Rhoda Bernard, Managing Director
Rhoda Bernard holds a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in government from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Music with academic honors in jazz voice from New England Conservatory. She earned both her Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Bernard regularly presents keynote presentations and research at conferences throughout the United States and abroad, and she provides professional development workshops for educators in local, national, and international forums. Her work has been published in several book chapters and in numerous journals, including Music Educators Journal; Music Education Research; Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education; Mountain Lake Reader; and Arts and Learning Research Journal. Bernard has been honored with the Berklee Urban Service Award (2017), the Boston Conservatory Community Service Award (2011), the Boston Conservatory Faculty/Staff Spirit Award (2007), and the Outstanding Dissertation Award, Honorable Mention (Second Place) from the Arts and Learning Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association. An active arts education advocate, she is the chair of the Arts Education Advisory Council of Americans for the Arts, and she serves on their speakers bureau. A vocalist and pianist who specializes in jazz music and Jewish music in Yiddish and Hebrew, she performs regularly with a number of klezmer bands and has recorded two CDs with the band Klezamir. Learn more about Bernard's speaking engagements.
Sarah Fard, Consultant
Sarah Fard is an educator and musician focused on creating a more accessible and inclusive music scene. She has taught a variety of music courses at all grade levels and currently teaches guitar, music technology, and adapted music at Medford High School in Medford, Massachusetts. She also teaches in both the online and on-campus master's degree in the music education program at Longy School of Music of Bard College. An avid advocate for inclusive and adaptive teaching methods, she has been with the BIAESN as an education consultant since 2017. She has led workshops and trainings on the topics of adapted music, music notation, and guitar education throughout the East Coast through various colleges and organizations. She received her B.M. in music education from the University of New Hampshire, her M.M.Ed. from Boston University, and a graduate certificate in music education and autism from Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
Krista Jadro, Consultant
Krista Jadro graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Music in music education and a Master of Music in music education in early childhood and general music. During her graduate studies, she was the early childhood music coordinator for the University of Delaware’s Community Music School. Upon graduation, she taught music to students with autism for six years at the Developmental Learning Centers in New Jersey. She is currently the director of early childhood education for Brookline Music School and a consultant and trainer for our Music Class for Young Children.
Victoria LaRiccia, Faculty, Consultant
Raised in a musical household, Victoria LaRiccia taught herself guitar during her middle-school, high-school, and college years. After college, she founded two local bands, performing on bass, keyboard, and vocals, and discovered a passion for the stage and performance. During this time, LaRiccia began teaching students with autism and incorporated her love of music into her instruction. In 2008, LaRiccia became a consultant to Boston Conservatory’s programs for students on the autism spectrum, and she has been consulting since. LaRiccia has been a special-education teacher in the public schools of Brookline for middle-school students with various moderate disabilities, including communication and emotional disabilities, Down syndrome, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorders for several years. She earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Master of Education in special education/moderate disabilities from Cambridge College. LaRiccia has presented on the topics of music instruction and autism at numerous professional development workshops and conferences for educators and administration throughout Massachusetts. In 2016, she began teaching courses in Boston Conservatory at Berklee's Music Education with a Concentration in Music and Autism graduate programs.
Katie Marshall, Consultant
For 12 years, Katie Marshall has been working with children diagnosed with autism. While at Westfield State University, she studied vocal performance as well as psychology. After graduating, she began working in the field of applied behavior analysis as a home therapist. In 2009, she started working at a specialized school called Nashoba Learning Group, where she now works as a full-time clinical manager. Marshall graduated from Endicott College with a master's degree in education, specializing in special education and behavior analysis, in 2015.
Daniel Martinez del Campo, Operations Coordinator
Daniel Martinez del Campo is a Berklee alumnus, holding a degree in guitar performance with a minor in psychology. During his time as a Berklee student, he worked for several years in the Office of Academic Affairs as a project supervisor, providing direct support to the offices of Institutional Assessment and Graduate Studies. Upon graduation, he worked briefly as an assistant in the Office of Institutional Assessment, aiding in data analysis and coding. An electric guitarist specializing in metal and rock, he has performed with a variety of notable acts, including the Al Joseph Group, Black Trip, Fright Pig, the Offering, and, most recently, famed tech-death pioneers Atheist. In addition to pursuing a career as a performing and recording artist, he has worked as an independent music transcriber as well as for the publishing company Sheet Happens Music, releasing various tab and transcription books for metal, prog, and rock bands including Revocation, Volbeat, Christian Muenzner, and Inferi. Currently, he transcribes for TrueFire, one of the world's largest online guitar lesson libraries. He has also worked on projects for a variety of world-class jazz and blues artists such as Jeff McErlain, Sheryl Bailey, Stu Hamm, and Frank Vignola.
