Meet Our Team
Learn from the Best
LIHSA students benefit from Long Island’s most prestigious and acclaimed arts training. We aim to guide each student to realize their full potential and our teaching faculty collectively bring a wealth of experience from the world’s arts, entertainment and cultural industries. Their expertise across theatre, screen, the latest performance platforms and many other cultural areas provides students with the skills and knowledge to build successful careers, and instills them with the passion and confidence to become the region’s next creative leaders.
LIHSA teachers are practicing artists, working at a high level within their respective careers, and are skilled masters of their crafts.
Board of Cooperative Educational Services of Nassau County
Susan Bergtraum, President
Deborah Coates, Vice President
Martin R. Kaye
Fran N. Langsner
Robert “B.A.” Schoen
Eric B. Schultz
Nassau BOCES Administration
April E. Poprilo, Interim District Superintendent
James R. Widmer, Deputy Superintendent
Colleen Lipponer, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services
Thomas McGrath, Assistant to the Superintendent (Human Resources/RSIP)
Susan McNulty, Assistant to the Superintendent (Special Education/Curriculum & Instruction)
Regional Schools and Instructional Programs
Judith A. Hynes, Associate Director
Dr. Christopher Korolczuk, Assistant Director
Jyoti Sood, Supervisor of Data and Technology
Laura Vega – Principal
Laura Vega is the Principal of the Long Island High School for the Arts. She was previously at The Young Women’s Leadership School for 14 years, seven of those as Assistant Principal, where she led school wide initiatives to improve student engagement, create vertically aligned curriculum that improved student achievement, and led the school in restorative justice practices, building community and raising awareness of equity issues.
Prior to education, Vega spent several years in business running her own recruitment firm before moving to NYC where she worked on Wall Street at Merrill Lynch leading Equity Research recruitment for North and South America. Her time in business led to a passion for improving diversity, equity and inclusion practices that improve access to opportunities for traditionally marginalized individuals. She transitioned into educational leadership to continue this important work.
The Long Island High School for the Arts holds special meaning for Vega. She is a California native and a product of a nontraditional high school background as she graduated from high school at the age of 15 and immediately began college and a fulltime job at a Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles where she learned the business of running a successful PAC. She continued working on the business side in the entertainment industry with the movie production companies Activision, the Motion Picture Association, and ABC/Disney.
Vega stems from a family of actors, writers, composers, and artists. Joining LIHSA allows her to combine her personal passion for the arts while leveraging her experience in business and educational leadership while championing the LIHSA mission to provide unparalleled pre professional arts education to a diverse student body, preparing them to reach their highest potential and beyond.
Lindsay Rogan – Assistant Principal
Lindsay is a life-long dancer and performer having earned her BFA in Music Theatre from University at Buffalo. During and after college, she performed locally in professional productions until she began teaching.
During her time as an educator, Lindsay worked for the Diocese of Rockville Center creating theatre, dance, and curriculum for K-12 schools and serving as Director and Choreographer for 6+ school productions a year. Concurrently, she was earning her MA in Educational Theatre and English Education at New York University.
Lindsay was the founding Theatre Arts teacher at Millennium Brooklyn High School in Park Slope where she was Arts Department Chairperson and Instructional Leadership Team Chairperson. In New York City and Long Island, Lindsay has directed and choreographed hundreds of students, preparing them for dance competitions, college auditions, musicals, and careers in the arts. Her original production “Friday Night Live” was invited to the Shubert High School Theatre Festival on Broadway for outstanding writing, performances, and production value.
Lindsay is a NYS Certified English, Dance, and Theatre teacher as well as School Building Leader and School District Leader. She is a mom and wife who is honored to be a part of the LIHSA team and looks forward to working with and welcoming new faculty and students as our tremendous school continues to grow.
Melissa Lopez Stencel – Guidance Counselor
Ms. Stencel lives in St. James and has three sons. She graduated with a BA in Political Science and a MA in Foundations of Education and Policy Studies from Hofstra University. She also holds a Masters in School Counseling from Long Island University. She has been part of the LIHSA team for 6 years. She has over a decade of experience working with higher education in both admissions and the student activities offices. A fun fact about Ms. Stencel is that she competed within both the Miss America and Miss USA organizations. She is inspired by seeing people put in hard work and learning from others who are passionate about what they do.
