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
Dr. Robert R. Dillon, District Superintendent
James R. Widmer, Associate Superintendent for Business Services
Dr. RG France, Associate Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Services
Regional Schools and Instructional Programs
Dr. Carla Theodorou, Executive Director
Judith A. Hynes, Assistant Director
Jyoti Sood, Supervisor of Data and Technology
Dr. Chris Rogutsky – Principal
Dr. Rogutsky believes the arts are a fundamental component to a human’s development and that Long Island needs a school like LIHSA. Dr. Rogutsky who, having grown up in family of artists, has a deep-seated passion for the arts. Her mother is a classically trained pianist who graduated from Rossini De Paula, a conservatory in her native Argentina, her father has a passion for opera, her uncle was a painter and Professor of Art at McGill University in Canada, and her grandmother was a celebrated folk artist. This exposure has provided her with creative outlets throughout her lifetime and has shown her that artistic traditions are part of the cultural fabric of different parts of the world.
Dr. Rogutsky earned her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a master’s degree from Long Island University, a bachelor’s degree from Queens College, and a professional diploma as a consultant teacher from Manhattan College. She also completed an artistic training at the Sophia Institute and social work coursework at Columbia University. Last year, she and a team of teachers from LIHSA completed a course at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, entitled Thinking and Learning in the Maker-Centered Classroom. She is currently enrolled in the Certificate in School Management and Leadership program at Harvard University.
In 2003, Dr. Rogutsky was part of the team that spearheaded the Early College Initiative, a partnership between the City University of New York and the New York City Department of Education, funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Through this initiative, she founded the College Academy of the Arts, a public high school for the arts offering NYC students “a vehicle for expression and a lens for understanding.” Over the past years, the academy has flourished and has been ranked as one of “The Best High Schools in the Nation” by U.S. News and World Report.
Erica Giglio Pac – Assistant Principal
Erica’s arts background is in Musical Theatre Performance, holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from the University at Buffalo. She has performed in musicals and plays throughout the region, in such places as Art Park, the Player’s Theatre, the Triad Theatre, John Engeman Theater, Westbury Music Fair, and at Citi Field where she has sung the national anthem at Mets games. Erica holds a Masters Degree in Educational Theatre from New York University, and has over a decade of experience in the classroom as a theatre educator in the New York City Department of Education, having built two musical theatre programs from the ground up at schools in Brooklyn and Queens. She has spent her summers as a drama instructor at various arts academies, including USDAN Summer Camp for the Arts, and now serves as the coordinator of LIHSA’s Summer Arts Academy. Erica has also coordinated and directed youth performances for Teens on Broadway at Circle in the Square Theatre, the MCC Youth Ensemble, and the Student Theatre Arts Festival at Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre. Within the NYCDOE, she served as a Facilitator of Arts Professional Development for arts teachers across the five boroughs, working in all aspects of the arts from content-specific courses to curriculum and instruction development. Through this fulfilling work, her passion for educational leadership developed. Erica holds a degree in Educational Leadership & Administration from the College of Saint Rose, along with her New York State School Building and District Leader Licenses. Erica looks forward to helping LIHSA continue to grow, by working to help the school become CTE (Career and Technical Education) state approved, opening up work-based learning (on and off site) opportunities for students, and supporting teachers in curriculum development aligned to both the NYS Arts Standards and NYS Career & Occupational Standards.
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
Elizabeth Mullen, RN – School Nurse
Elizabeth Is the proud mother of 3 children and one dog. She received her RN from Nassau Community College and Bachelors in Nursing from Molloy College. She has been working in Nursing for 25 years with a certification in Pediatrics and Adolescents and transitioned to an educational setting full time 6 years ago, but continues to work in a local Hospital part time to keep her skills sharp. Her goals at school include the health and safety of the students physically, socially and mentally.
Valerie Petrocelli – Health & Attendance Coordinator
Valerie currently lives in East Meadow is a proud mother of two children. She graduated from Suffolk Community College in the year 2000 for Early Childhood Education and Romance Languages. Valerie has over 15 years experience in all aspects of administrative work and as an Executive Assistant in multiple office settings. She is originally from Argentina and is bilingual in Spanish.
Dr. Dale Stuckenbruck
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.
Jerry has been a sound designer and audio technician for over twenty years. Having a musical background and experience as a disc jockey, has helped Jerry to intuitively understand the needs of various performance contexts. Jerry has experience with both analog and digital mixing consoles that includes: Mackie, Allen and Heath and PreSonus. He uses both passive and active speakers such as: JBL, Electro-Voice, and QSC. Jerry chooses to use a variety of microphones from industry standard choices to specialized microphones. He has run sound in several settings from theaters to outdoor festivals and mobile sound. Through pre-production elements such as creating sound tracks and music editing, Jerry creates sonic environments to enhance and elevate the visual counterpart to the projects he works on using production techniques and state of the art software. As a percussionist, he has performed at various venues and with numerous performers. Jerry is currently a partner of L & S Entertainment, Inc. and the band leader of Moonstruck, which has been performing at concerts, weddings, social events, and dinner dances for the past 20 years.
Fine & Media Arts
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.
Scenic Construction & Production Technologies
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.
It was performing that lead him to another passion: theatrical lighting design.
Alex has designed lighting for more than 100 shows both regionally and locally, and currently works with students in more than 10 Long Island school districts to design lighting for their school shows. He also currently serves as the resident lighting designer for the children’s theatre program at The Argyle Theatre in Babylon.
In addition to drama, Alex has a degree from Hofstra University in Broadcast Journalism. He spent more than a decade at News 12 Long Island, writing, reporting, and eventually producing the morning show with Carol Silva and Elizabeth Hashagen.
While at News 12, Alex created and hosted the segment, “Kids Corner,” which aims to inform Long Island parents about events and shows taking place on Long Island for children.
In his spare time, Alex combines his production and theatrical backgrounds to run the event planning and entertainment company ABD Events.
He has extensive experience with grassroots, community and social media marketing, podcasting, blogging, photography and professional development in the music and media businesses and has produced hundreds of concerts, events and fundraisers throughout the tristate area.