Meet our team

Our staff, instructors, and board of directors are passionate about dance and engaged with the community.

Staff and Instructors

Photo of Carol Knox

Carol Knox

Executive Director and Board President

Carol has worked with BalletRox since 2005, serving as BalletRox Board President and Executive Director since April 2012 and volunteer coordinator since 2006. Carol, a well-respected community activist, is a long-time volunteer teaching assistant at Boston Public Schools’ Mission Hill School in Jamaica Plain. She is retired New England Area Director for United Auto Workers (UAW), retired Massachusetts AFL-CIO Vice President, and a graduate of Connecticut College.

Valerie Maio

Valerie Maio

Program Development and Fundraising Manager & Boston Schools Program Manager

Valerie came to BalletRox in 2002, after a professional dance career in Rhode Island and Boston. She has extensive Arts in Education experience, designing and teaching integrated curriculum in public school settings; training in Youth Development from BEST Initiatives; and is a certified Rhythm Works Integrative Dance Instructor. Valerie is passionate about teaching classical ballet as fundamental for students at all levels of training, from creative movement to advanced ballet and also enjoys serving as Creative Director overseeing choreography and performances. Originally from NY, she holds a B.S. in Dance from Skidmore College, and an M.S. in Non-Profit Management from Lesley University.

Olga Marchenko

Olga Marchenko

Program Manager, BalletRox Dance!
Lead Dance Instructor, Mather School

Originally from Russia, Olga has worked with BalletRox since 2008. After graduating from Saratov Ballet Academy, she joined Moscow City Ballet and toured the world for four years. She is a long-term BalletRox teacher, and serves as Program Manager for BalletRox Dance! and Boston Public Schools (BPS) Programs, overseeing the training of dance teachers and execution of the dance program at BPS partner sites. She holds an M.S. degree in Global Studies and International Affairs from Northeastern University.

Sybil Huggins

Sybil Huggins

Lead Tap Instructor, BalletRox Dance!
School Programs Liaison, Curley and Kenny Schools
Lead Dance Instructor, Kenny School

Sybil, a Roxbury native, is an accomplished tap dancer with extensive experience in the greater Boston area with Boston Tap Company, Jacob’s Pillow, and Jeannette Neill Studio. Sybil has worked with BalletRox since 2006 as performer, teacher, administrator, coach, and mentor. She brings her many years of teaching experience and love of children into her role as School Programs Liaison where she provides direct support to students and their families, as well as interacting with classroom teachers, school faculty, and staff. She has a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Boston University.

Ana

Ana Bueso

Dance Instructor, BalletRox Dance!

Ana has been dancing since she was three years old and continues to have a passion for the art. She mainly focused on Ballet but as she grew older she branched out in other styles including modern, contemporary, belly dancing, bachata, and any other styles she could take classes in! Now she is a second year student at Newbury College where she studies psychology and will graduate as class of 2018. In 2014 BalletRox came into her life again! She is now the Program Assistant and Creative Movement Instructor.

Melodie Jeffery-Cassell

Melodie Jeffery-Casell

Dance Instructor, Hennigan School

Melodie is on faculty at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts (School of Theatre/School of Music) Dance Department and the Opera Institute. Ms. Cassell is a former faculty member at Walnut Hill School for the Arts (Theatre Department and Community Dance Academy), Concord Academy Summer Stages, Mark Morris Dance Center, Peridance International Dance Center, The Brearley School, 92nd Street Y, Boston Ballet School, Boston Ballet-Education and Community Initiatives (Citydance, Taking Steps), and has served as guest teacher at Boston College. Melodie created, developed and coordinated the movement program as faculty member, choreographer, and Dance Director for Glen Urquhart School (GUS). While at GUS she expanded Dance Anywhere® to New England and coordinated esteemed assembly guests, such as the Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company, annually for the school. In her continued efforts to make movement practice accessible to all, Melodie currently teaches dance for BalletRox and Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance program which serves individuals with disabilities, specifically Down Syndrome and Autism.

