I received my Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood from Utah State University in 1972. I have been married for 46 years to a wonderful man who is also involved in the economics and general well being of our school. He retired from Wheeler Machinery in 2015, where he had been for over 40 years. I have been blessed with two beautiful children who are now adults. Hilary graduated from Columbia University and London School of Economics. She married a wonderful British man, and is living in London. They just had their first baby boy in July, which made us proud grandparents again! Johnny graduated from the University of Utah, coached basketball as an assistant with the Utah Flash, and now is at The Winner School, full time, as an Owner and Director, which is fantastic for me! I have a beautiful daughter in law April, and they have three delightful children.
The staff at The Winner School has become a family who embrace the students, parents and incorporates our vision of building self -esteem.
We opened our doors in February of 1990. The curriculum I developed supports my philosophy of education, that the child comes first. In 2007, we were Nationally Accredited by NAEYC. We take pride in offering state of the art programs with an amazing, highly qualified, staff!
Johnny Saccomanno has worked at The Winner School since 1997 and is now a co-owner and Director of the school. He works hands on with students, parents and with employee development. For him, there is great fulfillment in mentoring and working with people of all ages, integrating life skills and lessons at every opportunity. He finds that conscious communication and interaction build positive and meaningful relationships. Johnny views all experiences in life as ways to learn, develop and make progress as a person, a teacher, and a student of life.
Johnny graduated from the University of Utah in 2005 in Interpersonal Communications. He has also earned a KRI Certification in Kundalini Yoga, which he faithfully practices and loves to teach to students of all ages.
He has coached and taught basketball on collegiate and professional levels working to develop team and individual skills, but his true passion is the enrichment of young people.
I met my husband Nick when I moved to Utah in February of 2008. We have three beautiful daughters named Adilynn, Avery & Ayla.
I have an Associates of Applied Science degree in Deaf Studies from the College of Southern Nevada. I enjoy most sports and used to play softball competitively until my freshman year in college. I still play co-ed softball as often as I can. My family enjoys camping, barbecuing, bike rides, and spending quality time with family and friends.
I was born and raised here in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have an AMAZING husband named Danny, a beautiful daughter named Mariyah, a very loving
step-son named Marquez and a fur child named Mack. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, fitness, watching football games, house work (at times), and relaxing! Our favorite NFL team is the Green Bay Packers. I look forward to my many more years here at The Winner School and I enjoy being able to watch your children grow!
I have a passion for teaching, which begat at an early age with my mom and dad both being school teacher where I grew up in Law Vegas, Nevada. I received a scholarship to attend the University of Utah, graduated with a BS and worked at two hospitals, educating patients in nutrition, exercise, and heart health before I came to The Winner School. I am excited to get to know all of you new families and seeing again all returning families to our wonderful school. You have made a great choice in your child’s education and we will have a wonderful year together.
I am married to my very gorgeous high school sweetheart, Justin and I’m the mother to three kids: Sailor, Emmett, and Scarlett. I have been a Stay at Home Mom to them for the last 10+ years, so being here at The Winner School amongst other adult humans is pretty thrilling for me! I am a devoted mega fan of Prince and frequent Young Frankenstein movie quote dropper.
When I was a child, I was in a commercial for HE-MAN and SHE-RA. I still talk about that quite a bit, even though it happened more than 30 years ago. I’m so excited to be here!!
Dr. Frankenstein: “Werewolf?”
Dr. Frankenstein: “What?”
Igor: “There, Wolf. There, Castle.”
I am so fortunate to be part of the Winner School staff. I love that I work with my sister, Connie and nephew Johnny, owners of the school!
I have been married to my husband, Ron, for 33 years. We have two beautiful children. Anthony and Natalie.
Natalie is currently working as a teacher’s aide in the after school program! Both of my children began school at The Winner School at the age of 2 and have grown up here. We are very lucky that we have had the privilege to be involved with a school that provides so many opportunities and positive experiences.
I enjoy working at the school with your children and with the winner school staff. I look forward to another year at the Winner School.
My name is Scout Fairbrother, and I have worked here at The Winner School since May of 2016. I currently work at the front desk and in the store during the evenings and I love it! I love the opportunity I’ve been given to be a part of the awesome staff; where I can help around the school, answer questions, or address concerns with you parents and your wonderful children.
I grew up in Murray where I graduated from Murray High and attended Salt Lake Community College for General Studies.
