Our Instructors

Andy Chidester
Andy Chidester has been running youth sports programs in the La Canada and Pasadena areas for over a decade. After graduating from the University of Michigan in '98 (Sports Management) he moved to Southern California and began training elementary age kids. He started his own company, Assist Athletics in 2004. Since then "Coach Andy" has been trying to put the "fun" in fundamental skill development while emphasizing the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, and hustle in team sports.
Anette Shafrazian
Annette Shafrazian teaches ceramics at the Community Center. She is a potter who sees and feels different aspects of the world around her and she folds these perceptions into her work. She works in two different temperatures: high-fire, which is stoneware and porcelain, which is low-fire. she moved to Los Angeles in 1981 and worked as a fashion designer for 12 years.
Barbara Dempsey
Barbara Dempsey has performed regularly at such venues as Don the Beachcombers, Tropicana Hotel-Las Vegas & The Harrah’s Marina Hotel-Atlantic City, with the Okalani Polynesian Revue, eventually branching off, along with her sister Kathy and formed “Mainland Paradise” and Kon Tiki Polynesian Productions.
Cheryl Fazzi
Preschool cooking classes offer rich experiences with a variety of foods, spices, tools, and techniques. Through sweet and savory dishes math, science, and language come alive, fine motor and self help skills increase, and community is built as food is prepared and shared. Popular recipes include fried rice, calzones, banana muffins, chocolate chip cookies, mozzarella sticks, and German Pancakes.
Cynthia Ortiz
Cynthia began her teaching career over 19 years ago. She first started in public schools teaching elementary kids, then went into the private sector teaching elementary students and adults. More flexibility became available through the charter school system, and thus began her journey with homeschool students. After becoming a mom, she decided to put all her experiences into enriching her son's life. Raising a bilingual child was important for her but opportunities for this exposure was not readily available, and so with like minded moms, she began her quest to expose kids to Spanish. In addition to this, Cynthia has traveled and studied abroad in various Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. She is a credentialed teacher with a Master's Degree in Education. Her passion is to teach.
Gabriel Tsai
Before Gabriel became a dance instructor, he was a senior executive for a multinational bank. He began his professional career as a diplomat for the Republic of China (Taiwan), or, as he fondly recounts to others, as a Foreign Agent registered with the United States Department of Justice. Gabriel took up ballroom dancing to relieve the daily stress of managing OPM (Other People’s Money). He danced as a member of the Promotional Dance Team for the TV special Dancing with the Stars. He danced on stage in the theatrical dance drama Astra. He also appeared in an episode of the prime time comedy The Big Bang Theory dancing with the leading lady Kaley Cuoco. In an appearance at Comic-Con 2011, Ms. Cuoco referred to her scene with Gabriel as her favorite moment of the 2011 season.
H. Jean Taylor
Jean Taylor was born in Chingford, Essex, England. She went to college in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating with a teaching degree in 1947, L.G.S.M. (ELOC). This led to working as a Studio Manager at the B.B.C. till 1956 when she married a Canadian from Montreal. Living there in January, 1958 she joined a Potter’s Club and discovered clay! The following year her husband, as a Diplomat for the Canadian Government was posted to Johannesburg, South Africa. In the 3 1/2 years spent there she completed her ceramic training with a British potter, John Edwards. A second posting brought them, with their two children to Los Angeles, and Jean continued her studies at Pasadena City College. In 1966, her husband was again reposted, but Jean elected to stay here with her two children. In June 1966 Jean began, what was to become her life’s work, at the Community Center, known in those days as the Youth House. As Director she began to build the Ceramics department teaching all the classes, including also some cooking classes, and in the summer, Archaeology for the Science Camp. She also taught art and clay up at the Community Center’s Preschool. In 2006 after 40 years as Director she resigned, but continues to teach once a week. Her passions? She used to garden, which is of the earth, from whence comes the clay that makes our pots, and into which goes the produce which is required for the recipes which she endlessly researches. A wonderfully creative cycle which we can all embrace (along with our loved ones) together, as a ceramic family.
Jane Shirk
Come along with your passports and imagination as we travel the globe and hear fairytales and folktales from around the world. Each week we'll share a story from a different country and learn about the place where it originates from, through crafts, games and music. New stories every session!
Janine Bailey
Janine Bailey teaches Gentle Yoga and Mat Pilates on Tuesdays and Thursdays for adults and seniors. Her gentle and inspirational classes reflect her passion for yoga and desire to share principles that support students in their practice on and off the mat. Her knowledge of alignment and therapeutics mixed with her down to earth nature and humor create a fun and nurturing environment.
Joanna Burke (aka Jo Jo)
Joanna Burke started dancing at age 3. With the knowledge that ballet is the basis of all dance, she studied at Arizona’s professional ballet company. Joanna very much enjoys tap and hip hop, and has a great passion for jazz and lyrical, including contemporary. She had the opportunity to travel and compete before she began training and working in Hollywood. Joanna is fortunate to have trained and worked with some of the top choreographers from hit television shows. Through apprenticing at a young age, she developed a love for teaching and choreographing for children of all ages. By the age of 17 she was teaching and choreographing professionally and has won several choreography awards. Whether your child participates in dance for fun, exercise, as a creative outlet, to build self confidence, or aspires to a career in dance, Joanna’s years of study, dedication, enthusiasm and love of this art has given her the tools to help all her students achieve their goals.
