Meet the Professionals Behind MarbleJam Center for Arts & Enrichment
All staff are trained in the Nurtured Heart Approach Method
President & Director: Anna Villa-Bager, BS, CPC, CNE, CDE
Anna Bager holds a BS in Dance with an emphasis on Psychology from the State University of New York at Brockport. Anna’s experience in the entertainment industry spans over twenty years in all aspects of entertainment including corporate show production: from initial concept to completion; music and book development, costuming, casting, and choreography.
In the large corporate arena, Anna co-developed and produced national and regional industrial shows for many companies including Johnson & Johnson, Cooper Vision, and Becton Dickinson. She served as a spokesperson and performer with Adidas USA for International Super Shows worldwide. Her portfolio includes an extensive theatrical performance career.
As an original cast member of Jerome Robbins Broadway, Anna performed and assisted Mr. Robbins in the reconstruction of dance pieces from notation and old film archives. Other performance credits include Broadway, International and National Tours, Regional and Children’s Theatre, film and television.
Anna manages the operations of the organization and is responsible for program development and fundraising. She is career planning certified and offers students a genuine and realistic perspective regarding career choices and mastering life skills necessary for success.
Music Therapist: Tania Kendrick, MA, MEd, MT-BC, LCAT
Tania Kendrick is a nationally credentialed Board Certified Music Therapist and an NYS Licensed Creative Arts Therapist. She received her Master’s in Music Therapy from New York University.
Tania has completed training in Neurological Music Therapy which is an evidence-based treatment model that uses standardized, research-based techniques to treat the brain using music and rhythm. Tania has also been trained in trauma modalities such as Child Parent Psychotherapy, Family Therapy from the Ackerman Institute, and Vocal Psychotherapy. Tania has clinical experience working with individuals with a range of special needs, and children and families who have experienced trauma and are affected by systems such as foster care, housing and legal systems.
Tania is currently training in Guided Imagery in Music which is a psychodynamic and multimodal (music and art) therapy that supports individuals exploring and further developing their relationship to music as a resource to explore their inner world.
Tania also has a Master’s in Education from Bank Street College of Education and a Master’s in Child Development from Sarah Lawrence College. Prior to becoming a Music Therapist, Tania was a preschool special education teacher in Manhattan and Brooklyn for 15 years.
Director of Digital Arts/ Teaching Artist & Educator: Raul Barcelona, MA, Ph.D.
Devoted educator and versatile, award-winning filmmaker, editor and digital artist with a background in Digital Filmmaking, Motion Graphics, and Visual Effects. Recognized for bringing a wealth of historical and technical knowledge to the classroom and for
contributing a wide range of technical skills and an efficient storytelling vision to every production.
Fluent in Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, Avid, After Effects, Photoshop, Flash, Maya, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Sketchbook, Encore, DVD Studio Pro, HTML, and CSS. Ph.D. in Creative Practice Transart Institute, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK (Expected 2018) Master's, in Digital Imaging and Design, New York University.
Program Supervisor/Special Educator: Jamarr Neyland, MS
Jamarr Neyland (Jay) has worked in social services for several years. As an Ohio native, he graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Art, with a concentration in Painting. He graduated in 2019 with a Master’s of Science in Education with a focus on childhood Learning and Behavior Disability.
Jay previously worked as a Site Coordinator for Eastside High School in Paterson, NJ providing educational support, tutoring, and fun activities. He has also worked as a support services professional for five years with students with behavioral disorders and Autism. He had worked as a certified middle school Special Education teacher in Bronx, NY, and is happy to be sharing his knowledge, support, and talent with MarbleJam Center students as a program supervisor and art teacher! Jay is also a certified PEERS Instructor and provides a dynamic teaching approach that is engaging and fun!
Teaching Artist & Educator: Teresa DeFabrizio, MFA
Artist, educator, and creator, Teresa DeFabrizio, is happy to share her enthusiasm and creativity with Marble Jam! Ms. DeFabrizio is a working artist, art educator, art history professor, and illustrator. Her instruction provides in-depth exploration of character design and skill-building in all genres of art.
