Meet the South Florida Orff Executive Board. We love what we do, and we do it with passion. Feel free to contact any of us with any questions!
Kristi English is President of the South Florida Chapter of AOSA, a position she also held from 2007-2009. She has taught Music to students from Pre-K through the university graduate level for over 20 years in four different states.
Kristi’s degrees include Specialist of Music Education, Master of Music, and an MBA from the University of Miami, and Bachelor of Music from University of Southern Mississippi. She has completed Orff Levels I and II, and holds National Board Certification in Early/Middle Childhood Music, 2007-2027. She is currently Redondo Elementary’s Teacher of the Year.
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Debera Thompson is the General Music Teacher at Parkside Elementary School in Coral Springs. At Parkside, she is in charge of 900 students, ranging Kindergarten to 5th grade, Chorus, and Orff Ensemble.
During Debera’s time in South Florida, she has become actively involved in the Florida Music Education Association, Florida Elementary Music Education Association, Broward County Elementary Music Teachers Association, and South Florida Orff. She earned her Orff Level I Certification at Florida International University in 2019. In 2020, Debera was chosen as an Emerging Leader in Florida.
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Kristy Pagan is the General Music Teacher at Amelia Earhart Elementary, a Music Therapist, and Elementary Music Curriculum Support Specialist for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She completed her Orff Level I and II Certifications, and Little Kids Rock Modern Band Certifications MB101 and 102. Kristy graduated from FSU with her BM in Music Therapy and MME in Music Education.
Kristy was voted Teacher of the Year, and was a North Region Teacher of the Year finalist in 2014. She received the Young Patronesses of the Opera Educator Award in 2016 and was a finalist for the Give A Note Foundation’s Music Education Innovator Award in 2019 and 2020. Kristy was also a Quarterfinalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award in 2020 and their Legacy Award in 2021.
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Pauline Latorre completed her bachelor’s degree at The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and received her master’s from Boston University. She has received the Teacher of the Year award twice at Stephen Foster Elementary, where she has taught for the last 15 years. She had the privilege of serving as the BCEMTA president and currently serves as FEMEA District 1 Chairperson. Pauline enjoys accompanying at local churches and also serves as the choir director at her church.
Pauline took her first Orff Level 1 at the Eastman School of Music and teaching music has never been the same since!
Email me: PaulineLatorre1@gmail.com
Claudia Lusararian is an adjunct professor at F.A.U. teaching Music Methods to future music educators. She also teaches general music at Westchester Elementary School and is the director of four after school ensembles including Chorus, Orff Ensemble, Recorder Club, and Little Kids Rock Band.
Claudia earned her master’s degree from the University of the Arts. She is a National Board-Certified Teacher and received her Orff Level III Certification at Villanova University, in Pennsylvania.
Claudia was voted Teacher of the Year in 2017 from Lake Forest Elementary School, where she worked to implement the Turn Around Arts Initiative. She has been an integral part of South Florida Orff since 2003.
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Levels Course Director
Liese Connell started her teaching career in Elementary Education in 1995, and has been teaching Elementary Music since 2004. She completed Levels I, II, and III of Orff-Schulwerk Certiﬁcation and earned her National Board Certiﬁcation in 2008 for Early/Middle Childhood in Music Education, successfully renewing in 2018.
Liese joined the South Florida Orff Chapter in August 2004. She served on the SFOC Board from 2005 through 2012 as Treasurer, followed by President through 2016. She currently serves as the Course Director for Orff Schulwerk Levels summer courses for music teachers in Miami which she successfully started in 2017.
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