The core of STARS Academy is our passionate team of teachers, who follow a high academic standard to guide their values, creativity and leadership. Take a look below to learn more about each of our team members.
STARS Academy also employs artists and other non-core teaching staff who have an appropriate mix of subject matter expertise, professional experience, and the demonstrated ability to work successfully with students.
HEAD OF SCHOOL
(B.A. Psychology and Spanish minor, from University of Southern California; Multiple-Subject Credential CSUN; Administrative Credential CSUDH; Masters in School Leadership CSUDH; Certified in Neurodevelopmental Theory)
In 2003, at 11 years old, Shayna founded Shayna Turk’s Academy of Rising STARS. Through this, Shayna immediately realized her true passion in life: helping children build confidence and explore their creativity through performance. In 2010, Shayna received NFIB’S (National Federation of Independent Business) Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award as well as the Girl’s Going Places Scholarship. While continuing the STARS program, Shayna attended the University of Southern California and earned her B.S. in Psychology in May of 2014. By taking classes that focused on child and adolescent development, she gained a greater understanding of youth. She also took classes on theater in education. After graduating from USC, Shayna became a homeschool teacher for twin boys who participated in STARS. Together with their mom, Shayna created a curriculum using the arts to teach academic subjects. When she realized how passionate she was about curriculum integration, she decided to follow in Alex Yorke’s footsteps and become a teacher. In 2015, Shayna attended Cal State Northridge's Michael Eisner School of Education, where she earned her Multiple Subject Credential. In 2016, she began her teaching career at CHIME Institute in Woodland Hills. Since then, she has been a third-grade teacher and has further explored her passion for working with students of all abilities. She has served on the curriculum, professional development, and technology committees at CHIME. In the fall of 2020, she brought her vision of starting a school (STARS Academy) that uses theater to teach to fruition with her co-director, Alex. Also in 2020, Shayna attended Cal State Dominguez Hills where she earned her Masters in School Leadership and Administrative Credential. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with the fabulous students, staff, and families of STARS Academy and looks forward to the years to come!
DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS & FAMILY RELATIONS; FACULTY MENTOR
(B.A. Elementary Education, Graphic Design from San Diego State University; Multiple-Subject Credential CSUN; Administrative Credential CSUDH; Masters in School Leadership CSUDH; Certified in Neurodevelopmental Theory)
Shayna and Alex performed in musicals together as kids, which is when Alex developed her love for theater and dance. In high school, she prospered as a member of both competition tap and jazz teams. In college, she utilized her knowledge and experience to become a teacher and member of a Latin dance team. She also took two classes of careers in education, where she truly discovered her passion for teaching. She received her Bachelors in Elementary Education from San Diego State University in 2011. Alex received her Multiple Subject Credential from CSUN in 2014 and got a job as a founding teacher at Fenton Charter Leadership Academy teaching first grade. It was an incredibly humbling and enlightening experience to help open this charter school. She became a very active participant in all facets of the school serving on the student recruitment team, the instructional committee (secretary), the social committee (chair), the foundation board (chair), and the yearbook committee (chair). After 2 years at Fenton, Alex could not turn down the offer to teach at CHIME with her best friend and made the move in the summer of 2017 to second grade. She also served as the 504 Coordinator for CHIME students in grades TK-5. In the fall of 2020, Alex brought STARS Academy to life with her educational partner, Shayna. Also in 2020, she attended Cal State Dominguez Hills where she earned her Masters in School Leadership and Administrative Credential.
EDUCATOR, TITLE 1 COORDINATOR
(B.A. Psychology, Minor in Human Development, University of California, Davis 2021)
Amanda Druyan is a graduate of the University of California, Davis where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Development. She has over five years of experience working in childcare and education beginning as a camp counselor, then as a nanny, a middle school tutor, and most recently as a preschool teacher for a religious school in Davis. Amanda hopes to continue her teaching career while attending a graduate program and earning a master’s degree in education. She was a member of El Camino Drama’s Play Production program for all four years of her high school career and is excited to join the Stars Academy community which highlights theater throughout its curriculum. Amanda is looking forward to bringing her love of drama and creativity to Stars Academy along with her educational background in development.
(B.A. Elementary Education, CSUN 2021)
Jenna Hertz recently graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and an emphasis in Elementary Education. She has a love of musical theater, and has performed in musicals since the age of five. Jenna enjoys teaching from a theater arts perspective and believes that learning through musicals helps engage students and instill in them a lifelong love of learning. Jenna has extensive experience working with children, including working as a paraprofessional at CHIME for students with disabilities, a counselor at a sleep-away camp, and at STARS musical theater camp. Jenna loves teaching because she knows that she has the power to help shape children’s minds in order to help them thrive as individuals, both academically and socially.
(B.A. Music Composition, NYU 2014)
Jon Schneider is an award-winning music producer and film composer who has worked with several Grammy-nominated artists. He served as an assistant for Emmy-winning & Oscar-nominated film composer Mark Isham.
Jon received his Bachelor’s Degree from NYU with a degree in Music Composition. He first began teaching at just 18 years old when he volunteered to teach underprivileged elementary school students in New York City. From there, Jon quickly began to gain recognition for his teaching and was able to start his own private studio in New York City where he taught students of all ages. After teaching privately for several years in New York, Jon moved to Los Angeles where he founded an online piano school called DigitalPianoSchool.com, in which he teaches lessons privately online as well as creates interactive, online courses for both children and adults. His school currently has over 1000 students throughout 15 different countries! Besides teaching, Jon still stays busy as a composer and producer. He recently completed a 250 episode series writing music for kids shows for Pray.com, as well as producing and writing songs for major label artists!
He is passionate about all aspects of music and believes that everyone should have the opportunity to learn an instrument as well as to create their own music!