies and with a minor in International Studies. Mr. Fletcher moved to Richmond Virginia following college to teach History and coaching soccer(asst.), track and field(Head) and holding Athletic Director position at John Rolfe Middle School for 10 years. In 2017 after attaining his English certification, he moved back to Pennsylvania working in Philadelphia school district working at Motivation High School in southwest Philadelphia until taking a position at Rush, starting the 2019 school year.

David Thomer – World History / Social Science

Dave Thomer grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and went to grade school down the street from Rush Arts at Our Lady of Calvary. He attended Fordham University in New York, where he studied philosophy and found that despite Vizzini’s claims in THE PRINCESS BRIDE, Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates were not morons. He moved back to Philadelphia to attend graduate school and earned a PhD from Temple University after writing his dissertation on the democratic philosophy of John Dewey. He served as an adjunct professor at several area colleges and went back to Temple to complete his M.Ed. and certification in 2009. He then joined the School District of Philadelphia and decided he had collected enough degrees for the foreseeable future. He spent eight great years teaching students at Parkway Center City High School, and since 2017 he has been happy to be part of the Rush Arts community. He enjoys hanging out and playing games with his wife and daughter, both of whom would like to apologize on his behalf for his jokes.

Foreign Language/Spanish

Matt Byrne – Spanish/World History

Señor Byrne grew up outside of Reading, Pennsylvania and attended Albright College where he graduated with a degree in Spanish and Environmental Studies. He has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and has lived, volunteered, and studied in 11 countries including Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Bolivia.  He met his wife while volunteering at a school in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and now lives with her and their adorable dog in Philadelphia. He moved to Philadelphia and joined the Philadelphia
Teaching Fellows in 2010. He taught Spanish previously at University City High School and the High School of the Future. Señor Byrne enjoys traveling, running, cheering on the Philadelphia Union, and training his dog.

Jaquelyn Fritz – Spanish

Señorita Fritz joined the Rush Arts staff in 2017 as a Spanish teacher and volleyball coach. She began her journey as an educator in 2010, when she began her M.Ed. and certification program at St. Joseph’s University. She was certified to teach in 2011 and completed her Master’s in 2015. As an undergrad, she studied Anthropology and Spanish Language and Literatures at Dartmouth College, earning her degree in 2008. Her studies took her to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where her passion for cultures and languages first began to develop.
Before joining the Rush Arts staff, Ms. Fritz taught Spanish for four years at Strawberry Mansion HS, where she was also a volleyball coach and a class sponsor. She has also worked in various capacities at Philadelphia’s Overbrook HS and West Philadelphia HS, and at Delaware County’s Ridley HS, from which she graduated in 2004.

Bobbi Bertucci – Spanish

Mrs Bertucci attended Temple University where she was a Spanish language major, with a
concentration in Latin American Studies. While a student at Temple, Mrs Bertucci spent a
semester abroad in Merida, Mexico. After graduating, she began teaching for the Archdiocese
of Philadelphia. In 2006, Mrs Bertucci began her M Ed program at St Joseph’s University. She
then joined the School District of Philadelphia in 2010.
Outside of school, Mrs Bertucci enjoys trips to the beach, sewing, arts and crafts, cooking, thrift
store shopping, and spending time with her friends and family. She resides in Bucks county
with her two children, husband and English bulldog.

English

Antoinette Davis – English 1, School-Based Teacher Leader

Antoinette Davis grew up in the Feasterville-Trevose area and attended Bensalem High School. She attended Millersville University and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.  In 2009, she decided that teaching and working with children was her passion and went to Cabrini College for her Masters in Education with Certification in English, graduating in 2011.  She taught at a Philadelphia charter school for three and a half years before moving to the School District of Philadelphia in December 2014. She began teaching at Rush in September 2015 and has made it her home. She finished her Post-Masters program and received her Principal K-12 Certification in July 2019. Antoinette cares deeply about the students, staff, and community at Rush.

