Crown Culture & Arts Academy | Teachers
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Dan Kahara

Guitar Teacher


Bei Bei

Gu Zheng Teacher

Dan Kahara has been playing the guitar for 22 years, studying a variety of styles that include jazz, pop, rock, and classical. Although he considers guitar his principle instrument, his musical background also includes extensive studies of piano, violin, and voice. He currently studies classical guitar at California State University Fullerton School of Music with Guitar Foundation of America ICAC Award winner and current President, Martha Masters. He has also studied privately with internationally-acclaimed guitarists Vladimir Gorbach, Irina Kulikova, and Flávio Apro.

Dan regularly performs as a soloist, and with instrumental and vocal ensembles which include the Orange County Millennial Choir and Orchestra, the California State University Fullerton Guitar Orchestra, and the Titan Men’s Chorus. Recently, he has performed with the OCMCO at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, California, and with the CSUF Guitar Orchestra at the 2014 GFA International Guitar Competition in Los Angeles, California, the 2014 La Guitarra Festival in San Luis Obispo, California, and the 2015 GFA Regional Symposium in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dan currently teaches private and group guitar lessons in addition to music theory and musicianship classes.


Dawei Wang

Piano Teacher

Dawei Wang graduated from the Conservatory of Music at Shanghai Normal University and majored in music composition. At Normal University, Dawei studied choir conducting with Wang Liu Xing and Professor Ma Ge Shun, and orchestra conducting with Professor Xiao Bai.

Since 1980 he has served as the director and conductor of the Symphony Orchestra in the Conservatory of Music at Shanghai Normal University, and as Assistant Conductor of the Shanghai Youth Choir and Shanghai Young Adults Choir. His most famous pieces are “The Songs from the Rhine(Opera)”, “Music from the Prosperous Tang Dynasty”, “Treading the Water in the Small River”, “Capriciousness of the Jasmine Flower”, all of which are instrumental music.

Currently, he is a conductor and composer for the San Francisco Hansheng Choir and the Los Angeles Chinese Musicians Ensemble Chorus.

Dawei is a renowned musician and educator within the Los Angeles area. He was born into a musical family and begun to practice Piano at an early age. Dawei is also a member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California, and he has successful trained countless local musicians.

Gina Zhao

Gina Zhao

Ballet Teacher

Gina Zhao is a renowned dance educator who attended Shanghai Dance School from an early age, and eventually graduated from the Dance Art Department of Shanghai Normal University. Working in dance education and dance creation/compilation for more than thirty years, Gina has received many awards and accolades for her work. Gina’s students regularly compete in professional dance teams at the national level. In the past, Gina has been invited to teach students in Hong Kong, Macao, and Japan. She also spent many years as a choreographer and teacher at Tokyo Dance School in Japan. Now Gina has settled down in Southern California, and she now teaches dance at studios all across Los Angeles and Orange County.

As a dance educator, Gina focuses on teaching ballet and traditional Chinese folk dance. Gina is renowned for her unique teaching style, and she specializes in preparing children to become future professional dancers. Also, she has been known to take her students to attend various shows and dance performances. Gina believes that dancing is an art form of the human body, and that through professional and systematic dance training, students can learn to dance with grace and elegance.


Ms. Cheer

Dance Teacher

Ms. Cheer was raised in the Beijing Dance Academy, where both of her parents are renowned dance professors. Living amongst dancers, she naturally started learning dance at a very early age. She showcased her talents in the Blue Sky Children’s Performing Arts Ensemble, and in the CCTV Galaxy Youth Performing Company. The later allowed her to perform in many national events and televised programs. She eventually studied dance at Beijing Dance Academy and Jia Zuo-Guang Dance School.

After moving to the United States, she continued to study dance and learned western style dances such as Ballet and Jazz. While learning these new forms of dance, she continued to develop her passion for Chinese dance via teaching and performing.