Joanne Voors
Joanne came to the Community Center 8 years ago and began teaching her Dance and Theater Arts programs. This year she received the Finest Dance Teacher award by the Crescenta Valley Weekly and was honored to be recognized for her dedication to each and every one of her students. Joanne was born and raised in England where she trained with the Royal Academy of Dance. She achieved her Associates Teaching credential from RAD in Ballet and also through the National Association of Teachers of Dance and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance. Now, Joanne brings her love of dance and theater arts to all of her classes and students. Joanne worked as a professional dancer for sixteen years, starting out with her first job in America at the young age of 17. She worked for MGM Entertainment for several years in many shows such as Jubilee and Hello Hollywood Hello. She also danced in The Lido de Paris, and many other large Las Vegas production shows at the Luxor, MGM and the Stardust. She moved to New York to pursue her passion for Musical Theater and performed in musicals such as Cats, Anything Goes, Crazy for you, Will Rogers Follies and 42nd Street. She then worked on world cruises for several years for Crystal Cruises, Royal Viking and Cunard where she was a member of the Theatrical production team and also worked as a social ambassador to the passengers. She has lived in many different cities around the world such as New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. Her dance career has given her many blessings and adventures in her life and now she is thrilled that she gets to share her love of dance & theater to all her students of all ages. In 1981, her dream of living in America came true with her first professional job, working for Don Arden at the MGM in Las Vegas and Reno for the shows - Jubilee and Hello Hollywood Hello. She went on to perform in the Lido de Paris, the Moulin Rouge, Winds of the Gods, Hot Rock and Country and many industrial and promo shows for MGM. During her time in Las Vegas, she was able to perform in the 1988 Bob Hope Olympic show in Seoul Korea, where she performed alongside Bob Hope, Julio Iglesias, Miami Sound Machine, Jermaine Jackson and Dolly Parton. Now, as a teacher, she loves to inspire kids to think out of the box, be creative and have the confidence to communicate and express their thoughts and feelings.
Joe Steckermeier
Joe Steckermeier has worked at the Community Center since 1984. He has taught countless classes – mainly art and tennis. Joe has a teaching credential and works for Glendale Unified School District. He is married and has one son. Joe’s hobbies include record collecting and camping in the Mojave Desert. “The Community Center is a very special place.”
Kristen Erickson
Kristen Erickson is a multidisciplinary designer/artist who focuses on ceramic functional and non-functional wares and jewelry. Armed with years of experience in clay, a BFA in Environmental Art from Otis College Of Art And Design, and an extensive background in architecture, Kristen’s diverse skill set stretches beyond the typical pottery education. Her work is well crafted in the traditional sense as well as explorative, inventive, and modern.
Lindsay Kessner
Ceramics Instructor. Lindsay teaches our Preschool ceramics class. During the six week class, our preschoolers make various projects - pots, cups, frames, wind chimes, ornaments, creatures and flowers.
Moses Navarro
Moses Navarro is originally from Spain started his dancing career at age 10 studying flamenco and Classical ballet, he started performing flamenco at age twelve, when he was 14, his family moved to Mexico City and he continued his dance training at the National Institute of Fine Arts, dancing at the Academia Nacional de Ballet, and also joined the Ballet Nacional de Mexico directed by the world known Choreographer Amalia Hernandez, and Jazz at the Emma Pulido Dance Academy. Moses also studied drama and did classical theatre winning a scholarship to study at the CEA (Center of Artistic Education) of Televisa. Through singing, acting and dancing Moses Auditioned and performed professionally for several years in musical theatre with principal roles in major productions of world known musicals such as Joseph and his amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ SuperStar, Cats, and a few others. When Moses moved to Los Angeles, he joined the Los Angeles Metropolitan Performing Arts Academy, and with the company he toured throughout the United States and Japan giving workshops and performances. Moses continues performing classical ballet with the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, formerly known as The Media City Ballet, and also continues performing flamenco under the direction of Flamenco Master Roberto Amaral.
October Crifasi
October Crifasi is a musician, teaching artist, and writer with extensive experience teaching and performing nationwide, including several years on the faculty at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and as guitar coach for projects on the Great American Country Channel (GAC), MTV, and Lifetime Networks. She is a regular contributor to Acoustic Guitar and Ukulele magazines and also directs a private guitar studio for girls and women in the San Fernando Valley called Girls Guitar School.
Sara Wedman
Sara is one of the Community Center's ceramics instructors. She has had an ongoing love affair with clay since her teens, and has been teaching ceramics for the past 12 years. She believe in the power of clay – anyone can play, explore, and expand their creativity in this wonderfully malleable medium. Her job as a teacher is to support and guide the student, no matter their age or experience, in their creative journey.
Tom Puckett
Tom began teaching children’s and adult ceramic classes at CCLCF in 2008. His ceramic journey began at Everywoman’s Village in Van Nuys in the early 1990s, and by 2005, he’d moved on to the ceramics program at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. While volunteering as an assistant in the Art department, he developed his love for firing kilns. Tom’s ceramics have been included in exhibitions at the American Museum of Ceramic Arts in Pomona, and the California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Arts in Davis. His background is in costume design and construction. He earned his BFA and MA at the University of Arizona, where he was also a teaching assistant while doing his graduate work. For 24 years before he began working with ceramics full-time, he worked in wardrobe on the set of “The Young and the Restless.” Tom says, “I love to help people, both the young and the not-so-young, find their inner potters. Hopefully, I provide some inspiration for their individual creativity.”