Educators and Professionals


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Traci Demuth-Korhonen

Founder, Director, and Educator

Dr. Traci Demuth-Korhonen has pursued her dreams of positively impacting education in a variety of ways through public, private, and non-profit programs. In 2013, she started Dream AcadeME Summer Camp. Since then Dr. Demuth has expanded Dream AcadeME with Homeschool, Tutoring, Afterschool classes, and consulting services.

Dr. Demuth-Korhonen received her Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) in K-12 Education Leadership at USC in 2015. With over fifteen years of teaching experience, her most memorable experiences have been teaching Pre-K at Harvard University and working with parents to open micro-schools. Dr. Demuth-Korhonen weaves Reggio and Constructivism philosophies to create a curriculum that meets the needs of 21st century learners with personalized Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math project-based experiences. She incorporates the latest research and consistently evolves the curriculum to meet the students’ interests and needs.

Teaching children literacy and math skills is one of the most rewarding experiences for Dr. Demuth-Korhonen as an educator. She facilitates a blended program of whole language, invented spelling, phonics, social constructivism, and process drama to maintain motivation for reading and writing. In mathematics she derives lessons from cognitively guided instruction (CGI) incorporated with math fluency and manipulatives, as well as real world experiences and projects. By incorporating the child's interests and moving at a pace that maintains the child's confidence, Dr. Demuth-Korhonen has observed numerous children make leaps and bounds in their academic development. With a strong foundation in reading, writing, and math, students are better able to research, document, and experiment with STEAM learning projects.

Most importantly, Dr. Demuth-Korhonen respects and highly values the parent-teacher partnership and works closely in regular communication with parents about their children’s experiences. In addition to her credentials in education, Dr. Demuth-Korhonen is also a certified yoga and fitness instructor. Many elements of yoga, movement, dance, meditation, and mindfulness are integrated into daily practices at Dream AcadeME.

Dr. Demuth-Korhonen has a deep passion for teaching and learning. In honor of her commitment as a life-long learner, she will be studying at the Opal School in Portland, OR during the spring of 2019 to bring back more knowledge and experience to Dream AcadeME. To her fullest ability, she creates an authentic and honest approach to education to prepare children for success in today’s globalized society, while evolving her understanding of best practices along the way. Dr. Demuth-Korhonen hopes you will join her endeavor in education reform and expresses her gratitude for sharing in these dreams.


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Nivedan Nayak

Educator

Nivedan is a private academic and music tutor, teaching by day and rocking the stage by night. Originally from the Bay Area, Nivedan moved down south to attend UCLA, graduating with a major in Mass Media Communications and a minor in Film & Television. After spending two years consulting the recruiting teams of the top Bay Area tech startups, including Airbnb and Counsyl, Nivedan moved on to focus on his lifelong passions in education and music.

Nivedan's strong academic background and broad life experience have allowed him to teach students in a variety of subjects. As a graduate of the rigorous International Baccalaureate program at Andrew P. Hill High School, he has demonstrated proficiency in math, science, English, and the arts at international testing standards. As a filmmaker, Nivedan holds a minor from UCLA's prestigious film school and has thousands of hours of experience both on set and in the editing bay; he continues to direct and edit music videos for local artists as well as his own band. As a musician, Nivedan has written, produced, and released records, toured California, and performed in front of 10,000 people.

Nivedan has extensive experience tutoring students from elementary to adult ages. Nivedan's energy and passion for what he teaches is infectious, creating an environment which ignites students' curiosities and stokes their excitement for discovery. His philosophy is that students learn best when they: 1) have a relationship with their teacher based on mutual trust, understanding, and respect; 2) clearly see how what they are learning applies to the real world; 3) are confident in their own capability to learn and eventually master what they study through passion, discipline, and hard work; and 4) most importantly, when they are having fun!

Nivedan's speciality is in being adaptable—in discovering the individual needs of his students and molding the lesson to best fit their learning style. His ultimate goal with his students is to give to them the tools to help them unlock and realize the potential within themselves to achieve success in whichever path of life they choose to walk.

When he's not tutoring or performing, you can find Nivedan inventing new dance moves or petting the nearest dog.


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Tessa Lamb

Educator

Tessa has over 15 years of teaching experience. She has earned her Bachelor in Elementary Education (BEd), Bachelor in Fine Arts (BFA), and Master in Fine Arts (MFA), all from the University of British Columbia. Tessa has her California Multi-Subject Teacher Credential and has completed a comprehensive Orton-Gillingham training in reading intervention.  Finally, she earned a Certificate in Early Childhood Education from Douglas College in British Columbia.

Tessa is a dynamic Educator with demonstrated capabilities in understanding child development, gifted education, emergent literacy and Fine Arts. She is focused on supporting the development of the whole child through assessing needs, supporting emotional and physical development, and creating differentiated curriculum. Tessa helps families understand and translate assessments into home practice. She works collaboratively with families to develop ways to support and facilitate their child's learning.

