The City of Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Department hires experienced contractors to provide instructor services. Many are highly qualified practitioners with advanced degrees and/or professional certifications. All instructors are carefully screened and must successfully complete a background investigation which includes information obtained from the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC).
Several of our program instructors are profiled below. Click here if you are interested in becoming an instructor.
Allie Adeli (Daystar Dance Academy)
Allie has been dancing her way through life since the age of 3. She was a member of Daystar Dance Academy's company ensemble, and has taught various classes and camps throughout the years at Daystar. As a dancer, Allie has competed in numerous competitions where she helped take home top awards; and participated in workshops where she received training from choreographers like Mandy Moore and Joe Lanteri. She has also perform at events such as a Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk and aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Allie is passionate about children and the elderly, and hopes to find a career that allows her to work with both populations. Allie graduated from Georgia College & State University with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration, a minor in French, and undergraduate certificate in Gerontology.
Lori has been directing and teaching gymnastics through the City of Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Department since 1997. She is a graduate of Auburn University with a B.A. in Health, Recreation and Administration where she was a scholarship gymnast. Lori started teaching gymnastics as a teenager and has almost 30 years of experience teaching at all levels from recreational gymnastics to competitive teams.
Brian Dixon (Daystar Dance Academy)
Brian attended Jacksonville State University where he majored in Drama and minored in English. He is a former graduate and faculty member at Sprayberry High School in Marietta, GA, where he was the head varsity dance team coach, leading the team to three national titles and second place in the state for two consecutive years. Brian was awarded Best Hip-Hop/Funk Choreography at the 2005 National Championships in Myrtle Beach, SC. Brian has performed in lead roles in Oklahoma,Young Abe Lincoln, Star Spangled Girl, Story Ville and The Sunshine Boys. He also choreographed and performed at regional and national beauty pageants and Hip-Hop and Pom-Pom dance competitions. Brian teaches Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical and Diva Dance and Cheer.
Diana’s Chinese name is Hsueh Tan-kuei. Diana has lived in Kennesaw since 1997, but is originally from Taiwan, Republic of China. Her native language is Mandarin Chinese. Diana has been teaching Chinese singing and CSOL classes at the Chinese School of Atlanta since 2007, where was chosen as the Teacher of the Year in 2007-2008. In 2007 and 2009, she completed the Educational Training Program for Teaching Mandarin, which is sponsored by the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission, R.O.C. (Taiwan). Diana graduated from National Taichung Commercial College, International Trade Department. She enjoys working with young children and watching them learn Chinese language and culture.
Holly French (Software-on-the-Go)
Holly has worked in the training and software development field for over 20 years, and has extensive experience in computer training as well as systems analysis, programming, curriculum development and software development. She brings a unique blend of patience, humor and computer knowledge into every training class. Holly started out as a computer consultant in upstate New York and previously held training positions with ExecuTrain and IKON Office Solutions. She holds a Computer Information Systems degree from Weber State University in Ogden, UT.
Jessica has always been surrounded by art and art appreciators. At age 13, she enrolled in community art classes through the City of Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Department where she studied with internationally trained artist Chris di Domizio. Techniques of the old masters and careful studies of their works of art formed the foundation of her instruction. She continued to draw and paint throughout middle and high school, and entered juried art shows through the Fine Arts Society of Kennesaw. Winning honorable mentions and even a second place award only gave her more confidence and motivation to become a professional artist. In 2009, Jessica won a first place award in oil painting at a North Cobb Arts League exhibition and Best of Show at the Artist Guild of Northwest Georgia’s First Annual Juried Art Competition.
Sachiko (Sachi), who is from Japan, is a Certified Taiji (Tai Chi) instructor of the Chinese Boxing International Institute. Since 1997 she has practiced Chen Style Taiji. In 2000, she won the gold medal for Chen Taiji hand form and sword form at the Invitational Wushu Tournament in Beijing, China. For almost four years, she trained at the Taiji Kungfu Academy, which is the organization that follows Grandmaster Zhu Tian Cai, the 19th Generation Chen Family Taiji. In 2008, Sachi won a gold medal for Chen Taiji hand form at the Chinese Martial Arts Tournament in Las Vegas. She is also an aroma therapist and practices natural healing.
