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About us

Art Play Learn is the culmination of 30 years of teaching and learning. Meredith's path to founding Art Play Learn is long and convoluted and includes living and teaching in Japan for almost 4 years, working as a contract actor and teaching at almost every gig for 3 years, coaching professional stage performers on audition techniques in NYC, leading a team of arts integrators to create state and Common Core-aligned workshops for Kaiser Permanente, creating an Infant and Toddler Enrichment Program through PGParks, and then developing a Japanese curriculum that has enjoyed so much popularity it sometimes keeps her up at night. Meredith's goal is to change the world through education and she knows she cannot do it alone. That is why she works hard to find the world's best teachers, to empower them to share their brilliance with the world and to find students for them to share their brilliance with.

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Meredith Kaunitz

CEO, Master Teacher

With 28 years of teaching experience, a curiosity about Neurology, Psychology, and Cognitive Science, and exposure to a wide variety of teaching strategies, Meredith has become a thought-leader in education. Developing and implementing new teaching strategies, Meredith has become a popular teacher and sought-out education consultant. 

Meredith has developed a distance-learning program, including 9 levels of Japanese (for 8-12 year olds, and for teens) with 2 writing supplemental classes, that has garnered the attention of almost 700 families and a 5-star rating. 

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Michael Kessler

Brass Instrument Teacher

Michael Kessler is an Instrumental Music Teacher for Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) where he is currently assigned to three elementary schools where he teaches beginning Band and Orchestra to grades 4, 5, & 6. Mr. Kessler believes that everyone has musical ability in them even if they are not aware of it, and that they are capable of learning music and an instrument with a little dedication and hard work. Mr. Kessler earned his Bachelor of Science in Music Education (2006) and a Master in Music Performance (2013) from Towson University. He currently holds an Advanced Teaching Certificate from Maryland State Department of Education.


In addition to teaching for PGCPS Mr. Kessler maintains a private lesson studio. As part of that studio he previously taught private brass instrument lessons at the Music and Arts Center in Bowie (2014-2020) and at St. Anne’s School of Annapolis (2007-2011). In addition to teaching Mr. Kessler was the Principal Trumpet of the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra (2009-2016) and a member of the Anne Arundel Community College Band and Orchestra (2008-2010).

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Nykira Parham

Game Design & Coding Teacher

Hi! I'm Nykira (they/them) and I'm a 3D artist, illustrator, and game designer. I have a Master's in Game Design from Full Sail University. When not being creative, I am often playing video games such as Destiny 2 and The Sims 4. I mainly play RPGs, MMOs, and simulation games as well as tabletop RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons. My goal is to teach some of the fundamentals of game design while also making a simple game using the Unreal Engine. Hope to see you soon!

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Pocahontas "Liberty" Filmore

Early Childhood Teacher

Liberty Filmore has been exploring the art of teaching for over twenty years. Through games, role play and a little imagination, learning objectives come alive to her students. Everyday is seen as a new adventure, full of exploration and wonder. A modern day Mary Poppins, she is able to turn even the mundane into a tale to remember.


Liberty’s experience has covered every age group from early childhood to the collegiate level. For the last seven years, Liberty has found a special interest in program development and career coaching within the sector of Early Childhood Education. When she is not in the classroom, she can be found homeschooling her three princesses. She currently holds a B.A. in Communications with a specialization in PR, and she is pursuing a Masters in Organizational Communication. Her mission is to build intrinsic motivation into her students in order for them to become lifelong learners and believes speaking life is the way to do it!

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 Suzanne Butler 

Restorative Practices Instructor

Suzanne is an experienced educator who is driven to help communities. She began as a fifth grade teacher over twenty years ago.  She quickly realized that building relationships with each student was a core value of a successful learning community.  After ten years of teaching, she wanted to expand her impact schools so she became a school counselor.  It is through these educational experiences that she developed and deepened diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging advocacy.  Suzanne’s restorative practices journey began professionally as an equity coordinator in a middle school.  Collaboration and connection are two of her guiding values and she believes any success is rooted in relationships. Suzanne is currently a restorative practitioner and trainer who offers workshops and consultations for families and organizations.