Anna Kates – English 2, English 2 Honors

Anna Kates is a product of the Pennsylvania public school system (Central Bucks East ‘02). She has taught in the Philadelphia School District since 2014, and in 2018 she was a recipient of the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. She earned her BA in English from Earlham College, a liberal arts Quaker college in Indiana, and her Masters of Science in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was awarded a Lenore Annenberg Fellowship. Prior to her work at Rush, Kates was a faculty member in the Liberal Arts Department at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she taught in the Writing Program. At UArts, she taught college-level modes of writing, responsible research, critical thinking, study habits, and the integration of the arts and humanities. This work informs her approach to instruction in the English department, where she endeavors to create a rigorous and engaging college preparatory classroom.

Sonny Bavaro – English 4, English 4 Honors

Sonny Bavaro has taught at Lehigh University, Community College of Philadelphia, Bucks County Community College and the University of the Arts, and has been a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia since 2008. Growing up, Mr. Bavaro attended public school in the city of Yonkers and the hamlet of Hopewell Jct., both in NY. After high school, he moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to attend Lehigh University, and he did so with the intention of becoming a Civil Engineer. However, his sophomore year at Lehigh taught him that he prefers the art that words make, wishing to understand how the world works through applied poetry rather than applied mathematics.

He went on to receive both his BA in English from Lehigh, graduating magna cum laude, as well as an MA in English with a concentration in Medieval Literature and Gender Studies. After realizing that his love for the art of reading and writing was sparked when he was in 9th grade, he decided to become a high school English teacher and received an M.Ed in Secondary Education from Arcadia University.

Most recently, he was the Comprehensive High School Region Finalist for the 2010 Dr. Ruth Wright Hayre Teacher of the Year award for his work as a 9th grade English teacher at West Philadelphia High School. Before teaching at Rush, he also taught at Furness High School in South Philly.

Mr. Bavaro’s pedagogy centers on the liberatory possibilities for teenagers when we encourage modern student-writers to engage with their peers and to re-mix and re-create narratives of the past to create original, 21 century visions of their own future.

Max Feldman – English 3 and AP English Language and Composition

Born and raised in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia, Mr. Feldman graduated from J.R. Masterman High School. It was during high school that he was inspired to become a teacher after having a series of amazing, mind-expanding English teachers. He attended Penn State University where he majored in Secondary Education and spent his extracurricular time rowing for the Penn State Crew Team. Mr. Feldman has been at The Arts Academy since 2010, and taught at Olney West High School previously. Outside of school, Mr. Feldman enjoys traveling, camping, and biking. He biked across the United States during the summer after his college graduation as an adventure before becoming a teacher. His favorite books include The Catcher in the Rye and 1984, and his favorite films are too numerous to name.

Leonard Fletcher – African American History/English 1

Leonard Fletcher grew up in central Pennsylvania, graduating from Cumberland Valley High School before attending Lock Haven University graduating in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree of Science in Education concentrating in History and Social Studies and with a minor in International Studies. Mr. Fletcher moved to Richmond Virginia following college to teach History and coaching soccer(asst.), track and field(Head) and holding Athletic Director position at John Rolfe Middle School for 10 years. In 2017 after attaining his English certification, he moved back to Pennsylvania working in Philadelphia school district working at Motivation High School in southwest Philadelphia until taking a position at Rush, starting the 2019 school year.

Health & Physical Education

Todd Corabi, C.A.A. – Health & Physical Education, Athletic Director

Mr. Corabi began his teaching career at Central East Middle School (later to be renamed Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences) in September 1997 after graduating from Temple University.  Corabi taught there 13 years before joining the faculty of the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush high school in the fall of 2010; the school’s 3rd year of existence.   In 2017, he was awarded the prestigious Lindback Award for Distinguished Educators after being nominated by his colleagues at Rush Arts.   That same year, he was awarded NE Times girls soccer coach of the year and had a book published based on some of his Health lessons.

His primary roles at Rush Arts are Lead Health & Physical Education Instructor and school Athletic Director/Administrator.  In addition, Mr. Corabi is the Head Coach of girls Soccer, girls Softball, and coed Bowling, oversees several student-run clubs, and assists with various administrative tasks both for the school and at the District-Level including website publishing, curriculum development, athletics tech support, and testing out and evaluating pilot programs for websites and attendance tracking for the Division of Athletics.

