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Our Teachers

Our Director

vera pictureVera McCoy-Sulentic (violin) is Director of the Suzuki Program at SIUE. She has been a registered teacher trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas since 1991 and conducts long term Suzuki teacher training at SIUE. A frequent clinician at Suzuki workshops, she has traveled throughout the United States and Canada, and has taught in Bermuda, Sweden, Taiwan, and Brazil. She was the recipient of SIUE’s Excellence in Teaching award in 1996 and has been a faculty member and director of the SIUE Suzuki Program since 1997. Additionally, she has 10 years of string teaching experience in the public schools of Edwardsville, Ill., and Eugene, Ore.

In 1988, Vera earned a Masters in Music Education from SIUE which included long term teacher training with John Kendall. Other Suzuki training has been with Mihoko Hirata, Yuko Mori, Evelyn Hermann, and Doris Pruecil. Academic degrees include a B.M. in Music Education from the University of Oregon and a B.A. in French from the University of Iowa.

Faculty Teachers

carrie pictureCarrie Grace Beisler (violin) began her violin studies at age four with Nancyy Lokken at the AAugsburg College Suzuki Education Program in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She received a Masters of Music with a focus in Suzuki Pedagogy from The University of Minnesota studying under Professor Mark Bjork and completed her Bachelor of Music from The University of Iowa under the instruction of Dr. Scott Conklin. As an undergraduatee and graduatee student, Carrie received multiple music awards and scholarships and activelyy participated in multiple regional and semi-professional orchestras. Throughout her career she has studied and worked with such teachers as, Paul Kantor, Doris Preucil, William Preucil Jr., Brian Lewis, Ranata Knific, Augustin Hadelich, and Joan Kwon. In chamber music, she studied under Tom Rosenberg, Stella Anderson, Kathe Jarka, The Maia Quartet, and The Parker Quartet. Carrie started her Suzuki training in Iowa City, IA with Christie Felsing at the Preucil School of Music. She has continued training at the American Suzuki Institute with Nancy Jackson, Alice Joy Lewis, and Carol Dallinger. She also received certification through all the Suzuki Violin Books with Professor Mark Bjork at the University of Minnesota. While working on her Master’s Degree, Carrie taught Suzuki violin and group classes at the St. Joseph School of Music in St. Paul MN. Carrie has been an active member with the Suzuki Association of the Americas for the last 8 years. She co-presented at the 2014 SAA conference which resulted in a series of publications in the SAA Journal on the topic of starting out as a new teacher. Carrie has served on staff of the Colorado Suzuki Institute in Beaver Creek, CO for the last five years and assists with year round planning and organization for the institute. She currently works in Edwardsville, Illinois where she teaches violin and viola in the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Suzuki program.

linda picture

Linda Bristol (violin and viola) earned her BME from Lindenwood College and her MME from SIUE. She also is a pianist. In 2012, she retired from teaching orchestra in the Edwardsville School District after 16 years of teaching at the middle school and elementary levels. Before teaching in Edwardsville, Linda taught in Parkway, Hazelwood and several private schools in the area. She studied Suzuki pedagogy with John Kendall and Carol Smith. Linda has been a faculty teacher in the SIUE Suzuki Program since 2002. Linda’s three children all went through the Suzuki Program at SIUE. Her daughter, Heather, is a Suzuki teacher in Missoula, Mont.

allison pictureAllison Huebner-Woerner (violin, viola) joined the faculty of the String Development Program at SIUE in 1994. She holds degrees from University of Missouri-Columbia and SIUE in Music Performance and Music Education. Allison served as Graduate Assistant to John Kendall and completed Long-Term Suzuki Training during her Master’s Degree, and as Doctoral Assistant to John McLeod during her Doctoral Studies. In addition to Directing the SIUE Tour Group since 2001, she maintains a private studio at SIUE, and has served as a Board Member for the St. Charles Youth Orchestras, as well as Director of the SIUE Advanced Chamber Ensemble, The Edwardsville Youth Orchestra, and is founder and Director of Ballwin Suzuki Strings. Allison has served as concertmaster and soloist for several community orchestras and is a frequent contributor to the American Suzuki Journal, presenting her latest article, “Suzuki Method and Autism Therapy: a road of compatibility and possibility” at the Suzuki National Conference this spring.

stephanie pictureStephanie Hunt (cello) An active and versatile musician, Stephanie Hunt performs on both modern and baroque cello. Her current activities include performances with the Persied String Quartet, Chamber Project St. Louis, and the Coromell Ensæmble, a Mexican Early Music ensemble. Stephanie has participated in numerous international music festivals, including the Nederlandse Orkest- en Ensemble-Academie, Royaumont Formations Professionnelles (France), the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, and two summers as a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow. Her studies on modern cello led to a B.Mus. summa cum laude from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music and a M.Mus. from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. Following her American studies, Stephanie moved to Europe and earned both a B.Mus. Honours and M.Mus. in baroque cello from the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands. Her teachers include Viola de Hoog, Norman Fischer, Hans Jørgen Jensen, Ross Harbaugh, and Monique Bartels. 