- Oriana Inferrera, Assistant
- Marlene Markard, Assistant
- Rachel Weishoff, Graduate Assistant
- Julianne Fornier, Graduate Assistant
- Rachel Lim, Graduate Assistant
- Jenita Arini, Graduate Assistant
- Simei Niu, Graduate Assistant
- Bonnie Blom, Fellow (Spring 2022)
Jenita Arini is a pianist and music educator specializing in teaching students with a wide range of exceptionalities. She currently teaches private piano lessons at the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs (BIAESN), where she also serves as a graduate assistant. She's pursuing her M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and received her B.A. in educational studies, global studies, and music from Principia College.
Elias Badra has been teaching piano in the Greater Boston area and as a private music instructor since 2013. He also teaches piano and cofacilitates the music technology class, for which he codeveloped the curriculum, at the BIAESN. He received his M.M.Ed. from Boston Conservatory and his B.M. from George Washington University.
Melanie Bourgeault is a flutist and music educator specializing in teaching students with a wide range of learning differences. She currently teaches at the Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, which is part of the Lynn Public School system. She teaches private lessons on woodwind instruments at the BIAESN, where she also facilitates summer classes for the ABLE Day Sessions Summer Music Program. She formerly served as the third–eighth grade general music and band teacher at the Curley K–8 School in Boston. She received her M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and her B.M. in music education from the University of Delaware.
Erin Eberhardt is a multi-instrumentalist and music educator specializing in teaching students with learning differences. She teaches piano, percussion, and horn at the Monteverdi Music School in Montpelier, Vermont. She teaches percussion, piano, and brass for the BIAESN, where she created and facilitates a Bucket Drumming Class. She also serves as a teacher for United Sound, BIAESN’s peer mentoring music club whose mission is to remove barriers and foster social change through music. She received her B.M. in music education from the Berklee College of Music.
Zoe Gelinas is a music educator who specializes in working with students with a wide range of special needs. She is an instructor at the BIAESN and teaches adaptive music in private lesson and small group settings through the Needham Public School system in Needham, Massachusetts. She served as a post-master’s degree fellow at the BIAESN for the 2019–2020 school year. She received her M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and her B.M. from Berklee College of Music.
Marisa Giangregorio is a multi-instrumentalist and music educator who specializes in teaching students with learning differences. She currently serves as a general music teacher at the Malden Early Learning Center and the music director at Special Needs Arts Programs, where she conducts two sections of the Sing Along Chorus. She is also a private lesson instructor at the BIAESN, where she teaches private lessons, cofacilitates the Inner Harmony Chorus, and is a staff member in the ABLE Day Sessions Summer Music Program. Previously, she served as a music educator and autism intervention specialist at Somerville Public Schools. She received her M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and her bachelor’s degree in music education from Boston University.
Michael Gruender is a freelance clarinetist and music educator in the Boston area. Currently, he serves as co-principal of the Du Bois Orchestra in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As a chamber musician, he has performed in woodwind quintets, woodwind quartets, and clarinet quartets such as the Dark Rose Ensemble, the Gale Force Winds and the Ro-Wind Quintet. Previously, Gruender has maintained a large private studio of clarinet, saxophone, and flute students at Music and Arts Center in Westborough, Massachusetts; now he teaches instrumental music in the Lynn Public Schools. Outside of performances and education work, he enjoys composing short works with electronic instruments and spending quality time with his partner and his corgi, Brodie. He holds a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Arts in education from Rowan University as well as a Master of Music in performance from Boston Conservatory at Berklee. His primary teachers include Barbara Benedett, Dr. Rié Suzuki, and Michael Norsworthy.
Gretchen Hary is a percussionist, arranger, and music educator. Her extensive teaching experiences include private lessons on marimba, timpani, orchestral snare, and drum set, as well as percussion ensembles, special needs students, theory, and musicianship. She currently teaches at ACES Educational Center for the Arts and the Neighborhood Music School, both in New Haven, Connecticut. She is also the founder of the C.S.I. Drumming program, an inclusive drum circle program that is designed to help develop communication and socialization skills in individuals with autism. She teaches percussion and music theory at the BIAESN and is a former adjunct instrumental teacher at Thomas Edison Middle School and a former band director with Connecticut Future Musicians. Hary has two lesson plans published in the book Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs: A Practical Resource by Alice M. Hammel. She received her G.C.M.Ed. with an autism concentration from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, her M.M. in percussion pedagogy from Belmont University, and her B.M. in percussion performance from Boston Conservatory.
