The arts faculty at Lake Highland brings impressive real-world experience to our visual and performing arts classrooms and programs. Learn more about their distinguished backgrounds by reading their biographies here.
Tara Bork was born in Illinois and has been teaching at LHPS since 1985. She has produced the American Scholastic Press award-winning Lakhischan Yearbook since 1992. Ms. Bork teaches Humanities, History of the Motion Picture and Journalism/Yearbook. An avid history and art enthusiast, the humanities are her passion. Ms. Bork holds a Master’s degree in education and an undergraduate degree in English Literature with specialized work in theatre and visual arts. Ms. Bork is a member of the Florida Council of Teachers of English and The Humanities Interdisciplinary Association, as well as The Byron Society of America. In her free time, she creates mixed media paintings and writes.
Angela Brant is the Coordinator of our Private Lesson Program at LHPS. The program offers private lessons in piano, harp, guitar, voice and all string and band instruments by accomplished teachers and performing professionals in the Orlando area. Angela holds a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Arts in Piano Performance. She has served on the board of the National Federation of Music Clubs and is the Chairperson for the Orlando Center of the National Piano Auditions. Angela has served as musical director/pianist for community and school theater, performed with local bands and has served as accompanist for her church for the past 32 years. She has taught piano at LHPS since 1988 guiding several of her students to successful completion of a Diploma in Piano Studies from the American College of Musicians.
Trudy Bruner is a native Floridian and has worked in theatre in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Florida. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Drama, Speech and English from Georgia Southern University and an MFA in Acting/Directing from the University of Georgia. Ms. Bruner served as Director of Theatre for Young People and the Acting Studio at the Civic Theatres of Central Florida and has directed theatre at The Civic Theatres, Seminole State College, Orlando Repertory Theatre and Mad Cow Theatre Company where she was a founding member and Co-Artistic Director. She came to LHPS in 2001 and teaches Speech and Drama, directs the Upper School theatre productions, and is the Sponsor for Thespian Troupe #2449. In 2014, Ms. Bruner became the LHPS Arts Administrator.
Ginger Bryant is a Lake Highland graduate (‘90) and began teaching 11th grade English, Shakespeare Honors, and Upper School newspaper in 1996. She is the sponsor of the Upper School newspaper, the literary magazine, and the club David Copperfield’s Project Magic. Ms. Bryant received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rollins College and a Master of Science in English Education from Nova Southeastern University. She earned a Gifted Endorsement and wrote a book entitled Orlando Firefighting. Ms. Bryant worked and studied at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, and is the Vice President for The English-Speaking Union and Shakespeare Competition Coordinator for Florida. She serves on the Advisory Committee for Shakespeare With Heart and is a freelance writer for the international Miniature Collector magazine.
George Clemens is the LHPS Head Coach for Speech and Debate. He was born in Albany, NY and received his Bachelor’s degree in History from Marquette University, a Master of Arts in History from Ball State University and a Master in Education in Social Science Education from UCF. He has taught AP European History, World History, and US History at LHPS since 1995. Since Mr. Clemens took over the speech and debate program in 2001, Lake Highland’s speech students have been in final rounds of both CFL and NFL Nationals, have won numerous varsity and novice state championships, and have won championships at every national invitational tournament they have attended, including Harvard, Yale, Wake Forest, Emory, the Glenbrooks Invitational (Chicago), the University of Pennsylvania, Florida Blue Key, and the Crestian Classic.
Elizabeth Cortelyou (Elizabeth Anne Smith) hails from Los Angeles where she worked as a professional actress since 1989. Her numerous theatrical performances include Light Up the Sky directed by David Lee at the historic Pasadena Playhouse. Television credits include series regular and recurring roles on Good Company, According to Jim, Almost Perfect, and Thanks. Guest starring roles include appearances on The Shield, Third Rock From the Sun, Murphy Brown, Mad About You, Everybody Loves Raymond, Lois and Clark, and Bob with Bob Newhart. She can be seen in the Steven Spielberg productions of Little Giants and Young Indiana Jones and is a member of Screen Actors Guild (SAG/AFTRA) and Actors Equity Association (AEA). Mrs. Cortelyou is a graduate of the University of California at Irvine and joined the Lake Highland faculty in 2008 where she teaches Drama in the Lower and Middle Schools and directs two Middle School drama performances.
Cris "Cheez" Denard grew up in Texas and attended Texas A&M University. He interned in St. Louis with a para-church ministry focused on discipleship and came to Orlando to join the staff of the local chapter of K-Life. At Lake Highland, he teaches Middle School Video Production along with his athletic coaching responsibilities. Mr. Denard has become an internet sensation with students making entertaining videos on YouTube at Cheez54, where he also hosts student sports highlight tapes for college recruiters. Coach Cheez can be found most Sundays at Summit Church, playing the role of Marshall in Summit’s family production, Base Camp Live!
