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Course Listing - by Instructor

Name Biography

Elliott Neff is a National Master in Chess, author of A Pawn's Journey (October 2018), and Founder/CEO of Chess4Life,which exists to help kids develop life skills through the game of chess. What began for Elliott as a childhood fascination with chess has blossomed into an opportunity to positively impact hundreds of thousands of kids per week through Chess4Life programs. Elliott enjoys sharing his love of the game and especially the benefits of chess through speaking engagements, special appearances, simultaneous chess exhibitions, and blindfold chess demonstrations. His enthusiasm for making a difference in kids' lives through this fun game is contagious as he makes strategic moves toward the goal of reaching 1 MILLION kids per week learning life skills through chess. Learn more at
Charlie Anderson
Charlie teaches acoustic, bass and electric.
I grew up in the Fargo, North Dakota region and moved to Sioux Falls in 1998. My mother plays piano for her local church and her mother was a music teacher. I started taking private piano lessons in the 2nd grade and switched to guitar lessons the summer of my 6th grade year. I continued with private lessons until I graduated from high school. I started playing guitar in our local church praise band. I then moved to Chillicothe, Ohio where I studied studio recording at the Recording Workshop. Right after that I moved to Nashville, Tennessee and did and internship at Trinity Music City. There I learned audio and video production and also worked part-time doing live sound for concerts. I currently give private piano and guitar (acoustic, electric and bass) lessons from home. I do some audio production work from my home studio, in addition to being a DJ during the weekends. I also play guitar and bass in a local band called "The Unnotables." Music is such a big part of my life and I enjoy teaching others what I have learned through the years.
Rich Brubakken I have been a life-long educator who enjoys working with adults. 40 years of my life has been spent working in education, but my love has always been in the arts. I have undergraduate work in the field of art from Augustana University and have spent the last year working in stained glass with a glass teacher, Steve Spencer. I am looking forward to passing along his gifts to the students I have the pleasure of meeting and working with.
LAP Classroom Lead Teacher
Santiago Continenza

Allow me to introduce myself! My name is Santiago Continenza, and I am a new music instructor for the Community Education branch of the Sioux Falls School District! I will be teaching drums and percussion!

My roots are from the Twin Cities, as I was born in the St. Paul suburb of Maplewood, Minnesota. From there, I grew up in Brainerd, a town in northern Minnesota where I got my start in music. I started playing percussion in 6th grade band. I would go on to play in band for seven years, comprising my 6th-12th grade education. I was involved in marching band, pep band, jazz band, concert band, and symphonic band. I had many individual achievements in percussion performance, receiving first prize at my high school talent show both my junior and senior years for original drum solos on the trap kit. I was also among the top 15 young drummers in the country for a youth national fine arts festival in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2008. This was for an original drum set solo as well.

My craving for performing music went beyond school as well. I played drums in two rocks bands as an adolescent and as a young adult. One was a band with my two brothers and my step-brother that we eventually called "The Glitch". The other was a band called "Stoked Beyond Boredom", which I played in from 2006-2014; and we had multiple marquee gigs in the Twin Cities, opening for some well-known artists. We amicably parted ways when college and the workforce split our paths. I went to college in Marshall, Minnesota, graduated from SMSU with an accounting degree, and lived in Marshall for a total of nine years before moving to Sioux Falls for a new accounting job in July 2020!

Moreover, I have played trap set, auxiliary percussion, or both in over half a dozen church music groups fairly consistently from 2003 to the present. This includes a Spanish church band that I currently play with here in Sioux Falls! Also dear to my heart is my first experience teaching drums at The Note Gallery, a music store in Marshall, Minnesota! From January 2016 through July 2020, I served as percussion instructor, giving 30-minute lessons to individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels both in person and virtually via video calls!
In this new role with the SFSD and Community Education, I aspire to meet every single student where he or she is at. Whether you are a child or an adult, new or experienced, curious or committed, I look forward to getting to know you and help you perfect your craft as a musician!

Tanya Crain
Devon Davoux
Driver's Ed Driving
Bryan Jensen
Bryan, a lifelong South Dakotan, is a multi-instrumentalist who has 20 years of experience playing guitar, bass, ukulele, mandolin, piano and violin. As someone who has learned a variety of instruments, he knows how important it is to encourage and support a student while at the same time making music and learning enjoyable. This has given Bryan a unique and comprehensive approach teaching how to learn an instrument and appreciating all genres of music. Bryan is a firm believer that learning an instrument is one of the most fulfilling and beneficial endeavors a person can take on. Numerous studies have shown the long term benefits of learning an instrument and it's Bryan's goal to make sure you get the most out of your experience while still having fun. Lessons will draw from pop music, rock & roll, country, jazz, oldies, blues and punk. Your child as a student will learn: chord formation & progression, rhythm, music theory, how to read sheet music and tablature, song structure, ear training, and many other practical skills and exercises!
Steve McFarland
I have been playing guitar and bass professionally in Sioux Falls for the past 30 years! I also perform throughout the area and am happy to share my knowledge and love of music with students at two locations. With a B.A. from SDSU and a M.A. from Augustana, both in education, I love to motivate & reach students of all ages! I teach students ages 6 through adults, beginners and experienced on acoustic, bass and electric guitar, ukulele and banjo. Students with an electric guitar will need to bring their own amp to practice.
MaryGail Monahan
Kristi Nimick

I first discovered working with glass when I was in high school and have loved it ever since. I enjoy working with all kinds of glass and am always playing with a new project. It's always exciting to learn how to make new glass designs and sharing them with friends. My inspiration is gathered from my family, friends, and everything around me.

