People Directory

Photo of Dr. Kimberly Mighell Dr. Kimberly Mighell 9th Grade Sciences
Photo of Lara Naughton Lara Naughton College Counselor

Lara Naughton has taught students K-12 as well as adults. As a writer and documentarian, she assists individuals who wish to tell their own stories, and has led writing classes with people who have faced challenging circumstances, including homelessness, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, wrongful conviction, incarceration, and torture. She is a certified Compassion Cultivation Trainer through the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, and founder of the Compassion Program at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, LA.…

Photo of Dr. Kit Nelson Dr. Kit Nelson Director of Academic Studio

Kit has been a part of the NOCCA team since 2012 and has served as an Integrated Sciences Faculty Member, Chair of Integrated Sciences and as Director of Academic Studio.  During that time she has helped to build and continues to support the Academic Studio program with a focused on ensuring that the Academic Studio is a visionary school for creative learners.  …

Photo of Dr. Liliia Oliinyk Dr. Liliia Oliinyk Faculty: Classical Vocal, Collaborative Pianist

Born to a family of music enthusiasts in Ukraine, Liliia quickly showed interest in piano, guitar, and singing. As a child she spent countless hours learning to play the piano by ear, playing tunes she heard her dad sing. By the age of six her parents had recognized her passion and she was enrolled in a local music school.…

Photo of Mary Jane Parker Mary Jane Parker Visual Arts: Printmaking, 2-D Foundations
(504) 940-2824

Mary Jane Parker received her B.F.A from Louisiana State University, M.A. and M.F.A. Studio Art with Printmaking emphasis from Illinois State University.  Her work is mixed media combining printmaking and painting techniques with glass and bronze sculpture.  She was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship in 2007, a Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship in 1990 and 2001, a National Endowment for the Arts/Southern Arts Federation Award for Excellence, an NEA Independent Study Fellowship, a Surdna Foundation Arts Teacher’s Fellowship and mini-grants from the Louisiana Division of the Arts. …

Photo of Michael Pellera Michael Pellera Music: Chair, Jazz: Assistant Chair, Jazz Piano and Composition, Jazz Combos
(504) 940-2832

After studying at Berklee College of Music, Mr. Pellera has been a jazz educator serving New Orleans since 1989.  He taught jazz piano and improvisation for fifteen years at Loyola University before joining NOCCA’s faculty in 2002. In the last 25 years, he has lived in New Orleans and New York, giving his music a unique perspective that draws freely from the influences of the two cities. …

Photo of Keith Perelli Keith Perelli Visual Arts: 2-D Exploration
(504) 940-2883

Keith Perelli is a visual artist working in painting, printmaking and drawing. He received a Bachelors in Arts in Painting and Printmaking at The University of New Orleans and his Master in Fine Art from The University of Cincinnati in sculpture. His figurative work explores a variety of social political and personal issues. He has participated in numerous, national and international invitation and juried exhibitions.…

Photo of Samantha Price Samantha Price Culinary Arts Faculty: Bread

Samantha moved to New Orleans in 2021 after falling in love with the cities cuisine, people, history and mystery. After graduating Le Cordon Bleu’s pastry arts program in Miami FL in 2008 she realized her passion lay in the art of making bread. When upon entering school her Chef asked ” In what medium does your passion lay?” With the utmost certainty she proclaimed Wedding cakes, just before graduation that same chef asked her the same question again except this time her answer had changed…Bread is where her heart and passion would forever be.…

Photo of Matt Raetz Matt Raetz Artist-Teacher
Photo of Denaé Reddick Denaé Reddick Chef Instructor: Pastry

Denaé is a 2017 NOCCA Alum, where she found and nurtured her passion for baking and pastry. Her love of pastry goes way back; she opened a cupcake business in her freshman year of high school and, as a senior, was the recipient of NOCCA’s President’s Honors Award in Culinary Arts. Denaé then went on to pursue a higher education in baking and pastry as part of the inaugural class at the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute.…

Xavier Reed Jazz Faculty
Photo of Alea Roy Alea Roy Artist-Teacher: Nutrition
Photo of Quanitha Ruffins Quanitha Ruffins School Business Manager
Photo of Melanie Ryan Melanie Ryan Dance Faculty: Ballet

Melanie Montalto Ryan is a former professional ballet dancer who began her training in New Orleans at Giacobbe Academy of Dance. She has been awarded trainee scholarships to American Ballet Theatre and Alvin Ailey before accepting a traineeship for the Harkness Ballet in New York under Ballet Master David Howard.

Upon returning  to New Orleans as a Principal dancer with Delta Festival Ballet she has performed solo roles in Sleeping Beauty as the Fairy of the Golden Vine and Pas de Trois, Swan Lake Pas de Trois, Lucille Grahn in Pas de Quatre, Les Sylphide, Songs of a Wayfarer, Graduation Ball, Raymonda Pas de Dix, Variations from Day to Day and many more.…

Photo of Ann Schwab Ann Schwab Visual Arts: 2-D Exploration

Exploring human relationships with both the natural world and the technological world that we have constructed, Ann Schwab’s work utilizes photography, mixed media, installation, audio and video to illuminate the conflation of these two worlds.

The natural environment often plays the role of a medicament in Schwab’s work. The beauty of nature functions as a root of strength, resurrecting the spirit.…

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