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Music, Gifted & Talented Education (GATE), and Media

LetfordMrs. Genein Letford

Mrs.  Letford is one of the founding 3rd grade teachers at NEW Academy Canoga Park. Now as the music director, she has created a dynamic award winning music curriculum that not only teaches music standards but also incorporates corresponding math, science, language arts and global studies concepts.

bandIn 2012, Letford won the Bravo Arts Educator Award and was also awarded the National Sontag Prize in Urban Education. She was named the Hart Vision 2015 Charter School Teacher of the Year from the California Charter School Association.

Mrs. Letford received her bachelor degree from UCLA and completed her master thesis, Integration With Integrity: The Importance of Keeping Music in the Elementary Classroom at California State University, Northridge. She serves on the national board and is an advocate for arts and financial education. She founded Alumni360, a mentorship group for NACP alumni that focuses on financial literacy, scholarship acquisition and telling your story of purpose. She has done numerous professional presentations on these topics and remains focused on bringing justice and opportunity to underserved communities.

ZanellaMs. Donna Zanella

Ms. Zanella has been working with NEW Academy Canoga Park since 2009 and hails from our local community Art Center in Canoga Park. She holds an AAS in Advertising and received her BFA and MFA from Cal Arts. She has been an art teacher for over 20 years and also teachers for the city of LA Department of Cultural Affairs at the Canoga Park Youth Art Center.

The art curriculum is inspired by major artists from art history and lessons include information about world history, various art movements and language skills to enhance students’ greater understanding of the arts and their impact. Her ‘non-directed’ projects allow students to explore their own creative voices while giving them the tools to successfully realize their visions.