Since 2000, Ms. Cheer has been teaching in various dance studios across LA and the OC. Through traditional Chinese dance, Ms. Cheer hopes to teach her students about the richness of Chinese culture. At the same time, through practice and performance, she teaches her students how to develop stage presence, a positive learning attitude, and a passion for teamwork.


Alexander Zhiroff

Cello Teacher

Alexander Zhiroff, cellist, was born in Russia and trained user three of Russia’s most respected cello teachers, J Slobodkin, A. Latinsky, and A Georgian. He graduated with honors from the famed Gnessin Institute in Moscow with a doctorate, and was invited to remain on staff as a teacher.

His teaching career took him to Cuba in 1982 as of performer/professor of cello and chamber music at the “Instituto Superior de Artes” and in 1985 to Rostov-on-Don as a professor of cello and chamber music at the Rachmaninov Conservatory. Alexander’s performing career has included solo recitals, chamber recitals, and orchestra appearances in the US and Russia. He has also recorded as a soloist for BBC (Scotland), EGREM (Cuba), and Gosteleradio (Russia).

Alexander settled in Southern California with his wife, pianist Irina Nagorsky, freelancing in the movie, recording and television industries. He has been a principal cellist in Yanni’s touring orchestra since 1996, participant of numerous chamber groups and music festivals.


Irina Nagorsky

Piano Teacher

Irina Nagorsky started her musical career at the age of six in Kharkov, a famous cultural center in Ukraine. Studying piano with leading soviet teacher Yakov Feigin, Irina showed her musical talents from an early age, and began performing in public at seven years old. In a matter of 3 years, she had already won several music competitions for young musicians in Ukraine. Irina continued her her education at Rachmaninov Conservatory as a student of Dr. Arabkerzeva, as well as taking private lessons from regina Horowitz, sister of the well known American pianist.

Irina began her professional music career as a college teacher and accompanist in the opera and choir class. With her husband Alexander Zhiroff, Irina has performed extensively for over 20 years in Europe and the Americas. She spent 3 years in Havana (Cuba) as a performer and professor of the National School of Arts (ENA). For the past 15 years, Irina has continued her career in the US, performing in chamber ensembles and teaching in her private studio located in Irvine CA.

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John Lewellen

Speech & Debate Teacher

After his academic career as a nationally competitive speaker and writer, John took his skills to Washington DC where he shared his knowledge by helping new federal prosecutors learn to speak more effectively and persuasively. Working collaboratively with students, teachers, and business owners in the United States and China, John has developed an evidence based system for teaching critical thinking, research, and communication skills that gives learners of all ages the tools they need to be better in any discipline. From business plan writing competitions, speech, and debate to study skills training and research conferences, his students have not only learned the theory, they have put into practice the most effective system of learning for learning to become a self sufficient student.


Jennifer Tehani Sarreal

Belly Dance Instructor

Jennifer Tehani Sarreal is an international dance champion (Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition 2008), Reiki Master, published writer, event producer, activist and multidisciplinary performance artist dedicated to bringing understanding, humanity and compassion to the world through her work.

Tehani started her dancing career at age eight with a dance group within her family.  Growing up in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the nation, she grew an affinity for other cultures and their art forms.  Today her dance repertoire includes: Polynesian (including fire poi), international-style ballroom and Latin, Middle Eastern, hip hop, West African and various folk dance.  She has studied, taught and performed world performance art in more than a dozen countries.
A CSULB graduate with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology, she is involved with both conservation and humanitarian projects around the world.  Her work within art and activism has been featured in various publications and broadcast media including The Press Telegram, The Orange County Register, OCWeekly and ABS-CBN.
Sarreal was nominated by the MCC-CSULB for Long Beach Arts Council’s Distinguished Artist of the Year Award, danced at the historic international World March for Peace & Nonviolence, crowned Queen of Miagao at the Salakayan Festival (Philippines) and featured in Random Lengths News’ “Change Agent Series” for her work as an activist.

