The Grown-ups we Listen to (our Foundation Advisors):

Banner Adams

Advisor, Art Education and Photography

Banner Adams, of Banner Photography, LLC is a second-generation photographer and former educator. 

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Banner has worked as a Montessori teacher, art teacher, classroom teacher and special educator. Banner worked in K5 - 5th grade classrooms in Title 1 schools. She also taught art at Charleston’s Ashley Hall, including a Summer Art Program over a three year period. 

 

At the turn of the millennium, Ms. Adams found that her years of experience working with students in and out of the classroom perfectly complimented her upbringing in the photography industry and she officially opened her studio doors to the public. 

 

Over the years, she has devoted part of her professional time working with subjects with special needs and has worked with The Special Olympics, The Down Syndrome Association of the Lowcountry and has been commissioned for private portrait sessions for families who have members with special needs who feel like her experiences, expertise and patience bring out the best in their loved ones. 

Melissa Bradshaw​

Advisor, Art Education

Melissa Bradshaw is an experienced elementary teacher with a degree in Arts Education who developed Wee Little Arts in response to a need she saw as a teacher for early childhood arts education. Melissa realized that the students in her elementary school classrooms had been under-served in the development of fine motor skills, critical thinking skills and creativity that early art education encourages.

 

Wee Little Arts is a process-oriented approach to preschool arts education that has been overwhelmingly successful in engaging and empowering children by helping them discover the creative process. Wee Little Arts is a method of releasing the natural creativity of young children through the use of mixed-media, drawing, painting and three dimensions.

 

Melissa has won several awards, including Charleston’s 50 Most Progressive.  Her curriculum has been so well received, respected and loved, she took the next step of franchising her business, hoping that children all over the country would eventually experience the benefits of such a program.

Carolyn Buchter

Advisor, Literary Arts

Carolyn Buchter grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. She has an extensive background in Reading and Language Arts. Carolyn obtained her BA degree in English from the University of Maryland and her MS degree in Reading and Children’s Literature from Adelphi University in Garden City.  She has taught on all levels and received her certification in School Administration from Stony Brook University in New York. Her  educational positions include Chairman of English (7-12), Coordinator of Language Arts (K-12), and Reading Coordinator (K-12). She was also instrumental in creating the Gifted and Talented Program in her district. Carolyn lectured at Stony Brook University and coordinated the Student Teaching Program there.

 

Carolyn is a published author. She has written for Scholastic Books, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Educational Activities, and Activity Records. In addition, she’s published six children’s books. Carolyn and her husband co-authored an extensive literacy computer software program for grades K-12, which was then expanded to address reading in the content areas of Science and Social Studies.

 

In addition to her lifelong focus on literacy, Carolyn is passionate about The Arts. She has served on several Performing Arts Boards, including:  the Women’s Advisory Council for the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, Young Dancers in Repertory, and The Michael Bolton Charities. She is a member of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as well as The Cosmopolitan Club and the Friars Club.

Karen Koob

Co-Founder, Outreach Program / Advisor, Education and Music

Ms. Koob  comes to The Children’s Fine and Performing Arts Foundation with vast experience in education and the fine arts. In addition to her education in Music Vocal Performance, Karen has had the opportunity to perform at the Lincoln Center, Town Hall; Toscanini’s home; numerous performances in the Charleston, SC area and at The National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

 

Karen first moved to Charleston in 1987. There, she served in Parish Administration at St. Michael’s Church, Charleston and Christ Church, Mount Pleasant for 12 years before moving to Germany for seven years in support of her husband’s Army career. While in Charleston, Karen sang with the Charleston Singer’s Guild (in support of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra) for several years.

 

Ms. Koob is passionate about the arts and children’s education. She has served as a high school teacher and as Director of Spiritual Life at a private school in Virginia. She has experience planning and executing community service projects both domestically and internationally. Karen is the co-founder of Covenant Christian School, a private school in Virginia, which is based on the principles of Charlotte Mason, a British educator who reformed England’s educational system, which emphasizes a fine arts education and self-directed learning.