Gabriele Jeske (Norris)
Gabriele is a multiple-style dance instructor, having taught Ballroom (Latin, Rhythm, Smooth and Standard), Salsa, Swing, hip-hop, Western and line dance, and fitness group dance (including Zumba and Latin aerobics). She is a former Professional Competition Style Ballroom Dance Trainer and Competitor, and has performed and competed on local and national television, making appearances on a Pediatric Aids Foundation telethon, Peachtree Morning, Turner Sports (in a commercial featuring Big Bad Voodoo Daddy). Gabriele is an acclaimed Coach and Competitor of the Pro-Am Cool Move Dance Sport Youth Team who placed on a regional and national level. She has been a dance studio owner and director, and has an extensive musical and athletic background. She is committed to introducing the multiple life-enriching benefits of fitness, recreational and competition style dance to people of all ages.
Mark has worked for the Cobb County Parks, Recreation, Cultural Affairs Department tennis program for over 20 years with experience as a facility manager and teaching professional. He previously managed Terrell Mill Tennis Center and has taught at Fair Oaks and Kennworth Tennis Centers. He is a certified USTA tournament official.
Adrienne Korn (Peachtree Music Together)
Adrienne has been involved in music for many years. She is a flutist and has been a member of a concert band and jazz band, as well as a flute chamber group. Adrienne believes that music is a gift we should share with our children and believes that Music Together is a wonderful way of doing just that. She looks forward to exploring the world of music with you and your children. Adrienne is a trained and registered Music Together instructor, and has been teaching since 2004.
Maureen has been dancing since she was 10 years old, just after “retiring” from the world of competitive ice skating. Thrilled to find a fusion between her love of dance and her passion for fitness in the dance fitness movement, she has never looked back! Maureen is certified by AFAA in both Group Fitness Instruction and Kickboxing. She is a Masala Banghra Workout® Ambassador. She resides in Kennesaw with her husband, son, and dog and enjoys hiking, kayaking and writing when she’s not dancing.
Neil Lynch (Challenger Sports Corporation)
Neil is a regional director for Challenger Sports Corporation (Georgia and South Carolina region). He is a long serving member of the Challenger Sports team and has been a dedicated youth soccer coach for almost 10 years. Originally from Ipswich Town, England, Neil played semi-professional soccer in the UK and was a member of Leeds Metropolitan first XI soccer team (ranked top five in the country) during his college years.
Cathy Makison (Daystar Dance Academy)
Cathy is the owner and director of Daystar Dance Academy, and has over 30 years of teaching experience. She studied with Jon Cristofori and Russell Sultzbach, both from the Joffrey Ballet, as well as Edward Villella. During her high school and middle school years, Cathy traveled to Chicago, IL during the summer to study with Stone and Cameron from the Chicago City Ballet. Cathy was on the teaching faculty at the Royal School of Dance in Orlando, FL for 4 years, and was also the children and adult dance instructor for Southern Ballet Theatre in Orlando, FL for 4 years. Her teaching experiences have been in a studio setting as well as public school settings. Cathy is a certified member of Florida Dance Masters by test, and is a licensed early Childhood Music Educator through the nationally known Musikgarten program. In 2003, Cathy opened her own studio in Marietta, GA. In 2009, she moved her studio location to downtown Kennesaw as well as began directing and teaching dance through the City of Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Department.
Mario received his black belt in 1991 while with the U.S. Air Force in Germany. Before his Taekwondo training, he had some Japanese Hakko-Ryu Jiu-Jitsu training at Kelly Air Force Base, TX. He received his International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) instructor certification in Ireland from Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha, one of the 12 original Taekwondo masters under Taekwondo’s founder, General Choi Hong Hi. Mario taught classes in Germany before moving to Georgia in 2006. He has been teaching through the City of Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Department since 2007. When Mario is not teaching Taekwondo-Do, he is an IT Analyst and the Communications Budget Director at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, GA. Mario holds A.A.S. degrees in Electronics Systems Technology and Financial Management, and a B.S. degree in Computers.