Francis Hickey is an electric and acoustic bassist and music educator specializing in teaching students with a wide range of special needs. He's currently touring with Nashville-based artist Jimmy Connor and has previously opened for artists such as Rusted Root, Willie Nelson, the Wallers, Granger Smith, and Alison Krauss. A former member of award-winning Boston-based roots rock band the Adam Ezra Group, he appeared in a national advertising campaign for Luis and Clark Carbon Fiber Instruments. He teaches bass guitar, double bass, rock ensemble, music technology, and production courses at the Plugged in Band Program in Needham, Massachusetts. He also teaches private lessons and cofacilitates the iPad ensemble at the BIAESN. He's pursuing his M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and received his B.M. from Berklee College of Music, where he was a World Tour Scholarship recipient.
Rachel Jayson has been an orchestra director at Lexington High School since 2009. Her ensembles have won many gold medals at the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) Concert Festival and have performed at Symphony Hall in Boston and Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts. She also teaches private string and piano lessons at the BIAESN. She performs regularly as a violist in the Boston-based art rock band Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys. She received her B.M. in viola performance and her M.M.Ed. from Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
Yael Kortsarz is a vocalist and music educator specializing in teaching neuro-diverse students. She currently serves as a music teacher in the Worcester Public School system in Worcester, Massachusetts. She also teaches private voice lessons at the BIAESN while pursuing her M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. She received her B.M. in music education (voice) from Syracuse University.
Sierra Lancaster is a vocalist, music educator, and theatrical producer. She currently serves as producing apprentice at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut, and as a co-producer of Pass Over, which opened at the August Wilson Theater on Broadway in August 2021. The founder of Samuel-Lancaster Productions Company, she also teaches voice lessons and cofacilitates the Daytime Moon Creations Theater Program at the BIAESN. She is currently pursuing her B.F.A. in musical theater from Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
Xue Liu is a pianist and music educator who specializes in teaching students with learning differences. She currently serves as a private lesson instructor at the BIAESN and cofacilitates BIAESN’s music history class, for which she codeveloped the curriculum. In addition, she is a piano instructor at the Westwood Prodigy Program and actively performs as a pianist. She received her M.M. in piano from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and is working towards her M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration at the Conservatory as well.
Hadley Lloyd is a drummer and music educator who specializes in teaching students with disabilities. She regularly performs with different R&B, jazz, and funk bands, and is currently the drummer with a local Boston folk band. She serves as an instructor at the BIAESN, where she teaches private lessons, cofacilitates the Rock Band Ensemble, and teaches in the ABLE Day Sessions Summer Music Program. In addition, she teaches private lessons and leads ensembles in community arts nonprofits in the Boston area. She received her B.A. from the University of Connecticut and is working towards her M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration at Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
Marlene Markard is a music educator, pianist, presenter, program director, and curriculum developer who specializes in teaching students with a wide range of exceptionalities. She owns and operates her own music studio, Markard Music, which serves students in the Greater Boston area and the East End of Long Island, New York. She currently serves as an instructor and staff member at the BIAESN, where she leads curriculum and program development initiatives. She cofacilitates the BIAESN’s music history class, for which she codeveloped the curriculum. She serves as director of the Beethoven Ensemble and the social-emotional learning specialist at the Boston Music Project. In addition, she's a piano instructor for and the director of the Westwood Prodigy Program. She received her G.C.M.Ed. with an autism concentration from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where she was invited to serve as a post-graduate degree fellow in 2020. She received her J.D. from the Cardozo School of Law and her B.A., cum laude, from Barnard College.
Kayla McLaughlin is a vocalist and music teacher at the Thoreau Elementary School in Concord, Massachusetts, where she teaches general music to students with learning differences. She also teaches private voice and piano lessons in the Saturday program at the BIAESN, where she codirects the Inner Harmony Ensemble. Formerly, she served as the enrichment teacher at the Crossroads School, a residential school for students with autism, ages 3–22. She earned her M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and her B.M. in voice from the Westminster Choir College.
Nadia Castagna Morin is a music educator and presenter who specializes in teaching high- and low-support needs students with a wide range of learning differences. She teaches music at the New England Center for Children (NECC), a special education residential school in Southborough, Massachusetts. In addition, she serves as a cofacilitator of the BIAESN’s Rock Band Ensemble, iPad Ensemble, Music Classes for Young Children, and music history class, for which she has codeveloped curricula. She regularly presents her work at the ABLE Assembly Conference and actively performs as a percussionist with the Me2/Orchestra in Boston. She received her M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and will begin the ABA Specialization Program at NECC in the fall.
Tomas Marquez is a pianist, presenter, and award-winning specialized educator with more than 12 years of experience teaching students with special needs. He currently works as a general music instructor in the Boston Public School system. He is also an instructor at the BIAESN, where he teaches piano, composition, and music technology. In addition, he facilitates professional development workshops through the BIAESN and regularly presents his work at the ABLE Assembly Conference. Previously, he served as the general music teacher at the May Center School in Randolph, Massachusetts, where he taught students with high-support needs. He received his M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and his B.M. from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico.