Beijing, majoring in the Gu Zheng. Bei Bei further developed her Gu Zheng skills at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, where she studied under several Gu Zheng masters such as Li-Jing Sha, Mu-Lan Hai, Chun-Jiang Teng, and Ling-Zi Xu. She is a multi-award winner of many national and international competitions such as the 1993 National Chinese Instruments Competition, the 1999 College Students Art Festival in Beijing, and the 1st Dragon Cup International Gu Zheng Competition in 2001. Bei Bei has been collaborating with musicians from different genres such as Classical, Jazz, Alternative, Electronica, Hip-Hop, and dancers.  Bei Bei has been featured as an instrumentalist and composer at venues including Knitting Factory in Hollywood, Ford Amphitheater, Barclay Theater in Irvine,  Illinois Wesleyan University, Gustavus Adolphus College, and National Arts Center (Ottawa, Canada).

As a studio musician, she recorded for the hit Sci-fi Channel series “Battlestar Galactica”. As a composer, she composed and recorded for China Central TV documentary series “Dun Huang”. She released her debut album “Quiet your mind and listen” in 2006. Her collaborative album “Heart of China” with Richard Horowtiz was released by Killer Tracks in 2008. Her dance music works include “Dancing Dream” which was premiered at the Asian American Children’s Dance Festival in 2007. Bei Bei was the member of the Orchid Ensemble from 2008 to 2009 and the group toured through United States and Canada.  She is the author of English/Chinese Gu Zheng Textbook “Gu Zheng Sessions” which was published in 2008.

Bei Bei’s collaborative album “Into the Wind” with UK based multi-instrumentalist/producer Shawn Lee was released through Ubiquity Records in January 2010. In 2011, Bei Bei and her music were included in the college textbook “World Music.” The feedback that she has received as she has introduced both American and international audiences to the Gu Zheng has been extremely positive. Her passion for her instrument and the beauty of her music have touched people across the world.


Dr. David Pan

Cello Teacher

Dr. Pan is a native of China, where he studied cello with Mr. Wei-Cai Zhang, the Principal Cellist of Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, and Mr. Guo-Yao Hu, a Solo Cellist of The Central Philharmonic of Beijing.

In the late 1980s, Dr. Pan received a full scholarship to study chamber music and orchestra performance under the guidance of the famous conductor Mr. Zoltan Rozsnyai at United States International University (San Diego, CA). After he received his Master of Fine Arts degree, he was awarded another full scholarship from The University of Northern Colorado, where he studied cello performance with Dr. James Fittz and orchestra conducting with Dr. David MaKenzie. He received his Master of Music and Doctor of Arts degrees, majoring in Cello Performance.

Dr. Pan has taught in Mt. San Antonio College (Walnut, CA), Guangxi University of Arts (China), and his own private studio. He is a member of the American String Teachers’ Association, and the Music Teacher’s Association of California.

Aside from his teaching, Dr. Pan is also active in performance as a recitalist, chamber music and orchestra player. He was a member of the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra (Colorado) and the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra (Wyoming). His recent main performances have included a 2012 MTAC Yearend Meeting solo recital, a 2011 Recital Tour in Guangdong, China, and several chamber music concerts in 2013/2014 performed with SMES and CYOSC faculties.

Dr. Pan’s students have won many competitions, and many of them are playing main roles in both school and youth orchestras. As a musician and cellist, Dr. Pan has performed in many different locations including China, Korea, South America, and North America.

Piano Teacher

Marguerite Kaiser

Piano Teacher

Marguerite Kaiser is an international solo and collaborative pianist, currently performing and coaching in Southern California. Born in California, Marguerite was educated in Oregon, earning her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Piano Performance at Marylhurst University and Portland State University. She performed and taught in Costa Rica, Central America for many years. There she had the opportunity to study with Benjamin Gutierrez and perform his music, which she brought back with her and performs in the United States.

Marguerite was trained to teach small children by the Yamaha Corporation by the authors of their piano teaching system. She eventually incorporated those basic theories and practices into her own private teaching. In Costa Rica she realized the importance of the non-movable “do” system of solfege, which she also uses with all of her students. Her students all become outstanding musicians through detailed rhythmic studies, together with sight singing, technique and piano repertoire in the classical, jazz and popular styles.