Wendi is a graduate of the University of Illinois where she earned a BBA degree in Business. She is a Registered Nurse (RN), having earned her a degree in Nursing from St. Petersburg College of Nursing. Wendi is a Certified American Heart Association CPR/AED Instructor, Nationally Certified Asthma Educator, and holds certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). She was recently selected to co-chair the American Heart Association's "Cardiovascular Task Force" for the state of Georgia school nurses, and was awarded a $1,000 grant from the Medtronic Foundation to help fund CPR and AED training. Wendi is currently employed as MS/HS RN at Wesleyan School in Norcross.
Karen is a professional cake designer who received her education through the Wilton Method of cake decorating. She has been decorating cakes, cookies and cupcakes for over eight years. Her focus is wedding and themed cakes. Karen has decorated cakes and pastries for college presidents and Fortune 500 companies, as well as nationally-known Hollywood celebrities. She is an avid watcher of the Food Network and is always researching new ideas to enhance her work and classroom curriculum.
Carolyn is a muscular therapist whose initial training was with Dr. Ben Benjamin, a noted educator and therapist in the field of sports medicine and education at The Muscular Therapy Institute in Cambridge, MA. Carolyn is a licensed massage therapist in Georgia with a private practice in Kennesaw. She has taken classes in Chinese Medical Massage with Dr. Wolfgang Luckmann, A.P., L.M.T., and Orthopedic Massage with James Waslaski. Carolyn is also a practicing artist who has exhibited in Georgia and Massachusetts, and is the Georgia Ambassador for the Portrait Society of America. She studies several years under Michael Shane Neal, and has taken classes and workshops with Marc Chatov, David Leffel, Sheri McGraw, Margaret Carter Baumgaertner, Damon Carter, Thomas V. Nash, Luana Luconi Winner, Joseph Perrin, and watercolorists Mary Field and Joseph Fettingis, NWS.
Kristen has been playing and working with clay for 11 years. Kristen’s passion for pottery started by enrolling in community art classes, and has developed into a desire to teach others the wonders of pottery. Kristen can throw both funky and functional pottery in various sizes and shapes.
Anne-Marie has been dancing for as long as she can remember. She began with classical ballet, and ballet-jazz classes. As a teenager, she developed several choreographies, and later on, she began dancing international folk dances, which led her to join the Troupe folklorique égyptienne de Montréal, where she became a part of the troupe for over two years. Through this experience, Anne-Marie discovered other forms of belly dancing, which became her passion for many years. She then discovered ballroom dancing, taught it for over 15 years, and started a dance school with her husband. Now she is widening her horizons, combining fitness to dancing through the Zumba Fitness program. Anne-Marie is an authorized instructor for Zumba® programs, including Zumba Fitness, Zumba Gold, Zumba Toning, Zumba Gold Toning, Zumba Gold Chair, ZumbAtomics, Zumba in the Circuit (Curves) and Aqua Zumba. She is also an AFAA certified Group Exercise Instructor. She completed SilverSneakers and Arthritis Foundation trainings after teaching Zumba Gold to expand on her knowledge of the specific needs of the older, active population.
Melanie Whitbeck (Daystar Dance Academy)
Melanie began dancing at the age of 3 and has danced with several dance companies. In Orlando, FL, Melanie was the 1st runner up for Miss Petite of Florida, and received the overall highest score award among all the contestants. Melanie placed 1st in an international dance competition in 2000. At age 9, Melanie began assisting her mother, who is a dance instructor, and realized she had a natural ability to choreograph. Melanie studied dance for 15 years, and has taught dance for 7 years. Melanie is now working with the Junior and Senior Dance Companies at Daystar Dance Academy in Kennesaw. She teaches Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Lyrical dance. Melanie is also a licensed cosmetologist, and is married with one daughter.
Interested in Teaching?
The City of Kennesaw is committed to providing quality programs for all ages, abilities and interests. Programs offered strive to foster new skills, promote health and well-being, and expand cultural and artistic development.
In order to provide these programs, the Kennesaw Parks & Recreation Department seeks contracted instructors to share their special talents, skills or knowledge with others in a class, camp or workshop format.
An instructor must possess strong communication, organizational and teaching skills; and demonstrate a desire to develop and promote their program(s).
Why Kennesaw Parks & Recreation?
Programs are selected based on the instructor's qualifications and experience, availability, need for the program and marketability.