Christina Leonard

Christina Leonard

Dance Instructor, Henderson School

Christina is a graduate of Dance Teachers Club of Boston (DTCB) Dance Education Training Program, and a current, active member of DTCB. She is Assistant Director of Center Stage Dance Studio in Melrose, and recently co-founded Middlesex Ballet Project with a mission to introduce young people to pre-professional performance opportunities. Christina is a skilled dance instructor working in multiple dance styles including Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz, Lyrical, and HipHop. She has worked with children throughout the Boston area for more than 10 years and is dedicated to providing dance education which promotes self-acceptance while providing a solid foundation in technique, dance history, and education. Christina holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Boston University.

Mikela

Mikela Lymon

Dance Instructor, BalletRox Dance!

Mikela began dancing at the age of 5, taking classes in ballet, tap, and hip hop. Her passion for hip hop and specifically for contemporary and modern dance grew as the years went on. She has danced and trained throughout high school, participating in programs such as “REACH” that tours and performs at different schools around Boston area. In addition, she studied ballet and hip hop at Tony Williams Dance company and was a part of a dance group that performed in Boston, MA, and RI. Mikela has minored in Dance at The University of Hartford.

Andy Taylor-Blenis

Dance Instructor, Hennigan School

Andy is the artistic director of Mladost Folk Dance Ensemble and the RSCDS Demonstration Team, Wheaton College Dance Co. and Back Pocket Dancers. In addition to serving as a BalletRox Teaching Artist at Hennigan School, she teaches school residencies thru Mass Movement, Young Audiences and Revels Inc., and has taught at Folk Arts Center of New England, Northwestern and Northeastern Universities, Harvard, Emerson, Boston University, Boston Conservatory and the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio. She is a certified teacher in Simonson Technique and Autism Movement Dance Therapy.

Andy began dancing with her parents in International Folk Dance as an infant. Her early creative movement experiences were with Ruth Wheeler, co-founder of Dance Collective, and with Ann Brown-Allen. After receiving a BFA in Dance from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she danced with numerous companies in Boston including Danny Sloane Dance, Paradigm Dance, Concert Dance Company, Dance Collective, ACE Entertainment, and Prometheus Dance Company for 19 years. She currently performs in Across the Ages in choreography in works by Joan Green and Erika Schwartz.

Board of Directors

Carol Knox

President

Jamaica Plain, UAW AFL-CIO, Retired

A well respected community activist, Carol has worked closely with BalletRox since 2005. Carol is retired New England Area Director for United Auto Workers and Massachusetts AFL-CIO Vice President. She is a long-time volunteer Teaching Assistant at BPS Mission Hill School in Jamaica Plain and continues to give back to her community through her leadership and stewardship of BalletRox.

Gregory A. Manousos

Vice President

Southborough, Morgan, Brown and Joy, LLP

Greg Manousos is a partner with the Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP, a labor and employment law firm in Boston. Prior to joining Morgan, Brown & Joy in 2000, Greg served as Counsel to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Greg is an active member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, and he is a frequent presenter and participant at NACUA conferences across the country. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of Hearth, Inc., a Boston-based non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of homelessness among the elderly through a variety of prevention, placement, and housing programs. Greg is thrilled to join BalletRox Board.

Julie Sutherland

Treasurer

Jamaica Plain, GPI Models

Julie has been involved with BalletRox since 2005. She’s served as President and Treasurer and is committed to providing opportunity for arts within our local communities.

Jane Allard

Clerk

Jamaica Plain, Akamai Technologies

Jane Allard is a Senior Manager of Developer Productivity at Akamai Technologies. Previously a software engineer at Math Works and a trained ballet dancer, Jane has been a BalletRox supporter since 2001.

Monica Auguste

Member at Large

Mattapan, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Monica Auguste is Procurement Manager of the IT Department at Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Rachel Hassinger

Member at Large

Boston, Communications Consultant

Rachel Hassinger is a strategic communications professional for nonprofits and artists. Recently, she served as Digital Content Editor (Classical) at WGBH Educational Foundation, leading the development of classical.org for Classical WCRB. Previously, Rachel served as the Online Communications Specialist at Management Sciences for Health and as Online Communications Manager at Boston University School of Public Health. She directed a women's chorus in Boston and teaches piano to children and adults. Rachel studied at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Oberlin College, HECUA's City Arts, and earned a BS, magna cum laude, in Interdisciplinary Studies from Boston University.

