Fine & Performing Arts Mission Statement
To endeavor to make the lives of our students ever more fascinating by inspiring a determination to develop the skills, curiosity and courage to give voice to their artistic vision as active participants in a creative community crafting a more perceptually aware, discerning, imaginative and humane society.
Molly is a printmaker, a ceramic artist and a woodworker. She earned a BFA in Printmaking and Painting with a concentration in Art History from The University Of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Masters in Art Education from Massachusetts College Of Art. In addition to teaching part time Ceramics and Mixed Media at Newton South, Molly also teaches Cabinet Making to adults through Newton Community Education. Out of her strong belief in the benefits of community service and her love for working with young adults, she helped to start the organization Mass Nine For the 9th. This is a community service learning program through the Newton North Carpentry program, which brings students from Newton to the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans once a year to help rebuild homes.
Born and raised in New York, Abygale Choi brings the energy of life from outside into the classroom. Her values are in the journey and process of discovery and creating; she encourages her students to be fearless in pursuing their passion. She earned her BFA and MA from Boston University, with a concentration in Painting. Abygale Choi teaches all 2D foundations classes, which include Intro to Art and Design, Media & Methods, Portfolio, as well as Ceramics 1.
Megan is a visual artist, teacher, and the Department Chair of the Fine & Performing Arts Department. She earned her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in furniture design with a concentration in art history. She holds two MA's, one in art education from Boston University and a second from Endicott College in organizational management. Megan enjoys working in both two and three dimensions concentrating on the mediums of printmaking and wheel throwing. Her personal artwork explores how to elide incongruous shapes into a cohesive whole, and the palimpsestic nature of printmaking as a means to record personal history. She has exhibited work in New York City, Connecticut and the greater Boston area.
Carol Ober started the Media Lab at Newton South 20 years ago. She teaches a variety of media arts courses including web design, game design, Photoshop, video, 3D imaging, and 3D animation. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Carnegie Mellon University and a Masters of Art Education from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Carol has a diverse background in the arts. She has studied art and art therapy in London, England; illustrated a children’s book, How Music Came to the World (Houghton-Mifflin); received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; and worked as a free-lance video editor and producer. She once vowed she would never do computer graphics, much less teach it, but somewhere along the way, she fell in love with it.
Laura Penney graduated from MassArt with BFA degrees in Photography and Studio Education. She completed her student teaching at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, and just finished up a paternity leave position at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School. When she's not teaching or making photos, Laura enjoys running, roller blading, swimming, cooking, and finding a good bagel or hot dog spot. She has a dwarf hotot rabbit named Momo who loves to go for walks. Laura is very excited to start teaching Photography this Fall.
Jeff Wixon started working at Newton South in 1985. He teaches Ceramics, Sculpture, Mixed Media, Glass and Jewelry. He is also a glass artist selling his work at local Craft Shows and the New England area. He completed his undergraduate degree from Central Connecticut State University and his graduate work at Mass College of Art.
Saxophonist, composer, educator Ed Harlow has been based in the greater Boston area since 1987. He has toured the US, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, France and the Caribbean with groups such as The Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Artie Shaw Orchestra and Volo Volo de Boston. Mr. Harlow has also performed with notable artists such as Tony Bennett, The Temptations, Johnny Mathis and Paquito D'Rivera. Harlow has eight publications with Advance Music and has released two CDs as a leader. Harlow has taught woodwinds, improvisation and jazz ensembles since 1987.
Lisa Linde is the conductor or the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Jazz Enemble, Lab Jazz Ensemble and Chamber Ensembles. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Masters Degree in Conducting from New England Conservatory. She has served as secretary for the MMEA Northeast District Executive Board and the Solo and Ensesmble Festival Coordinator of the MICCA Executive board.
I am thrilled and excited to be joining the South Arts Department as the director/collaborator of the Orchestra! While I am new to South, I am not new to Newton. I spent 6 years working at the Lincoln-Eliot Elementary School as the General, Choral, Band and Orchestra teacher. I am currently the co-director of the Newton All-City Band, and (as of this year) the Band and Orchestra teacher across the field at Brown Middle School. I was born and raised on Cape Cod (in Orleans, if you’re curious), but left there as a junior in high school to attend the Walnut Hill School for the Arts with a concentration in bassoon. I am an alumna of the (Greater) Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, where I first fell in love with orchestral playing. My degrees are from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts in Bassoon Performance (BA) and Music Education (MA Ed). As a bassoonist I love any opportunity to make music with others. This weekend I’m playing a very special concert with the Newton Philharmonia Orchestra sharing the stage with the Indigo Girls at Symphony Hall! I also have a (growing) private studio of young bassoonists. When I am not teaching I love to be outside - hiking, being on the beach (any season!), or soaking up the sun. I also really love to cook, do yoga, and be with friends. I can’t wait to meet you all and begin building community through our music making!
Benjamin Youngman has been the Director of Choral Activities at Newton South since 1999. He also teaches all levels of music technology and composition as well as AP music theory. He works with the Theater Department for their musical productions and also conducts the Newton Singers, an adult community chorus. He began his professional music career with the American Boychoir in Princeton, New Jersey at age ten, performing over 160 concerts a year for three years throughout North America and Europe and singing for Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr.. He has made numerous recordings with the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Festival Chorus and has worked with artists such as George Balanchine, Bob Hope, Patti LaBelle, Jackie McClean, Seiji Ozawa, Robert Shaw and James Taylor. He holds a Bachelors of Music Education from the Hartt School of Music, and a Masters of Education from Cambridge College. He is currently enrolled in the online Doctor of Music (DMA) progam at Boston University, where he hopes to begin his dissertation in the upcoming year.
Jeff Knoedler is worried that when people find out what an awesome job he has, they will take it away. Let's keep it our little secret. He grew up on a farm in Nebraska and desperately rode east until he came to Boston. He has been a theatre teacher and director at Newton South for thirteen years, and looks forward to many more.
Ms. Perkinson is happy to be starting her first year teaching at Newton South. In addition to being a teacher, she is also a professional actress in Boston. You might have seen in her in productions at Actors' Shakespeare Project (Romeo & Juliet, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Troilus & Cressida), New Repertory Theatre (The Kite Runner), Company One (She Kills Monsters), and Central Square Theatre (Arabian Nights). Before arriving at Newton South, Ms. Perkinson has taught theatre to students of all ages throughout the Boston area at Riverside Theatre Works, Charlestown Working Theatre, Boston Preparatory Charter School, Warren Prescott Middle School, Edison K-8 School, and Boston University. She is a teaching artist and seasonal company member with Actors' Shakespeare Project. She holds a BFA in Theatre from Boston University and has studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.
Mr. Spruck graduated from Alfred University, located in the beautiful lake effect snow belt of Western New York, with a degree in Technical Theatre.
After graduation he was the Technical Director of Theatre, and have had the pleasure of teaching at, Corning Community College and Elmira College, both located in Upstate New York. Years ago, he left the academic world and have since worked with arguably the best theatre in Boston, the Huntington Theatre Company and was the Technical Director at North Shore Music Theatre. In his spare time, Mr. Spruck loves sailing his beautiful sailboat Nola, playing musical instruments like the Guitar, Bowed Psaltry, and Hammered Dulcimer, building architectural paper models of cathedrals, castles, and other historical structures from around the world, sewing commissioned larping costumes, plane spotting, and playing modern board games like Agricola, Antiquity, Carcassonne, and Vinhos.