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Tural Osmanov

Chess Club Teacher, Russian Teacher, COVID-Grade Saver Tutor,  Soccer Coach

Tural Osmanov is a native Russian speaker who is also fluent in English, Turkish and German. Combining his language skills with his medical knowledge as a licensed Radiologist, he helps patients receive accurate information in their native tongues at major local medical centers working as a medical interpreter. He has a Medical Doctor degree in Medicine from Azerbaijan Medical University , with a Specialty  in Radiology from Chukurova Medical School (Turkey),  Vienna General Hospital (Austria) and Hannover Medical School (Germany).


He has been playing chess since he was about 5 years old and played on competitive teams through university. He has also played competitive soccer for most of his life, playing left forward on a professional level. Tural is a fun-loving guy who is excited to share his many skills with kids in a playful, positive way. I’m joining Art Play Learn company to share my most favorite subjects and hobbies to children everywhere.

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Jose Ortiz

Art Teacher, Dungeons & Dragons Integrator

Jose’s vivid imagination fostered his love for art as well as role-playing games from a young age. Pursuing a career in the arts, he received his B.A. in Studio Art from George Mason University’s College of Visual & Performing Arts, and has worked as an art teacher, production artist, scenic artist & digital artist. Most of his latest freelance artwork has been in the fantasy genre of tabletop roleplaying games, like Dungeons & Dragons.


He has played and run Dungeons & Dragons for over 30 years, and has been involved with organized play for nearly 20 years. During that time, he served as one of three Mid-Atlantic regional administrators for Wizard of the Coast’s ‘Living Greyhawk’ campaign, an official D&D shared-world campaign. As an administrator for a three state region (VA, MD, DE), he acted as the lead narrative designer, wrote and edited storylines and adventures, organized gaming conventions, managed dozens of regional adventure authors and facilitated many Dungeon Masters to ensure players received the best play experience.


Jose believes D&D is much more than just a game, it is a tool for learning critical social skills as well as ‘hard’ skills, in the guise of a fun pastime. Over the span of many years running D&D, he has seen kids (and adults) make new friends, improve listening skills, boost creative thinking, practice problem solving, learn cooperation, foster empathy, hone math skills, and be inspired to create works of art. All of this and more is amplified with a skilled facilitator, or Dungeon Master, like Jose, who believes people learn better when they’re having fun.

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Patrice DiChristina

Art & Farm Science Teacher

Patrice received a BA in Art and Psychology from Oberlin College in 2018. Since then, she has worked as a studio assistant, an art teacher, an artist, and a farmer, sometimes all at once. Patrice loves reading, painting, hiking, and hanging out with her cat. 

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Caelen Gibbs

Dance Teacher

Caelen Gibbs is an award winning triple-threat with over 13 years of dance instruction. His favorite styles are Tap, Ballet, HipHop and Musical Theater. He enjoys dancing, singing, acting and studying Japanese. He is excited to share his love of performing with your student.

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Alejandra Zuñiga

Spanish Teacher

Alejandra is a native Peruvian.  Sharing the love for her language and culture has become her passion. She has a degree in Business Administration from St. Augustine University. She understands what people go through when learning a new language having arrived in the U.S. just twelve years ago.  Here in the U.S. she has accumulated more than 7 years of experience in early childhood development. She am a homeschool mom and has taught her own children for the last two years. Her work as a professional educator and experience as a home educator has stoked a passion for education and the inherent experimentation needed to discover the best possible approach for each unique and individual child.