My husband Matthew and I have a daughter named Lucy, a baby girl due in January 2018, and a puppy named Charlie. We love to spend time together whether it be hiking, camping, fishing, going to the zoo, or traveling. We also love sports and cheering on our Utes, Patriots, Jazz, and, Red Sox!
My name is Brad Jones and I joined The Winner School the summer of 2017. I am the Transportation Manager.
I taught the Constructive Creations summer classes, where the students built the sets for the school play, and many of the items which are included in the fundraiser auction. The students continually amaze me with their abilities and creativity.
I attended the University of Utah and Brigham Young University (but I’m a Ute!) After living and working in Southeast Asia, Europe, and South America, I returned to the mountains and snow of Utah. My wife and I are proud parents of a teenage son who is a team-sports fanatic and a great student. We enjoy skiing, hiking, backpacking, camping, and exploring the mountain and desert backroads of Utah. I also enjoy driving, and working on vintage cars with my dad.
I am continually impressed at the expertise, caring, and effort that goes into running this school. The dedication of the teachers and staff, here, at The Winner School goes above and beyond any setting I have ever been a part of. I enjoy going to work!
My name is Cidny McFarland. I am honored to have been part of the Winner School pre-school and teaching staff since 2009. I am a proud wife, mother of three, a USU graduate and soccer mom! Each of my three children were students of the two-year-old Come and Play class. I have seen the value of the program where they learn large and small motor skills, socialization, and trust in safe adults among other skills. I feel privileged to work with your child as the two-year-old preschool teacher. We will have a wonderful year full of growth and joy as we watch these beautiful children grow and develop. Thank you for sharing them with us!t
My name is Jamie Shaw. I have worked at The Winner School since September of 2000. I have worked with the Dino class (after school kindergarteners) since I started here and have loved every day of it. I have also been teaching early-threes preschool since September of 2008. I love having the little ones for their first school experience; I want to make them love coming to school. In my classrooms I provide a fun and safe learning environment, where a child feels loved and can explore freely. I love getting to know children and their families. I have been married to a loving husband, Jason, since June of 2003. I have two beautiful children, a step-daughter Alexis who loves to dance, and a son, Kade, who attends The Winner School karate program. I love spending time going camping and playing board games with my family. I am currently working on the Utah Career Ladder Program for Early Childhood Education. I am a big kid at heart and I think that is what makes me a fun teacher. There is nothing like coming to work and getting hugs from children that love being in my class. I am looking forward to a great year.
Hi! My name is Karrie Adams. I was born and raised in Parowan, Utah. I have been married to my husband, Tory, for 18 years. Together, we have three amazing boys. Nikk is 17, Parker is 12, and Jaxx is 3. He will be attending Miss Vickie’s 3-year-old preschool class. We love camping, riding motor cycles, watching or playing football, and anything outdoors. The Winner School has been a huge part of our lives the past 15 years. My boys and I have grown up here. I have taught just about every age group and enjoyed them all, but I am very excited to be teaching the two-year-old preschool class with Miss Cidny. See you soon!
Hello there! My name is Miss Melissa, I love the Winner School! I have worked or, let’s be honest, really, “played” here since 2012. I have worked with several age groups. I started as a 4’s Rocket teacher, became a 3’s Bear teacher, I have worked in the kitchen and with the after school program. This year I will be assisting in the Bear class in the morning and working with the after school program, called The Jazz. I absolutely love working with kids! I have a loving husband, we have been together for ten years! We love to spend as much time together, as we can, always doing fun things. I look forward to building an amazing and meaningful relationship, with your family and your child. I love all the wonderful families we have here. It’s going to be a GREAT year! See you soon! Love, Miss Melissa.
My name is Amanda. I have been teaching at The Winner School since 2013, and I love it! I have worked in several age groups, but mostly with the 2 Year old and 3 Year old Programs. I first fell in love with teaching when I was a coach for my local Swim Team and Water Polo Teams. I loved helping others learn new skills, and watching them grow. Prior to teaching, I studied Human Development and Family Studies, with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education at the University of Utah, and received a Batchelor of Science Degree. I love that I get to apply what I studied, each and every day! When I am not working, I enjoy traveling, swimming, and spending time with my family! I look forward to meeting each of you and your children. We will have a great year!
Hello, everyone! I have worked at The Winner School since 2011. I absolutely love it! I graduated from Utah State University with a degree in family studies. I have two beautiful children who also attend the school and enjoy it very much. I will be working in the early threes preschool and four and five-year-old preschool. Also, I will be working dayschool with the Bears. I love teaching, playing, and growing with all the wonderful children at this fun school.
