Performing Arts Faculty
Assistant Principal of Arts and Business
Thomas P. Oberle is an educator and freelance clarinetist in the New York area. As a member of The New York Clarinet Quartet, The Patrick Grant Group, The Broken Consort, and The Music Under Construction Players, Thomas has given many world premiere performances. He has appeared with the Philharmonia Virtuosi, Westchester Philharmonic, Philharmonia of the Nations, New World Symphony, Julius Grossman Orchestra, Verisimo Opera, Lubo Opera, and The New Jersey Pops, to name a few.
Thomas has performed with numerous Broadway shows including “Jane Eyre,” “Marie Christine,” “Putting It Together” with Carol Burnett, and the Tony Award-winning “Titanic.” He is proud to have been part of the 12th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition as part of the Broadway cast of “Titanic,” and to have been selected as the clarinetist in Lincoln Center's archive performance of “Jane Eyre.”
As an educator, he is active in providing arts education for as many students as possible. He was asked to take over the position of Assistant Principal of Performing Arts, Fine Art, Business, Technology and Music at Fort Hamilton High School. He began his appointment in September of 2001 and is proud to be associated with Fort Hamilton High School’s performing arts students and staff. Thomas continues to work and develop musicians of all levels. As the director of the premiere musical ensembles of the school, he has received the highest scores consistently at adjudications in and out of NYS.
The ensembles under his direction earned Superior and Best in Class at Heritage Festivals Adjudication in Washington D.C. performing several works including Morton Gould’s, Jericho. Mr. Oberle’s ensembles also earned Superior Awards and Best in Class designation at Festival Disney’s Annual Adjudication in Orlando, Florida.
Under Mr. Oberle’s supervision, Fort Hamilton High School has created a sequenced performance program that allows for students with no musical training to learn an instrument and develop skills. There are 3 levels of concert band, 2 levels of orchestra, 2 levels of chorus, a jazz band and a marching regiment. Mr. Oberle believes that all students should be given the opportunity to perform and at Fort Hamilton, they do.
During this remote learning period, Mr. Oberle and the entire Fort community continued to have students perform. The entire staff learned new software and put numerous remote performances together with the
help of our newest audio engineers, the Fort Hamilton High School music students.
Sabrina Jaafar, originally from Fort Lauderdale, FL is a Jerome Robbins Scholarship recipient and graduated Magna Cum-Laude with a BFA in dance performance from the Alvin Ailey/ Fordham program. She also holds a master's degree in dance Pedagogy from the Hunter College Arnhold Dance Education Program where she was awarded the Heather Watts full tuition scholarship. She is the founding and current director of Fort Hamilton High School’s JOFFREY Dance Academy, an auditioned based NYC pre- professional public magnet school dance program. Professional performance company credits include Buglisi Dance Theater, Ni-Ni Chen Dance Company, Yaa Samar Dance Theater, Hope Boykin Dance, The Dance Now! Ensemble, Nathan Trice Rituals Dance Theater, Footprints Dance Company, Broward Ballet, and apprenticeship with Rioult Dance Theater. Sabrina has performed a wide range of works by choreographers such as Alvin Ailey, Ohad Naharin, Doug Varone, Paul Taylor, Ronald K. Brown, Robert Battle, Elisa Monte, Neta Pulvamacher, Mathew Rushing, Pedro Ruiz, and Helen Pickett to name a few. Her choreography has been performed throughout NYC as well as in Nationally recognized festivals. Sabrina is a passionate dance educator who thrives on working with her students to realize their artistic and physical potential as well as to nurture the development of their unique choreographic voices. She works with a wide range of performers ranging from dancers, actors, to those in the circus arts.