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Sandra Kammann

Theater, World Cultures, Anthropology Teacher

Sandra Kammann, a Master Teacher of Theater Arts, Arts Integration, World Cultures, Dance, Music, and Spoken Word. She is a Senior Faculty member with Studio Acting Conservatory's Young Actors Program, and works with The John F. Kennedy Center Education Partnerships Initiative as a Senior Teaching Artists. Sandra has offered Performing Arts Residencies that serve diverse populations in Montgomery County Public Schools, DC Public & Charter Schools, and Prince George's County Public Schools. Sandra holds two Masters degrees from The George Washington University: M.F.A. in Performance and M.A. in Cultural Anthropology: Performance, Myth & Cultural Identity. Her original plays and performances have been produced at Studio Theater, Silver Spring Black Box Theater, Joy of Motion Dance Institute, University of Maryland, Marvin Center Theater at GWU, Hartke Theater at PGCC, Johns Hopkins University, Towson State University, University of Pennsylvania, Corcoran Gallery of Art, The National Cathedral, The Basilica at Catholic University and on tour in NYC, Chicago, Detroit, Costa Rica, Brazil, India and Nepal. She is the proud mother of Gabriel Skye, an undergraduate student at Towson State University.

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Scott Baker

Drums & Percussion Teacher

Scott is an accomplished musician and teacher. A Maryland native, he started playing the drums at age 7. As a young student, he studied with Dr. Richard Bick and Gary Elliot (U.S. Navy Commodores). He attended St. Mary’s College Md. as a Percussion Performance Major, continuing his studies with Gordon Stout. While in attendance, he performed with the Percussion Ensemble, was first chair in the Orchestra and played with the Jazz Band.


Scott was a co-founding original member of Chrysalis recording and touring artists Here Today and Vigil. After Vigil, Scott kept busy playing a wide variety of styles from Rock to R & B, Jazz, Blues, Big Band and Country in countless venues with numerous groups and artists.


Over the last 20 years, he has taught beginner to advanced students of all ages from young children to adults and seniors. His strength is in reading, fundamentals and technique on the Snare Drum, as well as teaching all styles and forms of drum set from Modern Pop to Classic Rock, R & B, Jazz, Blues and Latin.


Scott has a solid track record of success with his students. Pupils have received Music Scholarships to Dematha High School. He has helped numerous students prepare and succeed in auditions for Honors, Jazz, Marching and State Bands. He has also had students get accepted into music programs at Notre Dame, University of Maryland, Howard University and Towson University. After many years, Scott still loves playing and teaching and really enjoys passing on and sharing his knowledge, passion and excitement for music to his students.

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Becky Shick

French & GermanTeacher

Becky Shick is a Master Teacher of French. She holds a B.A in French, a B.S. in International Business, a Master's Degree in Education,  and 2 Gradute Certificates. She attended the Franco-American Teachers in Training Institute in 2010 and has been teaching French ever since. She belongs to the Alliance Française and the Ohio Foreign Language Association. In addition to French, she speaks Russian and German.


Rachel Jackson

Theater Teacher

Rachel is a professional actor/director based in Nashville, TN. She graduated with her BFA in Acting from Millikin University in 2018, and is signed with Heyman Talent Agency. She loves to read, spend time with friends, and snuggle with her Chihuahua, Nessa!

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Nikhila Deo

Kindergarten Teacher

Nikhila completed her Masters in Business Management in Marketing and Finance from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management in India. 

Before her relocation to the United States from India, she worked with the world’s largest selling English daily The Times of India, where she headed their Newspaper in Education division.  During her tenure, she was the recipient of the company's Award for Excellence.

Since her move to New York city where she currently resides, she has been working as a teacher with Sylvan Learning Center and Kokua Education. Her forte is teaching Creative Writing and English.   She also works as a Content Writer with her work being published on various websites.   Nikhila has a love for arts and crafts and she has led craft classes for both children and adults.  

An avid traveler she has travelled to over 30 countries.  She believes that traveling is one of the most fulfilling and multi dimensional forms of education.  She has been giving students an insight into global culture, history and geography of various countries by taking them on virtual trips around the world.  

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Teresa Sedano

ASL & Contemplative Art Teacher

Teresa Sedano is a resident of Santa Rosa, California and has been a certified ASL interpreter for over 20 years in a variety of settings, most specifically for the California State Department of Rehabilitation and post-secondary settings.  Teresa was founder and executive director of Stagesigns, Inc., which provided theatrical interpreting within the Sacramento community to Deaf and Hard of Hearing audiences.  Stagesigns was one of the first West Coast organizations to utilize Deaf Interpreters as part of their many interpreted productions, most particularly, the Children’s Fairytale Theatre at Sacramento Community College. She is a retired adjunct faculty at American River College, instructing sign language interpreting students in the area of Ethics and Professional Standards as well as Service Learning. 