Linda J. Walder, Esq.

Advisor, Public Policy and Community Engagement

Ms. Walder is the Founder and Executive Director of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation (DJF). The mission of DJF, an all volunteer-run organization, is to develop, advocate for and fund programs that create innovative ways for adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder to participate in and contribute to community life. The DJF Signature Programs can be found throughout the United States and include residential, vocational/employment, educational and recreational opportunities that are blueprints for replication in grassroots communities throughout the world. Linda is recognized as a “social entrepreneur” who has created and brought to fruition a wide range of informational resources, public policy, and has pioneered a collaborative vision with outstanding universities to establish endowed programs assuring in perpetuity that there will be research, programs and support systems focused on adult autism. In 2016, Linda spearheaded the establishment of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Leader in Adult Autism Award that is presented annually at the national conference of the Autism Society of America as a means of inspiring the autism community and sharing with the world the strengths and talents of autistic adults. 

 

Linda has received numerous honors for her accomplishments on behalf of the autism community that have included a Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference, the Jefferson Award for Public Service, and honors from the New Jersey Coalition of Inclusive Ministries and ASAH, New Jersey’s association of special education private schools and agencies. Linda also received Redbook magazine’s “Strength & Spirit” Award and was featured, as one of the five most inspirational women in the United States. She has been recognized before the New Jersey legislature for her humanitarian efforts that “exemplify a standard of excellence towards which others should strive.” In 2011, Linda received the “Seeds of Hope” award for her leadership in the field of Autism and was featured in NJ Monthly Magazine.  In 2012, United States Senator Robert Menendez honored Linda with the “Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer Award,” for her pioneering work on behalf of the Autism community. In 2013, Linda was the first recipient of Autism Spectrum News’ “Beacon of Hope Award.” In 2014 Linda was awarded the “Classic Woman Award” by Traditional Home Magazine for her philanthropic efforts. In 2016, Linda joined the Editorial Board of Autism Spectrum News, the nation’s leading source of information relating to autism.

 

As a spokeswoman and expert on adult autism, Linda has appeared in news media including Dateline NBC, News 12 New Jersey, WOR News Radio and in publications including The New York Times, Parade Magazine, USA Today and The Bergen Record. Linda has also moderated Congressional briefings on adult autism and a panel of experts at the United Nations for World Autism Day. Linda’s blog entitled, Autism for a Lifetime: Finding Joy in the Journey offers unique perspectives on adult autism for those directly affected by autism and the community at large.

 

Linda is excited to be joining the Advisory Board of the Children’s Fine and Performing Arts Foundation, and sharing with our Foundation her expertise in public policy and community engagement.

Cathy Marino

Advisor, Academics and Special Needs Facilitation

Cathy Marino has devoted her career to education with a special focus on Early Childhood Development and Special Education. She was the Founder and Director of the first Infant Toddler Child Care Program in the state of New Jersey.  She has spent over 34 years as an educator, teaching Pre-School, Kindergarten through 5th Grade, and as an Elementary School Principal with children from 34 countries speaking 54 languages.

 

Mrs. Marino holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Russell Sage College, a Master’s degree in Learning Disabilities ( Summa Cum Laude ) from Fairleigh Dickinson University and completed extensive graduate coursework in Special Education and Early Childhood at Harvard, Yale and Columbia Universities.

 

Mrs. Marino is a published author, has served on the President’s National Advisory Council in Washington, DC, and received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Teachers in New Jersey. Supporting numerous causes in the Low Country, she serves on the College of Charleston’s School of Education Teacher-Leader Program, and the School of The Arts Advisory Board. She is Vice Chairman of Engaging Creative Minds, a Board Member of The Gaillard Management Corporation, MUSC’s Heart & Vascular Center, Co-Founder of Arts, etc. and Co-Founder of The Children’s Center at Carolina Park. Cathy is also on Growing Together, a State Board for Early Childhood and on the Board of Advisors for The Holocaust Education Film Foundation. Some of her former Board positions include : The S.C. Aquarium Education Committee, Charleston Education Network, Trident United Way, Life Management Center for ADD and ADHD Children, Darkness to Light, WINGS for Kids, Florence Crittenton, The Children’s Museum of The Low-Country and Dr. T. Berry Brazelton’s National Foundation Board.