Artists learn history of this artistic style, its cultural significances, including the styles of Manga and sequential storytelling. Ms. DeFabrizio holds her MFA From William Paterson University, is an NJ State Certified Art Teacher, and a Professor of Art at Bergen and Passaic Community Colleges. She also was part of the original group that started up MANGA NEXT and is a fan favorite for 13 years with the Bergen Teen Arts Festival where Manga 101 is packed. Join us for fun, creativity, and discovery!
Music Therapist & Teaching Artist: Cedric Dimapilis, BA-MT
Music therapist, educator, and composer, Multi-Instrumentalist Cedric Dimapilis shares his creativity and excitement with Marble Jam! He received his Bachelor's in Music Therapy from Shenandoah Conservatory. Cedric has clinical experience working with individuals with a range of special needs from children and adults. As a music therapist and composer, Cedric has co-composed a toured production called 'A Will to Survive'. 'A Will to Survive' traveled to Washington D.C. during the fall of 2017 to perform at the renowned John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
As an educator, Cedric has taught a variety of instruments through individual music lessons, bands, middle school and high school guitar.
Cedric has an adventurous and active lifestyle. On September 2020, Cedric participated in a 31 hours and 15 minute ultra marathon to run as many miles as he could. Cedric completed 46.36 miles and plans to run the race again in the near future. He is also an avid music listener and enjoys collecting vinyl. Besides music and running, Cedric enjoys traveling and spending time with his family and friends.
Art Therapist & Teaching Artist: Sarah Soto, BA-AT, CTALC
Born and raised in Newark, NJ, Sarah Soto is an Artist, Art Therapist, and Certified Therapeutic Arts Life Coach with a BA in Art Therapy from Caldwell University. She is currently completing her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Art Therapy and is an active member in the Kappa Pi Honors Society of Art (Iota Epsilon). Sarah started her Art Therapy career by interning at the Broadway House for Continuing Care in Newark, NJ working with individuals of all ages living with HIV/AIDS, addictions, and a variety of physical/mental illnesses. She then went on to work in multiple Senior Living facilities providing Art Therapy practices to seniors living with Dementia and Alzheimer’s. With her degrees and certifications in Art Therapy, Sarah implements therapeutic art practices that help express emotions through art and helps the participants process their feelings. Her passion is to help find relief from anxiety, depression, anger, and sadness through art! Sarah has been providing therapeutic art practices to adults, teens and children with cognitive disabilities for 5+ years and continues to find ways to modernize and expand her therapeutic abilities to assist those in need!
Educator & Teaching Artist: Claire Minihan-Palm, BA
Claire is a beloved art teacher who has been a Teacher of the Year Award recipient from the school district of Maywood NJ. With a passion and gift for art, her talents were nurtured and developed early in life, through art lessons and self-exploration. She has mentored and guided many artists in spreading the love of art through their work, both young and old. With a back- ground of working in various mediums and taking a
hands-on approach to creating art, Claire is a true believer that there are no mistakes in art. She believes mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. On the contrary, Claire believes that people shouldn’t try to correct them, but embrace them and understand them thoroughly. After that, she feels people can sublimate them into great works of art.
Claire is a graduate of Ramapo College and a licensed NJ elementary education teacher.
Fitness Instructor & Nutrionist: Maria Trice Jenkins, BA-CPT
Maria Trice Jenkins is an Actor, Journalist and Master Personal Trainer based in NY and NJ. The Mother of three, Maria is the Founder of Any Port in a Storm, a non-profit foundation dedicated to Autism Awareness.
As an Actor, Maria has appeared in feature films, commercials and was cast in the role of a News Anchor in her off Broadway debut in Liz Magic Laser's "Bystander"opening to sold out audiences throughout its run. As a journalist, she was an On Air Reporter for WWOR-TV business news program “In the Black” and continues to do freelance projects.
Her work as a Master Fitness Professional has spanned generations and continues to inspire, motivate, and help clients and their families achieve their goals. Maria's coaching style brings excitement to youth and adults who become motivated to learn about healthy living through great nutrition and keeping up a fitness program that is manageable and fun! Maria holds a BA in Sociology from Wesleyan University.