She holds a Master’s degree in Contemplative Education, and has trained specifically in contemplative art, which includes concepts such as mindfulness, presence, and breath work in order for each individual to explore the joy of self-expression during the creative process.

Teresa has a passion for art and its’ healing and de-stressing properties, and is a member of the Northern California Art Therapy Association. She holds a certificate in “Expressive Art Therapy”, and has taught art to young pre-school children at “Young Rembrandts”, an after-school art program.

Teresa has enjoyed a long collaboration with the Crocker Art Museum, including coordinating a mentorship program for interpreting students from American River College; pairing them with docents for tours which allowed access to the local Deaf community. She is the owner of Awakened Heart Designs, providing group workshops and 1-1 instruction in contemplative art concepts and basic meditation instruction.

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Parker Clark

Math Teacher

Parker Clark is an alumnus of Salisbury University. He has a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics with practicums in both basic and upper level mathematics.  Mr. Clark has experience in tutoring at a college level as well as making individualized lesson plans. He has the tools to get the job of teaching your students done. As a student who himself had to take a combination of online and in person classes during a pandemic, he is aware of some of the challenges your students may face during schooling in these stressful times and is equipped with the aptitude  and technology to maximize your students’ learning efforts. As a life long learner with a passion for math, he is excited about teaching math to your students.

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Daniel Wheeler

Dungeons & Dragons & Math Teacher

Daniel Wheeler is a Securities Analyst at Wells Fargo, part time tutor at Sylvan of Catonsville, and an experienced Dungeon Master for D&D. A long-time fascination with both mathematics and history/fantasy worlds led to a Bachelors of Arts degree in Ancient Studies and a Bachelors of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Early on at UMBC, Dan played his first game of D&D, fourth edition, with some friends from High School after having interest in it for some time. Daniel fell in love with the game immediately. He eventually found himself leading games as the Dungeon Master, or DM, at various points during college, and several more times since then. Running both premade modules and homebrew campaigns, he has experience with all types of situations that may arise, and a solid understanding of the rules, and worlds in which the game happens. His degree in math and experience tutoring gives him the background to teach the math skills that are required to play the game to students who need extra practice or who struggle with math. Daniel also has experience with rockets, and other sorts of scientific fields from his time in college and doing independent experiments with friends.


Tanya Harris

Japanese, French, English as an Other Language Teacher

My name is Tanya Harris. I have been a Japanese Teacher at Waipahu High since October of 2002. And I have been a proud Marauder for 18 years. I have a bachelor of Science in Languages and Linguistics Degree from Georgetown as well as a Master’s Degree of Comparative Culture and Language Research from Kurume University. And I have a Master’s degree in Education from Chaminade University. 

I grew up here in the islands on the best side of the island, the windward side. I actually came to Hawaii when I was 1 years old and celebrated my 2nd birthday in Waikiki. My father was a scientist and was quite renown in his field.  His name was Dr. Ernest James Harris. My mother was an activist and is also quite well known. Her name is Bettye Jo Harris. I have two brothers older and younger, which puts me right in the middle.  We as a family constantly traveled around the world, because of my father’s position as an entomologist with the Department of Agriculture.  I was exposed to other cultures at a very young age. I learned French and then later on in my life I learned Japanese.  I am happily tri-lingual. I have learned the importance of speaking another language as well as the importance of social justice via the opportunities I have had to travel the globe. It is important to treat each other fairly no matter where they come from, what their beliefs are, or what color they are.  I look forward to teaching this class and learning about all of you.

