Faculty & Staff Recognition Program

260 years of professional and teaching experience at NMS!

The NMS Recognition Program was established in 2001 by the Board of Directors as a way to honor and thank faculty and staff members who, through their lengthy tenure at the school, had contributed significantly to the vitality and growth of the institution. Those who have completed "milestone" years, starting at year 10, are eligible for this program.

These individuals are an integral part of the NMS community. Every day they serve our students with their constant encouragement, dedication and talent. Some of these parents and students have sent us their comments - and we would love to hear from more of you!

Join us in celebrating NMS faculty with milestone anniversaries this spring!

Please consider making a gift in their honor!

Congratulations to this year’s honorees:

staff photo  Chris Radawiec has been teaching flute at NMS for 35 years. She performs in a flute/guitar duo with Myron Radawiec. She is the author of "Leprechauns on the Loose" and "Friends at Heart," concert narratives for flute ensemble. Now a happy member of the DoSo Band.

“Chris has been an awesome, enthusiastic, inspiring teacher to my daughter and over time her relationship with Chris has grown to be more than a teacher. Chris has been wonderful in understanding the stresses of high school teenager and has been providing guidance and support to Maya besides teaching the nuances of flute playing. Maya enjoys playing flute, and Chris has been instrumental in helping my daughter learn, enjoy and relax by playing flute.”
-Usha Soundararajan, NMS Parent

staff photo  Rebecca Raffaelli has been teaching piano at NMS for 30 years. She teaches students of all ages. “I love it when my former students come see me!”

"Having Rebecca for Harris's piano instructor for all these many years has been so much more than his learning to play Bach and Beethoven ...  It's also been about enriching his life as a musician and as a person. Rebecca's quiet yet determined personality has been a true model for Harris and for our entire family!  We all adore her!”
- Nancy Andersen

"Rebecca has been a wonderful piano teacher for four of our children. Early on, she sparked in them a love for playing classical music in all its beauty. With her own joy and passion for playing, she has instilled in them the enthusiasm to constantly improve their musicianship and to try out and master many challenging pieces. Above all, her encouraging and warm-hearted personality has given our children a lot of confidence to perform and great enjoyment in playing the piano."

-Elisabeth and Richard Dobbins, NMS Parents

staff photo  Rex Cadwallader has taught piano at NMS over the past 20 years. He holds a doctorate of arts, composition, from the University of Northern Colorado. He is an Emmy Award recipient with nationally released CDs, has participated in the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop, and has written scores for television.  He has many published compositions for orchestra, big band, vocal jazz and jazz combo.

“My daughter was excited because the way he was teaching her was different from the way others taught. She was amazed that he actually played with her and explained to her the how and the why of jazz. She became more confident in her playing and worked very hard practicing every day because she wanted to make Rex proud of her.”
- Cheryl Horner, NMS Parent

staff photo  David DeLucia has been teaching piano for 20 years at NMS. He also holds a BA and an MA from UConn as well as a Sixth-year certificate in education psychology. Mr. DeLucia is a composer of chamber, orchestral and piano music. Has released four CDs so far, ranging from Bach through Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Godowsky, and his own compositions.

“David is a very supportive and dedicated teacher and he is very patient.  He uses many different ways to demonstrate to my son and daughter how to do the technical aspects of playing the piano, but more importantly how to express the feelings and emotions in the music.”
-John Nip, NMS Parent

staff photo  Serena Hatch has been with the preschool for 20 years! She has a Connecticut head teacher certification and child development associate certificate. Mrs. Hatch is a member of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
There was one morning this fall I walked my son into the preschool room and it felt cozy and warm and smelled like something was baking and on the rug the kids were dancing and music was being played and at that moment in the middle of it all was Serena on her guitar. For me, this paints a perfect picture of the level of happiness Serena brings to her classroom everyday. 

We've been lucky enough to have Serena in our lives for the past three years and we're looking forward to three more!
Theresa Nast, NMS Parent

staff photo  Martha Oneppo has a BME from Illinois Wesleyan University, and an MM from the Yale University School of Music. While at Illinois Wesleyan, she studied choral and orchestral conducting under Dr. David Nott. Martha began singing in choirs when she was four years old, and has sung in and with choirs and choruses all her life. She is retiring this year, after 20 wonderful years with NMS.

“Martha is careful. With the music, with her verbal communications, with people. Much of what she does is with a mixture of high standards and appealing modesty. We all love her.”
-Michael Frost

staff photo  Irene Senedak has taught piano at NMS for 20 years. She holds a BM from New England Conservatory and an MM from the University of Washington, Seattle. She is a founding member, Marzena New Music Ensemble and an artist with Washington Composers Forum. Irene is a faculty accompanist and coach at University of Washington and Duke University. She is also a member of the Music Department faculty at SCSU.

“For her ability to aid me in my musical goals she is as important to me as anyone I know.  To me, Irene is a credit to SCSU, a credit to this fine and important school and an important part of arts in New Haven.  One last thing, you cannot ask her to brag, it is nonexistent with her.  She is quite humble.”
-Edward Stoltz

staff photo  Debby Teason has been teaching at NMS for the past 20 years. She was a composer for 35 years, with commissions from and performances by soloists, chamber ensembles, orchestras and opera companies all over the country. While this was fun work, she then fell in love with steel pans and never looked back. Debby now leads four steel pan ensembles at NMS, including the new Sherry & Alivia Craft Teen Band.

