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Meet Our Instructors

We are pleased to welcome new instructors to our team, all with outstanding credentials and classes that complement and enrich our existing programs.


Lindsy Avenall

"My name is Lindsy Avenall. I am a Michigan native and that has lived and taught in Washtenaw county for the last decade and various art camps all over Michigan. However, I love the Ann Arbor community and am proud to be a part of it. Growing the arts and transferable skills is a passion of mine because art and design can be found in everything. Looking forward to creating with you!"

Alice Chang

Ni hao! My name is Huishan (Alice) Chang. I have taught after school Chinese at Rec & Ed for over 10 years. I strongly believe that everyone has the ability to learn more than one language. My insight on the Chinese curriculum is that students should be taught language that is meaningful. Therefore, my goal for after school Chinese is to teach students language that is related to their daily life. When teaching, I use positive feedback as my classroom management philosophy. My favorite hobby is to travel around the world. I have traveled to many countries. I have not only been shocked by beautiful, natural landscapes, but also by different cultures. I have learned that every culture has its own unique tradition that should be respected. I believe that meaningful teaching, interesting activities, and a communicative climate in the classroom will pave a path to learn Chinese. Welcome to the summer Chinese Conversation class! Let's begin the journey together!

Christina Marie Sears

Christina Marie Sears is a teacher of dance, yoga and arts programs with over 20 years of experience. She has taught all ages from preschoolers to senior citizens. She won “Best Dance Educator” in the State of Michigan in 2016. She is an award-winning choreographer and professional dancer. She directed the People Dancing Company from 2000-2020, and teaches for Rec and Ed, Maple Street Studios, Know Obstacles and more. She enjoys dancing with others and demonstrating new skills, strategies and arts adventures.

James Schayes

James has been an artist his entire life. He is an accomplished photographer who has been able to photograph some of the world's biggest bands in concert. Besides photography, he creates art using wood, metal, and resin. James was a metal fabricator building aircraft carriers before deciding to create his own artwork.

Janet Szeto

Janet Szeto loves connecting with students of all ages, and values every opportunity to explore creative ideas alongside them.   She has been teaching visual art for over 16 years at community centers, in public and private schools, and pre-college programs across the country.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art (Painting) from Rutgers University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). When she is not teaching, she loves painting and making collages. Recently, she has been getting back into block-printing, and teaching herself pop-up paper design.

Samantha Coffin

Samantha Coffin is a graduate from Western Michigan University and has her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance with a minor in Business. She has performed in numerous ballets including The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Peter and the Wolf, and Coppelia. Miss Sam has danced soloist roles in “Fandango” by Antony Tudor, which was staged by ABT’s Amanda Mckerrow and John Gardner. She has been a guest artist performing as The Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker. She has also worked with Willy Shives from The Joffery Ballet and performed in Gerald Arpino’s “Viva Vivaldi”. Miss Sam is an Acrobatic Arts certified Module One instructor as well as a current member of Dance Educators of America. She has taken numerous dance teacher training workshops including many with DanceLife Retreat as well as American Ballet Theater. She is a Rhythm Works Integrative Arts certified instructor which focuses on students with disabilities. Miss Sam also choreographs for the Jackson Northwest High School choir. Sam has been teaching since 2014 and loves seeing her students explore, grow and experience the joy of dance. 

Eileen Ho

Eileen S. Ho 何愛玲 is a Taiko artist, educator, and organizer at the Great Lakes Taiko Center (GLTC) with co-director and life partner Larry An. Eileen and members of the GLTC Collective show up in their communities in SE Michigan and beyond to reimagine, share, and activate the cultural power of Taiko Arts, through artistic practices that are rooted in ancestral wisdom of Japanese Taiko drumming and through collective play that invites us all to express who we are and celebrate the world we want to live in together.

Michi Wixon

Hello! I’m Michi Wixon, and I teach Japanese Exploration Zone and Japanese Exploration Zone in the Gym for 2-5 years olds. I enjoy leading these classes and getting to know the children, parents, grandparents and caregivers who attend. My main goal is to provide a fun space to experience Japanese culture and language for Native-Japanese families as well as non-native Japanese families within a traditional First Steps class format. By weaving Japanese culture and language into play, art, music and movement, young children begin to understand cultural diversity and create more positive attitudes towards people from different backgrounds. Two years ago, participating in First Steps classes was so important to me and my young son because of the pandemic and being forced to stay home for such a long time. We had a chance to make friends, play and socialize with other parents and children. In addition to leading First Steps classes, I teach Japanese to adults part-time. 

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