Tessa uses different tools and processes such as the Constructivist education, Waldorf-inspired curriculum, the Orton-Gillingham method, and artistic expression to create individualized and group programs. She has a strong proficiency in creating and applying diverse methods in different learning environments and for diverse needs. As an artist, Tessa has developed a unique ability to connect with children to create security, excitement and readiness to learn. She can make children feel understood and is committed to supporting the uniqueness of each child’s path of development.


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Jimmy Cook

Science, Math, Music, and OUTDOOR EDUCATOR

Jimmy is currently completing his Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Cal State LA (2020). He previously earned an Associate’s in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz. Jimmy has been fortunate to work in the engineering field marrying his passion for sustainability and engineering. As an enthusiastic nerd, Jimmy’s professional interests also include Coding, thermodynamics, propulsion, and STEAM.

Among his academic achievements and professional experience, Jimmy has always maintained a passion for education. With a background in tutoring children as young as seven to college entrance level, Jimmy emphasizes a hands-on and individualized approach to education. A positive educational experience must apply concepts to our real world problems. Further, Jimmy models for students that math and science is fun and exciting to learn!

Jimmy’s educational philosophy is rooted in mindfulness and peace. He believes and has experienced that learning often comes easier when students experience a grounded and centered learning environment. Jimmy is talented at meeting children where they are and encouraging them to think outside the box and try new challenges. He enjoys teaching children in an outdoor environment and leading summer camps. Lastly, Jimmy always welcomes the opportunity to teach guitar.

Beyond his professional and academic career, Jimmy is a passionate musician with a strong 10-year background in classical guitar. Other hobbies include woodworking, backpacking, camping, and yoga.


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Jacquelyn Cohen

Atelierista

Jacqui has enjoyed working with children in a variety of settings since her early college years. She earned her Bachelors degree in fine arts with an emphasis in art history and she also has a Masters of Science degree in psychology. She attended art summer programs at both Otis Parsons and abroad in Italy. Early in college Jacqui was an assistant preschool teacher. After earning her Masters in psychology she worked in schools as a therapist intern and utilized art as one of the ways to help children and teens connect and express themselves. Her Master’s thesis was on the use and benefits of art therapy within certain populations. Jacqui also volunteered and taught art in a public school class when funding could not provide the art teacher for the full school year. She is passionate about both psychology and art and loves being able to help facilitate and encourage each child’s unique sense of creativity and expression through art. Currently, she is also getting her certification to teach children’s yoga.

 
 

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Nathan Kersey Wilson

Music (String, Key, & Wind) and Outdoor EDUCATOR

Nathan holds a BA in Ethnomusicology with a concentration in jazz performance from UCLA. He specializes in piano, saxophone, flute, bass, guitar, and vocals. He aims to teach a technical mastery of the instrument, a deep understanding of harmonic and rhythmic concepts, reading sheet music, the ability to express oneself through improvisation, and how to jam with others.

Nathan aims to achieve these learning objectives by following students’ passions. For example, he practices giving space for a child to choose which song to learn, explore their own songwriting, and follow their curiosity. Nathan is passionate about community building, social justice, and creating a more equitable and sustainable world. These values come across in his lessons, in which he emphasizes patience, self-respect, positive communication, creative expression, and living-in-the-moment, all of which he believes are necessary for a well-rounded life.

Nathan loves working with children, and in addition to tutoring in music, he has been involved with youth summer camps his whole life. Some memorable experiences at camp include sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, rock climbing, and ropes course. He also worked for many years at the UCLA Challenge Course, facilitating high ropes experiential education programs with an emphasis on effective communication, courage, and collaboration.

Nathan has offered his musical talents through directing, composing, performing, and arranging for groups/bands whose styles represent a large musical spectrum - from R&B to big-band to hip-hop to rock to musical theater. Nathan’s career has led him to work with legends such as Kenny Burrell, The Untouchables, Saint Motel, Moses Sumney, KSHMR, and to perform at notable venues such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Montreau Jazz Festival, Royce Hall, Pauley Pavilion, and the Berkeley Greek Theater.

Outside of the professional world, Nathan loves spending time with his wife, Sarah, camping, surfing, hiking, and singing with friends. Music has been his teacher, friend, therapist, and gift to others, and he is grateful to be able to share this passion with the next generation


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Ann Marie Wilding 

EDUCATOR and Executive Assistant

As a childcare professional and tutor, Ann Marie is proud to share in the Dream AcadeME philosophy that children play a vital role in their own education! She has worked closely with children from infancy to middle-school age both as a nanny and tutor. Having taught private math tutoring, Ann Marie has seen first hand the immense value of one-on-one academic support for students. With over 10 years of childcare experience, Ann Marie recognizes the importance of meeting children where they are, listening closely, and fostering a sense of self-worth and autonomy. 

