Ms. Aldridge was born in Compton, California. Since the age of four she has loved taking ballet, tap, and jazz classes. At seventeen, Ms. Aldridge attended Howard University in Washington, DC where she majored in Biology with a Chemistry minor. Her love of dance continued throughout college and she began teaching dance to kids at a private dance studio. Through this experience in the dance studio, her love for education began.
Throughout her career, Ms. Aldridge has taught primary grades as well as middle and high school for a total of 16 years. During the last five years she has had the opportunity to lead teams of teachers in various capacities where she helped develop new curricula, established specialized programs like Biomedical and Health Sciences, and increased the instructional capacity of the teaching staff. She brings this experience and knowledge with her to the Kirov Academy and is excited to get to know the community here!
Jonathan Frank graduated from Hillsdale College in Michigan in 2008 with a BA in Mathematics. His initial teaching experience came in South Korea as an ESL teacher with a tutoring academy in Suwon, near Seoul. He taught Mathematics at Alexandria Academy during the 2010-11 school year. At KAB, he is responsible for all Math curricula. His interests outside of the classroom include the arts, especially classical orchestral music and choral singing, various social dance, playing and analyzing both board-and computer-based strategy games, and sports. He is also a dedicated reader, consuming mainly science fiction and history.
Alexandra Tomalonis has a B.A. in American Studies from the University of Virginia, and a Master’s Degree from Georgetown University’s Liberal Studies program. Before coming to KAB, she taught professional literature, dance history and aesthetics at George Washington University and George Mason University.
Ms. Tomalonis came to KAB in 2005, after working as a dance critic, writer and lecturer for 25 years. Her reviews appeared regularly in the Washington Post from 1979 through 2006, and she also wrote for Ballet Review, Dance International, and other publications. She is founder editor of DanceView, an internationally distributed quarterly magazine, which now has an online reviews supplement, www.danceviewtimes.com. She is also the author of Henning Kronstam: Portrait of a Danish Dancer (University Press of Florida, 2002). She has lectured frequently about dance in the Washington area, and has been part of the Kennedy Center’s Ballet: 360 Program since 2007, giving four lectures each season on a variety of ballet topics.
At KAB, Ms. Tomalonis teaches ballet history, as well as aesthetics, art history, and great ballets, where students watch and discuss the ballets they dance in KAB performances, or are likely to dance. With Ralph Hoffmann, she developed the artistic-academic curriculum that is unique to this school.
Staci Stocklos earned her B.A. in English from Franklin and Marshall College and an M.A in English and Composition from University of Delaware. She also completed graduate coursework in Secondary Education and a certification in teaching English as a Second Language. Throughout her teaching career in private and international schools, Staci has had the opportunity to serve as an English Department chair, Academic Dean, curriculum writer and lead grade advisor. In addition to her role at Kirov Academy, she currently works as an adjunct English and Education professor. In her spare time, Staci enjoys teaching dance and Zumba classes, traveling, and hiking.
Born and raised in central Connecticut, Ms. Bruemmer graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in History, focusing primarily on 19th-century Russian empire building. Having acknowledged that the Russian language would be essential for her studies, Ms. Bruemmer moved to Krasnoyarsk, Russia to learn the language while also teaching English. Initially, Ms. Bruemmer intended on staying for a year or two, but she ended up staying for seven years. During this time she developed a love for teaching English and went on to become a well-known teacher in Krasnoyarsk. Ms. Bruemmer moved to Washington D.C. in 2012 and earned a graduate certificate in TESOL from American University in 2013. From 2012 to August of 2015, Ms. Bruemmer taught at the International Center for Language Studies, teaching ESL to students from all over the world. She has also taught private English lessons to employees at the Russian Embassy in D.C. Along with her background in ESL and History, Ms. Bruemmer spent much of her childhood and adolescence dancing with the School of the Hartford Ballet in an intensive program very similar to the Kirov Academy’s. She hopes she can bring this experience to the classroom and form a strong relationship with her students. Ms. Bruemmer lives in Adams Morgan with her husband and their wonderful terrier, Kobe. During her free time, Ms. Bruemmer loves exploring D.C. on her bike, playing Yahtzee, watching the Washington Nationals play, and spending time with her family and friends.
Liz Grogan graduated from Radford University in 2009 with a B.S. in Physics. She then went on to study entomology at Virginia Tech and is currently working to finish her MS thesis. Ms. Grogan is a passionate science advocate with many years of extension and outreach promoting scientific literacy and interest for both children and adults. In her free time, she enjoys photography and painting, beekeeping, and spending time with her family and dogs.
Kerrington Shields graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 2014 with a B.A. in History. At this college, he served as a resident adviser and as the History and Study Skills Tutor. He also has an M.A. in History with a concentration in Imperial and Colonial Studies from The George Washington University. During his time at this university, Mr. Shields served as a teaching assistant in multiple courses. He came to KAB in 2016 and is responsible for the Social Studies, U.S. Government, U.S. History, and European History courses. In his free time, he enjoys reading historical fiction and historical nonfiction, as well as watching D.C. United.
Margot Valentine discovered her passion for French and language as a child. Eventually, this passion brought her to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she graduated with a BA in French Commercial Studies and Global Studies. Before attending UIUC, she spent a year in southern Belgium immersed in the French language. Ms. Valentine spent another year as a university student at Sciences Po in Paris, France. Last school year she was a French teacher in a middle school in Champaign, Illinois. After falling in love with teaching, Ms. Valentine decided to move to Washington, DC to pursue a Master’s of Education at the George Washington University. She can’t believe her luck at finding such a wonderful teaching opportunity here at the Kirov Academy of Ballet. In her free time, Ms. Valentine loves to play Boggle and reread the Harry Potter series. Her favorite activity, however, is sitting on her couch watching Netflix with her dog, Eddie.
Junko Araki Dance Therapist/Counselor
Junko Araki, a native of Japan, is a Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor. She earned her MA in Somatic Counseling Psychology from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado and BA in Performing Arts from Ochanomizu University in Tokyo, Japan. She has been working with individuals with emotional, behavioral, and/or mental health struggles in various settings including hospital, day treatment program, residential treatment center, nursing home, and school.