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Edward Brennan

English Mechanics, Creative Writing & Dungeons & Dragons Teacher

Edward Brennan is a 21 year old college student at the University of Maryland, double-majoring in Secondary Education and English with a minor in Creative Writing. The son of a teacher, Edward’s desire to teach was instilled in him at a young age. Seeing his father come home every day with stories about how he taught and the love that he had for it, as well as Edward’s own propensity for helping others, quickly lit a fire in him that he hopes to cultivate further here at Art Play Learn. A lover of creative writing and all things fantasy, Edward spends his time playing Dungeons and Dragons, writing, and working on his copious amounts of schoolwork.  

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Gabrielle Lamothe

Theater Integrator, Deaf Theater Teacher

Gabrielle (Gabby) completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Performance Theatre at Francis Marion University in South Carolina. She received an alternative teaching certificate in the state of Texas and taught middle school theatre, debate, and video production for two years. She also has experience working in a preschool along with elementary ages in an after school drama program. Gabby recently graduated with an Associates degree in American Sign Language Interpreting. In her free time, Gabby enjoyes roller blading, hiking, baking and spending time with family and friends. 

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Sarah "Tessa" Schwartz

Animal Science Teacher, Dungeons & Dragons Teacher

Tessa Schwartz is a senior at the University of Maryland, majoring Animal Science Care and Management. She was raised on a horse farm learning how to care, feed, and handle a variety breeds of horses.  During many summers, she served as a horse camp counselor to teach safety, horseback riding, and various equine information. In addition to science, she is versed in different mediums of art from working with clay, cardboard, wood, playing cards, and typical mediums such as paper and canvas. She likes to get involved with creative activities, which brought her into the world of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). Although she got a late start learning about D&D, picking up the game in college, she has excelled in learning and quickly becoming a game master for over the last year.  She loves to share the intricacies of the game as well as the potential benefits it can bring to everyone involved. 


Leah Dawsey

Deaf Studies & History Teacher, ASL Teacher

Leah Dawsey was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana.She received her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Then she moved to Washington, D.C. to receive her first Master’s degree in Deaf Studies. After graduating from Gallaudet University, she stayed in town to receive her Museum Studies Certification from George Washington University. Moving back home to Louisiana, she began to work for the local public library for almost five years. During her time working for the library, Leah realized she wanted her second Master’s degree in Library Science which took her several years because I attended part time. She moved away again to California when she stopped working at the public library because of her husband’s job. She had her daughter in 2016 and moved back to Louisiana to be near family. Currently, she is a part time adjunct professor for University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Leah teaches ASL to the students  and in her local community. She is excited to join the organization, Art Play Learn, to teach about history, specifically Deaf history and World War II.  When she is not teaching, she loves to go for a run or a walk with her Weimaraner, Blue. You also could find her sitting somewhere reading a book or playing with her daughter.

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Val Williams

Preschool & PreK/Theater Arts Teacher

Val is an Austin based creative originally from Pittsburgh, PA. For over 15 years, Val has worked as a teaching artist, director, and choreographer with numerous arts education organizations across the nation including work with Tex-Arts (Austin, TX), HITS Theatre (Houston, TX), Inside Broadway (NY, NY), The New York Kids Club (NY, NY) and serving as Director of The Henry Mancini Arts Academy, Midland, PA .  Val is also a skilled preschool teacher currently working with NYC based "Village Community", founded by Nicole Ivey (MBA, Harvard Class of 2020) 


As a professional performer, Val has been seen off Broadway, regionally, and internationally. Some of her favorite performances include: 


Finian's Rainbow In Concert (Irish Repertory Theater, NYC), A Christmas Carol (Mrs. Cratchit, Town Hall, NYC), & The Light Princess, (The Queen - an original work of sensory friendly theater for early childhood, Jumping Jack Theater Co. Pittsburgh, PA). Val has also performed as a featured vocalist with The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and Norwegian Cruise Line.


Val is the founder and producing director of Vintage Entertainment Company: Vintageous Productions whose work has been seen at events in TX and PA. 


Her original CD for children, Songs for Young Whippersnappers, and first children’s book Dilber the Cranky Banana are now available online!


Val holds a BFA from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in musical theater and continuing education credits from The City College of New York in early childhood education. She is also a Masters of Education Candidate at American University.

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