Marguerite accompanies her husband, professional trumpeter, Leonardo Valverde. The Valverde – Kaiser Duo performs and coaches internationally. Together, Marguerite and Leonardo formed the non-profit educational charity, The Saint Gabriel Foundation, Inc. The mission is to serve children through music, to help them find direction and confidence. Their casual motto is “Guns for Trumpets”.


Leonardo Valverde

Trumpet Teacher

Leonardo Valverde has over 20 years experience as soloist, principal, assistant principal and lead trumpeter in orchestras and bands throughout North and Central America. For 17 years, Leonardo was lead trumpet, flugelhorn and soloist with the Alajuela National Band in Costa Rica, Central America. He was assistant principal trumpet in the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Trumpet in the California State University, Fullerton, Symphony Orchestra. He also served as Principal Trumpet in the California State University, Fullerton, Wind Symphony, the Moreno Valley Wind Symphony, and second trumpet in the Jewish Community Orchestra in Portland, Oregon. Additionally, he was lead trumpet in numerous jazz and Latin music bands, many of which have travelled internationally.

Leonardo’s first love is playing classical music. He enjoys performing as soloist and in recitals. He is currently the principal trumpeter of the New Valley Symphony in Hollywood. He teaches in the Southern California area, and gives band clinics in local high schools and summer camps.

Much of Leonardo’s music study occurred in Costa Rica, Central America, where he was principal trumpet in the Costa Rican Junior Symphony and fourth trumpet of the National Symphony. He moved to the United States eleven years ago. Here he completed his Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon. He earned his Master of Music in Trumpet Performance at California State University, Fullerton.


Willie Washington

Speech & Debate Teacher

Willie Washington: Currently he is a college instructor at CSU Fullerton and Irvine Valley College. He is a member of the coaching staff for Irvine Valley College’s national championship speech and debate team. He obtained his Communication B.A. from San Francisco State University and M.A. from CSU Fullerton. At CSUF, Willie developed a program that combined the collegiate discipline of Communication Studies with Speech and Debate and implemented this material at a local primary school in the Fullerton area. It is his goal to see speech and debate activities spread and competent communication skills developed in young people everywhere.


Candice Lai

Yoga Instructor

It may be hard to believe, but Candice was once unable to touch her toes in a forward fold.  After falling in love with yoga, her flexibility and strength increased tremendously. She is amazed each day how much yoga helps her body, mind, and soul, and is excited to be able to share yoga with others. Candice completed Yoga Teacher Training at Corepower Yoga, Tustin in the Summer of 2013.  Her classes focus on building strength, increasing flexibility, and maintaining proper alignment to ensure the safety of her students. As a former radio DJ, Candice loves making playlists to go with her classes and having the yoga sequence flow to the music. When she’s not doing yoga, Candice enjoys snowboarding, climbing, biking, and other outdoor activities. She looks forward to seeing you on your mat!


Emily Peterson

Dance Teacher

Emily Peterson took her first dance class at the age of five, and immediately fell in love with the art of dance.  Since then Emily has trained in Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern, Hip-hop, and Jazz Funk.  She has received instruction from many choreographers including Jerome Alexander, Aisha Gibbs, Kelley Guise, Jace Zeimantz, and Deidre Cavazzi. Emily loves the creativity of dance, and the fulfillment dance can bring from expressing yourself through music. The principles she focuses on in her classes are promoting personal creativity, self-confidence, and teamwork. She loves pushing her students to new heights and seeing how they grow, not just in their athletic dance ability, but in their ability to think creatively.

Crown Academy is committed to providing the best instruction to our students. We are always open to hearing from talented and experienced teachers.


We are now hiring teachers in the following disciplines:

  • Voice & Singing
  • Viola
  • Violin
  • Flute
  • Drums
  • Accordion



If you’re interested in helping share your musical gifts with the next generation, send us an email. Thank you!


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