Morgan Keith

Member at Large

Boston, Liberty Mutual

Born in Boston, Morgan has been dancing ballet since she was given the chance to dance at age two through a program at her Montessori school. This opportunity -- and a director offering to allow Morgan to attend studio classes free of charge -- ignited her lifetime passion for dance and appreciation for community involvement in the arts. Morgan has had varied experiences in the dance community: nationally competing in ballet, lyrical, contemporary, and jazz for almost a decade; performing lead roles with a regional ballet company in Texas for 10 years; attending ballet summer intensives such as The American Academy of Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet NYC, The Boston Ballet, and Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet; and most recently, acting as a choreographer and board member for her college’s dance ensemble. She holds a BS in Business Administration from Babson College and is currently a Financial Business Systems Analyst at Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Monique Marshall Veale

Member at Large

Mattapan, METCO

Monique Marshall Veale has more than 17 years of experience working with children and families from various walks of life, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds in the greater Boston area. Monique’s primary focus has been in academic and social enrichment programs for children and adolescents between the ages of 5-19 years old. She was the founding director of C.A.T.C.H. and Smart-Kids in Roxbury, and has served in leadership positions for METCO programs in the Dover-Sherborn, Weston, and Lincoln school districts. She has served on the Board of Trustees for the Roxbury Weston Programs Inc., as the Vice President of Community Outreach for the Boston Children’s Theatre, co-leader of the Walker School Cultural Competency Task Force, and on a variety of community boards emphasizing cultural competency, family involvement, education and community service learning. As the Program Manager for Adolescent Enrichment Services at the Dimock Center in Roxbury MA, Monique leads a youth program that provides academic enrichment, recreation, community-outreach and after school care and education.

John Tobin

Member at Large

West Roxbury, Northeastern University

John Tobin currently serves as Vice President of City and Community Affairs for Northeastern University, where he manages the relationship between the University and elected city officials, agencies, and local community partners. He has extensive experience in theatre production and consulting, responsible for producing and promoting live public and private comedy and music shows; over 400 shows have been produced in the Boston area since 2002. John served as Boston City Councilor, District 6 for 9 years, Representing the communities of Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury, in addition to parts of Roslindale, Mission Hill and Roxbury. He is neighborhood activist and has supported the following organizations: Charles River Spring Valley Neighborhood Association, West Roxbury Civic and Improvement Association, Boston Children’s Theatre, Regan Little League, Parkway Little League, Parkway Soccer, Bellevue Hill Association, Roberto Clemente League, Catholic Memorial Hall of Fame Committee, Mark Bavis Leadership Committee. He is thrilled to serve on BalletRox Board and continue to strengthen its partnership with Northeastern University.

Josh Ungar

Member at Large

Newton, Kenington Investment Company

Josh Ungar is Senior Investment Analyst at Kenington Investment Company. Ungar previously served as Vice President at Bank of America.

Board President Carol Knox (3rd from left) and Vice-President Greg Manousous (far right) with Anita Walker, Executive Director, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Jane Chu, former Chairwoman, National Endowment for the Arts.
Board President Carol Knox (3rd from left) and Vice-President Greg Manousous (far right) with Anita Walker, Executive Director, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Jane Chu, former Chairwoman, National Endowment for the Arts.

BalletRox Board President Carol Knox (3rd from left) and Vice-President Greg Manousous (far right) with Anita Walker, Executive Director of  Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Jane Chu, former Chairwoman of National Endowment for the Arts.

Advisory Board

Lisa Kamins Crist

Sharon, Global Smile Foundation

Suzanne Federspiel

Brookline, Boston Public Schools Principal, Retired

Suzanne Liebech

Concord, Dancing Wellness