Mount Pisgah Arts Academy

Performing, Visual and Cinematic Arts

MPAA INSTRUCTORS: MEET OUR TEAM

Katherine Thomas

Director of Mount Pisgah Arts Academy

Katherine Thomas is a veteran musician and music educator in the Metro-Atlanta area and is a GA PK-12 Certified Music Teacher. A classically trained violinist and professional string educator, Mrs. Thomas also founded The Atlanta Irish Music School and has trained several champion traditional Irish youth musicians. Twice published in STRINGS magazine, she was named a ‘Star of the South’ by Irish America Magazine and has served as a guest clinician at Georgia State University, ASTA National Conference and ‘Strings Without Boundaries’. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree (Instrumental Education) from Tennessee Tech University, a Master of Education degree from Kennesaw State University and her TTCT certification in Traditional Irish Fiddle from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Ireland.  Katherine Thomas was also a Feature Twirler with the TTU Golden Eagle Marching Band.

Esmeree Sterling

Instructor: Voice, Drama, Film, Girls' Vocal Bands 

Esmeree Sterling is an actress, voice coach, and director who has appeared in the television series, The Originals, The Haves and the Have Nots, Your Worst Nightmare and more. She was cast as “Tan” in the feature film Branded, premiering at Cannes Film Festival. Esmeree will be appearing in Son of Shaft, starring Samuel L. Jackson. Aside from her film experience, Esmeree has been a vocal coach for over 16 years. In 2008, she was a top finalist for the American Idol Deco Drive Show. Musical Theatre Director for Next Stop Broadway, Lake Forrest Preparatory, and Oak Hall Private School, musically directing over 50 stage productions, and prepped over 100 students for college auditions. She has also been responsible for conducting vocal workshops and adjudicating for State Thespian Competitions. Ms. Sterling is passionate about working with students to achieve their industry goals and inspire them to reach their full potential by building confidence, healthy technique habits, performance skills, and discipline in the Arts.

Elaine Mitchell

Instructor: Voice, Piano, Dance, Musical Theater

Elaine Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  A veteran of the Musical Theatre stage, her training included classical ballet, dancing with the Loudoun Ballet Company in Northern Virginia as well as opera and classical voice with Dr. Jane Tavernier and acting at the Stella Adler Conservatory, and musical theater at CAP 21 in New York.  Ms. Mitchell interned with the Washington Opera and The Walt Disney Company. 

Anne Anderson

Instructor: Violin, Viola, Piano

Anne Anderson has played violin since the age of 3 and has studied music education at the Suzuki institute at ECU.  Drawing primarily from the Suzuki approach, she also integrates music history, international classical studies, music theory and ear training into her teaching. She also incorporates classical repertoire to build proper technique and specializes in young beginners to advanced students. Her goal is to teach students strong practice techniques and help them develop a love for music as an art form.  Currently she performs with Agape Players, Adagio Big Band, Southern Manor Strings Quartet.


Mandie Cummins

Instructor: Majorette Twirl

Mandie Cummins brings more than 20 years of twirling experience to the Mount Pisgah Fine Arts Academy.  A former Miss Majorette of Texas, Ms. Cummins also won a Texas state championship as a member of the competitive twirling team, The Lone Star Ladies.  In addition to competing at the highest levels of baton twirling, Ms. Cummins was also a feature twirler!  She has performed for Former First Lady Barbara Bush, in addition to twirling in the inaugural parade for former Texas Governor Anne Richards.  Mandie graduated from Clemson University, where she earned a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Speech and Communications Studies, as well as a Masters Degree in Human Resource Development. 

Suzanne Harner

Instructor: Violin, Fiddle, Banjo, Mandolin

Suzanne Harner is the featured fiddler with The Border Collies Band and The Rialto’s Celtic Christmas program.  An Atlanta native,  she was a Champion Irish dancer with Lisa Creagan and award winning Irish fiddler with The Atlanta Junior Ceili Band.   At age 14, she became the youngest member of the Irish band, Music in the Glen, where she honed her skills in a group setting touring the Southeast. bShe eventually traveled to Dublin, Ireland and earned the Comhaltas TTCT certification from the Irish government for  traditional fiddle instruction. Additionally, she studied classical violin with Daniel Arshavsky and served as the concert master of the Milton High School Symphony Orchestra.  She currently works as an instructor for both classical and traditional violin lessons in metro Atlanta. Suzanne has a passion for teaching children and adults -- helping them meet their personal goals and discover enjoyment playing folk or classical styles.

Anita Hunter

Instructor: Visual Art

Alec Degnats

Instructor: Percussion

Pam Yarjan

Instructor: Piano

Danae Patrick- Anderson

Instructor: Visual Art

Tracy Cendoya

Instructor: Visual Art