Delicia Egerton is the Lower School, Music and Chorus Director for grades 4-6. She is a classically trained vocalist and vocal coach, with a passion for music and sharing the gift of music with youth. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Elizabeth City State University and her Masters of Arts in Music Education from The Ohio State University. She has trained youth and adult singers for over 15 years. Choirs under her direction in both Tennessee and Florida have consistently earned Superior ratings at local and national competitions. As a vocalist, she has recorded with Grammy Award-winning producers and renowned recording artists, such as Tommy Sims, Israel Houghton, Tony Orlando, Michael Omartian, Antonio Neal, Big Idea/Veggie Tales, and Marc Broussard. In 2012, Delicia founded The Children’s Choir of Orlando, a city-wide choir supported by Orlando’s Families Parks and Recreation that serves youth from community centers through the city.
Kathleen Forster a California native, obtained a BA in Fine Arts and Humanities in Education from San Diego State University, and an MA in Fine Arts from Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Her teaching experiences include the Peace Corps, Fiji Islands, teaching art in California Community Colleges, and at the San Francisco Academy of Art University. In 1987, Ms. Forster directed Lalapalooza Children’s Art Discovery Workshop in Utah and taught at the Waterford School. In 2001, Ms. Forster joined LHPS, teaching US Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and AP Studio Arts. She produces her art work at the White Heron Studios in Orlando and participates in Orlando’s Artist Registry. In 2012, Ms. Forster earned the Clause Noble Educator of the Year distinction and in 2013, the LHPS President’s Award for Teacher of the Year.
Chris Greening is Director of Bands and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education from Millikin University in Decatur, IL. He came to Orlando in 1993 and began his teaching career with Orange County Public Schools as an interim elementary music teacher. He then taught instrumental music at the middle school level for nine years and was named Teacher of the Year for his school. At Lake Highland, Mr. Greening teaches all band classes including the Marching Highlanders and Lake Highland Jazz. He also teaches AP Music Theory and Introduction to Recording Studio. He has received Lake Highland’s President’s Service Award. Mr. Greening is a working trombonist and pianist. He leads worship at First United Methodist Church in downtown Orlando. Visit the Band website!
Pamela Greening is the Visual Arts teacher for the Lower School grades 3-6. She joined LHPS in 2005 teaching first grade and prekindergarten. She previously taught in Orange County Public Schools for 10 years where she assisted in writing curriculum and mentored beginning teachers county-wide. Mrs. Greening earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Millikin University in Illinois where she focused on art. She is currently studying graphic design with an emphasis in digital art. Mrs. Greening is a National Board Certified Teacher as an Early Childhood Generalist, and the author of a series of three teacher resource books entitled Critical Thinking Glyphs. An independent educational consultant, she also speaks to teachers across the country for Staff Development for Educators.
Melissa Johnson holds two degrees in Music Education. She received her BA from UCF and her Master’s from Kent State University. Melissa started her teaching career with Orange County Public Schools as an elementary music teacher working with grades K-5. At Lake Highland, she is a member of the Lower School Music faculty. Melissa has completed two out of three levels of Orff Schulwerk Teacher Education training which develops musicianship in young students through singing, playing instruments, speech, and movement. As well as holding professional memberships with FMEA, FEMEA, MENC, and AOSA, she serves as President-Elect of the Central Florida Orff Chapter which provides professional development to music educators.
Renee Korte grew up in Highland, Illinois where she trained and competed in all genres of dance. She has choreographed award winning routines for studios, high schools, and universities throughout the Midwest. Renee continued her studies at Columbia College Chicago where she had the privilege to study with some of the best instructors in the country. In 2003, Renee began her professional dancing career with Holland America Cruise Line, dancing in their renowned production shows sailing around the world for 5 years. In 2009, she moved to Orlando and helped open Dance Trance Orlando where she is currently the lead instructor. In 2010, she danced for the AFL Orlando Predators Dance Team. Renee continues to perform and choreograph throughout the Orlando area. She joined LHP in 2015 as the Dance Teacher and Coach of the Advanced Dance Team.
Joseph Kostura has been the Upper School Digital Video Production teacher since 2007. He is a native of Florida, and received his Bachelor of Arts in Radio-Television Production in 1993 from the University of Central Florida. His professional experience includes production work in corporate and non-profit broadcast television, primarily focusing on video editing. His production experiences include working with Disney, Sea World, Court TV, LMG, and other companies. His production work includes his extensive international and domestic travel experiences. Mr. Kostura has taught at the college level and with the Private Industry Council.
Robbie Lee earned his Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Mr. Lee has worked as a freelance muralist and illustrator, with work ranging from book illustrations to video game character design. Recently, he has been most active in the world of graphic T-shirt design, where his work has been featured in books, magazines, and online apparel stores such as Threadless and Shirt.woot. More than 60 of his designs have generated sales of 100,000+ shirts. In 2003, he joined LHPS as the Middle School Visual Arts teacher and Coach of the award-winning FLL Robotics Team.