Hi, my name is Jenessa Fredde and I am thrilled to be working at The Winner School with the Dinos Class! This summer I graduated from the University of Utah with Bachelor Degrees in both Political Science and Gender Studies; this upcoming fall I will begin coursework for a Masters Degree in Elementary Education (K-6). I have found my life’s passion in working with children and I take great pride in teaching them necessary life skills in a fun, safe environment. Some of the things I love to do in my spare time are attending football games, being outdoors with my dog Bo, and watching Moana with my little brother and sister. At the end of the day, I feel so blessed that I get to do something I love every day and work with your little ones. There is nothing better than seeing their smiling faces and getting sticky high-fives after a job well done!
My name is Morgan Hodson. I have wanted to become a school teacher my entire life. From babysitting the kids in my neighborhood, to becoming a nanny after high school. After taking a break from childcare to start a family, I later found my way back to my childhood dream. I am currently in my last year of college, due to graduate this fall with my Batchelor’s degree in Elementary Education. I am so excited to make this dream a reality!
During my studies, I have been lucky enough to work at The Winner School. This has given me the chance to gain experience in the classroom, while putting my new skills to the test. I have taught and aided in the 4 year old Preschool program as well as been a lead teacher and an aide in the Rockets Dayschool and Summer Camp programs. It is my privilege to learn with your children.
Outside of work some of my favorite things include spending time with my family, camping, cooking, and traveling. I am blessed with an amazing 9 year old daughter, and an incredible life partner. Together we have a Blue Heeler dog named Brody who keeps us on our toes constantly. Someday, we hope to expand our clan, but for now, we will enjoy each other while we wait for all the good things the future has in store for us.
My name is Brenna Ponting and I am so excited to be teaching at The Winner School in the 4- year-old class! I grew up in southern California and always knew that I wanted to be a teacher. Before I entered Kindergarten, I began teaching my stuffed animals everything I knew. This play turned into a passion that led to volunteering in younger classrooms and youth groups, around my community. I moved to Utah, in 2012, to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, at Utah State University. I successfully completed my level II practicum, which included student teaching in a 2-year-old class, 3 and 4-year-old class, and a Kindergarten class. I know that teaching is my dream career! I love working with children and helping them reach their full potential. I truly believe in the importance of an education and hope to inspire young minds, to find their passions and reach their goals. I am so thankful that The Winner School is giving me this opportunity and appreciate the positive energy I feel here. I truly look forward to working with your children and helping them become Kindergarten ready! I am so excited to meet you and your child!
Dayschool / Drama
Educational Background: Monica graduated from the University of Utah in 2009 with: Elementary Education, B.S., Theatre Minor, and Special Education program emphasis. Miss Monica earned The Dean’s List honors while attending, as well as a lifetime membership into The National Society of Collegiate Scholars and The International Thespian Society.
Teaching Background: Miss Monica started teaching preschool classes at Olympus and Skyline High Schools. She taught and directed musicals with Studio Kids. She started teaching the Tigers Dayschool class at The Winner School. In the summer, she teaches Drama, Art, and Writing in the Jazz program. It has been a BLAST! Miss Monica is excited to teach Bears, Rockets, and continue with the Drama program in the Fall!
Theatre/Film/Technical Background: Monica has been performing on stage since she was about 3 years old. She was in various school productions from elementary age through high school. She began directing in high school with “Pride and Prejudice” and a traveling children’s theatre show. She has worked with Quick Wits improve troupe, Out of the Shadows Theatre Group (acting, costume design, and stage crew), and directed and performed both theatre and film productions at The University of Utah. Miss Monica has and will be performing at The Salt Lake City Comic Con, Fan Experience Comic Con, and Fantasy Con. She has also done promotional and print modeling, and film credits, including: “Everything You Want,” Lagoon commercials, and 48 Hour Film Project, to name a few.
Hello! My name is Natalie Sefilian. I am currently a student at the University of Utah and will be graduating this December 2017 with my Bachelor of Science in Human Development with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. When I am not working or studying I am with my family (who mean the world to me) or with my closest friends either binge watching our favorite tv shows or going on long drives/walks. I love to go boating and four wheeling with my family in the summers and I also love cooking Armenian foods with my mom and grandma.