Julie Ostroot
Julie Ostroot has been teaching in the SF area for several years. She serves as an organist at Asbury Methodist and also works as an Education Assistant at Cleveland Elementary. Having worked in music retail as well, she's familiar with several piano methods and teaching styles. Julie has her B.A. Degree in Music from Augustana and has taught lessons at SF Lutheran and the Augie Preparatory program. She also enjoys biking and jewelry making.
Rosa Yrene Parsons

Learning Adventures Preschool- Sonia Sotomayor

My name is Yrene Parsons. I am originally from Peru. I studied Economics in my country for five years at the University of San Martin de Porres, Lima- Peru. I attended Augustana University, earning a bachelor's degree in Spanish. Before teaching with the Sioux Falls School District, I taught Spanish at Sioux Falls Lutheran School for two years. I also taught Zumba for five years. In teaching preschool at Sonia Sotomayor, I am able to combine my love of movement and dance with my teaching of the children. I love to teach my students to learn using all their senses, especially using movement in music, art and science. In my spare time, I love to hike with my family, traveling, being with friends, and shopping. I have taught at Mis Amigos Preschool since January 2018. I am so blessed to be part of a wonderful Community in Sioux Falls and be a little light in the life of these precious young people.

Mary Plummer Learning Adventures Preschool - Discovery
Dan Roberdeau
Dan Roberdeau is an experienced clarinetist that has held many positions within the music world! He has had the privilege of attending and having a more formal education at the Navy School of Music and then graduating with a degree in Music at Northwestern University. Dan comes to Community Education with an extensive background including performing with many great symphonies across the nation, teaching many students along the way at colleges and universities and submitting recordings for the Hal Leonard lesson books! After moving to Sioux Falls, he has continued to share his talent and love for the clarinet by offering individual clarinet lessons. Whether you are a beginner or advanced student, Dan will meet you where you are at and help you to grow as a musician!
Fee - Supplies
Dawn Szymik
Hello, my name is Dawn Szymik. I have been teaching Zumba since 2009. Zumba is an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party!! Since I was introduced to Zumba I knew this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I have always had a passion for dance and fitness. I used to be 260 pounds, and in the journey of losing weight I knew it was my mission to help inspire others! Zumba has changed my life because it has given me back happiness, a purpose, and a mission to help others through what ever journey they are on! I stage my classes in a club style environment to create a comfortable, non-intimidating, party like atmosphere. If you have never taken a Zumba class, please come try it with me! We love to laugh, shake, sweat, dance, and most importantly have FUN!!!!
Leo Taylor
I am the Principal Percussionist with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Principal Timpanist with the West Michigan Symphony. I have a master's degree in Orchestral Studies (Percussion) from Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts. An exciting thing that I have been able to do is to play with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago!

I teach the following instruments: Timpani, Snare Drum, Marimba, Xylophone, Glockenspiel, Tambourine, Cymbals, Triangle, Drum set, Non-Western "World" Percussion, Percussion Accessories, and Marching Instruments. I can also teach beginning piano and many other instruments to establish a strong foundation of musical understanding. We will work together to help you get stronger than you already are, help you meet any goals for your future and have fun while doing that!

Looking forward to working with you!

Lynn Thomason
Lynn Marie Stetler Thomason was reared in Waverly, Pennsylvania and started to learn Latin in the 7th grade. She graduated from Gettysburg College with a double major in Greek and Latin and a double minor in education and music. She received a Masters of Science in Library Science with a specialization in Health Information Management from the Catholic University of American in Washington, DC. Lynn loves teaching Latin to students at Lincoln and O'Gorman! She resides in Sioux Falls with her husband. She started taking piano lessons in the first grade and continued all the way through college! Lynn is a trained accompanist for both instrumentalists and vocalists. One of her favorite musical activities is to play in piano-organ duets!
Levi Tvedt
Kathy Weinstein
William Wheeler
Michael Widenor
Cassandra Willett

Cassandra Willett is a WPA certified SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) instructor who was certified by the professional ocean athlete Gillian Gibree in San Diego through Paddle Into Fitness. While growing up in Flandreau, South Dakota she spent most of her summers swimming, playing sports, and being outdoors. She is married to Reginald Willett, who also helps her with Flow and Paddle. She enjoys spending time traveling, hanging out with family and friends, and being in the yoga studio or gym! Cassandra is enrolled for her Yoga Teacher Training of 200 hours through Yoga Alliance and plans to teach kids yoga in the future. We are blessed to be a part of such a great community. I hope to provide each of the students with knowledge of paddle boarding and water safety instruction so each of you will be comfortable getting on the paddle boards and walking on water with us.