Monica Lessard A New Hampshire native, Monica Lessard is currently the elective dance and resident jazz teacher for the Joffrey Dance Academy at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, NY and is employed at several dance studios in the NYC area. From 2015-2017, she worked at The Nancy DeBenedittis Elementary School in Corona, Queens, where she designed and implemented a dance curriculum for children in grades K-5. She is a 2007 dance performance graduate of Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts (B.F.A. Pittsburgh, PA) and received her Master’s in Arts Education at Hunter College, as part of the Lincoln Center Scholars Program in 2017. As a dance educator, she takes pride promoting fitness and a healthy lifestyle while contributing to the development of coordination and motor skills. She recently passed the National Academy of Sports Medicine’s Certified Personal Training exam. She encourages her students to tell their stories and express their feelings through the creative process of dance. She embraces the fact that dance brings people together, despite differences, and serves as a way of exploring the world through movement and music in an engaging way. Through her unique experiences as a professional dancer in the studio and now in the public school sector, she is a true believer that learning in, through and about dance enriches education, working and life itself.
Dramatic Arts Faculty
William Coulter A professional actor and director, he has worked with Fredonia Opera House, Mid-West National Tours, Heritage Artists and is a founding member of Capital Repertory Company; he has performed with Williamstown Theatre Festival, 78th St Theatre Lab, American Jewish Theatre and Primary Stages. Some of his film credits include Ghost Story, Billy Bathgate, Under Heat, Ironweed and The Age of Innocence directed by Martin Scorsese. He co-directed the award-winning short film Editing is Everything and has performed in numerous TV commercials and voice-overs. He holds BA in Broadcasting from New School of Contemporary TV/Radio; BA in Theatre from SUNY/Albany and an MFA degree in directing from Brooklyn College, he has studied acting with Uta Hagen, Carol Rosenfeld and F. Murray Abraham at HB Studios. He is a proud member of Actors Equity, SAG and SSDC. He is overjoyed to teach acting here at Fort Hamilton High School.
Mr. Lanaghan has been at Fort Hamilton High School for 19 years. Under his direction, the Concert Chorus received Gold with Distinction at NYSSMA festival, superior in Festival Disney and led students in performances at Carnegie Hall. He has performed as a conductor at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center. He has hosted teaching artist Donald Barnum from the National Chorale and Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Lanaghan facilitated masterclasses with Mr. Barnum when the school went remote at the beginning of the pandemic. He performed as organist in Magdalen College, Oxford University, England, was a regular guest singer and organist with the Canoni Chorale. He has facilitated professional development workshops the DOE’s Arts Monday since 2015. He has been presenter at NYC DOE Citywide Professional Development workshops. He has sung with the Grace Choral Society in Greenwich Village, has prepared students to sing with Dr. Joe Miller of the Westminster Choir College and participated for several years in the Carnegie Hall Music Educator’s Workshop and the Carnegie Hall Choral Directors Workshop. He also has hosted workshops with Dianne Berkun, artistic director of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Mr. Lanaghan is also a fellow of the Teacher’s Academy. Mr. Lanaghan has prepared students to perform on masterclasses with Dame Martina Arroyo. He has record on Capstone Records.
Rebecca Martinez is currently a choral music teacher at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, New York since 2015. In Fort Hamilton, she directs a large mixed ensemble, a treble chorus consisting of auditioned students, and is the advisor of the a cappella club. She has conducted her treble chorus students at the Voice and Choral Festival through the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College in 2017. Her students have also participated in the University of Connecticut’s Choral Festival in 2019. Ms. Martinez has also conducted her students at the National Chorale High School Choral Festival at Hunter College in 2019. She has had the opportunity to facilitate masterclasses with Sherma Andrews and bring guest artists into her classroom to work with her students. Her treble chorus was expected to perform a masterwork, Faure’s Requiem, at Lincoln Center in April 2020. Ms. Martinez is also currently an adjunct lecturer for Brooklyn College’s Glee Club. She has been teaching this ensemble since 2019. Rebecca Martinez received an undergraduate and masters degree from Brooklyn College’s Conservatory of Music with a major in Music Education.