After five years studying and performing in the Netherlands, Stephanie returned to the United States, to settle in the St. Louis area.  Stephanie teaches cello in the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Suzuki program, is the cello instructor at Lindenwood University, and maintains a private studio in St. Louis.

erika pictureErika Lord-Castillo (violin, viola) has been a faculty teacher in the SIU-Edwardsville Suzuki Program since 2009. Originally from Iowa City, Iowa, Erika earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature, Sciences and Arts from the University of Iowa. She holds a Master’s degree in Music Education from SIU-Edwardsville, and studied Suzuki Violin Pedagogy books 1-10 with Vera McCoy-Sulentic. Erika has performed in numerous orchestras in Iowa, Oregon and Missouri, including the St. Louis Philharmonic. Erika presented her Master’s Thesis “John Kendall’s Early Contributions to Suzuki Education in the United States”at the American String Teacher Association National Conference which has also been published in the American Suzuki Journal Fall 2012. Currently Erika is completing her Suzuki Teacher-Training, having earned the prestigious Certificate of Achievement Level 1 in summer 2015.

vicki pictureVicki Lottes (violin, viola) grew up in a Cincinnati musical family with 12 children and she graduated from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (BME) and Indiana University (M.M. studying with Josef Gingold). For 32 years, Vicki taught orchestra and string classes in Massachusetts and Missouri public schools, most recently 20 years with the Parkway School District (St. Louis County) in high school, middle school, and elementary school. She helped Parkway grow their Suzuki program for all third grade students in 18 schools. Vicki trained with John Kendall and Vera McCoy-Sulentic at SIUE. She is a member of the SAA and taught Suzuki violin and viola students at her home studio in West St. Louis County for 6 years. Vicki has taught private lessons at SIUE since 2007, and co-directed the SIUE Summer String Camp for eight years. Vicki is the mother of two boys who studied Suzuki violin and cello.

Adjunct and Group Class Teachers

Kim Gindler will be teaching cello and reading classes. She began studying the violin in the SIUE Suzuki Program when she was four years old and was a member of Mr. Kendall’s first tour group to Ireland and Sweden. As a teenager, she was concertmaster of the CASA Young People’s Orchestra as well as the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from SIUE and finished three levels of Orff certification through Webster University, where she studied music and movement, percussion, improvisation and theater techniques. In addition to the violin, she loves dancing, and playing the flute and the piano. Kim has taught high school and middle school orchestra, elementary strings, middle school general music, and middle school choir. Her son, Lars, is a cello student in the SIUE Suzuki Proram.

courtney pictureCourtney King, a native of Oswego, Ill., holds a bachelor of flute performance from DePaul University (2000) in Chicago where she studied under Mary Stolper, soloist and chamber performer and regularly performed for Donald Peck, former principal flutist in the CSO. She was a member of the U.S. Air Force Band of Flight, stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, until 2004. She also performed with the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America at Scott AFB for recordings and touring until 2007. Courtney has played for presidents, U.S. and foreign dignitaries, veterans and Americans of all ages. Even with all that excitement, she decided staying home with her children was way more fun! Today, she is a home schooling mother of thre amazing kids (all in this program). She holds a small flute studio from her home and performs flute/piccolo in the Belleville Philharmonic.

Daniel Mieloch moved to Illinois in 2003 to attend SIUE and earn his master’s degree in conducting after attaining his bachelor’s degrees in music education and violin performance from Lebanon Valley College. Daniel Mieloch is director of orchestras at Fort Zumwalt West High School. Daniel has been honored to work with the SIUE Suzuki Department since the spring of 2010 and is the principal conductor of the Edwardsville Youth Orchestra.

Kris Pineda, our Collaborative Pianist, is currently a professor of piano, harpsichord, and collaborative piano at SIUE. Kris completed his Doctor of Musical Arts (2012) and Master of Music (2009) degrees in Piano Performance at the University of Texas Butler School of Music in Austin. There, he studied with renowned concert pianist Anton Nel. During his time at UT-Austin, Kris worked as a full-time graduate assistant, teaching applied piano under the supervision of pedagogues Sophia Gilmson and Martha Hilley. A native of Illinois, Kris received his Bachelor of Music degree from SIUE in 2007, where he studied with Dr. Linda Perry. Kris also holds a double B.A. degree in Biology and Psychology from St. Louis University (2005).

Graduate Students — 2015-2016

laurenLauren Holt began her Suzuki journey at the age of 3. She is a graduate of the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City, Iowa, where she studied under Kimberly Meier-Sims and Christie Felsing for fifteen years. Lauren attended many summer camps throughout the years, including Interlochen Arts Camp, ASI Steven's Point, Ottawa Suzuki Institute Mid-Southwest, Sound Encounters, and the David Einfeldt Chamber Music Seminar. She graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, with degrees in Music Education and Violin Performance, studying with Manami White. While at Xavier, she was concertmaster of the XU Orchestra, played in the Pep Band, served as National Association for Music Education president, and played in various ensembles around the Cincinnati area. She has also performed with the Preucil School Strings Orchestra under the direction of Doris Preucil, the Iowa All-State Orchestra, and the Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra. Her involvement in music has allowed her to perform in many amazing places including Ireland, the Czech Republic, Austria, and even on stage with Rod Stewart and Santana! She has completed Orff-Schulwerk Level I training as well as Suzuki teacher training with Geri Arnold and Nancy Lokken. Lauren is very excited to continue her studies here at SIUE!

Betsey Karako

Renita Luehrman

Tony Moussa


ellen pictureEllen Singh has had a lifelong joy of and experience with music and young children. She has been a licensed Kindermusik educator since 2004. A graduate of both the University of Evansville (B.S. in sociology and interpersonal communications) and the University of Illinois (master’s degree in social work), she has a broad spectrum of educational and clinical experiences, including child development, group dynamics, and relationship building, which are essential in teaching music to children and their families. Musically, she has her foundations in many years of piano and flute lessons as well as having taught herself to play electric bass guitar. She has performed in various groups throughout high school and college. Additionally, she has enjoyed the opportunities of performing (flute) in her church and in various community orchestras throughout the country.

As a licensed Kindermusik educator, Ellen brings the love of music, movement, and learning to children and families in this community, in partnership with the SIUE Suzuki program, in her Kindermusik classes. Her greatest love is being a mother of her four young children.

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