People Directory

Photo of Sara Slaughter Sara Slaughter Creative Writing Faculty


Sara Slaughter is the author of Upriver (Antenna / Press Street Press, 2014). Her creative work has appeared in New World Writing, The Cortland Review, PANK, and other publications; her academic work has been published in Educational Policy and by the National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice. She has a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.F.A.…

Photo of Edward Emmanuel Spots Edward Emmanuel Spots Dance Instructor | Ballet

Edward Emmanuel Spots

Professional Biography

Edward Spots is a native New Orleanian born and raised in the former Magnolia Housing Project. His first personal experiences with dance came from neighborhood gatherings of the Mardi Gras Indians and impactful elective opportunities studying capoeira and modern African dance at New Orleans’ first charter school.…

Photo of Natsumi Sugiyama Natsumi Sugiyama Movement Faculty: Suzuki

Originally from Japan, Natsumi Sugiyama has been a member of the Shizuoka Performing Art Center (SPAC) under the leadership of renowned director Tadashi Suzuki. There, she performed in “Kachikachiyama”, “Ivanov”, “Cinderella” and more. After her involvement with SPAC, she joined famous Tokyo based Theatre Company Ku na’uka lead by artistic director Satoshi Miyagi, and performed many leads such as Narukami in the play of the same name, Desdemona, Helen of Troy, and Electra to name a few.…

Photo of Tianna Pourciau Sykes Tianna Pourciau Sykes Dance: Chair

Tianna Pourciau Sykes is a dance educator, choreographer, and performing artist with experience spanning 20 years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Kennesaw State University. As a dance educator, Tianna specializes in classical ballet and modern dance instruction, with extensive experience in dance curriculum design and development. Throughout her career, she has taught various forms of dance, including ballet, modern dance, jazz dance, tap, hip-hop, and contemporary dance, as well as musical theatre dance.…

Photo of Mark-Anthony Thomas Mark-Anthony Thomas Vocal Instructor, Musicianship

Emerging tenor Mark-Anthony Thomas is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He is graduate of the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, where he studied vocal music and received a Certificate of Artistry under the tutelage of Phyllis Treigle. He was selected as a winner of the New Orleans Junior Philharmonic Society competition in 2009.…

Photo of Amy Tilling Amy Tilling 12th Grade Sciences

Mrs. Amy Tilling moved to New Orleans in July of 2005 and despite being welcomed by Hurricane Katrina only a few weeks later, she is here to stay in New Orleans. Mrs. Tilling earned her Bachelors of Science in Secondary Mathematics Education from the State University of New York College at Cortland (2000) and has just earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington (2014).…

Photo of Leigh Traylor Leigh Traylor Front Office Student Services
Photo of Phyllis Treigle Phyllis Treigle Classical Vocal Department Chair
(504) 940-2830

Phyllis Treigle is a native of New Orleans and is the daughter of the great bass-baritone Norman Treigle. She holds a B.M. and M.M. from Loyola University and she made her professional debut with the New Orleans Opera Association in 1980. She has since appeared with this company several times, most notably as Senta in Der fliegende Holländer in 1998.…

Photo of Dana D’Anzi Tuohy Dana D’Anzi Tuohy Culinary Department Chair
Photo of Jefferson Turner Jefferson Turner Department Chair Musical Theatre
(504) 940-2864

Since arriving in New Orleans to study music at Loyola University (Bachelor of Arts in Music History, 1999), Jefferson has built a career in performing, music directing, and composing in theatre. He has worked at many local theatres and with local companies, including Rivertown Theatres, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, NOLA Project, Jefferson Performing Arts Society, and Cripple Creek Theatre Company.…

Photo of Michel Varisco Michel Varisco Visual Arts: Chair, Photography
(504) 940-2884

Michel Varisco’s work explores the relationship between the natural world and man-made through photography, video, sculpture, printmaking and installations. She received her MFA from Tulane University and studied in France (Cleveland Art Institute) and Cortona, Italy (University of Georgia) and has taught at NOCCA|Riverfront since 1996. Teaching honors include several National Foundation for the Advancement in Teaching in the Arts awards and numerous Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for Teaching.

Nicholas Walker Drama Faculty: Text Analysis, Playwriting
Photo of Prinsey Walker Prinsey Walker Communications Specalist
Kelly White Dance Faculty
Photo of Jessie Wightkin Gelini Jessie Wightkin Gelini Chef Instructor

Jessie is a native New Orleanian and a alumni of the Dance Department here at NOCCA. Jessie’s passion for food brought her to the University of Alabama where she studied Culinary Anthropology. She began her culinary education at the prestigious Commander’s Palace where she started at their shrimp peeler and after four years left as the Pastry Chef.…

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