I have worked with children since I was sixteen years old. Throughout my high school years, I volunteered at my school’s daycare and had an incredible time working and playing with the children; I even took a child development class in my sophomore year and had the opportunity to take home one of those fake babies (which I honestly enjoyed so much and even asked if I could keep it for another week). When I was a senior, I applied to a daycare where I spent more than two years working as a teacher with children from the ages of 2 months to 8 years old. At the beginning of this year I interned in a Montessori classroom for 8 months where I learned the Montessori Approach (which is learning through self-directed activities and hands-on collaborative play).
It’s safe to say I absolutely love working with children. The imagination and welcoming/comforting personality shown by children is purely amazing to me, and I am beyond grateful and excited to have the opportunity to be a part of The Winner School.
Hi! My name is Ann Durrant. I grew up in the Holladay area. I have a tall daughter with blue eyes named Linnaea. I also have a large white cat with one blue and one green eye named Whitey. I enjoy cooking, gardening, genealogy, and enjoying nature. I LOVE to learn, especially about history and science.
In college, I studied cultural anthropology and creative writing. I worked at the Alta Club as a chef for 10 years making fancy things. When my daughter started school, I worked as a paraprofessional aide for 2nd-4th grades. This is when I discovered how much I enjoy working with children. At my last job, I wrote the menu and prepared fun, healthy snacks for the kids. I also worked with a Pre-K class as well as K-6th grades.
Being a kind, helpful and patient friend are important in being successful in life. I believe that there is something to be learned in every moment. I am excited to be at the wonderful Winner School!
Hello! I’m Miranda! I was born and raised in Arizona, and moved to Utah almost two years ago for college. It was there that I met my husband, Danilo, who came from Colombia for school as well. We’ve now been happily married for eight months.
I’m PSYCHED to teach your kids this year! I am so excited to be a part of the Winner School and help them learn, while having a blast the entire time!
Working with children is always an adventure, and a wonderful opportunity! I look forward to getting to know you and your kids! I know everyone is going to have fun together!
See you soon!
Hi my name is Miss Kaitlyn, I started working at The Winner School May 2017 and have loved every moment of it. I have always had a passion for working with kids. This is my dream job and I’m so excited to get to know all of your kids more as the year goes on.
Some fun facts about me: Being an Aunt to my 4 niece and 3 nephews is my favorite pastime. If I’m not at work or School, then you can usually find me hanging out with them. I also love to travel. This year went to Holland to see where my grandparent lived and grew up. I also went to Mexico to help build houses for some families in Tijuana. Traveling is so educational for me and I hope to be able to do it more in the future. I don’t have any Kids of my own yet but I do have a dog, named Lucy, who I consider my child!
I am so excited to get to know more about you and your children. I’m also excited for the new learning experiences that are coming with this New Year. We are going to have a BLAST!
I am Kim Allen Tolman and I love the Winner School, the staff, faculty and families and am thrilled to be joining the team as music program director! I am a genuine Disney nut who hails from Davis County where I am a wife to my high school sweetheart and mother to three CRAZY boys! Jamison is 14 and an avid drummer and percussionist, Drew is 12 and shares my theatre bug (he was my Chip at Centerpoint Theatre the first time I played Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast!) and Parker is four and can often be seen (and heard!) as one of our Winner School pre-school goers. I come to you with extensive musical, dance, and theater experience. I have received vocal performance training, have years of training in ballet, jazz, character, tap, and modern dance from The Ballet West Conservatory, Janet Grey Studios and The Ballet School, and have participated in numerous musical theater workshops and master classes. I have judged and choreographed for numerous youth productions across the Salt Lake Valley as well as for Sunshine Generation. I am also a regular performer with the Hale Centre Theatre and in other community theaters. You may have seen me in my most recent Hale productions—The Christmas Carol (Octet) and Beauty and the Beast (Mrs. Potts). I received a Bachelor’s Degree from Weber State University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Utah. I look forward to continuing the amazing programs Miss Lisa has put in place and am excited to start putting some of my own grand (fun and laughter filled, to be sure!) plans into place! I feel SO LUCKY to have landed in such an amazing place with the Winner School! Here’s to years of raucous brightly colored musical and theatrical fun ahead!
In 1996 Shannon was named the first Miss National Spotlight and her photo was featured for ten years on all Spotlight Dance Cup trophies, brochures, and banners. Her scholarships include Dupree Dance, LA Dance Magic, and New York City Dance Alliance outstanding dancer three years running.
