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Board of Directors > Staff > Testimonials >  
Managing Director - Anna Villa-Bager
Program Director - Sarah E. Melone, PT
Creative Arts Therapy Supervisor - Elizabeth Balzano-Rily, MT-BC, LCAT & Allyn Sitjar, MA, RDT, LCAT
SCAT Program Coordinator - Dina Friedman, LMSW

Creative Arts Therapy Supervisor - Elizabeth Balzano-Riley, MA, MT-BC, LCAT

Elizabeth B. Riley is a New York State licensed creative arts therapist and also holds her national board certification in music therapy.  She received her bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and her master’s degree in Music Therapy from New York University. 

 

Elizabeth has been working with children with developmental disabilities for over ten years and created music therapy programs throughout New York City that engage children clinically and creatively.  In 2005 Elizabeth co-produced and hosted a DVD series called Bounce! These DVDs were originally created for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and are now enjoyed by children of all abilities. 


 


Creative Arts Therapy Supervisor -Allyn Sitjar, MA, RDT, LCAT
Allyn Sitjar is a Registered Drama Therapist (RDT) and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT), with over 29 years’ experience as a theatre director and theatre teaching artist.  She is the artistic director of Youth Theatre of New Jersey and Summer Theatre Institute-NYC.  As a director and theatre teacher she has taught hundreds of children and teens over the last 29 years and has directed and produced over 300 original plays and musicals. She received her Master’s Degree in Drama Therapy from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University in 2004.  Since then, she has worked in a wide range of settings such as after-school programs, shelters for battered women, prisons, continuing day treatment programs, in-patient hospital settings, and an agency for victims and survivors of domestic violence.  Ms. Sitjar is also a certified facilitator in Boys Council and Girls Circle work.


 Dance/Movement Therapist & Counselor - Joanne Zullig

Joanne Zullig, MA, BC-DMT, LPC comes to us as a seasoned professional.  She is a board certified dance therapist and licensed professional counselor in New Jersey and Massachusetts.  She has worked in a variety of clinical settings and with all ages, particularly in the fields of traumatic head injury, wellness, and special needs. 

She has been teaching preschool dance for the past ten years integrating her skills as a dance/movement psychotherapist to work on expressive range, as well as social and movement development of the young child.





LAM Healing Arts Practitioners - Adrienne Murphy & Lois Mettler

 

Adrienne L. Murphy MA CCC-SLP, RYT-200, Energy Practitioner was the recipient of a full academic tuition scholarship from Providence College. She graduated from Providence College Summa Cum Laude in the Liberal Arts Honors Program with a BA in Humanities/Business Studies in 1988. She received a graduate fellowship to study speech-language pathology at Montclair State University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with an MA in Speech-Language Pathology from Montclair State University in 1995. She received her Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association in 1996. In her almost 20 years of practice in speech-language pathology, Adrienne has worked with both children and adults in a wide variety of clinical settings- hospitals, nursing homes, rehab facilities and outpatient therapy clinics. Over the past 15 years of practice, she has worked exclusively with children ages 0-3 in Bergen County's Early Intervention System and with school-aged children in her private practice. Adrienne is a skilled expert in the areas of Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders, Dyspraxia, Learning Disabilities, and oral motor/sensory feeding disorders. In addition, she knows first-hand the many stresses parents of special needs children face having raised a high-school aged son with special needs. In 2011, Adrienne received her 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certification from Naturally Yoga in Glen Rock, NJ which changed the course of her life not only personally but also professionally.  Adrienne received a "Basic Level" certification in Vortex Energy healing in July 2012 up at the Omega Institute and received a more advanced certification in "Magical Structures" from the Vortex Healing Institute in NYC in Oct. 2012. Most importantly, she integrates all of these healing modalities for nurturing and facilitating each child's skills. She believes that this brings out the best in every child. Since she is an intuitive energy practitioner, she can connect to any child no matter how severe the disability. "I offer trust, compassion, validation, support and hope for the whole family. This creates peace and a deeper connection to their child. It is my privilege and honor to be of service in this way offering our workshops"workshops for special needs children and their parents.

 

Lois Mettler, MA Science Education 1969, American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer since 2007, Energy Practitioner, 2012, graduated from Hunter College with a BA,1965,when she was 19 years old. She taught High School Biology and General Science for the next 5 years at Newtown High School, Elmhurst, Queens.   While teaching from 1966-69, she completed her Masters of Science Education at New York University.  She went on maternity leave in June 1970  From 1970-1977 she raised her 2 children in Paramus NJ.  In 1977, she started a performing business, The Peppermint Playhouse Puppeteers, with her sister to bring Ecology and Health messages into nursery/elementary /special needs schools through the vehicle of fun-filled, educational full- stage puppet productions.  For over 30 years she performed all over the tri-state metropolitan area performing in 100's of schools each year. The business was closed officially in 2012 after her sister moved out of state.  As this transition was occurring, her desire to learn "the secret to good health" led her to become  an ACE  Certified Personal Trainer, a Certified Pilates instructor a RYT200 hour Yoga teacher and a Vortex Energy Practitioner(Basic Level Vortex Energy Practitioner July,2012 at the Omega Institute and  Advance Magical Structures Certificate in Vortex Healing in NYC in Oct 2012.   Her motto is "Everyone has the tools to live a peaceful and fun-filled life no matter what the challenges are.   We just need the support, love and nurturing to discover our tools."  By using all of her creative talents, teaching skills and her puppet friends, she's excited and ready to play, laugh and love in these family therapy

 


Music Therapist - Christine Nasol
A Bay Area, California native, Christine Nasol has been involved in music, music education, and music therapy for nearly 27 years. She completed her BA in Music, specifically piano performance at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She has worked with various music education organizations like the Central Coast Children's Choir Music for Minors and Musikgarten, as well as bringing music classes to the Morgan School for Autism in Santa Clara, and starting her own piano studio, Little Forte Music Studio. Recently, Christine completed her Masters degree in Music Therapy from New York University, and is now a Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC). She is currently pursuing post graduate training in Vocal Psychotherapy at the Music Psychotherapy Institute with Dr. Diane Austin. In addition to MarbleJam Kids, Christine provides music therapy services through Art Beyond Sight, Kana's Therapeutic Music, and the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services (JBFCS).


