Meet Your Instructors
Our instructors have a variety of experience and expertise to empower students and help them achieve their goals. Learn more about our instructors.
Jazz from the Hill
Alisa Clancy has been Program Director and Morning Drive Time radio host at KCSM-Jazz91 for nearly forty years here in the San Francisco Bay Area (91.1 FM & KCSM.org) In that time she's been on a jazz mission, joyfully engaging a new generation of jazz enthusiasts one note and one story at a time! From Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith, to Diana Krall, Snarky Puppy, and Jon Batiste. From Trad Jazz, through Swing, Bebop, Fusion, World Music...she loves it all!
Digital, Advanced, Macro, iPhone and Night Photography, Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom Classic CC, Book Publishing
Emanuela Quaglia is a native Italian photographer and instructor. She moved to San Francisco in 2003, where she earned her BFA in Fine Art Photography, Multimedia Fine Art and Traditional Fine Art with highest honors. Highly engaged in the Education field, Emanuela also earned a Master Certificate in Education, and she is now working on her MS in Education. Emanuela won several Photography Awards during her career. In her successful series is Human Traces in the World After Global Warming she combined large format film with digital photographic images, and she crafted surreal landscapes that possessed a narrative quality, with a concentration on the poetic nature of the human form.
Appeared in national and international exhibitions, and featured as one of the best Italian artists from ‘900 to today, Emanuela also works for the Italian General Consulate in SF, and her photos have been published and credited by major newspapers. Specializing in special events and fine art family portrait, her experience as a professional photographer clearly reflects in her teaching methods. Her goal is expanding students’ success through technical and creative skills. Photography and multimedia instructor, she successfully taught many different photography courses, seminars, and workshops to help her students move from a beginner level to the professional world.
Strategies for Student Success
Penny Kostaras has been a trusted academic coach and educator for 14 years and is an expert at taking students from struggling to confident and successful. As the founder of Wise Student, she has created programs like the popular Strategies for Student Success Workshop where students and their families learn effective strategies that help improve time management, organization, and study skills. Her unique methods merge executive functioning with interpersonal skills to motivate and empower students to step into their greatness and achieve their academic & personal best.
Penny is a Certified Life Coach and holds a B.A. from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, graduating Summa Cum Laude in Psychology & Hispanic Studies, and earning membership to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She loves languages and speaks Spanish, Italian, and Greek. In her spare time, she enjoys going for bike rides and baking. Penny lives in Burlingame with her husband and two young children.
Flutist Pamela Ravenelle earned her Master of Music Degree from The San Francisco Conservatory of Music majoring in Flute Performance. She also holds a Community College Credential. She studied flute with Barbara Breeden, Julius Baker, Alain Marion, and with Albert Tipton at the Aspen Music School. She also studied flute privately with the legendary Marcel Moyse.
She has been on the faculty of Canada College, St. Cecilia’s School in S.F., where she has conducted flute choirs, taught woodwinds and piano. She currently teaches at the Crestmont Conservatory of Music and the College of San Mateo.
Many of her students hold positions in local youth orchestras and are award winners from various competitions. She is the founder and Music Director of Magicflutes Flute Orchestra, an award-winning 30-piece flute orchestra.
Ms. Ravenelle has performed extensively in the San Francisco Bay Area with S.F. Opera, S.F. Chamber Orchestra, Western Opera Theater and Pocket Opera. She has also performed in numerous musicals, solo-recitals and chamber music recitals. She was also a finalist in the Young California Artist’s Competition and the NACUSA Competition. Ms. Ravenelle is also the Associate Director of the Peninsula Youth Orchestra Flute Ensembles. When she is not playing or teaching the flute, she volunteers at the Peninsula Humane Society with her daughter.
Dmitry Grudsky was educated in Russia and holds a Master Degree in Fine Arts from the Tashkent Art Institute. This intensive training exposed him to a broad range of artistic styles, building on a strong foundation in classical Western European art traditions with stylistic infusions from Asia Minor. He has extensive experience in drawing, oil and acrylic painting as well as in mix medium painting. He is an exhibiting artist, displaying my paintings through local galleries, national and international shows and museums.
Dmitry is skilled in bi-lingual communication, and was initially taught English as part of his foundation training.
Tiziana Balestra taught at CSM for 18 years. A native speaker from Chieti, in the region Abruzzo, she got her master in humanities in “La Sapienza University” in Rome.
Tiziana is passionate about the language and culture of Italy and will help you expand your knowledge of grammar and practice conversation and pronunciation in a fun and interactive setting. During her free time, she loves spending time with her family, hiking and traveling to Italy.