Her professional career took off at age 17. She was hired as a principal dancer for Odyssey Dance Theater for seven years. She was the featured soloist in their productions of Thriller, Deep Forrest, Lost and Found, and Dances in the Garden. Shannon was able to perform in cities both nationally and internationally. She was asked to perform a duet for the Jason Parson’s Dance Project in Soel Korea in 2003, and was hired for the Souls in Motion European tour in 2004.
Along with dancing she also taught and choreographed for over 10 years for studios around the state including Dance Impressions, Center Stage, and The Dance Club. Her choreography has received numerous high point and top choreographer awards. Her junior routine was awarded critics choice at the New York City Dance Alliance nationals in 2003, and in 2009 her teen routine was awarded the same title.
Shannon’s proudest achievement is her darling family. She is married to Roger Hendrix and has two children Cameron, and Harrison. She is so proud and excited to teach and be a part of the Winner School Staff!
I trained at Becky’s school of dance in tap, jazz, and ballet. I moved my training to The Christensen Centre in Murray, in 1989. At that time, the Centre was under the direction of Willam F. Christensen. His passion for dance was infectious and I was hooked on ballet. In 1991 my training changed focus, again, as The Christensen Centre transformed into The Ballet Centre with Ala Chernova taking over as Director of the school and transitioning the school to the Russian Vaganova method of ballet. My early training, at that time, was also enriched by being a student of Anatoliyus Grazulis, lovingly referred to as “Tony,” by his students. He was a master in choreography, ballet technique, character and folk dance. I was honored to be his student for close to five years. I danced in many of his original pieces and in traditional Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Spanish folk dances. I studied under the direction of Michelle Armstrong for close to 20 years, as I could not be kept away from the classroom or stage, even after starting my family. I learned a great deal of classical repertoire under her direction, as well as learning from her skills in choreography as she set original pieces. I studied Pas de Deux work for over 10 years.
I continue to take master ballet classes whenever possible. I have taken many master classes in Vaganova syllabus from Misha Tchoupakov and Regina Zarhina. I love that dance is an ever evolving art form that encourages constant growth.
I started teaching ballet technique at The Ballet Centre in 2003. I taught pre-ballet classes, beginning ballet technique, beginning pointe, and intermediate through advanced techniques until the Summer of 2012.
I started at The Winner School in September of 2012. I am the Intro through Razzle Dazzle 7-10 Coordinator and I also teach Ballet & Pointe technique for all groups.
Dance, movement, music, rhythm, technique are all things I am very passionate about. I feel strongly that dance can bring out the very best in a person. I know it has for me.
Ashley first started her dance training at The Southern Strutt where she trained in tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, musical theatre, and hip hop. She went on to strengthen her ballet and modern dance training at the University of South Carolina, studying ballet/pointe under New York City Ballet’s Stacey Calvert for a year. Ashley started her professional dance career performing and training as a SoulEscape company member under the direction of Justin Giles for two seasons in Dallas, Texas. She then moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where she trained under the direction of Bonnie Story for a year. Shortly after, Ashley was under the direction of Derryl Yeager for Odyssey’s Thriller, and has also performed in Odyssey Dance Theatre’s It’s A Wonderful Life as well as Shut Up and Dance. She most recently toured and performed in SoulEscape’s 2014, 2015 and 2016 professional shows, choreographed and directed by Justin Giles. Ashley is dedicated to the Winner School dancers. She has found creativity and joy in teaching, training, challenging, and choreographing for young professionals. She has coordinated The Principal Company for over 8 years now, a pre-professional program designed for advanced dancers with hopes of one day dancing professionally. Her choreography has won numerous awards for its originality and her students are known for their artistic abilities. Ashley continues to cultivate creativity and imagination as she pursues choreography and is adamant about teaching students to fuse technical abilities with artistic movement and true emotional performance. She believes anything can be achieved through hard work and anyone can be touched through art.
Emily is a classically trained ballerina with 11 years training in the Vagonnova Method. Professionally she performed with the San Pedro City Ballet and the Honolulu Ballet. Emily also trained extensively in jazz, lyrical, tap and hip hop at the Edge Performing Arts in LA, where she attended on scholarship. Emily has been teaching dance for 12 years, during which time her choreography has received many notable awards including Critics Choice and High Score. She is back at the Winner School after taking a few years off to get married and have 4 beautiful children.
Tracey is a fourth generation master teacher and choreographer. She has been involved in all aspects of dance, specializing in dance education for preschool and young children.