“There is no doubt that Debby loves what she does.  At every recital and concert, it is as if Debby is hearing the music for the first time as she enthusiastically conducts us and dances along, all at the same time.  Her passion is contagious to both musician and audience.”
-Andree Acampora

staff photo  Alexander Vlassenkov holds a diploma in teaching (guitar and conducting) from Minsk College of Music; a BM and MM in music from Belarussian Academy of Music; and an M.Mus. He is a certified Suzuki teacher with the SAA, and his teachers included Frank Longay and David Madsen. He has received several awards and made recordings with Belarus Broadcast and BBC. He has been teaching at NMS for 15 years.

“My children, Maisa and Bennett have been taking lessons for years with Alex.  He is kind, talented, and patient.  He is a wonderful guitar teacher and we feel very lucky know him and learn from him.”
- Leslie Della Valle

“I particularly admire Alex’s capacity to create and manage strong ensemble groups. Pursuing excellence with others — even others who are at different levels — is a crucial skill in music as it is in life. Alex does not simply choose pieces carefully and distributes parts skillfully; he creates a sense of camaraderie, of common respect and cause, that is infectious. Of the ensemble groups he leads I can confidently say the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. In short, I truly cannot imagine a better teacher of young students — and not-so-young students like me as well.”
- Jacob Hacker

staff photo  Alexis Zingale started coming to NMS as a student in 1980. She has earned numerous awards, including finalist in Sorel Medallion for Collaborative Piano and Kauder International Music Competition for Piano. She has frequent solo and collaborative performances throughout the Northeast. Alexis has Suzuki training through book 7 with Leena Crothers, Sue Vasquez, Mary Craig Powell, Doris Harrel and Katherine Monsour Barley. She has been teaching piano at NMS for 15 years.

“Alexis has been a dedicated teacher to our three daughters over the past several years. She has been unwavering in the quality of her pedagogy and commitment to helping the girls build a strong musical foundation from which they will draw over their lifetime. Alexis has been by their side during numerous Suzuki lessons and recitals through which they have been able to display their skills and experience success as piano students. With her support, our girls have thrived musically. Our high school senior will be going to her top choice college soon and I am grateful for the contribution years of lessons with Alexis has made to her acceptance at an elite institution. I can't envision a life without Piano. I thank Alexis for helping to make it so and look forward to our time together in the future.”
- Ren, Nina, Isabella, Sofia, and Giulia Migani (with NMS since preschool). 

staff photo  Cybil Jones-Juarez grew up on a farm in North Dakota and got her BA, vocal performance, from Northwestern College, Saint Paul, Minnesota. She has been teaching voice at NMS for 15 years. “I love being with other musicians.”

“Cybil is a wonderful teacher.  Before coming to NMS, I had 2 coaches from Yale, a tech coach and a performance coach. They were impatient and demanding.  I have worked with Cybil for 8 months and I have begun to regain my voice and my confidence without all the extreme stress.  She is marvelous.” 
- Pam Reisler

“When Charlotte and I first walked into Cybil’s room, we were both a bit nervous. But as soon as we opened the door, the room seemed filled with love as Cybil moved towards us like an angel who was going to unlock the secrets of Charlotte’s voice. This may seem like an exaggeration, but it’s what we both felt and since then Cybil has been a wonderful and encouraging presence in Charlotte’s life developing her singing skills and starting her out on piano lessons. We’re very grateful to her.”
-Rosemary Jones, NMS Parent

staff photo  Jane Hanselman earned a diploma and MS in piano performance with pedagogy emphasis from the Hartt School, a BS from Oberlin College & Conservatory and an MS from Syracuse University. Ms. Hanselman is an adjunct professor at the University of New Haven. She has been teaching at NMS for 10 years.

“Lessons with Jane are one of the guaranteed bright spots of my week. She really delights in music and she shares that enthusiasm with her students--even an older student like my struggling through my first Stephen Foster songs. As a teacher she is thoughtful, skilled, and responsive, and funny to boot! Congratulations to her and a great big thank you!”
-Grace Zimmer

staff photo  Denise Nutile has been a teacher at the NMS Preschool and Toddler Program for the past 10 years. Her energy and creativity with these little ones has endeared her to many children and parents.

“Denise has been the toddler teacher for two of our children. She is incredibly kind, nurturing and patient, and always willing to chat about the day's activities, or answer any of our questions. Having such a creative, communicative and fun teacher in the classroom means everything when you're a parent and we are so glad Denise has been part of our family's life!”
-Cara McDonough, NMS Parent

staff photo  Lisa Rovello is the Marketing & Public Relations Manager at NMS. She attended the School of Visual arts at SUNY Purchase and graduated from Emerson College in Boston. She studied flute for several years at the South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, Mass. and is a huge fan of all kinds of music.

“I've worked closely with Lisa for nearly three years and have been her boss for the past two years, and it's been an absolute pleasure working with her. Lisa is one of the most loyal, creative, hard-working and kindhearted people I've ever worked with, and she cares a great deal about NMS and the arts in general. NMS has been fortunate to have Lisa managing the marketing and public relations functions for these past 10 years. Kudos, Lisa!”
- Sue Davison, Director of Institutional Advancement