Ann Marie enjoys working in a creative capacity to serve our lovely Dream AcadeME families and to support our talented staff. As an artist, Ann Marie is passionate about supporting meaningful, local work that serves the community. And as Executive Assistant supporting in community outreach and all things administrative, Ann Marie is a proud member of the Dream AcadeME staff in ways beyond teaching! She has served with endless creative solutions to the growth and development of Dream AcadeME.

Having received her BFA in Acting for the Stage and Screen from Azusa Pacific University, Ann Marie continues to pursue her acting career and is passionate about her work in commercial, film, and theatre. A proud member of OpenFist Theatre Company, Downtown Repertory Theatre Company, and a graduate of UCB School of Improv, Ann Marie loves nothing more than performing live! 


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Akemi Kelly Osajima

Educator and fundraiser

Akemi is a constantly evolving being on a lifelong journey of growing love and expanding consciousness. She is also a private tutor, political organizer, and freelance writer. She graduated from UCLA with a BA in Sociology, and rounded out her education with student government and community service a cappella. The latter instilled in her a lifelong passion for creating music to open hearts and connect souls, and the former taught her the importance of questioning the status quo and organizing for social change. 

After tuition increased by an unprecedented 32% her second year of college, Akemi went from attending reactionary protests to developing the first statewide campaign with the UC Student Association Board to fight for long-term revenue solutions to California’s budget crisis. She spent the next several years working in political non-profits, doing everything from registering new voters to donor fundraising to starting internship programs for college students. 

To gain experience in not just changing our current institutions but imagining beyond them, Akemi traveled Southeast Asia in 2016, where she meditated at a monastery in Thailand, learned indigenous wisdom on a family farm in the Philippines, and lived in a forest eco-community with 30 people around the world. Seeking to bridge these different experiences upon her return, Akemi led mindfulness and culture shift programs for a national anti-war organization, as well as spiritual camping retreats for her friends, exploring relationship to nature, self, and community through heart-opening meditations, ceremonial practices, and group improvisational games. 

Akemi has worked with youth of all ages throughout her life, facilitating performing arts summer camps and leadership programs, volunteering in classrooms, and teaching private ESL, Language Arts, and Math. She believes that youth are empowered when they identify and honor their unique gifts, learn to trust their intuition, and develop an in-depth understanding of the world around them - thereby connecting personal and societal transformation. She nurtures each relationship, tapping into joy, humor and curiosity to build love for people, creativity and our planet. 

Akemi expresses her own love for life through dancing, singing, painting, writing, and trail running. She’s also recently started a spiritual soul band with her best friends and a personal blog about her harrowing adventures as a twenty-something navigating the adult world.


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Victoria Venkatraman

Voice, Yoga, and Mindfulness EDUCATOR

After graduating from UCLA with the highest honors in Mass Media Communication studies and a minor in Film & Television, Victoria chose to pursue her passions in education, yoga, music, and performing. She is a 200-hr RYT certified yoga instructor, and has experience teaching traditional studio classes, training other instructors, working one on one with private clients, and leading mindfulness workshops at pre-schools. 

The mindfulness practices she has cultivated lay the foundation for everything she does, from the art she creates to the methods that she uses to teach. Her academic background coupled with her creative interests gives a unique perspective to problem solving that is a combination of logic, flow, and intuition. She loves helping children find their intuitive gifts and help them create meaningful connections and solutions.

Victoria considers herself a citizen of the world. Living Shanghai, China, studying in Florence, Italy, volunteering with underprivileged children in Cusco, Peru, her multiracial ancestry, and other world travels gives her a global perspective that allows her to connect with everyone she meets.

Her ultimate goal is to bring diverse people together through the healing and transformative powers of music, mindfulness, and healthy living. She believes we all have access to unlimited flow of knowledge and creativity, and strives to help her students tap into their personal power and unlock their full potential. 




 
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Sabrina Kern

German, music, and Theater EDUCATOR

Sabrina will be living abroad the second half of 2019 in her homeland, Switzerland. We will welcome her back in the spring of 2020. Sabrina Kern grew up in Zurich and moved to Los Angeles four years ago where she has been working as a professional actress on various stages as well as in front of the camera. Sabrina trained for over 10 years at some of the finest acting schools both in Europe, New York, and Los Angeles. Her knowledge is wide-ranging, but her specialties are improvisation and the Meisner Technique. Sabrina loves working with children and her teaching focus is to ensure the students feel safe, have fun, and take risks that will open a whole new world for them. 