Teaching Artist & DramaJam Director: Willie Wilson
Willie Wilson - Musician/Composer/Actor/Director/Writer
Willie Wilson has been active in the entertainment field all of his life. He is an accomplished singer, songwriter, teacher, and plays multiple instruments. As a composer and actor, his credits include appearances on Broadway, television, commercials and film. Willie has produced over 100 school musicals through TAG, his theatrical production company. Willie has been employed with MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon in New York City and is the lead singer of his band ‘The Willies’ a seasoned group of musicians that play locally and beyond. Willie is also the director of ‘DramaJam Theatrical Troupe’ the first Bergen County special needs performance group at MarbleJam.
Yoga Instructor: Cristy Sycip, RYT
Crisy Sycip has been providing yoga instruction with therapeutic approaches at MarbleJam for the past 2 years. She specializes in circus yoga utilizing props to make a connection as well as touch yoga, an approach used to help a child follow movement with direct contact for better communication between the instructor, peers, and therapist.
She has a background in all forms of dance and is Reiki Master Practitioner (the practice of healing the body, mind, and spirit). She continues her teacher training for “Family CircusYoga” and “Anusara” this springtime. A few of her newfound creative expressions are in handcrafted jewelry, mixed martial arts and Belly dancing. She also provides community workshops to therapists and volunteers of all ages. She deeply honors all her teachers: Chaya Spencer, Dorothea Grant, Vishali Varga, Hillary Freeman, and Thomas Clifford.
Support Staff: Nancy Valentino, RBT
Nancy has 25 years’ experience working in social services and support services for children in crisis and with special needs including autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, and medical fragilities.
As a case manager and trainer, Nancy has worked with various state agencies and most notably Spectrum for Living, providing travel training to adults with disabilities as well as compliance oversight for facilities and operations. She has managed caseloads of up to 50 individuals and supervised program coordination on all fronts.
Nancy currently works with the Bergenfield School System as a classroom support staffer. She is certified and trained in 3 tier crisis intervention management and ABA in school teaching approaches. Nancy graduated with honors from Middlesex Community College with an associate’s degree in science.
Additional Support Staff
Reception Admin. Assist.
Maria Trice Jenkins
Behavioral Consultant: Diane Berger, MA, BCBA
Diane Berger is a board certified behavior analyst and a certified special educator in both New Jersey and New York. She received her graduate degree in Behavior Disorders – Applied Behavior Analysis from Teachers College, Columbia University. After beginning her career, in 2001, teaching at a private New York preschool serving children with autism and other developmental disorders, Diane worked as an ABA Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) at a major New York not-for-profit organization for persons with disabilities. Diane has served as president and on the executive board of Special Parents of Teaneck (SPOT), a local influential parent support group, as well as co-president of Teaneck Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG). An adjunct lecturer in special education research in the graduate program at Queens College, Diane has also guest lectured at Columbia University and presented at the QC Regional Autism Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders Annual Conference (NY). She has conducted workshops for parents and professionals both locally and internationally. Among her professional affiliations are the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, the New Jersey Association for Behavior Analysis, the Council for Exceptional Children and the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities.
Diane Berger, BCBA
Physical Therapist: Robert C. Leu, MS, PT, CEAS
Robert Leu has been working in the field of Physical Therapy since 1992. He received his Physical Therapy Master’s Degree in 1999 from Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY. He has vast experience from working at many different facilities in the New York area, from Geriatric Nursing Homes to Outpatient Sports and Orthopedic facilities.
He was also involved in Early Intervention treatments in the home care setting for children ages 0 to 3 years from 1999 to 2005. Robert has excellent knowledge in treating common disorders including: Low Back Pain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Rotator Cuff Syndrome, Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear, and Treatment of Knee and Hip Replacement before and after surgery. He is a Certified Ergonomics Assessment Specialist. He also has certifications in Myofascial Release Technique, and Kinesio-Tex Taping Technique, and continues to take many courses and seminars about the latest Physical Therapy treatment procedures.
Robert has a black belt Aikido-Jujitsu. Impressive as that may be, his physical therapy skills are even more exceptional. His patients like him because of his enthusiasm and personable bedside manner. Robert has an adventurous and active lifestyle. In his spare time, Robert loves to play golf. He also enjoys playing tennis and chess. He used to be an avid skier and is also a PADI certified diver. Besides his love for golf, he loves spending time with his family.