Music Therapist - Gabriela Ortiz

Gabriela Ortiz, MS, MT-BC, a board certified music therapist who has specialized in working with young children and adolescents with various special needs over the past 6 years. Gabriela has her post-graduate advanced certification in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, specializing in clinical improvisation and music-centered music therapy. She also has vast experience serving as adjunct professor for undergraduate music therapy students at Molloy College. Gabriela is bilingual in English and Spanish.


Social Worker - Dina Friedman, LMSW

Dina Friedman is a Licensed Masters Social Worker. She received her degree from New York University in 2005. She comes to us with a wide range of Social Work experience. She worked with oncology and medically fragile patients and their families. In addition to her Social Work background, Dina received certification in BrainDance development from the Creative Dance Center of Seattle, Washington and is also a certified Zumba instructor. Dina has taught dance to children, teens and adults. She has worked in camp and after school programs teaching children with Autism and Multiple disabilities.  Dina loves working with children and is a big believer in utilizing the power of the arts for healing and therapeutic purposes.


Special Educator-Amanda Conover

Amanda Conover, BA, graduated from Monmouth University with a degree in Elementary Education and is a certified Special Educator in the State of NJ.  She currently works for the Tenafly Public School System in the Kindergarten and Pre-School Special Education classroom.  Amanda’s passion for teaching children of all ages with special needs became evident 2 years ago when providing assistance as an aide and educational tutor in MarbleJam Kids programs.    This year, Amanda heads the After School Club 5 days per week attending to the unique challenges in completing homework as well as offering target tutoring for challenging areas both educationally and socially.  Her calm and supportive approach coupled with her skills as a special educator, provides an environment for success.  Amanda is looking forward to start her second year with MarbleJam Kids.


Elementary Educator - Monica Franklin

Monica Franklin is a New Jersey certified elementary educator who received her Bachelor of Science degrees in Elementary Education and Psychology. Her alma mater, The College of New Jersey, exposed her to various teaching experiences in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Switzerland. Monica entered the Tenafly Public Schools as a paraprofessional in a Special Education pre-school and is currently working in a Kindergarten through 2nd grade ABA Special Education classroom. Monica is an educator with a passion for children of all ages and abilities who is able to integrate educational strategies and therapeutic approaches to build relationships among peers. Monica provides homework help after school 3 days per week while continuing her education toward her masters degree in education.   She is looking forward to her second year at MarbleJam Kids!



Yoga Instructor - Cristy Sycip  
Crisy Sycip has been providing yoga instruction with therapeutic approaches at MarbleJam Kids for the past 2 years. She specializes in circus yoga utilizing props to make a connection as well as touch yoga, an approach used to help a child follow movement with direct contact for better communication between the instructor, peers, and therapist. She has a background in all forms of dance and is Reiki Master Practitioner (the practice of healing the body, mind and spirit). She continues her teacher trainings for “Family CircusYoga” and “Anusara” this spring time. A few of her new found creative expressions are in handcrafted jewelry, mixed martial arts and Belly dancing. She also provides community workshops to therapists and volunteers all ages. She deeply honors all her teachers: Chaya Spencer, Dorothea Grant, Vishali Varga, Hillary Freeman and Thomas Clifford.
 
 
Robyn Abrams, Educator,  Mosaic Artist

 

A graduate from Villanova University with a degree in Education, and taught english, history and art for 10 years at Albert Einstein Academy, in Wilmington, Delaware and directed summer art programs at the JYC as well.  After relocating to New Jersey, she began to pursue artistic endeavors. She worked for Paintiques, a company that specialized in faux finishes for residential and commercial spaces and eventually began her own business.  She has taught children and young adult art classes at Art Smart Academy, Hilldsale, NJ  and developed  ‘The Mosaic Workshop’ for MarbleJam Kids at the Tenafly enrichment center.  As a member of SAMA (Society of American Mosaic Artists) Robyn travels and participates in workshops and conferences all over the country to broaden her knowledge of the unique and inspirational art form. 

 



Peter Nevil - Film Club Instructor

Peter Nevill was born in California, but moved to New Jersey 14 years ago. His background in film started in high-school, where he did his best to drag/bribe his siblings, to fill out the rest of his production crew. He studied film at Nyack College, where he met Orlando and rescued him from a degree in radio broadcasting. He has also had the privilege and honor to be able to travel to a number of oversees locations including: El Salvador and Belize. His last trip to El Salvador allowed him to capture a mini-documentary that followed a short-term mission trip, he is currently in Post Production with this.  Peter's favorite aspect of filmmaking is editing, getting to craft and refine the story, whether its a wedding, a promo video, a docu-short, or the latest VHP film.
 


Support Aides - Nancy Valentino, Annette Tucker, Dana Weeks

Consulting Professionals - Wendy Padykula - Speech Pathologist, Nicole Turon Diaz - Behavioral Consultant - Valerie Gancarz - Behaviorist