Out of school, Mr. Corabi volunteers for 2 area youth groups, coaches youth sports and enjoys spending time with his family down the shore including his wife, 3 children (two of them married) and his new granddaughter.

The Arts

Cathy Bateman – Fine Arts and Graphic Arts

Cathy Bateman is proud to become a member of the faculty of Rush Arts starting in 2013.  Previously, Cathy taught Visual Arts, Digital Arts and Ceramics at Frankford High School.  During her teaching at Frankford she was also the school technology leader and Chairperson for the Arts and Technology including Visual Arts, Music, Drama, Dance and Educational Technology.  She has several certifications including Fine Arts, Business and Computer Technology and holds Administrative Certification.  Her educational background includes Penn State University, Cabrini College, Arcadia University, University of the Arts, and Brandman University.  Currently she is studying Curriculum and Instruction through Gwynedd Mercy College.  Mrs. Bateman is a strong proponent of STEAM education, interweaving the Arts across the curriculum.

Louis Mazza – Media Arts, Graphic Design, Library Media Specialist

Louis Mazza holds a B.F.A. in Media Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art + Design and an M.A.T. in Visual Art from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Mr. Mazza’s professional work as a designer, photographer, and educator include jobs as Education Technology Specialist (Walker Art Center, Minneapolis), Web Producer, (Urban Outfitters, Philadelphia), independent designer & consultant (Tides Foundation, Princeton University Art Museum, Minnesota Public Radio, Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership) and adjunct faculty (Minneapolis College of Art + Design, Philadelphia University). Mr. Mazza contributed curriculum to “Making Media Matter” (Vols. 1 & 2), a collection of media literacy projects for classrooms published by the National Council of Teachers of English. Louis has been a high school educator since 2006, and has been teaching at The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush since it’s opening in 2008. He believes in providing rich and authentic learning experiences for his students through partnerships with multiple arts and education organizations. His students have enjoyed the benefits of affiliations with The PBS Student Reporting Labs, The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Project Basho, and Temple University’s Media Education Lab. He was the recipient of the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2010.

Dominic Doyle – Visual Arts 1, Ceramics, Health &Physical Education

Mr. Doyle has been teaching in the School District of Philadelphia since 2008, and has been coaching athletics in the district since 1998.  He began his coaching career at his alma matter, Frankord high School as an offensive line coach before later becoming their head football coach.    Mr. Doyle received his BFA in painting and drawing from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, and his Masters degree in Multicultural Education with an emphasis on Health and Physical Education from Eastern University.

Mr. Doyle has been a member of the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush staff since 2017 and teaches Visual Arts 1, Ceramics, and Health and Physical education.  He also coaches the Varsity girls basketball and Varsity girls Flag Football teams.

Suzanne Spencer – Vocal Music

Suzanne Spencer has been a performing musician and teacher in the Philadelphia area for over seven years. Ms. Spencer moved to Philadelphia to finish her Bachelor of Music in Jazz Vocal Performance at the University of the Arts. After completing her degree, she continued on to earn her Masters of Arts in Teaching in Music Education from the University of the Arts. In addition to teaching, Ms. Spencer is an avid performer and studio musician. While living in Philadelphia she has performed at the Merriam Theater, the Academy of Music, the Kimmel Center, The World Live Café, the Tritone, the Tin Angel, and overseas at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Ms. Spencer is also presently the lead singer of the Sunday James Band- a Philadelphia based wedding/dance band. Ms. Spencer believes firmly in training her vocal students to not only be the best singers they can be, but the best musicians as well.