Sabrina firmly believes that acting class is not only for children who want to grow up to be performers, but very valuable for anyone who wants to learn how to get out of their shell, speak publicly with confidence, or just be more open and receptive on a daily basis. Lessons that Sabrina leads might include studying the history of acting and various acting techniques, researching famous actors and performers to create biographies, learning improvisational games that teach confidence, creativity, and being present, developing scripts and scenes together to rehearse and perform, and visiting live theaters right here in the Los Angeles area.

Sabrina teaches German in a playful and fun way focusing on student's immediate surroundings, life situations, and the students dreams and interests. She guides children through investigations about German traditions, food, dress, society, lifestyle, geography, and more to learn the language in an authentic way! 

Sabrina's music classes are not your everyday musical instrument lesson. Children will learn some piano and ukulele with Sabrina, while integrating musical theater. The focus will be on singing and expressive dancing, as well as some music theater history. The classes are open-ended and she uses inquiry based learning. Sabrina includes some time focusing on rhythms, musical notes & measures, and music theory.

Excitingly, Sabrina just finished filming the new Darren Lynn Bousman movie ST AGATHA as the lead Agatha. For fun she likes to spend time with her dog, Flo, record songs and monologues in her home studio, and spend time with her family.

 
 

 
 
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Stee Gfeller

Music, Drum, And Keys EDUCATOR

Stee will be living abroad the second half of 2019 in his homeland, Switzerland, to make music with his sister, Coco for their band, Zibbz. He will return to Dream AcadeME's open arms in the spring of 2020! Stee's very first drum set was made of pots and pans from his mom's kitchen as soon as he could walk! Rhythm is definitely in his DNA with a drummer mom and guitarist dad. Stee started to perform in his father's band at the age of nine - although you couldn't see much of him behind the drumset! Winning the Swiss National Drummer competition at the age of 11 and again at 12 and 13, Stee decided to study music. He then auditioned for Switzerland's top music-school at the age of 16. After four years of studying mainly drums and keys, he started teaching in local schools while starting his own band with his sister, Coco, and making a name for as himself as one of the country's top drummers.

Stee has played for audiences of 25,000 and more. Now living in LA, he has recently been invited to join the star-studded troupe, "Street Drum Corps", as well as playing drums, keys, guitars, and producing for his own band "The Zibbz" and other artists. Stee is an all around talent and loves working with children to share his passion and inspire them to play music.

 
 

 
 
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Nancy Fleming

Educator

Nancy is on maternity leave for the remainder of 2019. Nancy has been passionate about working with children of all ages since she was in high school. At the age of five, she started taking dance classes, performing and competing in all genres, and by high school she was teaching jazz, hip-hop, and ballet to all ages. After moving to L.A. in her twenties, Nancy took her dance to the next level appearing and choreographing for numerous music videos. Today she remains active in dance as a way of releasing her creativity. Nancy continues to teach elementary aged children dance and enjoys teaching creative techniques musicality, while integrating rhythm and art with movement.

Nancy’s passion for the Arts can be seen in her ability to guide children. Over a decade ago she started working for SVUSD in Orange County as a camp counselor in an after school program. After a few months, she was promoted as a Program Coordinator where she oversaw nine different school sites, hired staff members and teachers, helped to coordinate events, and organized after school activities at each site. While working for SVUSD she attended Cal State University Long Beach and graduated with a Liberal Arts Bachelors Degree in Education with an emphasis in Mathematics.

During her program at CSULB, she volunteered 180 hours at an inner city public school where she gained experience teaching in a Japanese immersion Kindergarten classroom. When she moved to LA Nancy taught at a private school in Culver City called Turning Point School. Here she taught preschool through middle school aged children along with teaching specialized classes for the after school enrichment program.

Many experiences have contributed to Nancy’s growth in teaching, but she knew that teaching had to be much more than set lesson plans in order for children to expand their knowledge. Recently, she joined the PeaPods Schoolhouse, a Reggio Emilia inspired school that offers STEAM provocations, located in Mar Vista. Her role at the school was Associate Director and lead teacher, where she could help guide students through STEAM and explorations. One of Nancy’s fondest memories of a child was making mud pies with loose materials her mother used to give her in the backyard. Nancy’s philosophy on teaching is to not tell kids the answers, but rather guiding them to learn the answers through their experiences, surrounding environments, and interests. 

Nancy is thrilled to be a part of Dream AcadeME and has worked closely before with Dr. Demuth as a Kindergarten and First grade teacher. She’s exhilarated to bring her experience in the garden and coming up with farm to table recipes with Dream AcadeME students. Nancy will be sharing her passion and creativity of dance with the children along with her love for cooking and baking, while incorporating all components of STEAM. Whether it be experimenting with fondant and shapes in the kitchen, measuring tablespoons and cups for a recipe, or painting while dancing, she’s a firm believer that the memories that children create in their young minds are the ones that mold and shape who they become.