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Instructors

An American Red Cross certified Water Safety Instructor, for the past three years Hurshed Akbarov has taught swimming at LIU. As a competitive swimmer, Hurshed particularly enjoys assisting young swimmers who want to improve their strokes and ability.

Pursuing a degree in chemical engineering, Hurshed is disciplined in his fitness regimen, swimming every day to ensure that he demonstrates proper technique to his students.

Eli Brandwein (Product Design) is a Brooklyn-based illustrator and comic author. Recently graduated from Pratt Institute ('12), he is currently freelancing while working on his self-published comic Claws.

Noelia Brito(Spanish) holds a Bachelor’s degree in education as well as a Master’s degree in early childhood education. Ms. Brito has extensive experience as a teacher in public and private schools in Tenerife, Spain. Additionally, she has developed programs in children’s nutrition. Recently, Noelia has been learning English at Long Island University (Brooklyn Campus) with the goal of returning to Spain to teach English to children.

With ample experience in teaching young children both in the United States and Taiwan, Lu Chun Chiu (Chinese), originally from Taiwan, is a recent graduate of LIU Post with a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education. Lu Chun taught Kindergarten students in Taiwan, as well as working as a tenth grade teacher’s assistant.

In the U.S., Lu Chun completed 150 hours of early childhood classroom observations, with the majority of her observation hours and fieldwork taking place at the Big Chief School in East Meadow, NY, observing preschool and Kindergarten classes.

Teaching in both Taiwan and the United States has provided Lu Chun with a culturally diverse background that provides a unique perspective on teaching efficacy and an understanding of how best to help young children fulfill their potential.

Hector Garcia is an internationally licensed Black Belt Shotokan Karate Instructor trained by Dr. Milorad Stricevic and Thomas Casale. Hector has been a licensed JSKA-USA Karate instructor since 2008 and has also competed in over 20 Shotokan Karate Competitions including two JSKA World Championships.

Miles Gopie was born and raised in Brooklyn, so it only makes sense that he attended Brooklyn Technical High School where he first got a taste of technical design and engineering. Currently attending NYU-Poly, Miles is pursuing a bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering and is part of PolyBots robotics club. Having taught Lego robotics to college freshman as a teacher's assistance, Miles looks forward to teaching robotics at LIU this year!

Chetara Murphy (Swimming) has taught many different levels of swimming through the years, specializing in teaching toddler-swimming fundamentals.  Ms. Murphy is trained in Water Safety, Lifeguard, First Aid,  CPR and AED use, all attained through the American Red Cross. Since 2006, Ms. Murphy has served as Head Lifeguard at LIU Brooklyn.

Carlton Jones first saw capoeira in 2001 and was mesmerized by this expression of "dance fight." Training for over a year with Mestranda Edna Lima—four-time Pan-American Games Karate Champion—Carlton joined her school and studied the true art form and technique of capoeira.

In 2012, after training for 10 years with Abada-Capoeira, the world's largest capoeira organization, Carlton received his blue cord (graduado). In addition to teaching regular capoeira classes, Carlton offers a cardio adaptation Capoeira Workout and a series of Capoeira Workout Master Classes.

After a 13-year personal yoga and meditation practice at Sivananda Yoga NYC, Christina Rufin decided to become a certified yoga teacher and specialized in training to teach in-need communities with Jill Satterfield’s School for Compassionate Action for kids and people with chronic pain. Christina knows that yoga and meditation plant the seed towards finding wellness of body and mind and has now been teaching in yoga studios and to kids in after-school programs throughout NY, mixing the power of fun with the power of breath.

Felicia Reynolds (Swimming) is an American Red Cross certified Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard. Ms. Reynolds has been a lifeguard for eight years and a swimming instructor for the last four year. Felicia has taught all levels of swimming in both group and private settings and particularly enjoys classes involving toddlers. Before becoming Red Cross Water certified, Felicia spent her summers in her native New Jersey as a summer camp swim instructor and volunteering at local pools.

Janet V. Sabillon (Spanish) is a UPK teacher at a local preschool with a Master in Early Childhood Education who has been teaching for 12 years.

Of Puerto Rico and Honduras heritage, Janet’s parents taught her the importance of knowing her roots, culture and most of all their native language, Spanish.  Janet believes that it’s crucial for children to understand different cultures and learn other languages.

While attending the University of New Hampshire, Sam Stage (Gymnastics) danced with the Northeastern Ballet Company and Great Bay Academy of Dance. After college he worked in L.A. as an actor alongside Danny Glover and as a photo and stunt double for Nickolaj Coster-Waldau, Paul Walker, and Elijah Wood.

With over fifteen years of experience unicycling and inline skating, for the last five years Sam has been performing on aerial silks, static trapeze and partner acrobatics as a member of Hoak & Stage.

Since the age of five Nik Vale has been obsessed with building a combat robot, inspired by the show Battle Bots. By his senior year of high school Nik had built several smaller robots along with a prototype of an oil separating rover that won him first prize and top honors in local science competitions. After creating LIU’s first Build Your Own robotics class, Nik reverse engineered the curriculum and developed a new type of affordable robotic kit. Now he’s back to teach students the basics of robotics using his kit and extensive knowledge of how it all works.

Joshua Vizzi (Design and Build) is a practicing architectural designer who has worked on buildings in New York, California, Seattle, Washington D.C, Europe, and Africa. Mr. Vizzi has designed and constructed sustainable housing for the U.S. Solar Decathlon and served as a jurist at the School of Visual Arts. Joshua graduated with a Bachelor’s of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University.

Johnna Woods developed her passion for ceramics while attending Herron School of Art where she earned her BFA in sculpture and ceramics. After graduating, she worked as the studio and production manager for a ceramic studio in Brooklyn. Currently, Johnna is a ceramic studio assistant at LIU.

Carl Wright is an accomplished chess instructor with over 21 years of experience who has served as a coach, tournament director and independent consultant in charter and public school as well as in after school programs for general, special and bilingual populations of students.

Praised by parents and children alike, Mr. Wright’s methodical approach to teaching chess uses one piece at a time in mini commander games so children come to know not only the moves of each piece but the ideas and concepts they can use to play well in full games.