For much of her life, Tracey owned and operated Tracy’s Dance Academy, universally recognized as one of the most prestigious dance studios throughout the Salt Lake Valley. She has toured the nation as one of the original Dance Caravan Kids. Tracey has studied under such legends as Joe Tremaine, Luigie Emmy Award winner, Tommy Walsh, ad internationally acclaimed choreographer, Marguerite Derricks.
When it comes to dance education there has been no stone left unturned. Tracey has an extensive background in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical and specializes in children’s work. She has studied with the University of Utah Ballet Department, is a member of Dance Educators of America and has served on the Board of Directors for Utah Contemporary Dance Theatre.
Tracey has toured as a faculty member with the international company, I Love Dance Inc., and she was a choreographer for the international touring group “Sweethearts and Heart Throbs”. Tracey has choreographed performances for the 2002 Winter Olympics, NBA Jazz halftime, Norwegian and Carnival cruise lines, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. Her choreography has won countless “1st place”, “Overall”, “Best of Show” for regional and national competitions throughout the US. She also choreographed the tap sequences in the DVD “Night to Remember”
Tracey has been teaching beginning Tap, Ballet, and Jazz at The Winner School since 2009. In June 2011, Tracy will be featured doing a Tap segment in a movie that goes into production called “Stars and Stripes”.
Matt Dorame is from Phoenix, Arizona. At an early age, he traveled and toured with the Los Angeles Classical Ballet to China, and later with West Coast Dance Explosion and Co Dance as a featured assistant. Matt has trained at many prestigious summer institutions including American Ballet Theater and Boston Ballet.
Some of Matt’s most notable credits include featured dancer on MTV’s American Mall, lead dancer in the Shawn Borrow music video “Army of Kings”, and top 13 contestant on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance. Matt has also worked to assist SYTYCD choreographers Mia Micheals, Tyce Diorio, and Dee Caspary. While living in New York Matt danced with the renowned Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. Matt also got to perform on Broadway with the Radio City Rockettes in The Christmas Spectacular, and off Broadway with iLuminate in Artist of Lights.
Taylor was hooked the minute she began dancing. As a three-year-old, at the end of her first class, she ran away from her mom and hid in the Winner School Store so could stay and continue dancing. She has been with The Winner School ever since, and has loved every minute. Taylor has received numerous scholarships from conventions such as 24/7, Adrenaline, NYDCA, JUMP, NUVO, and Velocity. She has been invited to the Rockette Invitational Week Summer Intensive on scholarship, and attended The Juilliard School’s Summer Intensive, one of twenty-five girls accepted, internationally. She had the opportunity to be an apprentice for Justin Giles’s company Soul Escape. She has also worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Sonya Tayeh, Lauren Adams, Peter Chu, and Caroline Lewis-Jones, to name a few. She recently graduated from Bingham High School and will be attending the University of Utah with a major in nursing. She is currently a member of the professional company, Divinity, and plans to continue pursuing a professional career. She adores The Winner School and is so excited to teach your kids!
There she was trained in jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, hip hop, modern and musical theater, becoming a faculty member at 15 yrs old and eventually the director/choreographer for the Mini, Junior and Senior companies and competition teams.
Mercedes has had the opportunity to train under and work with many of the dance greats: Joe Tremaine, Gregory Hines, Ann Reinking, Savion Glover, Doug Caldwell, Jackie Sleight, Marguerite Derricks, Wade Robson, Joe Lanterri and Mia Michaels to name a few. She spent numerous summers in Los Angeles attending classes at renowned studios such as the Edge Performing Arts Center, The Millennium Dance Complex, The Howard Fine Acting Studio and private voice lessons with vocal coach Seth Riggs.
At age 16, Mercedes was accepted into the Musical Theatre program at Idyllwild Arts Academy – a prestigious and highly acclaimed performing arts boarding school in Southern California – where she completed her junior and senior years of high school. Upon graduating, Mercedes was accepted into The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri where she attended as a Musical Theater major. Mercedes is also a proud Broadway Theater Project alumni.
Over the years, Mercedes has attended many national and international competitions and conventions where she was awarded with numerous titles, scholarships and high point accolades – first as a dancer and later on as an instructor/choreographer. From 1997-2002, she was selected to represent Utah in the international touring company: “The Sweethearts and Hearthrobs” sponsored by I Love Dance, Inc.
Mercedes has performed in and choreographed performances for the 2002 Winter Olympics, NBA Jazz halftime shows, Norwegian and Carnival cruise lines, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. In addition to being a part of her family owned dance studio’s faculty, Mercedes has also taught and choreographed for studios and programs throughout the state including: Dance Concepts, Linda Fenton School of Dance, Singers Unlimited and the University of Utah.