Denise Masters – Dance

Mrs. Denise Drumel Masters has been performing, educating and studying all forms of dance for over 30 years throughout the Philadelphia Region.  She holds a masters degree and state certification in Dance Education from Temple University.  Her background includes teaching ballet, point, tap, jazz, various modern techniques and other world dance traditions to all ages through private, studio and public school settings.  She has staged and created original choreography for numerous Broadway musicals for middle and high school level students as well as create her own curriculum in dance. This curriculum includes historical, cultural, composing, choreography, analyzing and critiquing dance studies to focus on interdisciplinary connections through the arts.  She has performed at the Adrienne, Arden, Drake, Arts Bank and Conwell theatres in Philadelphia.  In 2004 she was awarded the national Isadora Duncan Choreography Award followed by the Sarah Hilsendager Professional Educators Award in 2006.  She presented on integrating dance movement therapy into a public school in 2011 at the National Dance Education Conference in Minneapolis.  She is devoted to creating a college preparatory dance program and enhancing knowledge about careers in dance for her students. She is extremely proud to be a part of the Rush Arts Team.  It is her dream job.

Sally Wojcik – Theatre Arts

Sally Wojcik is originally from Springfield, MA. She studied Theatre, English, and Secondary Education at Albright College where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and with Departmental Distinction. Sally spent a semester at the prestigious National Theatre Institute in Waterford, CT. Directly after graduation, Ms. Wojcik accepted a position at Arden Theatre Company in the Arden Professional Apprentice Program, one of the country’s most competitive and rigorous theatre training programs. Sally remained on staff at the Arden in the Education and Marketing Departments for five years. She has also worked a teaching artists for Philadelphia Young Playwrights. Ms. Wojcik is currently pursuing her Masters Degree at Temple University.

Sean Marks – Instrumental

Sean Marks graduated from the University of the Arts with a B.A in jazz performance before returning to complete his M.A.T in music education. Mr. Marks’s primary instrument is the saxophone. Throughout school and after graduation Mr. Marks has worked as an educator and musician. Prior to teaching at The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush Mr. Marks worked for Settlement Music School and out of his private studio teaching private lessons and coaching ensembles. Mr. Marks also works as a professional freelance musician. As a freelance artist Mr. Marks has performed with many artists including, Steven Van Zandt, Darlene Love, and Bernie Worrell. Mr. Marks has also written horn parts and recorded on the latest two albums with The Billy Walton Band. Mr. Marks has also completed four international tours throughout England, Germany, and Holland with The Billy Walton Band.
Mr. Marks remains an active freelance musician while teaching at The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush. As an educator he brings his professional experience as a musician into the class room and prepares students with the tools and skills they need to become professional performing musicians.

When not practicing, performing or teaching Mr. Marks enjoys fishing and spending time with his wife and dog!

Special Education

Jennifer Clements – Learning Support 

Mrs. Clements has been a Special Education Teacher in the School District of Philadelphia for 11 years. Prior to entering the education field, she was pursuing her Psy.D. in Counseling at Temple University . Working her way through school, she was a Case Manager at a Behavioral Health Facility where she taught adolescents about their illness, and the best strategies in which to cope.  It was then she decided to change paths and pursue what she enjoys most; educating our young minds of today.  Mrs. Clements obtained her Masters in Education at Holy Family University and graduated summa cum laude. She is certified in Special Education and is highly qualified in Mathematics and Social Studies.  Mrs. Clements is absolutely thrilled to be part of the Rush team and is looking forward to new learning opportunities and enjoying the budding talents of our diverse and creative students.

Mr. Konieczny – English Learning Support 

Mr. Konieczny or Mr. K as his students call him, earned his Bachelors from Arcadia University and his Masters of Education from Holy Family University. He is certified to teach English and Social Studies 7-12 and Special Education k-12. He previously worked as a Special Education Teacher for the School District of Philadelphia at Austin Meehan Middle School. In his free time, Mr. K enjoys spending time with his family and friends, coaching swimming, taking his dog, Tank, to the park, and the occasional 5k race or open water swim.

Susan Senner – Counselor

Susan Senner has worked in the School District of Philadelphia for over 30 years.  She has been at The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush since the school opened in September 2008.  She is the counselor for all students grades 9-12.  Ms. Senner works with students on college planning, transitioning to high school, helping students and parents access a wide array of services including access to mental health and volunteer opportunities to name a couple.  Most recently she has been the sponsor of the yearbook and the National Honor Society.  Ms. Senner can be reached at 215-400-3030, Option 1 or by email at ssenner@philasd.org.

Rose Dimarino – Secretary