Lucinda Nichols says she is fortunate to have found her way to Lake Highland as Production Manager for the Harriett Coleman Center for the Arts in 2008. A working Theatre Professional since the 1980s, Ms. Nichols’ work has taken her from California to the mid-west, the Carolinas to Florida. Locally, she has been involved in multiple productions for the Civic Theatres of Central Florida, Mad Cow Theatre, The Ice House Theatre, Bob Carr Performing Arts Center and Orlando Repertory Theatre. Both of Ms. Nichols’ children are graduates of LHPS.
Betsy Pavolovich was born in North Carolina and spent time overseas in the Philippines and Pakistan. She earned B.A. degrees in Dramatic Arts and in International Relations at the University of Mary Washington, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Rollins College. Ms. Pav has worked professionally as an actress, director, stage manager, and as tech director for Clubhouse Kids, a children’s theatre group. She came to LHPS in 1984 and became a full time drama teacher in 1999. She now directs Lower School Drama for 4th-6th grades. Ms. Pav has performed with American Young Actors’ Theatre at Valencia, Mt. Dora’s Ice House Theatre, and at Theatre Downtown, and is a Board member for FATE, Florida Association for Theatre Education.
Brent Pirie joined the Upper School staff in 1998, teaching computers and then developed the video/multimedia and graphics programs. He currently teaches video/computers/robotics in the Lower School and produces video programs across campus for live and on-demand content. Mr. Pirie has an Associate’s degree in Computers, a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Telecommunications, and an MBA in Computer Education/Business Economics. He also worked as a director/producer for CBS, ESPN, ABC, Disney, Christian broadcasts, music videos, children’s programming and reality shows. Mr. Pirie is an Apple certified Adobe educator, an advisory board member for SIGCSE and a member of CSTA, FACE and ITSE.
Leslie Reese is a UCF graduate and a Florida-born artist. Before coming to LHPS where he teaches Upper School Ceramics, Photography and Graphic Design, he was active in the space industry as an illustrator during the early years of the shuttle program. Mr. Reese is one of the founding members of the Alternative Photographic International Symposium (APIS) formed to preserve the original and early processes of photography, and of the Digital Photographers Group advising manufacturers and producers of digital cameras, equipment and software, specifically Adobe Photoshop. He participates in art shows in the Brevard County area displaying his larger-than-life photos printed on canvas.
Pamela Reynolds has been a choreographer, musician and theatrical director since 1973. She spent 20 years teaching and travelling throughout the US with her own dance and theater companies and is now a 20-year faculty member in Lower School. Ms. Reynolds teaches Computer Education and works with all groups within the Academy Singers organization as choreographer and creative consultant. For a decade, Ms. Reynolds played the White House Steinway piano as she accompanied the Academy Singers. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas Theater Department. Her extensive experience in the arts includes productions with schools and theaters, dance and summer stock companies, TV production, convention production, pageants, teaching, and talent development.
Michael Simpson began his teaching career in 1980. Before joining the LHPS faculty, he served as orchestra director at Olympia High School. He is also the conductor of Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra Philharmonia and the ‘A Gift for Music’ Core Youth Orchestra. Throughout the state, Mr. Simpson is frequently invited to serve as a guest conductor. He has also been a guest conductor at the Kent School of Music in Maidstone, England, and the Harvard-Westlake school in Studio City, California. During the summer of 2009, Mr. Simpson was one of three conductors at the Gateways Music Festival in Rochester, New York. In the summer of 2008, he conducted the Florida Ambassadors of Music Orchestra on its seven-country European performance tour. Mr. Simpson plays viola and has given numerous solo recitals on the east coast of the country. He has been a member of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and principal violist of the Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra and the Richmond Classical players Chamber Orchestra. In Florida, he has played viola with the Southwest Florida Symphony and the Naples Philharmonic.
Cheryl Sims has taught and produced special events for more than 30 years. After graduating from Samford University in Birmingham, AL in Early Childhood Education and Music, Mrs. Sims went on to receive her CMP certification from Meeting Professionals International. As an accomplished meeting planner and the founding Director of the Academy Singers Organization, which includes the Academy Singers, Legacy Singers, Highland, Academy K, and 901 North, she writes, composes, and produces original scripts and programs. She has taught primary music at Lake Highland since 1997. Mrs. Sims seeks to inspire young performers to reach for excellence through opportunities that showcase their enthusiastic gifts of singing, performing, and embracing the arts. Visit the Academy Singers Website!
Matt Smith has an A.A. degree from Florida State University and a B.A. degree in Technical Theatre from the University of Central Florida. Since 1992, he has worked in the entertainment industry in Orlando on projects that include rigging, scenic, lighting, audio, and video for Civic Theatre, Orlando Rep, Nickelodeon Studios, Disney, Universal Studios, Rollins College and more. His set design work includes Salt and Pepper, Sideways Stories from the Wayside School, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Go Dog Go, Zarafa and many others. Mr. Smith teaches Stagecraft I – IV at Lake Highland and is excited to pass on his experience to the next generation of theatre professionals. He is also the HCCA Operations Manager, Technical Director and Set Designer.