Mercedes received a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications from the University of Utah and has been the Media Relations Specialist for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office for the past 4 years.
She currently resides in Cottonwood Heights with her husband, Rob Hale, 12 year old daughter Jada and their two dogs: Kingston and Princeton.
He began his career when he lived in Phoenix, Arizona learning from some of the pioneers of the hip hop culture, including his first crew and family, Furious Styles Crew. From there he moved his training to Seattle, Washington where he became a member of Breaking Point Dance Company in Edmonds, WA who, in 2009, placed third in the Hip Hop International USA Hip Hop Championships. That same year, they went on to place eleventh in the World Hip Hop Championships. When he moved to Utah at the age of twelve, he was invited as a guest artist in Odyssey Dance Theatre’s fall show, “Thriller” for two years in a row. He also performed in Odyssey Dance Theatre’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” playing a Young George Bailey. He trained at many different dance studios including Center Stage Performing Arts in Orem, Utah. Through them, he participated in different national competitions, auditions, music videos, and movies, including a internet web series with Flavor Flav and the movie “Jonah and the Great Fish,” with David Osmond. When he turned 17, he began his independent dancing career, teaching at dance studios including Millennium Dance Complex Salt Lake City. He has also worked with the Utah Jazz Dancers, and video artists including Scott Winn. At the age of 18, Tristan began to teach at many different workshops across Utah including Lovolution of Hip Hop. He also began to set choreography for many different companies including high schools, and dance studios all over Utah and even Idaho. At 19 he became the hip hop director at American Expression of Dance in Draper, Utah, having received Studio Showcase and Best of Show awards at competitions including 24/7 Dance Convention and Utah Dance Fest. He has also recently had his choreography showcased in the Millennium Experience in Los Angeles, CA with members of Millennium Dance Complex Salt Lake City. Tristan also has recently choreographed for the Bboy Federation’s production of “They Reminisce.” He is also assisting in choreography and will be dancing in Urban Fairytalez’s production of “Who Are You? A Nonsensical Trip Through Wonderland.” Tristan currently works full time as a teacher and choreographer. Through all of these opportunities, he has found his home with his crew Utah Urban Dance Organization (U.D.O.) where he resides as a dancer and artistic director. U.D.O. is a nonprofit organization that works to strengthen themselves, as well as other dancers and kids in their community through fundamentals of hip hop training and culture, including all elements of hip hop. Tristan Gray is known for his intricate style of choreography that applies fundamental hip hop moves and blends them with his quirky style and effortless swagger. He wishes to empower the minds of his students through his teachings of hip hop fundamentals and techniques, as well as his challenging training of applying those styles to everyday dancing and choreography.
Coordinator / Instructor
The Dance Club and The Winner School, where she graduated in 2013. She has trained in jazz, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, tap, lyrical and musical theater. She’s had the opportunity to work with Justin Giles, Dee Caspary, Sonya Tayeh, Travis Wall, Joey Dowling, Jacki Ford, Peter Chu, Caroline Lewis and many other choreographers. Over the years, Madison has attended many competitions, conventions, intensives and nationals. She has traveled to New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas and many other cities for dance. While attending these dance experiences, Madison has earned multiple titles for group dance and solos- some being overall soloist and Critics Choice. She has also earned several scholarships to further her dance education. In 2009, Madison participated in Odyssey’s Thriller, as a “Chuckie,” and in 2012, she was a “Page” in Ballet West’s Nutcracker.
After graduating, Madison attended the University of Utah, on a full tuition scholarship, as a modern dance major. She was also under the direction of Krissie Edwards and performed with the professional dance company, Divinity, for two years.
Madison is currently the lead apprentice for Justin Giles SoulEscape Company, where she will travel and perform, on the weekends, with the company. She is excited to be the Jr. Elite coordinator, at The Winner School, this year. Madison will continue to perform, teach, and expand her dance knowledge. She is excited to see what the future will bring.
She started right here at the Winner School and has also trained at a few other studios such as Dance Concepts and Pulse 31. All her life she has trained in all aspects of dance from ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop/funk. She has trained with some of the most well known names in the dance world that include Laura King (former owner of Pulse 31 and Hollywood Connection choreographer), Tre Barber (hip-hop legend and choreographer), Mia Michaels( from So You Think You Can Dance and NYCDA), Liz Imperio (and LA choreographer with established dance company “Instincts”), Jerry Evans (LA choreographer for many movies and music artists), Mark Miesmer (LA dancer and choreographer), Dave Carter (LA Dance Magic), Brooke Lipton (assistant choreographer for the hit show Glee), Sydney Dawn H. Kieth (LA choreographer for commercials and music videos and for Universal Studios)…and many more. Throughout her training years she has placed top in the nation in several dance competitions and earned a scholarship to dance on a cruise line.