Throughout her career, Ms. Martinez has performed in numerous venues such as, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, United Nations, and David Geffen Hall. Through singing various repertoire, Rebecca Martinez has shown diversity in her singing and brings this ideology to her teaching practice. As an educator, she believes that it is important to reflect on her current teaching practices so that she can better assist her students on their musical journey. She also believes that it is important for students to make connections between the music they are singing and their personal experiences. Ms. Martinez programs a wide variety of music for her students. She believes in restorative practices in the classroom to help center student voices.
Natasha A. Henry is music teacher and band director at Fort Hamilton High School. She has received Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Performance: Percussion Studies with a Minor in Piano and Voice from LIU Post, and she has both a Master of Arts and a M.Ed. in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Ms. Henry has studied percussion for over 14 years, piano for 10 years, and voice for 9 years. She has toured as a performance musician to Ireland, Puerto Rico, Switzerland for the Montreux Jazz Festival, and Australia for the International Music Festival. She has also performed with the North Shore Symphony Orchestra, at Carnegie Hall with the Cecilia Chorus of New York, and in the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, and with many other wind ensembles, choruses, vocal jazz ensembles, jazz bands, jazz combos, and percussion ensembles. Ms. Henry has worked with artists such as the New York Voices, Esperanza Spalding, Wynton Marsalis, Rossano Galante, Julie Giroux, Mark Camphouse and many others through numerous masterclasses and performances. At Fort Hamilton, Ms. Henry works with the Marching Regiment, assisting with the Drumline, is the director of the Intermediate Band and Jazz Band, and teaches the class "Music Interpretation". This class is a curriculum she developed herself based on the studies of popular culture, musicology, and music philosophy, where non-music students receive the opportunity to learn to compose, perform, analyzation and appreciate music from around the world through different perspectives and inclusive discussions.
Mr. Ralph Azzara joined the Fort Hamilton High School staff in January of 2000. He is currently the director of The String orchestra and Guitar ensemble. Mr Azzara has dedicated his life joyfully, to playing and teaching all manner of fretted and bowed string instruments!
Barry Stern is currently in his 11th year as Orchestra Director at Fort Hamilton High School, conducting the orchestra in out of state competitions and in concerts throughout the school year. In addition to his duties at Fort Hamilton he also serves as Principal Conductor of the All City High School Orchestra and lead teacher of the string studio of the city’s Summer Arts Institute, both groups a combination of the city’s finest young musicians. Mr. Stern is also Director of ISO@Third and is currently in his second season as conductor of ISO’s Symphony Orchestra, after having served as conductor of the ISO Concert Orchestra for one season, and the ISO Turtle Bay Orchestra for three seasons. As a violist, Mr. Stern has collaborated and performed with artists such as Quincy Jones, Mark Wood, Tevin Campbell, and Sarah Brightman. He is a co-author of the New York City Department of Education’s Commencement Music Examination, and a lead facilitator for professional development for New York City music teachers, in addition to serving on the committee that created the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. Previously, Mr. Stern was the guest conductor of the NYSSMA Area All State Middle School Festival at Bishop Laughlin High School in Brooklyn, and served on the faculty of the New York State Music Camp and Institute at Hartwick College. Prior to becoming a full time educator, Barry had been Director of Orchestral Operations at Manhattan School of Music, and Director of the Bronx House School for the Performing Arts. He is a graduate of Lehman College (MAT), and the Manhattan School of Music (BM, MM), where he studied viola with Burton Kaplan and Karen Dreyfus, and conducting with David Gilbert and Jonathan Strasser.
Min Ho Shin
Born in Seoul, Korea and educated in the NYC Public Schools System, Mr. Shin attended Fort Hamilton High School. It was at Fort Hamilton where he discovered his love for music. Laurence Laurenzano (Band), Jonathan Strasser (Orchestra), and Bruce Bonvissuto (Trombone) were his major teachers in high school through college. Mr. Shin attended CUNY Brooklyn College and received degrees in Music Performance and Education.
Mr. Shin began his teaching career in 2006. He has taught at Springfield Gardens Educational Complex for one year. He has been one of the members of a very talented music faculty at Fort Hamilton High School since 2007.