Christopher Nifong is a guitarist, percussionist, bassist, pianist, ukulelist, composer, and music educator specializing in teaching students with a wide range of learning differences. He actively performs in and around the Greater Boston area. He teaches ensemble and band at the Plugged in Band Program in Needham, Massachusetts, and at the BIAESN, and he's currently pursuing his M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He received his B.M. in guitar performance from Berklee College of Music.
Arleen Sherman has more than 25 years of experience teaching music to neuro-diverse students. She owns and operates her own music studio in Rhode Island. She is also a piano instructor at the BIAESN and cocreator and cofacilitator of the Daytime Moon Creations Theater Program there. In addition, she serves as a private lesson educational consultant for the BIAESN, training and supporting other BIAESN piano instructors. She received her G.C.M.Ed. with an autism concentration from Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
Valerie Grimes Snow is a pianist and music educator with more than 27 years of teaching experience. She currently serves as the director of the Private Music Department at the Dedham Country Day School, where she is also a piano instructor and the school accompanist for class plays, assemblies, and events. She owns and operates her own music studio, the Valerie Snow Piano Studio, in Needham, Massachusetts. In addition, she teaches private piano classes at the BIAESN. She formerly performed as a pianist with the Parkway Concert Orchestra in Norwood, Massachusetts, and as the church service pianist for the Unitarian Church in Medfield, Massachusetts. Snow has served as piano instructor at the Integrated Learning Academy of Newton in Newton, Massachusetts, and in Brookline High School in Brookline, Massachusetts. She received her M.M.Ed with an autism concentration from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and her B.A. from the University of New Hampshire, and has studied extensively through the New England Conservatory's School of Continuing Education.
Benjamin Tan is a pianist, vocalist, composer, music director, and music educator. He has served as an instructor with the BIAESN since 2017, teaching private piano, voice, and composition to students with a wide range of disabilities. He also serves as a music and chorus teacher at the Mario Umana Academy in Boston and previously taught music at Carver Elementary School in Carver, Massachusetts. He earned his M.M.Ed. from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where he studied the intersection of music education with autism, special needs, and gifted students. He received his B.S. from Emerson College.
Maria Doreste Velazquez is a music educator with more than 11 years of experience. She teaches general music and coordinates the instrumental program at the Edison School, part of the Boston Public School system, where she teaches students with a wide range of learning differences. Since 2012, she has taught piano at the BIAESN, where she also developed and facilitates the Introduction to Musical Instruments class. In 2018, she was named a Music Educator Teaching Artist (META) Fellow. Through her fellowship, she codeveloped culturally responsive teaching tools and resources for arts educators. She regularly presents her work at the ABLE Assembly Conference. She received her M.M.Ed. from Boston Conservatory.
Rachel Weishoff is a vocalist and music educator who teaches private and group music lessons to early childhood students through the university level. She has over a decade of experience working with children, adults, and seniors with a range of disabilities in educational, supportive, and therapeutic settings. She teaches voice lessons, iPad Ensemble, and Inner Harmony Ensemble for the BIAESN, and also holds positions in the Boston, Lawrence, and Worcester, Massachusetts, public schools, teaching music in inclusive and special education classrooms. She has a master’s degree in musical arts from Yale University and is currently pursuing her graduate certificate in music education and autism at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where she also has two graduate assistantship positions.
Miles Wilcox is a multi-instrumentalist and music educator. He teaches K–5 general music, band and orchestra, and string instrument lessons in the Newton Public Schools. At the BIAESN, he teaches private lessons and coteaches Music for Young Children, Rock Band Ensemble, Ukulele Ensemble, and the music history class, for which he codeveloped curricula. He regularly presents his work at the ABLE Assembly Conference and actively performs with the Me2/Orchestra in Boston. He received his M.M.Ed. from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and has earned a Level 1 Introductory Credential in Dalcroze Eurhythmics from the Longy School of Music at Bard College.
Sofija Zlatanova is a music educator and internationally acclaimed, prize-winning violist and violinist. She offers viola and violin instruction through her own music studio, Zlatanova Music, and through the Office for the Arts at Harvard University. She also teaches violin, viola, and composition at the BIAESN and is the founder of the Youth Orchestra with Different Abilities, an inclusive youth orchestra. She actively performs as a soloist and chamber player throughout the United States, Croatia, and Europe. She has won several national and international viola competitions and performed in Carnegie Hall, and she's also received two awards for her musical and humanitarian accomplishments in Skopje, Macedonia. Zlatanova received her degree in viola performance from the National Music Academy in Skopje and attended the Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance in London as a scholarship recipient. She earned her performance diploma from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and her M.M.Ed. with an autism concentration from the Conservatory as well, where she served as a post-master's degree fellow.