Kira has had several opportunities to be able to share her love for dancing in teaching other dancers and performing. She was apart of the annual production of “Thriller” by Odessey Dance Theater. She has been a featured dancer for several artists at The Rail Events center. Also she has been involved in some commercial projects for Harley Davidson, a new pilot for a TV show called Beyond Dance, and a promotional commercial for a dance show that is unnamed. She was also a part of the hit Disney show High School Musical, as an extra. She combined being a dancer and a teacher, with being an assistant choreographer, to SDHK2 crew with Sydney Dawn H. Kieth that performed and did commercial work. As much as she loves dancing, teaching dance is a big part of her life also. She has taught and choreographed at several local studios such as Pulse 31, Gravity, South Mountain Dance, Xcite, and Illuzion Dance Studios. She loves to give her insight, knowledge, and passion to future dancers that want to share their talent with the world also and want to work hard to get there!
The Winner School is my second home and family. I can’t wait to continue teaching and getting to know all the amazing dancers at this studio.
I graduated from Hillcrest High School in 2016. Now I am at the University of Utah, earning a minor in dance and a major in Business Management.
Other things I enjoy, outside of dance, are traveling, fitness, nutrition, and spending time with friends and family. I believe that I have learned so much in my life through traveling, and love that hands on experience. My goal in life is to go to every continent and visit as many cultures as possible.
I love the Winner School and all the amazing people I have met here. I have made some lifelong friends through this amazing school. I can’t wait to continue teaching girls and boys at the Winner School, and seeing them grow.
Notable Roles include: “Odette/Odile” in Adam Sklute’s newly conceived and produced Swan Lake; “Kitri” in Anna Marie Holmes’ Don Quixote; “Svetlana” in Ben Stevenson’s Dracula; “Fairy Godmother” in Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella; “Sugar Plum Fairy” in William Christensen’s The Nutcracker; Principal woman in George Balanchine’s Diamonds; Mrs. Summers in Val Caniparoli’s The Lottery; Soloist woman in George Balanchine’s Rubies, “Lilac Fairy” in Adam Sklute’s newly conceived and produced The Sleeping Beauty; Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort and Sinfonietta; and Nicolo Fonte’s Bolero.
A six-time scholarship winner with the Ballet Education and Scholarship Fund, Inc. (BESFI), she was sponsored and competed at age 15 as a finalist in the 8th Concours International de Danse de Paris. Elizabeth earned a Gold Medal from the Youth America Grand Prix in New York and garnered the Jeannot B. Cerrone Award at the Harid Conservatory for excellence in performance.
A cast member on the CW Reality TV series “Breaking Pointe” she is also an Eleve Dancewear model.
Though a long time member of Mountain West Ballet, Jorie was also accepted into summer ballet programs such as Virginia School of Arts and Long Beach Ballet Academy. She enjoyed dancing lead roles in The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Frog Prince and Snow Queen for which The Salt Lake Tribune labeled her as a stand out in her role as the Gypsy, hailing her as fiery and exciting.
Jorie served as Dance Company President at Brighton High School while continuing to train at Center Stage Performing Arts. While still in high school she performed with Odyssey Dance Theater in Thriller and was awarded a full scholarship to Odyssey’s summer program Dance Utah. Later, she became a member of Odyssey 2 and then a full company member of Odyssey Dance Theater.
Jorie has worked with amazing choreographers such as Bonnie Story, Darryl Yeager, Mandy Moore, Dee Caspary and many more. She has traveled the world performing all over Europe, the United States and even at the Alvin Ailey Theater in New York City.
Jorie also loves musical theater! She has danced in productions of Grease, Chess and Hale Center Theater’s The Wedding Singer.
Jorie’s film credits include Reflections in the Mud, High School Musical and High School Musical 3 (Yes, that is her in those wild dance numbers!), and the MTV production American Mall. Most recently she has had the privilege to be the Dance Director and Choreographer on the independent SAG film The Tutor.
Jorie has been teaching for several years and loves being part of the Winner School staff! She loves to see her students succeed and is dedicated in creating dancers who love what they do.