Dr. George Sachs 

Advisor, Education and Behavioral Therapy

Dr. Sachs is a licensed child psychologist and adult psychologist, specializing in the treatment of ADD/ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders in children, teen and adults. Dr. Sachs did his clinical training in Chicago at Cook County Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital and the Child Study Center. He completed his internship and post doctoral work at the Children’s Institute in Los Angeles, where he supervised and trained therapists in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT). George Sachs is a Gestalt trained therapist, certified by the Gestalt Associates Training program of Los Angeles. Dr. Sachs consulted to Juilliard in New York City, providing counseling to their dance, drama, and orchestral students. Dr. Sachs is author of Helping the Traumatized Child and Helping Your Husband with Adult ADD. Dr. Sachs has appeared on NBC Nightly News, CBS, WPIX and other major media outlets, discussing his unique holistic approach to Autism and ADHD treatment.  Dr. Sachs also writes for the Huffington Post.  Dr. Sachs is  a member of the American Psychological Association and the New York State Psychological Association.

 

Prior to becoming a clinical child psychologist, George Sachs began his career working in children’s television, developing an NSF funded preschool project for PBS. He later worked with Paramount writing scripts for the Sabrina the Teenage Witch CD-ROM series. It was at this time in 1996 that George and Beth met and began creating concepts for children’s television. George’s decision to work directly with children as a child psychologist has not deterred him from continuing to develop fun and entertaining television shows.

Greg Sinacori

Advisor, Dance and Creative Movement

Mr. Sinacori is an alumnus of LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts and graduated magna cum laude from the Fordham University/Alvin Ailey BFA program in dance and has received his Masters degree in Educational Leadership. Mr. Sinacori has performed with the Fred Benjamin Dance Company, Alvin Ailey’s second company (Ailey II), Parsons Dance Company and as a guest artist with Battleworks. 

 

Greg is currently featured on the hit Nickelodeon series The Backyardigans as the animated dancing moose, Tyrone, and also performs the movements for Nickelodeon’s Emmy Award Winning animated series The Bubble Guppies. He can be seen in The Music of Regret, a short film directed by Laurie Simmons at the Museum of Modern Art. In the year 2000, Sinacori was a finalist in the Arts Recognition and Talent Search in Miami, Florida. Mr. Sinacori is currently on faculty at The High School of Performing Arts in NYC.

Mary Whyte

Advisor, Fine Art

Mary Whyte is an American watercolor artist receiving international

recognition for her watercolor paintings of contemporary realism and

portraiture. In 2016 the Portrait Society of America chose Mary Whyte as

the recipient of the Society’s Gold Medal. The Gold Medal is the highest

honor awarded by the Portrait Society. Ms. Whyte

has been awarded the South Carolina Arts Commission’s prestigious

Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award, the highest honor for an artist given by the

state of South Carolina. Mary Whyte presents her watercolor paintings in

museum exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally. In

the United States, the groundbreaking exhibition Working South was

featured on CBS Sunday Morning©. Whyte’s works exhibiting internationally include the China and

Foreign Countries International Watercolour Summit at the Nanning Art

Gallery in Nanning, China, in which Mary was one of ten watercolor artists

of the world invited, and The World Watermedia Exposition in Thailand.

Mary teaches watercolor classes around the world and is the author of six

nonfiction books published about her life, work, and artist instruction. A

biography written about Mary titled, More Than A Likeness, The Enduring

Art of Mary Whyte, written by art curator and historian, Martha R.

Severens, has also been celebrated in museum exhibitions.

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