Kenya Baloun – Guidance Counselor
Jacqueline Collard – Social Worker
Dr. Samantha Kaufman – Psychologist
Kristi McCaffrey – Nurse
Jerry Nobile – Student Support & Admissions
Additionally, he has performed with Cabaret groups and solo featured performers at Don’t Tell Mama, 54 Below, and The Cinema Arts Center. Most nights Francis can be found doing what he loves—playing. As a pianist, Francis has performed with various bands and ensembles in many locales—from local pubs to Carnegie Hall. Francis typically spends 200 nights a year performing.
An in-demand vocal accompanist, with perfect pitch, he boasts a large repertoire of music from the Great American Songbook and Broadway music. His keyboard knowledge, strong technical skill, affable personality, and warm disposition make him a favorite with his fellow musicians.
It is noteworthy to mention that Mr. Lees is the son of Francis Lees Sr., who has been an Economics professor at St John’s University, and Fordham University. As the Chairman of the department for many years, Francis senior bestowed an avid interest in Economics, fostered in many thought-provoking conversations over the years.
After teaching music production at The Academy for Language and Technology, Alex was invited to join the LIHSA team in the Sonic Arts Department. When he is not teaching at LIHSA, Alex performs around Long Island and Manhattan, instructs private music lessons, and produces music. He is also an Adobe Certified Professional in graphic and video design. It is Alex’s goal to draw upon all of his experience in the industry to create engaging lessons that focus on real-world applications to provide students an opportunity to practice the skills needed to be marketable in their future industries.
Visual Media Arts, Digital Arts, & Audio Production
Chris is a chair of the SkillsUSA 3-D Visualization Competition in Syracuse, NY, where his students have won multiple “best in shows” at the Long Media Art Show and recognition at SkillsUSA state and national competitions. His past students have received multiple scholarships from the work they have done in school.
Chris holds career and technical teaching licenses as well as administrative licenses and teaches animation courses at Nassau Community College, Briarcliff College, and the NYFA.
Production Managerial Arts
Erik earned B.S. in Industrial Design with a concentration in Special Effects from the Art Institute in Pittsburgh. He later completed his initial coursework in art education at Queens College and earned an M.A. in Learning and Emerging Technology at S.U.N.Y. Empire State College. He has worked on over 20 shows on Long Island including: In the Heights, Seussical, Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, The Crucible, Play It Again Sam and many more. In 2015, he started his own company called Hatandstachery, that creates set designs and makes scenery for staged productions. As a scenic carpenter, Erik worked for Spaeth Design, the production company that provided scenery for the award-winning Amazon original show, The Marvelous Ms. Maisel. He is skilled in wood and metal fabrication, mold making, casting polyurethane, life casting, and animatronics. Erik is an expert in graphic programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Final Cut Pro.
Multimedia Film & TV
Iris Wiener- Work-Based Learning Coordinator
Additionally, Iris has contributed red carpet interviews to WOR710 News Talk Radio, and has been interviewed for Bio Channel’s Biography. She has two years of experience in the field of casting, as she acted as Lead Researcher for CastingAbout, a division of Breakdown Services. She is a proud voting member of the Drama Desk and The Outer Critics Circle.
For fifteen years, Iris was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to bring her love for writing into the secondary classroom. As a high school English teacher, she was able to share her drive and enthusiasm for the arts with her students. Her artistic and creative abilities were put to good use as she served as the director of school musicals and the editor of school yearbooks. She has hosted and moderated artistic guest speaker events and helped her students partner with Kidsday and Long Island Herald Newspapers to contribute feature entertainment stories. Iris holds a B.A. in Sociology from SUNY New Paltz; an M.A. in Teaching English 7-12 from Stony Brook University; and an M.S. in Adolescent Literacy 5-12 from Queens College.
Eileen Moskowitz – Principal Typist Clerk
Katia Foerschner – Purchasing
Kira LoMele Bunce – Teachers Aide
Ramsey Hibbs – Teachers Aide
Julia Manners – Teachers Aide