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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

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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 La Petite Brise, an early music trio. 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 in Music Education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and studied Suzuki pedagogy Violin Books 1-10 with Vera McCoy-Sulentic. Erika has also completed Suzuki violin teacher training with Michelle Higa George, Moshe Neumann, Judy Bossuat, Nancy Jackson, Christie Felsing, and Alice Joy Lewis, and has done viola teacher training with William Preucil, Senior. She is a past director of SIUE’s Summer String Camp, and is director of the SIUE Suzuki Viola Camerata, part of the larger SIUE Suzuki Tour Group. She received the Suzuki Association Certificate of Achievement Level 1 in the summer of 2015, has contributed several articles to the American Suzuki Journal, and has presented at the Suzuki Association of the Americas National Conference.

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.

Mikaila Seo (viola, violin) received her Master of Music Performance degree in 2012 from Roosevelt University in Chicago, after earning her Bachelor of Music Performance degree from Boston Conservatory in 2009. She has studied with Lawrence Neuman, Sally Chisholm, and Rictor Noren. Mikaila has completed Suzuki violin teacher training with Dr. Laurie Scott, Nancy Lokken, Nancy Jackson, Ann Montzka-Smelser, and Alice Joy Lewis, and Suzuki viola teacher training with William Preucil, Sr. In the summer, Mikaila directs the SIUE String Development Camp. In addition to her teaching duties at the SIUE Suzuki String Program, she plays with the Salem-St. Louis Chamber Orchestra, and freelances in the area. Prior to teaching in Edwardsville, Mikaila lived in Austin, Texas, and studied Suzuki Pedagogy with Dr. Laurie Scott. During her time in Austin, she served as the Assistant Director of the String Project at the University of Texas at Austin, was a violin and viola instructor at Southwestern University, maintained a full private studio, Seo String Studio, alongside her husband Jun, a cellist, and served as the Director of the Young Artist Division at Texas Strings Camp. In addition to teaching and performing, Mikaila enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with family and her dog, Lulu.

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.

Lansin Kimler, piano, studied at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, earning Bachelor's and Master’s degrees in music, following study with Ruth Slenczynska & Linda Perry. She has worked with the Suzuki String Program at SIUE and the Community Music School at Webster University, and now teaches and accompanies at East Central College, Union, and the University of Missouri – St. Louis. She also serves as accompanist for the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus, Third Baptist Church (Grand Center), and the Parkway School District. She has given numerous solo recitals, and in the past has played and recorded with the St. Louis Ocarina Trio. Among her notable affiliations is the Ladies’ Friday Musical Club, one of St. Louis’s most storied institutions.

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.

Graduate Students — 2018-2019

Daniela Jofre

Ana Cecelia Villegas

James Brian Wall is currently a student seeking an MM in violin performance with an emphasis in Suzuki pedagogy from SIUE. Brian grew up playing the violin in the Alton School District, playing in the Alton Youth Symphony Orchestra, Alton Symphony Orchestra, and was concertmaster of the symphonic orchestra at Alton High School. He has also been a member of the St Louis Youth Symphony Orchestra, the St.Louis Philharmonic, and was concertmaster of the Webster University Symphony Orchestra where he received his bachelor's degree in violin performance. He has performed and taught around the Greater St Louis area for over 10 years, and also plays piano, sings, and composes in his spare time.


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Ellen Singh’s lifelong passion and joy has been her work experience in the music field alongside young children and their families. 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 with LMSW licensure), 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. Equally, she has gained widespread networking/public relations and entrepreneurial experiences as her Kindermusik business has grown and continues to develop throughout the years.

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 well as teaching flute lessons.

She taught the SIUE Suzuki Program Pre-Reading Music Theory class from 2005-2011. Currently, she is an adjunct professor for both SIUE and Lewis & Clark Community College where she teaches a class entitled, “Music for the Preschool Teacher”.

As a licensed Kindermusik educator, Ellen brings the love of music, movement, and learning to children and families in her community and the region, in partnership with the SIUE Suzuki program, in her Kindermusik program. Additionally, as of July 2017, she has officially begun serving a 3-year term on the Kindermusik International 'Partnership of Kindermusik Educators' (PKE) Board of Advisors, or more appropriately called, "The Sound Board".

The mission of this board is to represent and support the community of 5000+ Kindermusik Educators and work cooperatively with Kindermusik Corporate Staff to bring Kindermusik to the world. She is honored and humbled to take on this volunteer position in which she aspires to utilize her passion for music in expansive ways. Her greatest love is being a wife and mother of her four children.

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